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Charlemagne July 21, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Writing.
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I will subject you to yet more of my novel, The Arca Malum.

The scene is a flashback of sorts for the spirit form of the first Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne.

The story itself is set during WWI where the forces of good and evil are clashing in a power struggle over an ancient demonic force created by God himself. The story incorporates actual historical events, both during WWI and in medieval Europe while following a captured American soldier who is connected to the demonic power by mere happenstance. He finds himself thrown into a world of demons and angels where good isn’t always what it seems and evil lurks around nearly every corner.

Here is the excerpt:

Roncevaux Pass.

Mountains rose all around them, the forest thick and nearly impassable save for the pass they had lucked upon by the grace of God. The Saxon War had proved difficult indeed but with God and the army’s will they overcame, they were victorious. All of Saxony now worshipped His grace and glory. No longer were they consumed by the primitive and sinful ways of their Pagan gods. The Saxons were part of Charlemagne’s Frankish kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

The many battles had taken Carolus and Roland and the others throughout the Germanic tribal lands, where darkness consumed all but the most devout. For Charlemagne and his men the darkness proved a disproportionate power. They stormed across Saxony, subjugating the Engrians and destroying their sacred symbols along the way. Even their so-called, powerful pillar, Iriminsul could not save them from their own excesses in evil and sin. The Saxon war god was no match in the face of Him and his power.

To the Lombards and on, to Westphalia, they bravely fought the forces of darkness, in the name of God. The blood that poured over the land at Verden, glory be His name. Even Widukind himself eventually conceded and swore faith to Him. It was then that the campaign’s end was truly in sight. When victory for the Kingdom of God was within grasp. And Carolus believed it then. His only motivation, to glorify God. And in turn Carolus knew He would grant him the power to save Europe from its sin and evil, to displace the paganism of old and usher in a new era of peace on Earth and glory to God.

Then came Roncevaux Pass. The treachery of the Basque was great that day and the Kingdom of God suffered the most insufferable of defeats. The lush, greenery back dropped their victory march through the Pyrenees, tough mountain country to be sure. Dark places in dark times, but the Army of God could pass through unabated, untouched, spreading their glory through the blade. The hilt of Durendal, the blade of Joyeuse. With these weapons of God wielded at their helm they were wholly invincible. Or so they thought.

An August wind blew through the forest as they marched, forced into a long and winding convoy by the terrain, Charlemagne at the helm and Roland’s army bringing up the rear.

“Passes the day, the darkness is grown deep, And now that King in ‘s vaulted chamber sleeps.”

Sleep no more. The time is near. Carolus told himself as he journeyed into the solemn and dark past.

Their march had continued, the treachery near, always. Evil permeated the land around them. A Moorish scar across the highlands of Iberia.

By the time Carolus heard the sound of Olifant, it was already too late. Roland knew that anyway.

His army had rushed to the mountain pass to aid their ambushed companions, too late, too late, too late.

He rushed to his fallen friend’s side. Roland’s body sat upright at the base of a tree, Durendal and Olifant in hand, his lifeless eyes staring out over the Pyrenees.

Hovering over the body, Charlemagne stood and looked to the heavens asking God why he had been forsaken. Overcome with grief the only thought had been of revenge. He had no way of knowing that the revenge he sought would cause him thirst throughout eternity. No idea that in seeking that revenge he would succumb to the darkness he had fought so hard to destroy.

“It is such a quiet thing, to fall.”

He remembered seeking out the Saracens and finally catching up to them at the fields outside of Sarragossa.

The Moorish king, beleaguered by injuries inflicted by Roland, passed his authority onto Baligant who had arrived from Asia Minor to reinforce his brethren. Fueled by fury and hatred the Army of God had swarmed into Sarragossa and Charles had faced Baligant, destroying him with Joyeuse but failing to appease his lust for revenge. He reached out to God. But found no answer. Only emptiness. God had abandoned him.

Upon his return he had looked at the Arca, the tool God had given him long before to destroy but which he had failed to. His lust for power had driven him and power he had gained, but at what cost? Charlemagne always knew God had left him for his inability to overcome the sin of humans, his greed for power and lust for revenge but he always blamed Roland’s death upon God. Faulted Him for leaving them to die in Roncevaux. Deep inside he knew it was his fault but a millennium of wandering in the darkest realms of the spirit world had hardened his resolve against God.

Awaken.

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Comments»

1. yinn - July 22, 2006

Feel free to “subject” me to your novel. You’ve created a world here.


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