“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”


Frank Herbert, Dune
Image Source: Cliff Nielsen

Marius

Scene 18

Warriors. That is what they were, Marius mused. He took out a bag of the castle’s feed for his wolfpack from the hunter’s shack at the trail terminus and placed out several pans for his wolves. They attacked the bowls of meat and grains ground into a texture and taste the wolves ate with ravenous hunger.

Perched above the field and pavilion where the escarpment was bisected by an ancient road through the dark forest, Marius surveyed the unfolding scene below him. His field glasses framed faces intent on being first at the long tables of food and drink at the edge of the parade ground. There were mounds of pork, lamb, and beef on every table with potato and vegetable dishes, fresh cheese, and round hard crusted bread loaves shoveled into plates and bowls by castle staff for the crowd. The men gathered in clusters to smoke and boast around the line of beer kegs while women collected food for children and the men. Everything appeared normal as if nothing unusual had happened.

Rolf settled next to his Alpha, head on his outstretched paws. His full belly made him lazy. He watched Marius engaged in a peculiar study of the people below. His eyes followed his master’s. The food and people were no interest to the young wolf as he scooted closer and nuzzled the hand next to him. Yes, a good petting was what he needed to help him sleep, and Marius always obliged.

The royal party was gone and the pavilion deserted except for the guards that kept curious onlookers away. It was too normal. “Looks like I’ll need to go down and sniff around a little,” Marius told Rolf who only perked up one ear as his eyes rolled slowly back into his nap.

A butterfly alighted on Rolf’s nose. Both eyes popped open in alert surprise. It spread its black wings to reveal a band of pure white spots. Rolf’s eternal friend who helped him hunt the Alpine meadows of tall grass and wildflowers tickled Rolf’s nose with its delicate feet. The butterfly’s long drinking straw of a mouth tapped on the flared nostril of his companion to draw moisture. Rolf always felt the pecking touch as an intimacy that bonded them as friends and allies in the endless seasons of life and death.

The security officer clamored down the embankment to the roadbed and made his way to the back of the pavilion. A soldier of the royal guard snapped to attention as Marius rounded the corner. “Sir,” he acknowledged in that sharp tone of discipline.

“What has happened here?” Marius asked. He observed the soldier’s hesitation, he saw the moisture increase in the soldier’s eyes that danced nervously from the castle back to his superior.

“There was a shooting, sir.”

“Was anyone injured?” Marius inquired in a practiced casual tone while his heart pounded.

“The Duchess was shot, sir.”

“What?” Marius felt his stomach bile rise in his throat.

“The Lady Drăgana was . . .”

“Where is she. Where is the royal courtiers?” The officer demanded to know.

“They all hid the scene from the people and whisked her away toward the castle. That’s all I know sir.”

Misted eyes and grief clouded the soldier’s face and speech. Marius could see he was in shock and yet he held his post not allowing for the crushing blow that he and his fellow soldiers had failed to keep the Duchess safe.

Marius felt the ache of dreams dashed, and duty failed. “Thank you. Carry on,” was all the officer could get out of his constricted throat.

An agonizing climb up the stone treads to the pavilion led Marius to the scene of the shooting. Near the steps and on the ground below were pools of blood. On the raised platform of manicured grass was a tuft of braided hair still attached to a piece of Alexandra’s scalp. “Dear gods,” Marius exclaimed at the unnerving sight. He looked to the tree where the Duchess and Viscount had exchanged tender looks and saw the bullet had skimmed the tree leaving a fresh wound of torn bark and splintered wood. In the small branches just back of and above the pavilion were strands of long black hair glistening in the sunlight as they waved like prayer banners in the breeze.

An aching sickness gripped Marius. The proud officer’s dry throat burned. He was no stranger to the gore of violence. Hadn’t he stood over the torn body of the sniper without remorse or even the slightest unease? Yet, here on the ground was the blood of generations of hope that one day the long scattered aristocracy of Dacia would unite again to take back their ancestral lands and return their culture of the wolves to the present. Hope has many enemies, Marius reflected as he looked to the sky and murmured, “The gods be damned. Now, the blood of the Duchess requires another era of blood for blood. Endless war for 5000 years. I am weary of this fight.”

A corporal of the guard approached his officer with quiet respect. He waited for Marius to recognize him and give him permission to speak.

“What news have you, corporal?”

“Sir, the Count requests your counsel immediately.”

“Very well, corporal.”

The two elite soldiers of the royal guard, the Black Wolf Brigade, made their way to the waiting vehicle. Marius gave a brief order as he buckled into his seat.

“Radio the operations center and have several squads canvas the area for evidence and have the corpse at the back of the parade field taken to the castle morgue for identification.”

“Yessir,” the radioman replied and relayed the orders into the microphone to a tinny voice on the other end.

Marius held an outward appearance of calm leadership in the shock of crisis. He looked out the window at the passing scenery of forest and rolling meadow and attempted to find the wisdom in his ancient soul. He felt nothing there except growing rage, seething anger, and a need for the blood of his unknown enemy.

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65 thoughts on “The Agony of Ecstasy-Scene 18

  1. This was amazing as is everything you write. Did the Duchess survive? I know I’ll find out eventually, but had to ask anyway. lol I especially loved the moment between Rolf and the butterfly. You are so good at description, my friend. I really loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kymber! Thanks for dropping by. Oh yes, she survived and she’s mad.someone has interrupted her workout routine and they got a good butt kicking coming. But first, we’ll check in on some others and see how they are getting along.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve pledged to post at least one scene a week and I think that will help keep the momentum going. So many secrets in that old castle to uncover. And our Revenants, we definitely need to learn about them and why someone would want to kill Alexandra like they did her mother and father.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I do hope to bring forth a couple more scenes of deep ocean mindful prose by Tuesday. With the weather stormy and the outside world soggy, I’ll likely be at my writing desk/man chair whipping out a surprise encounter sure to cause more mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ll be testing everyone’s tolerance for graphic sex very soon. Quite caveman in a beasty dominant way. I practice for the sake of getting it right. Negative comments are welcomed to help form a more literary presentation of this innate activity amongst bipedal hominids.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. My plan is to portray the scene from the Alpha male perspective which incorporates significant domination and fierceness. But, it also has to be done in a way that enamors the reader instead of victimize. It’s a thin balance but the right crowd partakes of the Dragons’ den so I’m hopeful for literary success.

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. My work schedule really dominates my life but I despatately want to use 2019 to prepare me for going home in 2020 doing the things I love which is writing and outdoor adventure. I will definitely work on a scene a week to keep the interest rolling. The Agony of Ecstasy is really a series of short stories that all relate to Alexandra’s life. Weaving this tapestry may need some readjustment but I feel like WordPress is the best outlet to find out what works and what doesn’t. Definitely, I will look forward to your opinions and impressions to turn these mental gravy dribblings into an epic tale.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Chess is a worthy pursuit. Perhaps there is a scheduling method using time tectonics you can use to operate in near simultaneous mental processes. Now, to be honest, that would be impossible for me but my nannites haven’t built up to optimal speed yet. What I do is go on hikes and while in the forest, I let my mind just spin on a whole sequence of chapters until I trip and bust my ass for not paying attention. Clear-Reset-Restart.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Chess drains my intellectual reserves which need to be put into writing. I’ve already been the chess guy…now I’m the writing guy. Time tectonics? Perhaps I should look into that tho…waiting for Alexandra!!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Also, I take more joy from the responses I get on my blog than I do from kicking one person’s ass over the chess board. One game that will vanish into the infinite nothingness when finished…when my blog, WHEN it gets published…(Thinking positive here) will live FOREVER! Mooohahahahahaa! Yeah, the brain drain. I only have so much “chi” remaining for mental exertion. I must spend it well.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. You are wise my friend. Conserve Chi, write well, and you can always visit the latest darkness at Castle Razvan just posted moments ago. The orchestra is playing and as all orchestra’s must, a crescendo is coming.

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sara. I thought it was a good wuote too and very real. Glad you like it. We get into the action now although a bit more mystery and less graphic kick assery. I’m hoping to get over to catch up with your stories soon.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t Rolf cool. I really like him. He likes his handler and butterflies but is really tough on snipers. I had to have a butterfly in the story to keep it real. Wolves and butterflies are famous in Romanian and many people come from all over the world to see the many different species of butterflies. They will often scatter in the mountain fields of grass and wildflowers alerting the wolves that something tasty is moving around. Anyway, things are moving along quickly now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s absolutely fascinating, Daniel.

        I didn’t know that about butterflies and wolves in Romania.

        I suppose that’s why that particular paragraph appeals to me so.

        I think I told you Daniel that a Cree First Nations Medicine Man in northern Alberta told me that my spirit animal is the wolf.

        Just like a Blackfoot First Nations Medicine Man in southern Alberta told me that my spirit animal is the wolf.

        So if the Cree and Blackfoot can agree on something, it must be so (seeing as how the Cree and the Blackfoot used to fight fierce wars in the territory (that was later to become the Canadian province of Alberta) back in the 19th Century.

        And butterflies.

        I’ve always loved butterflies.

        To me the butterfly has always been symbolic of my future female partner wherever she is and whoever she may be.

        A year ago last summer when I was depressed, a butterfly landed on my right hand and stayed there for several minutes.

        I took that as a sign of hope.

        I still remember a song from my childhood whose lyrics went, “Ma papillon, les deux enfants, ma cherie d’amour…” (for the woman who is my human butterfly is my sweet love).

        Just like the wild hare jack rabbit and the deer are symbolic of my father.

        Whenever I see a wild hare jack rabbit cross my path, that’s usually a sign that something good is about to happen.

        And as for the deer, well my sister saw a deer the night my dad died (and was unaware at the time she saw it that my dad had died).

        Ever since then (I probably myself haven’t seen a deer in at least 15 years), I’ve always had the feeling that if I were to encounter a deer in person, this would be the sign that I would soon encounter my destiny (the purpose for which I have been put here on this earth).

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        1. Ah, we both have the wolf as our spirit animal. It is such a noble creature as are we 😎😎. I believe your butterfly is living close to your favorite place to go. You have crossed paths but not met. Fate is cruel, but Karma is crueler. When you least expect it, you’ll meet her and then it will be up to you to close the deal. I have seen this in my prescient dreams often, always the same. Beware, your Hwi Noree comes as a butterfly on the wind. 🦋

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  2. Loved the sweet little moment with Rolf and the butterfly, though it is contrasted by the severity of the situation with the Duchess. It was nice to read all of these chapters together today! Quite exciting. ❤ I shall eagerly await more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed having you visit, Lauren. I know you are quite busy and I do appreciate very much that you took the time to read and comment in your always inspiring way. I’m already liking Rolf’s canine like simplicity in life. The world of humans is falling into chaos but Rolf is unaffected, sticking close to his nature. Wish I could do that.

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      1. My pleasure, when I do find time I always look forward to seeing your latest work. 😀 And I think I know someone who is pretty close to Rolf these days – he only has a landline and no social media whatsoever. No website even, and he’s an artist, though he brings nature indoors. Literally, there’s things like moss and seashells stuck to the walls and ceilings in his home. It’s like a nature wonderland.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ve had time to load up the website with new chapters. More coming soon. It’s getting crazy up in here. Your artist friend sounds quite naturally enlightened. I bet that’s an interesting visit.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, Rene. This is the crisis that takes us to the heart of the story. It’s here that it truly begins. We humans are a strange juxtaposition of love and violence. The two are often confused as is the case with Alexandra through her many experiences. This just makes her more adept at being human and comfortable in her true nature. We learn to love greater and with more purity when we suffer and she has suffered much. Lots more to come so stay tuned 😉🧛‍♂️🧛‍♀️

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