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The Lost Lake of Souls

And the veil of silence

By Leeza CooperPublished 12 months ago 15 min read
2
Photoshoot "Lady of the Lake" Lillian Liu ~Chameleon ~ Elysian Fantasy ~Artistry ~Hysteria Machine ~ Lory Sun Artistry

Vivian gathered her long silk dress into her hands and made her way down to the lake. Once there she walked around its grassy edge peering into its depths, silent and still other than the occasional dragonfly landing gently on its surface and creating ripples which slid across the face of the lake disappearing into the unknowable. Observing them, she thought about what she was about to do to her lover.

Was her unannounced and sudden appearance dropping into his world like a silent specter the right approach? Were the weeping willow trees scattered precariously around the lakes circumference trying to advance towards the lake, or retreat?

Was it a metaphor or a warning? Was she any different to the real Vivian of the Lake, the Celtic enchantress who lived in a castle beneath its surface? Was she the same entity who would enrapture a sorcerer and put him under her spell? Was Patrick, her lover, out of his depths and unable to cease his personal augmentation, despite it being wrong of him? Could Patrick foretell or foresee his captivity, but be powerless to stop it or was she the captive?

She reassured herself that she had his best interest at heart, preferring to remember the French Vulgate cycle of Merlin, where Vivian loves her enchanter and seals him in a beautiful tower, magically constructed so she can always have him to herself. She vowed to visit him at his castle, not just in some filthy hidden-away tavern in the bowels of society’s peasantry. She was still a lady of popularity and importance, renown for her beauty and allure.

She was proud of her unusual and eclectic lifestyle and despite the lack of social standing her birth had imposed upon her, she was well-respected as the town’s medium and psychic physician. It was necessary that she stand her ground and show her lover that she deserved respect and a chance at her happiness.

Vivian waded out further into the cool inviting water, searching for answers, it was as if wading out into its depths would bring clarity to her own perplexing situation. Now that she was at her lover’s castle she was having second thoughts about giving Patrick his gift, somehow everything was becoming muddled and confusing. She was wondering whether she was the good enchantress or perhaps she was somehow tainted by evil and not even aware of her own darkness.

She thought of Merlin’s centrality to the Vulgate Cycle, the Suite Du Merlin, where her relationship was entirely different; or was it?

In the Cycle, when Merlin shows her a tomb of two lovers, magically sealed, she enchants him and has him cast into the tomb on top of the two lovers, where he then dies a slow and painful death. She had always pondered why Vivian the Lady of the Lake had cast him aside so ruthlessly, and if legend was true then it was told that he was in fact the devils son. She recently heard unsavory rumors about Patricks terrible past and how he had been likened to the legendary Merlin who was somewhat mad and sired by an incubus. His arrogance saw him gossiped about despite his obvious ability to prophesise and create great wealth, as well as charm the pants off any lady he fancied.

Vivian looked at her pale reflection in the cool dark water, searching it for answers to her own predicament. What could she learn from the story of Vivian, the Lady of the Lake? How could she turn her fears around so that she could be with her lover Patrick? It was true she wasn’t a queen, she wasn’t even a princess, but she was a witch, and she was his once....even if he didn’t know it yet.

Just as she was about to turn around and head back to the bank, she caught the glimpse of what she thought looked like a sword, floating, just underneath the surface. Her mind must have been playing tricks on her, surely not, it couldn't be, a sword? Leaning closer to the water to take a better look she could see its outline shining brilliantly in the sun, it was encrusted with colourful sparkling red and purple jewels around its handle and its blade was threatening her with its sharpness.

“I must be dreaming, or my imagination has gotten away with me,” she thought. “Or maybe the ale I consumed at the tavern on the way over here has gone to my head? I know I've been worried about my lover’s involvement with really bad people, maybe I'm having an hysteria of some sort, maybe I'm not ok.”

Suddenly, noiselessly, the sword rose out of the water but there was no hand holding it. Shocked, Vivian jumped backwards in disbelief, tripped over her long dress and fell hard back onto the mossy bank. The water had parted slightly enough for her to see the face of a handsome aristocrat; it was Patrick, her lover, staring back at her, but his eyes were motionless and he was floating, dead, decapitated. Vivian blinked rapidly as is if doing so would clear her vision and replace it with something more palatable, but nothing, not even wiping her eyes with her sleeve would erase the vision haunting her. She sat there, her legs in the shallow cold water, frozen in fear, staring into the lake until the vision finally disappeared a few seconds later. Madness she shouted out loud, utter madness, there's no way that what I just saw really happened. Brushing herself off and standing at the edge of the lake she looked anxiously back into the water where she had seen Patrick’s face. The water had changed colour from its bloody red pool of death to an emerald green with tiny flecks of gold, and amongst its crisp white lilies floated the face of a beautiful angelic woman. She was relieved to see something else - anything else - but the previous horrifying vision, and had it not disappeared when it did she was almost certain she too might have perished when it sucked her into its bowels in the pits of hell.

Vivian stepped a little further into the cool emerald lake, she was no longer full of fear, just curiosity and intrigue. She wasn’t a stranger to the world of the occult or deity’s or anything supernatural or mythological. Her own mother was a witch and for some reason had named her Vivian after the lady in the lake. It was only natural that one day things would take a deeper twist and she would find herself face to face in a lake somewhere with the realities of her studies.

Here she was hovering between heaven and earth, the timeless space of unexplained phenomenon looking into the mirror of a thousand lifetimes. Reflecting upwards in the water or was it more projecting downwards into the water? Whichever one it was there was no mistaking floating in front of her was the face of a beautiful serene and enchanting looking goddess. She had her long pale slender hands wrapped purposely around the magnificent jewel encrusted sword and was holding it out to her, beckoning and willing her to take it.

It's ok, the goddess mouthed from underneath the water, little bubbles rising up to the surface from her breath, just to validate her existence. Vivian froze completely mesmerised by the Spirit’s face, her beauty and her charm were intoxicating, and she felt herself being drawn in and comforted by her angelic spirit. The horrifying fear she had just felt at seeing her lover’s severed bloody head floating in the water had all but disappeared and in its place was some ethereal being beckoning her to come closer. Was it destiny or had she tampered with the gods and made a mockery of things by going against her late mother’s wishes not to involve herself with a man whose family for generations was known to abuse and torture the weak? Was her Patrick who he said he was or had she been blinded by his charm? Of course she had the capabilities of reading any soul she crossed paths with but this was very different. She had lost herself in his thrall and perhaps she had trusted too much, and maybe she was, in fact, this Vivian creature herself returned to undo wrongs of the past no matter the risk or the cost.

She felt her soul leaving her body as she watched herself transform and transcend into some other plain of consciousness. Are you really Vivian? Are you Nimue, the architect of Merlin’s demise? Are you the Lady of the Lake my mother told me about as a child? The deity after whom I am named?

Vivian reached out to see if she could touch her, feel her face, she needed to confirm that she was indeed real. What are you trying to tell me, am I in some kind of danger, should I not have come here, have I made a grave mistake by visiting Patrick at his castle?

The water rose and fell as if it was taking its own deep breaths before answering, as if it was alive and its long weeds and bony fingers were poking and prodding her just to get a reaction from her or to evoke a theatrical response.

She stood her ground, rigid and mute, waiting for some answers as to why she had first seen such unthinkable horror and then why this deity was beckoning her to take her sword.

“Vivian, what are you doing here, why are you in the muddy reeds, it's not safe in there, it's not safe for you to be here at my palace, and you are in danger with that unstable ground underneath the lake for heaven's sake, get out immediately, isn't drowning once enough!”

Woken abruptly from her thoughts Vivian turned to see that her handsome young lover Patrick had found her and was standing in the stirrups on his horse waving his arms to catch her attention whilst shouting orders.

“What just happened? Was I dreaming?” she asked.

Snapping herself back to consciousness and reality Vivian slowly gathered her sodden dress and climbed out of the lake with its long probing reeds, she decided she would not look back for worry of proving her own madness or perhaps it was the fear of validating the scene of her lover’s death. Or perhaps the lake was in fact her true reality and safety and dry land was her mirage, fraught with danger.

“Patrick? Is that anyway to greet me?” she demanded. “I expected a little bit more of a smile and excitement out of you.”

Vivian sat down on the bank and attempted to pull the weeds of her dress as Patrick dismounted from his horse.

“I’m not at all pleased, my dear. And tell me, are you accustomed to gate crashing society functions without being formally invited?”

Patrick leaned over and glared deep into her sparkly green eyes, just to make sure she knew he was not at all happy for her to be there. Of course, she had taken a huge risk and it wasn’t as if she wasn’t equally as worried about gossip and big mouths at his grand birthday soiree.

“Of course not, but for you, I made an exception”.

“Well, it was very brazen of you, I guess I'm not at all surprised though, I don’t think you’ve ever been the type of woman to do as she's told.

Vivian held his gaze without blinking, “You've got that right Patrick, absolutely not, I believe in going after what I want, when I know what that is and I make no exceptions. However, I am a little surprised at your rude indifference towards me, as I’ve never seen it before. Whenever we have met at my dwelling you have never failed to charm me or lure me astray with your passion. Today that has changed, you’ve changed, something feels off, not quite right and you know me, and you know that I will see why, if not immediately then in the near future. In fact, I believe I have already witnessed your future Patrick and it’s quite disturbing to be honest.”

Patrick glared at the women he had been courting for the last few months the expression on his face was blank, void of any emotion. He was suddenly in unfamiliar territory rooted to the spot by imaginary chords that she had thrown at him. If he was to proceed any further in conversation he would have to tread more carefully.

They were well hidden amongst the bullrushes and lilies, she told herself. It was the perfect place to find out if her lover was her enemy or her friend, she had put it off for long enough; the time had come to unveil the truth.

Whether she believed she loved him or not, she was smart enough to know from her past mistakes that love can be blind. There was no way that she could allow herself to be tricked or conned by a mere mortal, and his aloofness and arrogance was unveiling itself like the trees lose their leaves in winter. One by one they had begun to turn a burnt shade of dirty brown, their edges tatty and frayed, and their spine was parched and shriveled waiting to die, his excuses weren’t adding up and the hungry wolves on his heels were quickly catching up with him.

Perhaps it was the fact that they were surrounded by ancient history and tales of nymphs and goddesses, sorceresses and kings of power and chivalry that gave her strength and spurred her on to seek the truth. She had wanted and willed herself to be stolen away into the lake's potency, drawn into its poetic charm, it's symphony and seduction. She wondered if Vivian the goddess and Lady of the Lake was still there watching them, and if she would throw her sword into the air for her to catch if she discovered a betrayal. Was she floating in the bullrushes silent, indifferent and detached, or was she crouching like a tiger vengeful, salivating and calculating her next move, or perhaps she was a bit of both, good and evil, rescuer and perpetrator. Perhaps she was a combination of many stories and imaginative tales, and perhaps she came to be popularised as one of the primary characters of the Arthurian legends because she was untouchable and indestructible, and that's why Vivian resonated with her, because she was silent but deadly, inconspicuous and hidden but at other times bold and passionate. Whatever the Lady of the Lake was offering, life or salvation, death and resurrection Vivian would take it - she was immortal after all.

Laying back against the soft mossy bank, Patrick exhaled aloud as if he hadn't taken a breath at all for the last ten or so minutes that he had been cussing at her appearance without notice. Subtlety wasn't his forte anymore it seemed. Despite his best efforts to hide his true self the cloak he had been hiding under had begun to unravel and disintegrate.

“Well, it is an untimely and unexpected visit from you I must say, quite uncouth and unladylike”.

Vivian let out a puff of steam, “I can agree with the first part Patrick, some things do happen unexpectedly it seems. But, I haven't given you your real surprise yet. Would you like it?”

Patrick looked at Vivian somewhat perplexed. There was nothing on her person, no purse, no gift, not a thing. “Where have you hidden it then? I know you're not my gift because I've already had you the other night.” And with that he let out a sinister laugh. His eyes had grown dark and menacing, it was as if his whole body had shape-shifted into another realm, one more reminicent of The lady of the Lake.

“Patrick be quiet, shut your eyes and give me your hand” she said.

Vivian reached out and slowly guided Patrick’s hands towards her rounded tummy, she hesitated momentarily and then turned her body sideways placing his hands onto a mound of earth instead.

“What am I looking for....I can’t feel anything. Is this a trick or some kind of stupid bloody joke?” he asked.

Grinning, she said, “Move the dirt - push it aside.”

Uncertain as to what he was looking for, he obliged partly out of curiosity and mostly out of an overwhelming inquisitiveness. Vivian had never given him anything but love and tenderness and so he could only assume it was something wonderful or joyous. True he had used her kindness and goodwill to profit his own evil plans into his future, but he had kept things well hidden and out of sight. By winning over the town witch with his irresistible charms he truly believed he had silenced and put a stop to any evil rivalries that dare happen to cross his path. He was safe and protected under her umbra and life couldn’t be better for him. Sure Vivian was a witch and a beautiful one at that, but witches weren’t real - they were charlatans and imposters pretending to have super powers to earn money and gain control over others.

As he moved the dirt with his fingers, he felt something cold and solid like stone, it appeared to have engraving on its surface.

“Ok you can open your eyes now you disgusting evil thief,” she shouted at him.

Peering at the stone in front of him, he could clearly see it was an old gravestone, a rather regal looking plaque and written on its surface was the name Vivian Lady of the Lake. Nestled inconspicuously in its right hand corner was the paw print of a hound. Confused he shook his head.

“I don’t understand. What’s the meaning of this, I never knew this, this old grave was here on my estate, I haven't stolen anything, I haven't murdered anyone, what exactly are you implying, I demand to know what is going on? He was staring at her like a bull about to charge at its matador. Sweat had begun to pool on his old wrinkled forehead and it was now winding its way down his grey mustache before dripping off the end of his long beard, and his bony fingers were protruding from underneath what was left of his cloak.

Vivian didn’t say a word. Instead, she stood up, slowly took off her long silk dress and walked naked into the cool emerald, green lake. Reaching down into the water she wrapped her long slender fingers around her sword and floated silently into the heart of the lake and then she disappeared.

By leeza Cooper

Fantasy
2

About the Creator

Leeza Cooper

Leeza Cooper, a devotee, artiste, creator of published literature & poetry; Studied Degree CU, founder/president of Wheels & Dolls SMC; raising funds for DV, lover of travel, nostalgia & anything vintage.

Ms Australia International 2023.

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Comments (2)

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  • Scott Jacobs 11 months ago

    As always deep and thought provoking.

  • David Milstein12 months ago

    Interesting outlook and out come too.

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