The Dark Crusade of Vengeful Truth (Wyrmheart Saga)

‘It is not the sufferings of winter that cause us to quail in this world

It is the evil of warped good, and the secret slaves of the false god.’

As the shadow of the South creeps ever closer to the realms of men, Winter grows more furious. The forests at the Edge of the World begin to gnarl and die, giving way to flood and landslide. The rivers grow sick with grief, and mountains are torn asunder for the stones and minerals within. Wealthy factors in the cities increase the price of wheat and corn, as Lords tighten their belts and raise their taxes. The ‘Dorian Alliance is tested to its limits as delegations stop visiting the Grand Councils and Calls to Summons, becoming more suspicious of their neighbours. Priests and monks of the Old Faith still attend solstices and celebrations, but pilgrims and fanatics come in lesser number. Corruption in the Temples is rife.

This is an age of cynicism. Trumpets of doom are blown. Brother grows suspicious of brother, peasant collectives begin to fragment and turn against their own interests.

Avagoth raids intensify on the borders, the steeds of many warlords reaching as far as the Inner Cities. With diminishing armies and plummeting morale, the Alliance brings in ever more desperate measures – Orcish mercenaries to quell the anger of their own people. It is a short-term solution bound to spread resentment. People start to question where their civilization is going and whether there truly is an eternal, celestial order to things. Those few who profit from the increasing struggle are the only ones with any power, their miserable souls slowly evolving into demonic aspect, their fangs feeding on millions of poor and desperate.

Only Gylfanon, the Dark Prince of Gylfanys, goes on the attack. Looking to expand his Kingdom, he forges links with the Lorcanians of the sacred wood. He avoids the worst of Avagoth raids by promising his barbarian “friends” power and land in his new domain. Turning warlord against warlord, Gylfanon’s knowledge of Avagothic clan politics spares him much grief. In his own lands he makes it illegal to raise the price of grain, and threatens the wealthy factors and their private guards with his furious league. Many flee to neighbouring lands, and Gylfanon’s council take their wealth and estates, distributing much of it to the needy. Yet more volunteers step forward to take up spear and shield for their prince, yet more weeping maidens stitch great banners of valour to be carried into battle.

At first he only aimed to frighten his neighbours into compliance, but quickly Gylfanon gained in confidence. High-Priest Furion secretly joined him, and advised he begin the Dark Crusade of Vengeful Truth, to turn the armies of evil away by any means possible – even turning the weapons of evil against itself! In a moment of revelation, Gylfanon realized how much his own inner-darkness and suffering was a source of strength. Caused by the evils and inequalities of men, it is rage enough to overturn his oppressors. Deep inside that nihilistic tendency lay the fearlessness to face death.

As news spreads and champions gather beneath the black and red Gylfan banners, the five brothers of the Turcans respect the brazen might of bold Gylfanon and his wise council. The Scyldlings send him gifts from the Northern Ice, mighty frostblades, and a pair of armoured mammoth to serve as his battle-steeds. Many creatures emerge from the deeps, drawn to his pulsing soul, understanding the speech of his beastmasters. And much are his loyal volunteers, among them Thugul and Au Ko, and even a few companies of the hardy Dalf Byorn tired of the decline around them.

On the attack, Gylfanon gains momentum, and the Dark Prince is seen as a hero of Hy-Selasia, even by his enemies. But those enemies are great; The six warped, mind-controlling giants who rule over the still, ancient domains of Ivis. And the King-in-the-Crystal, the single most powerful man of all. He commands no army, yet his believers are many, and they have many armies. Their hearts gripped by tightening despair and irreverence for nature, they know only anxious obeisance to their cruel King.

It is almost time to put ideals to the test. It is almost time for battle.

Gylfanon hands his diamond broadsword to his lieutenant, the silent and bold Halbard. Delving to the depths of the ancient armoury of the Nagothi, he seeks a greater treasure. A dark creature of Elvish aspect waits there, hidden beneath a robe of samite, and he holds in his naked hands a long, serrated sword. Clutching Nightcleaver to his chest, Gylfanon prepares for the ultimate battle, not against the true, inevitable darkness, but against the warped light which casts an even greater shadow.

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Gothic Wave: Ancient Knight

Something stirred in the stillness of the stone tomb. Granite scraped against granite as a sarcophagus slowly opened, by its own accord.

A dusty, broken hand of bone slowly rose out, moving its fingers as if for the first time. An arm clad in rusty mail followed, and then a being wholly skeletal. Its helmet was dulled by time, heraldry smoothed away by its centuries-long slumber. Its plate mail was rusty and discoloured. Small snatches of cloth, once covered in embalming fluid, were all that remained of his tabard and robes, and his leather scabbard had thinned to a rod of brass.

The ancient knight rose to full height in his tomb and stood alone, his stone home dimly lit by the misty light of the moon. He gazed around with distant longing, then he took a few creaking steps. Stumbling, the knight righted himself, his gait unbalanced by his broken limbs and deathly stiffness. Something of instinct still remained inside, guiding him like a dim whisper. He reached for the arched portal of the tomb, placing his skeletal hand against it. With fury he pushed, his strength mighty, but nothing moved. With a slight shrug, the ancient knight turned and grabbed the double-headed axe hung above his sarcophagus. A brief moment of remembrance filled him and he cocked his head, wrapping his fingers tight around the iron shaft of his old weapon.

The door to the tomb started to splinter and break, until it collapsed outwards. Walking out into the frozen night, the ancient knight heard armour clanking, bones creaking, dusty wails, breaking stone, the flap of a thousand tiny wings and the distant cry of doomful wolves. It was as if vengeance itself was rising. His brothers and sisters too were awakening into dark night.

And they were legion.

Gothic Wave: The Shade

He gasped thinly.

Something began to emerge from the shadows. A vapour trailed out of him into the thing; a thin, ethereal cord which shimmered in the dull light. Slowly it filled out, its edges always hazey and uncertain, shifting like roiling, black sea-waves.

He opened his mouth, but nothing escaped. His spine tingled and his stomach churned. His bowels grew heavy and the back of his throat became dry. No hand reached for a sword, no leg moved into a combat stance.

The thing hissed, a sound wholly ethereal, and then it began to circle him. Tendrils followed its wake like a cloak, brushing against his skin, leaving him chill where it touched him. The shade stopped before him, its eyes flashing, its long fangs bared in a frightening gormlessness. The thing hovered, then slowly lowered its head toward the frozen champion.

How may I serve you, master?’ it asked, and the world began to spin and he collapsed to the cold stone floor, and he fell into a dreamless slumber.

Leap of faith

Running away, from place to place. As if you can outpace your shadow. Throwing yourself onto the back of another’s horse, begging them to save you. Is this the path to inner-healing? Is this going to lift you out of your tumult and darkest pain?

There is no utopia waiting for you, and there is no perfect woman waiting for you to find and marry her. Nothing better awaits until you are strong inside yourself. No one is an island, but you must have a basis of self-love and self-worth in order to do any good for the world.

Have you got it? Look deep inside, is it truly there?

This is not a sudden process, and cannot be rushed. Frustration and impatience will only drag you back to a childish state. Though it may have climaxes and peaks, the process requires the opening of pandora’s box, and I wonder how much control we have over such an action. Perhaps you are lucky if you have a crisis, for now you can unlock the truth.

Yours is finally open, and now you are looking within, into places of deep daring. You are one with your hurt, even as it heals. And the closer you get to truly actualizing what is within yourself, the harder it is going to get. That final leap, to become a knight of faith, is the hardest step of all, harder than first opening the box or even taking up your sword.

Therefore, do not be surprised if your trembling, fearful inner-child gets worse with time, until the final battle with the ultimate shadow.

And when you face it down, know that you cannot defeat it with even the broadest of swords, for that thing is part of yourself, and to harm it is to harm yourself. Know it, and you know part of thyself. Embrace it, forgive it, and you achieve the ultimate courage, whatever others may think of you.

You accept yourself as a flawed, weak, vulnerable being, and in doing so grow tenfold in flexibility and adaptability. You become ready to evolve into something better.

There is no escaping the inner-truth, so do not long for worlds of fantasy. Do not be so absorbed in art that it loses all relevance to the world-as-it-is. Do not run from yourself, however painful the feelings, however harsh and hard the thoughts. Do not hide behind work and routine, this is to make reality mundane. You must face yourself before you can truly live.

Every experience is part of your history, and you cannot repress them. Nor can you stop them from impacting upon your conscious behaviour now, in the present, unless you take them unto yourself and resolve yourself. There are many patterns inside of you which you do not realize, and these shape your character. If you have not the tools and sensitivity to unweave that personal destiny, you are a slave to a thousand motives deeper than your conscious being.

The truth must be dug up, and held up. What you truly are, a wonderful conflux of experiences and attitudes, must be beheld by your conscious mind.

Then you can take the largest step of all, and the hardest. Into true selfhood, as an actualized being of nature. Of course, darknesses and patterns will accumulate again, and there is no final enlightenment. But you will be much more prepared to deal with challenges, in a mature and adult way. You will be more than the sum of your pain and neuroses. You will stand in truth, and all that you do will be of truth.

Fear not yourself. Loathe not yourself. Only know thyself, be thyself and love thyself.

Orphic Beast

An injection of self, a reflection of self

Orphic explosion, in this brain of mine

I touch the sky, my shaman-self lifted

To realize some kind, of undefined divine

My soul wants to soar, although some parts to plod

Among the grey citizens of order

Dull thumpers of the one, dull god

 

(And as I come to fear, the night, boredom

And my internal extremes, the hyper-brain

Says ‘enjoy this, though it ends in a crash

You were dead before, so live and fear not death’)

 

Somehow free of the hate that claims others

Oh those self-defined, self-refined prisons they create

Only to lament their loss and deny their place

In the ranks of bile, and spite and hate

Maybe to cloak themselves from the leviathan-machines

Which provides their plenty, as the global south screams

Their shit-eating hypocrisies, judgemental non-philosophies.

And I have landed among their pretention, problems hidden

Beneath the rug, the armoured iron carpet

That supports the weight of their bloated heads

And blood-drenched souls.

Come ye shadows, my scabbard is empty for a reason

No more running from stillness and silence. No more running from yourself.

Put nothing between yourself and your fears; hide behind no shield. The longer you leave it, the worse it will become, the less and less free you will become. No castle walls can protect you; shadows can pass through stone. No distance can deter them; they are slow but inevitable. Turn and make a stand.

Let the shadows catch you, let all of your fears come and open your arms to them. Feel what it means to be in the presence of something that scares the shit out of you – it is your soul speaking, screaming in pain.

Devour your nightmares, draw your sword and harness your rage – the rage of the oppressed; the wrath of the silenced. Tear the shadows to pieces, as they come in wave after wave, fuck them up like a raging berserk; toss them aside like a rampaging bull. Nothing can defeat you if you are willing to fight.

The inner-demons cannot harm you, they can only make you harm yourself. You can make yourself love yourself, but first you need a sword at your belt and a rage in your heart and the might to face earthly evil. You need the valour to risk shame, humiliation and failure. You need the experience and discipline to endure pain and torment.

The Dark Ones have planted these demons inside of all proletarians, to make us hate ourselves and work their profit machine. They made the abusers and the psychotics and the oppressors who stain our souls with neurotic self-hatred. They made the social rules which call our rage barbaric and low, for they know rage is the cleasning fire which will ultimately transform this depraved society.

Fuck them back up warrior, for this is the only way…