#Honour Over Glory
"Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player." (Sir Alex Ferguson)
On this day in 1999, Roy Keane kept Manchester United’s treble hopes alive while knowing he won’t get to experience the glory of the final.
“Roy Keane with the captain’s goal for Manchester United. Game on!”
The REAL captain fantastic.
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Jousting for Jess (’Blood Must Have Blood’ competitions)
Above: moodboard made by @smr-the-tired-crackhead
Good, now that I have your attention... ;)
Hello all my hungry Harpies! :)
Today we are one month away from Blood Must Have Blood’s 1-year anniversary! Can you believe it? Wow, what a ride, huh? And we’re not done yet...
In celebration of the fic, I thought it would be fun to do something big for that day. So, I was thinking of having a few small “competitions” in honour of the fic and Jess’ story. Anyone who wants to can participate! The prize will be the glory and a shoutout :)
The fic has already been gifted some amazing art, and that’s what inspired this idea. I was thinking that it would be fun to have you guys create something. Be it a cover, a painting, a poem, a gif, a meme, a moodboard, a banner, a picture, an animation, you name it! Any medium of art is welcomed!
Above: banner made by @smr-the-tired-crackhead
Disclaimer for the cover art: I will have a future competition for covers towards the end of the fic, where we together choose a cover which will be used to make a hard copy of the fic. Those details have not been refined yet, so I make no promises, but if anything, it will be the cover for the fic on platforms.
Above: gifset made by @pan-dulce-por-favor
There will be separate competitions for each category, you can enter into how many categories as you want, and are allowed 2 entries in each. You are free to use the fic as you please in this idea!
Your competition will be held here on Tumblr, and your submissions can be sent to me privately on here or submitted, over my email email@example.com, my Instagram JohannaVestergrenSweden or on Facebook if requested.
The art will be posted here on Tumblr, where all of you can vote for your favourite in each category. Your votes will be sent to me privately as to not give anything away beforehand.
Everything will be posted on the 18th of May, meaning that the submissions must be in by the 17th of May in order for me to get them up. That will give you 2 days to see it all and vote, and the winners will be presented of the day; 20th of May!
Above: meme made by @pan-dulce-por-favor
Your entries can be as big or small as you wish. If your idea was not listed among the examples given, do not be discouraged, you can submit whatever you want! Even if you’re the only one doing that style!
Your art is your art. I will not claim it as my own, and it will only be used and showed with your permission, and you will be credited as the creator.
Above: cover made by @pan-dulce-por-favor
I hope that anyone who as much as has a thought about it, and idea, a feeling, will choose to be a part of this. The more the merrier, truly. This fic would not be here if it weren’t for all of you, and this is something we’re doing together. For fun, for enjoyment and entertainment, and for Jess.
If you have any questions, please write me and I will answer it and edit the information to contain said answer.
Hope to both see & hear from you <3
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LOVE FOR HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH) IS THE MOST CHERISHED PART OF EVERY MUSLIM'S FAITH: USMAN BUZDAR
With the compliments of, The Directorate General Public Relations,
Government of the Punjab, Lahore Ph: 99201390.
LAHORE, April 19:
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has said utmost respect and honour for the Last of the Holy Prophets Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is an indispensable part of every Muslim’s faith.
In a statement, the CM declared the heart of every Muslim is filled with the immaculate love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) adding that Allah Almighty has made Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) a true benefactor for all the worlds. The blissful way of life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) defines the Holy Quran, in which complete guidance is available for all the human beings of the world, he added. Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught the lessons of peace to the enemies through His blissful way of life and sensitized the entire humanity about the golden principles of peace and humanity, equality, respect for humanity, forgiveness and justice, the CM highlighted.
In fact, the CM reiterated that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a glowing example for the entire world, through His exalted character and blissful way of life. Any kind of disrespect to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cannot be tolerated in any civilized society of the world, he stressed. Any kind of irreverence to the blessed glory of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), made in the garb of worldly standards of freedom of expression, is strongly intolerable, repeated the CM.
The blissful way of life of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) teaches us to resolve issues through mutual dialogue and deliberations. The love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) demands that we should resolve our differences through a reconciliatory approach and everyone will have to show compassion in prevailing circumstances, concluded the CM.
CM CONDOLES DEATH OF FORMER IGP NASIR DURRANI
LAHORE, April 19:
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed a deep sense of sorrow over the death of Nasir Khan Durrani, former IG Police KPK province, and extended sympathies to the bereaved heirs.
In his condolence message, the CM paid tributes to the services rendered by late Nasir Durrani for the police force and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace.
AND it shall come to pass, when that appointed day has gone by that then shall the aspect of those who are condemned be afterwards changed, and the glory of those who are justified. For the aspect of those who now act wickedly shall become worse than it is, as they shall suffer torment. Also as for the glory of those who have now been justified in my Torah, who have had understanding in their life, and who have planted in their heart the root of wisdom, then their splendour shall be glorified in changes, and the form of their face shall be turned into the light of their beauty, that they may be able to acquire and receive the world which does not die, which is then promised to them. For over this above all shall those who come then lament that they rejected my Torah and stopped their ears that they might not hear wisdom or receive understanding. When therefore they see those, over whom they are now exalted, but who shall then be exalted and glorified more than they, they shall respectively be transformed the latter into the splendour of angels, and the former shall yet more waste away in wonder at the visions and in the beholding of the forms. For they shall first behold and afterwards depart to be tormented. But those who have been saved by their works and to whom the Torah has been now a hope and understanding an expectation and wisdom a confidence shall wonders appear in their time. For they shall behold the world which is now invisible to them and they shall behold the time which is now hidden from them: And time shall no longer age them. For in the heights of that world shall they dwell and they shall be made like unto the angels and be made equal to the stars, and they shall be changed into every form they desire, from beauty into loveliness, and from light into the splendour of glory. For there shall be spread before them the extents of Paradise, and there shall be shown to them the beauty of the majesty of the living creatures which are beneath the throne and all the armies of the angels who are now held fast by my word, lest they should appear, and are held fast by a command, that they may stand in their places till their advent comes. Moreover, there shall then be excellency in the righteous surpassing that in the angels. For the first shall receive the last, those whom they were expecting, and the last those of whom they used to hear that they had passed away. For they have been delivered from this world of tribulation and laid down the burden of anguish. For what then have men lost their life and for what have those who were on the earth exchanged their soul? For then they chose not for themselves this time which beyond the reach of anguish could not pass away: but they chose for themselves that time whose issues are full of lamentations and evils; and they denied the world which ages not those who come to it; and they rejected the time of glory so that they shall not come to the honour of which I told you before.
BARUK SHENIY (2 BARUK) 51 את CEPHER
The Legend of Tinhalla
Long ago, the scrolls say, a plucky band of knights in platinum armor rode out to claim an access T4. They had heard that Dreadnought had recently named one similar castle “FreeCastle” and abandoned it to be conquered. They had also decided that it would be a good long-term goal to join the Dread 5TA, and what better way to start off a conversation than by bonding over their mutual disdain for T4s? A slight wrinkle in this plan was that they currently had none, so with courage and nerve, they claimed one, named it Tinhalla, and subsequently dumped it onto a sapphire team a few hours later. There were several people who pointed out the improbability of this act setting the knights down the path to joining the Dread 5TA. These were probably surprised when it did exactly that. As for the rest, they simply remembered the Legend of Tinhalla and nodded.
Nowadays, the knights have traded in their platinum armor for no armor, because they need none. Their castles are adorned with monuments resembling the Sedlec monastery, crafted of the bones of millions of the inglorious dead, and diamond skulls glaring down: fallen armies of would-bes and shouldn’t-haves. Most of those are quite old, because they are very quiet places today.
But though the invasions have passed, the legend yet grows. One day, during a PVP when an old rival is disbanding, four of their leadership ride out with loaded prims and plant their weapons in the earth before an AnD castle. They see the shield come down, and they just wait. They know their troops did not gain enough glory in life to pass on to Valhalla, but the stories say that if, on their final day, they commit to an act of pure courage, Wotan shall grant them an honourable death and raise them to a seat at his feasting table. And it is said that there is no place where death comes on swifter wings than an AnD castle. To TINHALLA, they go.
In the time since, many a loaded defensive prim has been sent to an AnD castle as an offering. Most are foolish, but a few are simply brave. For those who choose to meet their fate on their own terms, there can sometimes be heard horns amid the skies. Is it Great Wotan, summoning a redeemed warrior to stand in his army at the end of the world? Or is it some noob bullhorning his way to maxing his event? Perhaps BOTH!
Thursday, 15th April 2021
Pictures: from 4th April.. I chose the ones that have me HAHAHHAHA..
The three at the left side .. were before mass.
1... I was telling Anthony that there is no reason to have that many torches for Eucharistic prayer.
2... I was telling Fr Bapt something, probably got annoyed for something ahahha
3... See the nonsense I am talking about? 6 torches.. The 2 most behind were the 2 torches at the altar, which were taken away! This was supposed to be at the Eucharistic prayer part! Completely nonsense.. Since when the torches leave the altar at mass? BY what right? Completely lost it. Zoom to see hein.. Diana was on fire telling Fr Bapt that it’s impossible to have nonsense.. kekkeke
4. Right side hahaha this one is sweet.. I was talking to an old granny who couldn’t hear me well that she shouldn’t sit there, we reserved seats for baptism! hahaha.. AND the old granny kept repeating, what I couldn’t hear you? I can’t walk, I can’t sit far from altar hehehehe.. I had to lowered down so she could see my eyes.. When they can’t see your smiling face, your eyes might help.
5. One of things that I did, being the mommy until the end of mass, reposition kids’ scarves etc.
6. Last one, when the mass ended, while people went out to celebrate, there was me alone again, picking up mess hehhee.. Nobody came back.. to say goodbye nor a thank you kekekkeke.. Glory to God!
What a day..
Hubby’s father.. is doing fine.. nothing biggy, he’s back home.. oufff.. I am relieved.. Thank God!
Kids were annoying today.. we are reading the Acts of the Apostles lately, one chapter a day.. and they always take time to arrive while I keep calling and calling.. tiring me much.. huaaaa.. And I just scolded them for real.
I think they have too much time on their phone etc than with me.. snifff..
Work, was ok today.
I dislike our endless meetings.
This morning I was on accounting a bit, then helped Val to prepare for lunch..
All the talk was talk only, nothing really was necessary..
Fr Fred was happy to get a credit card for our aumonerie. Of course I wrote the reasons, remember? It got approved. hehe thank God.
Mgr Philippe wrote us a letter.. about changes happening.. Catherine is leaving, etc etc.. We’ll have a reform, which will be started with an Audit! HA! God, how I love audit.. but not sure how I like being audited? HAHAH
It’s not that clear what they want though.
Fr Fred is full of ideas of course, I can be sure that he’s from O blood type. Since the president said something about honouring the medical people, he’s thinking or organising something at our church, with hospital.. which is great hein.. but geeezz, how I’d love to have a calm moment to just focus on patients and hospital.. I’d like to stop all media attention, meeting with famous well known people... Tiring much..
He wants us to think what we can propose? I said it.. invite the president to participate a celebration at our church HAHAHA Whatever..
Money, we’ll be giving out 10 000 euros to Pastorale Santé. 10 000 euros for the hospital of Panzi, under the doctor Mukwege.. And another project for the Seminary in Congo, where Fr Gus’ younger brother is..
What else? dunno..
Who washed dishes? hahaha Fr François walked to start to wash, but I followed him and took over.. He has back ache peeps, and he’s tall, bending over to wash is not good. And I had gloves today, so I did it.
I am ok, as long as I have gloves... my hand skin didn’t get wet.
Then, guess what? We had to pack up, for the renovation. Fr François went to do a funeral ceremony.. Fr Gus went down to prepare mass.. Fr Fred left! HAHAHAHAHA incredible.. Val and I did it by ourselves..
Fr François came back later and helped a bit.
I officially don’t like Fr Fred much haha talk only no work... ok, probably he works good on brainy side, but pffftt, come on.. help us, it’s heavy!
Well, it’s done more or less.
In my attempt, I asked if we could buy a dish washer machine kekkeke.. but of course jokingly.. Fr Fred now calls me Dame Diana.. when Dame Diana asks for something, they all shall listen he said! hahaha because apparently it was Dame Diana who chose the chairs kekeke whatever.. I didn’t want to waste money to buy something ugly! heheheh I know my chairs are more expensive but at least they are not ugly and they actually look chic and comfortable.
I know he was joking..
Fr François and Val said I know everyone at our church now hehehe I know them by their name hehehe..
Fr François said Diana in her quiet way, somehow knows everyone and everything happening at aumonerie hahahhaa.. I said it’s probably my Asian side that allows me to talk to people easily, to ask personal question easily.. hehe Val said that they all have to be more Asian then.. EWwww nooo, stay French. Be who you are. I feel free to ask anything because I am Asian, and it’s rather uncomfortable for me when I have to think of what Anne said to me, that I was being impolite hheheh I mean, people can choose to not answer me, if they think it’s too personal kekekeke.. I behave a bit, watch out a bit, but I want to stay as much as I could, who I am.. Peeps, the thing is I am good at making friends, getting to know people, but I am bad of keeping them hehehe.. by experience, I have tendency to lose friends as time goes by, either I am boring to death, hahaha or I am not whom they need to be with.. well, it’s fine.. I don’t need tons of friends.. a few really good ones would be fine.
Patients, I had two only, then I went home for Zoom meeting.. it was at 5.30 PM and not 6.30 PM.. so early, imagine me running to presbytery to get my laptop etc?
The zoom meeting was alright. I didn’t speak at all hahaha.. not in the mood.
Voilà.. Then I got pictures from baptism. Sent to Vero and Fr Bapt, will send to parents tomorrow if Fr Bapt is ok.
Peepppppppppsssssssss, what do you think? I messaged Fr Thierry, asking if he’s home.. if he has mass this Sunday.. he doesn’t reply.. What do you think? is he home? By logic, girls would say he’s not home hahaha.. yeap..
What’s wrong with all these people who don’t reply? He used to reply.. snifff.. he used to replyyyyyy, since last week, he doesn’t reply anymore.. snifff... he’s not mad, is he? Last Friday, he went away quickly too.. sniff.. a reply.. It can be short.. yes or no.. But well.. perhaps he’s not home..?
Good that I asked today.. I was thinking of going there tomorrow.. no need then, he’s probably somewhere in his Normandie. I miss him.. sniff.. but well, it’s vacation time too.. he was on WA today.. is he home or away? Peeps, when I go there on weekdays, I have to make time to go there hein hehehe.. It’s ok sometimes when it’s Fr Edmond, but well, hehehe I miss Fr Thierry, not Fr Edmond kekeeke..
Fr Fred is leaving too, to his Jura with his mother. Fr Bapt will be away too this Saturday. I want to leave too.. to Jakarta.. snifff..
Well.. he’s probably away..
Oh, Paul, the 20 yo young man who helps us to build our future website can’t continue anymore, he’s very sick! Almost dying! oh my oh my.. he has heart problem.. a hole in his heart! Worked too hard and perhaps it was from Covid, I don’t know, he lost smelling for a while! Dunno why, .. now he’s at home, can’t walk more than 600 m! Poor Paul, so young! He was Augustinian last year.
And Mathilde 21 yo, a patient, died yesterday, of Covid. I mean, she got Covid and it infected her heart.. she went into comma for a while, and she died yesterday.. it was tears and tears, family and medical team, because they tried hard to save her! So young..
We have another patient died too..one after another hein..
Laurent looked awful today, but still talked to me for a while..
Oh my, I have to do some celebration on Monday.. Closing coffin I think.. brrr, I don’t know how.. aAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa I need to check the ceremony book.. Why doesn’t any of them teach me how.. geeezz.. Sending me alone to do this? geeezzz... well... see, Lord, it’s not I who want to do this, but You send me here hein.. so, do it Your way, I am clueless, and it’s You who are the Almighty.. not me.
Peeps, do I have to freak out? HAHAHAH I have no idea how to do the celebration.. but the book shall explain it well, right? kekkekeE. I’ll see this tomorrow..
I need to sleep, tomorrow, I want to leave early to the nuns or to presbytery, because by all means, I don’t want to meet Sofiane and his team.. yeap.. hahaha I am childish when I am childish. Like seriously, for the bad quality of work they did, I was being understanding, delay after delay, and they had to make me to say my last word about suing to make them coming, it’s too much. And I don’t like using the fact that I was born Indonesian to make Muslim to work! I said it .. it’s too much..
New oc dropped???? :0
1, 2, 17, 20, 41 for Ziore
my littol lvl 3 leonin paladin of glory 🥺 her campaign is super new and it’s set in theros (and i am. not a mtg player) so apologies if these aren’t super in-depth however… i love her your honour 💕
1. what kind of clothing does your character like to wear? do they have a style? anything they avoid wearing?
ooooo…. honestly i haven’t been playing her very long so i haven’t put a ton of thought into ziore’s style BUT… she is literally a Princess, so she dresses finely, although practically. lots of metal, including her big gold necklace, shades of black and orange and white to complement her fur. she avoids big earrings, dangly pieces, anything that could get ripped out in the heat of battle - while such things are nice for a ceremony, she’s learned that they don’t hold up all the time.
2. what’s their current hairstyle? has it changed? do they change it often?
the thing with leonin is, manes are typically only a thing for dudes. besides, ziore thinks the long, flowy hair that her friends have is very nice, but - doesn’t it get in the way? she’s sure it would just be irritating, shiny as it is. proper warriors should keep their hair short.
17. do they fidget? how and/or with what?
her golden claw-guards, for sure. ziore’s grandmother always liked to see her wearing them, so now she keeps them on all the time, even in battle where they’re… less than practical. but they’re just uncomfortable enough for her to play with them when she’s nervous. apart from that, though, she’s learnt to keep her mind occupied to avoid physical fidgeting. people don’t like to see their leaders looking squirrelly.
20. do they like to keep plants / growing things in their space?
the party is constantly on the move at the moment, so she doesn’t really have anywhere to put anything down. however, if ziore got the chance, she might like a little potted palm or something. to remind her of home.
41. what’s the silliest thing they’ve used magic to do? if they don’t have magic, what’s something silly they’d use it for if they did?
sadly paladins are bereft of cantrips so most opportunities for SillyTime pass ziore by (not that it’s hard, she has a passive perception of 8); however, she often uses her Channel Divinity: Peerless Athlete to just. do regular stuff. like jumping over a big puddle or backflipping off a rock. she justifies it in her mind as a way to show her new friends how capable she is an how much iroas favours her - but really, she is simply a Jock Goofball <3
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Letter from Madame Campan to Hortense de Beauharnais
From »Correspondance inédite de Madame Campan avec la Reine Hortense«, without date, but obviously written during Hortense’s journey in the Pyrenees in summer 1807.
Adèle has given me the most agreeable description of your Majesty's journeys in those beautiful Pyrenees, of her visit to the Château de Pau; of the sweet memory which the inhabitants of those fine regions have retained of a good and brave king, and whose excessive gallantry has not tarnished his great qualities; which proves that the French and men in general demand chaste virtues only in women. It is an equivalent of the great talents and courage which are not vested in us by nature; rest and domestic happiness, that is what we are charged with; and any person of our sex who is content to aim at the qualities of a gallant, only obtains this denomination with derision, because she says that she has simply ceased to be an honest woman.
It is always a great misfortune for a woman to have a passion, it is the worst of all for a queen: there is no other that suits her than that of ruling well. I think, I could say I am sure, that Marie-Thérèse, Empress and Queen of Hungary, mother of Marie-Antoinette, has been very unfairly regarded as a gallant princess; she had both too much ambition and too much piety to fall into such a trap; an anecdote which I am going to tell Your Majesty seems to confirm what I am saying.
In her youth Maria Theresa was flirtatious, and not ignorant of her beauty and seductiveness; she wielded the power of her charms over foreign ministers, over her own ministers, and over all those from whom she was likely to obtain some beneficial result in order to bring them under her control; but she lived faithfully and honourably with the respectable Emperor Francis, whom she cherished, and of whom she had twelve children: this is not the conduct of a gallant woman. One day she embraced Marshal Down, who was carried back in his litter seriously wounded; but who does not recognise in this gesture the great mark of benevolence and gratitude of a sovereign rather than the favours of a woman? Messrs. d'Asfeld, Hagenwitz, and Colloredo were her favourite ministers in the heyday of her youth and glory; they were amiable and of a pleasing exterior; they once got it into their heads that their sovereign might feel more than esteem and confidence for one of the three, and they agreed that, sacrificing their vanity to their ambition, the favoured one would not be jealous of the other two, and would take care of their fortune. At the end of the council Maria Theresa chatted familiarly with her ministers, who, in order to bring about an outcome in accordance with their plan, often brought up anecdotes of queens who had had tender inclinations for their subjects, and Catherine II was certainly not forgotten. Marie-Thérèse grasped the reason for these talks, which often returned to the same subject, and said to them with a very calm air: "These weaknesses do not surprise me, they are part of nature; I might have the misfortune to be affected by them like any other; one of my subjects might make too strong an impression on me; but woe to him," she added, raising her voice, "if he were to notice it; he would be lost.« The terror-stricken triumvirate could hardly keep their composure; and never in the future did the conversation fall on the gallant adventures of the crowned heads.
I wanted to speak to Your Majesty only about the château of Pau, and now that historical recollection has, like a spring, set off a host of ideas accumulated in my head during twenty-eight years of residence in the cabinets of princesses; may they at least interest Your Majesty; she has no need to draw lessons from them, she whose calm and tranquil soul is sheltered from passions, and whose modest dignity will always keep far from her everything that is not made to approach the most respected woman in Europe. It is therefore to tell of storms and shipwrecks to one who has never left the port for her happiness; but one does not love the stories and events of great voyages any less. […]
Yes, Madame, it is truely curious why you would write such a warning letter to somebody so very much not in need of it. Particularly around the time when future Napoleon III was about to be conceived...
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DOES GOD HARDEN PEOPLE’S HEARTS?
Bible Study / Daily Devotional
Average reading time is about 5 and a half minutes
Here’s an example of where I think this passage is going. The Amalekites had attacked Israel from behind when they came out of Egypt. God told Moses that He was going to show mercy to this heathen nation for a period of time, but eventually their judgment would come. The judgment that was coming on the Amalekites was based on their behavior. God chose to extend mercy to them longer than some other nations.
The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). We could all be justly executed now for our sins. When God extends grace, He extends it in varying degrees. Sometimes God strives longer with someone, but He is saving everyone by grace. None of us “deserves” salvation.
Romans 9:21 says, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” God does exercise His choice concerning what He does with the “clay”—how to intervene, for instance.
In the Old Testament, we have another example in Pharaoh. The Bible says that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 10:20). But the Bible also tells us that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (see Exodus 8:15; 8:32; 9:34).
The way God dealt with Pharaoh is a microcosm of the way He deals with the wicked. He gives them opportunities, time after time, to come to a realization of the truth, and it is God’s desire that all men be saved. Yet He is the One who chooses how much grace, how many opportunities, to give. God is doing everything He can to save people. But ultimately, our destiny is in our own hands.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Romans 9:18-23
2 n tyelkoromë for the kiss prompts
A small, fleeting kiss—which is immediately followed by a passionate, hungry kiss. (send me a prompt!)
baptism by fire: the trial of faith that purifies the faithful who look upon God’s glory and are transformed, not consumed.
His blood yet runs hot after the hunt, pulsing, thrumming, burning with the fire that fuels every living creature—and one day consumes them.
You cannot take eternally; you must one day face fate, or judgment. It was the first lesson he learned, when he was young and revered bone less than blood. It is the lesson he forgets most often: to honour that which taught him life, but to fear that which will teach him death.
'Well done, my hunter.' Terrible in power and glorious in pride, Oromë looms over him. And though Tyelkormo does not flinch or waver, he does close his eyes against the blinding light that surrounds his every sense.
Power: it tastes like victory. And when Oromë leans down, letting his lips brush over Tyelkormo's, it feels infinite. Tyelkormo is a conduit, a host, a blade, forged sharper and brighter than any light or life or death has ever been; he understands, even in his short life with his short stories and the half-finished markings of Oromë's Hunt on his skin, that this is power.
He surges, following the call, meeting heat when his mouth crashes into Oromë's, hungry and demanding, as a parched land thirsting always for a drop, a flood, a torrent of rain. He can feel the beat of his heart as in every tree and bird and beast in the forest, the thunder in his veins as the furious lashing of the spring rains and the summer flames.
Is this how fire feels, to burn? Is this how glory feels, to conquer but not consume?
You must one day face fate, or judgment.
But Oromë returns the kiss, and the only judgment Tyelkormo faces is this baptism by fire.
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IMAM GHAZZALI’S IHYA ULUMIDDIN, VOLUME.IV, CHAPTER I
(3) Third mode: The sinners should be told that the punishment of sins is expected to be meted out in this world and that the basic cause of dangers and difficulties that befall on men is their sin. May people think the next worldly punishment as easy and this worldly punishment as severe. The reason is their ignorance about the next world. These people should be told repeatedly about the punishment of this world. They should be told that their livelihood may be curtailed on account of their sins, their honour may be marred and their enemies may increase.
The Prophet said: When a man commits sins: he deprived of his livehood. Hazrat-Ibn-Masud said: I think that a man forgets his learning owing to his commission of sins.
In this context, the Prophet said: Wisdom goes away from a man who commits sins and it never comes to him. An ancient sage said: It is not misfortune that a man's face becomes black and he meets with loss of property, but misfortune is that he gives up a sin but commits it again or a more heinous sin.There is a story of a certain Aref that he was walking in a muddy land raising up his wearing apparel for fear of slipping down. Then he slipped and he fell down. He wept and said: My slip has been like the slip of one who walks by the side of a sin for saving himself from the sin and then slips into a sin or two and then falls deeply therein. For this reason the saint Fazili said:Whatever turn of fortune and loss of friendship occur, it is only for your sin. A certain sage said. I will consider the oppression of rats as punishment of my sin. A certain Sufi of Syria said: I was looking at the beautiful face of a christian boy. At that time Ibn Jala Dameski was passing by that way. He caught hold of my hand and I was ashamed I said: Abu Abdullah, glory to God. I was charmed with the uncommon beauty of this boy. I don't know the wisdom of God that He created this beautiful boy for Hell. He pressed my hand and said: You will see its punishment after a while. After 30 years, I saw its punishment. Abu Solaiman Darani said: Emission of semen in dream is a punishment. He said: Nobody misses a congregational prayer except for sins. There is in Hadith, God says: When a man puts his greed above his divine service, the lowest punishment is that I deprive him of the pleasure of invocation.Abu Amer Olman narrated a story to this effect: I stood up for prayer when I felt urge of sexual passion which continued long. I felt a strong urge for cohabitation with a boy. I fell down on the ground and my whole body became black. Then I concealed myself and did not come out for three days. I went to the public bath room and washed my body but it increased blackness. After three days, the blood of the body became clean. Then I went to Bagdad to meet Hazrat Junaid. I asked him about it. He said: Are you not ashamed that you have made your sexual passion strong after standing before God? Then God drove you out from His presence. Had I not prayed for you and repented on your behalf to God, you would have met with God with that color. He said: l wondered how he came to know of it, when I was atRekka and he was inBagdad.Dear readers, know that the face of soul of man becomes black if he commits sins. If he is not a virtuous man, his black color spreads over his face. If he is unfortunate, it remains on his soul which becomes black and becomes fit to be burnt by fire. The disaster of sin in the world is poverty, illness and other evils as seen in various traditions. If any disaster comes to any person, it is owing to his sin. He is deprived of good provision and his misfortune is doubled. If any grace reaches him, it is prolonged for him but he is deprived of expressing gratefulness, till he ispunished for ungratefulness. He who is virtuous, has blessing for divine service. He is then given grace of expressing gratefulness and his disaster is panacea for his sins and increases his rank.
(4) Fourth mode: It is to state the prescribed sentences for the prescribed crimes, such as drinking wine, fornication, murder, slander and other sins. Give such advice to a person for which he is deserving of advice. If you give such advice to a person for which he is not deserving, you will be giving medicine to a person who does not require it. The learned man should begin treatment just like an experienced physician who sees first his patient's appearance. The Prophet was once asked: Messenger of God, give me advice but not more. He said: Don't be angry. Another person said: Messenger of God, give me advice.
The Prophet said: Don't be disappointed at seeing what is in the possession of man. This is called freedom from want. Be careful of greed, as the meaning of greed is freedom from the worldly wants. Pray in such a manner that you are leaving the world for good. Be careful of what you take as an excuse.A person said to Ibn Wase: Give me advice. He said, I advice you to be an angel in this world and the world next. He said: How shall I be able to become such? He said: Adopt renunciation in the world. The Prophet sensed anger in the mind of the first questioner. So he prohibited him to get angry. He saw in the second than greed for wealth and long hope and advised him accordingly. Ibn Waes saw in the third person attachment towards the world and so he advised him accordingly. A man asked Hazrat Ma'az: Give advice. He said: be kind, I may then guarantee Paradise for you, He perceived in him by his foresight harsh conduct and hard heart. Once a man said to Ibrahim Ibn Adham: Give me advice. He said: Be careful of men and keep company of the virtuous people, as men are subjects of thoughts of men. Every man is not a real man. Real men passed away and there remain only ghosts. I don't consider them as men.Hazrat Muwayiah wrote a letter to Hazrat Ayesha: Give me advice, but not more. Hazrat Ayesha wrote: From Ayesha to Muwayiah. I heard from the Prophet who said: 'God makes one free from want of men who seeks pleasure of God by incurring the displeasure of men and He entrusts one to the people who incurs displeasure of God by pleasing the people. Salam to you.' Now look to the wisdom of Hazrat.&yesha, how she gave cautionof danger to the rulers. At another time she wrote to Muwayiah: Fear God, He will protect you from men and when you will fear men, they will not be able to do you benefit in presence of God. Salam to you." So every adviser should advice according to the necessity of a particular man.
There are foods and medicines in theological learnings food for all people and medicine for patients only. An illustration is given below. A man said to Abu Sayeed Khodri: Give me advice. He said: Fear God as it is the root of all good. Take recourse to Jihad, as there is no monkery in Islam. Take td the Quran, as it is the light for you among the inhabitants of the world and as it is a reminder to the inhabitants of heaven. Take to silence as you will drive away the devil therewith.
Once a man said to Hasan Basari: Give me advice. He said: Honour the commandments of God, God will honour you. The wise Loqman advised his son: 0 my darling, attach your lance with the learned, but dispute not with them, lest they may cherish harted for you.
Take from the world what is absolutely necessary for you and spend for your next world your excess wealth. Don't put your own burden to the shoulder of others by giving up completely this world. Keep fast in such a way as can destroy your greed and fast not in such a way as may spoil your prayer as prayer is better than fasting. Don't mix with the fools and hypocrites. He said to his son another time: my darling, don't do any work with displeasure. Don's go out on a journey without necessity. Don't ask a thing which will not be beneficial to you. Don't squander your wealth and don't consider the wealth of others as good. What you send in advance is your wealth and what you leave behind is the wealth of others. my darling, he who is kind gets kindness. He who keeps silent remains secure. He who speaks good gets benefit and he who speaks evil, commits sin. He who does not control his tongue becomes repentant. A man asked Hazrat Abu Hazem: Give me advice. He said: Do what will benefit you at the time of death and give up what will go against you at the time of death.
Hazrat Moses said to Khizr: Give me advice. He said: walk with a smiling face and don't walk with an angry face. Be benefactor and not an injurious man. Give up disputation and walk not without necessity, don't laugh out without beingsatisfies and don't accuse the sinners without sharing in their sins. Son of Imran, weep for your faults.A man said to Mohammad bin Keran: Give me advice. He said: Make efforts to please your Creator as you make efforts to satisfy yourself. A man asked Hamid Lefafa: Give me advice. He said: See that disasters and dangers may not destroy your religion. Prepare for it a cover like that of the Quran. He asked: What is the cover of religion? He said: To give up search of this world except for things absolutely necessary, not to talk except what is absolutely necessary and to give up the company of men except for dire necessity.I-Ia2fat Hasan Basari wrote to Caliph Abdul Aziz: After praise o C,od and blessings on the Prophet fear what God said of be feared. Be careful of what God said to be careful. Take for your fortune from what is in your possession. Sure news will come to you at the time of your death. Salam to you.Caliph Omar-b-Abdul Aziz wrote to Hazrat Hasan Basari: Write to me a letter advising me. He wrote in reply: After praise of God and blessing on His Prophet, cares and disasters lie before you. Either you must meet with salvation or with destruction. Know that one who takes account of himself gets benefit and he who is unmindful is a loser. He who sees the ultimate end gets salvation. He who conducts himself with greed is misguided. He who keeps patience rises above wants. He who fears God is secure. He who is secure accepts advice. He who accepts advice is blessed with deep insight. He who is blessed with deep insight gets understanding and wisdom. He who slips returns. He who repents uproots evils. Ask when you know not and restrain anger.The saint Matruf wrote to Caliph Omar-b-Abdul Aziz: After praise of'God and blessings on His Prophet: commander of the faithful, this world is an abode of punishment. He who has got not wisdom hoards wealth for it. He who has got no wisdom is deceived thereby. Live in this world as one who treats his wound and keeps patience at the bitterness of medicines fearing the result of disease. Caliph Omar-b-Abdul Aziz wrote to Adi-b- Artata: After Hamd and Salat, this world is an enemy of God's friends and a friend of the foes of God. It is an object of reception for the foes of God.He wrote to one of his governors: After praise of God and blessings on His Prophet, your power has been usurped from the oppression of the people. When you intend to do oppression on any one, remember God's power on you. Know that what reaches from you to the people will pass away but it will remain with you. Know that God will obtain for the oppressed people the rewards of the oppressors. Salam to you.
Such are the forms of admonition and advice to the people. Such sort of advice is like food from which every one gets benefit. Such advisers are rare as the doors of advice have been closed and sin and disturbance gained ground. This is the first mode of treatment and the first root.
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TIRH, The Imperial Duke and Duchess of Kahn Leave The Cathedral and Present Themselves As a Married Couple For The First Time!!!
HIRH Prince Imperial Darius, now the Imperial Duke of Kahn, joyfully presented his Imperial Duchess to the surrounding crowd.
The crowd went wild when the newly weds exited the Cathedral. Looking every inch the Imperial Princess, our new Imperial Duchess waved graciously to the crowd, putting much of her royal training to good use.
After much encouragement, and the almost immediate chanting of ''Kiss, Kiss, Kiss'' from the crowd, TIRH happily obliged and shared their second kiss as a married couple on the Cathedral steps.
The pair looked over the moon, and couldn't keep their eyes off of each other. The pair proceeded slowly down the Cathedral steps to the armed salute of the awaiting guards. Now that we can see HIRH dress in all its glory we can no see that, her something borrowed and old were the lotus necklace and matching pearl earrings, borrowed from the Imperial Royal collection; her something new was the new custom made tiara, designed for her by her husband. Apparently, HIRH did not know the Imperial Prince had a tiara made for her and was surprised by it this morning. HIRH had already visited the family vault with HIRM, Empress Sheva, and picked out another tiara for the occasion. Regardless, the tiara goes perfectly with the dress, maybe HIRH had some inside help? Her something blue, are the Sulani Tulips, flown especially in to represent the Kingdom of her birth.
The couple have been invested with a newly created Dukedom, and will hence forth be known as the TIRH, Prince Imperial Darius and Princess Imperial Alysha; The Imperial Duke and Duchess of Kahn. The Dukedom has been newly created, in honour of HIRH Father, Prince-Consort Ngata, to honour his Family name. The Dukedom, Kahn, is an homage to Kahananui, HIRM family name before his marriage to our Empress. HIRM was very emotional when watching his son get married, and is said to be extremely touched by the gesture.
TIRH, will now ride the carriage too Khartoum House, were they will have their wedding reception.
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8th April >> Mass Readings (Except USA)
(Liturgical Colour: White)
Acts of the Apostles 3:11-26
You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the dead
Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’
The Word of the Lord
R/ Thanks be to God.
R/ How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!
R/ Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
How great is your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth!
What is man that you should keep him in mind,
mortal man that you care for him?
R/ How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!
R/ Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Yet you have made him little less than a god;
with glory and honour you crowned him,
gave him power over the works of your hand,
put all things under his feet.
R/ How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!
R/ Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
All of them, sheep and cattle,
yes, even the savage beasts,
birds of the air, and fish
that make their way through the waters.
R/ How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!
R/ Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Victimae Paschali Laudes
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb;
and Christ, the undefiled,
hath sinners to his Father reconciled.
Death with life contended:
combat strangely ended!
Life’s own Champion, slain,
yet lives to reign.
Tell us, Mary:
say what thou didst see
upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose;
I saw Christ’s glory as he rose!
The angels there attesting;
shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen:
he goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen
from the dead we know.
Victorious king, thy mercy show!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead
The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’
The Gospel of the Lord
R/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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1 🞄 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez // Country: Colombia
Gabriel García Márquez, known affectionately as Gabo or Gabito across Latin America, is considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, particularly in the Spanish language, and won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.
García Márquez started as a journalist and wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success.
Have you ever closed a book, set it down in your lap and whispered to yourself “holy shit”? That’s what I did when I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Ok, so this book really doesn’t need my endorsement whatsoever, but I’m gonna give it anyway. I mean... it is Something Else. I can’t fathom how you would even begin to put something of its magnitude onto paper.
Gabriel García Márquez's masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendía family and of Macondo, a town that the Buendía patriarch founds and builds from the ground up. It is a story which effortlessly blends the natural with the supernatural and is an early (and exemplary) example of the magic realism genre.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is often cited as one of the supreme achievements in literature. If that fact alone isn’t enough to sell it, check out this review:
The rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical but intensely real Macondo, and the glories and disasters of the wonderful Buendía family; make up an intensely brilliant chronicle of humankind's comedies and tragedies. All the many varieties of life are captured here: inventively, amusingly, magnetically, sadly, humorously, luminously, truthfully.
Scrolling through the reviews on Goodreads, I find it funny how frequently it is rated either one star or five. This novel is literary Marmite, and there is one thing in particular about this novel that puts people off; there are no less than 22 members of the Buendía family named Aureliano. No joke. Check out this family tree (the 17 sons are all named Aureliano):
(Expand Family Tree)
As well as the total inundation of Aurelianos, there are four characters named José Arcadio, and another simply called Arcadio. I found myself flipping back to the family tree in my copy over and over, and it was honestly a life saver. However, once you get into the novel, it’s not so hard to know which characters are being discussed by the context. Just give it a try, honestly!
As I mentioned above, One Hundred Years of Solitude makes great use of the magical realism genre. The mix of the mundane and the fantastical was one of my favourite parts of the book. For example, when a character dies it rains flowers in their honour:
A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.
Isn’t that gorgeous?
It’s a book that encompasses a small microcosm of the entire world. Macondo is a quiet, peaceful place until it establishes contact with other towns. Civil wars come and go, different governments take power and fade away, and you are there for it all.
One of my favourite themes in the story is the inseperability of the past, present and future. Due to the repeated use of names, as well as personalities and events (and the presence of ghosts), you see that time doesn’t necessarily move fowards, but can be cyclical. Melquiades’ prophecies highlight this concept, and when his plotline comes to fruition at the end of the story, that was the moment that made me set my book down, and say “holy shit”.
Another of Marquez’s feats with this novel is that despite covering seven generations of the Buendía family over more than a century, you never feel disconnected from the plot. The story being so rooted in the Buendías makes it easy to care about them as a unit, as well as the individual family members as they come and go. You truly know where they come from, and why they are the way they are. This connect is helped along by Úrsula Iguarán, the matriarch of the family who, in another sample of Marquez’s use of magical realism, lives to be well over one hundred years old with no particular fanfare. In a novel of such depth, she is an anchor to the original themes, and origin of the story as a whole.
If you tried to read this book for school, or picked it up too young, or weren’t in the right head-space to try it when you did, please give it another go. The writing is gorgeous. However, despite my high rating, I can totally see that it is a very dense story, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
You have to immerse yourself in this book. You have to live in Macondo. You can’t just skim it. It was a project of mine to finish, but it was TOTALLY worth the effort.
The Exchange of Courtesies
Translator's here 💝👇
'If you think that we have nothing to discuss, you're seriously mistaken.'
'Words have spreaded as shatters of the former glory of Ñoldor people in the hall, and, alas, no one would be able to to collect all of them now.'
'Are you allowing yourself to say these bold words of yours whilst being so confident in my generosity and forbearance?'
'You depend on me, thus you'll have to forbeare quirks of mine. Sadly, I suppose.'
'You can't even imagine to what extent.'
Two Ñoldor were not looking at each other whilst pointedly looking only at patterns on columns and at the view behind windows. Two voices: one that was faint and husky and another one which was beautifully flowing, — were appearing one by one after each pause.
'Aren't you afraid to be at one place with me without any guards?' Maedhros snarkily remarked whilst he was approaching the painting of Narnis.
'The necessity of this conversation without witnesses is outweighing my possible irrational fears,' Ñolofinwë was still looking at nothing happening behind the window when he indifferently replied.
'However, everyone knows that I'm here. What's the point in secretiveness?'
'Yes, everyone knows that you're here. Don’t you have a clue what is the reason?'
Maedhros gave no answer while he was still looking at the picture, examining the painting of his daughter and then the elegant frame.
'I want those who are loyal to me to know the person on whom they’ll take revenge after my death,' the king explained.
'It's very presumptuous to proclaim that there’ll be anyone who would like to risk their life for a deadman,' Fëanarion's voice unpleasantly changed.
'For the one who is alive — just a few will make a heroic act either,' High Ñoldoran still was not looking at his nephew, 'yet, heroes exist.'
'Alright,' Maedhros laughed with malice when he looked upon Finwë's portrait, 'I'll keep in mind that I need to secretly kill you and avoid bragging about how I freed the people of Ñoldor from shameful authority of usurper.'
'And what kind of authority do betrayers and brother killers deserve?' Ñolofinwë innocently wondered while deadly staring at one and the same point somewhere near the fountain at the square.
'I would've asked why do you, such a bright shiny ruler, need these disgusting people who possess no honour,' Fëanor was again mocking him, 'who are stained with the blood of innocents and who rejected wondrous Valar. However, the answer is clear for me.'
For the first time, during this painfully long and tense conversation, the king turned to the one with whom he spoke. Ñoldoran's eyes were blazing with hate, though he was smiling.
'You're wrong,' Ñolofinwë said in an unnatural voice. 'Again. And it's nor the first nor the last time. You ain't right if you think that I have so much lust for power, that I am eager to rule over anyone, as long as I could conquer more lands. You might not believe me though you more than anyone else know the value of a manuscript, and I'm willing to make one of those for you. Right now.’
High Ñoldoran seated himself at the table and smarmily straightened paper by pretentiously pressing its edges with copper soldiers to the table; he leisurely put a beautiful quill, that was shining with blue and green, in ink and started to slowly write tenguas along with reading out loud what he has written.
'So you want to tell me,' Maedhros's lips that were crossed by almost invisible scars stretched his mouth corners in a smile though the upper part of his face remained emotionless, 'that you're not going to claim Morgoth's lands after winning? What an interesting state of affairs.'
'You'll be able to live there and name yourself as you would like,' Ñolofinwë explained calmly.
'Dor-Daedeloth, the Land of Fear and Terror, will obtain a new ruler,' Fëanorian came extremely closely and put his hands, one of which was a real hand and another — a mechanical one, even though they both looked identical in gloves, on the table, 'the Lord who is servant of High Ñoldoran. Are you still trying to convince me that lands of Morgoth won't become yours?'
'Are you so sure that I need the North domain, behind the Iron Mountains?'
'I guess, no. However, by widening borders of your domain on the world map you won't be the second by size of kingdoms in Beleriand anymore.'
High Ñoldoran looked up with a tired glance.
'Aren't you capable of speaking with me nicely?' he asked his nephew. 'Maybe, you could at least try?'
'Try to force me,' Maedhros was still terrifyingly teething, and Ñolofinwë shook his head.
'That is why, Finwë The Third,' Ñoldoran signed, 'I wanted to talk with you in person: were any witnesses present here, I would've had to force you to be polite and respectful with your king. But when we are being heard by no one, the main thing for me is that you learn what is necessary for you but how you will respond to this will stay between us.'
'Or, you are just ashamed to say in front of witnesses that you want to send me and other war heroes along with their families to the uninhabitable lands.'
The glance of the ruler expressed the sincerest confusion.
'It was only a poor joke, Maedhros,' Ñolofinwë explained even calmer than before. 'You were telling me that Morgoth's army will be crushed in the Battle Under the Stars,however, yet after ten years…' Ñoldoran laughed with sadness. 'One day, I will get used to counting years by the calendar of new luminaries but now there’s no time for it. Just imagine, Maedhros, within just ten years these beasts multiplied behind the Iron Hills to that extent that they wiped out Kano's army and flooded the North of Beleriand. You think that something like this can possibly happen on the hollow frozen ground?’
'Morgoth is one of Valar,' Fëanorian reminded this as soon as he noticed that the conversation was getting uncomfortable.
'Manve was saying that Morgoth can't create life by his own will: he requires the use of existing shapes and only then can he change them. Distort them. Turn them evil. He can't create an horde of Orcs and provision for them out of nothing.'
'For this, Morgoth needs help from Mother of Plants and Animals, am I right?' Maedhros asked a question whilst enjoying the effect that he made: Ñolofinwë became really scared and could not pull himself together. 'You don't like the thought of us battling against all of Valar, do you?'
'But you, I see, are entertained by your own exclusive braveness,' Ñoldoran gathered the courage. 'However, if you're right and Morgoth is only the tip of the spear that directed the whole Aynur army at us, then what's the point of the siege? If we’re lacking resources...'
'Valar aren't almighty,' Fëanorian repeated his father's words, 'otherwise, Orcs wouldn't settle down outside of the lands of their precious protector.'
'Or they're as insane and lusty for power as I'm,' Ñolofinwë smiled widely, 'so they're also drawing extensive non-existent borders on maps. But we got distracted. If the siege won't bring us victory through starving them out, what'll be your plan, the future king of the most dreadful lands of Arda?’
'We'll be defending the borders whilst at the same time working on creating weapons that can crush mountains. There'll be no other way to reach Morgoth.'
'We'll be wasting time, and Orcs will again multiply in numbers.'
Maedhros nodded though in truth he was concerned by another matter: Himring’s Lord imagined how he would be walking through burned down by war, soaked in blood and covered with corpses of his friends and enemies — Land of Fear that would be devastated and dead and uslovno belonging to him. He realised that it was not the future that could have been a goal worth to be earned by fighting.
'Brothers of yours aren't joining the siege?' High Ñoldoran asked the question at the most right time. 'Are they withholding their armies until your victory? What is the reason, in your opinion?'
'Silmarils are three in number but there are seven of us,' the unwanted thought reminded him again about the inaction of his family during the capture.
'I would've advised you to insist on them joining your army,' Ñolofinwë continued to speak whilst looking in the eyes of his nephew. 'And then, on leaving them at the most dangerous frontiers. Though, of course, only wicked usurpers will do this, whereas honest followers of fratricide will never stoop to such plots.'
Maedhros made a sound of annoyance but remained silent and just walked away from the table.
‘Is the exchange of courtesies finished?’ High Ñoldoran asked. ‘Will we be able to discuss our plans and prepare lists of required resources in presence of advisers?’
'Perhaps,' Fëanoring responded while glancing again at the portrait of his daughter, 'Ard-Galen needs me, and the sooner I’ll return it’ll be better.'
Arts by ~Letavia Gayle
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Fandom: The Song of Achilles
Chapter 13: I Would Know Him of High-Flying Birds is up! The boys’ reunion in Skyros, from Achilles’ POV :)
Read here or on AO3! Read from the beginning
The white fabric of Achilles’ dress snapped around his ankles, and the petals on the flowers of the garland around his neck rustled as the wind blew over the plains and jagged hills of Skyros. It whipped up the dust of the long and narrow track field that had been prepared in Poseidon's honour, sending it flying in swirls above the ground.
The celebrations had been going on for most of the day, with prayers and sacrifices to the god. The priests were now burning leaves in the lit braziers by the temple, and blessing each runner that would take part in the race. Young boys, no older than Achilles himself, their dark skin gleaming with oil, their hair oiled and bound; they all knelt before the priests now, waiting to be blessed with the god’s favour.
Achilles envied them. It wasn’t too long ago that he, too, was competing in festivals like these. The thrill of his victories had always been exhilarating, even when anticipated. Yet now he was watching from the sidelines, standing amongst the maidens, concealed under layer upon layer of fabric. Other men, lesser than he, had a chance at competing, at showing their worth, while he was safely hidden from view.
The acid thought did nothing to improve his mood, and the day was still young.
The sun hung bright and hot in the middle of the sky, while the priests still said their prayers. Sweat had started to bead on Achilles’ forehead, despite the chill breeze that was blowing. The maidens were supposed to dance in honour of Poseidon after the trials were over, but Achilles had already had enough. As soon as the race started, and the sound of the runners’ feet tapping the hard packed ground mingled with the music from the lyre and the cymbals, he slipped away, unnoticed.
The shade underneath the thicket of pine trees surrounding the stadium was thick and cool, and the cliff beyond that was empty and quiet, overlooking the Aegean that glittered blue and gold in the distance. He pulled the scarf from his hair with a sigh, and let the breeze comb through his hair. It brought with it the scent of saltwater, of fir and pine, of wet sand. It was a scent Achilles had come to know well, in the months he had stayed in Skyros.
It was almost months now. While he had been on the island, the moon had already waned and waxed once, and was slowly moving through the next cycle. Close to two months that he had spent there, without Patroclus.
The days flowed by in a never ending stream, the one blending into the next until he couldn’t tell them apart. His daily activities felt like chores to him. The walls of the palace were a prison, his women’s clothes the ropes that tied him there. His appetite was all but gone, and it was becoming harder and harder to find the will to join the girls each morning, knowing that Deidameia would be among them.
He was wasting away.
The realisation left a sour taste in his mouth, a bitterness that was steadily boiling within him, seeping into his bones. The war chiefs of the Greeks would all have gathered in Mycenae now. Perhaps they had already set off for Troy with their armies, while he was there, dressed in women’s clothes and pretending like he had no worries other than spinning wool and practicing his dancing. They would all talk about him, wonder where he was. They would talk amongst themselves, about the one that was born to be the greatest warrior, the one destined for battle and glory unmatched by any hero who had ever lived, yet when glory had called, he was absent.
Achilles had come to terms with that. He had. He had accepted it, because to go there would mean taking Patroclus with him, placing him in danger, having him fight in a war he did not care for. It just wasn’t time yet; Patroclus wasn’t ready, and neither was he. There will still be wars to be fought, his mother kept telling him, and Achilles believed her. He would have a chance to claim his birthright, when the time was right. Both for him, and Patroclus. And for now, they would both be safe, away from it all, together.
They were not together. Months had passed, and Patroclus still hadn’t come.
The thought was poison, eating away at his insides. His mother had promised, she had given him her word that she would tell Patroclus where he was. Yet the days kept flowing by, and Patroclus hadn’t arrived. His mother would have kept her end of the bargain, he was sure, but for all of Achilles’ wishing and hoping and waiting, no ship had reached the small bay below the palace.
What if something had happened to him on his journey? What if he’d been hurt, or worse, while trying to reach him?
Achilles’ hands tightened were they rested on his forearms, stomach twisting with unease. Patroclus would come. Achilles was sure of it. He was well, and he would come, and they would be together once more. No other possibility could exist within Achilles’ mind, there was no place for anything else. Patroclus would come because… because he had to.
It was a childish notion, yet Achilles felt no shame for thinking it. They were meant to be together. After Patroclus came, nothing would ever come between them, ever again. Achilles would make sure of it this time.
The sound of approaching footsteps made him tense. He didn’t have to turn around to know who it was.
“Pyrrha,” Deidameia said quietly. Almost timidly. She had been that way around him ever since… that night. Achilles did not want to think of it as more than ‘that night’. It was enough to remember it had happened at all.
His fingers balled into fists, and he forced himself to relax them. “You don’t have to call me that here,” he replied. “There is no one around to hear.”
She came to stand beside him, her footsteps muffled by the dry grass beneath her feet. She looked out into the sea, and the languidly moving shadows from the canopy of leaves overhead carved harsh lines across her features, hiding her expression from him.
Achilles looked away, blocking her from his vision.
“It never hurts to be cautious," she said. "Does it?”
Achilles made no reply. Deidameia took in a breath, then slowly let it out. At times, it seemed to Achilles like she held back her words when he was around. Her behaviour around him had changed. She was no longer pouting and stomping her feet when something displeased her, nor did she laugh and jest with him, or ask to braid his hair. She would sit quietly beside him and listen when he played the lyre, but her dark eyes had a forlorn look in them now, like he was far away from her even though he was right there. When they spoke, their conversations were short and tense, hanging in midtones.
Deidameia had changed, that was sure. But then again, so had he. It was a new and unfamiliar thing for him, this uneasiness that spread within him whenever she was near. He would look at her hands, and remember how small they had looked when illuminated by the shifting light of the candle in his room, how cold they had felt when they had been on him. She would practice her dancing, and he couldn't help but remember how she had looked when she had slipped free of her nightgown and lain beside him on his bed. She was small and thin like a child beneath the layers of fabric of her dress, fragile like a doll. Achilles had been scared to touch her, at first. She had insisted he hadn’t hurt her, though he was quite certain he had. He had seen how her brow had furrowed, how her teeth had left marks on her lips when she’d bitten down on them, how she had held her breath. She could not have liked it.
But then again, neither had he.
“You’re so quiet these days, Pyrrha,” Deidameia said shyly beside him. She was fidgeting with the flowers on her garland, picking at the velvet petals.
“So are you.”
She glanced up at him, surprised. She averted her gaze when their eyes met, her cheeks growing a flushed pink. “Yes, but…” She worried her lip, “You hardly speak to me anymore.”
“Only fools speak when they have nothing to say.”
Achilles hadn’t meant for his words to smart, but Deidameia winced as if he’d cut her with a whetted blade. She turned away from him, her small hands balling into fists at her sides. “I am your wife,” she said with a trembling voice. “Who will you speak to, if not to me?”
You are not my wife, Achilles almost said, yet knew the words to be untrue. He had agreed to be her husband, however little he had relished the notion. It was a bargain poorly struck; yet it had been struck. To not honour it would bring shame upon him, upon his name.
He let out a soft sigh as he uncrossed his arms and turned to face her, as was proper. “What would you like to speak of, Princess Deidameia?”
Hope kindled in her tear-filled eyes, and her crimson lips parted in a sharp intake of breath. “Anything,” she said, her cheeks flushing even more, “anything you would like. Prince Achilles.” She curtsied before him, bowing her head. The sun caught on the glossy black waves of her hair.
He stood straight before her, clasping his hands behind his back. It was not easy, finding a topic of conversation that would interest them both. But then his gaze fell upon the cyclamens and violets of the garland that hung about her neck, and he remembered how Patroclus and he had gathered them in Pelion, hung them and dried them and worked them into dusts and pastes under Chiron’s instruction. Patroclus and he always used to talk about plants and their uses, would make a game of coming up with as many as they could whenever they went walking beyond the olive grove, past the stream, through the winding paths of the forest. The sycamore trees would be turning red and gold now with the ripening autumn, their fallen foliage covering the forest floor in a thick carpet of leaves.
A pang of longing drove through him at the memories. How long would it be, until he could see Mount Pelion again? Until he could walk those same mountain paths, gather herbs and swim in the stream, sleep under the glittering rose quartz crystals of their cave with Patroclus by his side again?
Deidameia blinked up at him, expectant. Achilles drew a slow breath.
“Have you any knowledge of herbs?” he asked.
The sweet notes of the lyre drifted into the quiet morning, a timbre that vibrated through the half-empty dancer’s hall. It was followed by Deidameia’s laugh, sharp and fleeting like quicksilver.
“Do it again, Pyrrha!” She was sitting beside him, her dark eyes alight with excitement as she watched his fingers move along the strings. Her own lyre was in her lap, forgotten. “One more time. I wish to see it again.”
Achilles plucked the same notes, slower this time, then waited for Deidameia to follow his example. She had decided earlier that week that she wished to learn how to play the lyre as well as he did, and she had barely left his side since then. She had quickly reverted back to her old, highly excitable and tempestuous self shortly after their talk at Poseidon’s festival, yet her behaviour was still changed. The other maidens seemed to have sensed it; Deidameia hardly had any interest in spending time with anyone but him, and they all took care to keep out of her way- and the sharp edge of her tongue.
“Look at your hands, how beautifully they move,” she crooned, watching his fingers with a sort of hunger. “Phoebus Apollo himself must have blessed you, Pyrrha, when you were born.”
Achilles did not reply. He simply focused on the act of playing, letting the music thrum through him, brushing all thoughts aside. It always had this effect on him, the trilling sound of the lyre; it would ease away any tiredness or ache, it would imbue his mind with calm and serenity. There was no room for outside distractions when he played; that other people enjoyed it mattered not. The lyre that was now cradled in his hands was a well-made one, of carved walnut wood, smoothed and polished to a high shine, yet the sound was almost hollow, almost dull. The sounds that came from Patroclus' lyre were deep and clear; this lyre, however well-made, could never hope to compare.
“You try it now,” he told Deidameia when the piece was over. “As I showed you.”
Deidameia blinked, as if waking up. Her gaze was dreamy and distracted while she watched him play, yet now she straightened in her seat. She tossed her head back, sending the dark curls that hung down her back swinging.
“Like this?” she asked. Her fingers, when she placed them over the strings, were the wrong shape, despite Achilles only having shown her how to properly position them moments before. Her eyes flicked up to his own, dark eyes regarding him carefully through her eyelashes.
“No,” Achilles said, his voice only slightly tinged with exasperation, “that is not how I showed you.” He set his own lyre to the side and sat close beside her, guiding her hand. It was not so complicated a hand position, yet Deidameia seemed to be particularly slow in picking up his instruction. Patroclus had learnt it perfectly in less than a day. “This. This is how you do it.”
Deidameia’s arm brushed his own, so close were they sitting, and Achilles thought he felt her shivering, though the window behind them was shut and the coals were hot and glowing in the brazier. She plucked the strings one by one, holding her breath. The sound was harsh and strained, but at least the chords were somewhat correct this time.
“How about this?” she asked softly. “Is that better?”
“Yes, slightly. You need to practice more.”
She beamed at him, the colour in her cheeks rising to a bright cherry pink. “Oh, I will. I’ll practice day and night, until I do it perfectly. Then we can play together, and everyone will be so envious of our song.” Her head tilted towards him ever so slightly, a sweet floral scent wafting from her curls when she tossed them back. “You are the best instructor I could hope for, Pyrrha.” She batted her eyelashes at him.
Achilles simply stared at her for a moment in puzzlement. “Thank you,” he finally said as he returned to his seat. “If you say so.”
Deidameia seemed faintly disappointed at the distance that Achilles put between them. Yet before she could say anything, once of her maids appeared at the door. Deidameia’s quick, dark eyes fell on her, and the girl cowered at the annoyance that flashed in them at having interrupted the lyre lesson.
“Forgive me, my lady,” the girl said, curtsying, “but a visitor has arrived. He wished to speak with your father, but he is indisposed, so—”
“A visitor?” Achilles’ heart fluttered with hope at the words. The palace of Skyros hardly ever got any visitors, so it was unusual enough an occasion to make all the maidens in the hall abandon their embroidery and their skeins of spun wool to stare at the maid. Achilles stood up.
“Who is this visitor?” he demanded of the girl, who gaped at him. “What is his name?”
“It is surely nothing, Pyrrha!” Deidameia said hastily, abandoning her lyre and springing to her feet. “Nothing to concern yourself with.” She shot a fiery glare to the maidens, who averted their gazes and returned to their work. “One of my father’s friends that has come to visit, I am sure. Or perhaps a prince or king who wishes for his daughter to join my dancers. We do get those quite often, remember?” She set her small hand on his arm, in a gesture that Achilles vaguely registered was supposed to be soothing. He glanced down at her, and she gave him a small smile, which was only a little tense. “I’ll go see who it is. You girls should not alarm yourselves. I’ll be back shortly.”
While Deidameia was away, Achilles sat on hot coals. His hands on the lyre were stiff, his knee jerking underneath the fabric of his skirt. Could it be? Could it be that Patroclus was finally there? His stomach twisted with anticipation, a swarm of bees buzzing in his chest.
He would see him again. He would hear his voice again. He would touch, kiss, hold him again. The thought was enough to make his head swim.
Achilles anxiously searched Deidameia’s face when she returned to the dancer’s hall. Her air was different than before she had left; the skin on her forehead was just a little tight, her lips pursed, her hands clutching at the fabric of her dress where she stood. She noticed his gaze on her, and gave him a smile that little belied her thoughts.
“A very special guest has arrived,” she announced to all the maidens in the hall. “A scrumptious feast is being prepared for him. Of course, no feast would be complete without Deidameia’s women. We shall perform our finest choreia for him.”
While the maidens were casting off their embroideries and finishing coiling their skeins of wool, Achilles approached Deidameia to quietly ask her, “Who is this guest?”
She looked up at him, and he thought he saw a shadow darken her features. It was gone in an instant as her lips widened in a sweet smile and she said, “Oh, you wouldn’t know him.”
The maidens practiced their dance all morning, and most of the afternoon under Deidameia’s watchful eye. She was uncharacteristically thorough in her instruction that day, and more than once did she snap at one of the girls, even Pagona and Phrasikleia who were among the most adept, for not performing the steps correctly. She also refused to practice the paired dances with any one other than Achilles, though he had somewhat come to expect this.
“Of all my women,” Deidameia announced while the girls were putting on their finest dresses with the most lavish embroidery, their most colourful scarves, gilded bracelets and anklets rattling as they moved, “Pyrrha is the most graceful, the most fleet-footed. None of you could hope to match her.” She flashed him a bright smile as she took his hand, then stepped into the torch-lit corridors beyond the dancer’s hall.
The smell of cooking meat, spiced bread and the rich scent of wine being mixed with water in the wide brass bowls reached them as they made their way towards the throne room. As the princess, Deidameia was leading the procession, with the rest following behind her. Her dark, glossy hair was expertly curled and delicately perfumed; her red lips had been tinted scarlet with crushed rose petals; rows upon rows of golden bracelets and rings caught the torchlight as she walked ahead. Just before entering the throne room, she stopped, turning to face them.
“Do not enter unless I call for you,” she ordered, and left them in the half dark of the corridor.
From the gap in the door, Achilles peered at the crowded room. Rows of tables had already been set, laden with food and drink. King Lycomedes was there too, taking his seat at the highest table with Deidameia by his side. Servants were moving about left and right, bringing in yet more bowls of fruit and meat, platters of cheeses and steaming loaves of bread, or mixing wine and pouring it. It had been weeks since such a lavish feast had been prepared.
The question had never left Achilles’ mind. Who was this guest?
“Stranger from Pelion,” Deidameia’s silvery voice cut through the din and the chatter. “Never again will you be able to say that you have not heard of Deidameia’s women.”
A wave of her hand was their cue. Achilles stepped into the hall, carefully lifting the hem of his skirts as he walked. The soft notes of the flute, the lyre and the cymbals accompanied them as each dancer moved to position. Deidameia stepped around the table, coming to take Achilles’ hand. It was cold around his, holding just a little too tightly.
Achilles flowed effortlessly through the practiced movements. His feet tapped the earth in the rhythm of the cymbals, his arms lifted in time with the trill of the lyre; he tossed his head back when the flute reached its high notes, then ducked his eyes when it quietened. The dance Deidameia had chosen was one of the most elaborate, with each movement being mirrored almost precisely by each dancer’s partner. Deidameia smiled encouragingly at him every time their steps met, her eyes flashed every time they parted. She reached out to touch him, her beringed fingers skimming his wrist as they danced.
When the music drew to a close, she came to stand beside him, her hand still reaching for his. They curtsied and bowed their heads in perfect sync, then straightened. Achilles lifted his head.
Somewhere in the silently watching crowd, the sound of a single intake of breath.
Achilles’ heart ceased beating, the world around him coming to sudden halt. He knew that breath. He knew it, better than his own. He would know it in the dark, amidst countless others. He would know it in madness, in death, if the sun never rose and the mists of oblivion swallowed the earth. He would know it.
He would know him.
Achilles’ limbs moved before thought reached them. The crowd parted before him as he stepped, then walked, then ran, closing the distance between them.
“Patroclus,” he whispered, voice thick and strained, catching in his throat. His arms wrapped around familiar, slender shoulders, his nose sank in familiar dark curls, his lungs swelled with that familiar, comforting scent: jasmine blossoms, salt and sea, warm earth still wet with early morning dew.
Home. He smelt like home.
“Patroclus,” he said again, eyes stinging with tears, “Patroclus—”
The voice reached him as if through a cloud; the name unknown to him now, incomprehensible. There was no room for it, not when he had Patroclus in his arms. He drew back to look upon him, cradled his face in his hands. Honey brown eyes peered back at him in disbelief, gleaming in the light from the fires in the braziers. His brow was tanned and weather beaten, his plush bottom lip chafed from the wind and the salt. Achilles traced the outline of those lips with his thumb, drinking in the sight of him, the feel of him. He caressed the faint dark circles underneath his eyes with the pad of his fingertips, and thought of all the long and fretful nights they had spent apart, reaching for each other in their dreams.
“My mother,” Achilles whispered, searching for the right words. He had to tell him, to explain. “My mother, she—”
“Pyrrha!” Deidameia clutched his arm, pulling him away, at the same time that King Lycomedes asked, “Who is this man, Pyrrha?”
Achilles reluctantly peeled his eyes away from Patroclus to look at the King. The hall was empty now, void of dancers, musicians, servants, the crowd that had gathered. The king must have sent them away.
“No one,” Deidameia shrieked, still tugging at his arm. “He is no one—”
“My husband.” Achilles held Patroclus’ hand tightly, never letting go. “He is my husband. He has come for me, and now I may leave your court.”
Deidameia went silent. Her hold on him went slack, and she looked up at him with wide, uncomprehending eyes. “You cannot,” she said breathlessly. “You cannot do this to me.”
Achilles regarded her coolly. A distant part of him was surprised at how little her reaction mattered to him. He had agreed to marry her only so that he could see Patroclus again; now that he was there, there was nothing holding him to her anymore. He had honoured his end of the bargain. Nothing that she did now was any of his concern.
“Sir,” King Lycomedes asked Patroclus, his disbelieving expression mirroring his daughter’s. “Is this true?”
Achilles squeezed Patroclus’ fingers.
“Yes,” Patroclus said, and a shiver ran up Achilles’ spine upon hearing him speak. Gods, how he had missed the sound of his voice.
The next few moments washed over Achilles like the icy waters of a violent, rushing river.
You have betrayed me! Apathes!
We are married. You are my husband.
I have lain with him.
I am pregnant.
He stood, frozen and numb, before the onslaught of Deidameia’s wrath, her anguish, her defeat. In the midst of his shock, he felt Patroclus’ fingers slipping from his own, his sandaled feet padding to the door.
“Patroclus!” Achilles ran after him, leaving Deidameia and the old king behind. His mother, who had appeared at the first sign of the commotion, made as if to reach for him, but he swerved past her. He cursed when the hem of his dress caught around his ankles; he jerkingly tugged at the fabric as he followed Patroclus out of the room. “Wait!” he cried, and caught him by the arm.
Patroclus stood perfectly still. He did not turn to look at him when he said, “Let go.”
Achilles started at the emptiness in his voice, the detachment. Patroclus had never spoken like this to him before.
“My mother,” he uttered hastily, “she made me. She led the girl to my room. She—” He scrambled for words, yet the consonants and vowels tangled on his tongue. A sudden coldness crept within him, a strange sort of despair. It startled him, how quick it was to steal his thoughts away, to turn them to dust.
“I did it for you,” he said, helpless. “For us. I had to— I had to see you. She said that if I did as she said, she would tell you where I was.”
Patroclus was still not looking at him; it felt as if he never would. Achilles cupped his cheek, brought his gaze up to his own. He searched his eyes, his face, his expression for any sign of recognition, of forgiveness. “Patroclus.” His heart thumped painfully, clawing at his chest as he searched, and searched. “Please, say something.”
“You did it for nothing.”
Achilles blinked, frozen. “What do you mean?”
“Your mother did not tell me where you were. It was Peleus.”
The breath that had been gliding down his throat caught, dandelion puffs trapped in the thorns of a prickly pear tree. His voice sounded as if coming from far away when he asked, “She did not tell you?”
“No,” Patroclus answered, and the harshness in his tone was so sharp and foreign that Achilles winced. “Did you truly expect she would?”
“Yes,” Achilles whispered, and the sudden emptiness left him breathless. The magnitude of his mother’s betrayal stung. It was deep, bottomless; Achilles could not find where it ended, where it began. Had everything she told him been a lie? Had she lied about keeping him safe, keeping them both safe? Had the last two months been for nothing at all?
It did not matter now. What was done was done, but Patroclus was there. He was right there before him, yet looked at him as if he could not see him. Achilles counted his heartbeats as he gazed at Patroclus, searching his eyes, searching.
“Forgive me,” he said, his voice engulfed by the oppressive silence of the corridor. He reached for him once more; his palm cradled the curve of his cheek, fingers brushing the shell of his ear. Every fibre of his being ached for him. He could not stay away. “I did not want it. It was not you. I did not— I did not like it.”
Something in his words seemed to pierce the invisible veil that had settled between them. Patroclus looked at him then, really looked at him, his eyes glistening with unshed tears.
“There is nothing to forgive,” he whispered, and leaned into Achilles’ touch.
They embraced then, like they never had before. They reached for each other as if through a fog; Patroclus’ arms wound around his middle, Achilles’ fingers threaded through dark curls, unruly and dishevelled from countless days of the sea breeze combing through it. Achilles leaned down to capture his lips in a kiss, to feel him, taste him on his tongue. He held him close, drew breath from his lungs, drank him in as if he were sweet summer rain falling on dry, parched earth.
“I missed you,” Achilles said against his lips, breathless, reeling, “I missed you—”
“I missed you, too.” Patroclus clutched him fiercely, his voice steady despite the tears that were coursing down his cheeks. Achilles kissed his damp eyelashes, wiped the tears away with his thumb, his throat burning with the effort of holding his own back.
When Patroclus' tears had ebbed, Achilles edged back to look at him, at the outline of that beloved face. The trembling torchlight cast shifting shadows on his cheekbones, his jaw, the slope of his nose, the hollow of his eyes. Achilles traced them with his fingertips, slowly and deliberately, followed those same pathways he knew like the back of his hand. He did not need that feeble glow to see him; he would know him even without it, the way one knows their heart is beating even if they cannot see it, knows their blood is coursing through their veins even when they cannot touch it.
He would know him blind. He would know him in death. He would know him at the end of the world.
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Pas. Johnraj Lamech
Greetings in the matchless Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Topic: Training Your Mind Will Give the Winning Edge!
Rhema Word: Philippians 2:5 (NKJV) ”Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”.
Let’s pray. Our Gracious Loving Father, thank you for giving us an opportunity to meditate your Word today. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for helping us to understand your Words which are living and active. Please help us to live a life as per your Word Lord. Father, we give all the Glory and Honour to you. We pray in the mighty Name of your beloved Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
A fundamental discipline for every believer is the training of the mind. When neglected, the mind becomes the bull’s eye of the devil’s target. Everything stems out of the mind. If anyone concentrates on training his mind from the start of his Christian journey he will enjoy abundant life without the unhappy interludes of backsliding. The Bible admonishes, ”Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Yes, that is our goal. Paul, while writing to Corinthian Christians, states in 1 Corinthians 2:16 ”For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” Between the two statements lie the long and hard training process.
How to have the mind of Christ? How did Paul and his companions attain the mind of Christ? At the outset it must be understood that it is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to the unsaved. Because, it is salvation that acts as a helmet to protect the mind (Ephesians 6:17). Without this helmet the mind is vulnerable to the arrows of the devil.
Let us try to understand the following aspects of training the brain today with the help of our Holy Spirit:
01] Love for God:
02] Law of the Mind:
04] Renewal of the Mind:
05] Communication with God:
06] Word of God:
07] Clear Thinking:
01] Love for God:
Jesus said that the first and the great commandment was, ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37).
When all your mind is enslaved by something, it does not care to wander anywhere else. It is a falling-in-love experience with God. When you are in love, you don’t think of anything else. Whatever you may be doing, your mind is flying around your love. That is called the “first” love (Revelation 2:4). It is a dominating love that rules you. It is the love that loves God not for personal gain but because of who He is.
This does not mean we should absentmindedly do our other duties. Just like a maid in love will do everything for her man perfect to please him, all our duties should stem out of our love for the Lord. She will not be able to think of another man. When anyone tries to flirt she will only become furious. Such faithfulness is possible only when we love God with all our mind. Neither the world nor the devil can seduce us.
”First love” tends to wear off as emotions cool down. The solution God prescribes is to do the “first works” in Revelation 2:4,5 ”Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” When we were first found by Christ, how fervent we were in Bible reading, prayer and witnessing! We should redouble our efforts to continue these, to keep the flames of love alive. After marriage the emotional love settles down to a committed and caring love. Many get scared when romance becomes lackadaisical after marriage. But this is the norm. In Christian life also we cannot expect the excitement to continue forever. Stick to the routine whether you feel high or low till the love flower blooms. The more you love God the less tendency your mind will have, to wander along dark alleys.
Jesus asks us as He asked Peter, ”Do you love Me?...Excuse Me ma’am, do you love Me?...Sorry for asking you a third time sir, do you love Me? The next question He tosses at us is, ”With all your mind?” Let us check our hearts… What does occupy our minds most? Our problem or work or bank balance or anything else or God? The answer will tell us if we love the Lord with all our mind. When we do not like to retain God in our knowledge, He gives us over to a debased MIND, to do those things which ought not to be done (Romans 1:28). The reason why many spiritual giants are today a husk of their former self is that they have failed to love the LORD with an undivided mind.
02] Law of the Mind:
Apostle Paul talks about two laws in Romans 7:21-25 ”I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
(a) The Law of God which is imprinted in the mind to become the law of the MIND. The mind of Christian, now 100% passionately in love with God, has the law of God written in it.
(b) Another law in our bodily members is the law of sin. This law constantly wars against the God-loving MIND to capture it to make it a slave to the body. That is why Paul appeals about sacrificing our BODIES on the altar of GOD and renewing our MINDS in Romans 12:1,2. Or else they are bound to be at loggerheads. The whole experience feels like a tug of war between sinfulness and holiness.
The life of a Christian aims to align the mind and body. The mind is the master of the body commanding it and keeping it under strict control. But the frustrating fact of life is this formidable enemy often rebels and takes over the mind as its captive, so that it can behave as it pleases.
This was Paul’s day to day struggle that made him feel wretched. He wanted to crown his mind as the king but often witnessed his body sitting on the throne and his mind at its feet a chained and helpless slave. Finally he struck upon a solution that worked very well in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 ” Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Disciplining the body is like taming a wild bull. It will refuse to run along the path of the Spirit unless whipped and goaded. If this discipline is not served regularly, Christian life will be one of uncertainty like a cat on the wall. It is like a teacher disciplining a student, punishing him when he goes wrong and rewarding him when he excels.
Joseph’s mind ordered his feet to run away from temptation. Daniel and his friends brought themselves under the difficult discipline of a vegetarian diet on a table sprawled with non-vegetarian delicacies. David could have easily done the same when he saw Sheba’s bath but instead okayed his body to have the last word. Deal ruthlessly with your body. Fasting is one way to achieve this discipline. When we discipline ourselves, when we are sincere and eager to please God, we will find God helping us. Have you ever noticed that when you long to sin there is no opportunity and when the opportunity presents itself you are in no mood to sin? That is God helping us to obey the law of the mind.
Now the next battle starts, that is between the spiritual mind (focus on eternal things) and the carnal mind (grabbing the temporary pleasures). Everyday, in an innumerable instances the decision has to be taken whether we would walk according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. Usually, the spiritual mind is low-key whereas the carnal mind is brash and profane.
This battle is described in Romans 8:1-8, ”There is, therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Those who are in Christ Jesus belong to two groups: the spiritually-minded, who will not be condemned and the carnally-minded who shall be condemned. There are two roads dividing before us – the way of the Holy Spirit and the way of our nature. The path we choose depends on the decision of the mind, or who wins the battle, our nature or God’s Spirit. If our mind is oriented towards the desires of an old nature we are inclined to choose the path of the flesh, if towards the Spirit, the path of the Spirit (Mark 14:38). The results of the choice are spelt out – death or life and peace. In search of life and peace many, even believers, are duped by the devil to choose the carnal path. They think money, achievements, wealth, etcetera will get them the life and peace they long for. How sadly they are mistaken!
Everyday a Christian experiences victories and defeats alternately in this battle. But as he trains his mind to choose the spiritual path in every struggle, the victory score goes up and the defeat score comes down. A true Christian will not allow his mind to be choked by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. We need savings in the bank, pass the examination, build a house, settle our children, deal with lives intricacies. But it is another matter to allow them to strangle us. We must not be unduly worried about these things. I have learnt in my experience, instead of worrying and doing something impulsively, if I just relax and trust in God, He takes control and things take care of themselves.
Unless we hold tight the reins of our mind it has a tendency to run wild. That is why Paul writes to the Colossian Christians in Colossians 3:2 ”to set their MIND on things above (eternal) not on things on the earth (temporary).” When you set your feet on the path of the old man, stop, think and make a right about turn to take the path of God’s Spirit. There is life and peace at the end of the road and you will never regret your decision.
04] Renewal of the Mind:
The carnal mind now pushed to a corner, the spiritual mind takes over. It needs fine tuning to know the mind or the will of God. Once that’s done you can hold the handlebars of life with considerable aplomb.
Paul, before declaring, ”But we have the MIND of Christ” asks a question, ”Who has known the MIND of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” This he says in the context of discerning spiritual things in 1 Corinthians 2:13-16 ”These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
It is interesting to note that in Romans 12:1-2 again, before speaking about the mind Paul quotes the same verse in Romans 11:33-35 ”Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counsellor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?”
The inference is “No one”. He says ”Therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1) ..”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2). Yes, renewing of our minds leads to our transformation.
What do we understand from this? The natural man cannot know the mind of the Lord. But if our mind learns the new pattern of thinking and not go as the world goes, then, and only then can we discern the mind of the Lord, i.e., the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. In simple terms, we will know what God would have us do. Now do you understand why many flounder not knowing the will of God for their lives?
While writing to the Ephesians Paul says in Ephesians 4:17-24 ”This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your MIND, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Sometimes, God speaks like blips in the video screen. At other times like ECG, difficult to interpret. The more we pursue after righteousness the more our mind is renewed day by day and we will be able to know the mind of the Lord when we tick together with Him.
One important principle for renewing our minds is to be associated with simple and lowly people to keep ourselves humble (Romans 12:3). ”Be of the same MIND toward one another. Do not set your MIND on high things, but associate with the humble” (Romans 12:16).
05] Communication with God:
When our worries go haywire, the Bible gives the following tips to ease our mind. Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7 ”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
When we become anxious and tense we often end up acting in-discretely only to regret later. Anxiety churns our mind like a storm stirring up an ocean. A prayerless mind is a misfiring engine. Instead of taking hasty decisions at the moment of mental turmoil, if we can just bend our knees and cry to God who seems to be sleeping, “Lord, I perish,” He will come to our rescue. After a session of prayer our mind will be calm enough to think and take a rational decision. God will help us to see through the problem and hit upon the solution. To expect to find a panacea to all problems is pointless. But God will help us decide the best possible way to deal with it. Toxic worry is unnecessary and un-productive and a drain on the brain.
Prayer is a balm to the mind. It is quiet and undisturbed conservation with the all-powerful, all-mighty God. It is like entering the counsellor’s room spending time pouring our inside out, listen to Him and come out enlightened. He throws light on areas we could not see earlier and guides our thinking. The counsellor does not set right the problem and point to the solution rather helps us to have insight into the situation and find the best way to approach the matter.
”Guard your hearts and minds” – Our hearts and minds are the seats of our emotions. If these are not heavily guarded, we can be swept off our feet by the tempests of life. This safeguarding is done mysteriously by prayer. One who does not spend time talking to God everyday cannot handle the situations of the day. We should never allow anxiety to torment and sway us. Learn to give thanks for everything. As you pray and plead and give thanks the peace of God beyond all description will descend on your hearts and minds like dew. It will protect your baffled heart and mind from any hasty action. It will generate faith. God says in Isaiah 28:16 ”Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.”
As we converse with God, we understand the mind of God and learn to think like Him. The more time we spend in the prayer closet the sooner we attain the mind of Christ. That is why Paul gives a great formula to train our minds in Philippians 4:4-7 ”Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your HEARTS and MINDS through CHRIST JESUS.” Let us follow it to the letter and we will experience a transformation of our mind. Even the Old Testament writer Isaiah knew this formula and taught it to people in Isaiah 26:3-4 ”You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” That is the secret of perfect peace enjoyed by the believers who are praying.
06] Word of God:
While warning about backsliding Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:1-2 ”Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”
Why does he write this? He continues in 2 Peter 3:3-7 ”Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” Yes, when we forget the Word of God we are sure to return to our vomit (2 Peters 2:22).
Especially in these last days the Word of God fortifies our mind to be alert to hold on to God and never slide back. The carelessness resulting from neglect of the Word of God is serious. Peter’s words cannot be improved upon as he says in 2 Peters 2:20-21 ”For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
Remember, Balaam heard the voice of God, did not give heed to it and ended up in madness. Peter explains this in 2 Peters 2:15-16 ”They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.” Yes, this is the fate of those who do not fill their minds with God’s Word.
Learning to emulate the mind of Jesus is not a one-day process. It is a lifetime labour attained by allowing the Word of God to mould our thinking. The mind of God is imprinted in the Word of God. The more we read, study and apply it to our lives the more we think like Jesus.
07] Clear Thinking:
Disarray of mind is the devil’s ploy to confuse our thinking and lead us astray. In practical life we often find ourselves deep in the mire of confusion. However, God’s will for a Christian is not that. God is not the author of confusion. Yes, ”God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound MIND (or better thinking ability) (2 Timothy 1:7). Learn, not just to rely on emotional responses rather to think things through.
Many Spirit-filled believers believe they can hear the Spirit’s voice or experience God leading them explicitly. Perhaps it is true sometimes. But, often God chooses to leave us to do our homework – that is, to consider all the information before making a decision. The Bible does not always give us direct solutions to all our problems. If that were so, it will not speak so much about “sound mind” and “sobriety”. The very fact that the Bible speaks about sound mind shows that God expects us to think clearly on any issue.
For example, the Bible says in Genesis 30:27 ”And Laban said to him (Jacob), “Please stay, if I have found favour in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.” Also, in Exodus 18:19 ”Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.”
Apostle Paul while writing to Timothy says in 2 Timothy 2:7 ”Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.” The art of thinking through problems and situations comes by experience. Sober-mindedness (clear thinking) is a quality required for Church leaders (1 Timothy 3:2: Titus 1:8), young men (Titus 2:6), older men (Titus 2:2), wives of spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 3:11), young wives (Titus 2:5), all believers in general (1 Thess 5:6,8; Titus 2:12), and all women (1 Timothy 2:9,15). The word ‘sober’ is translated as self-control in some places, rightly. Clear thinking leads to self-control. A person who has not control over his spirit or body lacks sobriety.
Spur-of-the-moment decisions, except in emergencies, are dangerous. The best thing to do when you face hard situations is to let it go for some time. Take time to think through the situation. Pray, consult one or two senior people whom you can rely on then act cautiously. Instead of waiting for a preternatural reply for your prayer from the blue, do some exercise in thinking through and come to a conclusion.
Remember, the MIND is the battleground where God and the devil meet. Stand by God and defeat the devil. Yes, training our mind will give us the winning edge!
Let us introspect ourselves..
Shall we love our Lord with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our MINDS?
Shall we deal ruthlessly with our bodies and discipline it and bring it into subjection?
Shall we make sure that our MINDS are oriented towards the Spirit so as to have the peace and life?
Shall we set our MINDS on things above and not on the things on the earth?
Shall we put off the old man ad be renewed in the spirit of our MIND?
Shall we continue to pursue after righteousness more so that our MINDS are renewed day by day?
Shall we bring everything to our Lord in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving so that the peace of God?
Shall we safeguard our hearts and MINDS through prayer?
Shall we allow God’s Word to mould our thinking as the MIND of God is imprinted in the Word of God?
Shall we have a clear thinking and sound MIND and think things through instead of relying on emotional responses while taking decisions?
Shall we seek our Lord to give us clear understanding in all things?
Let us Pray: Our Heavenly Gracious Father, we thank you for helping us to understand about how to train our minds to have the winning edge. Please help us to love You Father with all our heart, soul and minds. Father, please help us to discipline our bodies to crucify our desires of flesh and orient our minds towards the Spirit so as to have the peace and life Lord. Please help us to set our minds on things above and not on the things on the earth besides put off the old man and be renewed in the spirit of our minds, Father. Please help us to present our bodies a living sacrifice acceptable to You Father and not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by renewing our mind so as to understand Your Perfect Will Father. Please help us to safeguard our minds and hearts by communing with You in prayers and meditating upon Your Word Father so as to have a clear thinking and sound mind while taking crucial decisions Father. We give all praise, glory and honour to Your Holy Name. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
God bless you all.