The Mire

The ruddy mire impressed itself upon the mind of the man as a great and reeking carcass. He stood over the bracken and the quitch, smoking languidly, the fetid smell of the swamp ranging over his senses like a titanic and pestilential wave. The sun was robed in thick and swirling clouds above which girded the infernal moor from whence it’s dazzling light was shrouded and all about below the buzzing of insects, their wings whipping through the air like needles on the brain. The man walked aways up what little land was afforded to him, the rest of the reach lost to sunken and muddy clay, covered over with pools of roiling sludge wherein the larvae of mosquitoes squirmed in hideous pirouettes. Massive snakes coiled about the reedy marsh here and there, moving with a soundless slithering and the wind was scarce and whence it came the stench of carrion followed with it. The man took a long drag of the cigarette and turned his keen green eyes to the south of the fen where the mountains obscured the passage to the hillocks of the outerlands and then east, to the misty forests, ranging up over the mire like the bristles of some great and feral boar, and then to the west, to the high-champaign, dotted over with rune-stones and mist and a curious scattering of skulls, man and animal alike, and then at the last to the north, to the long and winding and narrow pass which let out some miles up unto an elevated thoroughfare, scare-worn by the soles of those brave or mad enough to make passage to the town what lay beyond.

Somewhere off in the distance a howl broke the chthonic din, cascading off the sloping moorish hills and raising up the hairs of the traveler’s spine. His fear of the place was matched only by his loathing. It was all so very ugly. It were as it some humongous being beyond all reckoning had fallen victim to calamity arcane and the multitudinous swarms of all the earth had there found succor in the intestines and the blood of it’s gutted and expiring frame. Peering through the fern arrayed about his tattered chassis the traveler spied a dim light not far off; curiosity primed, he trammeled across the bog towards it, taking care in the placement of his mud-stained boots. The wind swept up with great agitation, throwing his cloak all to spasm. Half a mile he struggled against the peat and the savage increase of the gale and found a hollowed cairn in the middle of the mire in which lay a crackling fire and beside it, a strange and shriveled man, all wreathed in cloth; his visage, where not obscured by dressing, was riddled with pock-marks of the ague. The cachexic man waxed rale in address.

“What apparition is this that deigns to greet me upon this blessed demense?”

“No apparition, sir. I swan, but a traveler. By Miras am I known. A mechanist of Tor to the barton of Morrow come; but err’d in jaunt some ways aback and here find right castigation by this sloughy heath. Thy face, withered and wrapped withal, is most heartening, for I’ve crossbeamed this accursed fen for nearly a fortnight and passed neither man nor beast, save for insect, snake and the occasional, hapless ram.”

The traveler gestured behind him at the marshen expanse with great agitation as the cachexic man took in his measure with eyes that danced with the reflection of the open flame.

“Thy fortunes are most unhappy; Marta frowns upon you surely! To recompense, I greet thee warmly, Miras the Wayward. I am Glaedwine of Kwizling. But enough – seat thyself and rub thy weary joints about the fire. I’ve little to spare but some rain-catch, if it should please thee.”

Miras looked to a small, overturned tortoise shell which sat beside the sickly man and held up his hand in dismissal and then did as he was bade, seating himself upon a squarish stone adjacent the firekeeper who sat upon a similarly irregular rock, hands upon his knees and a smile upon his wild-bearded face. After a pace, Miras looked over the man keenly, then inquiring, “Wherefore the bandages?”

The bandaged man paused and fell into a fit. He coughed and covered his mouth with a sleeve and coughed and blood trickled red unto the fabric and coughed and spit blood and bile into the fire.

“Egad man, what malady chafes thee?”

“No illness,” the man replied upon recovering from his spasm, “but a gift. A gift from Our Dear Lady.”

“What sir? You speak in riddles.”

“Our Lady Marta. Bright-Mother. The Reaper of Woe. The Balancer of the Scales. Keep ye not the faith, wayfarer?”

Miras regarded the strange and tatterdemalion man with a visage deeply affected by both puzzlement and grave concern.

“You’re not well. To my ears there is water about the lungs. Pneumonia, perchance. It were best thee enjoin this place and make passage with me to Morrow. Before our leave-taking I could gift thee with a vial that should put the humors aright.”

“Eck! I’ll none of that sorcery. It were Marta’s will that I am as I am and so I shall be. All else is blasphemy.”

“How is it you have come to knowledge of the ineffable?”

The cachexic man turned a page in his little book and spoke with reverence.

“’Thee shall know ME by prayer in the wastes beyond the machinations of MAN. Get ye hence to solitude and study, to silence and mindfulness in the realms beyond the horse and hammer, in the demesne beyond the quill and hall, in the warrens and the lion dens, in the marsh and the mire, in the desert and the sightless wood; there shall you find ME.’ Corpus Callosum, Book I, Verse V. Her words are scrawled by mortal hands, by Callosum the Wise and Athelwyn the Stoic; so great was her love that she deigned to reveal herself to miserable creatures such as us. Her voice a soothing balm upon our listless suffering. Even her disease is a blessing, for the suffering of the flesh is nothing to the bliss of her eternal embrace; I meditated long upon the end, knowing soon that erelong I should die of this affliction, seeking to rectify my pitiful state with the love of Our Dearest Lady. But then it dawned upon my foggy brain, that all is a part of her plan; she seeks the peaceful emancipation of all, yet, long as one lives, long as one is bound to the mortal coil there can be no peace, there can be no true reprieve from suffering; not of just the flesh, but of the soul; this, in her infinite wisdom, Our Lady well knows. To correct the error of our lives she must first end them, only then can we be truly free.”

The wayfarer stroked his smooth and stubbly chin and spoke with his eyes fixed upon the wretched specimen before him.

“I mean no offense but that strikes me a philosophy most cowardly. To flee the buffets of the world into some other, why what upright man should hold himself to such lowly standards of valor? Thy philosophy is one of incontinence! A valorious man should stand proudly, proclaiming his defiance to the yawning chasm that seeks his end from the very beginning. He should defy the limitations of all the world surrounding, the better to bend it to his will. Such a desire would be, for the valorious man, born, not out of selfishness alone, but out of his grave concern for his people, his clan, his lover, the fruit of their loins and all their line stretching out and beyond the horizon of conception.”

The ralic man’s eyes widened and he rose quick as his affliction would allow, the whole of his form tense with agitation.

“You profane this sacred cairn. Get thee gone.”

Shortly after he had finished speaking the sickly man began coughing once more and doubled over, falling to a knee and bracing himself upon the squarish stone upon which he had previously sat. Miras started, his face filled with grim concern.

“Calm yourself, stress will do nothing but further exacerbate the illness.”

“Silence thy wretched tongue, heretic! Begone! Begone!”

“Thy fever worsens; erelong to fall. Thy disease is familiar to me and easy would it be to concoct a potion to cure it, if thee would but see it done.”

“I’ll none of thy magicks, sorcerer!”

With great abruptness the man, snarling, lunged fiercely at Miras who sidestepped the crazed hermit and backed out of the cairn, prescient of the infection’s contamination. Miras, after having escaped into the mire, turned full about, furrowing his brow, and issued forth a dire condemnation, his voice cold as the chill air surrounding.

“Fool. May thy accursed cairn collapse upon thee!”

Without another word the wayfarer spun upon his heel and left the mad zealot and the noisome sludge of the mire.

He paused upon a low hillock that let out to the grasslands and then looked back and down upon the cursed place from which he had left and vowed that one day he would return and drain the damnable bog, raze the forests and shutter the stars from the very sky with the smoke-stacks of a dozen factories or more.

“This place, so malformed that it distorts and poisons the body as much as the mind! Think you to take my mind like as to the abstemious, o’ heinous mire? Tis not yours for the taking! Only mine for the giving-away! But your tangled branches, your reeds and sludge, your insect-laden wastes and bone filigreed bracken; I shall snatch all away! No further minds shall you terrorize whence you’re trammeled over by a hundred-thousand cobblestones! Hear me, you rotted skein? I, Miras Vlotho, shall unmake you in my image!”

Cradle The Fire

All subjective ontological regressions terminate in the abyss of unknowing, into the great void beyond all ken, into the “and then what?” The et ferro here asserts himself, realizing this, he works towards making of himself a glorious pyre which will burn up the amniotic null. Out of darkness, light and out of light, darkness. Darkness fostered by his own hand for the safeguarding of his prizes. The et ferro is preeminently a creature of shade, a acolyte of Apophis – the world-encircler, o’er thrown by the father of Shu and Tefnut. He lies beneath unknowing, seeking to excavate from it the treasures waiting beyond the facility of all limits of perception. -Introduction, First Precepts of the Et Ferro.

A man dies many deaths. The death of the body and then the death of his line and finally, the death of his legacy, the death of his memory, this, the final annihilation. It is dreams which act as the steely bulwark against all such dissolution, whereby the forward-looking man, the man of the morrow, the et ferro, boldly proclaims his defiance of disintegration. He wills to be and from that willing, all other vectors open up before him, gates to which, in goodly time, he might, as yet, fashion a key. What is important is that he affirms those dreams of engagement with the world and ensure they supplant all dreams of escape, for he knows that there is, as yet, nowhere to flee. Our fleeing space must be constructed when the seeding time comes; til then we echo for those still waiting. From dream to deeds he echoes through time, the reverberations of his reshaping of the world far out-pacing his mortal expiration. He moves against entropy, even as it sustains him. “Mad,” you might say, but not nearly mad enough for those of us who behold the end of things in their fullest conceptualization, for those of us who are able to cleave aside the insane shackles of optimism and pessimism alike; blinders all! It is not enough to merely wish that such-and-such were of a certain way without a proper knowing. Those who stumble along such a road have chosen a trepidacious path, for it is, after all, the same as every other, they – those mangy sentimentalists and utopians – have merely folded the wool of their selfsame and mushy brains over their eyes all the better to blot out the pitted spines of the jagged abyss yawning before them like a great and terrible maw. They believe that if they are to fall it were better that they did not see into where! Comfort here is a pathetic balm when the spines, the teeth of that all-consuming mouth, will pierce and tear the flesh and bone all the same and finally swallow one up to the last.

It is from such a recognition that we ought to recognize that existential acrobatics of dancing-about-the-void are both futile and head-thrashingly annoying. No one has the feet for it, for we’ve yet to cultivate the agility. Machines for future times! The inability to acknowledge this fact, a most tiresome routine. All this babbling about “purpose” and “meaning” codified into the stones and trees and movements of celestial bodies or apparent in the general trajectory of history itself. How anthropomorphization drags the mind through the shabby rubble; those battered souls who’ve undergone its ravishment seem to have naught left in their skulls but jellied slime! What is more deplorable is that such is not the case; how many intelligent bodies malformed, how many sterling minds perverted, by this unfalsifiable and seemingly irresistible inclination towards agency-imposition, of Fate!

Those who are yet to come must sheer themselves of all of it. Away with your fickle cries of “predestination.” Away with your shuttering moans of “nihilism.” Away with all pathetic whining of “ultimate purpose” or its lack thereof! Near we draw to nothing of the sort, lest the poison should sully our pristine memory palace, shattering the lovely urns and portraits from the walls with a mindless reptilian fury. They shall not pass our defenses, our palace is too high, our moat, too deep; girded by caltrops and trenches and arrows, valiantly slung from bold and stalwart towers! We call forth a cannonade! Shoot them down, shoot them down! Back, you invaders! Back into the mud and the muck, back into the jellied slime from whence you slither! This shall be our cry. Melodramatic you say? Good. All the better! For it will not be by staid argumentation that we should, as of one body, rise above the murky undercurrents of the populace at large but by dramatic excitation. Nor is it by argumentation that we should convince them; and why should we? Before we convince anyone of anything, we should ask, “Are they worthy of the gesture?” and “are we worthy of asking?!” A baying mob is ever unimpressed by formal logic, preferring instead, the escapism of spectacle, as the Romans well realized. Failing it, the demand for libation will invariably deteriorate into catalytic howls, thirsting antecedents of a wild and grotesque bloodletting; the emergence of the lower brain. No, don’t call us “snobs” we are no such things, “elitists,” yes, but “snob,” why we should resent that deeply! A elitist is not one who, at the first, places himself or herself, as a member of the elite, but one who merely recognizes that those who are of superior attribution should be harried to the front of all that there concerns them. The gaudy flame of our creativity cannot but falter under the auspices of the indolent and insane. Thus, why should we then pass to the great and seething mass the torch or set them about crafting another? That would be foolishness supreme. They’ve not the wits for it. But neither do our “intellectuals” who scribble in their ivory towers endless tracts of faux indignation and righteous proscriptions! Truly, the new theocrats; only theirs – unlike the musty and ascetic religions of old – is a faith of imminent promise and all the more alluring for it. Here and now the paradise! they proclaim, with wild gestures and charts of sorry correlation. But we shall not be seduced, we’ve heard the tale of Odysseus and know well enough all their proclamations of idle splendor amounts to nothing more than slavery. Indeed, the academic is far sorrier than the rabble, for at least the rabble, from which we draw many of our number, has loyalty and that gentler sense of empathic dignity borne neath the dusty sun of shared tribulations and muscle-rending labor; at least they have a pride of their kith and kin and all their precedents. Drawn up in their cloister, the hermetic pendant cares only for his status, his paycheck and the security it brings.

Away with all of that! We will not be monks, absenting the world, nor the baying crowd which mindlessly engages it; we will instead move as eagles, dashing through the thermals, effulgent in the golden gale, ducking in and out of the mundane broil with a flaring of feathers to pluck the snails from the briny swallows. When we split, with our gilded talons, those spiraled shells open, a blazing fire there we shall kindle. Once spied we shall raise up our voices as one and send forth a message to all the world:

Let no hissing downpour abate the flame of your ceaseless fervor, bright men of the morrow! Like Prometheus, we bring that good and radiant stuff which cleaves the tenebrous smog from Fate’s great loom. In goodly time we shall burn even that to the ground, scatter its remnants to the four winds and construct our own in its stead!