Monday, 23 January 2017

The Light of the Abyss ( Prologue )

      I was born a warrior. A leader. A protector. I know no fear nor have I ever felt it. I never do. My wounds bleed, but my skin bears no scars. I know what pain is. I have experienced it in all of its forms. I am a creator and a destructor. I take what I want and I give as much as I please. While everyone may whisper of my stubbornness, they shout in praise of my righteousness . There is an avalanche of rage running through my veins. Because I am rage. I am war. I know death well; it is the shadow of my sword. It follows me every step of my way, waiting for me to once finally kneel before her. I laugh in its face. To me, death is nothing but a rotting carcass. Because I am the one who holds the power in his hands. I am the first, the immortal one… I am God.  

     I am ageless. As old as the world itself. I am the son of Perun and Zhiva, the god of war and spring.  Once, I asked my father why Svarog chose to endow me with both the fierceness of a warrior and the fucking tenderness of spring. He replied that it was the only way to rein in my thirst for blood. It was the only way to keep me in Yav and bring me to my senses. Bring me back home.
I spent my childhood and youth in the fiery depths of Nav. Surrounded by freaks and rotting stench, I took in the smell of fresh souls as Morana arched her back impaled upon my cock. She meant everything to me. She was everything I ever wanted, everything I needed. She brought out the worst in me and I worshiped her for it. With her, I was free. We didn’t put up with rules and Svarog’s laws. Veles observed our conquests with fatherly affection.

     I used to hate springs, back when I was living in Nav. They made me feel less like myself, feel like I wasn’t strong enough. During the last hours of winter, my body would become overwhelmed by a strange emotion. But Morana knew me inside and out. She knew very well that the first spring morning would make my heart wonder whether what I was doing was right. That is why she teased me like the whore she was, used her gorgeous body and lustful holes, asking for me to prove that I was worthy of her. She asked for blood and I would give it to her. I would return from my hunt with butchered bodies of mortals and demigods. She enjoyed watching the disfigured bodies of virgins. 
Morana didn’t let winter end; she did not allow for the spring inside me to wake up. During the first part of my life, I was void of any tenderness or conscience. I was a beast. Her personal beast.

     When they imprisoned me in Yav, the only thing that kept me from giving in was my desire for her. I went through hell, but I didn’t crack. In my mind, I conjured the images of the soft creases of her skin and the delicious taste of her pussy. They made blood run into my dick. I was a crucified fool with a rock-hard erection. The absence of her lips that could suck away the pain hurt me more than anything Perun’s minions employed in order to make me come to my senses. Now I know that my father didn’t use everything he could and that this torture was merely a way to restrain me and keep me there for as long as possible. They knew that I would come to my senses as soon as I felt the magic of spring for the first time and they knew that the realization of truth would hurt me more than a millennium of ruthless whipping.

     Even today, my conscience is not immune to the occasional painful recollections of all the evil things I had done in the past. The truth about myself, Veles and Morana was too much for me to handle. In my eyes and deep inside me, there was a burning flame of hate. All I wanted was to kill them. Because all I had ever known was how to kill. I needed their blood. I needed revenge. That is why everyone in Yav kept a close eye on me, day and night. First, I had to learn about Svarog’s laws and then I needed to learn how to deal with the conflict of the insane feelings inside me and figure out how to maintain a balance between them.
Soon, everyone realized that my emotions were permanently damaged. I satisfied my desire to kill in the fierce battles with the Navi and I quenched my thirst for the female body through encounters with wild ruslankas, fairies and eventually, mortals. Still, I remained void. I am the god of the fucking spring. There is a part of me that craves something more than mere physical pleasure or love for those who are closest to me. For centuries, I had tried in vain to shut down that part of myself, kill it if necessary. It was the one thing preventing me from feeling whole.

      After the fall of Arkona and Perun’s transition to Prav, I became the ruler of Yav. Suddenly, the weight of the world landed on my back. I had no more time to think about myself, my past, the rage, the hate and the void inside of me. Over time, I slowly began to control my anger. I did everything I could in order to make sure I was a level-headed ruler. I was getting better at it, but from time to time, I would crack and let rage the take over. There were days when I would helplessly watch the Slavic people suffer and perish, unable to act due to Svarog’s laws; that is when the old beast inside me would come back. My wild side would suppress everything that was reasonable in me. I would storm into a battle without an army, without thinking. I didn’t mind the consequences, the warnings of Svanevit, Dazhbog and Zhiva; I would let the eruption of desire to kill guide me.  Because I am rage. I am the warrior of rage.

      And then, one winter, some forty years ago, I remained without a single artifact. The best solution was to impress my legacy into a direct descendant of a Slavic tribe.
On the island of Rugen, March 20, 1973, the Devan baby was born.  I remember seeing her for the first time. She was crying hysterically. I looked at her, frowning, before performing the act of impression. Her screaming made me nervous and I knew it was a mistake to leave my legacy in a human being. I started thinking that perhaps an animal would have been a better choice, but I was running out of time and I had to do it. I was shocked when, just before I would impress my legacy into her, she stopped screaming and looked into my eyes. Although I knew it was impossible, I had the feeling that she could see me. Then she lifted her arms towards me and fell asleep. I took a step back and then leaned over the cradle once again. Although everything around her was still in the state of complete chaos, the little girl was sleeping like a lamb.
This one is going to be a major pain in the ass, I mumbled to myself and stormed out, leaving the coast of Rugen covered in my color.

The Light of the Abyss (The Arkona Purpure trilogy) (Volume 3) 

Image: Aleksandar Đelošević

Thursday, 2 June 2016

But there’s sex in there, right?

A friend from college asked me to send her my books and said her cousin, Goran, would pick them up, since he was passing through Loznica. We arranged to meet for a coffee. It was easy to spot him: mid-thirties, prison haircut, a T-shirt with huge print, flashy sneakers. I struggled to understand why anyone who’s no longer in his teens would wear flashy sneakers anywhere outside the gym. We ordered coffee and I put the books on the table. He looked at them with a fair amount of skepticism...
(What follows is our conversation that ensued. The abridged version.)

-   Sooo, you write?

-   Yeah…
-   What about?
-   The Slavs.
-   Oh, so you write about the Serbs? That’s a good topic.
-   Not the Serbs, the Slavs.
-   I get it, I get it, you write about us.
-   Yes, all of us.
-   So, the Yugoslavs.
-   Not just the Yugoslavs, the Slavs in general… actually, I write about Slavic gods and Slavic mythology.
       (he laughs and takes the books, looks at them and frowns at the stylized             kolovrat)
-  Isn’t this that symbol of Hitler’s?
-   No.
-   What do you mean “no”? This looks awfully like a swastika to me.
-   That’s a kolovrat.
-   Kolo-what?
-   Kolovrat, the symbol of Svarog.
-   Who’s that?
-   The supreme god of the Old Slavs.
-   Are you trying to say that the Slavs are fascists?
-  (fascists???) Of course not. The Nazis just borrowed the swastika symbol. It is a really powerful symbol. It represents… (he opens The Scent of Legacy and takes a look at the prologue)
-   What’s this, Rügen, the Federal Republic of Germany? Is that where the plot takes place?
-   Most of the time.
-   So you’re writing about us being supporters of Hitler?
-   Excuse me?
-   Well, first there was that fascist symbol (fascist??), and now there’s Germany.
-   Actually, the plot takes place on the Cape Arkona. And that’s not a Nazi symbol, kolovrat is a major symbol in many ancient religions.
-   So that’s why you named your trilogy Arkona?
-   Well, yeah…
-   Why Arkona? Why didn’t you come up with a nicer name?
-   Well, that’s what the cape is called. It was the last stronghold of the Old Slavs… The fortress, the temples…
-   Well, I’ve never heard of that, and I go to Munich all the time.
-   Not many people have heard of it. I didn’t know the whole story about the Ruyans and the Cape Arkona myself. I discovered it a couple of years ago.
-   Who the hell are the Ruyans?
-   That’s what they called the Slavs who lived on the Cape Arkona.
-   In Germany?  
-   Yes, in Germany.
-   Hahaha, that’s right, I remember reading somewhere that the Germans are actually of Serbian origin.
-   That’s simply not true.
-   If it’s not true, why do you say that the Serbs and those Slavs of yours lived in Germany?
-   That’s because the Slavs really lived there. The Baltic Slavs.
-   Never heard of that.
-   That’s what they called the ones living on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
-   Who cares about them? You should write about us only.
-   Well, I care, because I’m a Slav, I love my origin and I respect all Slavic peoples.
-   Yeah, you know what they say, combined with the Russians, there are 300 million of us.
-   Haha, there’s a lot more, the Russians are not the only Slavs out there.
-   Right, right, the former Yugoslavia, apart from the Croats, and then there’s Belarus, and Russia… there’s quite a lot of us.
-   And Ukraine, Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Ruthenes and the Lusatian Serbs…
-   Hahahaha, what do the Czech and the Polish have to do with us?
-   Are you kidding me?
-   Nope, why?
-   How could you ask something like that? What do you think they are?
-   Well, it’s far more likely that they’re Germans.
-   Germans? Like Germanic people?
-   Oh, you stubborn woman, I don’t know if they are Germanic or not, but they’re catholic, so they can’t be Slavs!
-   Religion has nothing to do with someone’s origin. The Slavs can be orthodox, catholic, protestant or Muslim when it comes to religion.
-   Muslims? Are you trying to say that someone who performs Salah instead of praying to Jesus has the same origin as you and I? 
-   Exactly, the new religions came much later.
-   What kind of Slavs would convert to Islam and Catholicism? I’ve been to Prague and Poland several times, and I’m telling you, they have nothing to do with us, it’s more likely they’re Germans. The Latin alphabet, hello! They’re not like our orthodox brothers.
-   Have you ever spent a holiday in Greece? 
-   I spend all my summers in Greece. I feel right at home there.
-   And you understand their language?
-   No way, I only learned ela and elo, but everyone speaks Serbian there…
-   And when you were in Prague or Warsaw, could you understand a word or two?
-   Well, yeah, it’s like some weird kind of Serbian, like Slovak.
-   And you understand Russian most of the time?
-   Well, yes, they use the Cyrillic alphabet like we do.
-   And the Croats, they don’t use the Cyrillic alphabet, but you understand everything, right?
-   Of course I do, apart from those new words they keep making up.
-   So, when you go to Greece, which is an orthodox country, you can’t understand a word they’re saying?
(he squints, processing the information)
-   And when you go to Poland, which is a catholic country, you understand some words?
-   So, what you’re trying to tell me is that I should be fonder of the Czechs than of my orthodox Greek brothers? 
-   No, what I’m trying to tell you is that you have the same origin as the Western Slavs, since we all originate from the Proto-Slavs. That’s why you should respect all Slavs, regardless of their religion.
-   Let me tell you something, sister, I’d quit writing if I were you. Who cares about those Proto-Slavs and the origin…
-   Isn’t it nice to understand the origin of your blood? To know that you belong to one of the oldest peoples in the world? How do you expect others to respect you when you yourself don’t care about your roots and tradition?
(he sits in silence and starts flipping through the books again)
- So, practically, what you’re telling us in your books is that we are all one.
-   Well, yes, indirectly. Purpure, the main character, she’s a descendant of all Slavic peoples. However, what I write about is Slavic mythology, our ancient gods, myths, customs… I just employ a somewhat different approach.
-   You are writing about us being pagans.
-   Well, that’s what we were once. Although I’m not that fond of that term.
-   Savages, then.
-   We weren’t savages, we were simply polytheists. You see, in my books, the Slavic gods are present in today’s world…
-   Are you in a sect?
-   Of course not. Why would you think that?
-   Well, you’re writing about some ancient gods being real. You’re writing against the church.
-   Dude, I write fiction. I’m not writing against the church, I’m just trying to find a more simple way to introduce people to our original faith.
-   Original faith? Paganism, you mean. Why in the world would we need that? 
-   So we could know who we were 2000 years ago. So we could realize how interesting our own mythology is… Let me ask you, do you know who Zeus is?
-   Of course.
-   And Perun?
-   A pagan god.
-   What about Aphrodite, Apollo?
-   Sure I do, they’re Greek deities.
-   And Thor, Loki?   
-   Hahaha, I’m a fan of The Avengers, of course I know who Thor is.
-   So, do you believe that The Avengers are speaking against the church, since they place Thor in today’s world?
-   Well, no…
-   And do you know who Lada, Svantovit and Dazhbog are?
-   No, but I’m sure they’re some gods of yours.
-   So you are familiar with Greek and Nordic mythology, but not your own?
-   ‘Cause there are no movies about it.  
-   That’s what I’m trying to tell you, my book is not a movie, but it is still a modern story.
(he shakes his head)
-  And what do these gods do in your books? Do they fight?
-   Among other things…
-   And the fights are between…?
-   The gods of Yav fight against the gods of Nav.
-   What are those?
-   Yav is where the good guys come from, and Nav is the home of the bad guys.
-   And they all have supernatural, magical powers, spears and stuff?
-   Well, yeah…
(he laughs out loud)
-  So, that’s kinda like Lord of the Rings?
-   No, epic fantasy is not my genre.
-   Well, it sounds a lot like WoW…
-   Not everything is epic fantasy. There are a lot of different subgenres.
-   It’s good that it’s not like LotR, I hate that movie, boring as hell. Anyway, I’m glad I’ve met you, I haven’t laughed this much in a while. I can’t believe my cousin paid for this. You’re really lucky, having all that spare time to write about things no one cares about.  
-   You know what, actually, I write about sex.
(suddenly, he looks at me with admiration and excitement and starts flipping through books with much more enthusiasm)
-  You’ve got sex in here?
-   That’s right.
(he’s carefully turning the pages)
-   The real kind?
-   The real kind.
-   Fifty Shades of Gray real?
-   Not really, but there’s sex alright.
-   Where? (he grins)
-   Somewhere in there, Purpure and Lirai are screwing their brains out.
-   Who’s Lirai?
-   Actually, he’s the Slavic god of war and spring. Yarilo.
-   Yarilo?
-   Yup.
-   You couldn’t come up with a better name? It sounds ridiculous.
-   I didn’t make it up, that’s what the Slavs called him. Yar means rage, fury, and he’s the god of war…
-   Either way, it’s stupid, it should’ve been something awesome, like Thor (still carefully flipping through the books). I’m not surprised that people don’t care about Slavic mythology. All the gods have such stupid names.
-     You know what, I was wrong…
-  About what?
-   You’re not a Slav at all (I get up and I’m ready to leave). I’ve got to go.  
-   Wait a second, what do you mean by that?
-   Well, the Slavs normally don’t have such a small… (I was going to say brain, but by the look of his face, I am pretty certain he’s expecting something else)
-   Small… what?!
-   Thumbs!
He looks at his hands, utterly perplexed.   
-  You’re serious?
-   As a heart attack.
-   So what does that make me?
   (a fool!!!)
-   How should I know, I haven’t got a PhD in genetics, I’m just a silly writer. Try googling “small thumbs”.

    I walk away as he stares at the Google search results. I smile naughtily, knowing what Google will tell him.

  Note to self: Stop trying to explain to people what your books are about. Life’s too short.