The Dauntless Rook (§.05)

Continued from §.04.


After the concert had concluded, Blythe, Boyce, Kyne and Adair returned to the clerk whose visage bore the marks of considerable nervousness.

“Ilhayl, my lords. I regret to inform ye there has been a theft.”

“What was riven?” Inquired Adair evenly.

“Thy coat, my comitem.”

Boyce laughed, “Broadly, fortune smiles.”

The clerk furrowed his brows, confused by Boyce’s levity and then advanced to Adair and gestured toward the entrance.

“Fear not. I sent Geoffery to fetch the accipiters; rest assured, the knave will know justice and be equitably recompensed.”

“Nys so serious, dear fellow. Marta gives and Marta takes. Such is life.”

“B-but-”

Aldwyn abruptly pulled Adair aside, chere severe.

“If summons should the accipiters heed, it were best we shifted; malgre our blamelessness.”

“Thou art minded of the wedding?”

“It could provoke scandal.”

“We’ve not haste enough to evade the possibility; they’ve already arrived.”

In from doors abroche, two men entered, darkly garbed in the dress of the Ministry of Inquisitions, followed by a slender, languid woman, similarly, if less fastidiously, dressed, who, unlike her companions, sported a mishappen, snub-brimmed cap, low-drawn about her visage. Her hair was dark and straight, falling to frame wide, sleepless eyes, which took in the whole of the hall before settling fixedly upon Adair.

“I’m Accipiter Demelody,” she replied curtly, without bowing, “Thou art Oeric Adair?”

“Aye.”

“Curious. Thou wert spotted an hour’s half-past in Rasten Yard, evading an attempt upon thy life.”

“What? Unverray. Query alle and some; swiftly shalt thou know I’ve abided in the hall the whole of that time.”

“That much is obvious, and yet not half the geste.”

Aldwyn cut in daintily, “Perchance our interrogation of this cas could commence in coyer quarters?”

“Sikerly.”

As the accipiters and nobles turned to leave, a elderly woman came half-dashing down the stairs, sorrily discombobulated.

“My hat, my hat. Someone has stolen my hat!”


Continued in §.06.

Reflections: Part II

What the Peter Tefft affair cemented in my mind was the indelible truth that “racist” had become the new and predominant racial slur (funnily enough) for “white” Americans, that is to say, Americans of European lineage. A highly ironic development that the term which was originally deployed (at least ostensibly) to denote a position of atavistic group aversion and denigration should now be utilized specifically for that very purpose. I’ve written on this topic fairly extensively. There is little left to be said. For all practical purposes “racist” now connotes the same meaning for whites as “nigger” did, and still occasionally does, for blacks. A slur. Nothing more. But even those who dispense with the word “racist” in it’s entirety realize that there are real attitudinal proclivities which fall under the aforementioned rubric that are neigh wholly negative. We might as well utilize “bigotry” for these attitudinal vectors and should also remark that the primary problem with “bigots” is not that they are “prejudiced,” that is to say, it is not primarily that they pre-judge someone or group of X race.

Pre-judgement (of both individuals and groups) is absolutely essential to social navigation and, in extreme scenarios, to one’s own/one’s groups survival. For instance, consider you are driving along a lonely road and you spy a man waving for you to pull over. Some scraggly hitchhiker. You see he has a axe and a wild-eyed look. Shirt collar and pants are speckled with blood. The stench of screams hangs about him like a cloud of mist. You inquire where from the blood came. He responds: “From the seven others I butchered,” before he leaps at you, ax arcing murderously towards car window. You speed off, dazed with fear. A months later, you are driving down the same road and spy another man waving you over; as you pull up to him you notice that he too is carrying a ax, has a wild look in his eyes and wears cloths speckled with blotches of dried blood.

What to do? It would be most unlikely for anyone, given their previous experience with the aforementioned madman, to open up their doors, saying, “Hop in partner! Where to?” Rather, it would behoove you to drive away without stopping. This would be a prime example of a reasonable pre-judgement – you do not know if the second hitch-hiker is a rabid killer like the first but given that their appearances and modes of comportment are similar enough to warrant caution why would you chance it? If you know poisonous snakes live within the bushes that occasionally shake, it is best to always jump aback when they do and not assume the wind was there mischievously at play.

Now, obviously, it is highly unlikely for two serial killers to appear and be active in a given area and both appear with the same utensil (ax) on the same road only a month apart from each other, but it isn’t impossible. More likely is that the second man was a butcher (which would account for the blood) who was out collecting firewood (which would account for the ax) who was frantic because he was poor and didn’t have money to get his car fixed and was also stranded far from home (which would account for his wild eyes). To pass up such a man because of his similarity to a real killer would be a unfortunate occurrence (since he would continue to be stranded) but it is far from unreasonable.

I observed such behavior on a fairly regular basis when I lived in Pittsburgh near Squirrel Hill. Despite it’s quaint name, Squirrel Hill and the slums which surrounded it were rather dangerous territory, drug gangs roamed the streets peddling narcotics underneath the auspices of the moon and violent crimes were frequently reported (at least whilst I lived there). Demographically speaking, the crimes were almost always committed by Hispanics and blacks and so I would often observe college students making way for a group of young American men of African extraction who were quite obviously putting on airs – wearing heavy chains, low-slung pants, dew rags, grills, outlandish and awkwardly placed tattoos whilst walking with exaggerated swagger, a inexperienced and Hollywood soused young man’s idea of a confident, powerful male moving through the world  – most people, especially the well-to-do students from the local colleges would walk off the sidewalk and cross the street so as to avoid them. Thus the “prejudice” was that the violent crimes in the area appeared to have been committed largely by the black, gang affiliated population – the kind of people who say “I’m from the streets!” with pride – and given that the men who were publicly, subtly avoided well matched the profile, it made sense to take more caution around them than any other segment of the immediate population, (I might here note that the majority of the saggy pant-wearing, be-dew-ragged individuals whom I ever met there were perfectly well adjusted normal individuals who were just as spooked about criminals as anyone else).

The over-sensitivity which western men and women have cultivated towards notions of “prejudice” is thus based upon a fundamental repudiation of reality mapping. Being against prejudice, in totality, is a facade, a game, wherein all the players understand the reality and thus value of pattern recognition, but who pretend they don’t so as not to disrupt the idyllic fantasy their peers have constructed in the heads of their neighbors and whom they, themselves, unwittingly perpetuate; those who can present the most convincing facade are the only winners whereas those who are most astute and honest in their observations of reality are penalized. This is in sharp contrast to what we might call “postjudice” that is post-judgement as opposed to the pre-judgement of “prejudice.”

Consider the hitch hiker scenario once more, only this time let us say that the second man who you spotted as you drove along the road was a familiar face, a neighbor named Bill who you’ve know for years. Let us say that you knew he was a butcher and woodsman and no killer. But let us also say that you still drove on anyways because the spectre of the actual killer loomed so large in your mind. In this passion-subsuming-reason scenario there is no pre-judgement since you already know Bill. There is only a misfiring of your instinctual, primal, lizard-brained urge to move, to jump, to flee.

The Opposition Identity of the Anti-Tribe [Broadcast]

Audio reading of the the article, The Opposition Identity of the Anti-Tribe (Click on the highlighted section of the article title to read the article in its entirety).

The reader did not wish for her identity to be publicized.

Towards Parallel Institutions

Truly dissident political movements in America have, for some time now, failed and failed horribly. The election of Donald Trump, under the auspices of Steven Bannon, has electrified the nation and brought back the kind of old fashioned nationalist populism that was commonplace during the agrarian reformation. However, the history of American nationalist populism is one of almost complete and utter failure. There are always exceptions, but a exception does not disprove a general rule, it therefore seems likely that the Trumpist populist movement will go the way of the Agrarian Radicalists of old – that is, nowhere. One of the reasons why this seems a likely outcome is the fact that what the modern American populist desires (if they even know what they truly desire, and they oft do not) is not antithetical to the prevailing power-structure but is merely a extension thereof. Like all nationalists worthy of being called as such, the Trumpist populist desires to put “America First”  – a undeniably worthy aim, if only they knew what America happens to be. America, like any other nation, is an idea and like all ideas, it changes overtime and it changes in accordance with the whims of its public. The more the demographics of the country change, the more the conception of what it means to be American. The people ultimately make the laws and the codes, not the other way around and yet America has become so globally expansive, so consumeristically self-absorbed, so capitalistically dogmatic and so confoundingly multicultural, that a clear and present identity of national scale is almost impossible to find. If it cannot be found it must therefore be crafted. By this I do not mean that some kind of inorganic idea-set should be cynically developed and subversively disseminated, no, what I mean is that when one comes to know oneself one’s fellows come to realize how very little they themselves understand their social placing – realizing, in horror, that there is not, nor will ever be, within the system, any place for them, no residency for true communal participation – for such a thing is a construction of the past; they are merely cogs who turn not for any greater purpose than the total sublimation of any and all identities underneath the self-replicating, iron-monolith of capital and politics for its own sake.

Understandably, such individuals, upon becoming cognizant of the horrid reality of their situation desire to extricate themselves from the internet of things. Exit. But they can’t. A father with a wife and kids can not simply pack up and quit his soul-crushing, dead-end job, punching stamps under eye-bleating florescent tubes, no more than a college student can just leave the filthy, condom strew, multi-culty coastal slum without severe repercussions to their prospective “livelihood,” communal circle (if they even have one) and societal standing and, in some cases, their very lives.

An abrupt exit is neither possible nor, typically, truly desirable. Yet something, anything, must clearly be done. Some modicum of action must take place. I thus posit parallel institutionalism. Rather than revolt or subversion one should opt instead for complete and total separation from the prevailing, modernistic machine, from the number crunching and the jittery cataloging of bio-hum suppression. Ideally this would not be a separation of territory but rather a separation of resources. That is to say, one must build towards economies within The Economy. Markets within The Market. A clustered, well structured network of communities which each operate with semi-autonomy, yet cede some portion of their total resources, both financial, physical, mental and otherwise, to the central organizing body or bodies to better bring other prospective cells into the whole body of this grand new organism.

Therefore, if you’re tired of Hollywood propaganda, stop paying for their movies, stop buying their merch. Instead, seek out independent film producers that are devoid of the needling propaganda, who adhere to an ethic of artistic integrity. If you don’t like the plasticine food at your local grocer or the fact that they are shipping jobs overseas or undercutting residential works by utilizing foreign labor, both legal and illegal, then find a small grocer or order from one or start your own or help someone else start their own. This same principal applies to every single sphere of society – if someone is saying something you don’t like, something that you truly cannot abide to listen to, you don’t walk up and punch him in the face, nor do you attempt to de-platform them (least not if you are a civilized individual), you merely walk away and set up a countervailing speech platform elsewhere. So too should those who have no use for, and no prospect of placing within, the current social ordering, set up shop – but not elsewhere – but rather in the beating heart of darkness itself; their congregation growing from dull, dawdling pinpricks of light to soaring spears of solar effervescence that, in goodly time, shall envelope the world entire.

The Opposition Identity of the Anti-Tribe

I’ve long been skeptical of the negation crew, the “anti” crowd, those individuals or groups who when asked who they are and what they stand for reply, “I am against X!” There are the “skeptics” who are wholly against all and any religions; the SJWs who are wholly against anything that they perceive as masculine, aggressive, racist or sexist; there are the puritanical religious – the deniers of the body – who gasp and flail at the faintest stirring of erotic passion; then there are the “new ageists” who are perhaps the epitome of the skeptic foil, those who languish in a jellied slush of “mystical” half-measures, neither a creature of faith nor truly one of hard verticality. There are also the anti-statist who, like Rousseau, seek to see man placed outside the grasp of “The Tyrants,” who pervert his very nature by their iron programs and thus stymie his ability to live in the rightful state of peace and freedom. Then there is the ironycel, who wages total war on forthright meaning and serious (“I was just joking – don’t take everything so seriously, bro…”) and also the hedonist who stands in total opposition to any and all impulse restraint. The list could go on and on; reams upon reams, enough to fill up the center of the earth, with enough left over to blot out the sun.

It is not for our purposes to trace the origins nor map the structures of any of the aforementioned groups – rather it is to remark upon the one thing they all share – they are all, without exception, defined either largely or entirely by what they oppose. Theirs is a identity of opposition. They are reactive, rather than proactive. Defined by circumstance rather than defining it. For stable construction, in any serious political sense, such tribes can offer one nothing, for they have nothing but derisive jeers – hardly the solid stuff one should be seeking. They have not the glue to hold a body politic together for they do not themselves know who they are nor what they stand for all that they know is that they are not what they oppose. They are NOT X, but not necessarily Y or Z.

What defines a body politic is its identity, this also drives such entities to oppose others; that is to say, when tribe X’s culture (the manifestation of their identity) finds itself incongruent with tribe Y, it behooves tribe Y to push back against it and make X conform (at least to some more desirable degree) to their outward expression of collective self. Failing this, there can be naught but war. But the anti-collective – the group who knows not who they are, nor what they stand for, nor where they are going – can not take the path of reprisal for they can not form a coherent political body (and even if they could they could only keep it so long as “the other” whom they opposed remained a active and present force, whether actually or mythically). The ephemeral formalism of the anti-tribes, useful for short-span guerrilla combat of the mind, is wholly useless for times of peace (and there should be little distinction made between peace from real-world combat and combat of a more ideological persuasion) as they do not have internal structure to their various, tangentially related collectives (often they have no reason for being a collective at all once their “threat,” their pet-problem, is removed). Due to the fact that the anti-tribes persist only so that X,Y & Z shall not, when another problem arises that is falls not within the purview of their own problem-set, they are like to ignore it or sublimate themselves to it (the case of the modern American Christian who constantly wails about Muslim “invaders,” but shows little to no concern about Zionist radicals destabilizing his nation).

It is, for all these aforementioned reasons, pertinent for those who are seeking a more stable ordering to things to treat the anti-tribes with the greatest of caution. For, as the old adage goes, it takes but one rotten apple to ruin the entire barrel.

Tomb of the Father: Chapter One, Traveler On The Moor

The sky was dark as the carapace of the beetles which scurried hither and thither beneath the flinty, scattered boughs of the gnarled and dying trees as the man moved over the khaki hillocks of the endless moor, the traveling lamp unshuttered the world in its eastward descent unto oblivion as if following the lonely soul in his argent passage. Wind-chaffed and weary, that solitary figure trudged over a low slope and descended liken to the effulgent sphere above him as a scattering of sheep ran zig-zag about him, fleeing off down the incline to congregate about the fires of some aged vaquero. The cowherd bivouacked in a stony vale, buttressed all about by a high semi-circle of tors that girded he and his odd-baying wards from the buffets of the world. To the left of a fire-pit which had been hastily constructed and ringed about with the scarce, ashen sediment of the moor stood a diminutive palfrey, outfitted with naught but a loosely strapped saddle-cloth and whisp’d reigns of hair.

The stranger looked on a while and then adjusted his leather belt and heavy pack, his shoulder o’er thrown and looked to the storm-wall building up in the far-flung distance and then back again and made haste to the camp seeking harbourage from the ravishment encroaching.

Small flickering tongues of flame hacked away the shade from the rocky outcropping and illuminated the face of the beasts and men alike and for a brief spheres-turning all was silent save for crackling stutter of burning wood and the muted shuffling of the graze-beasts upon the heath.

The vaquero looked the stranger up and down and then bade him to the warmth of his shelter, the invitation, readily accepted.

“What queer business brings such as thee to this long-forsaken vale?”

The stranger set himself down beside the fire and warmed his aching bones and then turned to his benefactor with a countenance both dire and faraway, as if he were intensely enveloped in the contemplation of something from a time long past or yet still to come.

“No business but chance. I make pilgrimage to Caer Tor, but upon my way my horse didst fall; eaten by ague. So, with a heavy heart, I put sword to spine and ended the sorry beast’s suffering and continued on my way afoot; this barren waste the last obstacle o’er which I must leap to reach my kinsmen’s warm embrace, they unprimed of my arrival.”

The cowherd nodded as if sense had been made of the thing and some semblance of trust both established and reciprocated.

“Thou mayst call me, Ealdwine.”

As the stranger took the old man’s hand and shook it firmly he spoke with something liken to shame frittering about his dulcet tones.

“Gunvald Wegferend.”

“Curious name that, such that it sounds not of this thede, nor any other.”

“That alone is a story in the retelling.”

“The isolation of the moor doth unfix the tongue from its rightful wagging – but worry not, I shan’t pry. Thy business is thy own and thine own to keep.”

“I mind not, old man, but would thank thee for the comfort of thy wild-twinkling foyer, the effulgence of the firmament, for all its dazzling brightness did little to gird me from frost’s fell grasp. Hark! Hear ye that sound?”

The old man half turned upon the old log on which he sat, cocking an ear in the direction of the wide, outer dark. Then he shook his hoary head and returned his attention to the wayfarer.

“Nay, I hear nothing.”

Ealdwine leaned closer to the stranger, his grizzled visage demon-like in the interplay of dark and flame.

“There are always noises upon the heath. Sounding with great regularity, not all tricks of a frightened mind at that. There are skinks, efts, wild dogs and shrews and grouse and geese, adders and crickets aplenty. Oftimes the big-horned rams from the far mountains loose themselves from that stony prison and, wayward, wander in quizzical vexation about this lonely place. Wild hearts beating with the echoing confusion the land sings aplenty. Upon such happenings, I see them stray into the marsh which stretches like a great and black-blooded gash across the earth at the far southern end of the moor, like a wound from some titian’s own brand. If so they stray, they will invariably fall prey to the silent monster with maw eternal-arced and hunger endless and strain against the bog-hold, crying out, strangely human, into the fire-pitted welkin where nary an ear but mine can hear tell of their sorry plight. At last their rangy heads and heaving flanks will vanish beneath the sinkhole and with that disappearance so to do their cries subside and all is at once, silent and severe.”

Gunvald, sensing the old herder sought his fear, crossed his thick and iron banded arms about his cuirassed chest and raised a brow.

“Canst thou not aid the poorly beasts?”

“Fools errand that twould be, none but a scion of God could navigate that blasted place with sureness of foot. The first false step means death, to man or beast. For there is naught living that can escape that fetid pit when once it has thee in its soggy grip.”

“Tis a fine thing then that I am no horny ram.”

“You should not make light of such turnings, for there is a ordering to things beyond our comprehension and a truth it seems to me that those who scoff at the plight of that whom The Creator hath deigned to snatch away laugh also at Him, for is not such cessation but part and parcel of his plan? What greater sacrilege could there but to scoff at the very pathing of the world. So take heed, traveler, thy laugh at thy own peril for thy laugh unto the very face of God.”

Gunvald furrowed his brows and then adjusted his belted scabbard such to bend better towards the heat and there a moment refreshed himself and then straightened and addressed the old man.

“Thy words well become a man of your occupation. Tis rightful that men of the earth should, with their deeds as with their tongue, extol it.”

“Yes. But ye yet say naught pertaining to the truth of it.”

“It is not for men of my station to interpret such eldritch things. I’ve not the brain for it and, lacking the intelligence, lack also the words. My voice is in my sword for redder conversations than this.”

“A soldier then?”

“Aye. Hark. Again I hear it.”

Before the old man could speak three vast shadows subsumed the rocky outcropping and footed there, three men, feral eyed and brigandined. There was between them several swords and daggers, all of which reflected like ghostly fires neath the cool sheen of the shrouded, waning moon.

The cowherd and his compatriot rose with suddenness, Gunvald’s hand flying instinctively to the leather-bound pommel of his gilded blade, gifted him by his father, late. He drew the blade in the same instant and stepped forth with a fencer’s feline grace, eyes steady as poise, emotion cold as the brand which glinted orange with the low-crackling fire.

“Who goes?”

“Put that away afore ye hurt yeself,” a pudgy member of that ratty trio mouthed with a wide, sinister grin.

Another, the shortest and ugliest member of that threesome, a hunchback, swiped the air with his weapon, a cudgel as loathsome as the visage of its wielder, which caused the sheep to bah-bah and retreat civilly to the very edges of the high, stone cliffs.

“Looks as if we’ve a froggy one! I’ll take him myself and to our master bring his head!”

“Silent and still be the both of you,” Thundered the tallest member of that sordid corp, a man some thirty years of age, angular of face and form, he wielding a grain scythe in his leather-strapped hands.

Gunvald knew not the providence of such beings but their intention was plainly writ; the Narrow War had made many such fell creations, the ungainly trio being but lesser manifestations of the insurrections twisted deviance. Their movements furtive. Eyes more beast than man.

“You must excuse my friends, tisn’t oft we chance upon such ill-girded company.”

Gunvald smiled fractionally.

“So you think.”

“So I know.”

“Try me then, brigand, and may Marta bless the better man.”

Malefactorous, the night-stalker advanced hesitantly across the muddy ground, well-slicked with welkin-mourn, farm scythe held awkwardly before him, as if it were some mighty polearm. All the while the thief drew forth Gunvald moved nary an inch, his eyes and bones and blade fractions of a singular whole, still as the stone surrounding. At the last, as the dread-scythe arced through the air with a furious humming, the soldier tore himself from his rooted shade and feinted the blow with the mid-side of his great-brand and delivered a sunderous riposte that severed the brigand’s arm from its socket.

A faint mist of red fluttered through the air like tiny moths from some otherworld of dreams and portents and landed upon the ground as the gory limb flopped down beside them like a huge and malformed fish. A startling howl tore from the rouges’ throat, as if it were his soul that had been rent from the body rather than a mere arm, the sound resounding throughout the high towering outcroppings and fading up into the night as if suffering were drawn unto the dark.

The flock bah-bah-ed nervously and stomped their hooves as their Shepard starred on, wide-eyed but resolved.

Gunvald turned to the remaining cretins who paused a moment, looking to the triumphal warrior, clad in moon-glint mail, then to the leaking appendage that still clutched the scythe and then to the man to which the arm used to belong, some seven feet away, flat on his back, writhing like a punctured horseshoe crab, his agony so great that nothing now but muted moans escaped his wide spaced maw, lips flexing like roiling bait-worms fresh off some fisherman’s hook.

With a startled cry the felonious duo turned tail and fled off into the night, their lanky shadows odd-angling under the skies auspicious glow, shortly thereafter wholly swallowed up into the hazy outer null. Gunvald made to swiftly follow but was held aback by the vaqueros cry, “No! They fly to the marshlands. Heed my words: Let them fly, no man can traverse such cursed terrain under the pall of night!”

Gunvald nodded and watched them fade off into the wide sea of black and then exhaled heavily, as the old man looked mournfully towards the dying thief.

Then all was sheep-call and bird-caw and fire-hiss and the hideous bleating of a lost and dying soul.

At length, Gunvald turned to his fallen foe who instantly began, once more, to shriek unto the vaulted sphere of night. His eyes bugging into enormous disks, strange-lit by the dancing flames of the softly crackling fire. Just as swiftly the man’s howling was silenced by the point of Gunvald’s blade piecing his armor and heart, there pinning him to the ground as he wriggled like some great and misshapen insect. Then his eyes rolled up in his head and a final gasp of breath escaped his mouth, issuing high up into the moist and roiling air. Then nothing but the clacking of hooves and the whistling of clay-scented wind, raving out over the great and scoured ambit of the rain-washed plane.

At length Gunvald, put his boot to the silent brigand’s chest and pulled free his bloody brand and then bent to the dead man and from his head cut a thick and charcoal lock of hair. He moved from the site of execution to the firepit and knelt before the red, closing his eyes and uttering a strange mantra unto the dancing embers, as if they’d ears to hear it.

What has gone, is what is come.

And from my hands, I give to yours.

That which is rightfully owed.

His life to your light, now and forever unending.

Give us both your pardon.

Let him keep his rest.

May your light engulf the world and every other.

When the soldier had finished his prayer and tossed the lock of hair into the fire and watched it burn with keen intensity, as if revelations would speak in shocking tongues from beneath those puffs of thin, gray smoke. When they did not he rose from the ground and set himself down upon one of the flat stones which the vaquero had hauled to the pit to keep himself well clear of the ground as he warmed his old bones. The vaquero looked to the knight a moment, then the fire, then the knight and spoke, his voice uneven, afeared.

“The hunchback mentioned they’re master.”

Gunvald nodded vaguely and gestured towards the old man for something to drink for which he was rewarded with a flask of sour, salty rice-wine. The soldier grimaced but downed it all the same, feeling a hot sensation in the pit of his stomach. He leaned over the flames, cradling the flask between his heaved gloved hands and addressed the cattle-herder with deadpan seriousness.

“Likely to me it seems that such those that fled were but part of some larger band. Raiders. From the hillands. Long have they warred with Tor. The nature of the conflict lost to the annals of history and the sands of time. T’would be unwise of thee to tarry.”

“Aye, they were at that. Though lonesome it may appear to thee, across the bogland there is green grass than this. It is there I’d graze my woolly friends were there space to do it. Alas, the land is owned and off I’d be run in not half a minute. Greedy land owners to the south and bloody thirsty raiders to the north, such is my plight, traveler, so much as it might behoove me to pack up and flee, I’ve no where to go.”

The vaquero fell silent a good long while, his eyes cast to the flames, as Gunvald took the information in solemnly and stroked his burgeoning beard as if in meditation. When at last the old man raised his face from the fire there was great sadness in his eyes.

“Ye didn’t have to kill him.”

Gunvald paused a moment and then met his elder’s gaze with dark amusement shinning in his steely eyes.

“So even thee questions the order of the world. Thee, thyself said it twas paramount to a question of the very nature of God. Is this your project, vaquero?”

The old man, shocked by his own hypocrisy, fell silent and did not respond. The soldier continued on, heedless.

“Of course it is, what else could it be. It is the project of any and all sane and questioning men. It was this very project that led me to reject The Eternal Being, for such a presence, he who is eternal, all powerful and everywhere at all times and places is said to lack in nothing – a fatal error, he lacks in one thing and one thing alone, limitation. As such there is none to bear witness to He, none to say that He is this and they are that. A being beyond witnessing is thus a being beyond our ken.”

“A warrior-poet. How singular. Yet you keep to Lady Marta?”

“The Prayer of the Dead you mean? Something my mother taught me – an old habit. Nothing more. Nothing more.”

With that silence fell once more over the stony outcropping as a chill wind swept in from the norther mountains, bringing in its wake a dreadful downpour that washed the blood from the body of the arm-less brigand and carried it out and down the trough of the encampment to puddle in the sodden moor. In that fetid broths reflection were the wings of a dozen crows who cawed madly and scrapped the sky with their metallic talons and torn off in wide wheeling circulations through the closing storm-wall as thunder and lightening fell upon the plain and redressed the world in the garments of the mad.

Their cries were like lamentations.

For the dead. The dying.

And all those still to die.


Sample from my forthcoming novel, Tomb of the Father, provided for the purposes of critique and commentary.