CHAPTER TEN, From the Quill of Chaplain Larsen, TOMBS AND CONFESSIONS, Mathilde’s confession, soon to be published, Serbian original included


 

***

Mathilde confided in me often (which I hid from Amerongen like a Jew hides his gold) while alone or while we walked together along the garden tile path

‘Why are you so unhappy, mistress Mathilde? The master is trying…’, I coughed, ‘He seems to indulge you in everything, and yet…’
‘And yet…’
‘Confide in me, oh Mistress.’
‘There is no need for formalities, Larsen.’
‘Okay’, I nodded. ‘Do you suffer too much?’
‘It upsets me, it gets on my nerves.’
‘Break the silence and open your heart to me’, I said, fatherly.
‘This morning I recollected the life in Denmark… And my mother. Make a note, Larsen, and let the world see it! If the prison door ever open up for me and Hässe burns to the ground, I swear that…for something like that, I will rise from my grave!’
‘I will make a note, but I do not know what happened… Tell me the tale> is it the truth that Johana the Monster, as the locals called your mother…’
‘And the noblemen,’ the Mathilde declared fiercely.
‘…Yes…patience for the old man, young lady.’
Mathilde shot a smile back to him.
‘…she lived, as they say, in utter poverty?’
‘No,’ she stated simply.
‘Amerongen…’, I turned around and saw him fumbling around the stables – he was etching something into the ground with his knife and chanted… The guards were lazing around in front of the castle. A portion of the army, being bored on the roof of the castle and leaning onto the towers, under the Hässe sun, was taking a nap.
‘You could run away right now. I am reading your mind.’
‘And where would I go?’ I felt rage engulf her, a cold, suppressed rage, thus I fell silent in discomfort and decided to return to the topic at hand.
‘You know I always treated you like you were my own daughter.’
‘You are my solace in this home of the mad’, she responded gently, moving to caress me on the cheek but stopping midway through.
We entered the great Hall and sat on a bench one next to the other, tracked by the vile gaze of Orian von Amerongen.
‘Dearest Mathilde, the introduction is the most problematic to me. I can never seem to pin it down…Your words are sung with a lion’s strength, but I cannot discern whether you’ve written a novel of your mother and your real father,’ I started while looking at the scroll, ‘a made up story, or are these facts?’
She smiled somewhat tensely.
‘Tell me how you married Amerongen’, I prepped my quill and a parchment under my cassock.

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Mathilde tensed up her body. Her countenance became brutally firm.
‘It was in Denmark. On that day, and what a dim day it was, Father, the Regenstein door opened with a bang. Seeing Amerongen, I thought the entire castle shivered and squealed, as if dying from a horrible disease.
‘The castle was founded in the second half of the ninth century on a steep cliff, from which I felt like ending my life in the endless abyss numerous times. It was a dark, aristocratic dwelling. Since I was a tyke I likened it to a monster. Toothy towers reminiscent of fangs, and dark windowpanes reminding of the eyes of Erebus.[1] Regenstein had spread venom around itself since those days.
‘Amerongen got his eye on me, tall and threatening. I stood in the middle of the hallway frozen by his gaze. I pressed the parchments I was carrying to the library against my chest. He looked at me like a bloodthirsty animal. He looked like a rustler.
‘ ‘Is this ever a beauty!’, he shouted and touched Johanna’s heart to tears, while joy glistened in Otto’s wrinkly eyes.
He suddenly averted his eyes, and his face calmed, as if the monstrous strength waned in him.
‘ ‘In the name of Yambe-Akka’, he yelled. ‘Did someone die in here? Give ale to horses first, then the serfs!’
‘ ‘Mathilde, you should be honored that this charming nobleman chose you for his bride’, the moment she said this the parchments dropped from my hands, and Amerongen looked at me curiously. I replied with a smile which surprised him and he told me: ‘Do you perchance like me? Truly it cannot be so!’, he pouted like a child and winked at me, which made me feel sick to my stomach. I assume he just wanted to make me feel better.’
[1] Greek god of eternal darkness.

52118934b3fa23356b69b70715446ff6--dark-castle-gothic-castle

He came very close to me and all but glued himself to my body.

‘The cold armor of Denmark had burned your body and mind with frost. In my home you will be warm.’

Fire was blazing in his eyes. He turned to the vase laden with red flowers drowned in the crystal clear water. He pulled a dagger from his belt.

‘Careful, sven! Mathilde is expensive!’, I’ve heard an apathetic voice of Otto Regenstein. Johana was licking her lips. Her hand lay on her hanging breasts.

Amerongen turned to them, smiled and carved my initials into the palm of his hand. Blood sprayed his gold-woven clothing. He put his hand in water.

‘Now the color is like that of flowers’, he said brightly.

His boot drummed on the straw-covered floor for a while, he was looking at me from all sides and was thinking.

‘Will you take our daughter?’, Johana asked with hope in her voice.

‘Her being silent is agreeable to me. As far as I’m concerned, with a body like this, she can be deaf-mute for all I care. I have decided, I will spend the night here’, he approached me again. His breath was heavy. He stank of blood. ‘I might come visit you tonight.’

‘The goods must always be tested, do you not agree, husband dear?, the cheerful voice of Johana uttered.

‘Are these goods spoiled?’, Amerongen shot her a shrewd look.

She looked at the crackling fire in the hearth.

‘A fresh, unpicked flower. A good deal’, Johana said.

Mathilde stopped talking. I lifted my head away from the parchment. My expression must have given away dumbfoundedness and unease.

‘Did you find out who your real father was?’

‘I’ve learned of this too – my real father was a French count of Bouyon, from an old house of de Melot. He was Otto’s best friend as a young man. Johana was incurably in love with him. Insatiable desire assailed her, and the decisions were never something she left up to God. She gave herself to him with love and joy. When he left her, she cut her veins, but Otto saved her.’

‘What was his name?’

‘Alberik, but Johana called him Surtr.[1] That’s the name of my real father, but of Amerongen as well. The two, I believe, had for her at the very least certain similarities. I also believe that the two spent an intriguing night together, but I have…’, Mathilde stopped. ‘I don’t want to go on, Larsen.’

I thought that her confession would end there. Upset, she looked at his eyes.

‘There is a shortage of words for some reminiscences. Nature makes it so that the deepest feelings are wrapped in a cloak of secrecy, with a dagger interwoven to torture us. That’s the gist of it… All of my memories are dyed in blood… Why all of this, Larsen, when it happened so long ago? Time devours all!’

‘My curiosity is a cruel one, Mathilde.’, I outstretched my arms and begged her to continue. ‘Your tale nested deep into my bones. I want to chisel it into eternity, as masons do.’

‘Rock is ruinous, and statues fall apart’, her eyes widened as her shoulders shivered unbeknownst to her. ‘If I confess all of it, I will still say nothing for it is a copy…a badly reproduced painting. A farce of the lived. A heavy rock pressing on the mind.’

Her story became too hard for her. She had not even reached the important bit, and already she cracked. Oh how she shivered, like wheat in a breeze. I sighed and decided to let it go.

But, at that moment, Mathilde’s cheeks went crimson, her eyes glistened, and her face was overtaken by an expression of pride. Amerongen stood at the Hall’s entrance and observed her mockingly. She whipped him with a look of anger. Her hands clenched into fists and Mathilde continued with such fire, as if a spirit had possessed her all of a sudden. With the corner of my eye I spotted Amerongen, in the moment Mathilde continued her tale, leaving the room.

‘I was so bored in Regenstein. It seemed to me that I had spent more time painting and writing than I did breathing or thinking. Still, I managed to end the boredom with fancy.’

At times Johana’s screeching voice would pulled me from my darling daydreams where my spirit lazed on. ‘Mathilde, dear daughter! Keep an eye on Agnes, for she will sneak out with the doubloons and leave! Who will cook for me then?!’ The servant girl would then cry her eyes out, and I would console her. In secret, we’ve endlessly made love with our eyes.

‘Go scrub the  floor!’, she would often scold her when she was bored of torturing me. ‘And I will return to Mathilde’s novel.’ She would place the scroll on the cold stone of the table and start spelling out with enjoyment: ‘She felt frail, for she knew she would never see him again. She remembered their nights together under the starry sky, his warm kisses…”Oh, darling, why did you leave me, I cannot live without you,” she sighed and cut her own veins.’Johana would tut pleased reading these lines. ‘Mathilde my daughter, if I didn’t have your novels, I don’t know what I’d do in life.’

Other times she would, pondering for a while over a dramatically important sentence, comment excitedly ‘Oh how exciting…let\s see what happens next…’ Writing these sweetish lines, I not only saved my skin, but also the serf girl’s.

 

 

images:

Crazy? – Painting, 40×30 cm ©2018 by Dominique Dève – Figurative Art,

La Folle (1822-1828). Peinture à l’huile de Théodore Géricault. (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.)

Mathilde’s parents

[1] A flame giant in Norse mythology.

***

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imag

‘That day, when Amerongen first set foot in Regenstein, after the sven retreated to quarters assigned to him, I called Agnes over and ordered her to bathe me.

‘They always spoke of my beauty, but I guarantee that Agnes was fairer.’Mathilde said simplemindedly. ‘She had eyes colored in the hue of a stormy sky. As I saw her at my solar door, my cheeks went red in an instant. Her face had a rhythm, a meaning and a hue. She herself was a poem of harmony. I had been wounded by her perfection.’

‘I think we should finally do it.’

‘It?’ Agnes said with a quiver in her voice.

‘Or…the other thing, if you prefer.’

‘This or that?’

‘The thing we were daydreaming of all these years. What’s with you?’ I was smiling.

‘I do not understand, mistress Mathilde,’ the serf girl lowered her gaze. My lips crafted a wide bitter smile.

‘Do you realize…’, I said slowly, ‘that they can kill us…both of us…and that nobody would notice? There is no difference between us, we are both the prey of satyrs. But, if we could escape…’, my tone was resolute. ‘We will sneak out like thieves!’ She stared at me mutely. Her body quivered. ‘We will take off! Today! Only if you wish to! Say yes,’ I grabbed her hand.

‘Yes, mistress Mathilde.’

‘That’s it…’ I said, studying her with satisfaction. ‘We will ring a few necessary things, some money too and head for the South, wearing chainmail and riding horses.  The Almogavar[1] Will be happy to see us’, I mumbled excitedly.

‘How can we travel to Almo…’she paused, ‘should I leave my duties in the castle?’

‘In the castle, shielded by dreadful thick walls inside of which you walk around like a ghost? Only my wit saves you from the Regenstein advances or the beasts of Amerongen. This is a wolves’ den, rich within a wasteland. We will both die here. They are marrying me off to a monster. And what will be of you then?’

‘I do not know, mistress Mathilde.’ I took notice of the serf girl’s heavy breathing. ‘Save me, only you can!’ Agnes, riddled with pain and fear, fell to her knees in front of me.

‘Alright’, I replied quickly. ‘You know what I want. I want to conquer you. Do you like that?’ I smiled to her with a smile of a harlot. The serf girl bowed her head and started disrobing. Her face went crimson.

Physical perfection emerged from the peasant tunic, perfection Agnes hid effortlessly, because beauty constantly hides itself, as does ugliness. I saw her harmonious body, no longer as part of fantasy or disturbing dreams, no longer as if looking through water, glass or fog. We danced a passionate game of love. The sound of flute was heard in the distance followed by the song of birds from the nearby forest.

‘I love music’, we lay there, legs intertwined, like Nephthys and Isis. I admired our bodies. We were so alike one to another, in body and looks. ‘I love the tug of wires on a harp…tugs like this one…’ I put my hand between Agnes’ thighs, moving towards the flower pulsing under my fingers. ‘I played the lute at the same time. It can keep up with the pain of a minstrel. My lute teacher was a minstrel. He would always cry over tones that offered pure beauty. And I am in love with beauty.’ I kissed her breasts. This way, like embracing nymphs, we remained until dawn.

 

2

 

I opened my dreamy eyes, noticing that Agnes was no longer in bed with me. I stretched like a cat, dressed myself and sneaked out of the castle towards Russvatnet lake, my favorite, most romantic place in the castle. I thought Agnes might be there. The cold burned my body, but I paid no heed to this. I dreamed on the lake coast, while my linen hair waved in the wind.

I observed the frozen lake, akin to an ice-scorched earth, thinking of the sweet wonder which happened last night. My awakened passion was visible on the icy surface. I took in my expression, where a trace of experienced gentleness was also admiring itself.

I stood there like that for a few moments, next to the lake shore, gazing in the distance. Then I jerked back and returned to the castle.

Windows of the great Hall were wide open. Over them were flippantly placed animal hides. Johana and Otto were like two statues upon which a bloodless window light shone. The moment they spotted me silence filled the room. Amerongen’s heavy hands, like claws, were benevolently placed on Johana’s shoulders. He looked at me with piercing green eyes of a hungry wolf.

He had a pale, monstrous beautiful face, like a Satyr, which gave off tiredness after a sleepless night, perhaps even boredom. He had coal-black hair, atypical of the people from the North. I wanted to paint it.

He approached me slowly and grabbed my hand.

 

 

[1] The Almogavar were mercenaries in the Aragon-Catalonian kings’ service who fought in the borderline areas against the Muslims in the XIII century. Thievery was their livelihood.

 

***

 

‘Do you know how long I’ve waited?’, he smiled mysteriously and the blood froze in my veins. I gave a bitter smile and tore my hand out of his. He turned nonchalantly, poured some mead in the pitcher and drank it up.

‘You might be wondering where Agnes is?’ the tone of his voice was cold. I sensed dread.

‘Sven, if you like our daughter, she’s yours,’ Johanna interrupted.

‘Out!’Amerongen growled. Johana and Otto obediently moved away, exchanging glances of unease.

Amerongen continued, catching his breath:

‘Life consists of an unending battle not to let ourselves go to frailty, of holding back, my dear Mathilde. You are not weak, but, from what I realized after last night, you do not hold back…’

‘I would like to go out for some fresh air, sven.’

‘Of course,’ he said graciously. ‘This is what I wanted to suggest, for I have something important to show you at the bottom of the lake.’ He still grinned vilely.

We were on our way to the lake.

‘I love your passion, your defiance, your noble yearning which you have in ample abundance, your unrest, your bravery, all of this awakens the hawk in me, I want to eat your soul, I wager it tastes well… I love that you resist… I love you. And you? Could you love me?’ He was talking non-stop while we descended down the steep path towards the lake. I was listening to him, not hearing him.

‘Do you understand my question or should I talk slower?’ he growled at her.

‘My curse is precisely the fact that I understand all.’

‘Blessed be we who gave up regular yearnings,’ he sighed turning his gaze towards the distant, ruthless vistas. ‘And I… I embraced the curse with passion. I was knee-deep into it… Flesh, blood, bones and all…’

I looked at him disgusted, but said nothing.

He grined:

‘You’ve enjoyed the embrace of that idiot Agnes, while I stalked you from the dark. You kissed her fingers, slid along her body, like it was all a pilgrimage of sorts. But I guarantee you, this is not a pilgrimage, it is a road leading to the abyss. Road of death. Pure Eros,’ he growled and tried to touch me. I quickly pulled away.

‘What more do you want? Take me away, it’s already been decided after all,’ I shivered under my pelerine, but not out of fear, but out of cold and I held myself with both arms.

He snatched me. I resisted, but he overpowered me and took me to the frozen lake. He placed me right next to the shore.

‘Move!’ He howled and took my hand. I did not resist. He pulled me along the uneven surface of Russvatnet. It was colder than usual. ‘Walk!’ He howled. ‘I will now show you a Danish spring.’

‘Russvatnet has its secrets as well,’ he said. ‘But a few surprises too…’ I could barely hear him, for his voice was suddenly overpowered by the howl of the wind. ‘Now observe what gifts the Russvatnet whirlpools have given you! Beautiful, is it not? It must be, for I have created it.’ With a sudden hand motion he tossed me to the icy surface of the lake. ‘Look! Look into your mirror!’ He yelled and stabbed his sword into the Russvatnet’s icy depths. Disturbed, fully awakened from its slumber, the calm lake water guggled in front of my face. Something emerged from the ice. Someone’s bruised face, misshapen by powerful punches, was what the restless Russvatnet waters cast out. It must have floated on the water for hours. ‘Look at her, Mathilde. Look how beautiful!’ He growled, pushing my head to the opening. My beautiful Agnes’ face, her eyes plucked out, was staring at me from the Russvatnet deeps.

‘I slaughtered your lamb! Now kiss it!’, he laughed demonically.

I screamed, which had been lying within me for years and I overpowered the wind. I wanted to join Agnes, to die next to her, so I tried to pull myself away from Amerongen’s squeeze and delve into the cold waters of Russvatnet.

Amerongen, overtaken by disbelief, realized that I pulled out from his claws. ‘Stop!’ He threw himself at me and managed to cover me with his body. I was struggling. ‘Let go of me!’ I screamed. ‘Let me die!’ He tore my clothes off with the feistiness of a madman. He took me with an animalistic urge. The silence befallen on the lake shore was torn asunder by my shrieks. The horror came down on me. I twisted my body, in a futile attempt to shake the beast away. He delved harder into me, and his caution waned for a brief moment. I managed to drive my nails into the scar plastered across his cheek, to which he screamed. He grabbed my face with one hand, still pinning me to the icy surface of the lake with another. ‘You damned whore!’ Agnes’ eyeless gaze was observing this whole scene.

All the foul language known to me came out from beneath my tongue, jerks of rage made my face crooked, while I was scratching at him, pulling away, screaming and hitting, but he kept beating me. My fight kept kindling his rage, so, to my fortune, he finished faster than he wanted to.

When he did, he sat before me, wiped my face and genitals with the torn-off dress and tossed it into my face. I held my belly, but did not weep. For a moment my future life flew in front of my eyes and made me feel sick. From the mere cognition I felt nauseous and I vomited all over the ice, to which Amerongen smiled. I could not have cared less about what was to follow.

‘Oh how you’ll love me, you can’t even fathom it,’ he told me gently…

bloody-lake-katerina-pejsova

***

‘There, Larsen. This is how I got married’, Mathilde finished her tale flatly. She offered me mead from the table, taking note of the offended look of my face. I could not look at her eyes, flabbergasted with all that was said.

ОРИГИНАЛ:

Из пера капелана Ларсена, Гробови и Исповести, Матилдина исповест
Матилде ми се неретко поверавала (што сам крио од Амеронгена као змија ноге) насамо или док смо шетали заједно поплочаном стазом кроз врт.
„Зашто си толико несрећна, господарице Матилде? Господар се труди…“, закашљао сам се, „Чини све да ти удовољи, па ипак…“
„Па ипак…“
„Повери ми се, господарице.“
„Ларсене, нема потребе за формалностима.“
„У реду“, климнуо сам главом. „Мучиш ли се превише?“
„Узрујава ме, иде ми на живце.“
„Сломи тишину и откриј ми срце“, рекох очински.
„Јутрос сам се присетила живота у Данској… И мајке. Начини запис Ларсене и дај га на увид свету! Ако се икада затворска врата за мене отворе и Хасе буде спаљен до темеља, ја се кунем да… за тако нешто, из гроба ћу устати!“
„Начинићу запис, али не знам шта се збило… Исприповедај ми: је ли истина да је Јохана Монструм, како су мештани звали твоју мајку…“
„И племићи“, жестоко ће Матилде.
„… Да… стрпљења за старца, млада дамо.“
Матилде му узврати осмех.
„… живела, како се прича, у великом сиромаштву?“
„Не“, једноставно је рекла.
„Амероген…“, обазрех се око себе и угледах га како се забавља испред коњушница –исписивао је нешто ножем по земљи и мантрао… Гардисти су се излежавали испред замка. Део војске је, досађујући се на крову замка, наслоњен на торњеве, под сунцем Хасеа, задремао.
„Сад би могла побећи. Читам ти мисли.“
„А куда да одем?“ Осетих да је обузима бес, хладан, затомљен бес, те заћутах у нелагоди и реших да се вратим на тему разговора.
„Знаш да сам одувек на тебе гледао као рођену кћер.“
„Утеха си ми у дому лудака“, нежно је одговорила, кренула да ме помази по образу али се зауставила на пола покрета.
Уђосмо у велики Хол и седоше на клупу једно до другог, испраћени злокобним погледом Орјана Вон Амеронгена.
„Драга Матилде, увод ми највише проблема ствара. Никако да га савладам… Твоје речи су испеване лавовском снагом, али не могу да раздвојим да ли си написала роман о мајци и свом правом оцу“, започео сам загледан у свитак, „измишњену причу или су ово чињенице?“
Осмехнула се некако напето.
„Испричај ми како си се удала за Амеронгена“, извадих перо и пергамент испод мантије.
Матилде напе тело. Лик јој поприми бруталну чврстину.
„Било је то у Данској. Тог дана, а беше то тмуран дан, Оче, врата Регенштајна треском се отворише. Угледавши Амеронгена, учини ми се да је читав замак задрхтао и зацвилео, као да умире од тешке болести.
Замак је подигнут половином ХI века на оштрој литици, са које ми је безброј пута дошло да се бацим у стрмоглави бездан. Била је то мрачна, аристократска грађевина. Још од малих ногу доживљавала сам је као чудовиште. Назубљене куле наликовале су на очњаке, а мрачни прозорски отвори подсећали су на очи Ереба.[1] Регенштајн је још тад ширио отров око себе.
Амеронген се загледао у мене, висок и претећи. Стала сам на сред ходника слеђена његовим погледом. Притисла сам на груди пергаменте које сам носила у библиотеку. Гледао ме је као острвљена животиња. Личио ми је на коњокрадицу.
„Ала је ово лепота!“, узвикну и до суза дирну Јохану, док је радост блистала у смежураним Отовим очима.“
Нагло је скренуо поглед, а лице му се умирило, као да чудовишна снага малаксава у њему.
„Јабме ми Аке!“, дрекнуо је. „ Је л’ овде неко умро?! Напојте најпре коње, потом слуге!“
„Матилде, треба да ти служи на част што те је овај шармантни племић изабрао за жену“ како је то рекла пергаменти ми испадоше из руку, а Амеронген ме радознало погледа. Узвратих му осмехом од ког се зачуди и рече ми: „Не свиђам ти се можда? Па неће бити да је тако!“, надурио се као дете и намигнуо ми, на шта ми гађење натопи желудац. Претпостављам да је само желео да ме одобровољи.
Пришао ми је сасвим близу и готово се припио уз моје тело.
„Хладан оклоп Данске ледом ти је спалио ум и тело. У мом дому ћеш се угрејати.“
У очима му је пламсала ватра. Окрете се ка вази препуној црвених цветова удављених у кристалночистој води. Извадио је нож из појаса.
„Пажљиво, свене! Матилде је скупа!“, зачух равнодушни глас Отоа Регенштајна. Јохана је облизивала усне. Рука јој је почивала на отромбољеним грудима.
Амеронген им се окренуо, насмешио се и урезао моје иницијале у свој длан. Крв му пошкропи одећу извезену златом. Ставио је руку у воду.
„Сад боја одговара цветовима“, ведро је рекао.
Добовао је чизмом по поду посутим сламом неко време, загледао ме са свих страна и размишљао.
„Хоћеш ли узети нашу кћер?“, упита Јохана с надом у гласу.
„Одговара ми што је ћутљива. Што се мене тиче, с оваквим телом, може да буде и глувонема. Одлучио сам: преноћићу овде“, пришао ми је поново. Његов дах био је тежак. Баздио је на крв. „Можда те посетим вечерас.“
„ Роба увек треба да се испроба, зар не мужу?“, развесели се Јохана.
„Да ли је ово покварена роба?“, лукаво је погледа Амеронген.
Загледала сам се у распламсалу ватру у камину.
„Свеж, неубран цвет. Повољно“, рекла је Јохана.“
Матилде стаде са приповедањем. Подигао сам главу од пергамента. Мој израз лица мора да је одавао запрепашћење и нелагоду.
„Да ли си сазнала ко је био твој прави отац?“
„Сазнала сам и то – мој прави отац био је француски гроф од Бујона, из старе породичне куће де Мело. У младости је био Отоов најбољи пријатељ. Јохана је била неизлечиво заљубљена у њега. Морила ју је неутажива чежња, а одлуке није увек остављала Богу. Предала му се с љубављу и радошћу. Кад ју је оставио, пресекла је себи вене, али ју је Ото спасао.“
„Како му је било име?“
илустрације:
Crazy? – Painting, 40×30 cm ©2018 by Dominique Dève – Figurative Art,
La Folle (1822-1828). Peinture à l’huile de Théodore Géricault. (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.)
Матилдини родитељи
„Алберик, али га је Јохана звала Сурт.[2] Тако је мог правог оца, али и Амеронгена. Њих двојица, верујем, имали су, барем за њу, неке сличности. Исто тако верујем да су њих двоје провели занимљиву ноћ, али и ја сам…“, Матилде застаде. „Не бих даље, Ларсене.“
Помислих да ће се њена исповест ту завршити. Узнемирено га је гледала у очи.
„За нека осећања постоји мањак речи. Природа удешава да најдубље осећаје завије плашт тајни, с бодежом у постави да нас мучи. У томе лежи суштина… Сва моја сећања обојена су крвљу… Чему све ово, Ларсене, кад је било давно? Време све прождире!“
„Окрутна је моја радозналост, Матилде“, раширио сам руке и преклињао је да настави. „Увукла ми се у кости твоја прича. Исклесао бих је у вечности, као што клесари чине.“
„Камен је трошан, а кипови се распадају“, очи су јој биле раширене, док су јој рамена незнатно подрхтавала. „Ако се поверим до краја, опет нећу рећи ништа, јер је то копија… лоше пресликана слика. Фарса доживљеног. Тежак камен што ум притиска.“
Прича јој је постала претешка. Није ни дошла до оног битног, а већ се сломила. Како само дрхти, као прут. Уздахнух и реших да попустим.
Али, у том трену, Матилди се образи зајапурише, очи јој засветлеше, а лицем јој се разли поносит израз. Амеронген је стајао на улазу у Хол и подругљиво је посматрао. Она га ошину гневним погледом. Руке јој се стегоше у песнице и Матилде настави са таквим жаром, као да је у њу ушао какав дух и запосео је. Крајичком ока приметих како, у тренутку кад је Матилде наставила са причом, Амеронген напушта просторију.
„Толико сам се досађивала у Регенштајну. Чинило ми се да сам више времена провела сликајући и пишући, него што сам дисала или мислила. Ипак, успела сам да досаду прекратим маштом.
Каткад би ме Јоханин глас, крештањем, извлачио из дражесних сањарија у којима ми се башкарио дух: „Матилде, кћери! Држи Агнес на оку, јер ће се искрасти с дукатима и отићи! Ко ће тад да ми кува?!“ Служавка би тад неутешно плакала, а ја бих је тешила. Тајно смо, бесконачно водиле љубав очима.
„Иди рибај под!“, често ју је грдила, кад би јој досадило мене да мучи. „А ја ћу се вратити Матилдином роману.“ Наслонила би свитак на хладан камен стола и с уживањем би почела да сриче: Осећала је слабост, јер је знала да га више никада неће видети. Сећала се њихових заједничких вечери под ведрим небом, његових топлих пољубаца… „Драги, зашто си ме оставио, не могу да живим без тебе“, уздахнула је и пресекла себи вене, Јохана би задовољно цокнула језиком, читајући овакве редове. „Матилде кћери, да ми није твојих романа, не знам шта бих у животу радила.“
Другом би приликом, замисливши се над драматичном реченицом, узбуђено прокоментарисала: „Како је ово узбудљиво… да видимо шта је даље било…“ Пишући овакве сладуњаве редове, спашавала сам не само своју, већ и служавкину главу.
Тог дана, када је Амеронген први пут крочио у Регенштајн, након што се свен повукао у њему додељене одаје, позвала сам Агнес и наредила јој да ме окупа.
За мене су одувек говорили да сам лепа, али јемчим да је Агнес, била лепша“, простодушно ће Матилде. „Имала је очи боје олујног неба. Како је угледах на вратима мог солара, крв ми јурну у образе. Њено лице имало је ритам, значење и боју. Она је цела била хармонична песма. Бејах рањена њеним савршенством.
„Мислим да коначно треба то да урадимо.“
„То?“, рече Агнес дрхтавим гласом.
„Или… оно, ако ти је драже.“
„То или оно?“
„Оно о чему смо маштале све ове године. Шта је с тобом?“, смешила сам се.
„Не разумем, госпођице Матилде”, служавка обори поглед. Усне ми се раширише у горки осмех.
„Схваташ ли..“, изговорила сам лагано, „да могу да нас убију… обе… а да то нико не би приметио? Међу нама нема разлике, обе смо плен сатира. Али, ако бисмо могле да побегнемо…“, глас ми је био одлучан. „Искрашћемо се као лопови!“, немо ме је посматрала. Тело јој је подрхтавало. „Отпутоваћемо! Данас! Само ако желиш! Реци да“, зграбила сам је за руку.
„Да, господарице Матилде.“
„Тако је…“, рекох, задовољно је проучавајући. „Понећемо неколико стварчица, нешто новца и право на југ, у верижњачама и на коњима. Алмогавери[3] ће бити срећни да нас виде“, бунцала сам, узбуђено.
„Како да путујемо к Алмо…“, застала је, „зар да оставим посао у замку?“
„У замку, заштићена одвратним дебелим зидовима међу којима се као дух шеташ? Само те моја довитљивост чува од насртаја Регенштајна или звери Амеронгена. Ово је вучја јазбина, богата у пустоши. Обе ћемо умрети овде. Удају ме за монструма. А шта ће с тобом бити тад?“
„Не знам, господарице Матилде.“ Ослушкивала сам служавкино тешко дисање. „Спаси ме, само ме ти можеш спасти!”, испуњена болом и страхом Агнес паде преда мном на колена.
„Добро“, рекох кратко. „Знаш шта желим. Желим да те покорим. Да ли ти се то допада?“, насмеших јој се осмехом блуднице. Служавка климну главом и стаде да се разодева. Лице јој се обли руменилом.
Из сељачке тунике изрони физичко савршенство, које је Агнес тако вешто крила, јер лепота се вазда крије, као и наказност. Видим јој складнолепо тело, не више у фантазији или узнемиреним сновима, не више као кроз воду, маглу или стакло. Заплесале смо страствену љубавну игру. У даљини се чуо звук свирале праћен појем птица из околне шуме.
„Волим музику“, лежале смо, испреплетаних ногу, налик на Нефтис и Исис. Дивила сам се нашим телима. Биле смо толико сличне једна другој, ликом и телом. „Волим трзање жица на харфи… Трзање попут овог…“, ставила сам руку међ’ Агнесине бутине, крећући се ка цвету који је пулсирао под мојим прстима. „Својевремено сам свирала лауту. Она уме да испрати бол минстрела. Мој учитељ лауте био је минстрел. Увек би заплакао над тоновима који нуде чисту лепоту. А ја сам заљубљена у лепоту“, пољубих јој груди. Тако смо, попут загрљених нимфи, дочекале зору.
Илустрација: Couple, available on Amazon
2
Сањиво отворивши очи, видела сам да Агнес више није била са мном у кревету. Протегла сам се попут мачке, обукла се и ишуњала из замка у правцу језера Руствон, моје најомиљеније, најромантичније место у замку. Помислила сам да би Агнес могла да буде тамо. Хладноћа ми је пржила тело, али се нисам обазирала на то. Сањарила сам на обали језера, док ми се ланена коса вијорила на ветру.
Посматрала сам залеђено језеро, налик на ледом рањену земљу, мислећи на слатко чудо претходне ноћи. Моја пробуђена страст огледала се на леденој површини. Упијала сам свој одраз, у којем се огледао траг проживљене нежности.
Неколико сам тренутака тако стајала, крај обале језера, погледа упереног у даљину. Потом сам се нагло окренула и вратила у замак.
Прозори велике дворане беху широм отворени. Преко њих беху немарно пребачена животињска крзна. Јохана и Ото наликовали су двема статуама објасјаним бескрвном светлошћу са прозора. Чим су ме спазили у дворани је завладала ледена тишина. Амеронгенове тешке руке, малик на канџе, беху благонаклоно пребачене преко Јоханиних рамена. Посматрао ме је продорним зеленим очима попут изгладнелог вука.
Имао је бледо, чудовишно лепо лице, попут Сатира, које је одавало умор након непроспаване ноћи, можда досаду. Имао је косу црну као угаљ, нетипичну за људе са Севера. Пожелела сам да га насликам.
Полако ми је пришао и чврсто ме ухватио за руку.
„Знаш ли колико те чекам?“, загонетно се насмешио и следио ми крв у жилама. Осмехнух се горко и истргох руку из његове. Окренуо се равнодушно, сипао медовину у крчаг и испио.
„Можда се питаш где је Агнес?“, изговорио је хладним тоном. Предосетила сам несрећу.
„Свене, ако ти се свиђа наша кћер, твоја је“, прекиде га Јохана.
„Напоље!“, заурла Амеронген. Јохана и Ото се покорно удаљише, разменивши неспокојне погледе…
Амеронген настави, долазећи до даха:
„Живот се састоји из непрекидне борбе да се не препустимо слабостима, од уздржавања, драга моја Матилде. Ти ниси слаба, али, колико сам синоћ схватио, ти се не уздржаваш…“
„Изашла бих да удахнем мало свежег ваздуха, свене.“
„Наравно“, великодушно ће. „То сам и хтео да ти предложим, јер имам нешто важно да вам покажем доле на језеру“, и даље се опако смешио.
Упутили смо се у правцу језера.
„Волим твоју страст, пркос, племениту жудњу којом обилујеш, твоје неспокојство, храброст, све ме то мами као јастреба, појео бих ти душу, јамчим да је укусна… Волим што се опиреш… волим те. А ти? Можеш ли ме волети?“, причао је незаустављиво док смо силазили стрмом стазом ка језеру. Слушала сам га, не чујући га.
„Разумеш ли питање или треба да говорим спорије?“, зарежао је на њу.
„Моје је проклетство управо у томе што све разумем.“
„Благослов нас који смо се одрекли обичних тежњи“, уздахнуо је окренувши очи ка далеким, суровим пределима. „А ја.. Проклетство сам пригрлио са заносом. Заглибио сам се у њега.. своје месо, крв и кости…“
Погледала сам га са гађењем на лицу, али нисам рекла ништа.
Накезио се:
„Уживала си у наручју глупе Агнес, док сам те вребао из мрака. Љубила си јој прсте, клизила по њеном телу, као да је у питању ходочашће. Али, јамчим ти, то није ходочашће, већ пут који води у бездан. Пут смрти. Чист Ерос“, зарежао је и покушао је да ме додирне. Брзо се сам се измакла:
„Шта више хоћеш? Води ме, ионако је све унапред одлучено“, дрхтала сам огрнута пелерином, не од страха, већ од хладноће и обрглила се обема рукама.
Нагло ме је зграбио. Отимала сам се, али ме је савладао и понео ме према залеђеном језеру. Спустио ме је крај саме обале.
„Полази!“, заурлао је и повео ме за руку. Нисам се опирала. Вукао ме је по неравној површини Руствона. Било је хладније него иначе. „Корачај!“, урлао је. „Показаћу ти сад како изгледа данско пролеће!“
И Руствон има своју тајну“, рече. „Али и по које изненађење…“, једва сам га чула, јер је његов глас наједном надјачао урлик ветра. „А сад гледај какав поклон су ти послали вирови Руствона! Прекрасан је, зар не? Мора да буде, јер ја сам га створио.“ Наглим покретом руке баци ме на ледену површину језера. „Погледај! Погледај у своје огледало!“, дрекну и зари мач у ледену дубину Руствона. Узнемирена, из дубоког сна разбуђена, мирна језерска вода заклокота пред мојим лицем. Нешто изрони из леда. Нечије модро лице, изобличено снажним ударцима, избацише немирне воде Руствона. Мора да је сатима плутало у води. „Погледај је, Матилде. Погледај како је лепа!“, зарежа Амеронген, гурајући ми главу ка отвору. Лице моје прелепе Агнес, ископаних очију, посматрало ме је из дубине Руствона.
ilustracija: Катерина Пејсова, Bloody Lake
„Заклао сам ти јагње! Сад га пољуби!“, демонски се смејао.
Испустих врисак, који је у мени лежао затомњен годинама, и надјачах урлик ветра. Хтела сам да се придружим Агнес, да умрем поред ње, те покушах да се отргнем из Амеронгеновог стиска и уроним у хладне воде Руствена.
Амеронген, у неверици, схвати да сам се искобељала из његових канџи. „Стани!“, бацио се на мене и успео да ме прекрије телом. Отимала сам се. „Пусти ме!“, вриштала сам, „пусти ме да умрем!“ Покидао ми је одећу жестином острвљеног лудака. Узео ме је са животињском жудњом. Тишину палу на обалу језера, раздирали су моји крици. Ужас се обрушио на мене. Извих тело, у јаловом покушају да стресем звер са себе. Он се јаче зари у мене, и опрез му на трен попусти. Успех да му закопам нокте у ожиљак који му је браздао образ, на шта Амеронген дрекну. Ухвати се за лице једном руком, другом ме и даље држећи прикованом за ледену површину Руствона: „Курво проклета!“ Агнесине слепе очи су мирно посматрале целу сцену.
Из мене излетеше све знане ми псовке, тразаји беса ми искривише лице, док сам га гребала, отимала се, вриштала и ударала, али ме је и даље побеђивао. Моја борба је распалила Амеронгенов бес, тако да је, на моју срећу, завршио брже него што је желео.
Кад је завршио, сео је спрам мене, обрисао мојом подераном хаљином лице и гениталије и грубо ми бацио хаљину у лице. Држала сам се за стомак, али нисам ридала. У трену ми будући живот пролете пред очима и згрози ме. Од саме спознаје, смучи ми се и ја се исповраћах по леду, на шта се Амеронген осмехнуо. Било ми је сасвим свеједно шта ће се даље догодити.
„Како ћеш ме волети, ниси тога ни свесна“, нежно ми је рекао…
„Ето, Ларсене, тако сам се удала“, Матилде заврши своје излагање равним гласом. Понудила ме је медовином са стола, спазивши мој саблазнут израз лица. Нисам могао да је погледам у очи, запрепашћен свим изреченим.
„М-матилде, кћери, да ли желиш да пођеш са мном у замак Енгсо у Вастерасу, на обали језера Меларен? Амеронген не зна да су ми понудили место капелана у тамошњој катедрали. Спремам се на пут следећег месеца. А за после ћемо видети. Можемо да стигнемо и до Тулуза, ако желиш“, освртао сам се око себе. Нервозно сам погледао лево-десно, у страху да ме Амеронген не чује. Матилде ме је чудно погледала.
„Зар нећеш да саставиш спис, Ларсене?“
„Да-да, свакако“, замуцкивао сам. „Али, зар нечујеш шта ти говорим? Могли бисмо да се склонимо у Енгсо. Не намеравам да се вратим у Норботен, а ни ти не смеш ни трен више у њему да останеш. Нисмо смели оволико дуго да се задржимо у Хасеу. Можемо да живимо ван Амеронгеновог домашаја.“
„Зар се може побећи од њега? Да ли то може бити?“
Загрлио сам је. Био сам потпуно уверен у то што говорим. Осетио сам нагло олакшање пред чињеницом да могу да је спасим.
„Почни да се пакујеш у тајности, овде више нема ничега, ни за мене ни за тебе. Покушај да делујеш као и обично, како свен не би наслутио шта се спрема.“
„А шта бих радила, Ларсене?“
„Управо ми је то питање задавало мука све ове године. Посветио сам му сво своје слободно време. Можда да се издајеш за моју рођаку или удовицу, или… да се угледаш на Ивету Хај, да проведеш живот у колонији са лепрознима? Све је боље је од овога овде“, рекао сам узбуђеним гласом. „Самостани женама нуде многе могућности, не само за образовање, него и за креативно изражавање. Подсећам те на случај саксонске игуманије којој је било дозвољено да кује новце са својим ликом… Немачке монахиње из богатих и важних кућа једнаке су духовним господарима Царстава, да не говорим о предностима које би имала као игуманија или можда жена – мистик. Подсећам те и на случај Кристине Маркјет, жене која је одбијала је да се уда… и напокон постала светица“, заврших своје излагање завереничким тоном.
„Али, ја нисам светица, Ларсене. Чак нисам нити побожна…“
„Нисам ни ја“, насмешио сам се.
Уместо одговора, Матилде је неутешно почела да плаче у мом наручју.
(Рукопис се овде прекида…)
[1] Грчки бог вечне таме (прим. аут.)
[2] Ватрени џин у нордијској митологији (прим. аут.)
[3] Алмогавери, Алмогавари или Алмугавери, били су плаћеници у служби арагонско-каталонских краљева, који су се борили у пограничним пределима против муслимана у XIII веку. Живели су од пљачке (прим. аут.)
Крај првог дела поглавља…

Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter Two, THE HÄSSE CASTLE


Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter One

 

Sleeping Mathilde, Chapter Two, THE HÄSSE CASTLE

 

“In order for you not to take my manuscript as an excessively modest gift, I must tell you more of the Hässe castle.

“Beyond distant clouds, on the moist ground of Norrbotten, there was the Og lake, speckled with tiny islets. On the Naki island, closest to the coast, the Hässe castle sprouted and grew.

“Once, when I was returning from a campaign, over the frostbitten hill, I saw a castle in the distance, towers which, akin to dancing topaz-color-caped silhouettes, were holding a pierced, pale human being on the tips of their spears. The castle reflected me. That being had been me.

“The road was winding along the hill by the coast, flowing into the bridge which tore the sky asunder reaching for the hilly islet of Naki.

“The stone-cold road not unmade by salt, flimsy and steep, was swallowing the travelers from the North tumbling them down the sharp skin of the Fjalar hill or casting them, wind-bound, in the icy grotto of Hornavan, where their deafening screams could be heard from.

“The travelers who would survive Fjalar would pause in front of Lindworm’s tongue with bulging eyes and mouths-a-shiver, they would turn their horses back and fled meeting the sky herald Gná. The braver ones, clenching the reins, would continue walking towards the abyss of Hornavan. The road was encircled by the desolate surfaces of lakes, as unreachable as whirlwinds, crowned with the snowy soil of Norrbotten, and only in certain places with pine and birch trees dipped in hoarfrost.

“The marble carpet lead to the main gate of the Hässe castle (piercing through a vivid garden, a kind of garden few can boast to possess in this part of the world), over which, branching out, the bridges were connecting the tall towers, therefore I could have entered any part of the castle from the main tower without descending down into the garden.

“There was many a varied seed in the garden, from the date palm which my ancestors brought from the Middle East during the Crusades, to the lilies, hyacinths and other, exotic plants unfamiliar to the climate of Norrbotten. The enchanted seed of death was handled by the gardener woman Hilde, known to me for her conversing with Vidar embodied in the greenery and the woodlands. From the God of the Forests she drew her magic and poured it onto the flowers which had no place in this lifeless land. When death is tangled with life and the course of nature changes, the root unleashes the power of the venom deep, changing the essence of the soil. Both the land and the men have venom sprout from within them. The seed of death revivifies. Creating upside-down tulips which adorn my home, and which Hilde kept warm day and night, stoking the fire in enormous kettles.

“On the double leaf oaken gates which hid away the entrance to the main fort, there was, painted in golden strings, the crest of the brave and gluttonous house – a lion’s paw. It could also have been found on blue banners which were waiving born by the wind up high on the Hässe towers, grasping for the heavens. The windows were guarded by marble manticores, born in the early days of Hässe, threatening with their sharp stings soaked in rainwater.

“When the Lindworm swallows the newcomer, it shows them the ghastly yard in front of the castle. Upon entering the main gate guarded by the maw of the Lindworm, the traveler would note the beaten pathway that leads into the yard and the stalls in the very center of Hässe.

hasse

“The road, vaulted by guard towers speckled in guardsmen, lead to the altar and reeked of cow entrails. The altar, above which the tall defense towers of Hässe lorded over, lay on the dry land, tucked into deerskin and adorned with raven skeletons. In the middle of the altar there was a platter with the pre-read, rotting entrails. ’They feed the vultures of darkness’, I would often personally explain it away to a visitor of my empire who shivered in fear and to whom the dread crawled up the spine… The altar, inflamed in cypress and sandalwood from which the messages meant for the Goddess of Death were smoking, was lined with cracked skulls of those who did not bow. The stone thighs of the altar were sprinkled with blood, some of it animal, some of it human.

“The ritual usually took place at night, when the holy Altar burned ghostly in the middle of the yard. Around it would dance, covered in blood, nude witches, keepers of the scourge. They had in long, thick, blonde hair onyx crystals or raven feathers entwined within them. The head-priestess  would wear a crown of deer antlers. The witches, while chanting a mantra, would dispense soil from the graves around the altar.

‘Oh, Yambe-Akka, all that we offer may now be thine

And no man else’s

Oh Yambe, Goddess of the Underworld, take this gift,

Offer him to your peasant spouse, the God of Death,

So it may be his and no man else’s!’

“Thus the three beautiful witches would chant until they fell to the ground in ecstasy. Then I would approach them, cloaked as if in a pupa, surrounded by a procession of swarthy torchbearers and claimed them, upon which the ritual continued; the tribute would be brought over, completely nude, from the lower chambers, the torture chambers – it is their blood I would drink upon the ritual’s conclusion. Oftentimes I would, when in shortage of manpower and the fear which paced ahead of me like a shade, drink up horse blood in honor of Yambe-Akka.

“ ’Oh Yambe-Akka, let me behold the cruel patterns of the past and the future.’

“ ‘Oh, Yambe-Akka, do not let the premonitions dry up!’, I would utter in an official tone of voice, raising my scepter with both hands. After I had had my fill of the meat, I would take a sharp athame in my hand, doused in blood. Upon the palm of the victim I would personally carve the hagalaz rune, and the Goddess would snatch away the dried away, dead bodies, storing them in the chest of gifts. The vultures of darkness would then disperse on the sky of Norrbotten, chased away by the spirit of the Goddess…

“’’The blade was laid in the carved bone which might have once been an arm of a faithful servant’ – I would tap the traveler on his shoulder – ‘and the altar, an ancient image of divinity’ – I would proudly point towards the extinct altar – ‘will speak the tongue of bones tonight’. Bone-chilling words I would direct at a wealthier yeoman or a more ambitious Brit, who would come as was his duty, quivering like a leaf, to bow down to me and ask for my blessing.

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“The stranger who made his way to Hässe would get a pitcher of wine and a place at the stables to spend the night. I would often, if they hadn’t been of noble birth or ilk, convert them to servants. The nobles received all the comfort of this home and its glimmering guest hall, where they would dine along the tune of the lutes. There had also been the undefeatable ones, who were met with whipping to the death, oftentimes torn limb from limb tied to four horses, and other types of torture which I was coming up with while drinking up the blood-red wine at the dinner table. I would inject vinegar in noblemen’s bodies by means of needles, I tightened their limbs, poured hot tar on them, and from time to time I would toss them in the jail-cells atop the tower where they would die of hunger. Fear of others and their complete despair, oftentimes madness as well, filled me with lechery. The rotten road I walked along, as a man who had within himself made a pact with nature, as well as savagery, stretched onward into infinity. And still the travelers, in a maniacal run, would come to the doorstep of the richest sven, bearing gifts to the master so that he could protect him from vile natures of his subjects and himself.

“Of my rage I could speak a multitude, of the true tendon of evil, the shade of accrete sensuality within my infected blood.

“Thoughts of human nature occupy my mind until the late hours of the night when my thinking faculties wane, up until the early morn when they spark up anew: how much fealty did I really accrue, and how much am I actually bound by fear of the vindicators’ wrath? To what extent had I become the Supreme deviser of the horrific power which always emerges from the blackest night in all of this? I ended the invasion of conscience with bloody campaigns and have thus removed her permanently. It was a shameful act which ate away at me. From my bloody dreams I was woken by the raw explosion in my heart of all the memories of the murders committed. I held them, crucified in my chest, with an occasional squeal of conscience which erased the breath that followed. Understanding the transience of the soul and the motion of time through the howl of the wind, which reached the very distant tops of Norrbotten shackled in eternal ice like an echo, I yearned for eternity, and it had been the light of my dwellings and my cruelty, and because of which I had eventually lost my wits. I had been hot-tempered. Perhaps insane. But, I had been a lord.”

 

SLEEPING MATHILDE, an excerpt from the fantasy novel, Leila Samarrai, The First Chapter


SLEEPING MATHILDE

http://casopiskult.com/kult/krik/uspavana-matilde/

The storm which will crush the fort of sven Orian will crush an existence, a world filled with fear, antagonism, selfishness. It will crush that which is not constant, all for that which is permanent and long-lasting.

Let us tear down castles! Let us stay with nothing to us, akin to Buddha or Jesus! Let us bravely trudge forth, with love for the self and the others, regardless of all the risks and perils that pop out at us, akin to Heracles or Odysseus!

deathridinghorse

„And God took а hаndful of south wind

 And from it formed а horse,

 Sаying, ‘I creаte thee, Oh Arаbiаn.

 To thy forelock I bind victory in bаttle.

 On thy bаck I set а rich spoil,

 аnd а treаsure in thy loins.

 I estаblish thee аs one of the glories of the eаrth.

 I give thee flight without wings’.

 For а time the Arаbiаn rаn wild in the desert.

 Only the strongest аnd most intelligent,

 The swiftest аnd most disciplined survived.

 And then the story goes;

 To Ishmаel, son of Abrаhаm,

 God mаde а gift of the Arаbiаn Horse.

 And Ishmаel wаs the first to tаme аnd ride him.

 And from thаt time on the fаte of the Arаbiаn

 would be woven into the history of the Western

 World.”

 

„Arabian Horse Legend”

A TALE OF ORIAN VON AMERONGEN

“I was born in the old House of von Amerongen, as Orian Siegfried”, having committed this sentence on paper, Orian bit into the quill and, upset, shot a glance at the door. He had little time to spare.

“I was born in a wonderful castle on the slopes of the icy mountains of Norrbotten”, Orian sunk into the strange irritability of senses brought about by the sweet drowsiness of memory.

Leaning above the parchment, sensing that his time is running out under the increasingly faster swathes of distant steps, he gave himself up to the words of a cruel story while horror reigned over his body and senses. He wrote the following:

“I could not shake off the thought of Norrbotten’s conception. Dramatic imagery of clouds sucking up the rain, of blood dripping from the heavens, assailed my imagination.

“I would feel excitement observing the doleful side view of the land of Norrbotten out of whom I’ve strived to exclude my own castle, making it a creation of the most fantastic colors and images. With time, as the veil was falling over my eyes, I moved slower and slower, head hung low, until – and God knows what if anything I was thinking of – I had lost the boyish spirit and the gift of innocence, until I had lost the peace wherein any lord would enjoy himself selflessly. Until I’ve taken a bite of my mental wellbeing…

“’Let’s stop at the impossible’, I would say to father Larsen who piously ate his sausages in the chapel booth. Everything lasts in shades long buried. Enthusiasm does not easily let a poet go, quite the contrary, it anchors itself within him, galloping along the finest of nerves, inconsistently, vilely and hypocritically.

I felt that Norrbotten and the Hässe castle can in any other time period only induce revolt and anxiety, but also an unspeakable loneliness.

Then the Storm came and took it all. I, sven Orian, had been a guard, a cuirassier and many a thing more, upon whom this fiend descended upon, I am frightened. Memories come shrieking on this day of death when sven Olof rode to the castle and took Mathilde out of the shade.

From where did all the ailments of my life come? It is as if the Storm pounded them to the ground through the wind. You might be wondering whether a sober man thinks of his sins amid a storm. Oh, yes, exactly then, through the window, I observe the restless villagefolk and I take a listen of the revving of horses, for I am, if I must choose the object of my observation, a painter of nothingness.”

Orian stopped and gave the scar on his face a touch. Then he added:

“I touched myself on the crease in my face and felt it fork in tiny layers on my chin, out of which hardened, bloodied hairs stuck out. A wound from a duel. “

Orian swiftly turned to the door, but since he heard nothing, he continued, quill screeching, stating aloud what he wrote in order to ward off the ghoul.

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“As a vampire I feasted upon lives of others. I never dug graves too deep. I piled corpses like firewood. I was building a human alley.

“I had increased my army thusly, reigning by fear.

“Gazing upon my own reflection in the gold enameled mirror, I saw (what I wished others had seen), a rove of shaded flesh, tight muscle and a smile of a noble whose dignity had essentially intertwined with a false modesty.

“But, that which had disturbed me in the darkest of forebodings were the decisions I had taken as a man used to get what he wanted and, empowered by his irreason, destroy that which was beyond his reach and his mind. Those were the initial signs of my curse.

“I had been an oppressor. I had been jealous, especially of the birds, the damned vermin, the vultures and eagles, knowing that they bear within them a germ of eternity. I had been but a grain of sand under the howling wind. And what is wind other than the coursing of time, against whose power of sudden destruction or slow consumption of substance, even the most stable of dwellings falls. “