…they moved among the carriages, the crowds, the noise, oblivious of everything but themselves, hearing nothing, as if they had been walking together in the country on a bed of dead leaves.” ― Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education

12_Agony of Ecstasy

Alexandra Drăgana

Scene 12

Heresy. That was the word that came to Alexandra’s mind. This was heresy, a blasphemy with no end. The stately fir trees seemed to tip their needle pointed crowns in the breeze as the carriage made its way down the dun-colored hill to the massive parade field choked with the people she would rule as their Duchess. Alexandra acknowledged the majesty of the trees, an evergreen sea that gifted her with the scent of spirits and mint.

The Duchess elect shifted her gaze through the front glass to the back of the driver and his assistant on the black rolled leather seat outside. His back was broad and pushed hard against the uniform that struggled to contain the muscles and thick bones of his shoulders. The assistant was no small man either. Guards, she noted. They were more than they appeared to be. The deep rumble of his voice in a whisper cut through the upholstered frame of the carriage, and the assistant’s raspy laugh spoke of bawdy tales in the taverns last night.

She turned back to the window at her side and listened to the rhythmic clop, clop, clop of hooves. There were more horses behind them just out of view. The honor guard, no doubt. Alexandra’s vision blurred as the sounds of the carriage rolling down the worn path lulled her senses.

Heresy was always the new dawn and still the cyclic violence of her many lives played out in her nightmares and life, she thought. Cezar, sitting up front with the Officer of the Guard, looked regale with his uniform, well-groomed hair, and pitch black beard shimmering in a glow about his head. The detail of the gilded trim and lacquered frame of the carriage shifted to a washed out haze. No, God no. Not now, please. She pinched the soft tender skin of her inner thigh hoping the pain would stop her shifting to another waking dream, the dreams that haunted her at will. Color faded to cold blues and wet grays. She felt herself drifting as the sounds of reality faded and the sounds of her memories played voices and scenes before her eyes.

The Duchess, the one who dances with knives, an octagon cage fighter who loved the taste of her opponent’s slick, coppery-sweet blood in her mouth was royalty. Lost to the streets and regained. Heresy, she thought. Fucking heresy. She knew in an unthought voice in her head, she was a revenant, and she wasn’t alone. Not anymore.

The carriage lurched, Alexandra shifted back in the current moment and fought to hold herself there. No more dreams, she pleaded with an invisible master. She reached down and felt a hand. It was firm. Diminutive fingers turned up into her palm and squeezed. It was too late. Alexandra was gone, traveling back in time to another place, another moment her being couldn’t let go.

Alexandra lifted the captured hand to her breast to somehow convince her heart to slow down. The thundering pulse in her ears matched the steady beat of the horses’ gait and the soft whine of the wheels on axles. She heard a young girl in the throws of pain from a large man thrusting at her like an animal, the whine coincided with the slapping of iron on hooves with the gravel underneath. She heard and felt his hard thighs slapping against her naked body. Alexandra froze as a cold, rippling chill raced across her skin. Tears filled her eyes. No decent man would have her by his side if he knew her past.

The hand pressed against her body released her. Now there were two hands. One on her opposite shoulder tugging at her and one resting on her lower stomach where her hips formed a protective bowl defending the vicious pounding she felt getting faster and more fierce. The hands pressed her. Dari’s voice called out. “I’m here. I’m here. Alexandra, look at me.” The sound was distant. Moist air modulated across her ear as did soft lips with a hint of spiced perfume and clean starched cloth.

The vision and scent of tuck and roll leather, lacquered wood, and gold left colored lines of tracers across Alexandra’s eyes as she turned to the voice. She looked into the stardust blue eyes where shadows hid the top of the head, but the eyes glowed with light as did the lipstick on full wet lips. The eyes questioned her, seduced her, owned her thoughts as they bore into her like she was only a shadow herself.

Now, the nimble hands soothed Alexandra, beseeched her presence. The dead chill from moments before lifted under the penetrating cerulean focus of the irises and tender touch. For a moment, Alexandra was unsure if this was another dream where the eyes would make love to her, or the hands would lull her away from her awareness just before the stab of cold steel burned into her chest splitting ribs loud enough to be heard over her screams.

“I’m here My Lady. Stay with me. Look at me. I have you, and you are safe. They can’t get you here.”

Such a strange message and yet it made sense. Dari was no handmaid. It was only her role to play. Alexandra felt herself returning to the present with a loud hum in her ears. There was a crack like a splintering bone and then she was entirely in the present with Dari. She hugged Dari and choking back tears, pleaded with her. “Dari, I love you. You are the sister I always wanted, the friend I always needed. Please promise you won’t leave me ever again.”

“I promise, My Lady.” The mesmerizing lips moved in the light as Dari’s voice drifted in Alexandra’s consciousness. “We approach our destiny once again. You are more powerful than you’ve ever been before. My Lord was right to seek you out. There was never any other choice. And now, it begins. Don’t worry,” Dari said as she stroked her Duchess with a love that can only be felt by a revenant returned to her wolfpack after many seasons alone. “We all will know what to do. It’s in our blood. You’ll see.” The two halves of the whole held their embrace as both felt their life together was far more potent than either alone.

Go To Scene 13


Art by Jimmy Law.

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70 thoughts on “The Agony of Ecstasy-Scene 12

  1. Obviously I loved this. I’ve been waiting for an eternity it feels for them next installment. Sorry it took me so long to visit.

    This had so much pace and drama, so many visceral reactions that you described expertly. No surprise there.

    Each installment of this beautiful soul searching and soul finding saga has me breathless.
    The relationship between Alexandra and Dari is so palpable and heart wrenching but you express the safety of it masterfully.

    Missed reading your work H.

    Onto the next.
    Can’t wait.

    Many hugs
    💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Fiery. Alexandra comes from a dark place and has lived many lives in a crucible of pain and suffering but she is fierce and her knowledge of the past, if it fully returns will make her a force to be reconned with. Dari is a critical part of Alexandra’s transformation. We are going to learn a lot about her and maybe come to fear her as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe it’s because you took much longer to post ( were you refining and polishing more than in the past?) but like another reader said, this writing seems different than previous chapters in this story. It’s not Hyperion, it’s Hyperion Extreme version 2.0! 😀 And it’s all kinds of amazing, dark and penetrating. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren! So glad you stopped by. Yes, I played harder with my style to see if it worked. I don’t know if I can sustain it. Scene 13 is a little lacking as I think I pushed it out too fast. There are a lot of missed opportunities for better and clearer text. I remember our discussions of our shared like of noir stories but this may push diversity of thought a little too far. No problem, I work at stuff until it clicks and I do enjoy exploring where sane people never go. 🤫

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You can do it, my friend! Take all the time you need. I personally didn’t feel like Scene 13 was lacking…it was delicious and dangerous and you always do so well describing all the senses. Great art often comes from pushing too far and exploring.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Muwaaa haaa haaa! Its so nice to share these angles of human nature with good friends who get it totally. That always inspires and feeds my contiuous effort to bring it on. Most of my greatest moments in life were far out in front of normal.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. So nice to have you visit my tiny house off the trail in the forest, Mme H. It’s a bit dark, but the love shines brighter in the dark, I think. Thank you so much for your support and kindness. I thrive on it, am inspired by it. I feel another chapter coming on… 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you intertwine love and pain. This chapter is like a representation of the title itself. Our heroine is tortured by horrendous memories and brought back to reality by the tender touch of a loving hand. She is charmed when looking at Cezar but forced to see and feel again the vile moments of her former life. Well done! And I have finally caught up with the latest chapter. Now I’ll have to wait patiently with the others for what will happen next 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your excellent insights Na Mirea. Alexandra must reconcile these past memories with her present and future. She is a powerful personality perfect for the job of reuniting her people, yet she is deeply troubled and even off balance from these flashbacks in her past. The serve a purpose to constantly remind her of the cost of being unable to defend herself and her soon to be subjects. Since she was trained as a female fighter since her preteens, she has not been abused. She is untouchable now. But the memories have not released her and traumatize her, driving down her confidence and self esteem. The Viscount and Dari exist to bring her back from the past to lead into the future. It’s a very dangerous undertaking for them. Dari is a key enabler as we will see. I hope to not keep you waiting long with the next scene. 😃

      Liked by 2 people

  4. OK, I just removed all my posts and it’s time for me to move the plot forward. (Or at least develop a plot.) The next segments will be “boring” but necessary. Meditating on my stuff. Stay tuned….and I will always jump into a new Alexandra story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chris. My own glimpses into the past are very powerful and intrusive. Writing and transferring that experience to a character has helped me keep my sanity at the moderately eccentric level. I have “flashbacks” hundreds of times a day and in my dreams at night. It takes a lot of mental energy to stay in the present.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I’d love to hear your actual soldier stories. Vietnam, I presume? Oh! One more thing: I was meditating on this conversation and I suddenly had an epiphany! In one moment of clarity, it occurred to me how to tie all the random segments of my blog together and give it something that closely resembles a plot…meaning more closely resembles a book! I can’t wait to get started. When you read what I’m going to write next, it’s going to seem like the natural course of events…but it took me forever to figure out. It was a total DOH! moment, and I credit much of our conversation to the insight! I’ll get on it by next week! Now I’m having fun…which is really what it’s all about!!! Cya!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I do have a very interesting story about Vietnam, it’s an Alice’s Restaurant sort of experience. It’s one of those things where the truth is stranger than fiction. After that, I went back to the Army 6 years later to try to win my pride back in Reagan’s Army. I stayed until 2002, then transitioned to a desk job in the Army with the Skunk Works. We call it that because when I eat cajun food for lunch all the skunks in the area hightail it out of there. They don’t like the competition. I work on a job that virtually no one in the Department of Defense has ever heard of in spite of my fame for farting like a mule in the elevator. My buddies at DARPA have no clue what I do, even after I tell them. It’s the perfect job. You can never be fired or layed off from a job that no one knows exists. And super kool for finding a new writerly innovation. Can’t wait to read you. Got some more Alexandra to throw up on the wall. She’s about to get it together and there are a few side stories to venture off on before the season finale.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. I can say without reservation that my 21 years of active duty and 16 years of service to the Army as a civilian has compiled a huge list of absolutely hilarious misadventures. I think those moments are worth telling. I soent a lot of time as a trainer evaluator and I think that time falls into the category of you just can’t make this shit up. Young kids learning to be meat eaters after spending all of their young life playing Zelda and Mario brothers is actually funny stuff. But, when they destroy their first million dollars worth of equipment, they grow up.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. Thank you George! I was Army. My dad was Navy and my son was a Marine. My brother was AirForce and layer Navy Submariner. We got all the bases covered so the stories can get pretty wild.

                      Liked by 3 people

                    2. That’s very interesting about your family and their involvement with the services, Daniel.

                      I don’t think I ever mentioned to you that my maternal grandfather served in the Canadian Army, my mother served in the Royal Canadian Navy and my maternal uncle served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

                      My dad did attend Canadian Army training bases at both Regina and Winnipeg but I suppose fortunately for my dad as far as his life and limbs were concerned, the Second World War ended before he could be sent overseas.

                      I suppose the only bit of national service I ever sought out was applying for CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) after I graduated from University.

                      I did pass several physical and intelligence tests for them but was rejected under the psychological accessment “he refuses to accept all orders given to him without question.”

                      I would have thought the lessons learned in the post-WWII Nuremberg War Trials
                      would have shown there were advantages to people questioning some orders from their superiors.

                      But I guess that lesson was lost on CSIS (no doubt following the advice of the CIA who learned from German Intelligence officers they had brought over as advisors to America through Operation Paperclip).

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. Wonderful family history Chris. Those psyche questions are tricky. I would have said I will accept all legal orders because Americans do have the right of refusal. But, because our authority extends all they way down the chain of command, we can use our own good judgement on how to accomplish the task the best way. It was good your father didn’t have to go to war. He could use his great intelligence for the betterment of humanity instead.

                      Liked by 1 person

      1. From my experience, you are experiencing the “awakening mind”. In order to know itself it has to discover its past and it has to know its future also. All part of a new reality for a few, obviously not the many, not yet. Just flow with it…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The awakening mind. Absolutely. I repressed it most of my life but I’m allowing it to free flow now and I’m open about it. People can believe what they will. This isn’t about convincing or enlightening anyone. It’s more about simple connections with those who are the same or those who are interested for whatever reason. One thing for sure, my head elves are busy and very entertaining. They don’t stick to a genre because life in totality is not a genre.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Uh, like I’m not gay…but even your description of men is totally sexual. Your word choice creates such vivid imagery…”His back was broad and pushed hard against the uniform that struggled to contain the muscles and thick bones of his shoulders.’ Broad, pushed hard…struggled to contain muscles and thick bones…my pants are struggling to contain my muscle right now bro!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awesome George. I’m hoping men and women find something they resonate with in the story. Ultimately, it takes both to make the story more real. I will admit, as a male bipedal hominid, I need a lot of help from the ladies to capture their thought process accurately. I definitely don’t want Dari and Alexandra to seem like they have a bit too much testosterone. It’s okay if they kick ass but they still have to be ladies when they aren’t busy eating a beta male for lunch.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Man, there’s a hot sex scene appearing in my mind…but it is in actually in the story or is it only hints and suggestions? Only you, with your descriptive brilliance can take me inside a woman’s dreams…or nightmares as the case may be…and graphically show me what Alexandra so desperately wants to hide. Brilliantly done, Hyp! Brilliant! Even the rhythmic clop clop clop on the moving carriage hints of penetration…or at least triggers the memory of such an event..oh, but perhaps I see what I want to see in your carefully chosen words…suddenly, I need a cigarette…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LoL, you are a very perceptive reader, George. The whole story is predicated on what happens when love turns to violence and back to love again. How does a person separate trauma and deep spiritual connection that comes from the same physical act. And, is loving a person in all the many ways connections are formed have a right and wrong based on age, gender, religion, race, culture and so on? Can it be that love is found only if strictly observed constraints are in place. Can Alexandra love and be loved after experiencing many lives that ended in violence and because she is a woman, rape and abuse is part of her life like shopping for shoes. She has adapted through her connection with Master Cho. She has the skill and physical power to turn the tables on her attackers. In the attack, she is truly blood thirsty. This is her connection to wolves and to Dari. They are the pack females that follow the Alpha male and take down the prey. I’ve added a few twists to this feral tale of our beast within. But any feral tale would be lackluster without hard sex and hard lives. It’s what we are when you boil us down to our basic psychological ingredients. Hooves to ground or hips to butt, it’s a rhythm of life we can’t ignore even tho we try to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, well said. Having been raped, I sense she also feels unworthy of any real relationship with a man…you got this down Hyp! You’re the master of subtlety when getting inside a woman’s mind…not only inside their mind during this life…but past lives as well. I can’t imagine a relationship with a woman carrying emotional baggage from PAST LIVES…they would be totally bat-shit psycho…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well I think Alexandra’s psyche hasn’t completely revealed herself yet. We know she is plagued by memories of violence as a homeless child and in her past lives. We also know that Master Cho has empowered her to fight back and even though she is emotionally vulnerable, she has been a warrior in every life. The fact she can cage fight and purposely enjoy the taste of her opponent’s blood means there is much more to this gal than meets the eye. She may not be so innocent when her blood is brought to a boil. Poor Dari better look out. The Alpha female often bites the buttersoft skin of the betas. Sorry. Just being a little melodramatic in an evil werewolf kind of way. 😁

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sha’Tara. I’m pleased you dropped by. I haven’t written in a while but hope to get moving again on this story. This started with one of my own waking dreams and I decided to turn it into a story. It is a bit dark and supernatural but there is many redeeming qualities found in our revenants’ from the Dacian Society of Wolves.

      Liked by 1 person

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