Wednesday, February 22, 2012


SOL OCCAXUS (Sunset) Monday, 19 September, 2011

CREPUSCULUM (Evening Twilight)

I. Friday, 23 September, 2011
II. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
III. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
IV. Sunday, 16 October, 2011

VESPER (Evening Dusk)

I. Sunday, 23 October, 2011
II. Sunday, 30 October, 2011
III. Wednesday, 9 November, 2011
IV. Monday, 14 November, 2011
V. Monday, 14 November, 2011

CONCUBIUM (First Sleep – Coitus – Rest)

I. Thursday, 17 November 2011
II. Sunday, 20 November, 2011
III. Friday, 25 November, 2011
IV. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
V. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
VI. Thursday, 8 December, 2011
VII. Sunday, 11 December, 2011


I. Sunday, 1 January, 2012
II. Thursday, 5 January, 2012
III. Saturday, 7 January, 2012
IV. Monday, 16 January, 2012
V. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VI. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VII. Friday, 3 February, 2012
VIII. Friday, 3 February, 2012


I. Sunday, 12 February, 2012
II. Saturday, 18 February, 2012
III. Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

MATUTINUM (Dawn Goddess)

DILUCULUM (Dawn Twilight)

SOLI ORTUS (Sunrise)



Isabella felt exhilarated by the freshness of the mountain air. She watched as puffball clouds gathered and then released from the serrated crest of Monte Cinto to the northeast, while below her, down on the floor of the valley, the dammed-up waters of the Calacuccia reservoir shimmered in the afternoon sunlight. Immediately behind her, on the small plateau that lay above the village of Casamaccioli, the teams of boule players were earnest in their concentration and effort. She turned to give her full attention to the sport and soon became enthralled by the highly individual character and expressions of these mountain men. In the game nearest to her, a team of three players argued about the next throw and the team members were as dissimilar as their throwing action. A tall, serious, precise thrower, with a stiff-arm and tape measure shouted instructions to another, whose white trousers and pointed cowboy’s boots added a flourish to an action that was almost operatic in its movement and excess. His throws arced from the sky to land with a back-spun thud; poseurs in flight but deadly accurate in their finesse and performance. Then there was the ‘scowler’, who wore the cloth cap and burnt skin of the high summer pastures. He was the assassin, she noted, as he prowled the course to choose the boule of his opponent and blast it from the game with the unerring sang-froid of a mountain guerrilla. After one such shot, one of his boules rolled on to land at Isabella’s feet. She waited for the game to be finished before stooping to pick it up. The player-assassin came forward to retrieve it from her with a smile and an invitation with his eyes. She smiled back at him with a slight shake of her head. He shrugged and returned to the game.
Isabella walked around the perimeter of the plateau and down the hill towards the small square of the village. Surrounding the square were the covered stalls of food and drink, as well as the gambling tables and displays of sweets and clothes. Near the entrance of the large tent selling the wares of the merchants and artisans who had bothered to make the trip, was a well-attended demonstration of tree-cutting power saws, whose sawdust sprayed the irritated climbers on a nearby artificial wall. The square was surrounded by a ring of sentinel chestnut trees whose fruit seemed to cling, in its early autumn abundance, like sea-urchins to the crevices of a wave-swept shoreline. She was painfully reminded as to why so many Mediterranean peoples called sea-urchins, sea-chestnuts when the spikes of a prematurely fallen pod drove through the side of her canvas shoes. Letting out a sharp cry from the pain, she sat on a half-sawn upturned log to dislodge the spikes. All around her, the village children, those with energy still left in them, searched amongst the market stalls for dropped coins. She sensed the excitement that visitors, most of whom who were just arriving for the evening festivities, were already feeling as they greeted old friends.
Isabella got up and walked with a slight limp towards one of the village bars. As she approached, the noise of laughter, the clatter of glasses, the curses of gambling, all seemed to fade, on cue. Leaning against the door of the bar, his eyes looking up at the mountains behind the village, a young male visitor had interrupted his homecoming to begin a high-pitched chant of coarse-spun primitive rhythm. Just when it seemed like it would unravel, another base-deep resonant voice joined in, threading the chant to its loom. Their combined sounds echoed from the walls and, it seemed to Isabella, through men’s hearts. As watched the attentive faces, she saw an occasional tear well up in tired emotive eyes and then flow fully as yet another, a third voice, joined in. This time it was a haunting silk-smooth lament that weaved with an almost North-African inflection of passion and pathos between the coloured tapestry of high-pitched chant and base.
“It’s magnificent, is it not?” a voice intruded.
Isabella was startled but, recognizing the voice, half-turned to smile up at the tall man with silver-grey hair who stood to one side. She could just make out his eyes behind the tinted glasses before returning her gaze to the source of the singing. She nodded her head slightly in agreement. “Yes, Charles.”
“Did you have difficulty getting here?” he asked.
“I took a taxi from Bastia Airport. The driver was delighted. I think he is here somewhere getting drunk.”
“The ‘A Santa Di Niolu’ festival has become a very important part of the expression of Corsican nationhood. Tomorrow is the biggest day.”
“What happens?”
“September 8th, is the feast day of the birth of the Virgin and after an open-air mass in the morning, the statue of the Madonna will be paraded from the church to the square where the three swirling and swivelling white-robed cunfraterna, following the statue, will then perform the weaving granitola procession. Its rhythms are very similar to the music you’re listening to.”
“I like the music and the reaction it’s provoking.”
“Perhaps tomorrow night we can return to the church to hear the group ‘A Filetta’. They are some of the finest exponents of Corsican music.”
Isabella said nothing for a while but continued to listen to the three men singing. The song then suddenly stopped to loud applause. “What is the song about?” she asked.
“It is an old shepherd lament, sung in the form of a paghjella or three-part combination of voices, about the untimely death of a beloved son to a mountain storm and the regret that his time was so short. The first or a prima voice sets the rhythm and the second or u boldu voice adds the base sound. The third or a terza voice sings the melody; this particular song tells of the boy’s father offering himself to the gods in exchange,” Charles Alexander explained patiently.
“It’s very evocative,” she murmured.
“Corsican music is sad Isabella, it is fatalistic. An English writer, called Ross, once wrote that Corsicans rehearse death. He was not far from the truth. However I find it an attractive quality. ”
“Is that not your wish, Charles? A grand rehearsal of death and without any pretense of resurrection!” she challenged.
“A meaningful resurrection for any of us is only possible when time stands still. I prefer to wish for a renewal as I do not want a return from death to the same life. We have to begin again. A new covenant must be negotiated!” he replied sternly.
“A New Jerusalem, Charles?” Isabella turned to look up at Alexander.
“Exactly, but it can only be realised if you join me.” Alexander looked up at the sky, to the east beyond the village, as he spoke. He suddenly frowned. “Come Isabella! My car is at the end of the village. We need to get to the villa for the meeting with Zoë and the others. A thunderstorm is approaching and the Santa Regina road can be treacherous when it’s wet.” He linked Isabella’s arm and led her down past the hundreds of parked cars to the lowest part of the village where his silver four-wheeled-drive jeep was parked. As they reached the car a peel of thunder rolled up the valley and pounded against the barren upper slopes above the village. The firsts drops of rain streaked the mud-stained windscreen and guttered to the ground. He pulled the passenger door open and holding it, waited for her to climb in. She braced slightly as he slammed the door shut and ran around to the driver’s side. After engaging the automatic gearshift he gently accelerated to allow the car move off and begin its journey down the hill. Isabella thought of the shepherd’s lament as she watched, through the increasing downpour, a series of lightning charges sear the lower valley walls. Hailstones replaced the rain to dance on the car roof.

It was some time before Alexander spoke again. “I’m glad you have finally come to Corsica, Isabella. This is my spiritual home, the source of my inspiration. I want you to be part of my life here. We can achieve so much together.” His free right hand hovered near her leg for a moment before the demands of another hairpin-bend in the road returned it quickly to the vibrating steering wheel.
“Why Corsica, Charles?” she asked, relieved.
“Many reasons really, past, present and future.”
“I don’t understand.”
He reached into his pocket and removed a small box, which he then handed it to Isabella. “Open it,” he instructed.
Isabella lifted off the lid and, after turning on the interior reading light, held up the open box for inspection. She saw that it contained a single antique coin on which the figures of dolphins were easily distinguishable. “What is it?”
“It is a present for you; a very rare coin from Phocea.”
“Thank you, Charles, but why?”
“My father’s family was originally from Aleria on the east coast of this island. It’s an old city that Greek colonists established in 564 BCE, when they emigrated from Phocea, an Anatolian town just north of present day Izmir. As a child, the history of the commercial acumen of these people fascinated me and was to be an inspiration for my business interests later in life.”
“It is in beautiful condition,” she remarked as she followed the carvings of dolphins, on the face of the coin, with the tip of a fingernail.
“Phocea, which incidentally is the Greek for dolphin, was also one of the first ever places to mint and stamp their own coins. They were usually made of electrum, a natural alloy of silver and gold, and they imposed their standard on other cities. When eventually driven out from Anatolia by the Persians they came to Aleria for a while before leaving again to found the city of Marseille on the mainland. That coin, is also made from electrum and was minted in Aleria shortly after the Greeks arrived.”
“Are you expecting an exchange?” Isabella ran her hand over the leather flap of her small handbag as she spoke.
“No. I just wanted to share some of my history with you,” he said earnestly.
“There must be more to it than that?”
“You are right, of course. Of more importance, and far more relevance to your presence here, is that Aleria is the site where armed nationalists of the ARC initiated the first action against the French authorities in 1975 and which subsequently led to the foundation of the FLNC. I was involved then and twenty-five years later I am still involved.” Alexander watched as Isabella turned the coin to inspect its markings. “The coin will also be a reminder, to you, of the covenant and commitment I’ve made. I hope that you’ll soon feel the same way.”
There was silence between them for a moment. Isabella coughed as she spoke again, “In promoting worldwide chaos and the unwarranted death of helpless innocents. That is an evil manifesto, Charles.” A bolt of lightning burst through the rain to earth nearby and the flash lit up the interior of the car. Isabella caught the sneering look on Alexander’s face.
“Evil! What do you understand by evil, Isabella?” he demanded.
“The petulance and pestilence of the world, the work of the opponents of the God of Salvation. The strivings of the inhibitor of Nous. The Demiurge!”
“But evil and good are two sides of the same coin. They are not in opposition, they are complimentary.”
“I don’t agree, Charles. Evil and good are set against each other for eternity but in the end, evil will be defeated. Light will win out and the dark side will be defaced.”
“That’s your problem, Isabella.”
She instantly flushed, annoyed by his, almost, sarcastic dismissal. Turning to face him, she switched on the reading light so she could see his face. He was smiling as she snapped at him, “Explain your perception of me, or should I say your lack of perception, and your concept of evil, Charles. It had better be compromising or our arrangement, present and future, will dissolve.”
“I understand and I will try. Like you Isabella, I also believe in the twin gods of our existence who influence good and evil within the confines of this world. Unlike you however, I believe that mankind is no longer peripheral to that control; God has withdrawn from influencing our lives. And man, created from the essence or purity of God’s vision, is the Anthropos, the ordained inheritor of that vision. Man is not governed by some cosmic pre-ordained epoch but is free in his will to choose. These are the actions that will then be judged on the Bridge of the Separator. Unlike –”
“Fuck! That was close,” Isabella cursed as a speeding car coming from the opposite direction threatened to push them over the edge of a narrow bridge.
Alexander didn’t flinch. “Unlike you, I do not believe that knowledge should be sought to help you escape this prison of worldly matter to achieve paradise, to know God. Even you accept that evil exists, and by experiencing it we can learn from it. We are here and now, Isabella. Failure to fully understand God’s intentions and the failure of reason to explain the design of those intentions is not a defeat but a positive consequence of our existence. True knowledge comes from accepting that fact. The . . .” He paused as he negotiated the jeep around a particularly sharp corner then continued, “The failure of reason and understanding, the pillars of evil, is a necessary requirement to force us into action. Man has been given the freedom to shape the world into our own vision of Utopia. It is self-determination, Isabella. God for many people is dead, for others he is hidden. It doesn’t matter. He has already given man the knowledge and, more importantly, the authority to care for the world, to manipulate it. That is our salvation.”
“You have an appetite for death, Charles, with or without salvation,” she observed drily.
“Apparently it’s my most attractive feature, particularly to women. I am Dionysus and the women become my bassarides,” he replied without irony.
“Why the desire to gather the Voices Charles? Surely they have little relevance to self-determination.”
“They have every relevance Isabella. They cause confusion not clarity. They present a secret vision, impossible to realize, of a relationship with God that is inter-dependant. They are shackles to our destiny, opt-out clauses in our true covenant. Take you for instance. Your path to the Nous is blocked by the responsibility you feel for your guardianship. Let it go, Isabella and you can float free. That is what I am offering.”
“And when they are gathered, what then, Charles?”
“Timeless Utopia. Zurvarism’s ultimate design for us achieved. We finally become our own gods, the source of our own salvation. Time and destiny controlled. The final separation.”
“And how will you try and achieve it? Utopia demands that pre-existing structures are replaced.” Isabella relaxed as the gorge road flattened out.
“Destruction, initially of the current parameters of man’s secular existence and later, that of the so called timeless parameters. We need to begin again but a god-head, a leader of curiosity and vision is required.”
“And that’s you?” Isabella laughed sarcastically.
Alexander, suddenly annoyed, accelerated up the hill from the junction at Francardu, on the main road that would take them to Corte. The hailstones had eased. “It’s already happening.” His tone was chillingly cold.
“What do you mean, Charles?”
The jeep had reached the sharp bend at the Collo di San Quilico when Alexander turned sharply onto the small road that would take them to Tralonca. To the south, Corte could be seen nestled in the amphitheatre of the valley wall, beneath the Punta Finosa. A lightning bolt lit up the forbidding citadel as Alexander looked across at her. “Did you know, Isabella, that every year at the end of August, Corte hosts the Ghjurante di U Populu Corse.”
“What is a ghjurante?”
“A gathering of another sort, I suppose you might say. The Ghjurante, was originally conceived as a festival of Corsican culture but with my financial help, and prompting, it has now become the annual meeting place for the political wings of separatist groups from all over the world. Some of these people we will meet tomorrow to discuss a co-ordinated plan of action for their aspirations for self-determination.”
You are using separatist groups to create havoc?” Isabella’s voice betrayed her surprise.
“Yes, a very simple and convenient way of achieving my ‘utopian’ dream.”
“But how will you control these groups, if they do come into power?”
“Power! Merde! They will never achieve power. I’m able to ensure that within all the groups, there are factions continually at odds with each other. Money and drugs will drown their aspirations. Even here in Corsica I have just achieved that.”
“You mean with the killing of the Iguana?”
“Santoni and his friend Rossi were fools. They wanted to keep the Cuncolta Naziunalista pure, but lost out to the ambition and interests of the drug and arm dealing factions that I financially supported. I have achieved much the same with the IRA in Ireland and soon, will have the FARC in Columbia and the al-Qaeda organisation in Afghanistan in similar disarray. Even the most indoctrinated terrorist will eventually succumb to the attraction of self-indulgence, and those that don’t will be eliminated.”
Isabella kept looking at the castle. “I see.”

Again there was a long silence between them until Alexander broke it. “Did you organize for the Israeli to come, Isabella?”
“Yes, but by a different route. Zoë is picking him up in Bastia. He will meet us at your house tonight.”
“Good, I want to deal with him before talking to the others tomorrow. What about Michael Mara? Were you able to trap him as planned? Did you question him?”
“He confirmed our intelligence. Work is underway on a cocaine leaf virus and looks like it might be successful.”
“I see! Were you able to extract any other details?”
“No. He passed out very early on. I gave him too much Pentothal. He was comatose for nearly twenty-four hours.”
“That’s unfortunate. I presume that . . . Shit!” A lame dog limped slowly across the middle of the road ahead of them. The half-starved animal stopped as the jeep’s light-beams dazzled its pathetic eyes.
Isabella watched as Alexander started to swerve away but then, as if suddenly thinking better of it, decided to drive straight over the hapless animal. She felt its body rebound against the floor of the jeep. “You presume what, Charles?”
“I presume Zoë disposed of Mara. Where?”
“Zoë didn’t kill him. I instructed her not to as it wasn’t the right time. Mara’s destiny is not yet complete.”
“Isabella! I told you to dispose of him. You were responsible.”
Her voice became icy cold. “Whatever about Zoë, you do not control me, Charles. I am not yet one of your bassarides. Mara was my responsibility and my choice. Don’t ever forget that.”
“Sorry. You are right, but I think that decision could damage our path.”
“Your path not mine. Not yet at any rate.”
“Isabella, I hope that you in time, will see that it is the only way.” Alexander’s stridency softened. “What did you mean when you said Mara’s destiny is not yet complete?”
Isabella inhaled deeply. She was barely audible when she spoke. “Mara is, I think, about to become guardian of a Voice.”
What did you say?” Alexander shouted as he suddenly applied the brakes. The jeep skidded and screeched to an abrupt halt.
The seat belt tore into Isabella’s chest and violently expelled her breath. She glared at Alexander before answering. “I said that Mara is, or soon will be, a guardian of a Voice.”
“Which one?”
“He called it Saclaresh.”
“The Voice of the Magi. That is incredible. How is it possible? It’s meant to be somewhere in Armenia. I have not been able to track it down.”
“Alonzo was involved.”
Alexander slapped his hand against the steering wheel. “The interfering old fool; him and his Keeper’s legacy. No longer though! Alonzo’s time is now passed.” Alexander’s cackling laugh instantly chilled the atmosphere.
“What do you mean?” she asked, concerned.
“Alonzo is dead! The Timekeeper’s seal is now . . . or soon will be, mine.”
“Was that really necessary?” Isabella demanded deeply disturbed.
“Yes, and if you really want to know, he was expecting it to happen. Alonzo was prepared for his death and made no effort to conceal the Voice. I am the ordained inheritor.”
Isabella felt a tremendous sense of sadness. Perhaps Alexander was right. Perhaps all of this was ordained. She thought. “I loved him,” she whispered.
Alexander did not seem to hear. “Did you bring Nefradaleth?”

Alexander went sullenly silent as he waited for Isabella to expand. When she didn’t he looked away from her and at the road ahead. The rain had stopped and after a few moments he released the brake and they continued towards the valley descent. Soon they reached a dense forest of Holm oak and chestnut and after some time emerged onto a narrow road that still had centre markings. Alexander stopped the car near a large rock. The storm had passed and the sky had brightened. He opened the door and got out to stand and stare at the valley below. Isabella joined him. “That is the village of Castellare di Mecurio. My mother’s family name was Piaggia and they came from that village.” Alexander pointed to a small village with red tile-roof houses that seemed to perch precariously on a thin outcrop of rock half way up the nearby mountain. “The land to the west used to be occupied by the Foreign Legion but now it’s mine. You can just make out my villa near the edge of the cemetery.”
Isabella remained distracted, uninterested by the view or Alexander’s family history. “Listen, Charles. If I didn’t feel that your way was somewhat attractive to me, then I would not be here. It is just that I need to understand far more about your course of action before giving my complete commitment. Perhaps the meeting tomorrow with the others will help.”
“I hope so, Isabella. I really do need you. You are the only person with whom I can fully share my vision. You and I, together, will be the inheritors of the new Garden of Eden.”
“That is very sweet of you . . . I brought Nefradaleth by the way.” Isabella opened her purse and lifted out the seal to show him. Alexander’s right hand instinctively reached over to touch it only to find that she quickly replaced it and snapped the bag closed again.
Alexander’s smile was a mixture of annoyance and satisfaction. “Thank you, Solis, and incidentally thank you for saving Michael Mara as well. You were right. If he is to be the guardian of a Voice then he can save me the work of finding it. I will be able to retrieve it at any time. It’s better than I could have hoped for though.”
“What do you mean, Charles?”
“It leaves only one more Voice unaccounted for and that is Ammonkaph, the Voice of Silence, the hidden one. They are all nearly within my grasp. It’s so close, Isabella.”

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