You, whom one never forgets,
who gave birth to yourself in loss,
festival no longer grasped,
wine on invisible lips,
storm in the column that upholds,
wanderer's fall onto the path,
our treason—to everything…
Rainer Maria Rilke, "Gong "
Daray recovered physically within a few days, regaining both his strength and the power of speech, but he would say very little about what had happened at St. Julien, and the ordeal he had undergone. "I died," he told Enkidu simply. "And I was reborn, and brought forth from the tomb. But I cannot speak of it, not now, perhaps never." And Enkidu, although brimming with questions, did not press him for details, seeing that the pain and grief were still too fresh.
Diana told him more. The paramedics had managed to revive her while he was speeding towards Paris, but although she was in hospital for two days, undergoing numerous tests, no definitive cause was found for her sudden cardiac arrest. Enkidu went to visit her the evening of his return, and brought her a red rose. He found her awake, hooked up to a monitoring device.
"I was hoping you would come," she greeted him as he gave her the flower. "And the rose is beautiful—but where did you find it? The ones from shops don't have this much scent, and the ones in your garden aren't blooming yet."
"This one did. I found it near the bench where you had been sitting, after I returned from Paris." He sat down next to the bed, trying to decide if he should tell her about Darius, afraid that it might endanger her life again. But he need not have worried.
"It's all right," she said, having guessed the reason for his silence. "I know."
"Because I saw him, in the rose garden. I looked up and he was standing there in the path. So I ran and threw my arms around him. And then it suddenly seemed that we were at St. Julien. I knew then that he was dead, and that I was dying, but I didn't care. I was just so happy to see him, and I asked him if I could stay forever. But he sent me back." A look of sadness crossed her face. "He said that there was something I must do here first. He always seems to be sending me away for my own good. But this time, it felt more like a promise. When we meet again, I know he will not turn me away…" Her voice trailed off, and she looked down at the rose her hands. "Then I woke up to find myself lying in the gravel path with a dozen people standing around."
"You were very lucky. Brother Michel kept your circulation going until the paramedics arrived to get your heart beating again."
"Yes, I know, and I am grateful to him, and very happy to be alive. That is the strangest part of all this. Maybe the realization of Darius' death just hasn't hit me yet, but somehow I don't feel that he is gone from the world. My mind tells me I ought to be torn apart by grief, but what I actually feel, for the first time in ages, is a sense of peace. Is that wrong?"
He took her hand briefly. "No, child. It was his gift to you. Cherish it, along with his memory."
Then she asked, a bit hesitantly, "How is your friend Daray? Is he all right?"
Enkidu looked at her strangely. "He lives, although Darius' death has hit him very hard." He said nothing to her about the Quickening.
"The reason I asked… well, I wasn't sure, but I thought I saw him with Darius at St. Julien. He was standing back in the shadows. I wondered if he had died, too. But I am relieved to know that he is still alive."
"He is at St. Jerome now," Enkidu told her. "He is still recovering, or he would have come with me."
"I hope I have a chance to see him before I go."
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"To Le Havre. Didn't I mention that? Darius told me that I must go to Sean."
A week later, she left for Le Havre. Not long afterwards, she wrote to say that she was working for Sean Burns at his clinic outside the city, teaching drawing and tai-chi to some of the patients there. She had enclosed a watercolor painted on the cliffs above Entretat showing the red-haired Sean wearing his usual tweeds and a puckish grin. She reported that the nightmares were finally gone. Enkidu was glad that the peace she had found had not deserted her.
Daray left soon after Diana. Enkidu had wanted him to stay longer—he was concerned about his friend. Daray did not seem quite himself since Darius' death. He had always been a quiet, thoughtful man, but now he seldom spoke, and Enkidu often found him sitting in the chapel alone with a faraway look in his eyes. One day, without warning, he collected his few belongings and announced he was leaving. Enkidu offered to drive him to the nearest town so that he could get a train, but he preferred to hitch-hike as he used to do. What was more worrisome was his refusal to carry a sword.
He had carried a weapon ever since leaving the Franciscan order over a century ago, using it only when absolutely necessary for defense, and never taking a head. But he had lost the sword with the rest of his possessions. It had been left behind in the guest-room closet at the rectory when Enkidu had rescued him, and the Watchers probably had it now. Enkidu offered him one of his own spare blades, but Daray would not take it.
"I will never use a sword again," he said. "It goes against everything I believe in. You remember that the Zoroastrian faith I was raised in teaches of a great cosmic battle between Ohrmazd and Ahriman, the Light and the Darkness. I believe that Immortals have a part to play in this great struggle. But Ahriman uses lies and fear as weapons to divert us from our purpose. The Game is a lie, Enkidu, an evil deception to sow fear and distrust among Immortals, and to divide us from each other. We should not be fighting among ourselves, but working together as one to battle the Darkness. I need to get that message out to other Immortals."
"That is all very well if one remains on Holy Ground," Enkidu reasoned with him. "Both Darius and the Holy Man worked to spread the message of peace from sanctuary. But the world is a dangerous place for an Immortal who is unarmed. Besides, is it realistic to believe the Game can really be stopped? Or has it gone too far for that now? I fear, my friend, that one voice crying out in the wilderness will not be heard, except by wolves."
"Perhaps not at first, but if I can convince others, there will be many voices, joined as One, and the cycle of needless slaughter will grind to a halt. Time is running out, Enkidu—you see how the darkness is growing in the world around us. Soon it will be time for another Champion to come forward and do battle with Ahriman. He will need more than his own strength and will, as you know—he will need the help of a willing spirit who knows the difference between the Truth and the Lie. I must seek him, and bring him the knowledge and the help he needs to win."
"But if you are to accomplish this mission, you must consider how you are to survive," Enkidu pointed out. "Other Immortals will come for you, if not today, then tomorrow. Take the sword, and use it as I do, only in defense."
Daray smiled at him. "My time may indeed be short, but I have faith that I will survive long enough for my purpose to be accomplished. And there are other ways to defend myself that do not involve deadly force. I believe that I can win more converts to my cause if I myself bear no weapon. To talk of peace with a weapon in my hand would be hypocrisy. My faith will be my defense."
Enkidu could not dissuade him. With great sadness, he embraced his friend and watched him walk down the long drive to the highway, wondering if he would ever see him again.
Oddly enough, he received news of Daray sooner than he expected. Methos turned up one afternoon at St. Jerome out of the blue, with muddy boots and a raging thirst. "I can't believe this!" the Oldest Living Immortal complained. "Some idiot is going around Europe pretending he is Methos and trying to get other Immortals to lay down their swords. I predict a very short lifespan for him if he keeps this up."
"Do you know who he really is?" Enkidu asked, although he was fairly certain he knew the answer.
"I have no idea, and frankly, I don't really care. If he gets himself killed, maybe it will serve to keep certain people off my trail."
Enkidu thought it best to not enlighten him further as to the "other Methos' " identity. "So what brings you back?" he asked, changing the subject. "I thought you were going to lie low in Tibet indefinitely."
"I heard about Darius," Methos replied somberly. "Gods, why did they have to kill him? He was a priest, not some bloodthirsty headhunter. When I heard the news, I thought I owed it to him to come back and try to put an end to this business with the renegade Watchers. My earlier attempt to bring the problem to someone's attention failed miserably, by the way—the statistician who was supposed to receive my anonymous tip went off unbeknownst to me and broke his leg in a skiing accident. He's been on leave ever since, so all my effort was for naught."
"So what now?"
"So nothing. It's over. Someone else took the law into his own hands and did what had to be done—Duncan MacLeod, to be more precise. He and Hugh Fitzcairn found Darius' body—did you know that?"
Enkidu nodded. "I heard it afterwards from Sean Burns. He knows Duncan, and apparently Duncan told him before leaving Paris that he was going after Darius' killers, but I had no idea that he might be able to actually find them. He does not even know about the Watchers, does he?"
"He knows now," Methos said. "Darius had one of our Chronicles—the Fifth, I believe. He showed it to me once, and I knew where he kept it at the rectory. It's gone now, and I think MacLeod must have found it. One of our lot spotted him in a Paris club with that kid he has in tow, and reported that MacLeod was carrying a very old-looking leather-bound codex. Next thing we knew he was in Seacouver at Joe Dawson's bookshop, and then he got into it with Dawson's brother-in-law Horton at his daughter's graduation party. Turns out Horton was the ring-leader of the renegades, and now Horton is dead, courtesy of MacLeod, I surmise, although no one is admitting anything officially. The Watcher organization is still trying to clean up the mess Horton left behind."
"So the danger is over?"
"So it seems. But you never know. There may still be a few rats in the corners. I'm going to tread softly and carry a big 'stick' just in case."
"You are actually staying in the Watchers?" Enkidu was surprised by this.
"For now. It's still very useful to have information on the whereabouts of certain people. Besides, I promised Darius I'd keep an eye on MacLeod. He asked me to do it just before… funny, it was almost as if he knew what was coming. But if he did, why didn't he go into hiding and save himself? It's what I would have done."
Enkidu did not feel that Methos was ready for the truth. He merely said, "Darius' death was a great loss. I shall miss him very much."
"So will I. He was one of the few people on earth that I really trusted, which says a great deal. And I suppose his Quickening is lost forever. Where do lost Quickenings go, I wonder? Have you ever thought about it?"
"I think it will remain one of life's little
mysteries," Enkidu answered, but he was thinking, God keep you on your
journey, my friends, wherever you are.
Rose, O pure contradiction, joy
Rainer Maria Rilke (his epitaph, Muzot, Switzerland, 1926)
Notes on St. Julien le Pauvre
The Priory of St. Julien in Paris: After the Normans burned St. Julien in the late 9th century, the church was rebuilt in a transitional Gothic style between 1170 and 1240 by Cluniac monks from Longpont. Like Longpont, the Priory of St. Julien was under the rule of Cluny Abbey in Burgundy. The Cluniacs were a reformed order of the Benedictines, which is why I gave Darius a black habit in the flashback sequence of my story. The priory was disbanded in 1655, and the church became the chapel of the Hôtel Dieu (the Paris charity hospital). In a flashback dated 1816, and in 1993 Darius is shown at St. Julien wearing a brown habit, which is only worn by Franciscan or Capuchin monks, but the Franciscan order was not founded until 1209, so he could not have been a Franciscan in 1200. According to the Watcher Chronicles CD, the order Darius belonged to was the Brothers of the Poor, which is fictional, but could be seen as related to St. Julien le Pauvre ("Julien the Poor"). Apart from the Cluniacs, the real church of St. Julien le Pauvre has never been associated with the Franciscans or any other order of monks, although between 1826 and 1877, it was the chapel of the Augustinian Sisters, a nursing order which served the Hôtel Dieu. Since 1889, it has been used by the Melkites, Greek Catholics who observe the Byzantine rite, but are still in communion with the Pope in Rome.
The crypt: Nothing I have ever read about the real St. Julien mentions the existence of a crypt, but when I visited the church in 2001, I found an external stair leading to a door below ground level, which unfortunately was locked. It appeared to be of fairly modern construction, though, and I do not know for certain if it is the door to a real crypt. But crypts and undercrofts were common features of medieval churches, and many were quite large and elaborately ornamented, almost like little underground churches, with altars, chapels, and the tombs of saints, church dignitaries, and nobles. For the purposes of my story, the fictional crypt of St. Julien is rather nondescript and utilitarian, with little or no decoration, and therefore not one of the areas normally shown to tourists in the 20th century.
The rectory cellar: The book Pariswalks, by Alison and Sonia Landes (3rd ed. New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1982) gives some interesting descriptions of cellars in buildings near the church. Apparently, some buildings have as many as three levels of cellars, and while many of them have been filled up by the silt of past floods, those hardy souls who have dug out the mud and gravel have made interesting discoveries—cells used by the monks of the Priory of St. Julien, prison cells (including oubliettes), and instruments of torture among them. This information, and the depiction of the Paris sewers in the episode The Beast Below, suggested to me the idea of having Darius get Methos out of St. Julien by means of subterranean tunnels, and also a connection between the cellar of the rectory and the crypt.
Translations of Rilke
The quotes I use at the beginning of Parts 2, 4, 6, 9, and 11 are from Uncollected Poems, translated by Edward Snow. (New York: North Point Press, 1996). The passage from the beginning of Part 7 and the epitaph at the end are from Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell. (New York: Vintage Press, 1992).
In the episode The Hunters, we first learn that Darius is a master hand at brewing mead. In the same episode, Hugh Fitzcairn refers to mead as the "honeyed nectar of the gods," and for good reason. Mead's main ingredients are honey and water and yeast. Spices and fruits can be added to make variations of traditional meads, such as metheglyn, melomel, cyser, pyment, hippocras, and sack. It can be made in still or sparkling varieties. Alcoholic drinks made from fermented honey were known in Greece and Europe from ancient times, but they were particularly popular in northern climates where grapes were hard or impossible to grow. The Norse, the Germanic tribes (including the Visigoths) and the Celts were all mead-makers. For those interested in making their own mead, there are a number of websites about mead and meadmaking. A good starting point is the mead FAQ at http://hbd.org/brewery/library/meadfaq.html which has general information and useful links.
Roses, Rose Windows, and the Wheel of Being
That which we call a rose is a potent symbol with numerous, often contradictory meanings. First and foremost it is a symbol of love, on both the physical and spiritual plane, and in that connection it can represent either fertility and passion, or virginity. (It is associated with various goddesses of love, and the Virgin Mary.) When it fades, it represents the transience of beauty, and the passing of life, but it is also a symbol of eternity, immortality, and resurrection. It is given to lovers and placed on graves, and a garden of roses is a metaphor for Paradise.
Because of its circular shape and the rotation of the petals as the flower unfolds from the center outwards, it is related symbolically to the circle and the wheel. The circle means wholeness, perfection, eternity, unity, the heavenly or spiritual realm, and continuity. The wheel, a circle with spokes, symbolizes the sun, the cosmos, creation, the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, fortune or karma, and perpetual motion, and at its center is the still point around which all revolves, "the point of intersection of the timeless with time", where being and unbeing are one.
The rose windows of the Middle Ages incorporated all these meanings and more. Great or small, set like glowing jewels in the stone walls of churches, they blazed subliminal messages to the congregations below. Probably the majority did not know or care about the complexity of the windows' designs, or how geometry, religion, alchemy, and astrology were blended and given expression in color and light. But the overall effect was, and still is, awe-inspiring.
The little rose window in the west wall of St. Julien le Pauvre (which can be seen in the episode Deliverance), is not as old as the building itself. Armand Le Brun, the only writer who bothers to mention the stained glass at St. Julien, merely says that it is modern and has little artistic or historic significance. The original west wall was torn off in the 17th century and replaced by a Neoclassical façade set further back from the street, so the window could date from that period, but the design (at least to me) appears to be more modern than that. (If anyone has information about the window, I'd appreciate hearing about it.) However, it still shares some of the general symbolism of medieval rose windows, such as the circle and the wheel, simply by virtue of being round, with radiating spokes. Superimposed over the round window, the metal reinforcing bars form the shape of the cross within the circle. While serving a very practical function, the bars make the ancient symbol of the sun, the crossroads, and the intersection of the material and spiritual planes.
The Fravashi spirits predate the prophet Zoroaster. Ancient Indo-Iranians believed in the spirits of departed heroes who had the power to help and protect their descendants. Sometimes they were personified as winged female beings similar to Valkyries, and they seemed to have preformed the function of guardian angels. In some of the hymns dedicated to them, they are equated with the urvan, or human soul, but other traditions distinguish them as separate entities.
A Zoroastrian text called the Greater Bundahisn portrays the Fravashis as good spirits associated with Ahura Mazda/Ohrmazd, the Zoroastrian Lord of Wisdom and Light. Ohrmazd offered the Fravashis a choice—they could choose to stay completely out of the war between Good and Evil, or they could incarnate, take on human form, suffer, and do battle on earth with Ahriman, the Lord of the Lie, and afterward be resurrected and made whole and immortal. In order to free the world from the power of Ahriman, the Fravashis chose to make the sacrifice of incarnation, and became warriors on the side of the Light. According to this same text, the Fravashi is separate and distinct from the urvan of the individual in whom it is incarnated. The urvan, or soul, is the individual's consciousness and intelligence, which must answer for its deeds on the day of judgement. The fravashi is a divine being which existed before mankind, and guides the urvan to seek its higher nature. (I found the translations of the Greater Bundahisn in Mary Boyce's Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984.)
For more information on Zoroastrianism, fravashis, and related topics, read Kris Larsen's papers: Kronos, Ahriman and Set: A Symbolic Interpretation of "Archangel" and Avatara: "Highlander", Hinduism, and Heroism.
The Pillar, the Altar, and the Nature of Sacrifice
The pillar is a connection between heaven and earth, uniting the spiritual and material planes. It is also a world axis, and an omphalos, or world navel, a ritual center. A pillar of fire or smoke can denote the presence of the Divine. The column of smoke which rises upwards from a fire or a burning sacrifice can also been seen as a pillar.
The altar is another place where spirit and matter meet, and are joined as one in the act of sacrifice. The shape of the altar in Christian churches is the shape of a tomb, and stands as a symbol of death and the resurrection. The Vedic Fire Altar takes on the symbolism of the pillar, and its three stones (usually circular) represent the three worlds, the universe in microcosm. The lower world is represented by the bottom stone, the middle world is represented by a taller stone connecting the other two which elevates the fire, and the highest stone, with a hollowed-out center to contain the sacred fire, is the eye which opens heavenwards. The fire which consumes the offerings carries them up to the gods in the form of smoke.
Sacrifice, whether ritual or actual, is an offering made to the Divine. What is really being offered is the self, in submission to the will of a higher power. Atonement, death and rebirth are embodied in the act of sacrifice, as are blessing and renewal. The celebrant and the offering become one with each other and with the cosmos, and attain unity and blessing.
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(This page last updated 02/28/2002)