He’s fought and he’s fallen.
From where he lay on the cold, hard, stone floor, the bloodied and beaten William could see him. Despite the exhausting and long duel, The Lord did not look like he dropped even one bead of sweat. Powder was still on his wig, which was perfectly in place on his head. His face still had matte finish. His beard impeccably trimmed, not a hair out of place. And not a single thread was missing from his clothes or a drop of blood gone from his body.
William had always known that he would be no match for The Lord who was perfect in his ways. But he could not deny that his soul called out when—for the first time—he saw his muse, his goddess, his universe in The Lady, the woman who would be his disease and cure, his salvation and ruin, his life and death, The Lady who belonged to The Lord.
Now, The Lord was about to destroy William’s work. All of his work! There, contained in a space bordered by old, cold stones rarely touched by the warmth of fire or the light of the sun, were worlds and seasons that even the gods and their messengers could not influence. William’s words on pages could bring down the earth or raise a paradise the second they were uttered.
In the hand of The Lord was a duet of oil and flame, a dance of mystery and beauty contained in a small tarnished metal vessel. They illuminated the pages, crisp with age, dusty with unkemptness, alive with inspiration, and unaware of the destruction that loomed only inches before them.
All that William had now was a scabbard, slashed right through the center. And a bladeless hilt, which he still gripped in his bleeding hand. The life from his feet was seeping down to the floor where he lay. And he only had moments before the unimaginable became reality.
Dancing flames played with the shadows and, in silence, never betraying the silver red lightning that slashed darkness that crouched behind The Lord.