Saturday, 14 February 2015

Pictonaut Feb 2015 two

The tales continue for as long as they can... which is about 2 more weeks after this. It makes me a bit sad, but still, I shall give the pictonaut the best send off I can.


The Final Stories 2

I hear stories. Four stories. The people that tell me these tales are as varied and as similar as their tales themselves prove. The eyes that linger on me now are sharp and sinister. Never have they stared me down before; so often I have seen them in the past. The form that glides without effort into my charge is powerful. The woman to whom it belongs was once also, or perceived herself to be. Without doubt, that misconception remains alive and vibrant within her mind.

The lady is poise, the boat is not disturbed as she steps into it and I need not pause before beginning her journey. I wonder for a moment, would she have rocked it had she understood her plight then? Yet no; her feline grace is in her nature. This one will bear her fangs, will beat against her cage, will bite and claw and scratch. Her careful posture, her practised  control will break down in the face of her confinement. But all that is to come. For now, her tale must be told, and with her eyes fixed on my form, doing their best to wither me to nothing, and failing, she begins,as she must.

"Do you pity me oarsman?" she asks of me. As it always is, the question is not for me.

"I pity none," I tell her. The simple truth, as ever.

"Good. I have no use for it. There is no time for pity when winning a war. And now it is won, and the victors tidy their little monsters like me away, swept under the rug of the world along with their enemies. I am forgotten, discarded, as dangerous to those who remain above as their most ruthless enemy. Perhaps you think me mistreated, perhaps you think this cruel or unfair. Do not waste such pity on me. I am joyous in our victory even now.
"I am a weapon, sharp and true. I hit my marks, every one, through force, guile, cunning, but always dead centre of the target, every job done without compassion, without pity. Peace is upon us now, it is not a time for weapons. I must be put away, disposed of. This is right, this is just. Although I have held the world in thrall with my fury, I am unclawed with such ease. My time is over now. It was glorious while it lasted though. Men and women have cried my name in ecstasy and agony, but never in pity, nor shall it ever be. Which might you, I wonder? Fear or joy?"

I do not respond to her taunts and she draws silent, speaking, as she was used, with her taut, poised form and her burning tigress eyes. Every oar stroke takes the force from her gaze and replaces it with something else, something less. I should have quivered, in her eyes, I should have cowed. But I have not, and my inaction is as a thin blade through her cracking armour.
The silence becomes palpable and she begins to feel the approach of the end, her time to tell her tale running short. With my mind's eye I can see the weight of the stories that press upon my passengers. Hers weighs heavy still, she has more to tell. I slow my pace so that she might continue at her leisure. This is not required of me, it does not have to happen this way, and yet, it always has and always will.

"I had a man once, a servant you might have called him. He did serve. He was a mess of useful qualities - loyalty, fanaticism, flexible morality - that I honed into the perfect tool. He had a desperate need to please me. He did please me. As much as I could ever be pleased. That is to say, he served my purposes well. With the discipline I taught him, he became capable of any task.
"There was a task I had him perform. A child, she was to be the successor of our enemy. He was to take her in the night, right out of her crib, and then... I left the rest to his own devices. He did not disappoint. After that I knew I had him, his life. I did have him. And before my liege disposed of me to this quagmire, I a used tool, too sharp for the child of peace to play with, I disposed of him in my turn, he a tool too blunt to be of use in anyone's hands but my own."

I have known the servant in my time. Broken in his own way, his cracks and blemishes are as nothing to him now.

"You see, keeper - yes, I know who you are - I comprehend the order of the world, the place we all have and parts we must play. I recognise the futility of fighting against the greater plan. This is something a man in your unique position must respect. I am ready to take my place, if you are to take yours."

I do not respect this woman. I cannot, not for any reason of her own, but because I respect none. It is as useless as the pity she denies. In time, such a truth may reveal itself to her. In time, she may realise the hate that has fuelled her existence will now be fuel for the fire in which she shall burn.

She is serene as she folds her large and powerful frame into the  cramped confines of her final prison. Serene now, but soon the fire will start. She will burn bright and hot in her rage. All her thoughts of order will come to nothing as her own hate incinerates her, until all that remains is a white hot trail of smoke, still smouldering, bright and intense. And then, all that there can ever be. Nothing will remain.

No comments:

Post a comment