Let the clocks strike twelve
then the hunger will begin
that the hordes may feed
Let the clocks strike twelve
then the hunger will begin
that the hordes may feed
Stained marble stones hide bleached bones.
A place of sadness.
From his raised throne at the head of the hall, the Compte LaReine turned to his master chevalier.
“I’ll see them now, my three guests.”
The heavy oak doors at the end of the hall swung back and three white robed knights were invited into the long, wood-panelled hall. They had surrendered their swords and shields, distinctively marked with the red long-halted cross.
The three approached the dais and bowed low before the Count. Dubois, their spokesman started to introduce himself and his companions but was rudely interrupted by a loud, bellowing voice demanding the reason for their apparent desertion from the Templar order.
Unbeknown to them the Count was dismayed that they had not been willing to divulge the whereabouts of the legendary famed Templar treasure. He knew that the Order had lost favour and wished to curry favour with King Phillip. After secret negotiations he had agreed that the three, accused of heresy, although falsely, would be confined for two days and without trial, put to death as ordered by the King.
“Take them below,” he thundered and roughly, without ceremony, they were lead away. Two days later they were unceremoniously put to death and their bodies taken and placed in a shallow grave in the forest to be forgotten.
So they remained for the next two centuries until the Pope was persuaded to grant a pardon to all the French Templars and throughout the country, the bodies were exhumed where known and re-interred beneath marker stones in the territories where they were once revered for their piety and fighting prowess.
These stones remain a place of pilgrimage, although more often a destination for treasure hunters and the curious.
As the waters rise.
the civilisations fall
fables of the Flood
Over the western hills the sparse, silver clouds are tinged with red. The sun, not yet set gives up it’s daily battle with the revolving Earth.
A slight breeze starts vibrations in the tall grass heads previously still in the heat of the day as the first chill wind from the shore heralds the onset of evening.
The rain-washed, sun-bleached skull lies on the path of low foot-worn grass between the heather tussocks.
Tonight there will be no moon to cast it’s glow over the silent tors. The evening air remains curiously warm, almost sultry.
Imperceptibly, as if guided by some gentle, unseen hand the skullbone is turne to face the darkening Eastern sky. d
In the distance, a low unearthly sound as of the moaning of the wind in the mast of a storm-tossed sailing vessel can just be heard. The skull shudders and begins to roll to the side of the path. Like the growth of moss but vastly accelerated, a black downy growth begins to form a shadow on the stark, white surface. The black down grows longer until it resembles the short, thick fur of a dog. An impression helped by the impression of long limbs and thickset body of a hound which appear to be forming around the single skull.
At last there stands a large hound. Saliva drips from the muzzle as the jaws open showing a row of strong teeth where once were just sockets. Red, unblinking eyes like cinders stare out as snorting nostrils flare and a snarl escapes the shaking head.
Darkness reigns but the black fur is embued with a dull, green lustre. If anyone was near they would start to sense a foetid smell, increasing in strength with each shake of the thick flanks.
While out over the darkening hills the previous low moaning is now distinguishable as the baying of a pack of hounds.
The newly reborn beast raises it’s head turning to the right and left. Upraised newly grown ears point straight up, cocked, listening.
With a snarl and a huge leap the beast runs off in the direction of the approaching pack.
Across the moor a dark-cloaked rider sits atop a heavy black steed. His hood rolls back allowing a glimpse of a white, gaunt cadaver-like grin. He frowns. he struggles to control his rearing horse, while in his free hand he holds a horse-whip which with every flick emits a stream of red and gold sparks. Around the horse’s feet a pack of identical black hounds snarl, circle and fight, cowering at every crack.
Soon the pack will be complete again and the Heath hounds will start their nightly hunt seeking out the souls of the wicked.
I walked back down to the slipway at first light. As expected there was only one reminder of our work from the night before, at the last low tide. Of course none of us could be sure if the Gods had smiled favourably upon Ulrika and allowed her to escape ready to rejoin the world of men.
Not that she could come back into our community. The prejudice of the villagers was too great. Many of the young men would be unhappy that she had been taken from us before she had given her acceptance of a marriage proposal.
Apart from the memory of her long, flowing, red hair nothing was allowed to remain in the minds of men. Her name could not be spoken. Her supposed crime never again mentioned unless as a warning to naughty children who failed to eat their meals or refused to carry out their chores.
Elder brothers and sisters would frighten their younger siblings by telling them she was hiding under the beds, as older children do.
I was saddened for I did not believe the tales they told of her. That is why I had returned to the place of the crabs. I was not disappointed. if the Gods had not intervened then overnight the crabs and fish had done their work.
The white rock which had been so carefully placed upon her bare chest sat lonely in it’s place. No scrap of flesh or bone remained. Picked clean by snapping claws and teeth.
Ulrika was now far away, either in the hands of Gods or men and I would be the only one who would feel remorse.
Summer died that night. It was a time of celebration, the deep fire-pit, filled to the height of a man with peat, brush, bracken and branches ready to be lit. The cattle, pigs, sheep and fowl driven in to the central enclosure ready for the elders to carry out their grisly task,
The children had asked the usual questions which we had asked when we were young. The answer was always the same throughout the years. “This is the way it has always been.”
“The beasts we have nurtured lovingly throughout the year must repay our kindness. There will be feasting for everyone before the dark days come as they surely will. There is not enough goodness in the fields to keep and sustain our flocks and herds. Only the necessary few will be kept for our daily needs.”
“The offering we make now will be noted by the sky-dwellers and if pleased they will send the bright sun back to lighten our days once more when the time is right. This is as it has always been.”
As we watched the great fire was lit. Bright scarlet and yellow tongues of flame leaped into the not yet dark sky. Our animal’s eyes rolled at the sight. As each one was led through the narrow entrance between the stakes into the very heart of the village the remainder started to grow restless and were snorting, bleating and clucking wildly. We could hear the loud cries of pain from within and panic started to spread through the now terrified animals. We beat them furiously to try and stop the by then dangerous mayhem.
A greasy cloud of dark smoke hung motionless in the air above the cluster of thatched dwellings and the smell of animal fat was strong in ours and the remaining animal’s nostrils. The addition of the animal fat helped the flames to reach high above the height of the palisade for all to see.
The last beast was lead through the opening, their dark, deadly destiny assured. Gradually we heard the sound of drums performing an increasingly louder, rhythmic, hypnotic beat. It was hard to stop our feet from stamping and dancing in time to the music.
Finally the last of the sun’s rays died and only then were we able to pass through the portal to join the great feast marking the change of the seasons.
We look upon a mournful scene,
is it mist or just the sheen
of sadness in the eyes downcast.
With folded arms and child at breast
she realises that no more
on lapping wave her paramour,
will reappear on rising tide
but now departs for the last time,
her clifftop vigil will soon end as
arms outstretched she will descend.
No-one will mourn, nothing to keep
her from making this fateful leap.
Earduk looked into the mist. It was fourteen sunrises since his father Shardan had ceased his part in the tribe.
It was time for the final ritual. This was Earduk’s personal ceremony.
Hanging from his shoulder the jute bag felt heavy as it bounced on his right thigh with each step.
He stopped in a kind of reverie, wondering how far his father was on his journey. Today would be a great help to him, Earduk was sure.
He tapped the bag at his side and with a smile remembered how hard it had been to prepare the heavy sword within. He and two of his brother’s had strained for many fire-burnings to bend the blade exactly as required. It’s spirit was now released and it was ready to work for it’s owner.
His father would be waiting to feel it in his hand once more. Only then could he continue his journey with his wife Lucine, Earduk’s beloved mother.
The mist was starting to clear. He could hear the rush of wings as the flock of geese that resided on the lake in safety overnight started to lift off from the lake to fly over to the grassy plain to start the day’s feeding.
He could see the causeway ahead and he slowly reached into his bag. Reverently withdrawing the blade he turned it over and over in his hands. The blade flashing in the rising sun casting shafts of light onto the dark waters lapping gently at the reed-covered banks.
Taking three paces onto the causeway he raised the u-shaped blade above his head and with a loud cry cast the offering far into the pool.
The splash caused a stir among the remaining geese and hastened them in their decision to take off. The ripples dislowly diminished and with the ritual complete Earduk turned back to the shore.
Earduk would be able to tell the elders that Shardan could now be placed in the niche near to the door of the family roundhouse. Once more armed Shardan would continue to protect his family as before.
Challenging Gods in all their glory
Remember poor Arachne’s story
compelled to weave eternally
threads on the loom of humanity
as a consequence of her vanity
Being an extract from the log of HMS Fox, brigantine, 9th. Sept. 1869
Awakened at the first bell of the morning watch by Captain of the deck second lieutenant Ffoulkes. Weather fair, sea calm, no fog.
Lookout had reported sighting land on the larboard bow but charts suggest he was mistaken and would face punishment if found to be asleep and dreaming whilst on watch.
Called for my telescope and astonished to see what appeared to be a major town in the distance with houses, rivers and a large abode set high upon a hill.
With First officer, proceeded to check charts and called for a line to be passed down to confirm depth below the keel.
Soundings confirmed depth greater than fifty fathoms. Drew in lead.
Ordered change of course to proceed towards anomaly but before half a league covered lookout reported no land in sight.
Believing it to be apparition or mirage I ordered the ship back to original course to maintain blockade off the coast of Alaska.
Editor’s note. Upon examination of Admiralty records in Greenwich maritime museum, I discovered numerous reports of sightings of ethereal lands and cities off Alaskan coast and Alaskan Indians include such sightings in their mythology. Another mystery of the sea.
A happy heart ❤️
Short stories online
A man who served in Korea. A woman with a past. It's a new beginning for the end.
Yes to God, Yes to Mission, Yes to Taiwan!
Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general
a blog about writing, reading and parenting
Climbing, Outdoors, Life!
One family's journey to zero waste in Chattanooga, TN
A Personal Journey through the wild Moors and Mountains of Northern England, Scotland and Wales, in Search of Myths and Legends
Shortness of Breadth
Most of all I love to write stories and dance but often spend time outdoors while my husband flies his kites, too!
Plan A rarely works
For bloggers who aspire to inspire
"But finally you find that you have people of flesh and blood on your hands, people with will and an individual sensibility of their own, made out of component parts you are unable to change, manipulate or distort." (Harold Pinter)
Poets, Poetry, News, Reviews, Readings, Resources & Opportunities for Poets and Writers
Poetry Magazine & Resource
I am not here to convince you of anything, I am just sharing my personal experiences