Apparition of the Mind

The sword sat comfortably in its scabbard secured to my waist by a strong leather strap.  Its steel glistened in the sunlight when it was drawn, but that was rare in these peaceful days. People, rich and poor, walked the streets in relative safety and were quick to express their gratitude with a nod or a smile.

I had wandered often from this place in search of, well, just searching. For what exactly? I am not certain myself, just observe I search for something. I knew this land as well as the lines upon this sunburnt face that graces these shoulders. I have travelled these lands to all points, North, South, East and West. There could not be many who knew this land better than I, nor many who have journeyed as extensively either. I regard this vista that is set before me as home, my home.  But I am restless still. My spirit yearns to travel once more but my heart wishes to remain in this peaceful place. The conflict rages continuously inside, awaiting the winner.

I approached the  Sword and Shield from the direction of the setting sun. It stood pale in its glory in the dying sunlight, the first flicker of light danced in the windows from candles, hurriedly lit as darkness encroached. I have frequented this most public of houses for many a year to sample its delectable delights, that which we call ale. Roast Boar turned on its spit as I walked through this hallowed doorway. The aroma of fresh roasted meat, coupled with the bread and ale was enough to seduce any man from the street.

I took up my usual seat, set back from the fire and the draughts that crept beneath the door, and removed my gauntlets and helmet. Whenever I was returned to the citadel, this table always remained free. A person who knew nothing of me, or this place, could take this seat in their ignorance, but one look into their eye from myself , upon entering and they soon vacated the table to find a seat elsewhere. There was a fine reason I always took this table. I could observe the room and the street from this position. I could watch the door as faceless customers came and went. I had sat here so long, the wood of the seat seemed moulded by the light armour I always wear. There was a deep grove in the table where my eating knife always stood within reach. If it were laid flat on the surface, the proprietor and his helpers know not to bring more food or ale, my appetite and thirst sated for the night. If the knife stood erect in its grove, then food and ale were always welcome. Gold and silver coins were not needed to pay for what I drank and ate, my payment was my sword. My presence kept the drunks and gamblers quiet. There were no arguments or fights over ale  or cheating so long as I sat within the room. They knew better than to cause problems or disrupt the peace whilst I was in attendance.  For this, the owner was most grateful.

I am a business man of sorts. Wherever or whenever my services are required, as long as payment is acceptable, I work as and when I choose to. I am a slave for no man to command. I carry out my tasks discretely, without fuss or ado. I merge with the shadows and pass by unnoticed. I am seen, only when I wish to be seen. For the remainder of the time, I blend with my surroundings and watch. Always observant, nothing escapes my eyes, even when sleep escapes me, I am watchful.

I have rules to work by and they are adhered to, implicitly. I never meet who I work for. I use my own go-between. I have built a network of trusted individuals over time and they do as I ask, for a payment. They never let me down, they understand the consequences of such actions. I get paid, they get paid and that makes for contentment of us all.

The ghostly apparition passes by unheeded,
Where others have failed I have succeeded,
A mere shadow of a thought,
A blink of thy eye,
Involuntary shiver as I meander by.

No walls can contain me, no gaol can confine me,
No chains can enslave me,no stocks can retain me,
Fear animates thy face,
Enchanted mind succumbs,
Motionless, statuesque becomes.

I steal into your room, just a whisp of penetrating air,
Rustle a curtain, a drape, look closer if you dare,
You feel me, sense me,
Surrounding,choking shroud,
This all-encompassing cloud.

One surviving, remains of an ancient creed,
I cut you, alone, watch while you bleed,
Life drains, slips away,
Dark takes you slowly in,
Another deed of the ghostly assassin.

Thats who I am. If I pay you a visit, be afraid, be very afraid. The one who pays the price?  Why, Satan of course. I give souls so I may live. Its a fine agreement.


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