Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Into the town of Kasting come the archetypes whose days have passed. Jugglers and wandering Monks, Moors with silver chains attaching scimitars to their broad leather belts, ill-aspected moustachioed magicians in purple cardinal's robes - their circular hats scuffed at the brim and dulled with dust. Here can be found the dwarfs who have been ousted from their homes by dwarves, and goblins of the old market-haunting sort, and witches who have never heard of wicca save for the crackling of a burning effigy at midnight. Here are the street-urchins whose drugs are gin and whose vices are gambling with human knuckle bones for dice, with souls for stakes. Here are the golden-hearted whores before the gold was melted off and sold, and the hearts of brass and clockwork devised.

Into Kasting come the outmoded men, and the unfashionable women, and the children of untimely countinances who otherwise would stare sullenly out of old black and white photographs and engravings, and retard the passage of time itself with their antique faces. Here in retirement live Arthur, late of Avalon, and Boudicea under the roman pronounciation, and three rival Merlins who grow beards at each other, fiercely, only half in sport, and share successively the affections of the Lady Nimue at different phases of the moon. In Kasting they go by the titles: Prophet, Magus, and Doctor, and yet no one has the gumption to pin down precisely which title each Merlin holds so that addressing one is a masterpiece of circumlocution and hesitancy.

Into Kasting come the faded ghosts and trumpery spectres, driven out by newer horrors and a greater psychopathy of fear, making their final retarded displays of wailing. Banshees howl and chains rattle in the high winds of the gorge in which the township lies.

Very occasionally the Revival Train, with its masked preachers, and armed side-riders will pass through Kasting, with its role-calls and stirring music, calling for certain sorts of character to brave again the outer world. Then for a time the drums will strike up and the bravos strut, and the toledo sword leave its sheath to weave a sigil in the air, but all know that they will return, older, wearier, and less able to totter forth for the next train or the one after that.

Simon BJ


Philip said...

God, that's really gorgeous. I love it.

Site Owner said...

I must give some credit to Alvaro Cunqueiro, whose 'Merlin and Company' for the 'tone' of this one.


Simon BJ

tardieu said...

That would make a great opening for another weird western a la Passing Judgment.