Saturday, February 20, 2016

Walpurgisnacht - Die Biomechanische Kriegsmaschine (1997)


I staggered down the Hall of Lucidity for several hours, not even bothering to check whether the many doors along the way were locked.  I was simply attempting to find an end to the path.  I was beginning to think it had no end. 

In the distance I noticed the shape of a person, or perhaps another statue, standing perfectly still in the center.  I approached cautiously, but it made no movement.   And then, right when I was upon it, it was gone.  It did not vanish, and it did not slowly dissipate.  The shade was just gone, as if it had never existed. 

I turned to my left and saw that the door was wide open.  There was only blackness within, a perfect void.  I stared at it for some time, uncertain of how to proceed.  I edged around the sides, walking right up to the doorway, attempting to see further within, but it seemed that right beyond the threshold the light was consumed somehow.  I took a cautious step inside, to try and peek around the corner, when I was suddenly flung into the room, the door slamming behind me. 

I jumped up, momentarily bewildered, and then rushed back to the door, struggling with the handle.  It was locked.  I was now a prisoner.

And then the chamber was illuminated.  The torches burst aflame.  It looked to be some sort of throne room.  The throne was toward the back, followed by a moth-eaten carpet.  There was a large table in the center, and atop it a detailed map of my surrounding kingdom.  It was a miniature sculpted landscape, where the mountains protruded above the table, and the valleys sunk within.  Every tree and shrub was fully detailed as closely as they eye could observe.  The lakes and oceans were actual pools of water, and the rivers somehow flowed.  The geography of the miniature was so detailed that it almost seemed as if the battles were carried out on this very table.  There were brightly-colored pins stuck into the diorama, representing my armies and the enemies.  The borders of my land and the neighboring kingdoms were each painted accordingly with their local colors, my kingdom of course being black, like the banners that hung from the mezzanine of my throne room.

My throne room?

I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead.  Everything seemed so cloudy. 

I proceeded to the door on the other side of the chamber.  Entering the next room, I was rather bothered to find another throne room, almost identical to the last: deep red torches, moth-eaten carpet, throne at the end, black banners hanging from the mezzanine, and the miniature battle-layout on the table in the center.  The only thing that seemed to have changed is that the pins on the landscape had been moved.  The red pins, representing the ghoulish hordes of Nathrek, had taken the valley of Relspawn, and now their forces were descending upon my glorious land, unleashing untold horrors on my people, without any more lines of defense. 

I forced myself away from the table, desperate to retreat.  Again I went through the door behind the throne, again to find myself in the same throne room.  All the architecture and furniture appeared the same as before to the senses, but it had now grown somehow nightmarish in proportion.  Every angle seemed diseased.  It all immediately assaulted one with the stench of rot and decadence.  I gazed at the table from a distance, already anticipating the horror I would find.  They were descending upon my cities, their armies at my doorstep.  It would only be a matter of time...

I proceeded through the next doorway automatically, though some part of me struggled against it.  Now everything in the room barely seemed real, a crude and offensive caricature of reality, and yet still clearly the same chamber.

Sitting in my throne, I covered my eyes against the shadowy forms of my advisers.  They were monsters, like reality itself.  They gibbered ceaselessly, as they had for months, but I'd given up listening.  They told me how the end was near, as if I didn't know.  They said that God would lead us through as they plunged the knife into my gut.

I awoke in cold sweat, shuddering in the Hall of Lucidity, curled up on the floor.  The door was closed, and I knew it to be locked.  I didn't even need to check.  I stood up, still shaken, and continued down the hall, as the experience immediately slipped from memory, as all unwritten dreams do.