Saturday, March 22, 2008
Freyashawk's Promise and Hope
I believe that Coleridge would have loved Second Life. The palaces of Kubla Khan are only as far away as an artist's determination.
It is the day before Easter, a day when hope in its ultimate manifestation is celebrated throughout the world. It is the return of the dead to life and the promise of rebirth.
Next to the stairs, a dove sits on her nest in the 'real' world. I hope she has eggs there and that they will hatch safely. The male is vigilant and the two take turns upon the nest. It is interesting to discover that each bears the vigil in a different way. In turn, one sits facing the east and the other sits facing the west. They are extremely devoted. In a sudden bitter frost last night, she maintained her position. Of course, were she not to do so, there would be no life in the eggs.
I wrote a story about Hope some time ago and gave it to a friend in Second Life. He built a magnificent castle based on the tale I wrote. When he set it for sale, he announced that he would donate all proceeds to the 'Relay for Life' Charity.
The artist is Wolves Bain. I have written about his work in my 'Artists in Second Life' webpage. His wife is a cancer survivor herself. Second Life can be seen as an escape from reality but at the same time, there are many there who work with fantasy for real causes to help others. Art always has been a powerful tool for good or for ill.
I feel that my own life has been enriched by my encounters with artists like these. In the end, real hope is found not in a story or in a castle but in the examples of others.
Certainly that is one of the reasons that the story of the Christ remains so powerful after two thousand years. A man who willingly sacrifices all for the sake of humanity always appeals to the best in us, whether he be human or god or somewhere between the two.
My tale is not as inspiring, but I will share it nonetheless for the sake of the castle founded on it.
I made a promise to a young boy... to deliver his people from oppression by taking the sacred relics of his ancestor to the top of the highest mountain. In an ancient legend, it was foretold that, should the bones of the Warrior Child be given a resting place on the peak of Mt. Petra, the earth itself would rise to throw off the yoke of those who had invaded and occupied the homeland.
I am a Valkyrie, and my duty is to the All-Father, to bring the souls of heroes to Valhalla that they might fight for the forces of good in the Last Battle. My duty is not to humankind. I am a servant of the gods.
And yet, when a young lad lay dying in a barren wasteland in a faraway land, his tears of despair pierced my heart. No trained warrior he, but the blood of ancient heroes ran in his veins and he had sacrificed his life to find the bones of his Hero ancestor that he might bring an old legend to life.
I flew to his side, though his soul was not destined for Odhinn. His purity and his determination drew me inexorably to him. His tears were not for himself. He had no fear of death, except that it would kill the quest to which he had given his own life. What possessed me then to take his task upon my own shoulders? His land is not my land. I cannot be tied to the causes of humans that shift from age to age.
Despite all this, I could not allow him to die in torment. I knew at once that only my promise to fulfil his quest would allow him to die in peace. The bones were wrapped in coarse homespun wool, the best this child had no doubt. As I accepted his burden, the boy surrendered at last to death, his soul finally at peace.
I traveled throughout the world, searching for one who could bring life again to an ancient legend.
Thus it was that I found the Wolves Bain, great among mortal builders, a fitting choice to build the shrine of the Ancient Warrior Child. The boy had told me the legend of his people, how the tomb had to be built of purest marble capped by a perfect dome.
When the shrine was completed, I saw it and knew my promise had been fulfilled. Nor is the shrine only a place only the bones of the Hero of old will bring forth hope for the oppressed. Beneath its foundations is a small chamber at the site of an ancient spring. There I myself laid the young boy to rest.
May his sacrifice not be in vain.