Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Eighth Test

The Fortress Warden... or a past incarnation? ;)

The Fortress on top of the hill - mysterious

Brida's Fortress at Montesegür

Cross the mountains following in the direction of the east, then walk NW. At the top of one these mountains rises a fortress where Brida discovers her past incarnation.

Your image at this fortress is the eighth test.

Following a restful night, this time in a small Hotel in Tarascon-sur-Ariege, not far from the border of France with Andorra, I awoke refreshed and ready for the assault on the south face of the Montesegür..;)

Unlike the days that precluded this night in the small French township, I had uncharacteristically taken both dinner and breakfast, which had given me a respite from the basic feelings of hunger of late. I relaxed during a breakfast consisting of a cup of hot Cafe au Lait and Croissants with butter and marmalade. I reflected on the journey thus far, and basically felt quite confident that I was moving very fast and executing the tasks correctly, as an impeccable warrior only could.

I paid my dues, and packed my things into the small french rental car. I knew where I was headed and needed less than 30 minutes to reach the old Fortress perched precariously on the top of a very prominent mountain in this mysterious and ancient Cathar stronghold region.

I parked first at the crest of the hill which lay some 700 metres below the ramparts of the daunting ruin. Snow already lay thick on the ground, but as I looked up toward the extremely steep gradient leading to the Fortress,  a blizzard began to blow over the entire area and I decided to return to the car and drive down to he village which lay on the other side.

I drove through the mysterious old village, not sseing a soul. The only sign of life was offered by a rather angry looking dog, and he decided to escort me out of the village, I decided it was better to stay in the car rather stop and ask one of the ghosts of this ghost town for information.

I drove on down, trying to get a glimpse of the oher side of the mountain, but it appeared to be just as steep on all sides. So I turned around and made my way back to the crest of the hill below the Fortress.

I changed my saturday clothes for my ski and mountaineering weatherproofs. I then made my way down  and around the corner to the begining of what appeared to be an path leading up towards the ruin. Just as I turned the corner a young woman was making her way up the path. She wore a off white bobble hat with braids, and what appeared to be a racing jacket in red with stripes down the arms, you know the type that Steve McQueen used to wear. She turned around a couple of times to see who it was walking up behind her. I came closer and closer, and she stopped, turned around and said "hi, are you going up to the Castle?" I said yes, and she looked at me again with her piercing and beautiful dark eyes, "Paul?" she said... I was stunned, "who is this woman?", I thought.

I was stuck for words and not wanting to give myself away, I just said "who are you?" and she said "are you Paul?" I still had not recognized her and she continued "You're Paul aren't you?" and at that moment I realized that it was... Carolena... Carolena Sabah... Athena from Paulo's film of his novel "The Witch of Portobello".

We embraced and couldn't believe that we had met here, exactly at this place of Brida's past reincarnation, for the very first time, having been virtual friends for a long while. We were somewhat dumstruck for a while, and continued on up the very steep path in silence.

It wasn't until we reached the entrance to the Fortress that we spoke once more. We took photos of one another with the beautiful snow covered backdrop, just for the record and continued on inside the mysterious ruin.

It was awe inspiring... white with snow and not a single footprint to be seen anywhere, we abslutely alone and the first to have braved the climb that day. We were both quite speechless at this coincidence? The setting was just perfect for the filming of... Brida. But that will be another story...

We took more photos and then slowly made our way back down the way we had come.

Upon reaching Carolena's car, we looked at each other and I said "It seems strange for you to come this far (from LA) and to part here, not knowing when or if we'll see each other again?" and Carolena said "aren't you hungry?" I said that I wasn't particularly hungry and that I really needed to get going as planned. I believed that the Sword belonged to me, you have to believe if you really want something badly, and I wasn't going to let anything get in my way. My opinion on this did mellow with time, but not at this moment, and with it, the possibility to have lunch with a beautiful woman, an online friend, vanished in the thin cold air of Montesegür...

So we said our goodbyes, hugged and with that I turned around and headed for my car wich was parked up and out of sight, around the next corner. I wanted to look back, but knew that if I did...


1 comment:

  1. I was SO wonderfully surprised to see you Paul! What a wonderful way to meet you. You are a true WOL!
    Hugs and kisses,