Tuesday, June 1, 2010
There are occasions when one has enough of substance and simply yearns for style. Those dramatic stormy days that spawn tales filled with clichés and trite sentiments and garishly colour costumes are some of the best after all! Ergo, what follows is the first chapter of a ridiculously silly tale of mine, full of frivolity and girded with the appropriate period propaganda of a Gothic tale, with myself and my three, dear suitemates from college as the leading ladies of this love pentangle.

It is not for everyone, just for women who one day for no reason whatever put on their most dramatic cosmetics and and finest gowns and sat down to read. It is for any home baker that ate most of the icing before it found its way to the cake. For anyone who has skipped to their favourite scene on a DVD, encored at the opera, or read the last six lines of Tennyson's Ulysses over and over and over and over....for you, please enjoy.

Episode I

The Sun dyed the clouds with all the mulitudinous colours of tis blood in the glorious iridescence of its decline. The tall craggy mountains in the distance, coloured ebon by the facing light, cut the gloomy east after the pattern of gothic spires against sanguine hued silk, and the west lay unfurled in all its glory over the boundless sea, spotted with angular isles of rock.

Settled sweetly in the vale, the city-state sat high on the rolling, tree-covered mounds, which coloured the misty, evening air with their emerald hue, painting the green the grey, the white, and the rosy stones of the lordly and common domeciles alike, from the scoured thatched cottage to the rouded towers of the ornate, stone castle.

Horatius reined in his lusty, bay mount and alighted with gusto in the courtyard of the castle. He doffed his cavalier trilby, and carelessly ceded it to a breathless manservant. His foaming charger was led away, and the rider swept his velvet cloak of deep peridot over his left shoulder. Thus, he revealed that only a waistcoat of pale jade covered the white shirt hanging lithely from his arms.

'Wilt thou not don thy coat, sir?' his man asked pettishly.

'I shall not! The foul thing is a cumbrance to my movement when I would but exert myself with the greatest ease and strength, Nay, when I doth that foully wrought manacle, behold! it shall no longer be the fashion to wear coats in any realm within a hundred leagues of this settlement.'

Giving a baritone chuckle, Horatius mounted the steps with all the reported grace of the lauded swordsman's career. His tall boots did not stiffen the fine dancer's, being made from the leather of an elk he felled. Matched with his smile, never quite broad yet never absent, and the green clad figure resembled the person of Robin of Locksley, well lately rewarded by a liberated Richard I.

Horatius paused before the jewel encursted mirror of the foyer, which he entered as his own. Running a proudly callused hand through his sandy, dishevelled curls, he regarded his brown, straight nose without embarrassment. He was tanned all over with sun, for it was fire and feeling he ever sought with a mad passion, caring not for being burned. He did regard with scorn the men who merely huddled by a tamed, caged fire with an effeminate screen held to preserve their waxed flesh.

Upon the arrival of this character some time ago--one whose health was enlivened with feasting, while his form was tempered with fasting--the men of the city of Fiona Saoirseosphie were thrown into uproar. The lauded tenors found that the molten gold of his voice made theirs to clang as tin.

The sighing poets saw that the grimaces provoked by aesthetic pleasure arose in a more comely fashion on a masculine cheek coloured from vigorous exercise. The best swordsman soon found that grace and fashion did not mean the loss of skill, and other sportsmen soon discovered no advantage in their prowess when matched with a much finer cask containing the same rich wine.

Adding to this the foreign novelt, Horatius having hailed from distant islands in the romantic north, the Scythian-bred, Roman-named Horatius had deprived many a man of his beloved's heart, leaving a rival whose best hope was for an wizened woman after she had failed to catch Horatius's discriminating eye.

For he worshipped Life above all, and how many a threadbare anchorite or ermine clad monsignor had tried to show him its higher form. From his days as a foundling to his youth, Horatius's teachers had observed his profound moderation in Shrovetide, for how easily did this active young boy seem to shun meat and sweets, who enjoyed them with so much gusto at the tide of a feast. The learned Jesuits hoped to kindle an Ignatian fire in the young oak, alas! his inner spirit was too impatient.

His creed was pleasure, and the pain he inflicted upon himself was so done to increase his delight when ease and leisure came. How pleasant was meat after abstinence, rest after exercise! Recklessly he drove himself in the practice of ascetics to appreciate comfort the more when it came, but to labour long with study only to savour wisdom garnered throughout the years? Nay! With a robust laugh, he shook his head at the proposition.

If his masters were right, then he would return to quietude after his fire was utterly spent. If the learned men were in error, then at least he would not have squandered the stuff of life. Well aware was Horatius of his qualities without the stupidity of vanity. Aye, his awareness that his form and talents were but lent to him heightened his need to display them flauntingly and milk those qualities of their lost drop before they were again taken away.

So the Jesuits he abandoned. He first won fame in the courts of great noblemen with his wit and decorative learning, coupled with his personal grace and charm. When these bored hm, he threw himself into the service of arms. The taste of battle's rigours intoxicated him. Though his commanders observed he made a better singular warrior than a dutiful soldier, and were taken aback at his frenzy, his popularity with powerful gentry and generosity to comrades and inferiors caused him to exalted with many honours.

But Horatius again wearied of conforming to an organon of which he was not the head, and he had obliged a great deal more than his superiors could understand. When the opportunity came, Horatius struck out again with alacrity. In distant lands that could claim none of his pariotic ardour, if Horatius ever possessed any, he fought as a vigilante, glorying in his conquests with a passion verging on madness.

Yet, he was too wise to suppose his flesh was invulnerable. Though regarding his scars as mere scratches, a blow to the leg that nearly took the use of that limb gave him cause to initiate another transformation. Even in the icy chill of a soldier's discipline and the fiery heat of a warrior's act, his soul had began revolving in routine. Much like a hand in chilled or heated water will no longer feel sensation of cold or warmth in time, Horatio thirsted for an alteration and desperately clawed his mind for one that would not bore him. In deserts of rock and sand and in glens of moss and stream, he performed his idolatrous fasts, and he sought in his soul a means for more pleasure, for all in life was waxing bland.

The answer came upon him of a sudden. Woman.

Rising from a despair that had been as earnest as his choleric nature was capable of, Horatius laughed with mirth. Was he not an Adam dulled by all other pleasures in the wilderness of paradise? His irreverent metaphor concluded the necessity of Eve. He had been trained and honed by men, had engaged with them on fields of mind, art, and battle. Now he turned his thoughts towards engaging another soul. What thrill or mystery might be there?

Not that one woman would be his Eve, oh no! Not to the drollness of vowed monogamy did he aspire, but to the grandeur of loving, beyond body and into the soul. Perhaps marital union would arrive a day--what thrill might there be in fatherhood after all? But the contract would oblige him no more than the Old Law's patriarchs had been restricted.

'Ah, yes the best shall ever be my models! Father Malachy, thou old Ignatian, art thou not proud that I aspire after Abraham and David? The Father of Faith and the man after God's own Heart?' Glad the poor priest to be dead, or he would have broken his heart at such a speech from his favoured pupil.

Gay laughter followed this ungoldy humour, and Horatius discovering his appetite again made hastily to break his fast at the nearest tavern.


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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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