30
Oct
17

The Emperor’s Nocturne: A Tarot Story

Photo Oct 17, 12 06 43 PMMost people don’t know that I read Tarot. In fact, there was a time when I did it as a profession. I would regularly do private readings for individuals and public readings at festivals and corporate events. I would also read for myself every day by picking a card and accepting its message. Occasionally I would pick two cards. One for the masculine. One for the feminine. Sometimes a little more balance is required.

I had always been fascinated by the cards. I delved deeper into that world while I was living in Florida. I was dating a lovely witch at the time. She was the first to put a deck in my hands. She taught a variety of classes at the local Wiccan gathering spot. She encouraged me to take some classes with another teacher there that was quite gifted with Tarot and definitely had clairvoyant mojo going on. The woman was funny, flamboyant, and wise. I enjoyed every class I took with her. Especially her class in Storytelling with Tarot.

The object of this class was to sharpen one’s writing skills by randomly choosing cards from the deck and quickly writing something based on your immediate impressions. The first night of the class I purchased a goth deck. It was filled with beautiful dark images that spoke to me. The following day I grabbed a pad of paper and drove onto the beach at Daytona. I shuffled the deck thoroughly then closed my eyes and choose a card. It was The Emperor card. I quickly began to write.

Never before, or since, have I written something so quickly and clearly. I was proud of my work and presented it to the class that night. It was well received and I went on to pass the class with flying colors. I then put the piece in a drawer and there it stayed until several years later. I was just starting my career as a published author and was looking for short pieces that I could use to promote myself. I found the Emperor’s Nocturne again. I tweaked it a bit and posted it as a freebie on social media.

Within forty-five minutes of my first post I received a request from an independent publisher to include the long form poem in an anthology that was just about to be released. The print book was pairing the work of classic horror writers with the work of new emerging writers. When the book was released I found myself paired with Edgar Allan Poe and his poem Ligeia. I was honored. The book went on to become quite successful and was eventually nominated for a Bram Stoker award.

Every Halloween I think of the lovely witch, the goth card, and the dark poem. The Emperor’s Nocturne became the first published work that introduced me to the world at large as a writer. All from the mystery of a randomly chosen card. A card that speaks of responsibility, authority, and reason. It also speaks of new beginnings, the exploration of possibilities, and the belief of self-determination.

On this Samhain, this All Hallows Eve, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, when the veil between this world and that is at its thinnest, and possibilities abound, I present to you the magic of The Emperor’s Nocturne.

I hope you enjoy and, oh yes, I wish for you a Happy Halloween!!

 

The stroke of midnight.

The reflection of moonlight.

The beckoning of the graveyard.

All these seemingly glorious things disturbed the Emperor this night.

Down below, in their bedchamber, the Empress played her pipe organ. Even the full rich tones extending from her fingers could not soothe him this night.

This was their ritual.

When she wanted him, truly wanted him, she would play and he would come.

Wherever he was, in whatever state his mind, he would hear her nocturne for him.

The organ’s music moaned past every hall, and through every room, until it reached his deepest, darkest places.

But not tonight.

Tonight she would have to wait.

Tonight the Emperor was full of longings. Three wicked longings, to be specific, for three wicked women.

He was searching for an answer to a questions best kept to himself.

It was only once a century or so that the Emperor found himself in this particular state.

Every once in a great while, he would doubt himself. The subject of this concern was always different, but the effect was the same.

Incapacitation.

This was never a good thing, and the less the others in his world knew about the matters on his mind, the better.

The Emperor ruled over a devoutly dark empire.

There was some light provided by the permanent tri-lunar eclipse that hung in the pitch black sky. It was just enough to bathe everything in shadows, and in those shadows his people flourished.

They walked on a carpet of blue-black leaves that covered the ground. The ever blooming, ever barren trees provided them places to lurk, and the constant, ever swirling wind carried their whispers.

Those whispers could not include his doubts.

That would make him vulnerable.

So tonight he did what he always did in times of trouble. He summoned his counselor, and while he waited he pondered deeply.

How could he love another, and another, and another, while still loving his Empress?

The three sisters had played with his black heart from the very beginning.

Together they were indomitable. His closest allies and confidantes. Separately, they were deadly Venuses to his appetites.

The first came to him one midnight.

In his chambers.

While the Empress slept at his side.

Her long black hair brushed his face as she put her finger to his lips to silence him. She mounted him, there in the royal bed and he was lost in her quiet passions.

The Empress never stirred.

The second came to him as he swam in the deep purple ocean that surrounded his empire.

He loved to see the blood-like waters cascading off of his pale flesh.

That night the light from the edge of the moons lit the naked form of what was to be his next wicked indiscretion.

She swam out to him and when she reached him, she put her finger to his lips to silence him.

She put her lips to his open mouth and began to provide him with the only air he would breathe as they both sank to the ocean floor.

The third visited him while he visited the graves of his parents.

He had killed them both in a rage, and they became the subject of a passed counselor’s counseling.

He was there to tell them that their deaths were just and justified.

When he finished, he saw her.

She was naked and lying on the cold granite slab that marked her own grave.

When he reached her, she reached out to him. She pulled him onto her, and as he slid inside her, she put a finger to her own lips.

To silence herself.

No matter what he did to her that night on that slab, no matter how hard he loved her, she never let out a sound.

But in her constantly open eyes, he saw his own lust. He saw own vicious passions reflected.

Midnight hair.

Moonlight skin.

Graveyard Eyes.

All separate passions, all separate indiscretions and yet, all the same.

Each of the sisters said the same as they walked away.

We are each one, and in each one, we are together forever, my love.

The organ music stopped, and there was silence.

Had the Empress heard his thoughts?

Had he been revealed?

In that moment, he heard his beloved’s voice in his mind.

They are each one, and in each one, we are together forever, my love.

The organ music began again.

The Emperor smiled.

His nocturnal goddess had left him a balm in his mind.

She left him the realization that all three sisters were a manifestation of her. His devoutly dark mistress had created them all for both their pleasures.

The Emperor sank deeply into his red velvet throne with the announcement that the counselor had arrived.

His problem was solved.

There were no indiscretions.

The women that haunted him were one and the same.

There was no need for a counselor.

The Emperor decided he would kill him, just as he had killed the others before him.

He would feed off of his black blood and leave the carcass for his pets to nosh.

The Emperor felt much better.

He was himself again.

 

Edward MedinaEdward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

 


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