The Ballad of the Watercrossers

as mentioned but never written by him in Roger Zelazny's AMBER-series, so
Eva fecit, March 1982



The ships are trembling on the waves like lonely children gone astray,
beneath a sky of molten lead, amidst a sluggish sea of clay,
they're moving onward even though no wind is blowing.
And just one thought away the looming clouds are shifting,
the veils that hide another Shadow-world are lifting,
we're sailing through, no longer knowing
which way lies Amber...

The only real world we've long since left behind
proud, shining Amber, but we still bear in mind
thy gold-green coast, flecked with the ocean's silver spray.
But we are bound for Shadow and we must forget,
be there as many reasons to regret,
'cause to remember is to loose the way -
which way lies Amber ...

A sudden knife tears through the stifling sky
a storm leaps down on us with a menacing cry,
we've faced it many time before but still we are afraid.
Be there two dozen worlds where Amber's flag is known
along the roads of trade those of the blood laid down,
it's strange to see one world appear, the other fade -
which way lies Amber ...

With straining sails we're whipped into a sunlit bay,
it's been one year since last we came this way,
to those who dwell there it was just the week before.
There have been lush, green coasts that now lie cold and bare,
from crumbling farmer's cots the people come and stare,
to them we're just a part of ancient lore -
which way lies Amber ...

A golden sea turns into slashing rage,
the worlds pass swifter as a turning page
and nowhere we're allowed to stay.
A fragrant morning darkens much too soon,
the dimming sun leaves nothing but a sneering moon
and stars like rolling dice upon a gambler's tray -
which way lies Amber ...

We've felt the fear, the glory and the pride,
the gentle surging and the fury of the tide,
the dangers of the Shadows we've been facing.
But now we're tired, our journey's ending,
we're looking to where the gold and blue are blending,
where through the night the fire of Cabra's tracing -
that way lies Amber.



Janus

He lay on silv'ry flowers as on a silken bed,
but through his shattered armour grew flowers of fiery red.
His mighty strength was broken, his eyes were closed in fear,
that least he would not see him, if death should soon appear.
I saw his fine young body as I came strolling by,
the wonder of his face - I couldn't let him die.

His weakness was his weapon, it overcame my pride,
I ordered Death away from him and led him back to light.
Long did he share my loneliness till he was strong again,
bit when he rode away from me no pity did remain.

I was a woman, he a man, my age-long enemy,
I had to prove I was his match, he'd not look down at me.
I took my horse and followed him, not life was mine to give.
He deemed himself the stronger - I couldn't let him live ...



Evoras Humor

"Kommt näher, junge Frau, warum die schnelle Flucht?
Trieb Euch nicht Neugier her zu meinem Turm?
Nun, dann bleibt auch, tretet ein - was fürchtet Ihr?
Schreckt Euch die Kälte meiner Hand? Nur keine Angst -
ich werde Euch erklären, wie es dazu kam.
Hier diesen Stuhl mit weichen Kissen, wie gemacht für zarte Glieder,
zieht nicht den Schleier vor's Gesicht, ich kenn' Euch doch!
Ihr seid des Königs neue Konkubine,
man pries mir Eure Schönheit - man sagte nicht zuviel.
Und Ihr kamt nun, um zu sehen, mit wem Euer Herr die Nächte wacht -
seid Ihr besorgt um Eure Stellung, werte Freundin?
Aber bleibt doch sitzen, wartet, ich helf' Euch zu Bequemlichkeit,
es gibt da Worte, ein oder zwei, in meiner Macht ...
Seht, nun seid Ihr ruhig, Ihr sitzt ganz still,
bemüht Euch nicht, es ist vergeblich, meine Fesseln halten.
Nun, wovon sprachen wir? Ah, Eure Stellung!
Ist Eure Sorge zerstreut, nun Ihr mich saht?
Dies blasse, starr' Gesicht kann keinen Mann verführen,
auch lass ich solche Spiele gern für Euresgleichen.
Einst war ich wohl wie Ihr, vor langer Zeit,
als ich noch Aine hieß und mein Gemahl
des Tags mich zu der Arbeit trieb und in der Nacht den Schlaf mir raubte.
Ihr kennt nicht seinesgleichen oder lagt Ihr je mit einem Säufer?
Wenn ich mich recht entsinne, war er Hufschmied und Oswain mit Namen.
Er brachte Schmerz und Schande über mich und
starb dafür einen schnellen Tod.
Habt Ihr je getötet? Nein, ich vergaß -
Eure Waffen sind anderer Art -Ihr seid schön.
Doch Eure Schönheit, die Euch stark macht
in der Welt der Männer, welkt mit der Zeit -
Schwerter kann man schärfen, sind sie stumpf!
Ich floh vor der Rache meiner Sippe zu Ingvollins Burg
dem Sitz des Rebellen, dessen Taten
selbst Simhahama schaudern machten.
Ich war die Führerin seiner Krieger und ...
ah - welch seltsame Arten der Liebe es doch gibt.
Ihr lächelt, weil ich das Wort 'Liebe' brauche?
Schwester, wie wenig Ihr doch wisst.

Bruigh verging im Kampf gegen des Hochkönigs Truppen,
die Finsternis rief ihn zurück, die ihn geschaffen,
und ich folgte ihm ins Grauen.
Ihr seht so bleich aus, Schwester, und Ihr zittert,
nehmt den Wein, ganz exquisit, von des Königs Tafel.
Soll ich weitersprechen, Eure Neugier ganz zu stillen,
auf dass Ihr künftig keine Sorge habt, wenn Euer Herr
Euch warten lässt? Ja? So trinkt noch Wein,
dass Ihr die Kälte nicht so spürt.
Ich brauche keine Herdstatt, mich stört es nicht,
dass auch das größte Feuer diese Mauern nie erwärmt.
Der Geist des Magiers, der hier Unheil wirkte
kann sich nicht trennen vom vertrauten Heim
und jeder Stein atmet den Eishauch seiner Grausamkeit.
Doch sucht er vergeblich, mich hier zu vertreiben,
er wandelte nie unter der Decke der Finsternis,
die jeden Hunger nach Wärme und Liebe erwürgt,
ich aber bin durchdrungen von der schwarzen Flut,
mit der ich rang, lange, um mein Leben und mein Ich.
Die Macht des Chaos suchte mich nach ihrem Sinn zu formen,
doch ich war schon zu hart geschmiedet.
Ich nahm mir von der Macht, soviel mir brauchbar schien
und suchte meinen Weg im Labyrinth des Wahnsinns,
doch was ich ersehnte, fand ich nicht - ihn.

Die Finsternis wich zurück, die Waage der Welt hob sich zum Licht,
mich zog sie mit! Welch ein Kampf, bis ich mich freigetrotzt!
Doch ein Fluch blieb mir zur Erinnerung an jene Zeit ...
Schaut Euch doch um, gefällt Euch meine Wohnung?
Sind jene Statuen nicht ein selt'ner Schmuck?
Saht Ihr je solch' Vollendung? Solche Lebendigkeit?
Dieser Jüngling - scheint es nicht, dass er sich gleich erhebt,
die Jungfrau dort in seinen Arm zu nehmen?
Ich seh' Bewunderung in Euren Blicken - selber schön
wisst Schönheit Ihr zu schätzen - das dank ich Euch!
Doch seht, der Morgen graut, wir haben eine ganze Nacht verplaudert.
Nun schnell zum Ende der Geschichte, dass Ihr zur Ruhe kommt.
Der Fluch - er nahm mir mein Gesicht!
Was Ihr hier seht, ist eine Maske, sehr kunstvoll zwar,
doch scheinbar nur lebendig. Was darunter sich verbirgt ...

Ja, liebe Schwester, lehnt nach vorne Euch zum Licht,
das Eure Schönheit in Vollendung zeigt. Wahrlich,
dem König ist's zu neiden, dass solche Lieblichkeit sein eigen ist.
Doch ist es nicht bedauerlich, dass bald schon
sein Aug er von Euch wendet, weil das Alter seine Zeichen
auf jene glatten Wangen setzt?
Der König hat Geburtstag, bald schon, so erfuhr ich.
Lange suchte ich nach einer Gabe,
kostbar und außerordentlich genug, um Aug' und Herz
gleichmäßig zu ergötzen. Ich hab's gefunden, denke ich.
Ich löse meine Fesseln, Schwester, die Euch an diesen Stuhl gebunden.
Steht auf, die Sonne wartet Eurer. Doch halt! Bevor Ihr geht,
wendet Euch noch einmal zu mir um. Die Maske -
Euch zulieb nehm ich sie ab. Seht Ihr, was jener Fluch bewirkte?

Oh, liebe Schwester, wie beneid ich Euch!
Wie sehr der weiße Marmor Eure Schönheit hebt!
Dem König wird die Gabe sehr behagen! Kann er sich doch
solang er lebt, Eurer nie welkenden Schönheit erfreuen!
Und was habt Ihr schon verloren? Das Atmen - nun,
der Tod ist ohnehin gewiss. Die Stimme - nun,
die Worte waren das Wenigste an Euch. So aber,
in weißem makellosen Stein, bleibt nichts, was Eure Reize mindert.
Ihr werdet eine Zierde sein für des Königs innerste Gemächer,
bis dass der unerbittliche Schritt der Zeit
selbst Stein zu Staub zermalmt.



Hawk

My hawk, proud hawk -
see, I have made you a silver chain
so always with me you will remain.
The loss of your freedom I do regret
but if I love you enough you will forget.
Come, fierce one, sit on my hand,
we'll both go riding and I'll show you my land.
And, pray, do not hate me, I caught you for love.

Master, my master -
you have no need of that silver chain,
so don't force me to it, just call me my name
and we'll ride together and look at your lands
and I'll tell you of faraway skies, seas and strands,
for I've seen the world, the sun crowned with flames,
don't rob me of this and don't bind me with chains,
a little more freedom would grant you my love.


My hawk, proud hawk -
I read your thoughts in your dimming eyes,
but I don't want to lose you to those faraway skies.
I'll not cut your bonds and will not let you go,
you'd then be so high above and I'd be so low.
So please do not beg me to let you fly free
I know in my heart you'd abandon me.
Do cease your struggling, I bind you for love.

Master, my master -
I sense that you won't let me fly free,
is such then the love that you're feeling for me?
Is it not rather a madness, a greed,
a longing to force even where there's no need?
My wings are now clipped, the skies mine no more,
even unchained I'd not rise as high as before.
You broke me with love, you killed me with love.



The Trouble with Love

Once I did kill a king's only son,
don't ask why, my friend, maybe just for fun.
Young Sir Handsome had no longer a part in my play
and then lacked the brains to keep out of my way.
His Majesty flew in a rage mixed out of hatred and grief,
his hands were upon me before I could take my leave,
but I only smiled at his torturer's neat, fancy stuff
'cause I feared nothing - only love.

I challenged a wizard in his own magic wood
and all his wisdom and power did him no good.
He locked his castle, got rid of the keys and ran,
I've heard he now suffers the pains of a married man
- alas, a rich woman's tongue often is cruel and bruising -
while I on a witche's broomstick cruising
scared the wits out of the gods up above,
'cause I feared nothing - only love.

Then someone gave me his heart and his soul
together with most tempting lips and hair black as coal.
Well, I left him his entrails but accepted the rest
and taught him much while it lasted and only the best.
But he tried to devour me and my freedom as well
so I took his hand and led him straightway to Hell
and blew a kiss over Lucifer's red velvet glove,
'cause I feared nothing - only love.

And I wallowed in battles and lusted for blood
and every head raised in pride I trod in the mud
and I took to my bed whom I had overthrown in the field
although I scorned them for being willing to yield.
And I hated the thought of red fighting to cease
and whenever those weak-gutted kings spoke of peace
I was the hawk to slay their sweet dove,
'cause I feared nothing - only love.

So now I'm a queen with a halo of gore
and I built me a castle on a red ocean's shore.
And if somewhere a king lusts for blood to be shed
I don't go myself but send my men out instead,
while I sit on the turrets and sometimes I cry,
for I finally know that it is only a lie
what's written on those flags flaring so proudly above,
'cause all I ever hungered for was - love.


Bribing God

The altar raised high, black and worn,
throngs of people lining the steps,
above the priest, disrobed to the waist,
a butcher's torso, coated with blood.
A body flung backwards on the stone slab,
just one trembling scream, cut short,
a pulsing heart steaming in the cool air of morning -
trying to bribe a God.

The clatter of hooves in the temple court,
the sounds of frightened cattle driven,
the undulating hum of human voices.
The flash of an axe falling down,
the hissing intake of breath
from a crowd of hundreds as one,
a ruby cascade pouring into a marble bowl -
trying to bribe a God

Black-robed priests moving in high cathedrals,
pillars of marble wound round with gold,
scintillating gems set in crowns and sceptres,
precious clothes over shoulders of stone,
scented candles dripping on silver,
and all come to this twilight splendour
bowing low and cutting their knees on wood and stone -
trying to bribe a God.



Battle

The roar of slaughter filled the air,
clove deeply through the sunlit day,
Under a black cloud of screams and wailing
flashing swords danced a gory dance,
steered by the threads of laughing Gods.
Weapons were in command of unwilling hands,
numbed brains held no thought but carnage -
this was no fight of human beings,
furious puppets gamboled to a raging tune.

At sunset the Gods went to their meal
chatting about the delightful game,
while the puppets fell down exhausted,
who was destined to die then died.
Those still living arose from their stupor,
dragging the remains of their humanity
to the fires like red eyes in the dusk.
Food and drink, the first reluctant words
bring back life to bewildered souls,
by and by faces belong to names again.

But how many names have meaning no more,
for those to whom they belonged
offer dead eyes to the nights caressing wind
that sighs over this senseless dying.
Friend seeks friend, brother his brother,
a father's desperate glance does not find the son.
Some weep aloud, others mourne in silence,
some shrink back from the glee they feel -
'cause they still breathe, too many others don't.

But beyond all these thoughts there lurks
the certainty of another fight.
Again grows fear, much too often felt before,
restless hoofbeat thunders 'cross the sky -
the Rider of Darkness hunts for souls.
Soon envy takes the place of mourning,
should the tears not rather be wept for the living?
They don't know whether another night will save them,
every minute is just an anxious question,
but the dead - they know the answer.

Exhausted minds stumble into sleep
that knows not of questions nor answers.
For too short a while they're living dead
but one more awakening at least is sure.
Life was their most treasured gift
to keep it they fought a fight
that even for the Gods had neither sense nor purpose.
But who dare say how many now would trade
life's treasure for one even more desirable -
death.



Dialogue

How often did I give you body and face,
how often this cloak of nightblack hair,
how often think of words to praise
the curve of your lips, so bitter yet fair.

But instead of a heart you gave me a poisoned knife,
plaited my hair to a rope to strangle me with.
My names would only be screamed in cruel strife,
my lips were too cold for a tender kiss.


How often did I give you life and a fate
together with skills to master it?
How often the power of love and hate,
the gifts of ear and eye and speech and wit?

But a life with no future - that was my fate,
the power to kill the only skill that I had,
my love knew no fire, nor did my hate,
only saw what was ugly, only heard what was sad.


You believe I hated you, it seems,
but in each empty, fearful night
I gave you the thousand faces of my dreams,
my yearning's ever burning light.

Aye, but my share was to weep your tears
while your share was the light,
a thousand times you saved me from death's fears,
thought never of the thousand times I died.


And yet I greeted you in every shadow
that passed me on my way through fright,
I looked for you on all the roads I know,
hoping to meet you in the vaults of night.

I hid in ev'ry mirror you passed by,
I longed to kill you but I never can.
So I carefully avoid to meet your eye,
'cause if you died - who would dream me then?




Revenge

His glistening black storm of hair
this spray of curls on scarréd shoulders
hid a face filled with strange questions,
deep eyes filled with a distant cold.

His goldenskinned strong fighter's body
sculpted by a serene god's skillful hands
moved with a sensuous suppleness
to the sound of bow and sword and spear.

Where comrades gather when the battle's done,
where cups are filled and women easy prey,
he'd sit alone dreaming after silent voices,
listening to the song in his own soul.

But like all others he was mortal,
a god was tired of his work,
a dismissing wave, a bowstring singing,
bloodstreaked flesh and broken eyes.

He was not to love as love is usually spelled,
he was a work of art, unique in soul and body,
he stood alone among his brothers,
visitor from a song a god did dream.

But those same gods did kill him,
playfully they sentenced him to death.
But watch out! You are not out of reach,
nor will you prevail against my hate!
Your thrones will fall and I will see
that you are punished for your gambler's whim!



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