Thursday, April 12, 2007

The softening...

Waerjak had that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. The one authors of bad prose describe as butterflies flying in synchronisation to a badly played Rachmoninoff. He was planning his next course of action. He had been planning it for the last five minutes, without moving a muscle. A bird passed overhead as he stood staring into the distance. A fly buzzed noisily around his head, before taking a well deserved break on the top of his shoulder. Waerjak blinked.

As Waerjak gazed at the silent trees, dreaming up possible enemies under the menacing glades, a single drop of sweat eased its way out of the pores of Waerjak's skin on his forehead. It trickled like a melting glacier down to his eyebrows where it met other intrepid droplets just like it. They were all apparently going on a picnic along the same direction. The drop of sweat decided to commandeer them all and make off with them down its adventurous journey. Steering this way and that, the drop began to sing at the top of its voice, an octave higher than the others could touch:

O, the land is full of trees, boy,
And the sea is full of peas.
Men are full of knees, boy,
And the sky is filled with geese.

O, but I am going alone, boy,
To come down this mountain side;
To venture alone is slow, boy,
And so...
And so I must abide... I must slide... until the fountain died, bride

Waerjak stood oblivious to the merry song of his perspiration. It was all he could do to think in the burning heat. He was thinking of the battle tactics of the gnolls - not as happy as hyenas under a full moon, but they came close.

Waerjak's hands twitched. He longed to get away from here, but he had his duty to perform, duty that grew heavier and heavier as he brought more of the barbarian tribes into his fold. Once again, as in all times of pain, Waerjak remembered Tarnum. "Pain is only an indicator to the body and mind, Waerjak. It signals that you are hurt, that you are ill or tired. However, there are times when you must release the thoughts holding you to the present or the mundane. Focus. Remember your duty - duty that his heavier than a mountain, Waerjak. Death is only a release from that duty - death is for the faint hearted. To be able to live and risk all you hold dear for your cause requires far greater courage, far greater Will. And remember, Will is Everything!"

Waerjak's legs felt like butter, the last hour of the five hour wait was the most stressful yet. The waiting... he didn't like waiting, though he was taught how to do so many a time by Tarnum. "The way of nature is to wait, my boy. Even when things rush at the pace of a cataract, nature is holding her breath. The world is contantly breathing sighs of relief after months, minutes, seconds of waiting and then gearing itself up in anticipation again. That is the way of all things. Hence, wait for the moment. The deer will come and you will have your hunt. That is the nature of traps as well."

Waerjak barely had time to shake himself from his reverie when the gnolls attacked, leaping out of the trees, howling their battle cries as a sacrifice to the god of Silence. Waerjak turned to face his first foe, but his leg was trapped in the quicksand he had mired himself in. Waerjak had that sinking feeling all over again. The gnoll raised its axe to deal a death blow, when the first arrow came whistling out of the trees. Before the gnolls knew what was happening, they found themselves bristling with arrows and skewered by throwing spears. The barbarians leaped down from the branches of the surrounding trees to attack the remaining gnolls while Waerjak looked around grimly at the battle scene. He would do what it takes to ensure that the Barbarian nation survived.

"...And the tortoise looked up at the sun and said, 'Rein in your chariot, O Lord, and shower us with light' and the sun replied, 'Wait for your turn, little one, as I fly against the night, for duty holds the elements as fast as it does mortal beings. Awake and build homes, fly and kill, but rush not while nature turns the ancient wheel.' The tortoise looked down at the earth and waited."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Agony and Ecstacy - or lack of it thereof

Somethings will never change. I remain a ripoff. I decide to think up a grand Title to this article and end up combining the name of a book with the name of a post by a close friend. However, I console myself with the fact that it is not me writing this, but one of the 10,633 bloody chimps, gorillas and other primates that are clackity clacking away at those 10,633 typewriters in front of them. Mental note: I've got to try to get myself a discount on that last set of typewriters; and the bananas.

So, as I was saying, my dear Storm; I may call you Storm, mayn't I? I must say, Adas sounds a little too pansy; even if you do say it in a way that it sounds all capitals. ADAS indeed. So, coming back to what I was saying, I was remarking on the way my life has gone completely topsy turvy. I once considered myself a radical in search for a deserving cause. I would rant and rave, wax eloquent when not required and generally behave in a prosaic manner. This is actually better than behaving in a poetic manner owing to the fact that one can write prose but not live it.

And then, I joint my job. Not my current job, you understand, which is absolutely wonderful. I mean, I love the Banshee, after all, I started it. But before that, in the quagmire of the business world, in the desolate desert after the wafts of wizardry, in the tiramisu, no, not quite tiramisu of, um, tyranny, I found myself bordering, dare I say it, on the edges even, on the cliff face, in the heart, of mediocrity. Oh the shame of it! What is that you say? Stop whining? O pish posh? How I exagerrate? Why I never.

Let me tell you how it began, then, my dear unbeliever and may I struck by lightning if ever a word of what I speak is untrue. Ouch. Very funny. My funny bone is NOT a lightning rod, dear chap. Where was I before I was so rudely interrupted? Ah yes, the point of this whole conversation is that I am now a mediocrity. I was so engrossed in my work when I did join, that I forgot the finer things in life. I forgot what it was to laugh at myself, to step back enjoy the flowers that one sees on the peripheries of vision and wisdom and choose to neglect, I forgot to chase girls, that commodity, commodity did I say? I meant jewel, that was gifted to man by the gods above. Ah yes, the time I could have had, my dear chap; I do believe, I've used dear thrice in this one paragraph. And I threw it all away, all to become a mediocrity.

What was that chap's name again? Sal something. I remember what he said sitting in his wheelchair. Mediocrities of the world! I absolve you, I absolve you, I absolve you.

The Knight spoke, "Oh shut up!"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

But it snowed

Lollipops and ice candy always remind me of him. He used to sit there eating both of them with absolute joy on his face. It cracked my heart. I wonder if that was the reason I took him. Not to enjoy his beauty or enjoy his company when I saw fit. I don't even think it was to see his sister cry. I rather like to think I was testing myself and see whether the one of ice was really so cold-hearted as to make winters weep. I think I was wrong. I heard it break. I hear it now.

Imagine a castle. Imagine it well, with topless towers soaring, not in straight lines, but in spirals carved out of matchless white stone. Imagine white stone, not ivory. I hate wizards. Imagine ramps and walkways of the same white stone, with parapets of blue. Doorways of heavy dark wood, flagged to left and right by statues of snow lions. Imagine windows made of etched ice, etched not with nitre or vitriol but with bands of hot iron. Imagine, also then, the steam that hissed out of the ice when it was so cruelly branded by the cold artisan. Now imagine, in the recesses of your mind a platform on the slopes of a misty mountain. Fill it with snow. A storm rages, a snow storm with thunder in the background and lightning shards in the fore. Fill it with hail and a cross wind, fill it with cliches. Imagine the castle on the platform. Lower your finger and push it to the edge. Imagine a woman, head held high walking to this castle. Imagine blue eyes. Imagine a frosty stare, for that is what you will receive. Imagine a smile curling downwards. Imagine.

But I was talking of him. I remember him telling me how there were people who entered one's life, turned it upside down and then left without a trace. He told me of a time he met a friend in the Academy. He wished to be a wizard then hurling lightning bolts into space. I was a wizard once. And he talked then about how these people enter one's life and have an electrifying effect for the time they spend with one. And then, these people leave, and one doesn't feel regret or sadness or hurt. One just remembers them occassionaly, smiles and hums Pachelbel's Canon. And one remembers the scene from the Moving Picture the alchemists play at times, what was it called again- My Sassy Girl? Then he went speechless. He couldn't explain what he wanted to say. I could see it on his face, though. I understood.

Imagine jet black hair falling like a frozen cataract from the top of an oval face. Imagine white stilletos. Imagine them at the bottom of wax like legs. Imagine the legs walking in the middle of the storm to the door of the castle. Imagine them stopping as if the owner of the legs made a decision in mid-step. Imagine them turning away from the castle and walking to the edge of the cliff. Imagine a pale yellow moon rising in the distance. Imagine a length of time as the storm spends all its rage and finds itself short. Imagine again that smile.

I remembered another. Then I remembered again Storm and his belief in grandeur. I remembered what he used to say. Imagine.

Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!

The sun on the hill forgot to die,

And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly

Came back to dream on the river.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning