Kashi tries to follow these choirs in perpetuity. Hidden choirs beyond the known, connecting all things. In listening to such choirs I pray for mended steps. Re-forged paths. I wish to be a learned knave at the very least. In time, perhaps. Or just beyond it. Chevalier. Cathedral stone. And once again I’m recalling those Wars of the Roses. Frightening, secret wars in the grey. Upon the hill. Druidic thorn. Sinister Venetian revelry. Dark sylphs of Tudor glance. Shifting silences. This disturbing new chronology. But Kasi sees nothing more than warlords and stolen thrones in this lie of a thousand years. A lost shining age. A corruption of Plantagenet kings. These false lineages, and I'm forced to witness the endless sorrows of each maiden of a shattered realm. Of course I see her in each one of them. Sisters of Kathari. Daughters of Albigenses. Pre-Raphaelite angels with Yasha'lem in ruins all around. I marked their day with my descent, to honour them. And to honour my brother. Those feet in ancient time, as Blake wondered. A land once green and pleasant. Now become a vessel for perpetual night-fall. An isle of dark angels. They were blackest alabaster, those tears upon her skin. It's written in her eyes, isn't it? Via Dolorosa. Haven’t you seen those images? She knows there is still more to come. Delicately braced for future cataclysm. In grief, with grace. Oh, fallen. You think you understand it all. You think you reign supreme, with your abominations and altered chronologies. But only Love is supreme. And egalitarian. It never hordes its wealth. So, knowing these things, I choose to heed the silent choirs. Once more I'm lead through the folding city by a trail of whispered signs. From Navah'tri to Camri’lach. To the bridge at Ari'ma'thea, nearest the ashen hill. I find winged lions guiding me to stolen histories. Arts and science, coins and stars. Dragons, knights and swords. Right here in this city of ghosts. Hidden in plain sight. I hear the lament of those perpetual choirs. Making wine beneath the bridge. A sacrament. And I recall Ga'hala on his knees before the chalice. River-flesh and laken hilt. Blinded, speechless, like a king of fishers. But not quite. Both of us were acolytes of a cathedral beneath the waters and the rock. Brothers of Kathari. Sons of Albigenses in this church of the hidden hymns. Stitching letters in the flesh of each shoulder. Our maiden, courageous and kind. A lover at every turn. Mourning and singing, as the beloved at the empty tomb once sang. From the mouths of each Ari come the susurration of those waters. Where spirit is the truth. The resurrection and the life. And I know what brings me here. A trail of living lights like kisses just beneath the skin of the city. Carried West, though bending East. Quietly I speak. Ferry me gently, girl of all priests. Let me see through John's eyes. And at last I am come to the truth. Shining, unassuming. A promise of wisdom worthy of any grail quest. Before me stands a turret of living waters. The Fountain of the Rose. The end, and a beginning. Only a glimpse perhaps, as Ga'hala once searched and saw. Only a place to start. But it's enough for Ka'shayel on this strange, blessed day. To follow these choirs in perpetuity, through this seemingly endless valley of the shadow of death. Thus, at mended steps I pray. Thy rod and thy staff. I find great comfort at the Fountain as I peer upward into the mournful eyes of the Rose. And for a moment I hear something beyond lament. Beyond thorn or sinister revelry. A path is opened before me and my heart is with my love, because I hear the way.
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