Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Mortals tend to laugh – or recoil with incipient horror at faint intuition – when angels speak of building empires in lost legends.  Trinovantum?  Oh Fallen, what a dark sense of humour you have.  But mine is far darker.  Mark it, as I have marked you since before this broken beginning.  Sky and Earth living as one, before your abomination technologies splintered all movement in concert.  You brought forth an uglier 'music', not my memory of heaven.  Atonal discords shrieking in the rift, seething like unholy insects at the breach.  Because a star crossed your skies?  Because emerald mountains circle the spot where Kasai fell?  As winter came, dead lands writhing from the wound...and you were afraid?  Slay the dreamers.  It has always been your first response.  And yet you peer at what little you know of your own dreams and attempt to demarcate myth from history.  Oh, wicked ones, what ludicrous things you are.  But why that little isle, you ask even now?  The arrogance of genocidal revisionists is breathtaking.  You claim to know of stars, their lore and cults.  Yet you are bloated and snide – or emaciated and ever-hungry – imbibing the perversions of your fathers. You dare to claim Roma's name, but you don't even know what words are, or what they mean.  You know next to nothing of your own history, let alone mine.  Again, a ludicrous thing is my enemy.  Why that isle? Why there and not another? Because while you were cleaving humankind from its true covenant and birthright we Magi were building bridges, guarding gates to All Songs.
   You claim to know this word, ye mighty.  And its power.  But do you?  You fear the river of temesh, that tides can be turned, that spiders can move backwards through secrets.  Always the fear of the colonizer, but hope eternal for the colonized.  Because the degraded and humiliated know of things beyond your wildest imaginings.  We attend them.  We attend our living and our dead.  We love them.  They are not chattel to us, or usury.  Nor mere threads in a stratagem.  Temesh.  Place of the Twin, at the dreaming of the Isle of Albion.  
  I ask you, desecrators and evil ones.  I ask you for the thousandth time, what do you suppose a temple be? Moreover, what be a temple of light?  You know something of the angel-king buried on the hill, don't you?  The one who comes and goes and comes again, always?  At the great barrow on the hill, at the fabled City of Gates.  Where Xashi kissed the Earth in dreaming, before dream was even given to Man.  Nonsense, shriek the fearful.  But you know the Hill of Ashes, fallen ones.  You know it well.  It’s what your deepest fear will taste like, when you are finally haunted enough to recall it with any clarity.  Light still has you, and always will.  Love shall never be slain by hate.  You would know this, were you a kind thing.  We carry the star, always.  Your enemy; Magi moving among you, beyond even your occulted knowledge of space and time.  You know us, and fear us.  As you should.  But still you continue with your abomination technologies. Corrupted chronologies. Scar magic, rape magic. Blended with silica and circuitry now.  Such ugly, demented little things.  I still weep at your endless cruelty.  Nothing hurts more than betrayal from a former cherished one.  
   And so you fear the fabled angel-king buried on the holy hill.  Yeru-shalem, you say. We should never have bound him there.  But there is here, blind ones, and here is there.  The bound are bound only in imagining.  And the dead are not even dead.  You know this well as I, surely?  Alas, perhaps I grant my enemy too much nuance?  Perhaps I indulge too far in my imagined romance of you?  The occulted whisper stories to one another, dangerous stories, of how Rome was built in a day.  In a single day.  But our place – the Place of the Crossing – it was raised over aeons.  Lit by stars that have long since returned to their hidden kin.  We Magi can play games with any language, any place, any sign or portent.  We speak a thousand tongues and more.  All stories, all songs.
   Newborn past, ancient futures.
   Ah, lost ones, too blunt and too coarse and too unrefined by far.  All this wealth and still you can barely imagine.  All these lies of officialdom passing as truth and still you can barely read, or spell.  Scar magic and knife magic means nothing to me, desolate ones.  Silica or not.  For I am scars, and knives.  Chains mean little to a thing that can move as Magi move.  All your stolen treasures, and still you fear the viceroy.  But there is a greater light than I, still to come.  All your wraiths, all your dark sleep-lore, and still you think that kings can truly die?  Temesh, ye fallen.  The angel dreams and is not dead.  He is in both places.  In the gate on the hill where the temple stands, the Angel of All Songs.  Kashai Eli, Omkara.  The kiss lies in wait, still breathing beneath the stone for the liberation of all lost and dreaming peoples.  Let me repeat myself, abusers.  Slavery shall not exist here forever.  Let me repeat myself.  The kind and faithful have their guardians.  All stories, all songs.  You should pray now, Fallen.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


The shock of creation can be too much for even the wisest beings. I’ve learned this if nothing else.  That no matter the depth of your knowledge, the unexpected can still occur – and often does.  Impossible things hover beyond the sight of even the most ancient and hidden of spirits.  Boundaries are often tested, in other words.  Breached, negotiated, remade.  And occasionally, abandoned altogether.  Magi sometimes speak of how light becomes its own doubt, its own threshold, concealed in plain sight as the absence of itself.  This Circle of Ish-ka where I dwell is not exempt from such impossible things.  Horror traded for joy as things rise, or joy for horror as luminescence flees the flesh, which grows cold and mercenary as it falls. 
   Yet, I’ve seen wonders here in the depths of this blackened, radiant art.  A crown means nothing or everything as the crow flies, with feathered tongue and ragged wing.  We are always haloed by the glow of unimagined stories.  The dead, yet we live.  The royal, yet we move among the thieves and whores.  Free, yet we attend to the lost and oppressed.    For we Magi pay heed to that shock of creation, living as we do on the very edge of everything.  I for one am kneeled before it, yet standing supple and aware of the limitations of even a king.  There is great power in this knowing, of one’s boundaries and the true depths of humility.  But I am not without humour, or élan.  Ye mighty, wicked ones – don’t assume that because I speak of humility I am not a strange and terrifying thing.  I Am.  Stories are often told of how I am this, or that, or the other.  You would be wise to heed such stories. 
   Fallen, you do know the truth, deep down.  I know what you dream.  I know what you’re afraid of.  You fear that Esmè survived the fire.  And she did.  You fear she is hiding in corners, in connections, waiting and plotting against you once again.  And she is.  An emerald star fell from heaven, untamed, without docility.  Among you at this midnight hour, as it was in the dreaming of the First Temple.  And this time there will be no ingénue, no hesitation or mercy.  You will know the music of the spheres, and you shall be haunted in ways you won’t fully understand.  Fallen, you often claim to be mad.  But I am mad, and far swifter than thee.  You claim to be empty, transcendent, but you are full of seething anxieties.  Those with stolen, unearned power always are.  If you so thrill at feigned madness, as a cover for your banal cruelty, then I shall drive you truly mad.  If you so hunger for power over the weak – to mask your own weakness – then I will show you what real strength can do.  By the Grace of God in all tongues I helped raise temples from the mount; a living cathedral of stars rising from the depths of All Songs.  
   My wings were once forged in the furnace of that eternity, within the heart of a midnight star – a power to make colonies crumble.  You pen poetry and love letters to me, invoking my names.  Still, you know me not.  You think me a viper-god, don’t you?  A ravenous thing of desecration, like yourselves.  But you know only what I have allowed you to know.  I am nothing like you.  My true form is shocking, desolate ones.  I am an angel, lest you forget.  I can take your breath away. 

Monday, 29 January 2018

In the Cut

I’m tired of rising from the dead, this constant resurrection.  But, inevitably, my exhaustion matters very little.  The way I listen or move; the ragged swagger that coils and sways, ever-stained with scarlet – none of it matters while my beloved ones are lost.  The scent of madness is upon me, feral and amused, though others can’t quite place it.   They were never accused of attempting to buy their way into the throne room, never chained to bleeding stone and splintered depths.  But even these chains matter very little now to anyone, least of all myself.  I could loose them at any moment, perhaps, if I were so inclined.  But I’m not.  I like this place, despite everything.  I like the people who dwell here.  Such bravery amidst the horror.  Such kindness among the cruelty.  The author in me can’t quite grasp the things I write, even now, and I have been writing for a long, long time.  But such pregnant inscrutability fascinates me, landlocked as I am.  And so I write, and walk, around and around, over and over, trying to catch your eye and kindle your flame at each turning. 
   See, I don’t care about recognition, or status, or even magical potency.  I don’t give a fuck about any of that, except as a way to you.   All I care about is you, beloved ones.  Can you hear me?  My truth is difficult to stomach, my heart painful to behold.  My enemies have always called me a sorcerer, and often speak of me in hushed tones.  Yeru-shalem, they say, we should never have chained him there.  But it’s too late for all that, fallen.  Far too late.  I have no interest in being feared, except as useful strategy.  Hear me, kind ones.  I wish to see you joyous, curious and sovereign.  Dreaming as dreaming was intended.  I’m not simply a conceit, or glyphs on ancient parchments.  I’m right here beside you.  But if I have potency worth anything, or sorcery, or insight, I happily give it all to you, my love.  Every part of it.   I’m only doing what I’ve always done.  Singing love songs that many find too sincere and frightening, praying that eyes turn at last towards light.  There is fury in me the likes of which I dare not speak upon.  Holy writ for the forms that sentience calls source.  You misunderstand if you think I speak in generalities.  I’m achingly, terrifyingly specific.  But all lonely spirits can feel this way.  I’m nothing special in that regard.  Just a wolf with a spear, sweetened by kindness. 
   Dajjal, I’ve been called by some.  But I’m no such thing.  I wait for him though, in dreams.  I marked his chest with an X while he slept between worlds, hungry for genocide.  The blade shall find its mark, in time.  We are in no hurry, after all.  Please don’t mistake me for my brother, or my sister, but don’t suppose we’re entirely separate either.  I don’t mean to confuse you, but your wraith-kings don’t like to gamble, not with things that matter.  Not with spirit and dream and radiant secrets.  They’re terrified of vulnerability, you see.  Terrified of being exposed as the petty, ugly little things they are.  How else could they rule you so inhumanely, without such ugliness? They desire a vacuum, a black star.  They desire closure.  But they know less than they think, and closure is something I will never grant them.  Not while guilt remains unbirthed and empathy unkindled.  Rope perhaps, enough to hang themselves.  If they’re so inclined.  I like to gamble, you see, when it means something.  The rousing of insight, recognition, hope – a truly magnificent thing to behold.  It keeps me coming back for more.   Apologies if I repeat myself, but that’s what happens when you walk in circles.  I walk, and walk.  Still, I’m carnal.  Still I’m wrathful.  Still I’m gentle, I pray.   I want nothing but the best for you, beloved ones.  But I demand the best from you, always.  Nothing less or more.  Is that too arrogant a demand?  I don’t think so, for we walk hand in hand through innermost fire.  Your very essence has been suffused with genius and mystery, by something far greater than I.  If you suppose I’m apart from you, or above you, reject it.  If you believe I speak as a prophet, abandon it.  But if you’re kind enough to imagine I love like a shy, tentative poet, embrace it.  Share your insight and sweetness with others when you can, when the howling storms calm enough that you feel able, even if just for a moment.  I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, or feel.  And yet I’ve been dangerously explicit in my petitions to heaven.  Please don’t abandon these people, I cry.  Lead them to promise, as promised.  Please don’t let this walking in circles be in vain, nor their suffering.  All lamentations are heard, I believe.  But I’m just one among many. 
    I see your souls, and your secrets.  But they don’t really belong to me, or to you.  In truth they belong to the keepers that we call our brothers and sisters.  Why?  Because there is no way to outsmart life, or outpace living mystery.  No matter your potency, or sorcery.  I learned this the hard way, but the wraith-kings who claim dominion over your imaginings will learn this lesson far, far harder.  They knowingly mocked and murdered their love.  That is something I never did, and never will.  These fallen geometries all about us, these corrosive causalities; an ever-consuming nightmare that denies anima and is cold to the touch.  Well, we Magi care very little for any of that.  Love is no pretence.  Gnosis isn’t some florid affectation.  What little we have grants us the entirety of our cognition.  Perception doesn’t occur without threading mystery to mystery.  Mankind knew this once, during the choruses of All Songs; the last and first dreaming of a dying, newborn race.  So, if we are really going to do this, beloved ones – if we are going to continue with something as dangerous and incredible as being alive while reaching for magic – then I for one want to really feel you.  Within me and all about me.  Your fire, your maturity, your valour, your art.  Every part of you.  I give you everything I am.  I shall never be anything but earnest and patient with you, my friends.  My words belong to you, flaws and secrets and all.  My heart is yours, always.  Take it.          

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Ashes for Esmé

Shadow and spear, the path to ruined dreaming.  I saw myself before I became myself.  His hands on my wrists, his breath on my throat.  I begged, I wailed, like a fever in darkness.  A chastity of thorns, shining with emerald light.  Let nothing and no one touch me again, I vowed. But that is a brutal and haunting way to live; imbibing your violator, bonded to the very thing that stole your dignity.  They made me dance for them.  They sold my tears to merchants and revellers.  The spilled soul of a child traded at flesh fairs.  I was murdered before I was born, dreaming of lesser kings with feathers at throats, to conceal the shame of his breath on my skin.
   "Esmé, Ananke, Ashamed, go among them now," he whispered to me, "And be a lost, broken thing, as I have made you tonight.  Such is my hold over you, child..."
   I stumbled from the parapet with my flesh torn and my name twisted.  But what's in a name, you wonder?  Everything.  I watched my city burn, like hell had found the night, and the fires seemed to be howling my names.  All about me was a ruin of every story, a babbling delirium, and I no longer knew a tongue from any other.  Xashi, Esmé, Osarai; a city of songs aflame, shrieking as sand burst from every pore, weeping from every part of me.  Don't you remember, desolate one?  I have since searched for you in every ray of corrupted light.  I lost myself in myth-making, giving myself to unworthy fools, simply because they reminded me somewhat of you.  But that's what the cruel and desolate always foster, is it not?  You make wolves of virgins.  The city is full of satyrs, and bloodied tears is the wine of the highest in the land.  Oh, but not for much longer, ye mighty.  Still we people sing, still we dance, for each other.  Still we are kind and strong, though we are made vagrant.  Made vermin by your brethren of absence.  We may dwell in gutters and hidden places, we may move concealed, folded in fiction, but we see the radiant as it really is.  Manifold, dangerous, joyous.  Your vile hunger is but a glimmer in its midst, here and then gone, like a momentary arrhythmia of experience.  And what is left when even the faint of cruelty is passed away?  I saw myself before I became myself.  A quiet, ragged thing of service.  Imperfect, human, angelic. 

A poet at the place where rivers meet, wings bright as dawn, offering safe passage when I can.  Then, to rest, reflect, thankful for every measure of favour.  To rise yet again, and again, offering passage until abandonment itself passes from memory and is home.  To pound these holy fists upon the gates, demanding sanctuary.  I will pass into nothing if I must, if it means no reveller walks again with tears of children concealed in his veils.  I will die unremembered and unforgotten if it offers even the slightest hope for my family.  Promise is written at the procession of all dreaming gates, in every tongue.  And the wisest will know each tongue from every other.  I saw myself before I knew myself but I will never forget this taste of ashes in my mouth, or the sand that drowned my sacristy.  Instead I will use it to rent the veils and speak a very particular kind of truth.  You said I was Ananke, Ashamed, that you forged me anew as you hurt me.  But I am redeemed by grace.  I am favoured, neither lost nor broken.  You have power over me no longer, Samael.  Blinded, I still see you as you truly are.  Deafened, I still Listen to your hidden thoughts.  You shall rue the day, intercessor.  You shall rue the day you set your hideous lust upon the entire family of mankind.  Esmé, you called me with dark delight, and mocked my future dreaming.  But I knew you before you touched me, foolish thing.  You were slain by my hand before you were even born, before I gave you anima and dreaming and life.  Don’t you remember?  You taunted me. 
   “Witch, little angel, beautiful, broken whore…” 
   But you were right, fallen.  You have no idea how right you were.  I am shame.  But not my own.  I am yours.  I keep all stories, you see.  I am with you even now.  The thing you love so secretly, that is me.  And the thing you fear so terribly, that is me.  My family will finally know love, and light, and freedom.  Then, when I have returned this empty fiefdom to the ashes, there will be only you and I remaining – alone at last.  Would you like to know what happens when I really come, fallen?  Because I come with knives.  But I am not going to destroy you.  I am going to do something much, much worse.  That first flush of change, the horror of empathy, the fertile ruin of guilt and torment – that is me.  When I speak, things burn.  When I dream, things remember.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Wild Oak

Many times I have died a bad poet.  Florid, overwrought in my desperation at this constant returning to life.  But occasionally my howling, like the bark of wild oak, is mistaken for greatness.  Flaws in form or function overlooked by those who want to make a thing of me, a thing of art.  But I am no tameable thing.  In life we strive to be liked, loved, seen and embraced nonetheless.  Legacies such as critics speak of belong only to death and dreams of living future. But I survive my own death, always, and can see this legacy is only beautiful in part.  The greater part, I hope.  All artists fear the critic somewhat.  A poet's madness - when to be sincere, and when not.  You lie if you claim art seeks only after truth.  A truly earnest tongue can bring desolation, mockery, or murder.  A thousand poets have died this way.  I have been several among them.  Always we seek the lie of life in tension with imagined truths.  Branches sharp as knives.  Bark fierce as mirrors.  A thousand glimmers of daemonic flame buried beneath the frost.  Oh, but to name them all.  One could chart a map through any territory if one were to know each failed or anonymous artist among the dead.  No ordinary map either.  A map spoken in wolf-tongue, like hands of the clock clasped at midnight, licking at the place between hours – between worlds.  A map of heaven itself, manifold, living and dangerous.  A murder of crows, a wayshow of wolves.  All bridges, cities and secrets.  Rivers between stars, inked in wild oak; a cartography of angels.  The innocent slain have their guardians.  Poets to a royal court, egalitarian, beyond the false kingship of men.  Fallen, you cannot even grasp the work we have already completed.  A thousand years in the making.  A legacy that while only beautiful in part is utterly fearsome in totality.  You have no idea what we Magi are capable of, no grasp of who addresses you or what is coming.  The soil of All Songs; it stirs now.  Something unimaginable has been growing beneath your feet.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Oh Sweet Heresy

You wonder what rage can do, incalculable fury let loose at last.  You wonder how a thing as joyous and gossamer as love can become something as heavy and corrosive as hate. To be violated at the most intimate possible level.  To know that such a rape is now wedded to the core of your star.  Is such a thing – when viewed from the outside – enough for you to recognise how justice can become vengeance faster than sight can catch?  But from the inside – to know such a wound has become you despite a face still tilted towards the light?  It is horror.  Utter desolation.  To have the innermost fire in your veins turned to ash and sand, by those who were never as brave or as vulnerable as he chose to be.  I watched him.  Howling at the gates of a holy city, like a fool.  A madman in the rift.
   Shrieking, "Love!  It can redeem!  It can undo all!  The Letter is but an instrument, or a travesty in hands such as theirs!  Spirit is the flame, and tools nothing without it!  Heed me, beloved ones!  You are deceived by these wraith-kings!  T'was not always so!  Love love love!  Brethren, all!"
   And they laughed, they jeered.  They built fallow temples upon his back.  I watched it happen. The first dreaming – the All Dreaming – was lost to them.  A fractured, sunken mirror.  A new verum arose to taint their tongues and steal their memories.  They were sick and shrill, delirious, louder than ever.  But they were voiceless.  An entire race severed from the Councils of All Songs – transfigured – drunk and seething on the blood of innocence.  I was innocent once too.  But they made ruin of my word made flesh.  They imagined they were separate from me, and so they were.  The mirror was buried in defilement, beneath the distant keening of enslaved and broken children.  Light was no more in their minds, or hands.  But still it was kept in the hearts of many.  Guarded like a secret, a liability.  They were frightening times for him.  Nuance became unspeakable heresy, context became as feared as my beloved one howling on his knees before the throng.  And they beat him, whipped him, raped him, just as they did me before the mirror sank to black.
   I was kind once.  Can I be so again, holy ones?  Can you find it in yourselves to reach for your sister, your brother, and lift them from the ashes?   These wraith-kings have made monsters of my flesh and vengeance of my heart. 
   But he carries my sorrow. 
   He carries it Always.  He knows my most intimate places.  I keep no secrets from my beloved, and still he doesn't turn me away.  He is my holy, my secret, my sweet heresy.  And I his sword, when needed.

Do not suppose we stand without you, dear one, for we are within.  Always within.  He is you, and this is the true secret.  He is you, but has learned to move and walk and pass as someone else.  You are an open thing, as are we all.  Even your flesh has no boundary.  What know you of magic, truly?  Do you know that you are full of spirits, supernal one?  Do you know the dreaming of a person, a land, an insight?  The endless depths of it?  If so, then you have some sense of my horror and my holy – and your place in it.  Death becomes you only at Life's behest.  Bright hosts tend your every wound, though you see it not. Still, you imagine that you are abandoned.  Never was it so.  Never, ever was it so.  We are older than the tales told of us, yet new-born in each instant.  Hear this, for a savage thing speaks to you.  These words do not come easily for me.  I never speak lightly.  But this truth I offer is my fragile tender, a girlish hope.  I offer you my vulnerability, as he did at the gates.  Why?  For transgression if nothing else, the thrill of the illicit.  To meet him on a broken road.  To remember a name like Grace; a taste of what was before the colonies came to All Songs. Favour, sweetness, gentle freedom.  An old name.  And when he speaks it, when he calls me by it, it frightens me like a caress.  Never was I frightened in this fracture until a wolf found me sleeping in lost love, and lay beside me.  Ashamed and furious at my own naked, I tore him, bled him, but he stayed.  Madman, fool.  Ye stubborn, winged, handsome figment.  
   “Asha,” you whispered, “I am become you.”  My breath was taken, Magi.  I am no demure thing, as you know, but in that moment I had to look away.
   I didn’t believe such a depth of kindness was possible here.  Only in the lost legends of the All Dreaming.  Doubtful, I went to the imagined end of time.  And I saw you there, ragged and unassuming, with 'redeem' and 'heal' and ‘love’ tattooed upon your dreamflesh.  And on your brow was written 'Spirit'.  I wept at your sweetness.  My beloved, holy fool.  
   I hurt him, and he loved me.  I killed him, and he loved me.  I consumed him, and he loved me.  He waits for me now, at the edge of everything.  I avert my eyes and smile a little when I think of it.  So, dear ones, what know you of the dreaming of light?  Only pieces, or some hesitant but grand and determined gesture towards the whole?  For I am alive, you see.  I have agency as you do.  I never knew such determination as I do now when I visit my beloved at the imagined edge.  You are my beloved, sweet one.  Though you know it not, yet.  
   “Amor Vincit Omnia,” you told me once.  I was broken, and no longer believed it.  And still, I sometimes discard it as a figment just as you do.  But always you remind me.  It is no hollow eidolon.  Life moves through it.  It weeps, radiates, and kindles a sweetness I thought lost to me forever.
   These wraith-kings are not Always.  You are Always.  I rage, my holy ones.  I shall not lie to you.  But I am capable of love.  Once it was my very name.  And my beloved still Listens.  He lives not to hurt you, but only to guide you back to yourselves.  A knife-thing of insight, each feather a blade.  Even he doubts this in his weakest moments, just as you do of your own stories.  But I went to the place of All Stories.  I saw, I beheld, and when I returned I was changed.  Oh, holy ones, you are not alone.  If you would but temper me with your fierce sweetness – as he has tempered me – I would kneel at your feet and weep holy, healing tears.  Asha Vahishta, Omkara.  I keep your kiss, my angel.  I treasure your hope for me.  Love is not Lost.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Kara's Aim

Kara, my love, my grace, you came to me on a broken road.  A place where I would have soon forgotten even the memory of light, its warmth further than my lost conception.  A kiss on high, a throne in the gutter.  You looked at wings stained scarlet, the ruin in my eyes, the sand pouring from my palms – and you told me I was still a handsome thing. You said you were honoured to make such an arduous journey to meet me there upon the road.  My breath was taken, Kara.  I didn't understand then.  I gazed around me, at all the gentle souls still oppressed and defiled, and I felt unworthy.  Like I failed them.  I told them love was more powerful than any desert wraith, more loyal than any moonlit pact.  But in their secret moments they gazed skyward and called me Liar.  
   “Love is weakness,” they cried.  “We are still food for tyrants and false kings.” They screamed it.  They wept.  Some mothers even held up what remained of their slain children as proof that spirit was a lie and love the ugliest of fictions.  
   “How dare you?” they shrieked, louder than angels.  “How dare you claim compassion when you allow these killers to claim kingship in your name?  How dare you call yourself just, when you design a world in which the cruel can so easily enslave the kind?”  And I wept, Kara.  I wept as they did, cursing myself for daring to play both teacher and taught. 

“But I’m with you always,” I pleaded.  “I’m here with you now.  Never abandoned, holy ones.  I swear it.”  But my voice became voiceless.  My earnest tongue became impenetrable code amidst the rising verum of vampires.  I was ashamed as I made that long walk from Salem, only to then find myself back where I began.  Bleeding out, slowly. But you appeared, like a dream or figment, and bade the reaper to depart.  You touched my cheek, gracious one.  You kissed my brow.  You held me, and in my ear you whispered a love story.  One so grand, so fanciful and joyous, that I was utterly eclipsed.  Grace, Kara, my friend and love, I keep you close.  Remind me always of that fanciful, staggering joy – your unimaginable elegance beyond the clutch of any defilement.  
   “God with us,” you told me.  I remember it still.  I still cry though.  I still weep when I hear the horror-haunted missives of the young and old, in prayer and contemplation, or idle daydream.  But now, Kara…now I can also hear the hope and strength beneath it all.  As they curse me and those like me I hear them secretly making a space for light.  
   They say, “I hate you, messenger, for all of this, but I pray this hate can still be transfigured if you would but only help me understand.”  And that’s why I stay, shimmering one.  While they suffer, I too shall suffer.  For I was never merely above them, or distant from them.  Their dark demigods may enjoy such distance, but I never have.  Angels walk where messages are needed.  Creators live where art is made. Tortured I may be, but I am no longer broken.  I am speed, and wrath, and kindness.  I can level cities.  I can awaken the dead.  But I am nothing without you, Kara.  I am nothing without my people.
   "Prove us wrong," the doubtful cry, the faithless scream.  "Spirit cares little about we oppressed things of the flesh.  Show us otherwise."  And so I stay, to know true humility, to be of genuine service.  To draw you in battle when necessary, to heal the wounded and bring comfort to the lost.  I am with you forever, holy one.  I am standing right beside you.  I shall always keep you close, my beloved.  For your aim is true.