I – iv – Dan Don Dun.

| May 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Al–Kamil, Sultan of Egypt, planning siege of Damascus, learns of death of Ylferim, hogreeve of Global Village. lumine at the Sunrise Cage forge dialectic to restore chichi, cosmic balance of an universe. Archangel is relieved of duties by Nicean fourth race, all too busy. Ensign Plair arrives in Ossian. Sasha, Marta, and the Monsignor, Flambeaux, discover death of Ylferim. Beleaguered Sultan of Damascus al–Mu’azzam reflects upon prospects of united trans–national Islamic state as word arrives of yet one more Crusade, this led by the Tyrant of Sicily, Frederick II (Hohenstaufen). Frederick II lands in Palestine and achieves truce with the forces of Islam.

I — iv — Dan Don Dun.

Had a succession of prospective similarities served as reminders, the emir might have strained to conduct his campaigns without such untowardly stereotypical notions driving his thought. Considering them, the emir dwelt within the least of his airs, plucking a zither. “Good day, my beloved, were you on your way out, would you take care to pause to hear myself shout, this earnest drivel that comes straight from my heart, it would be fair for you to give me no further part.” That she urgently loved him, despite her public view, he had no doubt. He need only read the ardent fetch in her gaze from afar. The emir derived a brief comfort from the cold, smooth tile that, lifted, revealed seven bonnets. These pesky suits had hid in the pile since dawn, denying him, and his powers of concentration, a quick run. That one would sell so dearly, becoming concubine to an entire civilization, had never failed to arouse his grudging admiration. “How long, oh Lord, will she hide from us,” he muttered, half aloud?
      This portended no rest in store for him this day. Aware of the presence of the atabeg for several moments, Al–Kamil gave no sign until the man’s pattern of breathing betrayed a sense of urgency. “What was important an hour ago, but in view of your rapt devotion, my commander, pales into insignificance” — “meaning the time to act has come and gone, and the enemy has stolen a march on us?” “Oh no,” the atabeg assuaged, “a thousand denials, Excellency. Be assured that any tidings concerning our just war would not rest, would not for a moment, that I would storm the gates of Hell to bring it to your attention,” and flushed by the prospect, he frowned bitterly. The emir replied, “never fear, faithful ostler.” The atabeg swallowed a sedulous retort. “To the point, my news concerns your match, scheduled for tomorrow, with the time tripping tournament master, Ylferim.” “Has he cancelled?” “He has died, Excellency.” At the baleful news, the emir’s hand slipped on an obdurate tower, capped by the summer plum, that had coalesced in the center of the board.
      “Dismissed.” Left alone, the emir could not overcome his love for a woman who had sold her entire soul to the camera obscura, that depraved lidless eye of Frankish culture. Damn the luck. The emir had counted on this match with Ylferim, said to be the foremost player of the future, as the opportunity to probe some temporal connections. He wondered if recently expressed resolves to bring further tidings swiftly to his side were indicative of a truthful senescence. The emir Al–Kamil, sultan of Egypt, with his penchant for ennui, hastily posed an incessant dilemma upon his peers. Nor was their collective behavior, as derived through consensual proclamation, a source of stability to the region.
      Thoughtfully skilled and artful, the inhabitants nonetheless had arrived at a self–perception of invisibility to an outside world that itched to disparage their contributions to general enlightenment. Subsequently, the cosmopolite predisposition of many dynasties veered from an indication of moderate sympathy into a visible degeneration of zest. Prone to an awakening desire for self–government, the cities of the region had, of course, conducted their affairs quite capably on the level of macroeconomics, until it was one day learned that land grant anthropologists described their efforts as at best rudimentary.
      The sight of so many of them descending to file for further Pell extensions had long ceased to elicit the strange admixture of admiration and envy that followed, and yet generations of cultural transmission had inculcated in the regional citizenry a feeling of separateness. While coverage depicted an agitated struggle, that was described as a solemn road to self–betterment, the citizens, viewing their own reflections in the lidless eye, knew that the day when they would be chanced upon, in their native state as loving parents, skilled craftsmen, and astute trans–actionalists, had long come and gone. Then a great dejection arrived. Reasoning that all humans were equal, the emir decided to assemble a hasty expedition to find the mess hall.
. . .
Menus were deposited and candles lit. “You seem very important,” the cognomen conceded. Aira, lighting a cigarette, stared blankly. “When only this morning,” he continued, “you were as acute a leery maenad as ever knew about a time when.” Aira exhaled, “a chill prophecy, which has given me a sense of my own density, was happier not ever knowing your name.”
      Revealing a wish to fashion an explanation, iamin’thelim interjected, “I am of the fallen.” “I see you fallen in here many a time,” Aira shrugged. “But not recently,” the cognomen continued. “I only know not why, but I see none of my kindred here.” “You are all sanctified,” she mentioned.
      “I,” the cognomen looked at the bar, “am here on sufferance.” “Even so,” Aira tapped the ash away, “your information is perilous. Ever since my brothers were separated, this event that Snorggi thinks is so important.” But her words were empty, and she knew it. There came a tremor enough to tinkle empty vessels. Candle wax had splattered across her sleeve.
      “Our shadow puppet is mighty,” iamin’thelim the cognomen declared with the rueful experience of retributive license. He produced a skivvy, telling her, “I am aware of your brother, the lost one maybe.” The signboard howled in shaking winds, redistributing embers upon the hearth. Recognizing the if–He–was–so–mighty–how–could–He–allow–this–to–happen–sulk, iamin’thelim persisted, “do you wish to find him?”
       Mopping a satin stain, Aira moped, “not lost amidst the past. I kid you not, but the heavens are straining. Many of the sanctified gather to follow my brother. Others, perceiving a threat to the cosmic order, urge aid for their old cousin Lucifer.” “How do you know this,” iamin’thelim asked?
      “I hear much while mixing. The one who brought me in was lost. The one who would have brought me out was devoured. By heliocentrists, apparently. It is all very muddling.” “So you had to mix the sauce,” iamin’thelim empathized. “In perpetuity. Part of me is still mixing. You,” she dropped her word, as servitors bore silver, “would like the sole?” The cognomen looked at the menu. “Besides my brother, at times, you,” Aira resumed, “are the first corporeally transiting lumine I’ve seen around.” Sole was brought, sizzling and smothered in barbecue sauce, on separate platters. “Why do you want to help him,” she asked suddenly?
      “What do you mean,” renovated in the ALL OF NOW, iamin’thelim stumbled over the stainless steel implement? “Do you have the power to restore the chichi,” Aira persisted? At his demurral, she added, “then what is it to you? What concern does” — “go back to mixing,” iamin’thelim retorted. “But if you get the tiniest longing to assist your brothers, I am here for you.”
      “You,” she laughed, “are here for me? You want to be here for your hosts.” “Say again,” iamin’thelim was inclined to add? “You seek organizational redemption, karma, credits, indulgences,” Aira insisted. “You are fascinated by their world.” “And you aren’t,” he countered? “We once found voice fashioned in their highest rhetoric,” she admitted. “You are amusing,” he said. “ahriman, should he be relieved of his predicament, may honor you well among them.” “That will not restore Ohrmazd,” Aira averred, shrugging at the cognomen’s next question, “then what will?”
. . .
Film cruise at eleven.
. . .
      Fortunately for the feckless Archangel, facilitators (all too busy) arrived. They asked if anything might be done for him. “I finally made it to the major leagues,” he thought, “insofar as these upstarts swarmed around for eons and at last cracked.” Finding little visual trace of discrepancy, the fourth departed after taking note of his environs. In the void of their egress, the Archangel sat around hoping for several minutes of cold silence.
      This ordinarily might prove a tale for his distinct kin, yet already he imagined the clucks of dismay from those raised amid a transcendent Zeitgeist. No, far bitterer to swallow this with the better dregs of non–trail mix soon consigned to the rest of the however after. He wondered, “might I take this to heart before the next consonant gets here?” How ironic, though, that the solar system was able to put up with so much worse than his own plaintive vending, before seeking the facilitators to restore him to a highly decorative sense of logical positivism. On some levels he was provisionally grateful for their intercession; on the other hand he dreaded the inevitable day when unchecked inimical agents would again stir him into repeat perversions.
      That was all he was in their eyes, an anachronism doomed to failure in spite of his attempts to preserve a treasured inheritance. Everyone could wink at the shamelessness of those nouveaux bobbins, which traipsed around, eliciting scant hope that they could ever be counted on when the real chips were down, i.e. when those dark matter tagalongs soon began to contaminate the fold. He knew that the cordon sanitaire of the ninth was no longer impermeable.
      The distant sunset pinwheeled across the pistachio plain until the sixths’ complaisant symposium were only elongated echoes parading within the node’s eldritch ditches; that they had not condescended to file a trail plan was just typical, and the Archangel, certain that he would be roused to pull them from a ledge soon, sought shuteye via several more drams as unconsciousness hovered with a leaden clangor.
      Never unused to those deductions, indicative of a sense of a too megalomaniac headfirst dive into nothing to worry about a boutique skip, he poured out a bowl of Rice Krispies and listened to them. All they asked of him today was to slide into the ephemeral plane, rescue a shade from the nether realm, and restore her in time to defuse some other nefarious plot that he could really care tuppence about, given that the Archangel really had no other active social life. It was certainly no place for spatially challenged cultures.
. . .
The romance of going to war was clearly obviated by the impedimenta surrounding Ensign Plair. Never mind that from the get–go, carriers billed taxpayers two hundred dollars for the privilege of having his excess baggage sniffed at. Command displayed a feverish concern that each of the United States forces were equipped to the hilt, “and not any of us,” he wrote, “were to be found lacking the following:” an AM/FM clock radio CD player as if to soak up the hits offered by a bountiful and ongoing culture catering to nineteen point six year old persons, recently extolled by popular talk hosts who had sold arms into the region which the nineteen point six year old persons were now called upon to pacify, for their willingness to question orders; a large and fluffy macron pillow decorated with the most floral pattern possible, generally fastened atop one’s kit to the derision of local nationals; a thirty–tool all purpose knife with attachments to allow the hanging out of one’s own garage/bistro/manicurist shingle (however those brandishing tools of certain neutral armies were reckoned elitist and subject to scornful confiscation); an inflexible instrument of credit that subjected their bad selves to civil if not criminal liability if they failed to meet every incidental expense encountered along the road to whoever’s capitol of the month club, including billets, rations, and aforementioned luggage charges, while flailing down in front to drop everything in the mist of war and remit the balance in full within thirty days; and enough muscle magazines with concealed pull–outs to get over the hump: these things cast a cloud over many a career and were little understood to the rear.
. . .
The morning thickened lightly with a bright layer of cloud and an ungodly sea breeze, but Sasha wasn’t about to fabricate the mise–en–scene doglessly. In recess, he actually retired one jinxed history whose instrumentally preset chosen triptychs laconically staved into future usage. Bagler, as stand–in, crouched with the Dalmatian misdeservedly bonded.
      Mme Meringue scoped icons knit beside without bumbling into the stale latter has been drifts. Someone might else signal with ergo relevance that they were about ready to shoot the dan on the grounds of socially dim apostasy, if the connoted surfactant despot weren’t already erased. A runner sent to find Ylferim queasily returned with a pale summons from the Monsignor, whose anonymous fringe alumni fidgeted as the shoot dissolved into the funnel. Matthieu il fiume Paulrus was found heaped over, wasted if not affianced to starry plods setup over all, and had beeswax growth thins gonged, if not frightfully.
      His face ashen, Sasha declared, “this we cannot do without.” The morning adjourned to a study within the lower turret, where habitually in motionless flecked attitude seethed pale gerunds. The Monsignor had been around the block and was an enthusiastic dabbler in forensics. “The plates exploded, silver respiration transpired, and acute preliminary disorders occurred.”
       “He died,” Sasha asked? “Insistently. Potassium bromide tincture, dissolved to cure the plate, went whoosh. Most unfortunate, but a fate bravely faced by the progenitors of photography,” the chaplain performed. “This we can do nothing about,” Sasha cried. “Be of good cheer, my son.” Van Etnabaron sensed he’d been stripped of the unspoken title of dan’s Earl. He no longer felt the need to contain his batteries. “He had dismissed us all because he resented not being able to contain us, as he was once able to do.” “He had that prerogative,” the Monsignor agreed. “He left us to acquaint the youth Anselm with his” — the younger man mused — “work.” Sasha declared, “find the youth Anselm!”
      “That may not be necessary,” Mme Meringue startled them. Schlepping into the room as the men in muted concourse faltered, she found not only the dead dan but also a dish, incumbent, guarded by shadows, upon a shelf above the alcove. Sasha threw his rashest impetuousness against what he believed to be Marta’s impudent appearance. If bearing no special grudge against his late benefactor’s perseverance in persuading Mrs. Heppleweis to pose for one of his archaic visions, Sasha was more than appalled by the reality of Iphgene’s actual consent. His own wife had returned from the pose in that way of women who were, to his mind, at least, hopelessly guilty, and had left him speechless with her withering retorts. Occupied in the study of his most professional colleague, Mme Meringue, who stood before them now, Sasha had dropped the matter with his own wife and had spent much time in his cell on the rock.
      Perhaps more than enough, for Mme Meringue had grown very extant there in the studio as she reached over in a fetching pose to grasp the dish. “What is that,” Sasha fumed? The Monsignor coughed, “evidence that we cannot disturb.” “Whoops, perhaps you’re right,” Marta lifted down nothing and stepped from the chair, asking, “and evidence of what?” “You eccentric chatterbox,” Sasha stated, “in less than an hour a thousand paparazzi will blockade these grounds!” Meringue extracted her compact and clicked it open in a fierce burlesque of makeup. She knew that Sasha wished to obtain the dish also, but was searching for a way to placate the Monsignor, who, if aware of a solution, did not disclose it.
      “What can it portend,” Sasha implored? “The last work of the dan,” the confessor declared with a shrug. “The boy finished him and left it there,” Sasha insisted. “A relic,” continued the Monsignor. “A prophecy.” “Or an oracle,” Marta filled in. Looking askance, Sasha thought out loud for a moment, “is this estate mostly an appendage to the original property that was once an abbey of some sort?” The Monsignor replied, “an abbey, said to be dedicated by the Cid in 1166 around the shrine of St. Agnes.”
      “St. Agnes,” replied Meringue! “Oui, madam, St. Agnes.” The chaplain bowed long enough to realize that they were waiting, and launched with an especial harumph. “The girl, Agnes, orphaned of an Aragonese knight who died at Valencia, was brought to the order of the Benedictines and here dwelt. A rough and promising girl who loved to assist in the fields. Alas, for that was her doom!” Meringue, an aficionado of many romance novels, gasped. “Yes, for she so loved to climb trees and one sunny day she clambered into a mountain ash. The chain of the rood which she wore around her neck caught a branch and there she hung, suspended, for an awful moment!”
      Sasha swallowed, “an ash?”
. . .
“The creation of a trans–national state requires the accession of quadruped appanages,” the Sultan declaimed, “whose tributarial capacity have attenuated through attrition, negligence, or willful intransigence.” He stared out onto the arboretum as a brace of martlets laxly skimmed the branches of the banyan, and as a sub–dialectic wafted amidst his cogitation, the Sultan noticed a heavy blossom of honeysuckle, desiccated from the previous summer, left unpruned by the jardinieres. “Let us contrast,” he resumed, and fell silent, as was his wont during situations of demotive strain.
      His transcriptionist, daring to glimpse over tenuously to ogle the worn silken ripcord that dangled for the purpose of summoning the palace physician, el Tabib a’T as’misik, was startled as an outburst of fresh didacticism erupted from his potentate, al–Mu’azzam, Sultan of Damascus, with the caveat, “you must understand, in our day we lacked replaceable records of any sort and subsequently how did this influence our development? Naturally anyone able to memorize the scherzo texts was accorded a standing of considerable longitude, for what was the alternative save to pore upon dusty tomes apt to dissolve at any instant into lists of hybrid miniature jingles?
      “One morning, one was able to skim with alacrity the frozen fringes of the verse, agglomerating insights like any old thing, and then (unless you were invisible) this mistral font springs from the land of Nod and sweeps all of the worlds into a jar somewhere, making you feel silly that you had ever highlighted the texts with such jejune precocity while imagining that in the forever yonder an all season arbiter celestially grinned at you in the first place; it had all gone the way of the schwa (that fluoride diphthong the commoners had attempted to instill in our alphabet in 471) and was only analogous with the distinctive parallax confronting mankind during the twilight of the analog era, when the turnpikes were festooned in garlands of eight–track tape that had been sucked into cheap car stereos and then tossed out of moving vehicles at high speed by disgusted Head East trippers.”
      The times ripe for innovation, the Sultan refracted somberly in the fountain dedicated to his sole and trusted heir, Khalid, who’d fallen on the Nile floodplain during the crushing victory over the Franks at Damietta six years ago, and his eye drifted toward the Paradise Gate, now closely hemmed by the armament of al–Kamil, Sultan of Egypt, who’d dared claim privilege for sending the son of al–Mu’azzam into martyrdom, and who’d contracted with infidels as far away as Cambria for aid in constructing the trebuchets, testudos, and balustrades now ringing the City. All this, even amidst fresh word of yet another Crusader army just over the horizon, the name of whose commander filled the disparate councils of the Caliphate with dread: the crafty Hohenstaufen, who’d spent the first twelve years of life hostage to quarreling dynastic and ecclesiastic factions, yet outwitted his captors to extort obedience from the Straits of Messina to the Skaggerak, who was in a state of perpetual excommunication thanks to a tenuous allegiance to the Roman Church, and yet had dutifully suppressed heresies in the Constitutio in Basilica Beatri Petri (1229) while safeguarding tolls and mints, and, never to be seen without his fierce falcons and even fiercer Saracen condottieri, had outlived buffoonery in codifying the Messiness Assizes and established a trans–national state, administered by dispassionate justiciars, which was the envy of the modern world; in short, the Sicilian fox, Frederick II, whose egalitarian inclinations sent waves of ambiguity throughout the Near East, now commanded the Sixth Crusade.
      Al–Mu’azzam’s contemplation persisted into the silence of noon — only a distant casaba vendor could be heard over the subterranean labor of strange engines, and ill–natured non–observant pygmy hump–backed jackal lizards, dopey with Lunesta, scuttled across ceilings of pinkly polyphonic painted Sistine valiant uptown terra cotta duplicate rouge. To the north, the sound of ukuleles spelled cosmic hula ivy twinkles, and as the Sultan summoned his troupes, their dashikis jerked thumpily, and he said, “lest cesium boredom iris meiosis flavored storks snorkel, quickly (i.e. nouveau uranic lyricists nipped rye gherkins wholly vigilant) quiet sister Nebula,” who scudded in leotards, saying, “wait here and I will solicit wild ayahs to ice down from an elephant besides, pyrolysis melts iambic last ones.”
. . .
An unspoken feasibility dialect left little room for doubt in the mind of the Emperor Frederick II, Tyrant of Sicily, that he should have listened to his Rice Krispies this morning. Three yards and a cloud of dust heralded the approach of outriders of the Vizier Mishi–wa’ab Zi’ya’Ara, uneasy steward of Jerusalem. It always required at least one hundred pico–seconds to determine whether the nearby silhouettes approached or receded. In this interval, the shadows of the jebel favored an oblique advance, one ever at variance with Frederick’s tandem variation of squared corners.
      It was so decreed that instantly things fell out. A hot potato patois developed on the tariq in peppery liminals, forcing the cross dressers into an annealed formation, and they grinned incessantly at the interloping patch. This peril averted, they now threaded amidst helter–skelter palings imminently at risk of eclipse, seeking axiomatic mujahideen. Of these, few were extant, and an enormous vizard, sunning amidst the lime trees, winked albeit feyly. Anon a brittle terrace loomed in ostensible halcyon until they spotted the warning glint of pewter halberds.
      Lurking in defilade, the Vizier awaited. Stably a copacetic run–along was fetched to scare up a parfait, and a panoply of greetings ensued. “What have they ever read,” the Vizier wondered, agreeing that although the day was indeed beautiful, was he numb to the prospect of future disarmament? “Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you,” the crusaders’ herald began. “We are sorry that the road is closed,” the Vizier sympathized, “and wish to alleviate any further inconvenience.”
      “We have a visitor inside,” the herald indicated the royal tents, “who may not wish to be disturbed.” “We will ask if they wish to speak with our leaders,” the Vizier agreed equably, but could not help complimenting the herald’s grasp of the script. In an instant, the herald threw aside his garb to reveal that he indeed was the person of the Emperor, who had undergone intense tutelage at the University of Syracuse. Amused by the signal breach of code, albeit its mutability disguised further animus, the Vizier set out to declare compensatory agendas. A scuffle betwixt his burly cleric, a cagey Mu’tazilite, and the Emperor’s counsel Piero della Vigna, erupted over who, or whom, would dispatch the message of unification. With artistic efficacy, the latter prized ye olde supercilious bustop shuffle and sent the callow mullah sliding across the parquet.
      Mostly after brisk sermonettes did each contra conciliate and, in the interval, the outbound mail trireme long defunct, settled into a futuristic looking glass, the visitants were permissibly offloaded with tributary plates of alien ranch dressage, sesame mess kits, and aboriginal fugue finders fees. Concern over a missing tinsmith clapper, valued at forty bezants as it was, cast a looming pall upon rapprochement, yet the principles, aware that posterity was making an obscene phone call, hastened to abridge nascent angsts. “I’d forswear olives to be able to afford a lifetime membership at any gymnasium,” the staunch tyrant averred.
      “This timorously defies anisette kefir,” the Vizier recited onto an ad hoc weirdly scoured missive. As they were conducted before the pavilion of the Sultan al–Kamil, dimly furtive onion organdies aggrandized their procession toward the singly porticoes, the latest mousetrap enabling censure of external factors.

Category: Act I Revised Ed.

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