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The Winter King

THE WINTER KING

(Lyrics by A.W.Yrjänä translation by Ville Moilanen)

"In 2727 A.D. the good eparch Wong Wu-Wei, whose name means He Who Is Not, gave a garden as a morning gift to his wife. The whole garden would fit into the nail of her little finger. The eparch had built babbling brooks, arched bridges and stunning waterfalls, selected and planted innumerable different blooming trees and built a thousand mechanical birds to sit on their branches. Each of them could sing, in many languages, pieces of the Saga of the Winter King."


I | The Almighty

Laertes Prime A.D. 2481, Autumnal Equinox

The sky is turning red, it knows what to expect

As the bows of ships are glowing at the docking stations.

They rest like wounded animals, so tired

The encircled city awakens in the morning of her last day.

Soon, from the night of ages would the spectres of winged bulls march

From the night of the mist of antiquity, from the dusk of nightmares.

Soon the heavens would open, herds of angels would surge

With arms full of lightning bolts, eyes radiating justice

The king leans on his golden hand in the depths of his tower of metal.

Like a solar flare his stare is soulless, pale, ever-burning.

Now, on the day of defeat, before the doom, he is looking down on his kingdom

And with a face of stone he quotes an old story to the empty walls:


Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lie the smoking mirrors above the cosmos

Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lies the emptiness that binds us together

Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lie the smoking mirrors above the cosmos

Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lies the emptiness that binds us together


Air ripples in the room and shadows are moving in the hallways

A shape is gleaming in the dark, even the silence goes silent.

On the general frequency voices clang at last

and they talk like the voice of an ultimate winner:


"You were the king of worlds, holding their strings.

You were a ruler: by your will would lives end or be spared.

At the end of the day even a king is weak just like anyone else.

You shall yet fall on your face and wish to save every last one."


Is the world limited, are we its prisoners?

Then there is a god is behind it all.

Or limitless, without boundaries: then we are alone, free...

But what to do when one knows that the story is about to end?

Be wise, give me a standing place

And I will crank the world off its hinges.


Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lie the memories that build us

Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lies the time that prepares us for this moment


Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lie the smoking mirrors above the cosmos

Beyond the wall of light, beyond the reach of speed:

There lies the emptiness that binds us together


"My grave is guarded by a gentle breeze

My grave is guarded by a drop of morning dew

My grave is guarded by a hundred thousand killer satellites

My grave is guarded by a teraton of antimatter."


II | A Matter of Resources

Excerpts from Propaganda Broadcasts A.D. 2234-2251

Expand and conquer

And extend to the stars, prosper

Or weaken and die

And pine away towards your doom!

So say the competing kingdoms

To each other

And four of them go to war

And one is destroyed at once

But three remain

In a state of a stalemate

And then dawns a time of which

Many stories are told

(Stories are told!)


We are afraid of the stars

We don't try to embrace coldness

And the journeys are so bitter

So long, so heavy

And the resources are so limited

Life is so fragile,

And the colonies, before long

Every one of them will be on fire!


Do you not dream about the stars?

Do you not long for the wide emptiness?

Distances are calling for you

"Travel to the glory, to the colonies!"

The possibilities await:

Unlimited possibilities,

But only if you join the troops now!

The horizons are golden!

Don't you long for an adventure

At the building sites of the new world?

Join our troops, the new alliance,

The interstellar sphere of power!


III | Praetorian Cyborgs

An extract of a Wall Relief in the Ruins of the IV Cataract

From the herds of fanatics

From those wanting to self-sacrifice

Were the soldiers for the elite troops selected

From young aristocrats

From the hopeless of the slums

The best, the craziest

The maddest


Out of the sand of these fields

Out of the echoes in barracks

Out of engine oil, blood

Our strength grew

Out of the heaviest weapons

Out of the weight of battles

Our skin was all scars

Our blood was acid


Our war lasted for years

Raging under the stars

In the fear and the sadness

Of a thousand fields

Our only love is

The roar of the dropships

In storm and snow

The loss and the doubt await


I saved our commander

From the destruction of a frigate

I was promoted to the captain of a starship

I served far in the midst of stars

At home, the greats of my family

Were hungry for power

I would be their secret weapon

Their slave

The deceiver of my brothers

The death bringer


"From the tunnels of Antares to the stardust of Laertes

From the insurrections of Pleiades to the uprising of Orion

From the mandates of quasi-heaven to the maw of hyperspace

Everywhere side by side until we become as one.

A transgene turns us chimeras into a wolf pack

Cyborgs and cherubs are thrown against us.

The enemy is developing golems and seraphs

Their archangels boil crooks in womb tanks."


IV | Ghosts of Power

From the Psalter of the Skylights of the Guards

The fiery furnace of the ground is lava

The sky above like melting lead

At the honour site of the final battle

The guards platoon stands and falls

With burning clothes and cracking lips

We dance the last slow psalm

How alive is the blood in our veins

And the flames like cold steel


And we wonder who we the shadows are

What are we serving here

Who are we protecting watchfully

We, the riders of chaos


We sing a song about evil deeds

And there's not much life ahead of us

We sing about the empty beds

And the places we never returned to

And the gravest sins we commit

When we don't feel anything

And the most beautiful miracle of all

Is the will and trust for love


And we wonder who we the shadows are

What are we serving here

Who are we protecting watchfully

We, the riders of chaos


Only one detail can lodge in the mind

One detail out of the whole life

Some bright glow after the day is done

Or a look a partner gives

Only one detail can lodge in the mind

One detail out of the whole life

Some bright glow after the day is done

or a look a partner gives


And we ascend to the temples of beauty

And we ascend after the day is done

And we ascend to a great mountain

And we ascend and we ascend


V | Starship Captain

From the Chronicle of the Morning of the World

I wake up in the middle of darkness - I am tied up lying on my back

It is warm and wet, I am shouting and twitching in terror

My helplessness calms me down quickly, I am trying my senses

I am looking for something in my memory, it is so desolate and empty


Then, a light powers up slowly and the lid above me opens

I am inside a coffin in a room of metal, and pipes run down my chest

I don't even remember my name, my hands don't look familiar

and the naked body that is mirrored by the wall looks like a strange machine


Through the nightmares I knew that I was elsewhere

That I must bear a strange mission

How an oath binds me to deep shafts and streams

There is a seal over the secret in my heart


A prisoner or a refugee, a slave or a king

No feeling in my memory, then the room starts to talk

"Get up and get dressed, we are nearing our destination"

"Where, who is talking and to whom, I demand more information"


"Our journey was long as was your command

And I don't know about anything else, I'm just the ship's log

I've been guarding your sleep and counting your heartbeats for decades"

So, a log, a ship and outer space, all for some hidden destination

That only I would eventually recognize

Even though I didn't know anything anymore


I get up and get dressed, I touch the door

It opens up to a quiet hallway

If I am here, I am supposed to be here

But where, I must find out

How an oath binds me to deep shafts and streams

There is a seal over the secret in my heart


VI | Song of the Cosmological Constant

Notes by the Editor Regarding the Sources of The Winter King

Just a page off the Codex of Changes and Disappearance

Just an extract of a wall relief in the ruins of the cataracts

Just a memory from the king's mechanical night book

Just a verse from the Psalter of the Nightlights of the Guards


And it is told that his grave is guarded

By a hundred thousand killer satellites

And it is told that anyone trying to reach him

Will go astray in a forest of metal trees

And it is told that his left eye

Is watching every empty landscape

And it is told that he has won over Time

And lost his soul to Darkness


A segment from the Chronicle of the Morning of the World

A chapter from the Farewell Spell of the Riders of Chaos

The obscurest part of the Apocrypha of the Golden Legend

A lost splinter of a whispered tale


And it is told that his grave is guarded

By a hundred thousand killer satellites

And it is told that anyone trying to reach him

Will go astray in the forest of metallic trees

And it is told that his left eye

Is watching every empty landscape

And it is told that he has won over Time

And lost his soul to Darkness


He shall return when the lateran storm rips through the sky again

He shall return when methane hydrate lanterns light up the horizon

He shall rise when the cruel rusalkas return to the palace of hunters

He shall wake up when a prisoner in his stasis suit dreams away his life


VII | The Seer of Parvati

From the Codex of Changes and Disappearance

The star is like the sun of spring, and the planet like the Spring itself

Its woods and springs, its mountains and valleys

And the shadowy paths and the deserts


There are palaces of paradise, and engines underneath the oceans

They keep the nations and peoples of the fairyland

On the move, in the play of life


Few travellers wander here,

They cannot find the way or do not dare to come

The journey is so long, it's a dangerous road

And there is not much comfort on the way


But one does come, he escapes through the tunnel of a thousand fires

Through shafts of time and the vortex of forces

And finally wakes up in his ship

He brings his ship down like a flaming arrow to the safety of the wilderness

He escapes far from the route of his hunters

And begins his longest journey

He hears of an ageless woman up on the mountains, a madwoman or a seer

She is the priestess of the Chronos of Stars

And the bearer of the Keys of Mithra.


Whether the traveller finds his way, no story can tell

But the mountains know and the paths whisper

The two walked together for years


Planning and learning, absorbing strength from each other

They mingle reality, give birth to a myth

They decide that wars must end now


Rulers shall fall off their high and cold thrones

Kings shall collapse, the world shall change

The gates shall be open for everyone


VIII | The Crimson Commander

The Farewell Spell of the Riders of Chaos

Our ship is made of darkness

It mocks the laws of nature

With towlines, ropes, rigs and sails

It sails the waves of the emptiness

On the decks the crimson crew

Dark as if painted with blood

From amidst the purple of cloaks and hoods

Gleam dark silvery eyes


And their elder is Maltan Hiram

The crimson commander

He knows the secrets of the Schwarzschild radii

And the neutron stars and the Cepheids

We journey on his secret routes

Like spectres of space

We strike deep and disappear quickly

Sometimes even the fear cowers before us


When the others rest during the day

The commander sits alone silently

He remembers all his years

And sorrows and his faraway love

He shuts his lidless eyes

Opens up his composite fist

And he rubs a small white stone

And smiles quietly


And their elder is Maltan Hiram

The crimson commander

He knows the secrets of the Schwarzschild radii

And the neutron stars and the Cepheids

We journey on his secret routes

Like spectres of space

We strike deep and disappear quickly

Sometimes even the fear cowers before us


IX | Fallen Light

From the King's Mechanical Night Book

Once, under time's arm

The spring of light was gleaming.

Over a dewy meadow we ran

And hid in dark groves.

Once, under time's arm

Winds and clouds were our people

When proud ideas carried us

And the deep flows of secrets.


Beyond the wall of light

Beyond the reach of speed

Lies the emptiness that binds us together.

The grey rooms of reality

Abandoned farms and roads of iron

All the coldness that can hunt us down.


Spring, out there somewhere

You feel the heavy rumble of water.

You wait for the colours and the scents to return

You walk across the yard with a harsh mind.

But spring will not utter a word

Myrtles and laurels fall off to yesterday.

You think about the end of everything

About the autumn and the dark distances.


Above the gate of the wall of light

A face pressed into metal

It looks infinitely calm.

In its bronze stare

That is unchanging, unfamiliar

There is all the horror that goes on and on.


But it is all a dream, only a dream

Everything is a dream here, far away

Beyond all consolation

Expelled from the shores of beauty

But it is all a dream, only a dream

Everything is a dream here, far away

Beyond all consolation

Expelled from the shores of beauty


And so, when the elders of the council

Wanted to submit me to the test

I accepted the mission and disappeared

On the deck of their most beautiful ship


X | Quanta

Index Prohibitorum Disciplinum Augustam

"Thanatos-6, a marshland

Drop squadron seven five reporting in

Head count eight

Mission parameters understood"


"Storm is rising, we are missing three

The engines are running on auxiliary power

The wounded were left in the chasm

And the Guard will never surrender!"


Through the gate of death into the light!

On the road of sacrifice unto the victory!

So echo the shouts of parade grounds

In our ears, even now

Twisted and muffled

Calls into the emptiness

Wheezing and panting

The fading signal


I took a look to the sky through the smoke of the battle

And through the disturbances in magnetic fields

Over the commands and shouts in the radio traffic

Over the pain of the wounds and the fatigue.

I took a short look to the sky and almost understood

As the fusion burners of ships were blazing

And thousands of shapes of darkness

Could only be seen as dots on the tactical display.

I would only need one second, and I would remember

Why we were created, why we have come here

But a second in the midst of the roar of the battle

Is a small and impossible luxury

From the night of the emptiness, through its flames

My forehead is hit by an EMP

And I would fall into a coma inside my suit

Until I'd wake up somewhere else


Once, all matter will be frozen

Darkness takes into itself

Every bit of a particle

And the entropy sweeps

The mirror clean of photons

Of memories and records

Space is an empty canvas, time endless.


XI | Rusalkai

The Apocrypha of the Golden Legend

Bring forth the one who sits

At the deck of Gayomart.

Throw before me the one

Who still dares to defy me.

The one who cannot see that he is

But a creation of his own king

Nor know that his life is but a dream and a lie!


Seek and destroy, his only command

An endless promise of pain

A limitless will and power to do evil

Above him, only the silence of the cosmos

The music of broken bones

The grim choirs of the dead

The cavities of blinded eyes

And the masks of the flayed


Out of the night of the cataracts

The black shapes arise, singing of death

Humanoid creatures of shadows

The pale underlings of the king

Desolation follows their footsteps

Coldness walks in front of them

Finally they find their prey

He steps up to embrace them


Our master has given the order

So we shall set out

And to the palace of hunters

We shall bring our prey


XII | Mirror of the Almighty

Laertes Prime, A.D. 2481, Autumnal Equinox

The conqueror steps forth before the throne, alone

The heavenly army waiting for her command

She folds her energy field wings, tilts her head

And looks in the eye of a king about to fall


"The destroyer of worlds, the god of the living

The holder of the firmament, the golden mountain

Those are but names, and now they shall be stripped

If you fall down on your face, what would it save"


The consciousness is empty like a painting in twilight

But something seeps through, a scent of memories:

The first memory is weak, so obscure:

A door to a secret is hidden in the heart.

The second memory, faltering like a grey, grainy picture

It shows a face and the scenery behind it

The third memory concerns numbers and formulae

The fourth memory is a dark and dangerous road.

And a voice seems to be explaining something, quietly and seriously

As if something familiar, safe, long ago lost.

It says that the body is a map and the pain is a compass

And the spots of light in the mind are missions:


I remember the great book under the holy seal

The one which my ancestresses carried under the new sky

I remember the alliances, the wars, the travels, the new treaties

I remember myself only in the way one remembers a nightmare.


At last, each and every kingdom collapses into dust

And the names of kings fall into the oblivion

Systems crumble down, great words die on lips

And within the ruins, only a lonely breeze is wandering

And even though I live, everything is scattered in time

Blown to the solar winds of suns that will once die.

The mind's sphere of power is learning the message of space

And the silence of the wordless vaults of stars.

Did love, did hate once flow through my being

Life as its fabric, me as its thread

So, were those moments futile or

All this mortal defiance within me towards the face of darkness