Hotel Pelegrin, Kupari, Croatia.
(Arch. David Finci, 1960-63) Destroyed in 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence.
Photo by Carlos Traspaderne with Hasselblad 500 C/M & Kodak film.
Coyote In Black
Reality of the conflict had filtered through Russian TV viewers, and they didn’t like what they saw. Graphic shots of dead Russian soldiers were being shown by independent broadcasters. By contrast, a sanitized version of the war was being shown on Russian state TV. However, it wasn’t just fully Russians on the street.
So I saw some people making YouTube videos and saying if you reversed Justin Bieber’s old music video for the song ‘Baby’ you’d hear some creepy, demonic stuff. I thought they were all fake videos until a few years later I got a good video editing app, reversed the video MYSELF…and there is some questionable, VERY CLEAR stuff. One of the main ones is where he goes multiple times over “War, let me in, let me in, let me in.” And another time where he goes, clear as day despite this being a reversed video, “Will you be with me satan?”
Like, okay, wtf? Like, it was probably all him trying to get attention or something, but how do they even pull that off? How does “Baby, baby, baby, oh like…” turn into “War, let me in, let me in, let me in” ???
Bob Marley - War
This song is not only for the white man. This is for everyone who thinks they are superior by race, religion, class, country, gender etc. I am being oppressed by a by a non-white group of people who has just taken away my vote for democracy by claiming racial superiority.
And when we parted, forever this time
The sun still left on time,
time didn’t stop either;
the ocean was still silent,
the sky was still there.
today the sun would be late for others,
time would stumble;
the oceans would rage in war,
the sky would definitely fall.
But my world fell apart,
and all they could do,
the whole universe,
was to silently move on.
The two had been inseparable since childhood even if not blood brothers they were in all other ways. The angel known as Inarian floats looking out over the gates despondent. He had not seen or heard from Azeal and it made him fearful. He sighs and looks about and draws his shawl closer and hums softly as he slips away into the gardens. If no one else would look for Azael he would. He opens his own portal and slips through to Earth. He just had to find him. Azael never went this long without contacting him. Not unless he was in danger. He flies up from where he finds himself in the third kingdom. He hated portals his always sent him to random places. Azael never had such problems then again Inarian was a bow and support mage. He could pick off enemies or heal and grant buffs to his allies. He was terrible with magic outside healing and support.
“Where are you…” He whispers as he scans about for any sign of his friend. He is careful of going near anything soaring along the tops of what ruins remained. He kept low and in shadows. That did little for him in the end. He hung in a cage his wings were just aching points of agony. It felt like they were on fire. Yet really all it was was was acid. From the disgusting wall sore demon puss things. He whimpers as he feels a new wave of it land on his wings and he can’t he let’s out a scream angry at himself for getting caught, angry at the demons for locking him in a cage near these disgusting things and angry at the things for existing and angry most of all at the other angels that wouldn’t help him. Both the wandering Hell Guard and those back within the city. He whines softly as some hits his neck and the pain is getting to the point he’s almost willing to summon his own magic to kill himself.
“Demons treat their canaries so poorly.” A voice says and Inarian raises his head ready to lash out at whoever had said it only to stare down at Death. His gut goes cold.
“Just kill me. I won’t be able to fly out of this cage.” Inarian states simply, and if Death kills him he won’t have to feel the hot shame executing himself would bring. Death watches him and sighs transforming into a giant reaper he plucks the cage and whisks them away setting it down on the ground he breaks the lock and Inarian blinks in shock. He crawls out and stands shaking and wonders at everything as he hissed and collapsed. Everything hurts and he’s drenched in that vial goo.
“There’s a group of Hell guard that could help you.” Death says and gestures back towards where he’d come and Inarian just stays on the ground trying not to cry. He can’t do anything to find Azael but if roles were reversed he’d be safe back home by now being chastised for going out on his own into danger.
“I was trying to find Azael but I am a weak failure… He’s out here somewhere and has to be in danger he only stays quite when something bad happens. You’ve hung around him in the past I’ve seen the way you watch him, please you have to find him.” Inarian says looking up at Death who looks at him and sighs.
“I have to prove my brother’s innocence before I can look for him.” Death says and Inarian sighs and looks up at him.
“Can you help me get to the Crystal Spire? I need to get to the Archon, maybe he’ll know more about where Azael could be…” Inarian says and Death sighs.
“I’m heading to Lostlight now… Come on I’ll take you to him.” Death says and Inarian stands still shaking terribly but he manages to get to the area. Nathaniel took care of him as Death went to the Archon. Inarian was in no shape to move further, he’d barely made it to the citadel’s bridge. After Nathaniel had helped clean up his wings and wounds. Inarian is healing himself when he feels the shift in the air and he looks at Nathaniel.
“Something is terribly wrong. I feel… There’s a sick feeling in the air…” Nathaniel nods and looks off towards the inner sanctum worry clear on his face.
“Death must be fighting something.” Nathaniel says and Inarian feels his gut drop.
“Not something… Someone…” He says and he stands his wounds are still mending but he feels like he needs to find Death… Something is wrong very very wrong… His feathers ruffle and he lifts into the air struggling somewhat but with four wings even injured he could manage to fly. Nathaniel takes wing and helps the smaller seraph and Blushing Inarian leads them closer to the source of the ill air he feels. When they see what Lucien has become they’re almost caught in a blast. Inarian flares his wings shielding Nathaniel and casting as powerful a ward shield as he can screaming as corruption lashes at him. It burns and it claws at him but he holds the shield until the blast is done. He drops it and plummets dropping to the ground hard screaming as he trashes the corruption hurts he fights it he doesn’t want whatever this malevolent thing is. He hears Nathaniel but can’t make out the words. Suddenly everything goes quite. He’s sinking into darkness and he can’t fly away. He feels fear like he’s never known and he’s drowning in it. Then softly a voice calls to him. AT first he can’t believe it. Azael wouldn’t be in a place like this.
“Inarian, wake up.” It’s an urgent command and Inarian opens his eyes gasping as standing over him is Death and Nathaniel Death holds the rod. Slowly Nathaniel heals Inarian who is slow to recover from the vile corruption. He has the Rod of Arafel now though his use is sparing as he fears falling to corruption like Lucien. He locks away the pools and does what he can for the surviving Angels. Death had bade him stay and Shepard the angels at Lostlight as Azael would not wish to see him hurt or dead. Inarian swore he would stay only if Death would find Azael after helping his brother. Death swore after helping his brother he would help Inarian’s.
Inarian waited for many years growing more and more depressed as it became apparent either Death had died, or Death had broken his word. Inarian couldn’t break his though. He’d sworn to stay and do what he could and there was much to do.
“Nathaniel… Do you think Azael will be okay?” Inarian asks staring out over Lostlight from the peak of the Crystal spire. The other angel paused and moves closer.
“I think Death wouldn’t let his word go. He’s either dead or still searching.” He consoles and Inarian smiles at him but looks at the pool. He wants so badly to try and look but fears what he’ll see. He cries later that night.
“Azael… Where are you…?” He asks the darkness terrified of breaking his word but scared of what Azael might be enduring. He stares at the rod. Even with such power what could he do? He was barely able to defend himself. He was still covered in the burns he’d received and scars from Lucien’s corruption. He sighs and stares at the pool. He is angry and sad. He wants so badly to go find Azael. He has to help him, Inarian had no family left. No one but Azael was left in his life.
Years later Inarian sits at the balcony of the spire and Dust the crow that followed Death came to him. Inarian pets the ragged bird and follows when he flies away. He follows and arrives back in the third kingdom. He sees the streaks in the air and sees Azael standing watching the streaks of fire.
“Azael!” He shouts and barrels into the other angel happier than he’s been since the whole ordeal started.
“Inarian… What..?” Azael asks softly holding the other angel who’s clutching to him tightly crying. Inarian looks up.
“I went looking for you… Was so scared I’d never see you again.” Inarian hiccups and Azael holds the other close so he can’t see the pain on his face. Inarian would hate him after he found out what he’d done. Surely.
“The corruption was going to consume me and I heard you. You told me to wake up. I had to find you, but Death told me to stay at Lostlight as they needed my help and I’m useless on my own. Death promised after he cleared War’s name he’d find you, Dust came and lead me to you.” Inarian is babbling and crying and Azael feels more and more pain because Inarian shouldn’t be so upset, not for him. He holds his friend, and indeed his little brother closer.
“I’m so sorry how worried I made you.” Azael whispers and Inarian mumbles into his chest but he can’t hear it clear and hear how much Inarian doesn’t care just that he has him back.
“I was scared I’d never see you again. I kept looking at the pool but was afraid it would turn me into something terrible like it did Lucien… Please come back to Lostlight with me? I need help, everything there is so… He destroyed so much… Hurt and killed so many. I can’t heal everything and you’d be able to use the Rod better and help so I can focus on healing those still needing it.” Inarian says looking up at Azael in excitement and Azael wants to, he really does but he can’t. He must pay for what he’s done.
“I can’t little one… I’ve helped cause what you see around us. I must pay for it…” Azael looks down and Inarian moves back a little bit.
“What… What do you mean? Explain, please?” Inarian sounds hurt and confused and that never sat well with Azael. He looks up and explains everything and Inarian looks upset and angry which makes Azael wince and move back. Inarian explodes.
“That bastard used you and that Maker! You aren’t solely to blame for this! In fact I’d argue you are only a victim! He used you and manipulated you!” Inarian says and Azael blinks at Inarian in shock.
“I’m not perfect Inarian, I played a role in destroying the third kingdom.” He states and Inarian shakes his head. He points at the purple streak of light.
“We’re talking to Death and we’re going to save you come Heaven or Hell.” Inarian hissed looking determined and Azael sighs and gestures at the floating citadel.
“We’ll have to ask War about that as he’s charged with my fate.” Azael says and Inarian grabs his hand and flys up towards it a look Azael knew well. Inarian had his mind made up and he’d make it happen come Hell or high water.
“If I were dying, you’d save me, it’s only logical I’ll protect you no matter the costs to me. Besides I owe Death and you two are cute together.” Inarian says smiling as Azael blushed still following though and silent.
بسطات الشام بالعيد .. لا بائع يبيع ولا زبائن يشتروا
المرجة، دمشق في أيار 2020
Marjeh, Damascus in May 2020
Too many wars are fought almost as if by rote. Too many wars are fought
out of sloganry, out of battle hymns, out of aged, musty appeals to
patriotism that went out with knighthood and moats. Love your country
because it is eminently worthy of your affection. Respect it because it
deserves your respect. Be loyal to it because it cannot survive without
your loyalty. But do not accept the shedding of blood as a natural
function or a prescribed way of history—even if history points this up
by its repetition. That men die for causes does not necessarily sanctify
that cause. And that men are maimed and torn to pieces every fifteen
and twenty years does not immortalize or deify the act of war… find
another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow-man.
Rod Serling Twilight Zone, Speech to Binghampton High School 1968
It’s our civic duty to make the government hear us—and heed us—using
every nonviolent means available to us: picket, protest, march, boycott,
speak up, sound off and reclaim control over the narrative about what
is really going on in this country.
ARVN Soldier patroling a beach in South Vietnam.
Parvana: We are a land whose people are its greatest treasure. We are at the edges of empires at war with each other. We are a fractured land in the claws of the Hindu Kush mountains, scorched by the fiery eyes of the northern deserts.
Nurullah: Black rubble earth against ice peaks. We are… Ariana, the land of the noble.
The Breadwinner (2017)
Prague in Anthropoid (2016) dir. by Sean Ellis.