Mysterious man in black
Long, embarassing silence.
You already think that the darkrobed figure hasn't heard your greeting, when his
seemingly stone-made face turns to you again, suddenly speaking very distinct:
"Gordoth", you hear his hoarse voice, "Gordoth, the Undertaker."
Two terrifying eyes stare at you, and you feel a cold shower running down your
"So... Well met, Gordoth!"
Gordoth. This is what 'they' are calling me."
Who do you mean with 'they'?"
loosens his crossed arms and points with a long skinny finger to the door.
"There. There, outside!"
He crosses his arms again and continues with few, but not less clear words:
"However, all will come to me once. All long to enter their deep, dark tombs...
Because down there they are at home and finally released from the agony here
above - yes, finally free... "
Still Gordoth stands there like a powerful statue that you have the impression,
the voice, which you hear, is only an illusion...
"Are you happy with your life?" Gordoth stares at the wall, but his question is
directed to you. "Say, are you really happy here?", he repeats.
Artimidor "Yes, I
you're unexperienced then. But you still have a lot to learn what life has in
stock for you...."
Artimidor "You are right. We all have to
leave this world someday."
Gordoth "Nobody escapes the Gods and the
deserved grave! The earth receives everyone in the same way, be it the Count or
a lousy beggar - the worms are delighted with both..."
Gordoth stands in superior pose.
"But note this: No worm will ever gnaw on MY bones! As I am not one of those
mortals like the ones outside, and like you. I was created by the Gods
themselves to finish what they have begun. - Don't you see it? Hundreds of years
have passed this body as if they had no interest... Ay: That is a sign! And so I
will - if it has to be that way - fulfill my duty till the end of the days, or
at least until the day the prophets have predicted. Then the Gods will even
bereft me from my mortal remains. Then, when the destiny of Santharia has come
Artimidor "Is the undertaking business a
Gordoth "Definitely not a job for the weak.
But I'm already used to it. I understand the dead much better than the living,
"What kind of Santharian destiny is this of which you speak
Gordoth "Only the Gods know what will happen to us, noone can predict exactly
what will be then."
Artimidor "How is
it possible to understand the dead, Gordoth?"
Gordoth "Just go
outside, out of the town, where they all lie together and are humming their
silent death's song. They are all happy out there, I'm very sure about this...
And - they talk to us, as they gently nestle their thoughts in our minds,
telling us about the transitoryness: 'everything is transitory, so
transitory...', they whisper without speaking. And how dreadful it may seem to
you, once you're there and listen to their quiet voices, it seems so
comforting... - Every time I dig a grave in the evening at the cemetery, driving
one spade after the other into the earth und hear this melody of silence, it
seems like a relevation... Yes, it's not wicked to listen, it's wonderful, so
He makes a wise face, as people probably do who are convinced to bear a deep
wisdom within themselves.
"You may ask Kai, our poet, about his Death's Song - I like it very much. He
knows, about what he's talking. Just as I do."
this poet your friend?"
Gordoth We have
many things in common: Perhaps it is our melancholy, which connects as - we're
indeed like brothers. And Kai writes the most beautiful lyrics, as he writes
with the blood, in which he soaks his quill. - But he doesn't believe in the
truth of his poems. That's his mistake. He still has hope for his life, but
there is none. His poems know much, much more than he does..."
"I read it very often. It is as if the spirit of the dead
lives on in these verses - and if Kai himself recites it, it is even sader and
even more truthful. He sure knows his profession, indeed. Suffering and death
stand close together..."
"In which kind of Gods do you believe in, if I may ask..."
Gordoth An amused grin breaks through the
earnest face of the undertaker.
"Ha! The Gods! What funny things the people do to find some! But noone has ever
searched at the right place! I know that, as I probably have to do much more
with the Gods than anyone else... In the tombs you should seek them out! And
dead you should be, then you sure will find them... Down there they are waiting
for us, a long, long eternity..."
Gordoth gets serene again, nearly angry:
"But what do the people bother about that? They prefer digging for some stones
and worship them! At least that's better than finding nothing, for what it would
be worth to be bored a whole life long..."
Artimidor "You say, that life is nothing
more than a permanent agony?"
Gordoth Life has
no value. It goes steeply upward and steeply downward and there's no place,
where the time stands still, where you could rest. Yes, you'd need to be able to
rest - from life itself to learn about its value, not from the things it
contains, but from life itself you'd need to rest! You'd need to be dead with
your soul at peace to look back on your past, to finally know what it is good
for. But death takes everything, even this look back... - Only the Gods know
what they do, never do we. However, we need to go on - who knows if we even have
the right to do it?"
which role does our death play in the labyrinths of life, Gordoth? Has it any
Gordoth "Death is
everything we can hope for. Your death is also your release. Everything else is
just brabbling of the priests and has no importance at all."
me: What is it, Kai suffers from?"
him, and he may tell you."
"Grmpf!", mumbles Gordoth, which probably means something similar to a