The Man Who Pierced the Sky [chapter three]

King’s Sword, Shadow’s Hands

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A great deal of our lives was dominated by war. War which enslaved us many times and freed us now and then. We’d always wake up in fear and go back to sleep with the same fear in our hearts. There were times of terror, times when we carried our worst nightmares with us. We’ve seen losses… immense losses for centuries now. We’ve had brothers, sisters, families that were wiped out by time. We had to leave them behind. There was no salvation for them whatsoever. We had to move on. Like we always do. Battlefields and then home – this was our “lifestyle”. And when you’ve died so many times, death seems like a joke to you. A bad joke, mostly. We departed from everyone we loved. Except…us. In our dreams or in our realities we were always together. Bonded until the very end of time. No matter how violent death was, we would always find our way back to the other. In various forms, various places. You would always say to me “How can we win the war? The day when we stop the war remember those you have slaughtered. The sea would wash me away. If I die you shall remain. Don’t, don’t fear the war. For me is nothing to hold. The day when we stop the war. Remember those you have slaughtered. The sea, will wash me away If I die, then you shall remain.”  But I never remained. I have always followed you in death, as you have followed me in mine. And you would always gently scold me for that, but you knew this was meant to be for us. No life without the other.

But there were also times of peace, times of serenity. Times in which we were the truest of our own selves. Those that you call the Dark Ages, those were the times of our glory, of our light, of our love. Times when our lives flourished… times that still haunt my dreams as I constantly try to relive them day after day. There was blood, there were diseases, even in times without war… but there was also life. Humanity. They would bow the heads at our passing in recognizance of our royalty. We preserved our noble souls no matter the circumstances… You were my king and I, the shadow hands holding your sword in battles and caressing you in times of peace.

And we would feast and we would dance alongside with them… knowing how hard it must have been for them to know that they were alive for such a short period of time… 50 years… 70, if they were lucky, which at that time was very rare. The passion that they emerged with in the presence of their lovers at balls or fairs. The ceaseless fire in their souls… so fragile, so strong. The way they lost lovers… it must have been devastating for them. I, too, felt but a small part of their despair every time I lost you in battle, my love. But I was comforted at the thought that I would see you again in a matter of cycles. And no Gods could ever separate us for we were of the same matter. But for them… for them it must have been appalling.

I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me. You always knew me. Always found me behind any skin. We’ve always kept “low-profile”. We had our corner in the troubled world in which we were us, and places in which we were them. Oh… such a great burden it is when you know so much more… when you get tired of living… Endlessly. So we tried to borrow their joy. Their passion. Their youth. There were mornings with rain when we would take our horses and ride through the forest… through the storm. Times when we lived in the East. We would laugh at the sky as it shot it’s lightning at us. “Odin!”

The Gods were pleased with us.  We didn’t seek power, we didn’t get involved in politics, though our royalty has always placed us in the highest positions on the hierarchy. We lived for the other. We lived for us.  We were beautiful, we were unstoppable. We would always go to war together, betting our lives on it. We’ve seen Troy burn, Atlantis rise and vanish, empires become anew or getting assimilated. But we always cared for people, no matter their origins. We, sometimes, met some like us… some damned souls. Some we got along with, some we didn’t… and those we didn’t were eliminated with time. We are a force that cannot be stopped, not by man, not by sword, not by magic.

“Do not move, do not go. Sink within this moment. Hold it for forever.”

Time was nothing but a measurement for us. We feasted on the Mediterranean, fought in Namib, gazed at the starry skies of Egypt while we were rulers, made love in Gamla Uppsala, drunk and hunt in Rome, dove in the Faroes, wandered through the streets of Bruxelle and Berlin in Europe… but we never got to live our senescence years. It seems that life didn’t had that on board for us.  But we paid no mind. Life after life passed before us… and now we are so old we can barely remember our first life. But we do. And as long as we will, we will always find our way back to the other.

And now, my love, as you stand in front of me and look at me, do you still know that you are mine as I am yours?

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The man who pierced the sky [chapter two]

Lord of War

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9th June 1607

My Lord, I have failed you in battle. Our cities lay in ashes. Our people scorched. In my most desperate attempt to save your immortal soul I have failed to purge a thousand more. The plague is upon them. Death is written on their doorways.

It will rain all this night and we will sleep transfixed by the dark water as our blood runs through our fragile life. You are not conscious, you’re far away in some kind of amnesia, lost into yourself. And this is why I must guard you with the price of my own blood. I have paid in blood anyway … the blood of our people.

What animal have I become? I am half agony, half hope.

You tried to change, didn’t you? Closed your mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake…You can’t make homes out of human beings. Someone should have already told you that.

In seven holy hells a golden chest lies wrapped in waters turbulent and dark, and all the devils dance while the reapers reap.  So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.  Fiery colors were painting the sky and the earth in endless waves… but they became darker… and you know why? The more you throw black into a color, the more dreamy it gets…Black has depth. It’s like a little egress, you can go into it, and because it keeps continuing to be dark, the mind kicks in, and a lot of things that are going on there become manifest. And you start seeing what you’re afraid of. You start seeing what you love and it becomes like a dream…  The dream of a shadow and the shadow of a dream.

…but the rain is full of ghosts tonight.

My beloved, do you stand in need of anything? Is it hunger or pain that you feel? Your body is warm, but the heart is pure ice. You see… You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart. Your eyes seem to be expecting miracles I would be most honored and willing to perform.

But I lay dead tonight. Just as you do. We died for a moment, to live again by the morrow’s light. I was alive then.  I felt a world arise and live for me. There was this… fire that was lighting me inside out, I was eager to fight for my country, for Gods, for you… my beloved.

I watched you go, unable to ask you to stay. It was for me and our home you were going away. How could I ask? So behind you I stayed. Remember what we’ve always said? If one falls, so does the other.  But my obstinacy won’t simply let me watch you die. I sacrificed a thousand souls for one: yours.

People come and go, they’ll live again, they’ll find their way back. But you won’t. If you die now, it’s forever. And I am no more willing to let this happen. Not while I stand on my feet.

You know, they say above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I went to war.

But it’s not really like that, isn’t it?

The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, its tides and its depths; it has its pearls too. But yours contains much greater things than leading an army into battle. You behold the balance of the world. One drop of your blood, and my world shifts into darkness. A darkness that you and only you can defeat.

My body is the same body—yet everything seems different.  My heart is so tired. The sins of men have sickened it.

All night I stretched my arms across you. Rivers of blood, the dark woods, singing with all my skin and bones. “Please keep him safe! Let him lay his head on my chest and we will be like sailors, swimming in the sound of it, dashed to pieces!” … I heard a distant thunder. The war must be over. It’s only been a few days, but the darkened sky converted everything into an eternal night. We hid, hid like rats in a bunker.  But it was necessary, my love. Remember the old days when we fought alongside with Gods?  … we now carry the burden of a thousand souls.

Perhaps I should light another candle. It’s getting cold inside. You were pointing at the moon, but I was looking at your hand. Your pain seems to have eased. “Welcome back to life, my lord.”

Fire. The whole time I was hoping my silence would fit yours and exclamation marks would gently float across time and space so that boundaries would be crossed; See, we were never about butterflies. We’ve always been about burning stars. All about us is unearthly and radiant.

I have this vision, my lord, that I would finally come and find you. Scattered pieces of distance would not stand in my way. Not needing words; the barest of glimpses would suffice for you and me. I’ve left battlefields before, I’ve left cities to ashes just to save ONE soul. Yours. And though there’s no war, no guns, no fire, it is still a battle inside of my spirit. The memories are vivid, they live through and for me, as I live through and for you.  I have no fear of losing you, for you aren’t an object of my property, or anyone else’s. I love you as you are, without attachment, without fears, without conditions, without egoism, trying not to absorb you. I love you freely because I love your freedom, as well as mine. You gave me peace in a lifetime of war. I ought to do the same.  After all, that’s what life is about: an endless battle of contrasting memories. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time, and that is how it all changes. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way.

And alike the earth and moon, I am covered with craters and scars. That is not something I need to be saved from. Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. There still might be a place for us somewhere. Somewhere only we know ourselves. Year zero. We’re miles away. But we are alive. What’s imperfect is beautiful. What’s imperfect is alive. We are alive, my love. We went through fire and came down like rain. And damaged people are dangerous. They know how to survive… This is just what we did. We read, we travel, we become.  We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost. This is our unending process.

The winds are silent.  And it is the great north wind that created the Vikings. You and I are particles of these winds, my beloved. We are the mountain, the forest and the earth.

People talk about escapism as if it’s a bad thing …once you’ve escaped, once you come back, the world is not the same as when you left it. You come back to it with skills, weapons, knowledge you didn’t have before.  The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart, and I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole… but it happens that I want you, and that there is no room for any other desires.

So dance with me death, for I am ready. I will take what is mine with fire and blood.

© Freya Værsto 2013

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The man who pierced the sky [chapter one]

The man who pierced the sky

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My lord, to thee I write once again as I have written many times before, unorganized, incoherent, but still, I write, for the paper can keep my words longer than I might keep them in my hazy and vague conscience, with the hope that one day, when I shall be put to silence, they will speak for me better than I have ever done with words or silence.

You may disagree with all my concepts and ideas, and justly, you have all the reasons to do so. My arguments have always been invalid and brittle, but they stand their ground like pillars of Valhalla – they are my unspoken stale memories floating unchained through my mind, resurfacing from time to time, resulting in these frantic testimonies which I inscribe with all the dearness I have ever been capable to offer thee.

It’s not the first time thou arrive before the world, time and again, unsure of the moment from the obsolete memories. Ancient temples and undiscovered cities bearing your mark, when your name is love in a parallel universe. I subsist amongst two realities, both valid and tangible to me. I do not know whether madness is their name or sanity, but truth is, I exist in both of them, transmuted from lies to truth and beyond. I am no longer capable to discern the white smoke from the grey mirrors of my soul. They reflect the sins of a pagan, not of a heretic. It has swallowed me into and ocean without bottom and without any surface to be reached, amongst whose whirling waters your light shines the brightest.

Before every dawn and dusk I allow few moments to slip past me just to relive my truest existence, which has deserted me since time was time. We substitute coffee for madness and hear the silent songs that awake us, for this is not a dream, yet reality does not strike us either. Like a double-edged sword we sway from one edging to the other, not ever prevailing to settle on any of them.

We stand on edges, slowly hoping, wistfully longing, endure a lifetime of waiting to be brought back. We belong to the sea – the open ocean is our home. You might not hear its call, but I do, sometimes, when I contemplate upon my deeds, and I see an ocean of blood and corpses, fickle visions. I see vessels wandering through a sea of souls which I have torn apart and slayed in the name of justice. And on the cliffs and firths I see angels with raised swords praising Thor and Odin. Shall I walk amongst them? When they look upon me with bitter eyes …

I bear an unceasing war with my inner selves, and I am cursed to never bleed nor die.  Your fingers devastate any savagery to our transitions, softly cradling the restlessness, smoothening the wrinkles of a forgotten past.  We fall, mortally in place quantum thoughts and solitudes salvaged from predestines of multiple transitions – one life for another, romancing the god of the departed. But you stand above all them, my cold and immortal lord, my personal God.

Though our past lives may not agree, the delirium will not pass until you quiet the beating or until you and I are one. Eternally enamored, evidences lay over the earth, as they form in lines and grounded circles higher than breath could take and deeper than the dark, embodying your image, my beloved. And the skies opened – and there was light and fire. The sky beckons you.

Remind me again why I am with you, how I go on trailing the past like a house revisited. When you are gone my remains turn to ruin. The remnants of the warrior lies in my inner self, but you sense this better than I do. You shall burry me into the northernmost north, somewhere where the coldness can comfort me and give me time to revise my past lives and come to a conclusion.

Your spirit eludes me with its simplest, primordial presence.  A time will come when I will miss that presence and eagerly search for it in every leaf, in every wind and every blow. The angels have chosen to remain silent. My demons, yet to come, are raised from my darkest fears and deepest desires only to destroy what my conscience has built for so many centuries. I am losing a game I haven’t even started. I have moved my chessman upon the glass table. It is your move now.

But to no avail, I live for today, not for tomorrow. In the depth of our hopes and desires lies our silent knowledge of the beyond…we’re older than the world and frigid as Nifleheim.

Nightfall and the fire doom…if we are bound to die in flames, save your life and let me in. I want to burn if that will save you. You shall know no fear, no pain, no sorrow. I am to take all of them in. Here, where history may fall, enter the realm of aeon. Spare your soul, spread your wings and ride when all the worlds collide.

My angel, you arrived before the world, but you shall never go unloved.
It has always began and ended with you.

© Freya Værsto 2013

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Seasons in the Abyss

My Lord, I spare a moment to lie deep in this synthetic sleep whilst time’s ticking away my time, so as to spread some thoughts upon this withered piece of paper.  I did not slave over this with hammer and anvil shaping it into a masterpiece.

So I write, for the purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.  I depict an ancient inner self knowing no bounds but those keeping it fit into this…society. You see, there was a dream I had that I almost remember, almost remember better than living yesterday, a dream of gooey loss, a taffy sorrow that loomed…loomed…loomed…

The dream – this tool of distortion used to corrupt the perceptions of reality, comforted behind unknown barriers. The world as I see it, has messed my senses. My obsession with capturing unsought beauty has seized me though, frustrated with unwanted outcome.

I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind, or perhaps…

Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all. People would call me insane, I call myself a bard.

Perhaps my mind is better left off in this bizarre dimension, though nothing makes sense even to me. But once awake, I look around to the world I despise. The world is not the same, though I know nothing has changed… I wonder if this place used to be beautiful. It seems that I’ve forgotten…

But some memories never fade… Those heavenly meadows turned into gory battlefields; tell me you remember, tell me you do! Sunrise and that… morning silence.

Half of you living, half of you gone, inside you know what you’re doing is wrong. Yet I cannot touch memories that aren’t mine, nor can I make them. I don’t know what death is, nor fear it, for I have already fallen.

One word uttered, “Glory!” I knew there would be no moving on and there would be no going back. But you recall this better than me.

So I write… My lord, you see, sometimes, I think of myself as an empty house, standing alone and hiding behind lies no one bothers to look past. Locked windows and doors are meant to keep the world away. I declined, I did not strive enough, I could’ve been tougher, wiser, braver!

…You would shake your head in disapproval, in such a familiar way, and tell me that no one could. You may be correct.

Please, forgive my ignorance.

I can barely remember when we were strangers and all I knew was your name. And I could sit next to you, and not feel a thing. I could look in your eyes and not know exactly what you were thinking.

I am awake now. I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times, in life after life, in age after age, forever. And whilst I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings, somewhere in the darkness, there is a soul which became faithless. Faith is not belief; belief is passive. Faith is active. I no longer had anything keeping me bound to this world, so I became ignorant. And ignorance is blindness.

There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely – or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. Humans have the incredible ability to reason logically and come to the wrong conclusion.  They ought to be perfect, but God doesn’t budge on the details. By nature, man is a morbid beast.

Close your eyes and look at the black. Look at the black until you see something worth holding onto inside of yourself. Wait until breathing doesn’t feel like a losing game and then open your eyes and listen. What is that you see or hear? What is that makes us turn in the right direction, at that peculiar moment, right there? Our eyes would meet.

So I write… and I catch my breath. I freeze like a deer in headlights. I am trapped.

I talk to myself constantly, but I don’t really talk about it. I know of a place where moonlight shivers as it touches lost memories and licks the sweet shining fantasies only to be poisoned. So beautiful, so deadly. Memories like mercury in the moonlight. Light comes and goes. I live in the shadows of other’s light. When all light is gone, we are left with the choice of what is easy and what is right – and thus realize that we are only who we choose to be.

A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not why it was built for.  And it’s sad how people lock themselves up in their own little worlds. We wear the mask and act the part and say it’s all part of the show. We could watch this magnificent masquerade of winter eternally… We live in boxes, see in darkness and speak in lies. My silence is forever kept.  No one can see the pain that we hide; they’re happy for us to keep it inside. Our fear is our own; they don’t want to know. They spent their short time “living”. Why should we involve them? Why should it show?

My Lord, you stand alone. Like the reddest of roses on an open and barren plain, the striking crimson on a bleak and grey backdrop catches  every  eye that glances across the hollow atmosphere. Cast out from the bed of dozens, your thorns cut too deep; standing as one, it was the loneliness you chose to keep. So cut as deep as you can – I need something to remember you by, perhaps small scar across my heart will be just fine.

I often thought that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dreams… My beloved, we live on the edge of the miraculous, so dream with me, dream forevermore…

We are battle-born. The things that can help, the things that may heal, are the flame or the blade and the sting of the steel. Yet, I don’t need any help, for if I cannot help myself, I cannot be helped.

Forgotten memories litter the grounds, the only thing I know to call home. People are forgetting. And I’m bound to the place that pumps the life-giving poison into my veins… Or maybe I’m just somewhere in between, brushed off by the new world like so many have been before me. I used to say “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” Life’s not worth living if you don’t have something worth dying for, hence keep strong, for in times of darkness we can see the truth of our soul.

© Freya Værsto 2013

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