In Glenborrodale Castle, there once hung a doctored picture. It adorned a wall of the dining room, where it was beheld by many pairs of admiring eyes, yet still withheld its secret. A slender fair-skinned young woman in a heavy crimson brocaded dress gazed softly into a crystal ball. Her focus entirely taken by what she saw, her countenance devoid of emotion. Was she pleased, relieved, shaken? Were the tidings fortunate or sorrowful?
who looked upon her posed these questions and more. She appeared
innocent, but could you be sure? Was her work witchcraft or a gift?
With her head bent and eyes cast down, she betrayed no clue as to
what she was seeing, let alone thinking or feeling. Was she
witnessing scenes of humble life or incoming death? Her apparent
calmness always affected guests in the dining room so that each would
speculate, as they consumed, their future happiness or doom.
sat on their own before the picture addressed her in a pitiful whine
or whisper: Tell me my fate... My destiny...
minds, at times, have a burning curiosity to know the unknown; to
stake a small claim on their prosperous future or to divert the
course of predicted tragedy. Unfortunately, in this instance, the
widely-held assumptions were incorrect. She did not know destiny. She
could not see into their future. The crystal ball, after all, was
not her primary apparatus, it was secondary. The real tool of her
trade was deemed too horrible, too sinister... If someone had pulled
back the dark blue curtain or looked more closely the truth would
have been seen, but it wouldn't be discovered until much later when
the painting was cleaned.
the skull once more emerged from behind the curtain, many human minds
had been rummaged in and a vast number of lives meddled with. Mind
pictures had been read, recorded, restored or stolen; the originals
or copies now the rightful property of the Skull Maiden.
you might have heard, she existed. She came from a long line and
their methods were before their time like Leonardo da Vinci. The
Skull Maiden pictured, it's said, was the most beautiful, but also
the most dispassionate. Her warm eyes left you cold for her focus was
so clear, so unwavering, and nothing could disturb her cool exterior.
To be in her presence, as I understand it, was chilling.
don't get that sense from either the no skull or with skull picture.
The skull is a relic of all the maidens' endeavours combined to delve
into as many minds as possible in their allotted time. To alter
people's past and present memories, to change how they might create
those in the future. To understand the mind and build a foundation,
then a bricked wall from historical memory. To partake in a form of
sorcery with spiritual and scientific connotations. The left versus
the right brain. It was one big game. A study where consent was not
sought, which would now be considered unethical.
as each Skull Maiden learnt, is not infallible. It waxes and wanes,
nobody's memories, even of the same event, are the same. The crystal
ball traced the readable ones and the laying of hands on the skull's
temples unlocked them. The skull would glow as the maiden's
fingertips probed and pulled ancient or newly-made memories from its
person. All would be opened, their contents logged and a copy
archived in a translucent brick. After which, some were wiped, some
restored, and others modified, before being returned to the person.
There was no protocol. It depended on the whim of the Skull Maiden.
individual's mind picture may change, yet it always retains some
essence of its story. The Skull Maiden however loses the intellect,
that capacity to divulge her own. She is all memory – she remembers
so much, she forgets what's hers to own.