Taste of Russian Fantastica: The Green Flame's Confession, Part 1, Chapter 1
From The Green Flame's Confession, by Nataliya Mazova.
PART THE FIRST
Steps to Initiation
Keep still, when sound my Words
And like a flag, dress twists in wind,
But after -- lips find lips
And let me forget that again I've no right!
Grass and flame. Flame and grass...
...Sometimes, in such minutes as this, I feel sharply the whole improbability of that life I live, and willy-nilly, in sneaks the thought that perhaps there wasn't anything like this, that it's all just been thought up out of depression by a plain young woman, well over twenty, killing time every day in idiotic work which nobody can understand why it's necessary, simply general work, with no relation to the higher education which she once achieved, and this education also isn't needed by anyone -- neither by her, nor by her admirers, who change with every season and persistently do not want to become husbands -- and if not with this notion, then she would disastrously fill her life with something, because already each morning at awakening she wants to ask the question -- but why did I wake up at all, and wants nothing more than only to fall asleep and never, never, nevermore be roused, to remain in the madeup world; no, however, such women make up something entirely other, even if she is so clever as not to be satisfied with cheap happiness from a serial, they imagine themselves to be lovely queens or, if she wants a lover, then courtesans, and everything further goes according to the diagram -- trinkets, admirers, clashing swords and other delights found in pseudo-historical romances, and there must be a tall dark man with gray eyes and the title of Count wherever there's no title of Count, and who's up to his ears, as they say, in love... I know, I know... but for me a fantasy wouldn't be enough, yes, even for someone whom such fantasy was necessary, when, regardless of the whole fairyland life, it's necessary all the same to get money somewhere for a piece of bread and cheese and new shoes, because no so-called power frees one from obeying the elementary law of life, yes, even as I explain to this simple mortal that no, I am not the Ruler of Fire, I am simply fire which has assumed the form of a woman to think and act with awareness, and to call me the Ruler of Fire is as ridiculous as to call a man upon his appearance the Tsar of Nature, I'm a simple woman all the same, though also fire, but this fire also needs to eat, to drink, to sleep, to rest, to love and be loved... that's some kind of word -- 'informagic', it sounds so weighty, right away both scientific and mystical, but this is how to explain to people not knowing what such participation of all Essences and in particular some of its aspects, but really this is so simple, and the business isn't even in me, each of you has his element with which he is connected, and to harmonize with it very simply, you only need to want -- and then anyone like me will light a fire with a touch, or slide along the water like Tin, or fly low above the earth like Tali, snatching the dying summer grasses with his toes... to each his own, you simply don't need to long for another, and you only need to believe in yourself and in the fact that you are loved by the universe... well, yes, this is already no kind of woman's novel, but just a novel... tick them off -- starlit nights, cold dew, herbs of witchcraft, steel sword, true horse, bonfire in the gloom, what else is there... very ridiculous, that also this they devise all that existence of women they carry as a treasure from adolescence until the end of their lives, but for the greater part of this life sit at home and know they don't know what kind of problems in these conditions that quite minimal hygiene would be, and how you behave like a beast in its absence, and how in real life it's cold to sleep covered by your raincoat, and it already feels like too long's been spent in a woodless and waterless camping place -- not like being in Eden at all... in general, you can't say it better than Noddi: what kind of mermaids are there, you, my God, you expect only rotten herrings! -- but even this isn't the main thing, but the main thing is that I grew up in a world where also such words as that I didn't know -- romantic, all these swords with herbs, black and green and silver, I first ran into all this when I was only seventeen, and all this didn't become the main thing for me, then what for me was no nothing more important than people and Words with Rhythm, no, I'm no kind of romantic, I'm a realist... in the state, as Ierg loves to say, so that if it's already come first, then the woman's novel for me, according to the large picture, is even more organic, especially since all the actual faces in the chapter with me are beautiful and unhappy, completely according to genre standards, and no need to cover your yawn with your hand, since the greater the person's need for happiness the harder this will be to obtain, but what seems beauty, that almost all of us Motalish have, and with our abilities to play with attractive appearance isn't seen only on those who are absolutely in the shed, and almost nobody is on the shed, because in unknown places it's better to be attractive and informed than repellent and unknowledgeable, her the latter better spend their time sitting at home and imagining the stars, forest, and lover-counts, without trying to bring their dreams to life and without complicating their neighbor's existence... or to change for the better, since the lot of the poor in spirit -- is to obediently await the promised kingdom of Heaven, but the lot of those who are rich in spirit -- is to bring His coming nearer to the extent of his power and depravity... of course not, this is not about my own self, but about you -- yes, ABOUT YOU! What, you still don't believe all this?
Then... then visualize a train station in any city of the Kagad type -- a hundred thousand residents, but in this case, a large railroad junction. Picture yourself there somewhere between two and five in the morning -- the brief time when it is clean and calm there; people anxiously sleeping on the wide wooden benches waiting for their train; the trains themselves, from all the surrounding countries, the arrival of which they announce in three languages and the color of which one can only guess in the bad light of the lamps... in this situation, only a mindless stump won't sense the Motalish, at least for a moment. And further, visualize the all night bar at this station, practically empty -- two, there of the little "masters of life", yes, and those half-asleep -- but sparking color-music in time are the Hobo Princess or Gypsy and Bandit types. And here, when in drowsiness nothing will remain except these songs, also will arise the sharp and spicy desire to step under this auroras and be turned about, embracing someone's waist... Now then, know this: I already go! I already was with you, I put my hand on your shoulder, turned around -- and you met my glance! Now I -- am the Dancing Flame, and I am at your service, I am ready not to fall silent until morning, if you ask....
What, you want it begun from the beginning? As said one instructor at the Avillon Academy of Culture -- "You expect that the student will begin right away in his career, and instead of this, he starts from the Birth of Christ...." But to you, that means I need to start there exactly... Then I need to begin very far away -- as I turned out to be, during Fletcher's lifetime. A marvelous story in every respect....