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A Balkan Rock Opera DEMO

Here is the demo for the first 5 songs of the upcoming Balkan Rock Opera.

The vocals are terrible. They’re just scratch vocals to show what the real vocalists will be singing.

It’s also important to imagine that this is actually being played by a real band of really good musicians who can add the soul that the demo lacks.

Nothing, especially the lyrics is final. It’s just an early demo.

My projects for the past few years have all been story oriented. This is a story too (although there’s a bit of narrator singing missing to help fill you in on some of the story), but this time there’s a big difference. This is a band album. In all my story work, the music is subservient to the story. This time the story is subservient to the music. The music will indulge itself any damn time it feels like it.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

DEMO TRACK: The Karma Of The Gun from A Balkan Tale

I’m going to post some of the demos from the A Balkan Tale, the live band project i’m working on (and must complete before we return to steampunky fairy tales). I’ll post the first 5 tracks totally 25 minutes, but i’m going to start out of order with the track i’ve been working on this past week.

It is important to remember that this is a demo. Normally, when i post a demo, it REALLY REALLY close to what the finished track will sound like, minus terrible scratch vocals. In this case, the demo really is a demo made in a home studio, meant to be played by a live band. Imagine these tracks actually played by a group of actual, good musicians. Not just all done on a keyboard in a home studio, brought to life and interpreted by a band. A Balkan rock band that i will put together.

That’s what this demo is for. For the band to learn from. It should also be mentioned that anything that sounds even vaguely like soloing would of course be up to the musician playing. The violinist, for instance would never bother to learn the noodly bits i do, they would do their own, far superior noodling.

The band will be drums, bass, guitar, keys, accordion, and violin.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Future. Is It On Its Way Or What?

I am 10 months into Baby Year. My work pace has started to pick up again a little bit, but it’s nowhere where it was pre-baby. It’s been a much slower year then normal. In baby year, it can be very difficult to get anything non baby done.

But as the haze slowly shows signs of lifting, i can begin to speculate on what the future will hold. It will involve me completing a current project and then probably returning to the whimsical sci fi-ish genre that the New Albion Trilogy is.

I am currently working on a… Balkanish rock opera. This is a very specific project and will rely on funding to happen as it involves a real band playing it. If i cannot secure funding for a real band i will not release the demo, it will sit and wait. Funding will be secured locally.

Funding will involve grants. I will not do a Kickstarter campaign. I have never personally run a kickstarter campaign and ask you guys to fund me, and i won’t for this one. I may one day, and when that day comes i will require cashing in on the goodwill of the fanbase built around New Albion. This current project is so different from what you wish of me, that this is not the project to cash in on. I know what you guys want. And i intend to give it to you.

But it’s not this current project, which is Gogol Bordello meets a slightly prog-ish, real live rock band and involves a good bit of eastern Europe vibe. For those of you who are completists, it does contain the character who will become the Monk who founds New Albion, but it is not anything like the New Albion albums. Although there is a WHOLE lot of accordion. It could be a little steampunk rock band by way of Bulgaria. It’s slow going (because of Baby Year) and will take up many, many more months. Also, one of it’s main goals is to rock. It will sound like an album from a band (although ideally i will not play on it. I am making a full demo of the entire album and i will rehearse the band who will play it, making note of where they can disregard the specific notes of the demo and add their own take.

It’s a particular process. I do not want a note for note replaying of the album. I want it better. I want a band of musicians (and they’re plenty in Belgrade) who can listen , understand exactly what i’m going for, then play better groove parts than i actually came up with. Same with anything that sounds every remotely like a solo, any little filler riff… ignore what i play. Play your own muse and please don’t forget to add that eastern European soul to it.

After this project, however, i am leaning heavily towards another sci-fi-ish story series. Long form, although stories within the larger framework will break down into smaller chunks. Those chunks could the length of a single act.. an album length… who knows. It’s first chapter will be very much the genre of Dark Cabaret.

It will take place within the New Albion world, but will not center on New Albion. However, clear intersections will occur. It will be the kind of thing you are waiting for me to do again. But i need this period of growing and trying to stretch out a few different ways. It’s important for me to develop as an artist so that when i return to the thing you, my fanbase would most like to see, and i would certainly like to make, i will better and fresh. You don’t want me stale.

The first bit would take place in a gothic western town. But i’m wondering if i can make the entire act take place literally in a single, real time cabaret performance. So… gothic western cabaret. I don’t know who this person in this picture is, but this is exactly what the female lead (of Act 1) could look like:

g1.jpg

Azedeh Safaei. Photography by Paul Gooddy

I also like the first act taking place within a single cabaret performance because eventually there will a bunch of reality bending. And of course longing and heartache.

I also am wondering of how to present it. I’m playing with the idea of podcasting it to some degree. A song every… whatever and then when each act has been played the entire act then collected and played straight through (and available for sale. Obviously, if I can’t support myself, i.e. feed myself and stay alive by making it, i will make something else that will allow me not to die. But don’t worry, i’ll make it really, really good so you can’t resist handing over your hard earned money to my sinister clutches.) I am open to interesting ideas on how to present and market it.

I’ll use mostly new voices on it, although i can’t bring myself to not use Lauren as long as she’ll still do it. I hope to use Psyche Corporation, who i connected with several months ago, who actually expressed a willingness to be on a project of mine and whose voice i ADORE. A. DORE.

Anyway, all this is jumping the gun. It will some time before this second thing happens. If all goes well i’ll begin work on it in the fall.

So there you go. As far as i can tell, those are my 2016 plans. We shall see.

 

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Dolls Performance In Purchase, New York

ANNABELLE

Hidee ho, everybody. Long time… i’ll fill you in tomorrow, but for now i want to make you aware of a performance of Dolls happening in Purchase, New York at the end of March.

This performance will take place not at a theater, but at a lounge, where the line between performer and audience blurs. To quote: “a decaying, ragged underground cocktail lounge known as The Gang of Four. This Lounge has the spirit of a piano bar, the secrecy of a speakeasy and the revelry of a once-lively music hall. A most intimate space, with an eclectic assortment of couches and chairs for 15-20 spectators (The Lounge is inspired by a West Village establishment I frequent in Manhattan called Art Bar).”

(Note, i know the Art Bar well. I used to hang out there regularly in the early 00’s.)

SOLDIERv2.jpg

“The audience will be invited to the Lounge about an hour before Dolls begins, and can explore the space (preferably with a cocktail). Once Dolls, the main performance, does begin it will occur all across the Lounge, some moments at tables with the spectator (i.e. the restaurant/lounge where Fay leaves Edgar). The players often are sharing the same space as the spectator, close enough to employ more senses than just sight and sound (each character has a dedicated perfume/fragrance, for example). In a sense, this is a Musical within an Experience, all inspired by the greater New Albion Universe.”

Sounds intriguing, no?

As always, i am not involved with this performance and i cannot personally attest to whether it will be awesome or not, but also as always, i am rooting for this performance and i love the idea.

Edgar Dolls Of New Albion

For those of you still around these parts, i will be back tomorrow to tell of upcoming projects and when you can expect the next sci fi opera series to begin.

 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Hajduk pt. 3

Dragan slowly walked across the land, reflections of otherworldly darkness moving across him. He realized he could see the dead. They were mostly pointless, wandering ghosts, muttering to themselves. Some tried to engage him but he usually ignored them. Day after day he continued shuffling across the countryside, feeling more and more a part of the shadows, like something neither quite alive nor dead, but living in a grey realm in between.

 

He came at last to the palace, wandering, stumbling through the town until the palace lay within his sight. So many people, so many smells, so many dead and living shuffling around him that he could hardly stay focused.

It was as he strode to the entrance of the palace that his wife Danijela appeared before him, the girl he had left so long ago now, left weeping with an empty crib in the autumn afternoon. She was dead of course, for how long he couldn’t say. She begged him to turn back. She told him there was nothing before him but blood and sadness.

He told her had come so far to avenge their child, their lives. He did this for her. He did this for them.  Couldn’t she see that? He did this in her memory. He would avenge their lost lives, their lost family.

Danijela shook her head.

If he cared so much about her, about their lives, then where had he when she needed comforting? When had he cared so much that he had put her first?  She had never been his priority. He was always looking to be at the cafana, drinking with the boys. All those nights drinking and boasting, bragging about his sexual conquests, all those meaningful little glances he and his mates gave each other when there was some secret that had to be kept from the girfriend, and they were so stupidly inebriated, did they possibly think they were being subtle? She sat through the bragging, she sat through the secrets and the cheating and knowing that she came somewhere later down the list of things he wanted as part of his day. And she put up with it because she was a fool with an idiotic fantasy about how they could be, one day, when he was settled and devoted. She was in love. She was so stupidly in love with him and she knew you had to put up with a certain amount from men. So she did.

And he was so annoyed with her for being annoyed with him for always choosing the cafana over her. For always hoping that just once, it would be her who was at the top of list, not several priorities down.  She had so much love for him, and yet it hurt so bad to realize she would never be the center of his attention. She would never have the kind of love a dumb girl dreams about, she would have whatever was left over for her. How could she not be hurt? How could she not show that? And in the end, when she had been crushed beyond all hope, he hadn’t even then chosen to stay there for her. It was more important that he get his “vengeance”, that he even the score, because some sense of balance of pain was more important than compassion for his heart broken wife.

And despite it, she had gone to her grave still loving him.

Before she left, she put her ghostly hand on his cheek and told him that she was sorry. Please, don’t harm her baby. She was so sorry.

Dragan just stood there as Danijela disappeared.

Guards rush over to him and recognizing the clothes he wore, Hajduk clothing from the terrorist band that had been obliterated 18 years ago. His sword was taken and he was escorted into the palace. Surrounding by armed guards he was brought into the courtroom, where the Vizier sits alongside members of the courts, guards and a young woman at the Vizier’s side. The girl was about 19 years old and carried a Janissary blade.

The Vizier pays a small respect to the long defunct hajduk and believes Dragan to be some kind of delirious madman whose mind did not survive the massacre that happened so long ago.  He asks him what he wants? The time of resistance is long over, the war lost, why does he come to palace?

Dragan says he came originally to slay the Vizier, to which the entire court chuckles. Dragan is a shell of a man, and unarmed at that. Dragan admits he is not sure if he has the will for that anymore. He has realized he has never done right by anyone who mattered and is unlikely to start now.

The Vizier asks him why he is so forlorn? Why now? His comrades died long ago.

Dragan tells the Vizier that he took his baby.

The Vizier is shocked. He asks Dragan to explain, then pauses and asks what village he is from.

Dragan tells him.

The Vizier nods slowly. Yes, he knows the village. He has been there, some time ago. He had a woman there once. A sweet, wild thing… it was an affair and she got pregnant. Was this someone close to Dragan? His girlfriend? The Vizier tells him it is unfortunate, but the baby was not his. The baby was the Vizier’s. He only came for what was rightfully his. Did his girlfriend not tell him? The baby, the girl is grown. She is right here. The Vizier point to the girl with the Janissary sword. She is not Dragan’s daughter. She never was. Dragan was so busy searching for revenge based on a misunderstanding, and he should have been watching his own house, taking care of his own woman. The Vizier tells him to go back home. Go back to the woman. Some time may have passed, but she was a wild thing then, surely she can offer some comforts to a lonely man even now. A good woman  after all is one of the deeper comforts in life. Next of course to children. And the Vizier pats the back of the girl beside him.

 

As the Vizier talks, Dragan hears the chanting of the Black Monks. It builds in intensity as the Vizier speaks. Dragan tries to ignore it, tries to block it out but it just builds in his ears. It prays to things and purposes Dragan neither understands nor cares about. He hates himself. He hates this bastard of a Vizier. He hates it all. He is regert. He is the senseless fool. He is disorder and failure and fury.

The chant suddenly goes silent as the Vizier finishes speaking, with a remark about Dragan would have been better to have had an actual child himself  then pursue the sad and doomed life he did.

 

A heart beat.

 

Dragan explodes in a whirl of supernatural violence.  Despite having no weapon, he overpowers the guards, soon wields a saber and in a matter of minutes massacres the entire court and almost all in it.

At last, when the cacophony of blood and whirling violence settles, there is only Dragan standing before the Vizier with the girl in between them.  His wife’s daughter. The daughter he thought was his. The daughter who was never his.

Dragan and Dijana face off at one another. They both stand there, sabers drawn. Poised. Waiting.

 

It is her blood which if spilled will make him a Monk of the Black God. Thus, if he attacks her, the Black God wins.

It is his blood she was warned not to spill. If she lets him attack her without defending, the White God wins.

If they both attack, Aza, the god of chaos wins. If they both lay down their swords, Osa the god or Order wins. But… if the Black Monks serve order than are they serving Osa unwittingly and therefore order is served by Dragan attacking and balancing the scales of karma. But the girl is innocent in the entire affair, her blood spilled is not balance, it creates imbalance, it serves Azar, then. Which of the gods are aligned with whom?

All is still for this one tense moment between the palace and the heavens where much more than the players at hand can conceive has been bet upon what shall happen in this moment.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Hajduk pt.2

The baby girl was taken far away.=

She was placed in a rectory in some remote hills or northern Khazurkstan to be raised by nuns. An Abbot and a few learned monks would stop by twice a year to check on the child’s health and progress.

The rectory was a respectable size. There were several stone and wood buildings and numerous tunnels underneath and secret passageways behind the walls. The nuns were mostly quiet and the buildings full of empty, lopnely spaces. A somber atmosphere always seemed to fills the air except during sunrise and sunset hymns, which were beautiful and transcendent.

 

Still, it was a silent and lonenly life for a little girl. Doctors would argue whether such an atmostphere helped drive her insane or whether she was predisposed, on her mother’s side of course, to madness.

The rectory was full of one thing of color: icons.

Icons of saints could be found in every corner and their colorful, sometimes almost cartoonish depictions delighted the little girl. They became her friends, her playmates, her confidants. They kept her company, played games with her, explored the many secret nooks and crannies of the property with her and most interestingly, they taught her things. They taught her all sorts opf things, from theology to reading, to math.

They were as real to the little girl as the nuns and as she grew from toddler to actual girl ­­­the nuns could not help but notice she was “touched”, but whether divinely, by madness, or by the Disorderly One they feared to guess.

 

The Khazurks believed in a Divine duality of Order and Chaos. These were represented as sister gods, Osa and Aza. Osa was the god of Order, of righteousness and light, and it was She they mostly worshiped. Aza was the Nemesis, the god of Chaos, necessary in Her way, but only as servant to Osa. Troubles in the world arose whenever Aza, always jealous of Her sister’s rightful place as ruler and dominant one, attempted all sorts of coups, upsets and act of violation. She was never to be trusted and was only righteous when operating in subservience with Osa’s will.

 

This is why the little girl’s invisible friends were a problem. Either it was her imagination run wild or she really was seeing entities unseen by anyone else. Neither of these options seemed to smack of Osa’s influence, but felt much more like Aza’s influence, either on her soul or mind.

During the girl’s 6 year she was visited often by the Abbot and his two monks, assessing her mental and spiritual state. Finally, when the girl was seven, she was declared legally insane. This diagnosis was actually a mercy, as being declared spiritually subversive would have been much worse. So they came to take her away.

 

We need to pause here to mention an important point about the various characters who interacted with the little girl. While she was fond of them all, and they were all quite kind and helpful, she would still lay in her room at night and wish with all her might that her mother might appear.  She had no memory of her mother, but longed for her anyway and called out in her mind every single night. She would beg her icon friends to bring her mother to her, but alas, they told her they could not.

 

Her mother, Danijela, lived far away of course, and ever since the loss of her baby and her husband had carried on as best she could, but always with a broken heart that never healed. When,  several years after her baby was taken from her, she began to hear a little girl’s voice every night crying out for her mother, she did not ignore it as fantasy or madness, but took it quite seriously.

She would try to call back to the voice of the little girl, but the voice seemed never to hear her.  She consulted village witches, priests and finally ended up in one of the holiest monasteries in the region where the head monk, who many were sure would end up a saint, prayed on it and then told her the voice was indeed from her daughter. Alas, she was far away. He could not say where. She was surrounded by dead saints, for some reason she was a beacon for them, so for that her poor mother could take heart.

Danijela thanked the priest went back home. She lay awake listening to her daughter’s calls night after night and thought and thought.

One day she began a seven day fast and cleansing ritual, the last three days of which she only drank water. She was in church from sun up to sundown. After the seven days, when she was completely cleansed and purified, she went to the hospital. She went into the children’s ward, the room with children dying of consumption. There were ten children there, slowly dying of the tragic illness. She went to the first one’s bed, bent over and kissed the child on the mouth, drawing deeply in, first his breath then his very sickness. After sucking the illness in she stumbled over to the next bed.

She truly, truly meant to attend to all ten beds, all ten children, but she was simply not strong enough. She died after the seventh one. After sucking in the illness, she fell to the bed. She wretched and wretched, vomiting a thick green bile, then collapsed, dying in the puddle of vomit.

Thus it was, that the next night when the girl called out to her mother, her mother finally came to her.

 

Her mother warned her men were coming to take her away, that she was in great danger and must hide. When the men came to take the girl away to the asylum she could not be found. No amount of scouring the grounds could turn her up.  After hours of frustration they left, demanding that when the nuns find her she is to be detained, the authorities notified, and the girl placed where she belongs.

This is how the little girl Dijana came to spend the next seven years as the secret stowaway of the rectory.

She lived in the secret passageways, the stone tunnels, the attics about the grounds. Except for Sister Vesna, none of the sister ever saw her for the next seven years. Never the less, they would leave food and clothes out. They ignored sounds of running water in the washroom and some would sing lullabyes in their empty room at night where faint creeping could almost be heard on the floorboards above. Some would leave or find bracelets and tiaras of flowers in odd places, and many would bring various books to the rectory only to leave them in odd places and never seemed to be bothered that they never saw the books again.

 

Around the time the girl turned fifteen, a major campaign from a large band of southern Hajduks swept in to Khazurk territory to sack and raze everything in their way. One of these things was the rectory.

While the entire band numbered 150, only 30 were sent to sack the Abbey and take whatever valuables could be found.

It is a certain type of man who smiles lustfully and licks his chops and volunteers to raid a nunnery knowing the special perks such a sack will offer. Most of the 30 were this type of man and the only gifts they brought on their visit to the rectory were brutality and horror. They rode in whooping and laughing, swords drawn, smiles on ther faces.

Debates woud rage in the weeks that followed all the way to the capital city itself, how on earth it was possible for a small, isolated nunnery, full of peaceful women who had mostly been nuns their entire lives, to fight off and smash so efficiently and thoroughly such a band of armed, ruthless, battle hardened men.

This was made more complicated by the nuns’ insistence that they actually did very little. Some outlandish rumors surfaced of some feral child who haunted the nunnery having been the mastermind responsible, but the nuns would tut and shrug and wave their hands at such outlandish tales without ever actually commenting directly on it.

What is clear is that the rectory deployed a number of traps, very ingenious and deadly concoctions, which alone probably felled about 20 of the invaders. There traps however would have been built, meaning the nuns would have to have known the invaders were coming weeks ahead of time. Clearly impossible. Others of the invaders were slain in one to one combat, lured into easily defensible areas and out fought using fighting techniques no nun could possibly be prepared to deploy.

On old priest at the capital upon studying the matter declared it rather interested that all the techniques, from the traps to the probable combat methods all fit the exact description of Saint Evron, a saint from about two centuries earlier who had been a leading general before later in life turning to the church and devoting himself humbly and fully to the will of the gods.  The situation at the nunnery looked like someone had certainly studied the general quite thoroughly, almost one would dare say, studied under him directly.

 

Some months later, the Vizier from Savonija, the very one who features elsewhere in our tale, showed up at the rectory personally. He stayed three days. He sat down with the Mother Superior and had a long, earnest discussion. On the third day he rode off, the girl Dijana with him. She was to be the first in a new, elite Janissary squad he was putting together.

Before he left, the Mother Superior told him in no uncertain terms, that it was wrong to think of the girl as a warrior. She was no such thing. Not truly. She was a new breed of monk, chosen by the gods, a very special piece on their board, although by which god Osa, Aza, or perhaps neither, perhaps another god, it was truly impossible to say.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Hajduk pt.1

This is the story of a man who went to become a Hajduk, an outlaw, resisting the occupation of his country by the western Khazurks.

The first image you should know, however, is of a small bedroom in late afternoon. An orange cloth hung over the window and the sun light gently tumbled in, bathing the room in a beautiful, orange light. A woman sits on a bed crying. She sits next to an empty crib that will never hold a baby again and weeps throughout the day.

 

She wept mostly for her baby, although her husband, Dragan leaving her certainly didn’t help. He would have been better off is he could also have simply sat and wept for his lost baby, but he could not. His father was typical of fathers in the smal village where they lived, and taught his son to stifle emotion, unless you were blind durnk in which it was okay to let a little of it slip. Dragan had struggled to please his father.  He never actually did, although what he hadn’t realized is that it was because his father was never pleased except for some moments of blind drunkeness, and it wasn’t actually personal and there was almost nother he could have done. While Dragan was a kinder man than his father, dealing with emotions was a struggle, and when faced with the kidnapping of a child, rage was really the only emotion possible. Even vastly gentler men than Dragan would have agreed with him there. So it was that after a long, bitter argument, more yelling than was psychologically good for either Dragan or his wife, a day of tense silence followed by more yelling, you can all imagine i’m sure, Dragan finally left his wife, his house, and his village to set off, become a Hajduk, and kill the bastard Vizier who had stolen his baby girl.

 

Finding the legendary Hajduks is no simple task. They hide in the mountains and their very survival depends on a great deal of difficulty in smelling out their location. However, theirs is the blood of generations of native Savonics. Thus Dragan went to the graveyard where generations of his ancestors lay, and thought he didn’t really believe in magic and could barely muster a belief in religion in general, this didn’t stop him from performing  a little magic rite, exactly as an old woman he had spoken to instructed him.

He was pleasantly surprised and even mildly shocked to find it worked. A ghost appeared, holding an old lantern and guided him, pointing the way that would take him deep into the hills to join the Hajduks.

 

Thus Dragan joined the Hajduks. He learned to fight, to live in the rough, to plan strategies of both stealth and violence. He learned to drink, something he already was fairly adept at, but he learned to do it even better, to sing songs that stirred the blood of patriots, and of brotherhood. He also learned of loneliness, isolation, and starvation. He learned to kill, both from a distance and with cheek to cheek intimacy. He learned to almost disregard fear. Almost all men feel fear, and he never learned to not fear it, he simply learned to not care one way or the other if he shit his pants and not let it affect his ability to make the enemy shit his.

He never learned satisfaction. Over time his fiery passion and desire for revenge gave way to an ever present sadness that at moments almost made him hesitate dangerously before picking up his saber.

 

The Vizier had begun his post in the Savonic wilderness by secretly keeping a calendar that ticked down the days until he was done with this infernal posting and could return to the beloved homeland his heart yearned for. He bore no ill will towards the conquered people he was sent to govern and keep in line.

At first.

He was unmarried, and while many of his contemporaries had various vices ranging from quirky to downright cruel, his weakness was woman. Seducing the locals was his one big vice and he felt to his credit, not really so bad as he was neither brutish nor unkind in his seductions.

All would have gone well, his post a mere four years and the local population he oversaw would have lived a relatively unbothered existence as far as conquered Khazurk territories go, if it hadn’t been for the damned monkies.

One of the Vizier’s contemporaries had made elaborate and expensive arrangements to acquire  a pair of golden monkeys and have them brought to him over in Bosnia. They would have to travel through Hadim Pasha’s territory along with the ridiculous entourage that was accompanying them. The entire procession looked wealthy and important and as such were a giant bullseye to local terrorist organizations, like the Hajducks. Assuming they were carrying great wealth, the Hajduks attacked the procession and killed most of the men, although the monkeys ran free and their descendants live in the forest to this day.

This attack was a travesty. For awhile Hadim was certain he would lose his life over it, but in the end, great and harsh countermeasures were expected from him, and any hope he had of seeing his homeland again for at least a decade, quite probably two, were dashed. He was stuck in this infernal outpost with these violent, uncivilized barbarians who could only be trusted to rob and murder. He thus acted accordingly.

Animosity festered and bred, and by the time some years had passed there was no love or gentleness left for the locals, and in their turn, little to none for him.

 

The violent, bloody dance between Hajduk and Khazurk continued steadily, until finally a great battle came. A spy in the Hajduk camp leaked their whereabouts and the Vizier swept down with his soldiers. The fight was fierce and brutal.

Dragan’s life in the Hajduks had often resembled a great party of rough and tumble brothers, with drums and drink, some blood here and there, and promises of great victory and retribution that never quite materialized. This fight though, this was something else. The sights he saw would haunt him for the rest of his days. They would have haunted any of the men, however by the end of the battle, everyone else had been slaughtered. Dragan had been knocked out under a pile of bodies and overlooked. Thus, when the Khazurks cleared out, he was the only one still alive.

 

By the time he crawled his way out it was the dead of night. Various animals were picking at the remains of his friends. In the moonlight, Dragan saw human figures also nibbling on the bodies. Other ragged people were piling the bodies into a cart as several dark robed figures watched on in still silence.

After Dragan had spent a few minutes gathering his bearings, one of these figures approached him. It was a Vampir, looking just like his Baba had described, thin, ghoulish, black eyed and bony with long teeth and nails. The Vampir congratulated Dragan on surviving and assured him he would encounter no more ill will or personal danger on this long night. Indeed, Dragan had been spared by Providence, by the Brothers, themselves who rule over all these, the twin gods, Belo Bog and Crno Bog, to be the hand of fate and the instrument of their Will.

The Vampir invited Dragan back his humble estate, to rest, heal and eat. He promised guest privileges, which amount to further assurances of safety, and as Dragan was too weak, wounded and psychologically shell shocked to do otherwise, he went with the Vampir to his estate, a place nicely nestled in a dark space in between two landmarks Dragan knew well, but in a such a crack the Untouched could not see nor venture in sunlight.

The estate was a monastery and the Vampir and his brothers were monks, followers of Crno Bog, the Black God. The White God had his Sun religions,  but the Black God, too had his religions and followers. The Vampir and the other monks had chosen their lives quite carefully and purposefully. They were about Order and Balance, and the Sacred unseen rivers of fate that flow throughout the world, of which Dragan is now cast upon, a piece ordained by the the Twin Gods themselves to fulfill his duty. The vengeance he craves is more than a selfish desire. It is a necessary task, a balancing of the scales, an important move on a chess board Dragan cannot see but which he is honored to be a part of for a few brief, but important moves.

The monks chant their dark verse night in and night out. Dragan eats with them in their great, grey stone hall, and after the rich, heady wine they drink each night, the candlelight and shadows mix to form plays which tell such wonderful and sad stories, and reveal soft and terrible truths.

Dragan’s time at the Dark God’s monastery ends and after one last talk with the Vampir, he makes his choice.  He can, he should become a monk of the Black God, but out in the world there is final task to be done, and only with this task will the choice be made. A single drop of blood must spill. The moment will be when the moment will be. No matter the choice, he must leave the monastery and pursue his destiny, and so, bid a gentle farewell by the Order of Vampir Brothers, he sets off late at night, backpack full, saber at his side, to make the long, bitter walk to the Vizier’s palace.

It was only later, along the way, that he came to realize well over a decade had passed in this outside world while he had been in the monastery.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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