“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities.”


Frank Herbert, Dune Chronicles
Image Source: Pinterest

Cezar

Scene 24

“Are you certain Marius? This seems too sinister, more so than any threat we’ve ever faced.” Cezar glared at his coat of arms above the fireplace. The sentinel wolves of Cezar’s heritage emblazoned on the upper right quadrant of the ancient shield glared back at him with ominous accusation. Cezar’s hands clenched in rage as his noble blood struggled to maintain his regal composure.

“It is as true as I can determine, My Lord. The DNA from the sniper led us down this trail as we searched through the chain of events and people connected to the shooter’s support network. We uncovered his command and control cell as the implications grew wider. It wasn’t long after we talked to a few soft targets. They were pleased to share everything they knew for a painless end to the meetings.” Marius replied.

“The World Bank was established for altruistic reasons; to fight poverty, sickness, and to elevate education. They have over 360 member countries. Surely, they are not our enemy,” Cezar said, his throat constricted by the enormity of what Marius told him.

“The perfect cover, My Lord. Who would suspect them? I do not think all member nations seek our ruin. I do think there are a few at the top who would seek to elevate their power at any price. China, India, and Russia are their most thirsty recipients of the bank’s monetary funds. Their people suffer as their armies grow in capability, flush with cash from the bank.

Don’t forget, Korea borrowed billions from the bank and repaid their debt before it was due, Marius continued. No country has ever done that. Now, a Korean is the president of the World Bank. I see a purpose in that move.” Marius paused his explanation of his suspicions to study his Viscount. Cezar’s concern distorted his face as if Marius had thrust a dagger into Cezar’s stomach.

Cezar continued to look at his battle shield, now his armorial bearing from eons ago. “The Americans really run the show. We host them in our lands as allies to keep the Russians honest and to respect our borders.”

“Again, Sir, What better ruse than to appear an ally while plotting your overthrow by coercion or outright attack. We know this tactic, My Lord, it has been the source of many a battle for our freedom.” Marius held the gaze of his Viscount to show his concern.

“What do you suggest we do?” Cezar asked.

“We need allies of our own. Before we can enlist our natural benefactors to stand with us, we must unite our people with the Duchess and let her rally all of Romania in a popular nationalism. In a position of strength and power, we can begin to recruit aid in our goal to remain homogenous. Even our historical enemies, like Hungary and the Turks, could see it beneficial to unite with us in a common front against the democratic socialists that act like drug dealers with their cash. They enslave people with debts sold on the promise of a better life, before using this leverage to bend every country’s will. They speak of global unity and government under socialism and liberal freedoms, yet their true goal is world domination. The Romans have returned, My Lord.”

“I see it clearly now, Cezar said. I must ready Alexandra to be at my side again. This will allow her to cede the title of Duke to me and together we will convince the people to join our campaign and gather our allies as planned.

“Good, Sir. Alexandra is fully awake now. Her bandages are removed and physical therapy will help her regain her strength and agility. Dari reports that Alexandra is smitten with you and she should be ready to reclaim her past with you. She only needs to find her past connection to you.

Agreed. And what of Dari? Has she accepted your terms to be the Wolfmaster?

Dari is more than ready to be the Wolfmaster. She is the spiritual link for us all.” Marius saw the Viscount’s face soften as he thought of Alexandra. marius was sure Cezar loved her yet, he showed so little of his true emotions in front of the Duchess. Ah, but his deep feelings cannot be stifled, Marius mused to himself. Love will conquer them both while Dari and I seize the reigns of revolution for Dacia.

✽ ✽ ✽

Cezar rang the buzzer to Alexandra’s suite and waited. Dari soon opened the door. Cezar saw her eyes sparkle with recognition and a welcoming smile. He found his worries lifted in this bright moment between them.

“Welcome, My Lord. The Duchess is out on the balcony enjoying tea. Can I bring you something to drink?”

“Yes, please, Dari. I’ll take a tea with the Duchess.”

“She is moody, sir. When she heard of your visit, her spirits lifted. Be kind, sir.” Dari’s countenance was docile yet her eyes were a warning to her Viscount.

She protects her Duchess like the wolves she trains, thought Cezar.

Cezar walked to the French door and peered through the glass at the covered legs under a blanket draped over Alexandra’s shoulders and folded across her body as she sat in the wicker chair next to a small table. A mist rose like a twisting ghost of a ballerina from the cup next to her. She stared across the meadow, her eyes fixed in a trance. What visions of us does she see, Cezar wondered?

The click of the handle to the door and the groan of hinges as it opened caused no change in Alexandra’s visage. She was as still and pale as an alabaster statue. Cezar came up to her side and attempted to look out across the castle grounds to see if there was something there that captivated her attention. There was nothing to see except the beauty of the Carpathians. Cezar accepted that was enough to hold one captive in thought.

Fingers slid deftly through Alexandra’s thick hair on the uninjured side and found their way to the back of her head. She turned and looked up into Cezar’s face and smiled with faint recognition. Cezar felt the tremors in her body as he sought to still the palsy by tightening his grip on her. Water formed in the crevice of her eyelids and ran down her cheeks making way for more. The reflection of light in her eyes amplified uncertainty, fear, and a subliminal cry for help. The sight of her, vulnerable and weak, wracked Cezar to an overwhelming passion to comfort her.

He kissed her with soft intent. Alexandra’s hands went to his cheeks and stroked his beard before urging him to stay for more. Their eyes met before closing and Cezar saw a great distance in her eyes. She was kissing a long-dead ghost with the love they shared across many lives and centuries. He fell into the well of times past with her as passion grew and the tempest winds of a life lived in another time and another place howled in his ears.

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93 thoughts on “The Agony of Ecstasy-Scene 24

  1. “…like a twisting ghost of a ballerina” is perfection when it comes to that tea steam! Dang what a great description. And the last paragraph is so beautiful. What I really enjoy are the little tidbits I can learn in your comments – about history and culture.

    Gotta love politics. 😀 This story keeps getting bigger and better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren! I cant tell you how many times my coffee or tea has mesmerized me on the back porch with that steam curl dancing in the breeze above the cup. I thought it would be nice for Alexandra’s cup to do the same. So glad you liked that. I felt like Cezar wasn’t going to be able to leave Alexandra alone. The heck with those lengthy royal waiting rituals. It’s time to get back to conquering. I am fascinated with the history of East Europe. We have overlooked those countries for many decades and now the veil is lifting. Namirea is a Bulgarian writer and knows this history well so she is a great source of information as well as my cousin Ana born in Romania. With my retirement on the horizon, I may not have to wait long to go there and see for myself. I’ll post pictures of me and the wolves. Ignore the bite marks on my fanny from Rolf and his siblings. They just wanted to show me who the real boss is around the castle.

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      1. I’ve been lost in it, too, many a time. Those two deserve some sweet sweet lovemakin’!

        I’m excited for you to visit, and I aim to do the same some day. My father has to decide this week if he wants to accept the retirement package his workplace gave him – he’s 68. You’ll get a real wolf tattoo on that rump!

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        1. Ummm hmmmm! I think those two lovebirds have some catching up to do. I hope your Dad’s company gives your Dad a great deal. At 68, its time to work at having fun. There’s places to go see and things to do. LOL! A wolf tattoo on my rump would be just the thing to start lively conversations at outdoor concerts or festivals. “Hey, wanna see my tattoo? Arrrggggh! My eyes! I can’t feel my eyes!”

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    1. I edit all the time because as the story evolves, I need to go back to tighten up the connections. So, I do consider it progress to edit before it’s finished. I do light editing before posting and still mistakes make it through but keeping it down to a minimum helps later. That’s my approach. Your mileage may vary.

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  2. I see you’ve added some geopolitical intrigue to this story, Daniel, regarding the World Bank.

    And that line Marius said about “They were pleased to share everything they knew for a painless end to the meetings” sounds like a statement Renfield would make to the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee before telling them information he had recently received from enemies of the United Kingdom in his own investigatory probes that go Infinity and Beyond anything Robert Mueller would ever do.

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    1. Yes, indeedy! When one looks at the World Bank’s charter it is clearly for benevolent support to improve quality of life for struggling countries, but when you look at the abuse that could happen, it could actually be the means to coerce those dependent countries into accepting foriegn intervention the would prefer not to deal with. I take this thought into the fictional realm where it becomes plausible.

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  3. This was such a bittersweet kiss they shared. As a reader, I could feel their pain and pleasure at the same time. The plot is getting more and more entangled and I love it. I’ll be waiting patiently for more to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi K! How have you been? I’ve been thinking about you and telling my friends about what a great novel you’ve written. I feel your influence and inspiration as I plan my next twist of plot and fate in the story. I am so happy you felt exactly the emotion I tried to convey in the scene. This thought that love is agony and ecstasy for the heart, mind, and soul takes many paths in life and the story is the same. Thank you for your patience as I work through the scenes. I wonder what the wolves are up to? Maybe we will check on them. Their life doesn’t seem to be so complicated as the others.

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      1. Yeah, I miss the wolves. Let us know how they are doing. Also, I cannot but wonder how the count keeps his emotions bottled in like that. He must be shouldering more than he lets on.

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        1. Yes, Cezar hides his emotions under the mantle of his position. I do think Alexandra will liberate him and herself from the invisible barriers to their shared passion for each other and the welfare of their people. Great hardships tend to bond people tightly together.

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        1. Thank you M. By the way, Gramps passed away last weekend at 103 years old. We had a lovely service and he is resting well with my grandmother and mother. He was the ladt of my immediate family besides my three siblings. Now we are the only remaining tribal leaders.

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          1. He was a tough old dude….hanging on. He’s in a great place and certainly more happy. Is all the family property and house gone or did you manage to keep some.
            I know the quilt of grieving when a caregiver, there is nothing to carry quilt for, you went way beyond. Hugs.

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            1. We are all at peace because he is at peace. No guilt or negative feelings. He was well cared for and loved by all. We had to sell all of his estate to pay for his care, but there are no regrets there.

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  4. such a timely scene dear H. “The perfect cover, My Lord. Who would suspect them? I do not think all member nations seek our ruin. I do think there are a few at the top who would seek to elevate their power at any price…” Indeed! And at last, they fell into the well of times past, so sensual, so subtle. Divine writing Dan.

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    1. Thank you so much Rene! ☺️. Plausible fiction is a useful tool in focusing our minds on current events. But in our greatest danger and stiffest challenges, we find our love for another at its strongest. Alexandra and Cezar are no exception. Their unbreakable bond is reformed anew.

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                    1. Time for Dari’s ritual transition from Wolfkeeper’s daughter to Wolfkeeper. There are a lot of surprises in store for the secular world that wishes to exploit the Dacian Revenants. Did you know there is still a homogenous tribe of people there that have been there since the bronze age and have never been defeated by any invaders, primarily because of the remoteness in the rugged mountains and their fierceness. Even the Soviets left them alone. Now those are some hardy mountain folks right there.

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                    2. It’s anazing just how many homogeneous tribes are out their now in the Amazon. Just recently there was the the tragic death of the young evangelical man trying to reach a tribe that had never been exposed to outsiders and to save themselves ( knowingly or not) from the dangers of foreign born illness they killed him. I think they should stay away from and let these people live their lives. Yes, even in the deep Appalachia’s there are isolated folks that wasn’t to be left alone and should be. Night Dan.

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                    3. Totally agree, Rene. Not every person has to be a modern Knight or Damsel of the Internet Life. To me, they are a kind of baseline of humanity as they are unspoiled by the trappings of modern life an still live with nature.

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                    4. It is instinct primarily. Many of the remote tribes have a warrior clan culture amd protection of the tribe is paramount to survival. Where people don’t experience external predation of their land, food sources, and people, they tend to be less aggressive and quite accepting. Historically these remote tribes don’t fare well after contact with the outside world and are often exploited. One of my Dragon Sisters on Word Press grew up in the jungles of Sarawak and could make her own tools for hunting and trapping fish. Her life story is far more interesting than any fiction one could imagine. She is a remarkable person.

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    1. Thank you so much Kymber. If you get a chance, go by all means. One of my readers lives near the Carpathians and lives what I can only write about. The Carpathians are the only unspoiled land in Europe. The wildlife is still natural and the same as through history. That cannot be said of any other part of Europe. What a beautiful natural environment it must be.

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        1. Yes indeedy! In Romania, most of the land is pristine an agrarian. From 1946 to 1986 the Soviet Union moved everyone off their property and small farms to work in the large collectives. When the wall went down and the country pursued democratic rule, they slowed the reclamation of family property to ensure only original owners received their land and then it was opened up to Romanians only. Now there are problems with some exploitation but the Carpathians remain largely unspoiled since 400 bc. The original tribal settlers in early history still live there largely homogenous and undiluted by centuries of migrations and war. The Transylvanian Carpathians (what is now Romania) is the birthplace of werewolves and vampires. Also not far away is the tribe that spoke Latin which was adopted by ancient Greece and later the Romans thus saving Latin which spread throughout the world and influences 70% of all languages. Who would have thunk it?

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            1. Me too! My cousin is Romanian living in Berln and some day I want to visit her and her family and go visit the mountains and do a little village living. Hopefully, I won’t get eaten by a bear. The bears leave the Romanians alone because they are stringy and chewy but us buttery soft Americans are quite tasty and slow runners.

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    1. LoL! 😂. Yes, the marshmallows I’ve eaten with my coffee have inspired me and my characters to be soft, sweet, and infinitely chewy with each other even as they face the evil powers that fear them.

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    2. Ray, thanks to you, I am now reading all of Sol Stein’s books on writing. Such an education! See, you dropped a stone in the pond and the ripple reached me…I’d never heard of him prior to you mentioning him in your blog…

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  5. A perfect love affair set amidst current political intrigue: ““The perfect cover, My Lord. Who would suspect them? ” Indeed, evil often hides like a wolf beneath sheep’s skin. A great plot developing here! And the love scenes will get more intense! Keep this drama going my man!

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    1. I’m glad you liked the political ties to evil in this story. Cezar knows, he is once again over his head in fighting the odds. But hey, Alexandra is his gal and he considers himself lucky. We’re heading at warp speed into trouble and a dark romance.

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      1. See, this sentence of yours is one example of what makes you a great writer. “They were pleased to share everything they knew for a painless end to the meetings.” You don’t come out and say your tortured the shit out of them…you let it dawn on the reader slowly. The reader goes, “Huh? Oh yea! Cool! I get it!” So subtle!! I’m taking notes, Hype! Cazar may well be over his head if he is indeed fighting the World Bank or some other sinister agency bent on world domination…scribbling notes fast in my cheat pad bro…keep it coming!

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          1. Ha ha haaa! There are no scientist, physicists, or technologists that I know with any poetic skills. I’m unique in that both sides of my brain are equally engaged. I have a good balance of hard and soft capabilities. It bumfuzzles the hell out of the scientific community and so I’m considered an extreme eccentric. I’m often made fun of for my visions of future things but I don’t mind. While they are laughing I’m creating things that have a future impact on our well being in a benevolent way unless you are an enemy hellbent on evil doing. In that case, my work might be considered unhealthy and a clear violation of evil’s inherent right to wage violence across the globe. My latest invention is an AI whack a mole system that sniffs out evil doers and whacks them. The only glitch so far is misidentifying evil. Several elevator farters have been retired early as a result of the sniffing evil sensor on the bot. 😁

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              1. Ha ha ha! Thank you George. In reality, I’m just pig headed and don’t let the naysayers influence me. I work for two amazing people that support me well and I certainly like passing that good stewardship down to my coworkers. But for the flotsam and jetsam that like to ride on others’ backs, I have no need to tolerate. Add that to my mandate to seek the impossible and change it to improbable before making it possible, and I stay busy with all kinds of nerdy cool shit.

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        1. Awesome bro! I am learning the subtle art of letting the reader do the heavy lifting. You know I love descriptive prose but Instruggle with efficient descriptive prose. These last couple of chapters, I’ve tried to clean up my triple strings of adjectives and adverbs although not completely cured, I am making progress. I do always appreciated your support George and our group support has gone a long way in helping me see what works and what doesn’t. This is a dream team for sure.

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  6. “She was kissing a long-dead ghost with the love they shared across many lives and centuries. He fell into the well of times past with her as passion grew and the tempest winds of a life lived in another time and another place howled in his ears.” What a close! Fabulous – I do love that episode’s ending, an ending properly foreshadowed in the dialogue between Cezar and Marius.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sha’Tara. I’m hoping their many trips into the past and back show how they are held captive by their past always repeating and reclaiming their past together. It seems a curse tied to their undying desire to reclaim the Dacia they lost to the great migrations of the Goths and other tribes streaming across the Danube after the fall of western Rome. They have yet to understand what will cease their endless cycles of life and death.

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