enturing into the world

Milady, tis nigh on twain weeks since my words last graced these pages and I have felt the lack most acutely. With ten days immersed in a world so akin to hell that only the lack of a sulphurous stench would give lie to those words. T'would be unseemly for me to despair, but having ventured deep into this realm I fear my soul is weaker than it should be. But with that my ire has risen as well, anger at the perversion of the old ways.

Yet, even as I sit here with my hands atremble the calming song of thy feathered friends as dusk approaches, the babble of the brook and sublime serenity of this glade are working there magick upon me; working the knots from mine mind to soothe this wrathful wraith. For milady, that is what man is to their fellows. Wraiths, empty spirits of hollow echoes and nothing more. I ventured from this hallowed canopy of leaves, through rows upon rows of houses filled with wonders such as we can scarce imagine. My feet wandered on roads that were warm by day, sealed against the inclemental weather and safe against the very clop of hoof. I saw the horseless carriages travelling at speeds that no destrier could match with young and old sitting confident within their belly. T'was by following a shiny river of these on roads raised far above the mere soil that I came to a rise and beheld the first city. For a day and a night I watched and waited; huddled within the cold shelter of an overbridge. Milady, the sight of such a thing - a sprawling, seething mass of humanity blanketed in a foul yellow-gray fog. Their artisans are sorcerors in their own rights, lifting buildings far above mortal ken until their tops pierce the very clouds. But it belches forth a foul stench and even from this distance one can see it harbours something undeniably wrong. But where the city is a monstrosity by day - akin to some ravenous maw that devours all who eagerly strive towards it; it becomes a jewel at night shining with a glory that far outshines the stars. Myriads of lights illuminate it until it shimmers as one of the Lady Guinivere's bejewelled gowns and reflects in the waters lying at her feet. Tis beautiful to behold and yet, as darkness fell the city disgorged its load and once more every man, woman and child who had so eagerly entered felt an even more fervent desire to depart. In droves they fled from the moment when the lady revealed her beauty.

I kept a quiet vigil and savoured her moonlit evanescence until, with the coming of dawn her grace was withdrawn. For but a moment her towers gleamed with a golden light and with this glory held to my heart I ventured onto the road that led into her heart. To dwell upon the cacophany; the filth and general malaise that dwells within those bustling streets would only serve to hurt thee, milady. Gray smoke seethes from their sewers and piles of offal rots in the back streets where as often the stirs and flutters will be another human being, discarded to live amongst the rats in miserable poverty. The sight of those towers unmans one, monuments to power and glory that pushes you deeper into a small place within your heart as you realise that the faceless and eyeless masses that wander these streets worship but one god. To their eyes I was but another discarded rag, to be ignored despite my pleas for direction. And worse, to fill their sight as a scrambling beggar for whom their charity would not touch their eyes, but was left at a scattering of coins on the floor for me to pick at like a dog grateful for the leavings off his masters table. My soul burns with humiliation as I recall this, milady and even more how the sour taste of pride rose in my throat as I fell to my hands and knees and scurried to retrieve those few coins. Perchance the drunken beggar shall know of a needful soul; or mayhap at the Holy Mission t'would stretch the larder. But as hunger gnawed upon my belly and my weary feet sought this refuge I began to wonder if ever I would find it amongst this fools maze.

But find it I did, milady. Find it I did, indeed.

Tis a tale for another day though as weariness hath finally caught me and it's willful and wicked fingers are lulling me to sleep. Until the sunlit morn once more kisses me awake I will remain thine, caught within thy loving embrace

oly Mission of Saint John

Milady, with the Autumn morning sun's kisses lingering warmly on my face it and a repast of fruit aglimmer with night's dew and golden bread on the stones before me there is little that I could want save thee. And even across this untimely gulf I can hear thy voice, chiding me for daring to put pen to paper while breaking my fast. Thee would let nothing intrude upon that familial time as we shared food in loving company. But truth be told, I am abubble with worldly words that I wish to share with thou and can thus transgress most mischievously - especially as thee is unable to scold me aproper. And even now I can hear the merriment of thy laughter as if this dour old man could ever act with impish mischief.

Now whence did the tale trundle into slumber yestereve ... ah, yes. As I recall it hath just entered the city, buffeted to and fro amidst the frothing sea of man and was seeking the hospice of Saint John in the search of the drunken beggar. Whilst sunlight brings a glimmer of warmth to the city; nighttime life, and verily warmth, bleeds from it milady until what remains are windswept, lonely streets and forgotten people clutching little comfort to themselves. From deep within this hubris of paper shelters a shaky voice directed mine steps to the very road where Saint John found his mission. To my humble remembrance the house of God was a glory of coloured glass whence His children could come to celebrate and worship and t'was with eager steps that I hurried thence. What I found was not what was sought as my eyes beheld an abomination, a sham of plaster walls and grimy windows. A red sigil perched above the entrance, bathing the door in a lurid glow. The doors to sanctuary were barred with but one entrance hidden within the dim recess of a dank alleyway. There, a single light - squeaking a worn protest against the barest breath of icy wind promised the warmth and refuge sought.

T'was there that a matron in modern raiment met me and ushered me indoors. Mere moments after my form filt their door the warmth of a blanket shrugged about my shoulders ere being led down a worn corridor to a dining hall where others, dressed and wrapped much like myself, huddled their hands about bowls of soup with a coarse bread as a robust companion. With my belly filt and warm from this fare the lady led me to a communal barracks; warm despite the chill where I was shown to a simple bed. Upon the gray covers and threadbare pillows rested a brown book, the Word of God with pages turned to thin and age worn into its spine. And within those hallowed pages I found some comfort once more as my fingers wended their way to the words of Luke. Tis most curious how the Lord speaks to one as required, for as Luke wrote,

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

There remains innumerable words surrounding my rudimentary selection; but with those words cast before mine eyes, milady, I could once more see lilies upon evergreen fields and within my black heart know that God provides for one and for all. Within that simplest of moments, milady, my soul found comfort and warmth against the bleak desolation encroaching upon me from the moment I'd entered this forgotten city. Even in this shattered rainment, in a world where love and charity is nigh on abandoned, His Church hath reached out to His people and He shelters them, feeds them and will clothe them. With tears of joy brimming 'neath my eyes I drifted into a peaceful slumber; filled with a quiet optimism belied by mine first vision of this Holy Mission. For that night I was, as wert the men and women around me, sheltered with warmth and safe.

As thee can well guess, this is but the first footsteps upon a path that led me half a score of days away from this glade. This tale is long not told and thine curious impatience burns my ears even now. But fingers long accustomed to a sword hilt struggle oft time with the gentler graces of this quill. Thus, my lady, I'll remain thine in teasing torment and will bid thee adieu till the morrow.