2008-11-17

Smile! 2.

[part 2 – a surprised smile]

We started climbing in the morning. Left the horses in the last camp; I did not worry about Ishmael, for he could well defend himself, but the other horses were wolfmeal. In fact, somehow, I was sure that Ishmael would be there somewhere at the end... he usually was. I rarely had to walk home, not even on the steepest terrain, in the thickest forest, or the rockiest desert. As we walked upwards, a queer feeling settled on me, something that I haven't really felt for a long time, if ever... the feeling of being lost. With my inborn and much practised sense of direction, path and goal it was more than simply queer - it was alarming. Even though going up on a mountain should be fairly easy; after all one would only have to go up all the time, but it only true on mountains shaped like a pyramid and I don't have to tell how commonplace these are. Real mountains have uphill and downhill parts, valleys and ridges and lesser peaks, and usually one cannot even see the middle part, the main peak, until one is almost right on the top of it. But one can get lost in a rocky barrenness of a mountainside. What I felt now was as if someone gently but surely took away my sense of direction, and left meg stupid - the first time in my life feeling that I was leading the others in circles. They trusted me in this, unquestioningly, as would all humans do in an elf. They rarely had the talent but we would always have it and use it and it was one thing that no elf ever made a secret of. So, for now it was only me who knew that we were moving randomly... I mean more randomly than it was usually so. I smiled again, a worried smile this time, but still one none the less. Madness sensed the seeds of my worry, flamed in me again, craved chaos that was its food, fed on my uncertainty, consumed my sanity in steps bigger than usual... I began to enjoy this newfound feeling, this new experience, and walked in the front, smiling, ever so smiling and sure that whatever I would find would be pleasant in some way - well, maybe not in a way people usually imagine pleasantness, but in a way that my mind can say it so...

In a few hours they too started to get suspicious. I noticed the glances, the soft words they whispered to each other - why would humans never consider elvish ears? They are not pointed with no reason... - the innocent-looking checks of our footprints that we left the last time around... I wondered how soon could I expect one of them to openly come out with a question. Probably it would take them a few more hours to get the nerve... how does one ask a mad and dangerous elf if she got lost? I was acutely curious about the answer, so I decided to let the situation unfold. It too made me smile, as I considered their possible words and reactions. In the meanwhile, I noticed one more thing... somebody tried to conceal their footprints, but to do that against an elf eye is not that easy. They did a good job, but not perfect. So it was to be another party... I wondered if they were just as lost as we were. Probably they were - although one can never underestimate what wizards can cook up to help them. I usually got by on my skills and if they were not enough, my madness took over and solved everything - I only had to cope with the results...

The road, such as it was has disappeared altogether and the rock-walls started to grow around us... closing us in in fact, and I still felt lost, still felt no inkling of where the hell we were heading, and even more, I felt my madness spread out and infect our surroundings... the others saw it too, that we were now in a kind of mad maze, a kind of reality where rules nonexistent, where place-time-reason is rather more than less a matter of choice and where it is only our imagination that defines our surroundings... I rarely felt home here on this land, outside my people's realms; but home it was that I felt now, for the first time in hundreds of years... I needed no directional sense now, relying on the here and now was by then out of question, I shaped what I wanted to see and feel, and the others were huddling close to me, fearing me but knowing me their only chance of ever getting out of this place, and I did not smile but laughed out now, for whosoever wanted to perplex me with creations of madness was helplessly outdated, I was mad, quite mad for some time now and I managed to live through it, lived in it in fact, and so I happily played with unreality and imagination, creating the environment that fit me perfectly, fighting with the creations of my own mind, cutting a bloody path through my own head, loosing myself in madness as willingly as a sane one would in love, or hate, or piety, for me it was all three and some undefinable more, and I was hacking and thrusting and spearing and cutting everything in sight, killing in animal abandon, letting all that accumulated steam coming off me in those few glorious moments... or hours as my tired muscles and tendons said later, when I found myself, and to my disgust my companions in a place where reality was solid again, including the high rock walls completely encircling us. No matter, we could climb them later. Or I could. For the moment I wanted only to feel that orgasm-like sensation and its aftermath. Living again instead of the shadow-world of dragging myself through my life doing whatever came to my way... this was why I was needed, the mad one, who cannot go more mad but is sane enough to go through...

I did climb it. It wasn't easy and I even threw down a rope to the others from the top - I debated with myself about that but they survived the full force of my imagination, so they deserved a bit more respect - and chance - than I accorded to them before. If they can climb it then it is good for them, but I did not intend to wait for them until they did it - enough is enough. Their life was now in their hands, and their mission was now in my head - and whoever else wandered around the place. I was never shy with information, when I could throw it into the winds, and that madness-storm of unreality was the perfect place-time to sow some ideas into. Secrets are best to be spread about as widely as they could be. Nobody believes the distributed ideas, they put them aside and crave for the secretly kept ones - so I always kept some secrets in secret, so they could find it and be happy. I even kept some more secrets deeper so the insistent ones and the stubborn ones and the clever ones could find some too and be even more happy. I am happy when everyone is happy. Or so I thought. If somebody still saw through me, then I found my match and the war could begin in earnest. I like war, did I mention that? Not for its nature, because war's madness is a feeble thing compared to what I call chaos - but it gives me plenty to do and even though war cannot create unpredictability enough for me, I can. I like the nicely tied ends unknot and let loose. I like to give people freedom to choose. I like to undo what is done and unmade what is thought stable and solid. I test everything and everyone - and my tests are cruel. I am not a god mind you; I am but a mortal elf. Anyone who can best me is invited to try. I've just happened to win all my little and big wars for a nice round thousand years or so. So, smile! I have every reason to do so, have I not?

So I smiled as I scrambled upwards on the mountainside. Night fell and dawn came and I climbed. I felt again the direction, and only had to follow its whisper - until I heard another kind of whisper, human one. They warned each other of my coming. Unknown voices, but humans too. Anxious. Cautious. The smell of magic was in the air too; they have a wizard. I like wizards, because they do the same with reality than me; they cheat it, twist it, deform it and desecrate it. It is no more than reality deserves... and I do really like wizards coming against me. They are dangerous and unpredictable, just as I am. Misery does not like company, I do not like it either, so I dispatch it as fast as I can. They set a trap, an ambush and they did it well. I cannot go round, for they expect me there - so I have to go straight into the trap with open eyes and take them all as well as I can. Including the wizard. I take the wizard first - I do like to play the game of chance, I just like to have the odds on my side - after all nobody else is there. The magic hits me with full force and I scream for it hurts like hell... I go forth and I still don't know what it is exactly but I can still reach the center, and it is the thing I need, wizard are never strong or able to defend themselves with anything else than magic, and my sword cleaves something soft and I hear his scream as my senses come on once more, and I still hurt but the cause of it disappeared, and I can turn my attention to the others, falling on me with swords and trying me from afar with crossbow-bolts, and I dance now, a tango with death, the black bolts whizzing by me, the swords finding mine in their pattern, twisting their pattern, silver dances in the middle of black shapes, have to tell apart good and bad, but who the hell is good here, I do not know, I am certainly not, I am as bad, as mad, as sad as they came, but still shine like silver, move like silver that I am... what stopped my hand at last, I still don't know. Sanity hurt, reality hurt, my body hurt but it never stopped my hand before - nor do I believe in giving last chances, leaving enemy alive when I could kill them, but still there he was, cut down and panting on the ground but alive, alone apart from me, and just as surprised to find himself in that condition as me.

I felt for my smile, hoping that maybe it would help me to understand, and I was so shocked to find the mask in place, then I was shocked to be shocked by that fact... I must come out of madness, it cannot stay, it always have left me in the end, I must remember and I must not forget, I am what I remember, madness cannot take that away! I still felt hot blood buzzing in my head, the pressure staying high, the thumping not wanting to quieten, and I fought my inner battle, always the same but always different, always wanting to take me away... but I came back, as always. He did not run. Well, he couldn't anyway. It was the bard that I saw, the bard from the other company, whom I heard once in my dream; singing of love or some such topic, which holds little importance to me any more. I stared at him. I rarely had the task of deciding what to do with a not quite dead adversary - but I do know that nothing happens by happenstance, and after all I did not kill him while I had the chance. So he can go on living and be an important somebody decades from now, which fate probably intends him to be - if only he behaves wisely and vanishes from my sight as fast as he can. Well, that won't be very fast, I can see that; so it was me, who left the place. Slowly, for I too had some healing to do. Whatever the wizardry was, it blasted my skin raw, and completely ruined my clothes. Only the mask survived intact, and my face in its embrace. And my smile...



[to be continued]

3 megjegyzés:

Nora írta...

Szintúgy, akinek az ángliussal vannak gondjai, az akár névtelenül is megteheti a panaszát itt, nem fogok harapni érte. Max. megsértődök, de az nálam alaphelyzet, úgyhogy nem számít.

smiley!

maitai írta...

Tell me why did you write it in English? So that I could practice literary translation, I suppose... ;-)

Nora írta...

No, no.. I always spun these stories in English... ever since I could speak it that is. :-)
And it is not translation for me - I am thinking in English and write down the story straight away.

Why is a good question. Probably at first it was a kind of language practice for me, and it became habitual, became connected with the fantasy-stories.