Of Nordo

     As the winds of the thousand fires were cooled by the soft hushes of the babbling waters, Nordo spun wondrous spells from the strands of art that clung in tight webs about his body. So versed in the arts was Nordo that his every movement produced a shower of visual delights, and where he strode there sprang up marvelous gardens; the alchemist knew no peers. His art was of him, and he was of his art. For this one whom the people called King, the arts were his life and only true love.
     In the garden where he set his easel, the grass had been transformed from a soothing green to a solemn crimson, stained by the blood of his dreams, and moist with the sweat of his toil to become the master artist he yearned to be. The ground trembled with expectant suspense where he walked upon it, in anticipation of dreams yet undreamt. The babbling brooks whispered cautiously when he came near so that they might not hinder his concentration. The swaying rocks which danced in his absence would stand still at his entrance into their midst in order that he might find rest in their shade. In a word, the place wherein Nordo dwelt was art, and his art was well versed in imagination.
     Now, this simple fact is quite important, because before he came into their midst, uninvited to be sure, the North Lands, wherein the generations of the Lunn dwell, was a most dull and uninviting place. Nordo and his arts changed all that.
     To the south of Nordo's own garden lay a forest of ancient Lepidodendron girdled with a stand of Calamite species that cling in defiance to the acid soil that drips endlessly. The trees seem to drink up this acid so that it might not spoil Nordo's garden abode. But in the past, there were no forests green and lush in prehistoric splendor. The acid flowed from the earth in gurgling streams cutting chasms a mile deep in the porphyry soil. It burst forth with hissing menace at unknown times and unknown places so that the Lunn were constantly forced to build and rebuild their houses out of its path. After Nordo came into their midst, the forests sprang up and tamed the wild rivers of death. Beyond the forest stretched chains of mountains pasted, as if by surrealist command, to the ever clear and blue sky, in order to give some brief respite from the ever seering heat issuing from the star Helmantma.
     To the north lay the Vale of Thorns, which served as a barrier to guard the Lunn from unwanted foe who might dare to enter their peaceful lands from the ocean route that lay beyond it. It was once, through this ocean route, that the warring peoples of the Jinds had come from their transparent realms of the East to plague the peaceloving Lunn with the horror of war and destruction. Nordo had spread the Vale of Thorns across the beaches to form an impenetrable barrier, but his powers of art had not made it into a barrier of egress to the Lunn, for in its depths bright red berries showed secret and safe routes through its lacerating danger.
     To the east Nordo had hung a Veil of Tears to hold back the putrid heat, which in times gone by would roll in upon the lands of the Lunn, smothering their too infrequent gaiety with smells sour and bitter, from the desert wherein ghouls roamed by day and by night. In shimmering beauty the Veil of Tears reflected the light from Helmantma in ever cascading rivulets of rainbow colors. By day the children of the Lunn would dance in the sparkle of color, and by night they would gaze in wonder at the millions of stars that seemed to twinkle across its face.
     And yet, to the west the land of the Lunn stretched off into the far reaches of sight in billowing green mounds of valley lushness. It pushed ever westward in verdant waves to the distant lands of ice which are called Artranum. Before Nordo came, these lands were merely chalky deposits amid the porphyry rock outcroppings. Why and how the Lunn survived in the desolate region is beyond all conjecture. The only thing that is certain is that when Nordo came to this barren place he was impressed by the fortitude and courage of the people to try to carve out an existence in the lands of their ancestors. Perhaps because of this, and because of the pity he felt for them in their artless nature, Nordo had endeavored to give them the fruits of his art. (It was rumored that when Nordo gazed upon the lands held dear by the Lunn, he wept in sympathy, and it was his own tears that spread out over the land to restore it to its once verdant beauty.)
     So profound had Nordo's influence been on the valleys of the Lunn that no one therein could remember how their lands had appeared before he entered it so mysteriously and unpresumptuously. The memories of the ancient Lunn were so meaningless when compared to the wonders that Nordo opened up with his conjurings of art, that the Lunn people had no desire to remember the past. Nordo gave them the future, and they desired only to live in the future.
     To describe Nordo's own garden abode, one can only say that more exotically splendid than the moons of Tarsus 3, more beguiling than the icy realms of Artranum to the west, more alluring that the tales told of the geometric music of fabled Æberaun, were the wonders that Nordo brought to a lone atoll which lay in a lagoon formed by the acid green mire.
     Here and there flowers of translucent marine blue and olive green thrived amidst acadia in pastel shades of gold and orange. Phlox of yellow and green crept in the company of vetch to cover the rocky ground and greet shoeless feet with velvety softness. Thyme and pennyroyal hid playfully in the carpet of phlox to surprise the treader with smells pungent and sweet. Planes of polished silver stood as dolmen over which grape vines twined, while around them flowed brooks of sparkling pink colour and tasting of mellowed wines. Rocks of many colors and shapes floated in the moist air, casting shadows of symphonic music to lull the tired and weary to rest. And all these things seemed as of illusion, but mere illusion they were not for they were the children of Nordo who fathered nothing but the offspring of art.
     Though there was no one in Lunn who could state to any degree of certainty from whence Nordo had come, it was well known that he was versed in the arts of alchemy and the other occult arts as well as those of the visual arts. He was a metaphysician by claim, and spent much of his time searching for a common denominator between the various art forms.
     It was during one day that he was pondering the nature of certain artistic principles, that the winds of the thousand fires were cooled. Neither insect nor animal moved lest they disturb his contemplation. No breeze swayed the stilled foliage. The rocks looked on in anticipation. Not even could there be seen flickers of light that oft times bounce to and fro in the early morn haze. To be sure, as Nordo sat yet pondering, all that was, is or will be also sat pondering. It was then that Nordo caught sight of the Golden Comet.
     As Nordo sat alone there, the silence was hushed by the approach of a winged creature ofremarkable colour and eloquence. This winged creature was of average height and build (remarkable because so few ever are). He had sharp, beady eyes sunk inward for miles,,. a nose everywhere, and a tongue quick to dart at one's words. In his hands he bore the fruit of good deeds which he flaunted while cursing braggarts. About his legs were tied ribands of brilliant color and light which he shook as he moved about, dazzling the eyes of all who beheld him. "What an artful creature." thought Nordo upon his entrance.

     This winged creature was to all appearances quite nasty. He flitted on bended knee from here to there mocking all that he looked upon with sneering glance. With a forced frown he glared at the flowers that abounded, causing them to wither and wilt with little resistance. With gleeful despair he derided the stones of timeless beauty, causing them to crumble into the dust of the past. From this to that he pranced, Jeering at all that was or would be, and with quite little effort the host of the Lunn people withered before his fiery blast to slink away and hide their bravery. This humored the winged one, but it appalled Nordo (for the guest should never be discourteous to the host).
     And as the winds shifted, Nordo sang to the winged creature in verse: "Have thee come my creature bound, in vexation from thy foot to crown, to merely sneer and laugh a while, and flaunt your seeming worthless guile?"
     This caught the winged creature off guard for he was still at his mischief. Only a moment before, he had loomed, necromaniacly, o'er the plants which have no ears, crying taunting melodies to them in dissonant chords raped from the E-sharp key. He had then fluttered to the side of the endless streams chanting tales of beginnings (and of endings also). He stacked bestsellers on dusty shelves after he had removed their protective covers. He watered plastic plants with the water intended for the organic farms the Lunn people love so dearly. And as if this was not enough, he ran to the open fields carrying with him walls in order to subdivide. All these maliciously delightful antics were in stages of performance when Nordo's questioning melodies froze the air with the chill of February.
     For a moment or so Nordo and the Creature From Out Of The Air stood glaring at each other in the manner that most do when forming their strategy. Discretely, the creature bit his lower lip, and Nordo smiled, knowing that he had gotten through to the pest. Picking up a stone, Nordo tossed it into the pond of the green mire which lay within the wood of the mossed trees, and the air waited for response.
     Raising his eyes to the Bird Of Lore, Nordo asked him, "Why did you come here drenched in chaos to foul my peaceful order?"
     "I have come" spat the creature, "because you have grown sluggish and boring. It is time that you awaken from your stupor, and give your art a new vitality."
     "I know not of what you speak" Nordo parried, "my art is alive and vibrant. Surely you can see evidence of it all around you as you stand here muddying it so."
     "Vibrant?" the creature laughed, "Alive? You call this pathetic sameness 'alive'? All that I see about me is cold and deathly pale clichés of an art that lives. It cries out for a spontaneity that it sorely lacks."
     "What are you getting at? Do you desire me to change?"Nordo asked. "Do you insinuate that I should throw away all that I have ever known, and done, and follow you into the oblivion of chaos?"
     "No" the creature hissed, "I merely wish to point out a grave error that you have made in your calculations. I come as your familiar to guide you toward closed doors that open into rooms of which you know not. I offer you the secrets of the TrueArt. You, who seek to master the arts, grovel within a cage that you have constructed in error and fault. You know only that which you find enjoyable. Until you know all that is encompassed under the title of Art, you cannot claim to know art."
     Nordo was now confused, and looked away toward the Veil of Tears that shimmered in the waning starlight. With his eyes blinded by his confusion, Nordo saw no beauty in it. It hung like a murky mist, grey and dank. Nordo looked toward the forest of exotic trees, and to him they appeared stained and decayed in their acid mire. He gazed hopefully to the Vale of Thorns, and it withered along with his dreams. Daring not to glance in the direction of the lush valley of the Lunn, lest it too fade in its lushness, Nordo drew his sight to the Creature From The Dark Side who was now bearing the feigned grin that he had just a moment before felt was his to bear. He felt defeated and crushed by the weight of the growing realization that the words the creature spoke held some truth.
     Did his art indeed lack something? And was that something chaos? Nordo's thoughts streamed through his mind in a blinding jumble of unsureties. So steeped in the alchemical method was he that he could not comprehend the place chaos might hold in his art; there just simply was no room for it. Things simply had to proceed according to ordered rules and means - or did they?
     "You must drink of my blood, and eat of my flesh" the creature coaxed, "you need only accept my essence, and the TrueArt will be yours."
     Nordo wanted desperately to ignore all this, but he just couldn't. There was something of merit in the creature's words though his manner of expressing himself offended Nordo.
     Nordo struggled in his mind, trying to figure out the purpose of this strange situation. Had he digressed in his art to a state of artlessness? Had he made an error in his artistic judgement as the creature claimed? As the winged devil circled him wildly with tail in mouth as a worm ouroboros is wont to do, Nordo fell into a mad frenzy of conflicting thoughts. All the theories he had formulated, all the artistic and scientific and occult constructs he had set up, all the dreams he had dreamt were caught up in the ever growing whirlpool of faustian nightmare that his life had suddenly become.
     With a shriek the danse macabre came to a grinding halt, and Nordo froze with eyes glazed, staring into the emptiness of space. The closed doors had all sprung open in his mind, and thoughts of chaos emerged to mingle with his dreams of order. With clenched teeth he grasped his head with both hands firmly. Swelled with a surge of hot blood that seemed to seep through the pores of his skin, and rippling with the sweet innocence of freedom, the two hands pulled. And with a howling as of a saw ripping through a block of larchwood, they gored a hole at the base of the cranial sinus from which flowed bloated masses of his brain's substance. It poured out in thick globules of amber and green toward the feathered one who lay thrashing in death throes upon the ground. Deliriously, Nordo guffawed as rivulets of subcutaneous matter discharged from within him. In horripilating sweat the winged creature groped for fresh air like a drowning swimmer, as the blood of Nordo's theology swirled around him.

     The Bird With No Name had not counted on Nordo's passion to be so aroused; he underestimated the alchemist's mania. And now he was being suffocated by it. He struggled to get away lest Nordo's frenzy would drain him of the chaos which was his being.
     And as Nordo snickered in the hallway, he watched the baffled creature stumbling over his own feet in his attempt to escape.
     "This is my book." cried King Nordo, as the Bird Of Chaos fled to the hills.
     As the winds of the thousand fires were cooled by the soft hushes of the babbling waters, Nordo awakened from his dreams to catch a fleeting glimpse of yellow as the Golden Comet trailed off into the distance.