The Pulse: Alberta

Quest

From One End to the Next

Antonio boasted that he had travelled everywhere to find Beatrice. And when Antonio said everywhere he meant it literally. He took a funicular up a Swiss mountain to Seelisburg, and scanned the upland hills for a rosy-cheeked Swiss-German girl. He harrassed Yamani tribesmen to paddle him up the Amazon to Manaus, in hopes of finding a Native girl untouched by civilization. He smashed the red lanterns of Bombay and Shanghai, rabid for en exotic fix. He violated the harems of Cairo and Timbuktu, eager to unveil the 77 layers of his labyrinthine lust.

But that was only this everywhere. He also scoured the nearby galaxy of Andromeda to see if any trace of celestial beauty could be found among the foamy rocks and silver chain of stars. Gingerly, he approached the outskirts of the Purple Pulse, slipping past the Pearl Galaxy and into the Nebula of Asphodel. The light hurt his eyes.

Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula, by NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula, by NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

He had been led to believe that in the 8 trillion galaxies of the Purple Pulse the beings there resembled harpists on pink clouds. He expected to find elegant ladies who spent the eternal daytime singing about the incandescent beauty of an angelic mother who had never had sex.

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Yet all he was capable of seeing were circles of golden light, overlapping with other circles of golden light, woven together with fine golden threads that shone so brightly that he couldn’t make out so much as a slender ankle amidst the blinding effulgence of cuffs and slippers. For all he knew the women in these parts were as ugly as Virtue.

He then realized the error of his reasoning: location doesn't guarantee Beauty, and Beauty will bloom in spite of location. This was of course something real estate agents didn’t mention in their brochures.  

Returning to The Black Pulse, Antonio bet his finest Gucci shoes that location didn't matter at all. Better for Beauty to rise from Hell than fall from Heaven. Yet as he fell deeper into the dark air, he started to realize that the Beauty of Innocent Unchanging Perfection could never be found in the Dominion of the Black Pulse. There was no use looking for It among the avatars of spiritual freedom, or among the burning pulses of the sensuous beings that dipped in and out of material form. He would’ve had a better chance if, instead of looking for an innocent Angel of Mercy, he was looking for a soul-devouring Siren of the Deep.

As he traversed the outer system of Gangrel & Dok, he saw molten crags of spirit rise from the core of a planet and erupt like fireworks into the sky. Fragments soared into the upper atmosphere, taking the shapes of nazgul, crow, and hornéd beast. He smiled as they beat down their adversaries with crowbars and rapiers, glorious in their triumph over the impudence of gravity.

Agostino Fasolato, The Fall of the Rebel Angels, c. 1750, in Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Vicenza. Photos and colouring by RYC.

Agostino Fasolato, The Fall of the Rebel Angels, c. 1750, in Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Vicenza. Photos and colouring by RYC.

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Such a glorious Kingdom of Mayhem and Lust could never give rise to the dulcet tremors he heard wafting along the outer galaxies of the Purple Pulse. Certainly, the Black Pulse never offered its guitar solos or thrash metal rants at the feet of some omnipotent Deity.

divine music offerred.jpg

To Antonio, such an offering was a base subservience. He found more meaning and truth in the haunting, soul-scraping melodies of Gorgoroth.

Yet the beauty of the dulcet ladies haunted him with a double desire: first, to become one with them, to possess them; and second, to make them implode like raven lava into the dark sky.

The Green Earth

Unable to find what he wanted in the two extremes, Antonio came back to where he started: the planet Earth, half way between the Black and Purple Pulses. He was starting to believe there was a reason he was selected on Earth. Why else was he drawn so inexplicably, so naturally, to its strange polarities of beauty and horror? Its incandescent blues and greens reminded him of The Green Buzz, which also hummed with energy and deep pools of refracted light. Seeing Earth from above as he swooped downward, he felt like he was coming home. His green eyes, envying everything, saw everything in a green light.

Gustave Doré, from his illustrations to Paradise Lost, 1866 (Wikimedia Commons, coloured by RYC)

Gustave Doré, from his illustrations to Paradise Lost, 1866 (Wikimedia Commons, coloured by RYC)

As he descended, he reasoned that Innocent Perfection must be like a lotus lifting from the mud. It must be humble, demure, unaware of its singular Perfection. It must be like Venus rising from the shell of a lowly clam.

The Birth of Venus, c. 1485, by Botticelli, in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence (photo and colouring by RYC)

The Birth of Venus, c. 1485, by Botticelli, in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence (photo and colouring by RYC)

Antonio reasoned further that the most likely place to find the perfect girl was on the Canadian prairies. If such a girl existed in such a cultural wasteland, then it was a girl who had a supernatural sense of the aesthetic. A girl whose deep inner beauty flowered despite all odds into a face like that of Scarlett Johansson. She would have eyes like emeralds, and skin so smooth that the pastry chefs of la Chaussée-d’Antin would give their finest copper pots just to run their spatulas along the edges of her chin.

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Antonio finally found his Perfect Beauty. Her name was Beatrice Oneirica. He first saw her sipping from a garden hose half a kilometre from the small town of Vulcan, less than 500 kilometres from where he was born. It was Spring and the roses were in bloom.

For the next two years Antonio drove down to Vulcan on the weekends and spied on her. From his cave-like room in the Vulcan Inn he composed poems, and commentaries on these poems, until he had invented a whole new life for his imagination. He called his work, La Nuova Vita Nuova.

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Next: The Hidden Star

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