Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter Three, THE SHAITAN HORSE, part 2, The Old Woman of the Dead


With this chapter, titled “The Shaitan Horse”, I will temporarily pause sharing the material from the book of Mathilde which is currently being translated. I hope that the introductory passages piqued your interest. Mathilde will soon be available on Amazon. You will be notified in due time. Thank you for reading.

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:

Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter One, A TALE OF ORIAN VON AMERONGEN

Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter Two, THE HÄSSE CASTLE

Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter Three, THE SHAITAN HORSE

***

I looked at him with bloodlust in my eyes, but I did not erase the wolfish smile off my face, quite the contrary, I grinned all the harder.

– You see, Olof… The architecture I am inclined to lately is a strict and monumental one. Vast wall structures are without a single opening. Soon I will wall off all those tiny light windows through which you’re looking.

He gave me a funny look. – By the by, where is thy lady? She was here a moment ago – he took a good long look around him. She was here all along, right next to the two of us, silent like a shadow, peaceful like a sword resting in the sheathe. She seemed as if she were surpressing laughter.

A frightening silence suddenly fell upon the castle.

“Approach, Olaf!”, I yelled for a serf. His shoulders shivered.

“Here I come to my master to obey his command!”, he dared not look at me.

“You see, Olof, how faithful my serf Olaf is to me? If the king would weep, he would weep along with him. If the king died, there Olaf would be howling for him, such is the love of serflings of Hässe to its ruler. Is this not so?”, I embraced my serf. His lips were quivering, and teeth aclatter. “I re-reckon it’s cuh-cold, Guard, let me get the fire going.”

“I want you to take us through the secret door”, I gave off a bloodlust-laden grin and took a good long look at the hump under his tunic. “Look at him, Olof. Is he not like a statue which speaks? Good old Roman Pasquino , a damaged sculpture, of course, but well spoken, because when it hears the vile tongues say ‘Even Amerongen can’t reign forever’ – a prideful look on his face – Olaf would cuss and say ‘Let me find the coward in the shadows! And if I don’t find him, you, master, will blow into him the icy breath of death and the bastard will fall only because he wanted my master to die.’”

Olof raised his eyebrows and said “Incredible.”

“Brave lad” – I patted the serf on the hump under the tunic which stuck out a bit crookedly. “You do not fear the secret door?”

Olaf rose the steel chin to me, grinned and revealed a severe lack of dentures: “I am loyal, milord. My name is Olaf and all live long day I eat and drink profusely and in the name of my prince I would…” He was deep in thought for a while. I waited patiently enjoying the whole thing. Something almost like a thought sparked in his pupil. “I can do this. I can go through the secret door. I will be the guide. I have heard that master Olof is going sightseeing.”

“And if the doors are sealed?”, I laughed.

“I will knock them down with my head.”

“Is he an idiot?” Olof giggled pointing to the wee hunchback. Olaf laughed with him, and his whole face went dark. He clenched his fists. “I will crush the door, here…with these hands!”

“I actually believe you…” – I paid no heed to Olof’s jab – “Peace be upon the kingdom, Olaf.”

”Long live my prince”, Olaf lowered his gaze and knelt before me.

Olof coughed uninterestedly, while strength raged within me.

“Come with me…”, I took a few large steps and stood in front of the secret door

“I don’t see how we can pass.” – Olof wondered. – “Perhaps…”

“Quiet,” I frowned. “I wanted to show you this.”

I stood on a precisely marked spot, which was the Eye of Argus on the mosaic, and used my weight to start up the secret mechanism. The door squeaked creepily, rising upward, while Olof stood in tense expectation – what is on the other side?

His astounded facial expression amused me. He hesitated for a moment or two, and then carefully came after me along the tight pass. He was in the state of complete horror, while we crawled by grotesque gravestones. Soon we arrived at a big room whose stone walls were adorned with a low, narrative relief, similar to Assyrian ones.

There was little to no furniture in the room. Two chairs and an oaken table colored red took up the middle of the room. The table was covered in a pile of parchments and unusual object, one of which was my fancy – shaped by the hands of Mathilde – a miniature replica of the Kraken. The rest of the furniture was colored green, with a figure of a three-headed dragon Buné engraved onto it, as were many other pagan symbols. A fresco was on the wall above the fireplace, a fresco which, according to my instructions, was made by Mathilde. It was an all-black monstrosity, a smirk on her face gnawed to the bone, my protector Yambe-Akka[1], the angel of death.

Not paying attention to an astonished and terrified Olof, in a knightly stance I knelt before her horrific visage.

jambe

Heed my prayer, Yambe-Akka

Habituate my eyes to the blade of vengeance

Let me hold it in my hand

Let my hand not quiver when vengeance recognizes the cause!

Let the bowels howl in fear, bowels of all those

Who wanted you unmade from your way!

 

I got up unladen, breaking the silence reinforced by Olof being quiet.

“Impressive, no?”, I said self-lovingly.

Olof shook from unease, and his face wrinkled.

“I come here to enjoy myself… The room is full of objects which bring me peace” – I paused – “There are all sorts of things here, from Iram, Ubar[2]…”- as I was saying this, I picked up a crooked J-shaped sword from the table, “a cursed Arabian knife”, a gift from Ubar. “Whomsoever has it in his hand, he must…”, I looked at Olof, and his eyes were aflame bloody-red.

“My friend, I see that my dark humor upsets your soul. I’m afraid that I must stop doing that. You’ll lose your appetite,” I mercifully added and pointed to the direction of the spiral staircase.

“They lead all the way to the balcony, and from there on…you’ll see…”

“You surprise me in a horrific way, Orian…Let’s go…”, Olof added nervously. And so, over the balcony, we found ourselves in a hallway, adorned with numerous columns. The end of the hallway was crowned by an arch, made in an Arabic style.

“Down the hallway, keep going straight, you will reach Mathilde’s solar”, I said wickedly.

“Let’s go back”, Olof felt uncomfortable.

“My solar is on the opposite side. We can visit it as well?”

Our conversation was suddenly cut off by a female voice. “Hässe, including the secret passageways, has at least fifty-two rooms. It is a monumental complex, master Olof…”

 

[1] Yambe-Akka or Jabme-akka is a Sami Goddess of the Underworld. Her name means ‘The Old Woman of the Dead’.

[2] Historical lost cities

 

 

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