Chapitre X ~ LA CHANSON DE LA MÈRE D’ESPRIT
(Song Of The Spirit Mother)
armth of dawn light has yet to reach the cold stars above me. I have emerged into the Monastery courtyard.
I have spent the night within the once pagan temple, the now Adytum of Purification. As prescribed by Habitude Royale I have been enlightened unto The Ways of Men. By custom I am now supposed to be fit for my impending political wedding to the barbarian Hrolf The Walker.
I have left my young tutor, the Acolyte Tredecim, sleeping fitfully upon the altar bed.
Across the Monastery courtyard do I tread pensively. I approach the Infirmary wherein my beloved nurse and confidant Magge struggles to regain health.
But at once I am warmed with joy inexpressible as I encounter Magge standing in the entrance to the Infirmary as if she awaits me. We embrace and kiss and kiss again. We turn and continue walking in the Monastery courtyard hand in hand.
We soon find ourselves at the kitchen door. It is open and we smell bread. I am so happy that Magge can now find joy at the aroma of food.
But then I descry that across from this door there is an open wooden gate through the facing courtyard wall. We follow our curiosity hand in hand.
Outside the wall, apparitions are moving in the twilight. It is the monks known as the Thirteen Incorruptibles and their cortege of Acolytes facing to the East. The sun rises struggling through the forest. It touches all of their profiles.
From the East, through the forest, there are shadows flowing towards them. The shadows become people. Women! A horde of women! Their hair is long and feral. Their eyes are fierce like she~wolves. Their bodies are smeared with colored mud.
As they approach I see that they are being led by that poor waddling hag which my Wedding Entourage and I encountered when we first arrived at this Monastery. With her nest of hair and her twisted face she bears that single eye in the center of her forehead and she yet wears that bark for clothing stitched with her own hair as thread.
The Acolytes are now trotting in pairs to the ground between the Thirteen Incorruptibles and the horde of women who approach like an army. The Acolytes place several large baskets of bread and then quickly retreat!
The poor hag stops before the baskets and the women halt. She lifts a plank of bread and takes a bite. She raises it into the air and smacks loudly. She then gestures and women run forward two by two and retrieve the baskets of bread for the horde.
The hag notices me and approaches. As she does so, she dances side to side clapping her hands and once again chanting mysteriously ~ Le Grand Guerrier! The Great Warrior! ~
The Thirteen Incorruptibles and their cortege of Acolytes turn to see Magge and me with alarm but they do not move. The poor hag takes my hand and Magge’s hand and leads us back toward the army of women.
Is it growling that I hear? I fear for Magge, but she does not fear for herself.
The poor hag then releases our hands and raises both her arms over her head and clasps her own hands while facing the women. Each of the women then takes the hands of two other women. When nearly all are so woven together as one fabric, the hag takes the hands of Magge’s and mine again and has us join as well. The hands I hold are as smooth and strong as wood. I sense contempt as they squeeze my own hands. I fear for Magge more than ever now.
All at once the horde throws back their heads and together they give voice to one undulating tone. I cannot bespeak the effect of this eerie chorus. This canorous unity is making me vibrate with chills.
I hear now a clatter and I turn my head toward the Monastery. It is young Captain Etienne and Our Guard pouring through the open gate. They are coming to my assistance. I see fear in their determination. They are falling to their knees involuntarily. Etienne catches my eye and I sense his distress as he draws sword for my protection. Instead he but falls to his knees immobile with the others of The Guard. He cries out, ~ Your Highness! Giselle! ~
I see that the Thirteen Incorruptibles and all of the Acolytes are already on their knees with their heads bowed.
I turn back to the women. Their monolithic tone pours forth louder and louder, not a scream, not a cry, but an overwhelming pillar of sound. I am feeling faint, dizzy. I see with fear that Magge’s head is now back and she joins with the horde. She is still weak! She cannot sustain this!
My God, my God, do I really see fire in the poor hag’s eye? Is there really a finger of light now reaching from her eye to my eye?
The number ~ 6 ~ that I carved like a tear under my eye in protest of Magge’s six unjust lashings begins to burn.
My God, my God, does my skin truly thus glow?
Suddenly I can feel something primeval welling up within me. I cannot oppose it: My God! Oh, My Gracious God! It isThe Love of This World. It is an unending fountain! It fills me. But I shall burst! I cannot contain so much!
Now I can feel something massively overpowing pour down upon me: I cannot withstand it! It isThe Sorrow of This World. It is overwhelming me. I cannot bear it. My God, help me! ~ Mon Dieu, je ne peux pas l’endurer! ~
With all my strength I hold myself erect. My head falls back. My mouth opens. My voice conjoins with the pillar of sound. I am become that sound.
I do not know how long I am that sound. Yet I know without being told that this is the Song of the Spirit Mother.
As suddenly as we all began we are suddenly aware that there is now only silence. I have never experienced such deep silence.
One by one the birds begin to sing again.
<for previous chapters, search “whisper” on my blog>
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