"Under brooding skies and watchful eyes
On convulsive seas of false urgency
We walk empty corridors in vain..."
Fates Warning, "No Exit"
THE LADY WORE BLACK
by Richard Karsmakers
Inspired by Queensrÿche's "The Lady Wore Black", music by
Gandalf and Vangelis, and a Female.
When he topped the hill something like awe struck the poet. It
was as if he suddenly heard the soft vibrations of an ode to
beauty, a ballad to nature. A cool wind touched his face,
bringing with it the soft scent of spring, the fragrance of
budding trees and roses, drifting beyond his senses as the sun
spread its glorious rays across seemingly endless pastures and
meadows. It seemed to be playing tricks with shadows like dark
flames probing at his hair.
The poet sighed deeply. This was a sight for sore eyes, a view
that could lift the spirits of the dullest hearts. Tastefully
positioned hills sloped as far as the eye could reach as though
a frozen green sea of land and grass; a light mist hung in the
air, as if delicately placed to mimic the dream visions of a true
Goddess. Voices seemed to whisper enchantingly amid the trees,
beautiful colours of green and gold reached the most inner part
of the poet's being. Shimmerings as pure as those of diamonds
caught his eye as dew-covered boughs heaved and bowed placidly in
the gentle morning breeze.
He had never seen the world portrayed in all its grace and
virtue like this. Not before. It seemed like magic, the kind of
magic that only a beautiful spring morning with a soft breeze and
a light mist can invoke.
When he listened more carefully he could hear a brook flowing,
somewhere. He descended from the hill top, almost being absorbed
physically into this palpable magnificence, the almost uncanny
grandeur of everything around him. He felt the force of life
flowing into his lungs with every breath, he felt his nostrils
tickling in a teasing, almost exciting way. He stifled a leap of
There it was. Just behind a copse, a rivulet trailed off into
the mist-covered meadows. Its water was clean, inviting him to
touch it, almost luring him into drinking it. Fish swam and
jumped energetically, the clearness of the water reflecting off
their silvery skins. The little river's bottom was covered with
rocks and the occasional water plant. It was as pure as liquid
He knelt down, closing his eyes so he could absorb the sound of
rushing water better. If he would lie down he knew he could doze
off in the early morning warmth of the sun, listening to the
water and the birds. Sleep for hours in an almost majestic kind
of peace and harmony.
He kneeled down to drink. The water was bright, catching the
light from the sun and casting it back in a thousand different
directions. It played tricks with those enchanted by its
appearance of simple serenity.
The poet bent over to drink. The liquid tasted pure, cold as
ice. He closed his eyes, feeling the water going down every time
he swallowed. He savoured the sensation that sent shivers down
his spine. He drank to his heart's content. It seemed to refresh
his body and spirits.
When he opened his eyes again he noticed the mists had somehow
extended themselves. They now floated gently at a short distance
above the water as if they were living entities, afraid of
touching the water but instead probing, progressing, moving as if
by some preternatural force.
He suddenly saw a reflection, barely visible behind the pink and
brown blur of his own, in the constantly transforming surface of
When he looked around, startled, he saw nothing but a piece of a
black robe vanishing in the mists that had gathered tremendously
in the last few seconds. He erected himself, seeing the mist move
across his feet gently, enfolding his legs. Probing. Sensing.
Conquering. There were no flowers to be seen here, but the air
nonetheless smelled of roses even more than it had before.
He looked up to the sky only to see great, threateningly black
clouds march across it as if gathering strength for some kind of
momentous occasion. They rumbled, turned, whipped, ocassionally
formed shapes of huge bulging monsters that dissolved moments
The sun had been covered completely by now; it seemed to hide
itself reluctantly. The mists intensified, moving quicker around
the poet as the breeze increased to a light wind, tugging
somewhat at his clothes.
Who was that person, that mysterious reflection of which he had
caught a hazy, distorted glimpse in the water? Why did the air
suddenly smell of roses even though there were none?
Around him the silence grew. Even the sound of the rivulet
seemed to be dampened by the lingering mists, the birds suddenly
no longer seemed to want to perform their lovely serenades of
spring. Perhaps they were afraid - or perhaps they were merely
respectfully silent, awed by something yet unknown.
A very soft sound could be heard now. It seemed to come towards
him like the waves of a sea, sometimes intense, something barely
audible. It sounded like music. Whistling, perhaps. It came from
the direction where he had guessed the mysterious person had
Careful so as not to walk into anything shrouded in the
perpetual mists, the poet started walking in the direction where
he guessed the sound came had to come from. He quickly relaised
he was walking in the right direction, for the sound became
clearer, more beautiful, clearer. As he had thought before, it
was the sound of someone whistling. The melody seemed, if he had
to put his finger on it, contain sadness as well as infinite
The countryside had changed. Where he had earlier walked through
seemingly endless pastures and meadows with some occasional
trees, there was now a dense forest that was only interrupted by
sharp pieces of rock protruding from the torn earth towards the
grey sky, reaching like reaching ligaments, twice a man's height.
The poet heard the whistled tune ever clearer now. It seemed to
be right ahead of him. An irresistable urge took control, an urge
to find out who the person was that whistled, what it was that
caused this sudden dream, this sudden change of landscape, this
sudden wind, the dark sky. The smell of roses.
Then he saw Her.
On a fallen tree not far away sat a Lady clad in black, with Her
back turned to him. She had pulled back the hood of her robe,
revealing long dark hair that fell freely around Her proud
shoulders. The expression that radiated from Her body was very
much like the tune that arose from Her lips - infinite sadness
and grace, as if she were lamenting a tremendous loss greater
than any mortal could ever have endured.
She did not see him yet, nor did he see anything but Her back.
But Her silhouette on the fallen tree made his breath stick in
his chest. A great sadness took hold of him, he knew not why.
He got closer, trying to make no sound that could startle the
Lady. She continued her sad tune, as though She was not aware of
anyone being around.
There was no mist near Her, as if the thin film of clouds was
alive and hesitant to touch Her or even come close to Her. The
trees loomed high above Her shape; beyond their tips there was
nothing but darkness. The whole world seemed to be in darkness
but for the bit around her. The gathering clouds in the sky had
made night of day, as if nature no longer mattered.
He noticed the smell of roses intensifying, his nostrils
perceiving every tiniest of scents as if in some higher state of
He came yet closer and found the mists parting at his feet,
forming something like a path before him - leading to the tree
that the Lady sat on.
Before he knew it, he was in the same enclosure as the Lady
and her tree. They were now surrounded by a wall of trees on all
sides. It had the appearance of a prison - only this prison had
been made to keep the world outside from harming that which was
He would have sworn there had not been a tree where he had come
from, but now there was. The forest seemed alive, throbbing with
some ancient sense of purpose. He looked around him, realising
he should feel threatened but, strang enough, didn't. From
somewhere deep inside, a feeling of inner peace gently spread out
to the most remote parts of his body like a powerful and totally
When he suddenly noticed the sound of leaves and branches
brushing against each other in the wind he suddenly realised he
no longer heard Her whistling.
He looked at Her, to find Her looking at him.
Her face was as if carved by a Great Sculptor's hands, a modern-
day Michaelangelo. Her jugular bones protruding enough to be
seen, Her eyes were of deep soulful grey, like jewels amid her
complexion that was silken and white like purest velvet spun of
milk. Around the stunning splendour of Her face hung beautiful
hair, curled, long and as raven and as pure as a the blackest of
starless nights. The kind of hair, loose like the wind, that make
you wish you were a brush. The kind of hair you would want to let
flow through your hands lovingly, hair you would want to brush
from Her face, clear away from Her eyes. Her mouth had delicately
formed lips that glistened in a light he could not discern the
source of. He was so absorbed gazing at Her face and incredibly
black hair that he began to stutter an apology but ended halfway,
not being able to produce anything more but a sigh that sent
goosebumps across his back and arms.
He had written poems about beautiful women draped across
priceless couches in exquisite clothing. He had composed love
songs to the most magnificent Goddesses of the heavens above; he
had described their silken skins, the softness of their breasts,
the deep serenity of their glorious eyes, the intoxicating taste
of their lips, the tantalizing smell of their breath. He had
conceived poems that brought colour to the cheeks of Queens
Supreme and had lamented woeful partings of loved ones. He
thought he had seen everything that was beautiful on earth.
But one glance at this Lady was more than all he had ever felt,
more than he had ever considered any mortal capable of feeling.
Emotions of death and birth, joy and sadness of a thousand lives
surged through his being, increasing with every beat of his
heart. This was the kind of Woman you'd like to learn French for,
the kind of Woman that could have made a peaceful phylosopher of
Atilla the Hun.
He staggered, not quite knowing how to cope with the
overwhelming emotions that took hold of his frail inner self.
Before him sat a Woman more beautiful than anything he had
beheld before. Here sat an ancient Acropolis, a magnificent
Gothic Cathedral, the most proverbially bewitching of Paradise
Birds, the proudest of Lionesses, the sweetest of French Wines,
the most delicately tuned of Violins, a brightest of Suns, a most
impressive of She-Dragons, a High Queen of High Elves.
She looked at him, smiling a lovely smile of purest sadness.
He sank to his knees, quite incapable of doing anything else. He
gazed at Her with an instant and deeply sincere feeling of
adoration and devoted love.
There was no escape. He didn't want to escape. Earth would
crumble if he would ever have to tear his eyes away from Her, the
heavens would split and the universe would be reduced to an
insignificant piece of emptiness with no reason for any mortal to
live. He would dwell in darkness if She would turn him down. He
felt with every fibre in his body that if he was ever to part
with this Lady again, life would be less than a hollow
shell of nothing. The singing of birds would hold no beauty.
Mists lingering across green meadows would cause instant
depression. Odes to Aphrodite would be meaningless. Music or art
of any kind would never again hold any value for him. The biggest
mountain would not be high enough to surpass his sorrow, the
deepest sea not deep enough to drown his grief. He was so full of
love for Her that it made tears leap at his eyes.
She looked away from him, as if remembering something that tore
open old wounds that were revealed deep within the centre of Her
His entire being cried out mutely to Her, body language and
supernatural signals being the languages of the universe that
this Lady in Black understood like no other.
He felt peace and rest flow through him when She looked at him
again, quite suddenly. It was immediately followed be a feeling
as he was being quartered, made love to, born and
withering away - all sensations combined in but a fragment of a
second that he spent in intense agony and profound pleasure that
he could not help but sense in all aspects with every cell in his
body. He felt as if steel lances were driven through every muscle
in his body, as if he was being burned in the middle of a
supernova, tortured horrendously by Evil lords - but he also
experienced the feeling of the accumulated love given by mankind
since Eden, the first step on another planet, a thousand orgasms,
the intricate scent of thousands of rare and intoxicating
She arose from her tree like like in a dream. The poet tried to
reach out but couldn't. He wanted to walk but found himself
unable to do so. She was warning him, which he felt very clearly.
Being able to love Her would have its price, the heaviest price
for any mortal to pay.
She did not speak a word. The trees parted as She walked off.
The spell had vanished. He found himself capable of walking
again. She had set him free, free to chose for himself what to
do. Go home and be without this Lady for the rest of his life -
or go with her and pay the price.
His heart leapt, his soul cried out, his cells writhed in agony.
Whatever the price was, he was prepared to pay. All his life he
had dreamed of this, wished for this to happen. The price
mattered not. She was all that mattered.
He followed her to a small wooden cabin that lay partly hidden
by dense undergrowth. A slow drizzle had started falling but he
felt none of it. Drifting on clouds of overwhelming love he
followed Her shape, spellbound again. He adored Her footsteps,
beheld with adoration the odd leaf that was brushed aside by Her
feet as She strode by. He worshipped the way in which She moved
as if motion itself was but a means designed for Her to be even
more inexplicably ravishing than She already was. Some way or
another, he felt as if the entire universe revolved around them,
as if their movements were swinging the earth and the planets in
their perpetual orbits around the sun.
Everything seemed utterly unimportant all at once. Everything,
that is, except for the two of them.
It seemed as if he heard bells tolling in the distance.
All his senses succumbed to the overwhelming sensation he felt
throughout his body, the feeling of deep desire, admiration,
affection and lust. He wanted to be one with this creature
mentally and physically, no matter what the cost.
Outside, the gathering power of the rain thundering on the roof
of the small wooden cabin remained unnoticed while they made
passionate love, crying cries softened by the mists, loving like
mankind had never been able to love before. They melted together,
merging their minds and bodies together indefinitely, losing
themselves in the forever increasing whirlwind of passion,
soaring through the edges of heaven, ornamenting their golden
love with the most beautiful gems.
They became one with the trees, the forests, the lands, the
world, the seasons, night and day, deserts and polar caps, ice
and steam, all Gods that had ever arisen, all beauty that had
ever existed in the greatest empires past and future. When their
tongues met they kissed the gates of heaven. When they held each
other they embraced immortality.
This was not something earthly, not even something heavenly - it
was something that could only be of equal status with the stars,
with the galaxies. It was something that could not be surpassed
until eternity, not even until the very end of all, when time and
space themselves collide.
Their combined desire was as insurmountable as a mountain
touching the sun, as intense as the Krakatau making love to
Venus, as hot as the centre of a thousand galaxies' supernovas,
as vast as all the earth's oceans combined.
Something that could make Death come alive, or die.
When the poet woke up, the first thing he smelled was the scent
of roses lingering through the small wooden hut. His entire body
felt pleased like it had never felt before. His head rested on
the pillow like it had never rested before. In a peculiar way he
felt tired but wonderfully alive at the same time.
The sun shone brilliantly, its rays almost touchable as they
fell through the floating dust above the bed on which it shone
through a broken window. Through the cracks came the warm smell
of summer, carrying with it the fragrance of thousands of other
She looked even more incredibly beautiful in the rays of the
rising sun that fell on the gentle curves of Her naked body. Her
eyes were closed, Her breathing soft and regular. He brushed
aside a strand of her raven hair and kissed Her cheek. His lips
tingled with the sensation of that skin of purest velvet. He had
the feeling of death and birth again, the feeling of a planet
crashing down on him and a Woman giving him the kiss of life.
He had to lie down.
They had spent several months together. His first sunset with
Her had been the dawn of a new life altogether different from the
pale death he had hitherto had the audacity of calling 'his
life'. She had never spoken a word, but Her eyes had spoken of
worlds unknown, experiences unsurpassable by dreams or reality,
love unattainable by mere mortals.
They had seen the sun rise and set many times, they had seen
rain fall and dry. They had heard the trees grow buds, the grass
become long, the forest animals raise their offspring. They had
felt each other's touch, each time celebrating it by harvesting
each other's love to the full. He realised he had hitherto been
as unacquainted with true love as a blind man would be with
colour, a deaf man would be with midsummer serenades. The sun
rose in her eyes, her loins sang songs of love mixed with
absolute sadness. She was a Lady he would need death for to
forget, more beautiful than love itself.
He wanted to know what lay behind Her. Who She was, what the was
reason was behind the infinite sadness that seemed to have a firm
hold on her. Was She a Goddess? A Fairy Queen? The embodiment of
He would try to read the story of her life from the soulful grey
of Her eyes, seeing only tales a mortal would never be able to
understand. Every day he would try to find words pertaining
beauty and love that were suitable enough to describe Her and
what they felt for each other. Every day he would wonder at Her
sadness more. He would plea Her to talk, beg on his knees for Her
to divulge her secrets, regardless the cost. Each time he would
bring it up She would cry. Each time he saw the tears in Her eyes
it had felt as if Her love was flowing away, unsalvageably
seeping into the cabin's wooden floor.
In the end She couldn't keep it from him any longer.
They both paid the price: Mortality and immortality.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.