So one night when asked to speak on past lives [redacted] gave no response; he seemed much aggrieved. But at length and as we had come to expect his posture changed and his eyes became mischievous and bent with good humor. As if in a late response – but no, maybe it was a response to something else altogether – he straightened his mouth and began.

Don’t speak to me of the Authiés or of Montaillou, he seemed to warn, recalling we knew not what, But rather of the Bogomils, known by their enemies as baboons, religious men and women of the Balkans. You could anticipate them by their scent – heliotrope, alkaline rock; the smell of child’s play-doh.

Genuine ascetics, their restraint didn’t hold for foolish superstitions, which are in any case necessary for a group run amok. They wanted to dismantle The Church of Wolves; they needed a symbol on their scythe. For this purpose they invoked Uriel. It’s true that a trace or presence habituated those valleys of the Carpathian Mountains, but it went by no earthly name and its intentions were obscure even to the initiated.

There was a woman among the sect, Jelena. She was a skilled lover. And with this he told us not to ask again about past lives.


969 AD

Coppe’s return . . . . . . . pseudo-Frederick . . . . . . . second law . . . . . . . guide to roping

at Mainz . . . . . . . horizons . . . . . . . at Banbury