A Story of Paganism and Political Intrigue
A Story of Paganism and Political Intrigue
Winter came early to the Shropshire town: a cold wind with brief hail that changed suddenly to rain to leave a damp covering of mist.
An old man in an old cart drawn by a sagging pony crossed himself as he saw Yapp shuffle by him along the cobbled lane toward the entrance to the Raven Inn. It was warm, inside the ancient Inn, but dark from fire and pipe smoke, and Yapp took his customary horn of free ale to sit alone on his corner bench by the log fire. The silence that had followed his entrance soon filled, and only one man still stared at him.
The man was Abigail’s husband, and he pushed his cap back from his forehead before moving toward Yapp. His companions, dressed like him in their work clothes, tried to restrain him, but he pushed them aside. He reached Yapp’s table and kicked it aside with his boot.
Slowly Yapp stood up. He was a wiry man and seemed insubstantial beside the bulk of Abigail’s husband.
“Wha you been doin? To her!” Abigail’s husband clenched his fists and moved closer.
Yapp stared at him, his unshaven face twitching slightly, and then he smiled.
“I canna move! I canna move!” shouted Abigail’s husband.
Yapp smiled again, drank the rest of his ale and walked slowly toward the door.
“I be beshrewed!” the big man cried among the silence.
Yapp turned to him, made a gesture with his hand and left the Inn as Abigail’s husband found himself able to move.
No one followed Yapp outside.
A carriage and pair raced past him as he walked down the lane. The young lady inside, heading for the warmth and comfort of Priory Hall was alarmed at seeing him and turned away. This pleased him, as the prospect of the walk to his cottage, miles distant, pleased him – for it was the night of Autumnal Equinox.
The journey was not tiresome, and he enjoyed the walk, the mist and darkening sky that came with the twilight hour. The moon would be late to rise, and he walked briskly. Soon, he was above the town and at the place where the three lanes met. His own way took him down, past the small collection of cottages, almhouses and a church, toward the wooded precints of Yarchester Hall. He stopped, once, but could not see the distant summit of Brown Clee Hill where he had possessed Abigail.
It had been a long ride back in the wind and the rain, but the horses had been strong, almost wild, and he smiled in remembrance, for that night Abigail has warmed his bed.
Tomorrow, perhaps, they might go to Raven’s Seat. It would be all over by then, for another seventeen years. No one would stop or trouble them.
His way lead into the trees, along a narrow path, down the Devil’s Dingle to Hangster’s Gate and the clearing. There was nothing in the clearing – except the mist-swathed gibbet with its recent victim swinging gently in the breeze. He would need the hand, and with practiced care, he unsheathed his knife to stretch and cut the dead man’s left hand away.
Less than a day old, the body had already lost its eyes to ravens.
It was not far from the clearing to his cottage, and he walked slowly, every few moments stopping to stand and listen. There was nothing, no sound – except a faint sighing as the breeze stirred the trees around. A lighted candle shone from the one small window of his cottage. It was a sign, and he stopped to creep down and glimpse inside. There were voices inside and as he looked he saw Abigail standing near a young man. He saw her draw the youth toward her and place his hand on her breast. Heard her laughing; saw her kiss the youth and press her body into his. Then she was dancing around him, laughing and singing as she stripped her clothes away to lay naked and inviting on the sphagnum moss that formed the mattress of Yapp’s bed. Then the youth was upon her, struggling to wrest himself from his own clothes.
Yapp heard people approaching along the track and he stood up to hear Abigail’s cries of ecstasy. He waited, until they reached him and they all heard Abigail climax with a scream. The he was inside the cottage, with the others around him. The youth was surprised and tried to stand and Yapp stood aside to let them pin him down on the hard earth floor of the cottage.
An old woman in a dirty bonnet gave a toothless laugh – Abigail laughed, even Yapp laughed as the tall blacksmith tore out the youth’s heart. The was a pail for some of the blood.
Abigail was soon dressed, the body taken away and she led Yapp and the old woman through the trees to another clearing. The moon was rising, the blood was fresh and she took the severed hand from Yapp to dip it in the blood and sprinkle their sacred ground to propitiate their Dark Goddess Baphomet.
Order of Nine Angles
To the uninitiated, the gathering in a seminar room in one of the smaller Oxford colleges during the long vacation seemed to be a small group of academics meeting to discuss abstruse matters relating to their professional fields of interest, or – perhaps – a meeting of business people gathered to discuss some corporate strategy or other. Or, perhaps more realistically, a combination of both the foregoing, as possibly befitted the recent move in academia toward finding suitable necessary funds; certainly, the majority of the thirteen participants seemed to have dressed accordingly.
The four men in greyish well-fitting suits with ties announcing some alma-mater or some other form of inclusion: the black and red of an Old Malburian, the rather garish wide brown-yellow-blue stripes of another school, and the more subdued small green and white stripes (on a blue background) of a certain military unit. The older, bearded, professorial-looking man wearing well-worn tweed whose straight-grain briar pipe peeped out from his jacket pocket. The seven women who, while rather disparate in terms of age, all sported the corporate look: figure-fitting woollen skirted suits or shift dresses, all in neutral colours, together with sheer-tights. And, for some reason, all seven wore almost matching necklaces of small, fine, white, freshwater pearls.
Obviously, or so the uninitiated would have guessed, the two other women were post-graduates, or perhaps recently appointed to senior management positions. Not that it was their comparative youth or their most elegant colourful manner of dress that gave them away. Instead, it was a somewhat initial awkward self-consciousness, as if this was their first time attending such a triennial gathering. For they only vaguely knew one person there, having only met him once so very many years ago when he, after that concert of Renaissance music, had sought them out to present them with a leather-bound book and then silently take his leave.
As for this gathering, those two young women had received their unheralded invitation only weeks before, in early Summer following their successful Autumnal culling. An invitation anonymously hand-delivered to the town house they shared; intriguingly consisting as that invitation did of an encrypted message on high quality paper embossed with a certain sigil. The next day, a key to the cipher was left; an image of the three-dimensional esoteric ‘simple star game’; and while it did not take them long to understand its significance as the required ‘straddling board’ for a Vic cipher, it took them three nights of sleepless toil to break the code, for the English alphabet and the numerals zero to nine were mapped to certain squares of the seven boards of that game, ascertained by the star name of a board and by how the pieces in the image – each piece marked by symbols – were placed on them.
To the pleasurable surprise of the newcomers, the Oxonia gathering on that warm summer morning formally began not with words – not with declamations or invokations or even some speechifying speech – but rather with four of the women, who, having extracted their instruments from their cases and tuned them, very professionally played the Andante of Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen. Which music set the cultured – the non-mundane – tone of the gathering, as it had at all the others.
No formal introductions, only the professorial-looking man – softly-spoken with a well-educated accent – giving a short informal talk, as if reminiscing to family and close friends. Then, a brief discussion concerning certain strategic things, ended by that gathering’s always cultured end: bottles of Krug Clos du Mesnil opened, their contents shared. And there were invitations, of course, to dinner parties for those elegantly attired young ladies, who now most certainly belonged.
“The third phase is also where we can expand slowly, nefariously, in the traditional manner by the clandestine personal recruitment of suitable people, which in practice means those useful to us individually in our own lives, and potentially or actually useful to our Aeonic aims, and who also possess culture: that is, the four distinguishing marks which are (1) the instinct for disliking rottenness (an instinct toward personal honour), (2) reason, (3) a certain empathy, and (4) a familiarity with the accumulated pathei-mathos of the past few thousand years manifest as this pathei-mathos is in literature, Art, music, memoirs, myths/legends, and a certain knowledge of science and history…
We aid those associated with us or inspired by us to carry out particular esoteric and exoteric tasks and functions such as their individual discovery of Lapis Philosophicus. For we seek to not only preserve, and add to, the knowledge and the understanding that both esoteric and exoteric individual pathei-mathos have bequeathed to us, but to manifest a new type of culture and imbue it with such acausal energies that its archetypes/mythoi will enable, over an Aeonic timescale, a significant evolutionary change in our species, regardless of what occurs in the ‘mundane world’ in respect of such causal things as wars, revolutions, changes of government, and the decline and fall of nations and States. Which is why we are, in everything but name, a secret society within modern mundane societies; and a society slowly but surely, over decades, growing individual by recruited/assimilated individual.”
Image credit: Banais (Lady of The Wedding). A painting by Richard Moult.
Kiss Me Hard Before You Go
Perhaps it was the music – the song – which had echoed in his head before he fell asleep that cold night after another bleak, overcast, Winter’s day had seen the middle-aged recent divorcee leaving his rural cottage trying to occupy his wakeful weekend hours by walking, alone as was his habit, on the Mendip hills where, in that warm Summer long gone, he had so many times sat down to remember: there where Black Down gave way to Rowberrow Warren and where, one day, he found a tick had parasitically attached itself to his leg.
Or perhaps it was that image – entitled Mistress of Earth – he, while browsing the Internet, had that evening found that caused him to dream of a time, a place, where he, somehow a youthful Undertaker, was charged with washing and preparing the young naked body of a woman in readiness for her funeral. She looked so youthfully peaceful, there in that rather clinical room; and beautiful with red lipstick still adorning her lips and an ebony skin that seemed to belie the dream-reality of her days-ago death. He had to touch her, of course, as part of his work, but wanted to in way far beyond professional, and he – slightly trembling – was looking at her breasts, the fingers of his right hand inching nearer and nearer and nearer toward contact, when she opened her eyes, her left hand grasping his so strongly his whole body became numb and he paralysed with something suffusing, enveloping, entering, him so that all he could do was silently, aghast, look down at himself as if from the ceiling above while she kissed him so hard there was blood, his blood, covering his lips, his neck, her face.
He had awoken then, sweating, terrified, kicking at his bed-clothes in a still desperate dream-effort to get away. Then, for a long time he sat on the edge of his bed staring, without feeling, out of the window into the quiet, the still, darkness beyond where no breeze stirred the piles of fallen rotting leaves in that cottage garden. Sat staring, until a feeling of shame, utter shame, came upon him. For he had so wanted to touch her; to run his hands over her breasts, her thighs. And it was when, desirous and needful of a fortifying large glass of Brandy, that he – passing the mirror that hung in his hall – saw her body again. For she was there, looking back at him from that mirror: standing, smiling, naked still, enticing, and alive with no blood on her lips, neck, face. Moving slowly, it seemed, toward him and drawing him in toward her with a promise, of something.
He could not, just could not, did not want to, resist; and, with the arrivance of daylight, a cold Winter’s reality found that small cottage empty. ‘Burrington man disappears without a trace,’ read the small headline on an inside page of the local newspaper, several weeks too late.
She knew there was something wrong as soon as she entered the house. The dim light; the smell; the damp dilapidation born of decades of neglect. Once, a century or so ago, it must have been a warm, a welcoming, Edwardian family home, detached from its similar neighbours by its own gardens in that street of a seaside town, and built of stone quarried locally with stained leaded glass around the front door and fireplaces in every room and a wooden staircase winding its way to the two upper stories where perhaps several generations of children had slept, dreamed, and happily played.
But now: now, she shivered as he, that man of some thirty years and beginning to bald, led her toward and into a rear room whose large grimy window showed a small overgrown town garden and a Cherry tree whose dying leaves seemed reluctant to fall even though a cold November wind swayed them violently to and fro. And looking, seeing, feeling, how those leaves seemed to so tenaciously still cling to life she, then so young, sensed something that made her recoil from that window. For, although she did not yet know that every room in that house concealed a body – each in various stages of decomposition or mummification – she felt in that moment their torment (their death, decay) singing, reaching, out to her.
She should have been next, for her room – upstairs – was ready with sheets and shroud freshly starched; but she had in her listening to their soft lamenting voices turned that few seconds required to see him lunging toward her, a long hunting knife in his hand. Then, somehow, in some way, he was gasping; awed – as his face and eyes showed – by her sudden movement, with the blood of his life spraying out from his chest. For in her turning and in her life-affirming strength she had caught and deflected his arm sufficient for the blade to be pointed inward upon himself. She stood back, then, to watch his falling and the life draining from him. And when, not long after, he was dead with that now bloodied knife sticking out of his chest she felt she heard some ghostly chorus singing of their thanks.
She left him there, as seemed only fitting, quietly closing the front door as she walked slowly away out in the last fading sunlight of that November day knowing what it was that she must do and where she must now live.
A year later that same English seaside town found her, returned from her worldwide travels. Still young in appearance – although not in her eyes – she might have gone unnoticed as she athletically ran along the promenade that, for over a mile, skirted the bay then at that hour on that day home to a calmful sea of a late October high tide. Might have gone unnoticed, were it not for the fact that her pink running attire, her apparent effortless running style, her lithe body, and her dark hair (gathered by a band and swaying side to side from her slender neck as she ran), garnished a particular type of attention from some men, and from the occasional woman. She did not mind this attention – even enjoyed it, given her new persona – and she was nearing the end of that morning run, slowing down as passed through the nearby park that led to her house, when she saw the attack.
A young man, taking advantage of the deserted park, was grasping the handbag of an elderly woman who refused to let it go. He punched that elderly lady, then kicked her as she fell to the ground.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Ceridwyn said to him.
Startled – for he had not seen nor heard her approach – he stopped, then arrogantly smiled. But she calmly, softly, touched him on his shoulder, the merest touch, and he stooped as if tired, exhausted, before – with his his eyes downturned – he shambled awkwardly away while she, after helping the woman to her feet, continued up that slight slope through the trees that led past the wrought-iron Victorian park gate to her welcoming Edwardian-built home.
Soon the Cherry tree in that small tidy town garden – fructified last December by fresh, and old, compost – might once again be reluctant to give up its leaves, and she would sit, by the window and a warming fire, dreaming of, and planning, new sinister adventures. And she would that evening smile, in her O9A house, thinking of that mugger and the nightmares that would now haunt his dreams for years and years to come. Or maybe, just maybe, she would take him and soon for her third opfer.
Source: Sinister Vignettes From The Order of Nine Angles (scheduled for publication Fall 2014 ev)