Declaration Of Intent

17 July, 2008 at 15:20 (Uncategorized)


“I intend to apply your theory practically.” Said the man in the middle of the hall to my master.

He looked exactly the same as all the other men in the hall, who had gathered to listen to my master. He was dressed, to my critical eye, in a shirt with slashes that were not quite large enough, his collar had not quite lace enough and he wore hose rather than breeches. In short he looked not quite anything enough and this opinion seemed to be reflected in the other men sat about the hall. His hair curled a little below his chin, and he was entirely clean shaven, I could feel my master taking this in and saw him smile as you would to a child.

“I take it then that you feel I have not proven my Scythian theory?”

“Oh no sir,” said the young man. “I only feel that you have not applied it.”

“Applied it?” asked my master, in his starched white linen collar with just the right amount of lacing around the outside and his severe black velvet that was not slashed at all. He wore it with all the severity of a scholar and his hair reached his shoulders, showing his wisdom and his disdain for the fashions of man, my master was never not-quite he was always negating the frippery concerns of these Dutchmen and Englishmen and Frenchmen to stand above them. He continued to speak as my eyes ran over him, putting the un-monied youth down for misunderstanding what this Scythian was.

The young man stood there, in the middle of the hall and his peers and betters and shook his head gently at my master and smiled a small smile that had no right to be upon his beardless face.

“Sir,” he spoke again. “Your theory is a great one, and that I feel you have proven, one language spoken by all men before the time of Alexander, before the time of Christ.”

My master attempted to interrupt him here; “I spoke of Scythian, a language which predates Mesopotamian and European languages…”

“A language spoken perhaps by Adam and Eve themselves.”

Now an angry muttering from the crowd around him rose up as the scholarly not-quite fashionable men objected to his idea more than they had my masters.

“Hebrew. Surely that was Hebrew.”

“Adam and Eve spoke Hebrew.”

“They spoke God’s language, Hebrew not Scythian.”

It was then that they threw him out of the hall for his heresy.

My Master walked away from the meeting thoughtfully, towards a coffee shop he had had pointed out to him before the meeting. Men dressed not-quite fashionably, their shirts slashed too much or too little followed him and there began a dissection of Herodotus’ writings mostly discussing the meaning of ‘Oiorpata’, the Amazons who Herodotus claimed lived in Northern Africa.

The thin man whose shirt was slashed too wide and whose green breeches were starched after the Spanish fashion (far too grandiose for a coffee shop the Netherlands) declared that ‘pata’ must mean to kill via the ossetic ‘maryn’.
The well-muscled man, who had the bad habit of pushing his linens up to his elbows and who was the only man to be wearing hose, albeit trunk hose, declared that the word meant ‘one breast’ from the Iranian ‘aiwa-warah’.

I let my eyes wander from them to my master who was enjoying the debate as much as the rest of them. I dreamed then, a daydream for I did not doze whilst my master needed me, but I dreamed of the tales of my childhood, tales of Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan, the King of the Old Empire whose mother was a genie.

When the thin man in his green Spanish breeches kicked me I returned from the Old Empire to the coffee shop in Leiden.

“Sir?” I enquired politely.

“Master Zuerius has fallen asleep. Take him back to his lodgings.”

Then he kicked me again, for emphasis. I wished that the devils who threatened the Kanem-Bornu would threaten this man, and I smiled at him and went to my master at once. As I was leaving the coffee shop I heard him again, the thin man, his voice raised against the well-muscled man in trunk hose.

“…perfectly reasonable to kick it, they’re not like us. If they spoke any sort of intelligent language or knew anything then perhaps not, but face it Piotr, they don’t.”
The well-muscled man, Piotr, rumbled his reply then and they returned to ‘the Amazonian question’ as I manhandled my master from the place.

His sleep was not peaceful that night. Nor the next night and he addressed the men in the hall less and less well until the word got out that Master Zuerius was unwell. Everyday that he addressed the hall about his Scythian theory he would scan the crowd, there were many men who wished to debate and discuss Scythian and it’s relation to Hebrew and how my Master had proven his ideas. There were many men who would come again and again and discuss with my master his ideas in the coffee shop after his time in the hall. The thin man and his Spanish breeches made an appearance everyday, as did the well-muscled Piotr but the foolish young man who had made his childish declaration at the end of the first day had not returned. Eventually I realised that it was he whom my master looked for, when I saw him in the coffee shop one afternoon sitting with Piotr, I felt great relief. It was short lived for, when my master saw him he blenched with fear and stood, stock still in the centre of the place.
The foolish young man still wore his clothes that were not quite enough of anything. He was not a muscled at Piotr nor as thin as Spanish Breeches. His eyes though, were hardened and looking straight at my fearful master.

“Master Zuerius van Boxhorn, come sit with us.”

“You.” Said my master as he took not one step forward.

“Yes.”

“I had not thought to see you…I mean… I have seen you…”

“Yes. Now come sit.”

Still my master did not sit with them and I stood, a pace behind him wondering if he would flee the place. I wished him the bravery of Sayf and missed whatever it was that the foolish man said to him that caused him to take the faltering steps to the chair between the foolish man and Piotr.

I did not day-dream of the old tales and the Empire then but could not take my eyes from Piotr and his companion.

“Your name?” enquired my master of the young man.

“You may call me Dreamwalker.”

My master looked as though he would vomit. “It is true then.”

“It is.”

“How?”

“I told you from the very beginning, I am applying your theory. Speaking the old language which all men know, which speaks directly to the soul, just as Enochian would speak to the soul of an angel, commanding it so does Scythian to a man.”

“You do not speak Scythian though.” Said my Master.

“I do not?” said the young man his expression, surprised.

“No.” said my master. “One of two words are similar perhaps, but it is not Scythian.”

“Then…perhaps…I have discovered a language which predates Scythian.”

My master nodded, somewhat wearily.

“I must come up with a name for it.” Mused the young man aloud.

Piotr coughed, meaningfully.

“But that is not why I called you here. You ridiculed me.”

“I did not,” returned my Master. “You would not explain yourself, philology is a scholars art, a true scholar’s art, it does not call for practical application.”

“Only because you could not imagine what I have imagined.”

“Why would I? You use this gift of yours, you walk through my mind at night and do you further yourself? Do you further the art? No, you seek only humiliation upon humiliation, only perversion and destruction and it is your lust and your ill-temper that are your undoing as a scholar.”

I looked now, at the foolish young man. He gazed at my master with, a burning look in his eyes that I had seen only in my homeland. I had seen those who claimed the blood of So Princes look that way when the Zaghawa lords denied them again and again. Those who were looked on that way, even though they were of the Zaghawa usually died soon, their blood spilled across the desert’s walls.

I opened my mouth, seeking the words to warn my master, dressed as he was in his good linen and his scholarly velvet disdain for fashion. Piotr saw my mouth open though, and he spoke faster than I.

“Master Zuerius, I am here only because I wished to speak to you about your slave. Master Halewjin’s ideas intrigued me and I hope you shall settle your differences presently, but tell me, are you so attached to your boy?”

Master Zuerius turned to Piotr. “Would you buy him?”

“Aye, for a fair price.”

“What would you deem fair?”

Still the foolish beardless man, Halewjin, looked at my master and I was struck dumb by the very notion of my master selling me, and to Piotr. Then Piotr, stretched his broad muscles and spoke what he deemed would be a fair price and I knew all over again that the fate of the Zaghara lords who denied those who claimed So Princehood would be his. I began to weep for his death then and there.

“I think, this is a fair price,” spoke Piotr, clasping the air between his fingers as if it were a coin.

My master looked wearily at Piotr.

“My boy is of more value than that.” He said. “Were you really so humiliated then by your ejection from the hall Halewjin?”

“Gerritszoon wanted proof, and he wants your boy. He thought, given my descriptions of what I have done to you in your bedchamber every night, that even if you didn’t sell the boy then I could have the boy perform for him anyway. You may as well give him the boy, just to let me demonstrate the practical application of your theory.”

My Master turned to me then. He spoke to me, he had remembered my name, though it had not passed his lips in years.

“I am sorry Daura Mandara, there was never supposed to be anything like this through my studies. There is nothing I can do, you have no chance, even if you run.”

I could tell by his eyes that he spoke the truth, they were sadder than sad and resigned. I braced myself for whatever was to come.

It was Halewjin who opened his mouth:
“Oior pati Piotr Gerritszoon. Gkur upmati sirae.”

He had spoken directly to me, but he had certainly not spoken Dutch, nor French nor Kanembu nor any language which I knew.

“I am sorry Sir, but I do not understand you.” I said, awaiting his wrath.

My master began to laugh then, big heaving gasps of hysterical laughter.

“Perhaps it is Scythian.” He cried out between gasps. “Oh my, perhaps it is Scythian.”

I did not understand at all my master’s behaviour, it worried me, I knew he would not last long against Halewjin in these hysterics.

“Master…” I began but he silenced me with a glance.

“Get gone Daura Mandara.”

Again Halewjin opened his mouth and spoke that strange language to me.
“Oior pati Piotr Gerritszoon. Gkur upmati sirae.”

“Why can you not command him Halewjin?” This from Piotr.

“Why do you think Gerritszoon?” demanded my master. “If he truly speaks Scythian, it will not speak to him.”

“But he is intelligent, things are not as Janszoon thinks.”

My master simply shook his head.
“You didn’t listen to my theories did you Gerritszoon? Did you just come to look at my slave then? You are as perverse as he is.”
This with a gesture of his head towards Halewjin.

“I cannot command him then.” Said the young man, looking only foolish no more but rather determined and as ruthless as he ever had.
“But you Zuerius, are mine.”

He took a step forward then, and began speaking in that strange language, and whatever it was that he was telling my master to do, it would seem he did it as he began to tear out his hair and prostrate himself before the evil young Halejwin.

I could stand to watch it no longer and it was with some force that I rushed Halejwin. He was not expecting it and by the sheer momentum of my movement I carried him to the floor. He was not expecting the knife I had in my boot to be held to his throat either. I intended to kill him quickly, afeared as I was that the well-muscled Piotr would pull me from him and in my haste to pull the knife it tore through my shirt, but Piotr only watched. Then Halewjin spoke one single word into the air and then disappeared. I was left clutching at the ground with my knees and the knife against the flagstones of the coffee shop.

My Master and Piotr sat looking at me. I returned their gaze my mouth open and completely confused.

“How did you come by the injury lad?” asked my Master, finally, nodding towards my chest, my shirt torn open.
I looked down and blushed, pulling at my shirt.

“Nay don’t be so quick, lad.” Said Piotr coming over and opening my shirt, fully.

Then my Master saw what I had hidden from all my masters since I had first been taken from the desert where they tell tales of Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan.

“Halewjin cannot be said to have been a true scholar, and he has not furthered my theories of Scythian.” He said. “But perhaps he has given us evidence for your theory on Herodotus.”

And he nodded towards me.

“‘Aiwa-warah’ would seem to be the correct translation.”

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2 Comments

  1. mr_jez said,

    Grand stuff! I like it.
    It feels very Lace & Steel.

  2. silent_wrong_me said,

    I would say cuts were invented for such posts :-p

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