When Love Lies Bleeding

When love lies bleeding in your hands…

His head was heavy in my lap. The weight of his thick skull I suppose. Such lustrous black hair, now matted, alas, with blood. Thankfully his eyes were closed. I couldn't bear the look of betrayal. His right eyebrow still bore the nick I'd come to adore, a thin v-shaped sliver in a garden of luxurious darkness. I'd given it to him during training and he'd bourne it proudly – a symbol of how far his student had progressed. But the smile he normally wore with forebearance was now a rictus. He had taken me with force (despite the memory  of the shame his staff had stained my mouth with the sweetest of blood) from my tribe, from my angelhood. That kind of violence should always get what it deserves no matter how long it takes…

I had used his own beloved blade for the final act but the betraying thrust to the heart had come from my favourite knife – thirteen inches of thick iron fashioned into the image of my favourite lover. Don't get me wrong – rape aside he could be the gentlest of men – provided you never denied him. Through the passing seasons I became as milk and honey, his blond catamite, to use the demotic. I worshipped him and in turn forced him into worshipping me. It was easy to become his favourite. In looks my family have always been favoured by the gods  and in a rag-tag group of dark hairy men my pale smooth body was only bound to stand out. Pride made him choose me as an apprentice – the conquered willingly submitting to the conqueror.

But as I learned the masculine arts from him, of loving, of dining, of fighting I realized he did have a code-of-honour, despite the bravado, the warrior's swagger. There were a certain class of enemies who approached always alone. He met them in single combat, never allowed one of us to strike a blow or raise a taunt. At such times the gods were with him: some retreated bloodied and bent but those who persevered were ultimately beheaded. Such was the god's blessing that the ground and air shook with divine justice.

After these triumphs he would come to my tent and fill me with his might. Later still, in the post coital delerium of battle he would mumble strange things in his sleep. Memories of events happening even before my tribe came to these lands.

One night after a particularly long fight where the sand was slashed with blood in all directions I made it my resolve to take the loser's manhood as a trophy for my master. Desecrating their bodies was forbidden but as favourite  my punishment would have been mild. Nothing to mark my silken skin or spoil my looks. But as I removed the stiff tunic from the man's waist and cut the golden cord of his nethergarments I found to my utter bemusement the smooth featureless crotch of a woman. At first I assumed the gods had unmanned the loser as a divine punishment for failure: have him eternally walking the underworld as a female. Then slowly, as the sun rose westward over the coastal hills I started piecing together the challengers, the night whispers, the strange lightning. These creatures come to take him to the underworld were sent by the gods to feed his strength. By cutting off their heads my master absorbed their memories, took their strength into his own. If I could but best him that power would come to me.

Now I wait here, his blood dried into thick crusts on my tunic, his men still drugged in their beds, having suffered the tremours and the seed-inducing lightening and I know. I have killed my protector, sentenced myself to the slow death of the soul. For I can never die though legions of men (and women) dash themselves against my walls. I am become Troy; the whole earth set against me; their armies; their ships; their womenfolk; their children. There remains to me not a sanctuary.

No, not one.

…heaven sends you no promises of arabian nights
no white waves on an ocean
no gems from a golden age.
- Icehouse