horror, mathilde, proza

The poems I wrote for the book “Sleeping Mathilde”, under the pen name Lothair The Dark

These are poems I wrote for the book “Sleeping Mathilde”, under the pen name Lothair The Dark, with a wish to conjure up a medieval mood and to create the dark atmosphere in the book. 

  1. A short poem written for the medieval feast scene:

“Upon the end of the meal the musicians played a painful minstrel romance:

In the water I shall leave my bones
In the ground the leaves my mirrors be
It seems they’ve already buried me.
As I lay, I wait to be found and saved
Should I rebel or leave it all to fate
For if I stay with You, the heart’s silence
Will be my tomb and my eternal life.

****
2. – and continued to listen to the flickering squeal of the lute. It was the famed song of Fjalar, from the quill of the cursed poet Lothair the Dark:

Atop Fjalar sat a warlock, an envoy of dark desires
Resist him not, o Traveler, but pray to him
For your horses are affrighted before the abyss.
Pitiful man, that are the blood vessel within eternity
Pitiful man, your fear walks in front of you
Pray like this to the warlock:
When the sun comes out from the East, my blood will burn
When the sun sets in the West, my body yours will be
I will gaze upon you blind, o dreaded Fjalar
Let me cross my path this one time more.

****

A poem written for the Morning scene:
Thinking of last night, from memory, came the verses of a poet who lived out the last of his days in the gallows. I think he was a Moor… I proudly raised my chin and with a dry, thin voice I sang, treading clad in a muddy tunic and festive boots all over the cotton tapestries:

Fair maiden
You are the sun of my morn
From you the wretched I hides
I call the woeful night my home
Fair maiden
I will paint your thighs
Akin to the silk of a bright morn
You sneak away into a shifty dream

:
***
I remembered Lothair the Dark, who wrote the prophecy of Hässe under the threat of the sword. 

O Colossus, the Heavens tell me: Beware!
A carrion to you alike will clip my wings
Those of heavy heart will feast in the Heavens
Justice will freshen them like wine
And doom will come to all!

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mathilde, prose

THE TALE OF HJALMAR, Sleeping Mathilde, First Letter

In the Year of Our Lord 1099, Jerusalem

 

THE TALE OF HJALMAR

 

I, Hjalmar Siegfried, write this letter, in the name of Our Lord, to my fated brother Alfhild von Amerongen, prince of Svaland, conqueror of Finn woods, with love and admiration…

I still remember sitting in front of the anvil, in a sheep wool gown, legs agape, wearing felt trousers and linen shirt adorned with ceramic pearls, and pounding the red hot iron with a hammer while sweat dripped down my sleeves.

It was a sword forged in dishonorable vengeance, meat of the observable world, forged flaming gust of wind. I snatched it with both hands, swung it around, all until the very last thoughts of my origins that haunt me disappeared in the fog of forged hate.

My fated brother Aflhild.

 

hjalmarhjalmar2

First letter

 

I go through the flashes of fire, listen to the revving of worn-out horses as I squeeze tiredly the heavy, red-hot helmet bathed in my blood.

I hide behind the shield and load my crossbow. The marksman has a yew long bow. Leather quivers are on his belt where he carefully selects goose-feathered arrows. He tightens the hemp string, holds it that way, but does not fire. Birch arrow bottoms stick out of his quivers.

I hold the string tightened. The gear rotates. I tighten the crossbow with the winder and fire the bolt by pulling the trigger upwards. The steel tip of the bolt tears through the air and I can all but hear the squeal of the pierced wind in the hissing and the clash of light and shadow.

– Utterly unnecessary – the marksman shakes his head and puts his arrow back in the quiver. I sharpen the tip of the short spear and light it up. Tears go down my cheek. I look at the summit of Zion, which lords over the heavens as if it turns and rotates, like a beamer placed diagonally.

The marksman and the shield-bearer, pale and tense, were staring at my forehead, tightening their crossbows. I dug my face into my hands and pulled my forehead harder still in the shadow of the sweat overtaking me. I wanted to keep sinking into the darkness, to hide the ghosts of my fancy which did not appear before the marksman and the shield-bearer.

– I came to liberate you.

– You’re raving again, Hjalmar, – the marksman shot him a smile, drumming his fingers on the chainmail. – Let’s go! – He went ahead of me, calm and ready like a ballista rope, stomping the ground as if he wanted to root himself up right then and there. The soil was plowed by heavy armor boots, it was as dark as the vacant, bony face of the Saracen nearby. Oh, those dreaded faces, as if they were coming up from the grave, they swing like flames in the wind, like a deathly fire that singes the bones!

I once felt such a pain, when a Saracen arrow dug into my shoulder. Steel in burning flesh, smoke coming from the wound, and I was all black and hot, like a huge chimney.

I was staring at the marksman’s back while he was walking upright, a bit tense, as his legs, heavily armored with asymmetrically cut sheet metal, shone specked with mud, and his cut shirt quivered beneath his armor. He wore chainmail, with sleeves up to his elbows and a skirt reaching half of his toned thighs . His mail was cut so that it does not hinder his movement. A huge helmet with stripped cross-like reinforcements and eye slits partially hid his face. Shield was adorning his back, the so-called heater shield, with a flat top. A crossbow was in his right hand. A sleeveless surkot was over his mail, belt tightening it around his waist, with lions on it, the ancient symbol of the house of Agnus, Olof’s father. Olofs were Vikings by blood.

– Take some – he pulled out a sheep hide wineskin. The marksman is a friend, I thought looking at him through the eye slits while I voraciously gulped mouthfuls of sweet molasses. A true friend. I was staring at the liquid quivering somewhere in the grotto of the small wineskin. A tiny stream of water, honey and yeast, mead, spiced with lavender whose smell intoxicated me and very slowly closed the crack which, during the days devoid of spiced wine, split open on my crooked back under the weight of memory, piercing through it with a lead spike that tears through skin with ease. Heavy memories pierce like a sharp Saracen spear, they beat like a holy mace forged in hatred.

Intoxicated thusly, Olof and I were looking at the pile of shiny metal, in the faces colored the same as the charcoal earth beneath them. We could see the approaching of some strange shades through the sad hue of darkness, like a black Saracen army which, under this heat exuding from within their armors like heavy fire, appeared as if it were expanding and increasing, ominously emerging from their capes which circled around them like vultures.

The sun cast its last rays onto the city walls in the distance engulfed in smoke. This idyllic picture was to be crushed, its treasures taken, its holy relics soiled in hatred, polluted by the black Seljuk noses. The smell of the Fatimid was the smell of rottenness.

Thusly enchanted, I was staring at the pile of shining metal, into the charcoal faces. I felt nothing but smoke, iron, burning and blue lips chapped from marching for miles and miles.

– Raymond is here – Olof the marksman said.

The shades retreated into the spellbound silence.

Count Raymond was a lank man. His hands were as white as Västmanland snow, calm, clutching the reins. I could see blue eyes under the huge helmet, and the cowl absorbed all of the sweat, so his face was all but dry. He was hot, and he gave this away with certain head twitches and shooing of invisible flies.

– Fiends, you sure did give us a hard time in this hour of proving the love of a Son to a Father. I anm the son of Christ, cast down into the fog of this desert wonder, amid flowers that bloom under  the scorching sun. Blessed be Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

His chainmail bent under his white pelerine as if the Holy Spirit got under his gown of the holy profiteer. There was a sweet taste in the air, and the count sunk ever deeper in liquid bronze, his metal gaze flying over the desert yearning for water over which towered stone ramparts. They appeared to be swaying. The sun was scorching with deadly force engulfing the ramparts in its merciless rays as if they were the hands of a poltergeist, melting them while the air flickered above the towers. Near and around the seven hills, over which the city was opening up on the gigantic palm of Hephaestus, stubborn shrubbery swallowed  the dry, barren rocks and yielded under the dust which aided with the scorching wind buried them deeper into the many layers of sand.

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mathilde, prose

The cruel patterns of the past and the future.’, “Sleeping Mathilde”

The ritual usually took place at night, when the holy Altar burned ghostly in the middle of the yard. Around it would dance, covered in blood, nude witches, keepers of the scourge. They had in long, thick, blonde hair onyx crystals or raven feathers entwined within them. The head-priestess  would wear a crown of deer antlers. The witches, while chanting a mantra, would dispense soil from the graves around the altar.

‘Oh, Yambe-Akka, all that we offer may now be thine

And no man else’s

Oh Yambe, Goddess of the Underworld, take this gift,

Offer him to your peasant spouse, the God of Death,

So it may be his and no man else’s!’

Thus the three beautiful witches would chant until they fell to the ground in ecstasy. Then I would approach them, cloaked as if in a pupa, surrounded by a procession of swarthy torchbearers and claimed them, upon which the ritual continued; the tribute would be brought over, completely nude, from the lower chambers, the torture chambers – it is their blood I would drink upon the ritual’s conclusion. Oftentimes I would, when in shortage of manpower and the fear which paced ahead of me like a shade, drink up horse blood in honor of Yambe-Akka.

 ’Oh Yambe-Akka, let me behold the cruel patterns of the past and the future.’

 ‘Oh, Yambe-Akka, do not let the premonitions dry up!’, I would utter in an official tone of voice, raising my scepter with both hands. After I had had my fill of the meat, I would take a sharp athame in my hand, doused in blood. Upon the palm of the victim I would personally carve the hagalaz rune, and the Goddess would snatch away the dried away, dead bodies, storing them in the chest of gifts. The vultures of darkness would then disperse on the sky of Norrbotten, chased away by the spirit of the Goddess…

“’’The blade was laid in the carved bone which might have once been an arm of a faithful servant’ – I would tap the traveler on his shoulder – ‘and the altar, an ancient image of divinity’ – I would proudly point towards the extinct altar – ‘will speak the tongue of bones tonight’. Bone-chilling words I would direct at a wealthier yeoman or a more ambitious Brit, who would come as was his duty, quivering like a leaf, to bow down to me and ask for my blessing.

an excerpt from the novel “Sleeping Mathilde”

 

 

 

 

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prose, Uncategorized

I highly recommend Leila Samarrai’s novel “Sleeping Mathilde” for publication

I highly recommend Leila Samarrai’s novel “Sleeping Mathilde” for publication.

This work is inspired by gothic fiction and it possesses elements of horror as well as science fiction. Considering we know how popular and trendy both genres are with a subset of the general readership audience, regardless whether it’s foreign authors or domestic ones I believe that “Sleeping Mathilde” will also find its place in our publishing line. The last sentence was not based merely on the genre itself but also on the fact that Samarrai, who graduated from the Faculty of Philology, is well versed in literature and has also been present on our literary scene for a good while and in this piece, as in her previous works, the best of her qualities as a writer come to fruition: a vivid imagination, an original, somewhat baroque expression and authentic characters lead by their passions and their hatreds. All of the above constitutes the most important ingredients for a good novel.


This medieval intrigue, that can with its eeriness and multiple plotlines compare to George R. R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” is set in the Nordic Europe. The curse of an aristocratic house which, derelict as it is, reminds the reader of “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, the shifting interests and master-vassal relations reminiscent of “cloak and dagger” drama, all of this gives a special flavor to this work of fiction which, fortunately, has a universal character therefore it need not necessarily take place in the North of Europe but anywhere where people believed (or still believe) in kings, mages, ghosts, and fantastic creatures.


Leila Samarrai is an author capable of transforming her expression, of moving between satire, humor and eeriness. This is a rare capability clearly illustrated in this novel which should not be retold but read. I would note one very interesting novel “The Adventures of Boris K.” (published by “Everest Media”) which, I hope, will see a reprint soon. This piece of satire, set in a dystopian state is, it seems, on the opposite side of the planet “Sleeping Mathilde” is on but it possesses the same trait – the quality of an author who is worth your attention.

dr Aleksandar Novaković, author and playwright

Aleksandar Novakovic Wikipedia

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