|Carson Kearns' Highlander Fanfic|
Lost in the Loving Musing:
Dining With Odin
by Carson Kearns
After Methos takes Duncan to the Malaysian monastery in late 1998, he has travelled to Norway. He hates the cold, but immerses himself in it because he cannot bear to be feeling the heat that Duncan is feeling. He wants to be numb...he wants nothing to remind him of what he has lost...and he sees a young man, skating on the thick ice.
It seems such a perfect metaphor for his and Duncan's lives! But Duncan, and all that Duncan is, haunts Methos. And from across all those miles, Duncan's image is suddenly before Methos - turning and gliding on the ice. I had these strong images of their lives spinning out of control - illusions, delusions and confusions obscuring everything. When Methos looks out onto the pond, he sees only what might have been...
Norway. Feb 21, 1998.
You felt sacrilegious, sitting in that beautiful church in Trondheim, breathing the incense. Revelling in the silences.
Amidst the lit candles you pretended to be at one with the world of the spirit, but all the while you burned for Duncan’s flesh. Fellow brethren gazed upon the gold of the altar trappings. You saw only the gold of Duncan’s skin, seared under the tropical sun of a different hemisphere. As you left the place of worship, your reverential genuflection was an act of obeisance not to any god - but to the memory of what had once been, and would likely never be again.
Silences could be so shattering...
So, while voices soared in song, you rose and stepped out into the welcoming cold. And the colder it got, the more you thought of him, in that Monastery. Alone. In pain. Delusional. You looked out over the skating pond, and let your thoughts travel down the link that none could ever sever.
Your mind touched him...
You started when you felt the first realisation of his awareness - your tears froze on your cheeks as he let down his shields, and let you visit awhile. His tears, unlike yours, ran freely in the heat surrounding him.
In despair, the first emotion that dies, is hope...
You remembered this wisdom when he allowed you, across continents, to feel his resolve and his grim determination to battle a god. Only Duncan could do this to you – be so thoughtlessly cruel. Only Duncan - to have allowed you the image of his perfect, sun-drenched body, deep in meditation. Only Duncan - to have let you feel the ice of his blood as it coursed slowly towards a heart chilled with discipline and purpose.
Only Duncan…only with Duncan were you still so lost in the loving...
You turned towards the pond, your own blood on fire. Such tragic opposites, you and Duncan. You gazed out over the iced landscape and watched a young man spinning on the ice. His friends played around him, and their laughter briefly rose and circled before swirling away on the wind. Such precious moments should be captured forever, you decided, to feed the long and lonely nights that always followed.
The young man turned, slowly, and as Duncan’s loss and deeply-etched sorrow crossed the miles to you, you saw your Highlander’s face on the young stranger playing on the ice. Half-closing your eyes you watched, through thickening snow, his grace, - and pretended that it was your lover who danced and bowed to you...
The noise of the birds drew your eyes towards the heavens - that seat of so many of your betrayals. Hard as you looked, you could see no golden eagle here, riding the wind, making great sky-circles - only predators. Huginn, Odin’s black raven - ‘Thought’ and his twin, Muninn - ‘Memory’ - clouded your vision and your rational mind as they soared on their daily journey to gather worldly intelligence for their Master, the god of war.
You had known him once as Odhinn...
You were sure there was some cosmic irony in the fact that here, in this land, it was still believed that all brave warriors went to dine with Odin after death in battle. Surely, as the god of wisdom, poetry and magic, it shouldn’t have been beyond him to find a way to bring Duncan back to you?
Out on the skate pond you saw no signs of magic. And you didn’t feel very wise these days. All your wisdom seemed to wither away, back outside the walls of that Monastery, in that infernal heat. So you were left with only the poetry...and visions of your brave warrior, laughing in death, in Odin’s court. Dining and drinking. Free at last.
You wondered why so many religions were so starved of original ideas? All had their fallen angels, their titanic struggles to save the world. Here they called it Ragnarok. Duncan’s Ahriman, was this land’s Loki. Was it any wonder that you despised them all? Rejected them all. Bowed to none. No wonder they feared you.
Only one graven image was etched on your eyeballs, so that everywhere you looked you saw him. In the snow. Shimmering against the black skies of Saltfjell when you crossed the Arctic circle. Pasted on your eyelids as you gazed in wonder at the magnificent fjords of Troms. How Duncan would have loved Finnmark, land of the Samis, with their reindeer grazing on the mountain moors; and Andenes where whale safaris were still possible.
You could see in your imaginings a younger Duncan - before the gods seized him - laughing as he shook the snow out of his long black hair and turning to embrace his future with all the bravery and optimism of younglings world-wide.
“Jeg elsker deg, Duncan...” You only knew that you had said it aloud when a young woman next to you moved away. You laughed.
“I love you...,” you said again, "...and so the gods make madmen of us all...”. And since there was no wisdom, or magic to be had in this northern land, you gathered around you that which had always given you comfort - beautiful words, woven into a tapestry of longing and regret. You turned back to the pond and watched the immortal face of your lover transform the face of the lone, mortal skater. Like Duncan, he battled the natural elements, pulling the chaos into himself as he spun so beautifully on the ice and snow...
Later that night you recreated, in words, the exhilarating, heart-breaking images you had gathered in, and held fast...
watched a young man spinning on the ice.
He spun such magic, spun such surreal sights -
and then he slowed, and bowed his head to me,
then slowly he looked up, into my eyes
And as I watched, imprinted on that place
I saw your face…
You smiled, and
gathered up your warrior grace
I quietly wept...
Your going left me
shards of bloodied ice
They shred my soul."
(Methos. Norway. 1998)
30 August 2002