Monday, August 16, 2004

The Affair Of The Deep: Autumn 2003

Her heavily wrought corona bellied that she was infallible beyond irredeemable doubt. She would never come to harm if she insisted on it and she would never permanently expire as long as she believed in her ability to live indefinitely long for a mortal. So who was she really, for nobody became emboldened enough to request an answer from her tongue of any magnitude that would sort out any inquisitiveness resolutely. It was a question that was just never asked anywhere, least of all in her own palace.

Just on the week’s cusp she threw out several guests who had invented an excuse to berate her wilfully, asking intimate favours she would not give in to any such person. They had ceased an opportunity to engage the more ethereal aspect in her visage, duelling with her repose and delving into her hidden motivations that constantly remained unravelled. After brushing these arbitrary people away into her all too saintly court, her designs flew forth from the present situation she had dominated for centuries, as it was long time again to fly and in that actual resolution, it was all too late for her invited suitors to fulfil desire’s faithful promise.

She garnished herself overtly with egotistical trinkets, gauged into the body like bulbous diverts and wore assorted ring nuts all arrayed around multiples in three and six. They were all devices designed to assault the mysterious pretensions flowing through the male transept towards beauty but were at this moment intrinsically designed to intimidate her immediate aggressors.

And so it was time for her tortured foot soldiers to flood the plain as they prepared to move once more away from her terrible sphere of influence. The novices first with their metallurgic pikes flashing in the dawn wind as they wound down the plain past the boulders they had hailed six years ago, quenching their impetuous curiosity to see the only feminine entity that had wrapped herself in a downy shawl that were surely her wings.

Her will was not remorse but to do what one must, quickly and efficiently in the face of an invading enemy from the south, who claimed their action every leap year. The pike men would open hostilities while she made a stealthy exit back to her settled birthplace. And in that way she was not infallible; she could be turned out onto the barren tundra to seek her penance elsewhere whenever the leap year turned its cycle into regular effect. Now the dawn reigned down on her as she and her packhorses marched into exile for twelve month until at last she was allowed to return by the satisfied usurpers. Fortunately for her, she was not aware that any humiliation had befallen her and fulfilled every detail in her role without due complaint and in true compliancy; She was graceful in the relinquishment regarding her inherited land fortress.

Carocco was one such novice footman who had been sent out with the other pikers to cause a diversion, while she escaped back to the provinces. At this moment in time he was feeling rather too bitter about his treatment by his fellow officers. His frustration was justified by his unequal treatment, without the qualified seriousness or respect that had quickly established itself around the other ordinary guard. Indeed, he was the sovereign’s personal lackey, amounting not much more than a slave. In another life he had been a warrior renowned for tremendous battle instinct but now he was just a tamed pet, reporting to her majesties domestic department as a lower functionary, unjustly enfeebled by his lowly status.

“Oh for the arms of a welcoming party, hell bent to heal my pride”, Carocco shouted out into the open air.

But they all intransigently ignored this gesture and covered themselves with their flustering wings so that he would not decide to talk with any face to face ad libitum.

Carocco’s rancour effaced by the situation increased while he was directly challenged to help carry the giant field cannon that was destined to be trained on the enemies marginal defences. Openly he fought the decision but it was to no avail; he would have to apply his delicate limbs into carrying it over treacherous countryside terrain for the impending common assault.

It was discovered later on that he had instead decided to veer off for his own purposes, though it could be rightly said that the pikers were grateful for this departure because Carocco tended to weigh them down with his inability to fly like them - carrying baggage was to be entrusted to someone much more versatile to the job in hand.

So aloft the pike men all danced, wafting on the wind as their flock flew in a stringent formation, their weapons at the ready to strike for only an instant in their need, and their wits as slight as their feared end. They were all afraid and glassy eyed whilst the colder layers met them at attitude, feeding them with apprehension. Up they moved to conjoin with the sky’s length, coiling around and around like sailors fighting turbulent seas, except this frothy ocean was drenched in vying dusty feather wings from all the people around. They searched the heavens as labourers would for somewhere to build a solid formation but it was terrible weather in which they sought sanctuary and quite openly the gang developed nausea, for the heights attained and their feathered tips failed them in flight, sending them back to the mercy of the ground petrified in the rain’s severity.

Carocco’s back moulded itself into the bough’s frame as he watched them all float into the air and swim off into an unknown realm. He too had arisen to a height but was in his case, was beholden to the tree’s branch holding his elevated position over gravity’s tyranny. Sleep was not far off but resolve far more the more urgent course for consideration.

“Oh travel gently my fellows, into the storm as they’ll cut you down surely once our enemies become maddened enough to strike heartlessly,” he mouthed silently.

His calculated run for freedom had infringed compliance expected from him in a perverse run of things. Despite never really wanting to look up, his relief forced him to meet the winking sun dressed in a small blue coverlet, then immediately looking away to grant an audience with a passing dove, which was as white as the singlet worn by the rising pike men and could be detected in the breath of sky immediately adjacent to this blue patch.

“Oh my tender gals how I shall miss you now we are away again”, he voiced to the sun, who in recognition stepped out from its throne behind some foolish clouds, just managing to obscure its majesty but it still overtly manage to leak golden juice over the poor champion’s face, sitting there along the tree wondering what to do next.

Perhaps the sun reminded him that the Queen’s solace was similar to his own impregnable reserve. Cocooned in her cosy palace of beautiful styles, she hardly knew anything about outside affairs, except as like now, she needed to flee her enemy’s sight for a very short period until it was safe again to return to normality under her own stealthy wings.

From the father reaches Carocco grew more aware that an incredible lurching figure was picking its way towards him through the giant thickets, typical in such a baron dust bowl that was the region’s delight. Carocco could not identify this approaching blob, though it seemed mad in its conscientious progress, flaying through the hostile undergrowth. He slid down the arching trunk to meet this unknown person head on and to find out something more about this comical wayfarer. It soon became obvious that this person was a piece of chaff disastrously walking about at random, or was he running away from something menacing by his own calling, Carocco could not tell which.

“Dear sir can you tell me which is road that would link me to Breach Canyon”, he said in a fleeting lisp casually set on his tongue, twisting his mouth into a mechanical shape.

“The shapes of my Klan ventured in that direction, what of it”, was the retort from the equally strained Carocco, “what is your purpose in that special realm young sir”?

“A blood relation to the queen”, he heaved back, “just visiting the good old lady soverign to purge a few sins”.

But he could not possibly know the queen’s qualities, besides she was a young lass, quite younger, younger then anyone else could remember. Why would this stranger want to describe her so when she was clearly not? Carocco felt suspicious and became doubtful because the queen was not a matter for common knowledge, and would never countenance such treasonous intrusion, especially not now when she was under a cyclical threat in the leap year.

“Well I cannot detect any look that you may own that puts me in mind that you may be a true royal relation. Cut your tongue if you propose to blaspheme longer blockhead”, as was said by what was now an overtly irritated Carocco.

He could not read anything from the mazes within the crone’s hazel eyes and proceeded to rebuke him further as in punishment.

“Your rude interjection will mean a dangerous presumption; find your way to a more considered opinion or I’ll have you hung drawn and quartered amongst the other rogues I mean to eliminate, for I’m more loyal than you suppose”, he beat back.

And so they began their torrential quarrel that took hours to settle in the rain. Carocco just would not let him pass muster for his lies and listened out to capture the whispered curses about him that this man might moan under his breath. Apparently he knew her name, as Kim but all Carocco knew was a royal woman processing an opaque pallor according to her needs. Sometimes an illusionary smile momentarily fractured her enormous gums that spoke nothing about what the female thought behind her hopelessly wrought mask. Her eyes would beat from time to time but when opened fully, seemed fully numb and serious; nothing for the likes of Carocco or the universal pool within his kind to get into. So this man alluded to intimacies with her that were just not possible in any circumstance; so lay the paradox.

Carocco grew sure that if this nuisance carried on burbling about what he knew about their sovereign, he would end up twisting his head straight off his accommodating shoulders, just to gain him some peace; besides he could not fly with wings like his fellow countrymen and remained pinned down to endure the tormented fiction this man spat out which angered him interminably.

“Prove you know our mistress, otherwise develop your madness in chains”. Carocco now spoke his mind and ventured to immobilise himself from yet a further breach of sanity that this man could offer.

For this man was far ruder beyond the pale of doubt, ruder than anything Carocco had noticed in anyone else before but it had got him thinking on other tangents beyond the ones he had got stuck on so recently. What if she, this so-called goddess they had been worshipping for the last fifty years, was really the rude infidel instead? What if this man was right and they had all been hoodwinked into thinking this graceful lady more than she seemed but really she was a crown disaster, possibly even sleeping with the man who faced him down now. Perhaps she was in the clutches of something evil instead, or was charmed by day and by night she would awake from her torpor to become a temptress at her leisurely device. But what was really true, she didn’t want anything from them, her own true kith, whereas Carocco would stay by her side until the last measure, or even until the dawn had no more will to break in its infatuation with its own self.

“Open your mind you fool; from the cradle I have known her, for I’m her brother who lives up in the moon’s quadrant around the sea of eyes. I sometimes tramp through more earthly domains as a spy, hoping to curtail her enemy’s hopes but it is never to any worthwhile avail that I can halt their indicative schemes”, he said almost in an unearthly chant, “but, she must always wave them away with a composure that would scatter the witless and every fool that would blunder to follow her hoping for a sudden wind fall from her soul”.

“No that cannot be, she is as secretive as this desert around us now! How can you burst force with all your deviant manners and maintain she is nearly the same as you?” It was Carocco’s last hope that the stranger would relent before him but he held fast with a knowledgeable smile that put out his flame with a flutter.

To Carocco, she just did not utter more than a sentence at a time and only spoke as if within her sleep. He could not tame his mind one way or another and he saw that the shameful mask would not unfurl from the stranger’s visage, not even slightly.

“The devil betrays you old man; do not now try to convince me any further. These are lies that could be construed as gossip”, though in actual fact Carocco felt deceived on the Queen’s account and by this mans eccentric behaviour. Was there a conspiracy to pervert evil around this tight corner realm? How could the same seed spawn such diverse figures: One queen and a man who claimed to know her like the palm creating his own hand?

“Give me your hand and I will take you and show you all that I have promised”, the stranger spoke quietly as he pulled out a limb that fielded a long set of wobbly digits that had up until now dwelt neatly down his long sleeved smock, “you must come with me now otherwise you will not grasp for yourself the whole truth in this matter; your knowledge will lie forever destitute without functional enlightenment. Please say you will come. It is not far to what it is I wish to show you. But do come now otherwise it will be all gone and there will be nothing to see. Hurry up”!

But the ground sucked him down and the ferocious spies of anger would not allow Carocco to stay still but to move him further forward off the preferred spot. It seemed like magic that his curious legs were not his own but journeying in their own accordance, following the older gentleman in unison a few paces behind. They both trudged through the robust countryside, not noticing that the sky was always changing from a blackened stain to a silver azure whilst the sun shone through, then back again into the bleak eye sore that it had been before. Soon enough they both stopped short several feet from a dusty canyon that funnelled out towards the travelling duo.

“Where do you think she is now”, he barked at Carocco.

“Carried off to seclusion according to her war time obligations”, answered his opposite number.

“I bet you don’t know where she really is youngster man”, he said.

“If I were you, I would loose the attitude, I have pretty powerful allies”, he counter-struck.
“She’s not where you think she is, that’s for sure. I know for certain”, he said as if to parry the shot much more carefully.


“Because she’s around here where she truly lives”.

“Around here, in there, thriving in that aisle” he said, pointing to the long desert groove that made up the canyon.

Carocco had forgotten himself and it definitely showed on his face. What was this man implying? A whole lot of nonsense had been stumped up it initially seemed, though despite all the doubt, young Carocco felt ill at ease. This man was so sure in his conclusions, his aspersions, and mostly his clear thinking as towards everybody’s queen that she truly was when he remembered home.

“She’s down there alright”, he was singularly on a roll now, taking big advantage that Carocco looked terribly confused, “she’s camping out down there with her entourage my friend”.

The ragged man went on to describe her first journey to these parts. She needed to leave the home city straight away. It wasn’t that she needed to be away for some lunar months while the marauders sacked her haven; it was mostly because she had some other diversion away from the usual courtly drudgery, prying eyes and miscalculated investigations into her life. She would spend all her nights in this small free alcove.

It wasn’t long before a dishevelled little girl came tumbling towards them, yelping coyly, stumbling breathlessly and constantly sneezing. Her wings constituted another tight shawl united with the shoulders, winding round her body, spiralling down in tufty feather vistas to her two little naked feet. Two little blue eyes peered up but slammed shut to shield against the now constant sunlight that had broken the creeping clouds.

“This is her first born and there will be several others like her who will come along, no doubt after the first wave has spent out, though that’s only a prediction”.

Carocco couldn’t think what the man was talking about, it didn’t make sense to his tiny fragmented mind; it frightened him to know all these things; there were too many things to take in simultaneously.

The man went on with the story as the child girl carried on stumbling along, switching from one leg to the other as she travelled across their mid sight towards another stationary figure, which had suddenly appeared behind them. There was a brief description to finish the story’s final slice but Carocco was no longer listening to the man. He had already turned to face what he could only feel sure was a trick in the now modulating dusty light. She towered over him, wings spread out wavering in the solar illuminations that cut through the structural gaps. She briefly looked agitated beyond measure, her mouth dazed open by her own bewilderment. But she soon composed herself and slid back into her former decorum that had be so familiar to Carocco back home, where she led them with the same such curt indifference. Her deeply summated eyes assumed a poised stare and through cultivating hypnosis seemed to subdue her company captive like mere prey. She stared at Sirocco endlessly but remained obdurately taciturn, as was her usual nature whatever the occasion.

She had obviously been spawning quite heavily lately and Carocco could pick up one or two words about ingratiating herself onto a male being, which was fertile enough only at certain brief moments in the lunar year for her to hatch her gullible osprey whenever it was her whim to do so. He had seen her example in the ambling girl. So she was here in this ditch with all her new companions, partners, their families and her own family, involved in a community-building project beyond imagining, cultivated from here amongst the dusty waste. She had bled her all into this project and left nothing but her emotionless shell towards her deserted kinfolk at the palace.

“What is to become of us”, he whimpered while he could still control his panting voice in quite lowish wave patterns, “it would seem silly to suggest that you would ever want to come back to us now you are established here”.

It was true to say that she could not consider any such reason to return to her former kingdom anymore, especially now she had been found out by an insignificant underling, intruding to discover her new nest away from her own shinning past. His little jab from her destiny had jeopardised the palace. Such knowledge would be his undoing, as he saw her now for what she was, in her true guise.

She folded her arms angrily and declared, “Now you can go home Carocco for I certainly don’t want you now”.

Carocco wept violently, as he knew he could when he had occasion to, with sheepish upturned eyes that pleaded with his former majesty but she was remiss in her response. She turned away uninterested and sauntered down into the foreboding crack to feast on the desolate earth with her virulent partner, who had drawn her into his dormant lair several springs in every leap year.


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