Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Xerxes - My Father: Darius


My Father: Darius

As is true in the beginning of most unions my young mother adored her strong and handsome husband. Their time alone was cherished. He adored her as well and gave her every attention possible when two are in the beginning of a new union. That is true and accurate. What is also true and accurate is that the first, initial adoration between the two was short lived. Darius had a shorter span of adoration than most men of his stature and when mother became with child – me – father began to show attention to other women quite quickly.

But this story is not of my mother’s treatment. Rather this is the story of Darius. The side unseen by human eye. This is true of most great ones who are only chronicled by their enemies for historical purposes. So this story of Darius is the side unseen.

We began with his journey out of the wood. Post battle. Separated from his men. He was the leader then of that battle. His men were decimated. He was alone. He journeyed past the field of the benevolent landowner who befriended him. Joined his household through his recovery. And married the eldest, most beautiful of the landowner’s daughters. That much we have said.

What was not yet shared is that these moments with this benevolent host and his gracious family changed the life of the Great Darius sure and well. Darius was treated with kindness and respect but this was not the luxury and constant support of which he was accustomed as the son of a king.

It was on this bucolic land that my father gained insight into the human condition. It was on this plot of farmland that my father gained insight into the ingenuity and possibilities of the human mind. It was in this healing and rustic environment my father created his vision for the future of Persia.

It is true my father was the third king of Persia in his immediate line. It is true and accurate that his title known far and wide was ‘King of Kings’. This was not a self-given title by those who reigned before him. The title was the gift of the ancient Asian empire of Zheng to my father’s third father before.

Darius grew in these moments of solace to be a thinking man. To imagine the great possibilities that innovation and architecture could bring to Persia. He imagined buildings and bridges and even boats as he healed his body.

Returning now to his time of my birth, Darius was a strong and influential guide in my upbringing yet he left the daily duties of care and decisions to my mother. By my first year my father had already taken another bride and created new life within her. My mother was not slighted by this move as the bride was her own dear sister.

The country estate was booming with family and friends and Darius was well pleased. It was from here that he met with his advisors to plan the great cities of Persia. These cities are known Persepolis. Tynad, Senchort. Lesser known are Tylama, Bagzhat, Meliopor. All lost to historical function now. Deserted and desert. But known and loved in our lifetime.

To continue with the pleasing perspective of Darius. He was strong. Vital. Innovative. Loyal to his bloodline. Considerate of the women in his life. Discrete. Temperate. And often solemn. His story is told by those who feared him and by more who abhorred him. As is true of most great ones, the absolute story is rarely known.

Copyright 2023 - Terran Cognito

Xerxes - One Story: The Girl in the Apricot Gown


One Story: The Girl in the Apricot Gown

When the road ends and one turns to look back. In complete reflection. All that remains are the stories. And that one single truth is absolute for all who have come before us. And all who follow.

These stories of my life in Persia are not limited to me. The expanse of history and lives well lived precedes me. And follows me. My stories are but a small scene in a larger tapestry. Let us share one such scene now.

I return to the girl in the apricot gown. Standing barefoot in the stream. Pale streaks of sunlight peaking through the heavy canopy dropping diamonds on the water for her to admire. She tucks her long hair back. She looks over her shoulder at a small bird chirping on the nearby bank. Smiles. Chestnut eyes smiling.

Recalling the scents and sounds as I lay there under cover of shade on the eastern edge of the stream behind her, I am complete. The scene is heart filled. She does not notice me and I do not give away my place. On that particular day.

There is an opportunity that follows. I hid once more. I waited. Watched. She moved. She sang. She was delightful to behold. I leapt forward, but she moved swiftly, not aware I was behind. Was she even aware of my presence?

There is a moment to share here of my previous transmissions. If you feel inspired to include a short vignette of that waterfall and sweet water stream so many aeons ago?

I share this image. She was older. Long brown tresses loosely flowing and caught in the slight breeze. She was looking down at her feet. I did not have that vantage. That view from her eyes.

My eyes were locked on her through the greenery. The foliage fluttering in unison with her immaculate hair. Her garb was a pale orange. Not the color of a ripened peach yet not as subtle as the heart of a passion fruit.

Yes. We had the luxury of both fruits in our abundant orchards. Though you may not find a source external to this telling.

I watched. I had begun the turmoil of manhood. Youth was forsaken now. I often wandered to my hidden refuge after the rigorous training with broad sword.

I crawled forward. Silently as if i was a hibernating snake. Slow but with purpose.

I lifted the branch of a small oak. Sycamore. It matters not that particular detail. I caught the scent of her. Foreign. Delightful. Unlike the women of our compound. Unlike any female i had ever met.

Her feet were bare. I did not have the moment to search for her sandals. The hem of her gown was soaked in the stream. Darker than the rest. A small thin swath of fabric danced with her brown locks. But not in any rhythm i recognized.

She hummed a tune. Softly. Elegantly. Sweetly. To say she sounded of the angels would be fool hearty. All beauties sound like an angel when the young male heart first falls upon one.

I waited. I watched. My heart lept as she slipped through the soft waters and up and over the opposite bank.

She was gone! And then I was after. There was a noise from behind. I did not turn to see the maker. I only moved forward. Into and across the small expanse of cool water. Up and over the tufts of long grass.

She was gone. It was instant. Not a sound ahead to follow.

It was for me to retreat to the call of my brothers behind me then. And I leave this moment. This visual here.

So I return to the years previously discussed. There was so much laughter and love shared. And again I say how the children and the youth were spared from the pain and suffering that would soon part the curtains of our adolescence and young adulthood.

Before the call to train. Before the call to separate the warriors from the workers. We stayed fit and full with days filled with movement and wonderful foods. Not a worry ahead for any young boy or perhaps even young girls. Although I reiterate that we did not wander with the girls. The natural separation flowed without quandary. It was a simple divide of purpose and of pleasure.

It occurs to me now this was perhaps even by design although never stated. Was it the guise of the adults to whisper this convoluted separation without advancement? Perhaps. Perhaps it was the nature of our culture. To ease the children into adulthood. To prepare the youth for the formidable future.

I share this thought now. Perhaps no one is ever free from the designs of others?

This retrospect is fraught with danger that spoils the divinely delightful youth of our Dear Persia.

There is more. Yet I leave you with this image. In all that is. I am Xerxes.

To continue as the moments flow and my recall is in play, I will share one more scene of the girl in the apricot gown. I feel now that I will not reveal her name. That gives more pause to the reader. Mystery? More that I protect her value through these words and the historical documents once in writing.

This day she was in blue. Soft, gentle, flowing blue. Lighter than the sky or the sea. More of the bird’s egg in a spring nest. Sitting on the same bank that I had before hidden my presence. Her scent still intoxicating. Her eyes still chestnut with flecks of pale sunlight sparkling when she smiled. I approached without hiding. Sat beside her. I gave her my name. She did not respond

Birds sang in the distance.. Sunlight streamed through the canopy. The stream hummed a beautiful tune to set the scene for our first encounter.

She was my first beloved. Even before that moment. I was not yet a complete man. Though I felt manly. She was not yet a complete woman. Though she was ahead of me.

Our soft spoken exchange is private and will remain so always. She was breathtaking for a young one like me. She was perfect. We made one and only one arrangement. We would meet on this bank once more. I was to bring a blanket and some wine. She was to bring some fruit and some bread. And although we did not know it at that first conversation. We would share a moment that would not ever be forgotten. And is now documented for history.

And that is where we must leave the reader to notice and wonder? Imagine the encounter. Indeed the encounter was more than anyone could ever imagine.

Copyright 2023  - Terran Cognito

Xerxes - The Battles and the Wars

The Battles and the Wars

Little tribute will be paid to these topics. Enough has been chronicled about the loss of life and the general horrors of battle. It is no more. The lessons have been learned. To reflect any more would pay an undeserved honour to the idea of conquest. Of rampage. Of burned out lives ruined forever.

Instead let us share the moments in between and pay our focus here. The moments of reunion. Of complete and utter joy at the return of loved ones from months and years on the road far too far away from home.

The image of the men returning by ship. Grand vessels sailing across turquoise waters to the rocky precipice and sandy beaches and safe harbours of loved ones. The healing. The grace. The gratitude. The feasts and parties and long, long embraces.

The aging women. Nearly broken with grief and longing, with crooked shoulders bent over pots in wait for a son or even husband. Stews prepared daily for the inevitable return. The young mother with a new young son, greeting her husband as he lofts his heir into the sky with joyful play, delighted to meet this new one.

And daughters, on hearing the news of the return of fleets, gather daisies and violas and pink roses, creating wreaths twined with ivy to decorate the doors for the festive reunions. Of barrels opened and casks opened and fires far and wide roasting deer and mutton and perhaps even that cranky old ox that refused the plow for the last time.

Of music. Oh the music! Lute and lyre. Harp and drum. The tambourines. Of poets reveling in the coins granted to write of the returning heroes. Music into the night and morning. Dancing of old and young. Hand in hand, arm in arm, swinging and trotting to the beats ringing throughout the place.

And days later when the reverie slows, the families begin to fall into the old routines. The injured, healing quietly in the care of their own. The fallen remembered with love and tenderness in honour of their far away graves.

And weeks later, after seeds are planted and all are tended to, it is the moment to move forward. Plans made. Ideas fermented. Families and friends and neighbors safe and satisfied for the moment.

These are the moments to remember. The moments in between the wars. To give honour to those who tended the hearths while the warriors were gone. To give gratitude for those who returned. And to carve memorials to those who did not.

Copyright 2023 - Terran Cognito