the strength of the mind

November 5, 2012 § 1 Comment


Like I was saying at the beginning of another post, the human body is a very agile and complex machine, and you give it less credit than you should. I really think that, before continuing, you should push that link and re-read the beginning of that post, and more importantly, watch that video.

Then come back here, and watch this:

Now tell me: How is my story about people climbing buildings and running around on rooftops or jumping around so far-fetched again? That’s a person with barely any training, a few months of it, if even, a human, that can be he both hurt easily and is constantly held back by his fear of falling or hurting. Just stop here for a few seconds and think about this: How would this movie look like with 20 years of training, no fear of falling, and tenfold more strength?  Answer that for yourself, and in that moment you’ll realize how it isn’t so science fiction what you hear (or see) about vampires climbing buildings and windows as easy as cake.

Do you feel safe where you are now? In the comfort of your own home, with the window “safely above street level” ? Watch the video, think again. Understand why it is imperative for them to keep a ‘stay away’ principle in which they can’t go into anyone’s home.

What that video shows is terribly easy, and with the least amount of training and effort you can easily pull it off. You would be amazed what you can do with several years of training, and you would be amazed what you could do with hundreds of years of training, a lot more strength, and I must emphasize this again because it truly is the most important: no fear of death. If we would have that extra mile, as humans, not to be afraid of death or of hurting ourselves… we could accomplish so much more, in every aspect of life.

But this was intended to be a short post and I’ll keep it that way, all I wanted was for you to see that video.

The next part of the story is coming out tomorrow.

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tombstones for the living [story part 32]

September 16, 2012 § 5 Comments


It was the night between the 27th and the 28th of January – a particularly cold night as I remember, temperatures can vary wildly in the winter around these parts, and forests freeze and crumble under the weight of the winter’s cold breath.

Sometimes there’s little to no snow, sometimes the snow can be as thick as one meter high. And it’s frozen solid. At -20, and that’s in a good night. In a bad night? Nothing escapes the stillness of the winter. Nothing. Not even vampires.

I fell asleep once again, and for me it felt like I was sleeping for the past three days altogether, which by all means, I nearly was. Too exhausted.

I flinched.

“I let myself in.” Regina said casually, poking the fire.

I opened my eyes hearing that and there she was, in front of the fireplace, shivering. I stood up and didn’t say a single word.

I just went to her in front of the fireplace, on the floor where she was sitting and shivering apparently, sat down next to her and took her under the blanket that I had with me from the bed. I remember this instant particularly well because it was around this time when I was starting to feel less like the protegé and more like the protector. It felt good, and it still does, being able to comfort a force of nature like Regina.

But I wasn’t fooling anybody, we both knew who was what. Nonetheless, there had been several occasions leading up to that point, and a few afterwards, more than a few actually, that gradually built up the feeling of dominance that I had… such foolishness. A “male” feeling I lied to myself, “natural”, I added. Not in her world. But that’s another story.

We said nothing to one another for a few quite pleasant moments. I hadn’t seen her in what felt like ages for me, and I don’t usually lie to myself (although I can name a few occasions), I had missed her, even with all the gritty pictures of my life since I entered under her domain.

“What have they done to you….” She said slowly and tried to bite the back of her palm, where the thumb meets the wrist.

“No, enough blood. They will heal themselves.” I said and stopped her hand. Her figure was now staring at me, fangs not out yet but I could see her trying to hold them back. Once started, I understand the process was rather painful and required a bit of self-control to stop.

“It’s like taking a piss.” I remember Viktoria told me. She was more vulgar and straightforward that one.

“In time… which you don’t have…” – Regina said after stopping her, and then letting her fangs go and doing what she started doing.

To be honest, at this point I was just happy enough that she didn’t point out the fact that I would be better of being a vampire and all that, and that she won’t be around forever to mend me whenever I needed. Both points highly debatable. For the first, she should know better the downsides of being a vampire, and for the second point, why not?

“Oh so you know?” I responded, referring to everything that happened.

“Of course I know. Blanche contacted me.” Regina said.

“Speaking of Blanche, she was in a much worse state than I am.”

“I know, and whoever did this is going to pay.”

“He already did.” – I said, puffing my chest in irony.

“No, whoever was behind this will pay. I’m pretty sure someone carefully orchestrated this.” Regina said while focusing on the fire. It felt pretty artistic for me.

I don’t want to exclude this conversation because it explains quite a bit, but I also can’t remember all of it line by line, so I’ll summarize it.

We stood there and talked for a bit longer. We talked about where she was and why she needed my necklace, she explained everything while putting my necklace back and smiling when I told her about how Viktoria managed to snatch it from me, because Regina knew I wouldn’t give it up easily. Regina told me what she was trying to do with both of them, which will be in the following parts of the story. We talked about who could be behind the attack and the reasons behind it, and what should we do next. We agreed on each and every point, and none of us weren’t making any compromises. We ‘clicked’ that night, and it felt rather pleasant, because the last time we had seen each other didn’t offer a rather pleasing goodbye.

In the end we let the fire die, and fell asleep in the same spot where we woke up the next morning. Synchronized, like never before. She, still tired, like always during the day, continued to sleep until late in the evening. I closed the blinds and left her there, while I went and spent some time with the family, because by now it was already Saturday and we were all home.

Breakfast at 10:00 – father saw me once again on my feet, feeling stronger, and more importantly without wounds. He knew Regina had returned, because she was the only one to cover up the ‘mess’. As in, Viktoria had bitten me and didn’t bother to take care of it. Father noticed that, but didn’t say too much about it.

By the time night was closing in I had already managed to tell Blanche and Sophia that Regina is here, and carefully noted down in my diary what had happened. I have four pages about one single night, most other entries being only half a page about a particular ordinary day. Ordinary for me.

Oh yes, and Viktor. He’s not in this picture, not yet. He was away with some things, can’t remember what and didn’t write anything about it, but we usually went to visit relatives around Christmas, either before or after, so I’m guessing that’s where he was. Although pretty late in winter, it wasn’t unusual.

I went inside the room and Regina was still sleeping. She had enough I figured. It was already pitch black outside and the clock was nearing 19:00. I laid down next to her and she woke then without saying anything. I just felt her grabbing my arm and pulling me closer.

“Wake up. We have to go.”

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”.

And she was up.

We spent another half an hour with my family, time in which she actually made herself more likeable towards my parents, and as a token of humanity (I’m guessing here) she even drank a glass of wine with father. After that, we were once again headed for Blanche’s house.

When we got there, Regina was back within her normal “character” acting all bossy and investigative and suspicious, but confident. I remember her change to this day. She always, always did that. Double, triple, quadruple personality. She could change in an instant from very sad to very happy, from very angry to very calm, from really tired to full of energy and so on and so forth. Instantly. Whenever the situation required it, she provided.

In any case what follows next is not easy for me to disclose… I’m still not sure whether I should or shouldn’t because it’s a bit of a gray area for me. It’s about Blanche.

Maybe I should.

When we arrived there Regina entered the house without knocking, without asking permission, without letting anyone know she’s around. She casually entered the house like it was her own, and Blanche, when seeing her, froze.

They didn’t meet that often you see, and for the first time I could see the bond between the maker and the offspring. It shouldn’t be so strong. It’s un-natural. I kept telling myself, and still do to this day, that it shouldn’t be anything special. It doesn’t add up, from a biological point of view, the attachment. But for the first time, I could see that what in Viktoria was long gone, transformed instead into pure submission and respect.

Blanche was just staring at her, without blinking and for a second there I’m pretty sure I saw tears in her eyes. I mean she barely KNEW her but was so happy at the sight of Regina that Dino (from the Flintstones, when seeing Fred) was nothing compared to her.

But instead of pure submission and respect, this was love. This was pure, untamed love and care for her….. I don’t really know what Regina was for her at that time. But I’ll tell you this: the bond that the maker forms with his offspring, that is not easily broken, if ever.

Regina knew. She recognized exactly and was very familiar with what Blanche was experiencing. None of them said anything, until Blanche tried hugging Regina.

“Don’t push it.”

Blanche stopped, but was still having problems controlling her emotions. That wasn’t really a characteristic of a vampire, or Blanche. She was NEVER, EVER emotional, not at that level, with anyone. I mean the girl was entertaining the idea of getting rid of her parents a few days ago…

But enough with that. I just wanted you to understand the bond between maker and offspring, and how it changes in time. How it starts and what it becomes. I also want you to understand that Regina has this bond with all of them. Every single one of them is a descendant of Regina, but the further down you go down the line, the more diluted it becomes, as such, only first degree (her direct offspring) really share a strong connection, as this one, with her.

Regina walked inside the living room where Blanche’s parents were waiting patiently, untied and composing themselves. With one look at them she said: “They can live.”

Her parents were both horrified and tremendously happy with “the decision”. It was that easy for her. That’s how Regina treated life. And you know why? Not because she was a monster. Because she could give it as easily as she could take it. Because when you have the power of destroying while in the same time have the power of creating, they stop looking so special, and you can just exercise them as you please.

Because, if you judge Regina by that logic, then you can also judge any other mother on the face of the Earth.  How? By using stupid logic. And the stupid logic here is: The moment a woman gives life to a child, she also condemns him to die in the same time. Because we all die, don’t we? So the one who creates, also destroys, because brining any mortal soul into the world is a sentence to death in itself.

So you see, Regina was no different. She could offer life – be it eternal or saving one in need – or she could take it.

But the parents, they didn’t even know that the option of their demise was ‘on the table’. They were grateful nonetheless, and composed enough to say thank you.

“However, there’s a price.” – Regina added after spirits calmed down.

She was pacing from one corner to the other, until she stopped in front of Blanche.

“Blanche needs to die.” – She said.

I, we all, gasped.

“No. She needs to disappear. Die for you, not actually die.” – She added.

We were still confused.

I approached Regina with the intent of appeasing her, but she didn’t need that. She knew exactly what she wanted, and didn’t let me speak.

“You cannot live as a vampire surrounded by humans who know what you are. We already made that compromise with your two closest friends. Four humans are already too much, and it’s already about time you paid your debt. You knew there was a time when you would need to disappear, from the lives of everyone. That time is now. And rest assured, this moment would have came sooner or later even without my intervention. I say we expedite the process and solve this problem.” Her monologue was over.

We were still looking at her in a very confused way. I couldn’t understand what the hell she meant.

“Tomorrow Blanche will be declared dead, by a legal practitioner, in a car accident that just happened three minutes ago.” She said.

(The accident actually happened much later.)

“You will deny any autopsy and will perform a traditional burial, closed casket because of wounds and everything, or open if you think you can pull that off.” – Regina added.

“Then Blanche will be buried and you’ll never see her again, but she’ll live.” – Regina continued but we were still confused. The idea she was trying to convey was so… alien to us that we just couldn’t wrap our heads around it.

She saw us staring at her and just added casually.

“Fake death.”

Her parents, naturally, tried opposing and offering all kinds of alternatives but Regina wouldn’t budge. Blanche needed to go, forever. Either now, or five years later, it didn’t matter, because Blanche was still a teenager, and although not a full vampire yet (and still aging) it wouldn’t be long until everybody would notice she didn’t age a bit. Teenagers age rapidly, she didn’t. She had at most three years left to stay, and we all knew it.

“Are you really going to bury me or…?” Blanche intervened.

“Yes. You’ll stay there in a casket and let everyone say their goodbyes, then you’ll be buried and someone will get you out.” Regina said.

And Blanche just… nodded. She actually agreed and trusted Regina with her life. Unbelievable. I wouldn’t let myself buried even if my parents would promise me to get me out, not to mention a girl who I just met not long ago… But then again, Regina did pull me out of a crypt when she didn’t know me at all.

“Don’t worry” – Regina was addressing her parents – “Blanche will live a very, very long life and maybe, just maybe, years from now, depending on how events unfold, you’ll see her again.”

It was a very hard thing to accept for anyone, even for me (although I knew I would see her again), but for her parents? I couldn’t fathom the idea of accepting such a thing as a parent. But they did. And it was done.

The next morning Blanche was declared dead and preparations started to be made. The tradition in Romania dictates that the dead must be kept for three days and three nights inside their house, with someone watching over them at all times. This is a contested tradition with different extensions or modifications depending on the part of the country, but in essence it’s the same. Nobody knows where exactly it comes from, but a few tens of thousands of elders from all the corners of the country in each and every village will somewhat explain that “the dead need to be taken care of so we can be sure they are really dead.”

You need to read this as: “We want to make sure he won’t rise as the undead.” They aren’t afraid that the dead was mispronounced dead and is actually alive, they are afraid the dead might come back to haunt them. Again, see the Petre Toma case, and most importantly, see the movie “Strigoi” – the movie is very good, and although a crude representation of what a vampire is thought to be by some, it shows the “watching over the dead” tradition really well. Bonus points for being a Romanian production, 2009.

Some people play poker on the dead. And I’m not even joking.

I’m not making this stuff up. Go to any Romanian forum, or ask on any website that will give you an answer from someone living in Romania, and they will tell you that this is the way people are traditionally buried in rural Romania. Of course there are morgues and autopsies in bigger towns, where people live in apartments. But in smaller ones, roughly the size of Sighisoara and smaller, the tradition is pretty much alive and few people opt for keeping the dead in a morgue for three days, and instead keep them at home.

But enough with the tradition. Back to Blanche.

The next morning like I said, Blanche was officially declared dead by a medic brought in specially for this, if you know what I mean, and then the next day people started coming in at the house, offering their condolences and everything, hovering above the casket and offering condolences again. Blanche didn’t need to get inside until the day of the burial, which would be performed with an open casket, just before closing it, nailing it shut and walking it to the grave. Everything was by the book and I felt… really awkward. I mean I had heard of fake deaths, and seen a lot of movies, but doing this for a friend, and actually pulling it off, this was something else.

And the accident in which she supposedly died? That was real too, and I don’t really know how Regina took care of it, but she didn’t call anyone or leave my side for too long, I don’t know who contacted her or how this worked, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the first time she did it, or any other vampire for that matter, and I was actually surprised they didn’t have a hotline to call or some “clean-up team”. I was rather confident this was done on a daily basis in the kinship.

Nonetheless, a day before the burial I tried convincing Regina that maybe this wasn’t the best way, that maybe Blanche should stay and enjoy three more years in the town, that maybe, maybe, maybe.

Regina didn’t say much about it really, didn’t agree or disagree. She just casually steered the way (we were having a walk) up the very same steps that we first met. The steps with which this story begins. And as a matter of fact, when I went home this summer, I climbed the same steps and took a video of it.

At the end of those steps, about 50 meters there’s a road to the right at the half of which there’s a big, black, iron gate that marks one of the entrances to the old cemetery. We went in there.

“Regina… I think one cemetery is enough for this week. We’ll be in another one in just two days…” I said while continuing to follow her casually.

She didn’t say anything and just continued walking…

We walked casually, continuing to talk about various things, among which the prevailing topics were who was behind the attack on Blanche… we considered different possibilities but Regina knew better who would have the motive so I didn’t really focus on that.

We also discussed the fact that this was a first, someone attacking a direct offspring of hers, in her own home, without permission, an offspring that wasn’t even fully a vampire yet. By Regina’s calculations, she explained, this broke about every rule in the book, and whoever was behind it, will pay dearly, because this was as personal as it got. To be honest, she seemed to take everything personal.

In any case, the other prevailing topic was the one being pushed by myself, the fact that the idea of Blanche being buried didn’t sit too good in my mind, and I wanted us to discuss alternatives, which we certainly did.

But Regina continued walking, and then she stopped and turned towards me. She waited until I finished talking…

“…and I really think this is un-necessary and you’re just being way too impulsive….” I was saying, when she finally interrupted.

“The problem with humans is that they get too comfortable with their lives and fail to understand that everything changes, and they need to change with it, or become artifacts of the past.” – Regina said.

“And even if Blanche were to stay here, how long do you think it would be until she would be forced to leave because it would become too apparent that she’s not like the others?” – She continued…

“And how do you know that this is better for her, clinging to what once was, rather than looking ahead and preparing for what’s coming?” – She said.

“I would think that of all humans, you would have a better understanding of this. Not because you’re special, don’t flatter yourself. But because you’ve seen the other side of things. You can’t have the cake and eat it too I believe the saying goes, and it’s true. Sometimes. Like now.” – She was still going on in a monologue, but everything she said clicked, and made sense. The more she talked, the better I felt about the situation. But that wasn’t enough for her. Regina was the man with the plan, and she had brought me there for a reason.

“Plus, I wouldn’t do something like this if it weren’t absolutely necessary, and when it is necessary… when life asks you to leave…. you have to leave.” She stopped.

And with that her gaze got lost in the horizon, above my right shoulder… and slowly turned her head to her left… and looked very closely to what was there.

I followed her line of sight… and just when I thought I had seen them all, this thing shocked me more than it should have. The very foundation on which my beliefs about life, death, and the natural order of things, was shaken, by a mere token….

A tombstone.

[audio http://k006.kiwi6.com/hotlink/epe1dhpu3d/01_-_prelude.mp3]

“You see my love… sometimes you have to give up what you have and what you love, to continue having them in a different way, in the future… because life… life goes on with or without you anyway.”

Regina's tomb

“One bad thing about continuing your life is the fact that you always remember the dead, no matter where you are, and you often hear yourself calling their name, but they… they will never call yours back.” – Regina
Click on the photo, zoom in on the middle tombstone.

And as I laid there with my mouth open, Regina cleared the base of the crypt, and laid the flower that she had with her. One, single, lilac flower. Don’t know where she got it during that season, and there it was. Of all the flowers, of all the colors, of all the smells, she picked lilac. I’m more of a lavender kind of guy.

I still had no words to describe or to respond at what I was seeing and at what she was trying to tell me. I understood everything at that point. Everything that she said earlier, and everything that needed to be done for Blanche.

And laying there staring at an empty grave… I couldn’t help but think…

“The more you know, the more you don’t know” – Aristotle. This guy was on to something.

And there you have it, the story of the city with tombstones for the living.

Achille’s Heel. [story part 22]

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


*** For those who are not here for a soap opera I would advise you to jump to the next post because this might just be one of the most soaking wet with feelings text you’ve ever read in your life. I put great strain on myself in expressing these feelings below, and it feels like I would be naked in a city full of people – rather than expressing my most intimate feelings to the world. Yet I did, and here it is. YOU will not miss anything important if you jump to the next post.

And again, if this feels too fantastic and too story-like for you, not reality like, then I’m sorry but would you rather read a bullet list with the events as they unfolded and get it over with? I’m describing everything as good as I can, expressing all my feelings and opinions throughout this whole story. And that makes it fantastic, because it is one thing to mark an event with words, and it is another to fill it with emotions. They are hard to explain, and break easily with the wrong choice of words. I need minutes for each word, I need to relive every second of what I’m writing about in order to express exactly as I felt then, and that is a battle of its own. It is hard and it is frustrating, because no matter how much you try, you will never be able to express a feeling into words or pictures, no matter how many they are. But I try… so keep that in mind, and if in doubt, try it for yourself, and marvel before your eyes how the story of your life becomes a fantasy, filled with emotions and feelings, describing things beyond imagination and belief. Try it. Try speaking about your most intimate desire, try putting that in words. I dare you. And then accuse me of being a fantasy writer. We are all fantasy writers my friends, when we lay our soul in front of everyone to see.***

I had stabbed her in her very live, but stormy heart. Through the side, under her left arm, with her very own golden knife that she held so dear. Regina was pierced from one side to the other, all the way through. I had stabbed her with such a fear and rage from within, I was not even aware I had it. It may have developed for the first time then and there. I had pushed so hard on the sharp knife that I had managed to pierce all of her, from the left side to her right side. Through her heart, through her throat, through her insides, all the way the knife went in with such an ease that it made no difference when it came out on the other side. I had not felt it going easier, not even at that point.

Only when the knife handle hit her side, I stopped pushing, and screaming.

No reaction from me, her or any of the elders was observed for the first two or three seconds.

For me it felt like the world had just suddenly stopped. Frozen in time. Forever. My immortal was now no more.

And then, in that deafening silence, after the initial shock, all hell broke loose inside me. What had I done!

Regina dropped Viktoria, and with a turn of a hand struck me in the chest so hard I lost my breath for almost a full minute. I literally thought I was going to suffocate right there. I flew two meters if not more through the air and hit the front door, smashing nothing, but breaking something in me for sure.

The elders all jumped towards me in an instant, grabbed me, growled at me and hissed at me. They were on a killing spree. Karl was the first to plunge towards me with a bite that I knew was not for feeding, but for ending my existence. He was stopped in his way, pushed violently to a side and hitting a small statue, smashing it to pieces. Lars, the one who said nothing, stood in front of me and did nothing also, but this time he did speak.

“YOU WILL OBEY HER TO THE DEATH.” He screamed at them, at all the other elders.

I had the right to kill her. As written in the Codex Strigis.

*** “You are one of the most terrifying predators to walk this planet. You have the strength of the ages, but again must I remind you, that your most precious weapon sits within yourself. It is your mind. Use it wisely, and do not rely on your strength to power you through the centuries. You will be immortal, and you will be powerful. Do not let the power corrupt your very being, do not let it drunken you with its flavor. Do not turn your back thinking your are invincible, for you are not.

Dare not listen to me, and you shall pay, for any human that will go and attain such a feat as to overpower you, has the control over your life. You, will obey this law. Even in front of seeing your kind die, you will not interfere. An overpowered kinship by any human is unworthy of your help, just like you will be unworthy of any help from your kind when it is your turn to die. Uniting against humans will only be done with a common goal and purpose, and will only be done towards an end. You will have your right to revenge, but you do not have the right over the life of your other.”

*** As good as I could translate and remember it, with some “poetic” interpretation of my own.

As written there, text that I had failed to read previously, or remember, or understand. I surely made sure the next time I had the chance to read it and understand it properly. In other words, stripping it of any fancy way of writing, it came down to this: Any human who overpowered a vampire in such a way, will have control over her life and death. The final decision, for it is often needed one, a vampire does not die easy, nor fast.

Although, I didn’t think I would survive one second later after deciding to kill her, forever. Although, I didn’t really think they would obey the Codex Strigis after all. Despite all of that, here was an elder, respecting Regina’s wish even if it meant her death.

Make no mistake, this rule, just as the others, who might seem off to you, was very, very well thought over the years. In a later post I will explain this one, the need for invitation and the willingly accept turning rule. I will show you exactly what and each mean, and I will show you how they are the most complex laws you’ve ever encountered, and yet expressed so simply.

Lars had made it very clear that I had to either finish what I have done – by doing nothing more – just waiting, or that I have to undue this, like rewinding a tape, I had to turn back time, grab the knife once more with my very same hand and pull it out just as I had pushed it in.

I was not going to do that. I was afraid. I have seen the madness in Regina, I have seen what she was capable of doing to Viktoria for what I had thought at the time, was much less, I have seen how she could break away easily, from such an ancient friend.

“You cannot stop us all!” I remember Karl yelling from the corner towards Lars.

“Do I have to dear friend?” He responded casually, and looked towards the others.

They were split, some wanted to obey the Codex Strigis or so they said, or just wanted the queen dead – but that was not true, they were the most loyal of them all.

Some on the other hand, were keen on killing me, helping the queen.
There were others, such as Giorgio which, in his Italian legacy, casually added.
“But friends, have a little passion. Be a bit creative. WE do not have to do anything to the boy. Let the queen decide.” He said.

I was terrified, I was sitting on the floor, leaning with my back against the front door, as in a gesture to make sure nobody can flee – or intervene from the outside.
At the time I would have preferred nothing more except being murdered by them, and not letting Regina decide. I was more terrified about facing her, looking her in the eyes, after what I had done, rather than death itself. I had no hope in Regina forgiving me. I couldn’t forgive myself either.

And then, as they discussed among themselves, I had slipped in memories, and my thoughts took me back home towards my parents and my brother. I remembered what my father said to me once:

“Listen, you are stronger than you think. All you have to do when there is nothing else to do, is actually stand up and do something, anything. You have to act when nobody wants to, you have to speak when everyone is silent. That’s all you need to do. Don’t be afraid of life, face it, and let it come to you.”

And he was right. I couldn’t stay there, waiting for my faith to be decided. I was human, I was strong, I was the one who had the say in it. I had to reinforce Regina’s will, and I had to muster my courage to speak against the most ancient creatures that walked this Earth, against those who loved the one who I had murdered, against those who were encircling me like wolves.

I started standing up, slowly, and they watched me. I saw their desire to see me do something, anything. I saw their relief when they didn’t have to act, and had hoped that I would, no matter to what result.

I stood up, straight and tall. My head was bowed no more.
“All you have left from humanity is your honor. If you care about it as much as I think you do, then you will listen to me.” I said.

Most of them went blank. No expression. Karl went mad. He wanted me dead and Regina alive. Lars was listening close.

“Continue…” Lars said.

“I’m the only one who can decide if your queen lives or dies. And you want to take that away from me? She fought for what she believed in for centuries, she fought for those same laws and rules you are now about to break. Are you absolutely sure she would not defend those laws with her death?” I was truly an orator. Damn you Cicero. In your face Hitler.

I let them boil in their thoughts, as I boiled in mine. It was this moment that I would know of my fate. I would either die at the hands of them, or trick faith once again. None spoke, but instead, after a silence that lasted centuries in my mind, but mere seconds in that room, they split apart, and made a corridor towards the end of the hall, where Regina was standing face down, dead as a rock, and Viktoria was in a corner, unconscious. I was pleased she was unconscious, I had hoped she was not dead. I was pleased because I was not sure, whether she would appreciate me saving her life, or she would assassinate me by my method of choice in doing that.

It seemed there were no new lands for me to discover - the shore I left so long ago...

They were inviting me to act.
I walked determined towards Regina. It was now or never. I could go there, look at her and tell them it’s over. Regina would stay dead forever, for that was what I wished. I was scared, terrified, that if I woke her, I would die myself.

No matter how much you love a person, in the moment you’re faced with such a choice, doubts roll over you. Doubts that you once thought are not there. For I was more than once certain that if the time came, I would give my life for her. And yet, here I was, doing something totally different, ironically, deciding not to give her life.

I went to Regina and stood by her. I turned her lifeless body in my arms, rested her back on my chest and her head in the space between my head and my shoulder. She was comfortable I thought, at least she deserved that.

Powerless I thought.
But she was not. Even in her death, she eclipsed everyone and everything in the world. In my mind at least, she did just that.
Even in her death, Regina seemed more imposing than ever before.

I turned my head towards them and was decided to say just that: “She’s dead.”
But it’s funny, how your mind works. It’s funny, how your heart and soul act together. It’s funny how you think.

You believe you’re a rational, critical being. You believe the right choice is easy to make. Yet, you do not think with your brain and brain alone. There’s a fight inside of you, there’s a fight within your heart. There’s a fight in your very life energy. Not a physical fight, but you feel your world spinning around you, you feel your insides ready to burst, you feel your heart screaming to escape your chest.

When faced with such a decision – murdering the one you loved, for the benefit of… whom? When faced with it, everything goes blank. There is nothing left around you. There is no sound, there is no light. It is just you and the storm around you.

You cannot speak, you cannot think. All you can do is wait for a decision. A decision made by the winning part within your soul. A decision that is not rational, a decision that does not have a path or a line of thought. It is a decision that just arrives, it is there, and it is the strongest thought you’ve ever had.

It feels like an instant change of heart – you know the feeling – those first two seconds after you have a change of heart about an important decisions, those two seconds in which you feel more confident that you’ve ever felt before.

I turned my head towards them but said nothing.
I looked at Regina once more and she was exactly as that morning. Sleeping, innocent and beautiful.
And then I remembered what I had written in my diary, word by word, my heart was punching me with my own words, my brain was resisting but my own words could not be taken back.

The image of this beautiful being, sleeping in my arms, could not be unseen.
I remembered what I have said: “I wish sometimes that she would never wake up.” and I also remembered what regret I had felt for just thinking that.

How could I live with the regret of actually accomplishing just that, by myself?

“Do you love your queen?” I asked them without turning again towards them.
One answered, for all. “We do” – It was Karl, angry but submissive.

“Then take her to our room at let us be.” I said.

I have decided. I will watch her sleep once more, and ponder again, on my thought that day. Ponder whether she will wake or not.

And they did.

As they laid her on the bed, I laid besides her.
I caressed her hair, and kept my heart at bay. I kept battling the words from my diary which were raging furiously towards coming back to me. One by one, storming my heart.

Rid the world of her… my brain yelled.
Follow your heart… my body screamed louder.

How can you do this? How can a man make such a decision? How can you murder the most beloved and wonderful being you have ever seen in your life?

Could you?
Could you do it twice – like I needed to do? Stab her heart and then, take the decision to let her go once more?

I was the angel that was having his wings ripped off. You cannot imagine a feeling like that, you just cannot. It cannot be put in words, it cannot be put in movies, it cannot be imagined or thought about. It can only be felt.

They say love is the strongest feeling of them all – and it truly is – but not by itself, love is not a singular feeling. Love is not something you can describe by its own. Love, true, strong, unforgiving love – the one that takes you to the highest plane of existence, the one that also puts you through the greatest torture and pain you would ever know.

That is love – a bliss and yet in the same time, cruel as nothing else can be.
I had nothing else in me for Regina, but that love. And it was tearing me apart.

And Regina, the one whom I’ve always seen as an angel and demon in the same time. As kindness and pure evil in the same vessel, was the same with love. A double-edged sword, a magic potion that could heal and kill together.

Love, such a small and simple word.
Love, such a simple way of saying “all the feelings one could have, mixed together, pushed inside your soul, amplified by a thousand.”

But enough with my thoughts and feelings, enough with my sorrows and self-pity. I was nothing compared to her, not a speck of dust even. I had no right in deciding anything. I was the homeless man compared to the virgin queen of England.

Yet, in the golden lit room, in the middle of nowhere, in the room where as far as I knew the fate of a species was being decided, there was a queen which stood no more.

And, as they closed the door and let us be, the battle within me was over, and the result struggled to come forward. I didn’t want it, yet here it was.

* …no

*…go away.

*…I don’t want you here.

Let her go. – Was the result.

Where Am I?

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