Some people believe Erosia doesn’t exist, and others claim it can only be found in a dream. Some suggest that in order to see Erosia, one must believe in it first. It is up to you to decide what you will, and you may call me mad if you wish. Either way, I will live my life as a vessel through which passion emerges.
|Chapter 1: The Valentines||Chapter 2: The Muse|
Chapter 3: Prince Poison
|Chapter 4: Dystopia|
*Work-in-progress – many photos to organize.
Prince Ruby Valentine was born to Queen Onyx Valentine, the most beloved Queen of Erosia – but she died in childbirth, leaving Ruby with the curse of being poison to women. As a boy, he vowed not to speak and to communicate only through music, art, poetry and prose. Yet even his art was doomed to consume the hearts of his lovers.
The Valentine family was rumored to have vampiric heritage because they used their magic to control others, but they did it for the sake of community and upholding the values of their God. Ruby disappeared from the palace whenever he pleased, and seduced on his own, forsaking his royal duties.
Ruby thirsted for inspiration, and feasted on the dreams of others. His magic gift was to make dreams come true with his hands. He lured his prey with music that reflected their deepest fantasies. As they succumbed to him, he embodied their ideal lover. Once he made their dreams come true, he became their only yearning, and they could dream only of him. Yet the person they dreamed of was not Ruby, but rather, their own dreams which he happened to enact. Thus, Ruby would soon lose interest, as he craved someone with enough passion to fill him and make him whole.
Ruby was enslaved by self-loathing for killing his mother, and obsessed with the need to break free from his royal duties. Yet the longer he ran, the more violently these shadows consumed him, and the emptier his inner landscape became. As his world grew more arid, he became increasingly insatiable, and yearned to escape into more conquests. Then he met white-souled muse Erica Xenne, whose inner world was so elaborate, he could not possibly drain it dry. She was a never ending well of inspiration, and he sensed she might be the one to satisfy him. What he failed to realize was that he could not see her without facing himself.
Erica Xenne was born while two musicians played together, unleashing a song so heartfelt that it created life. Upon seeing the daughter of their passion, they succumbed to their desire for the first time and remained together throughout the rest of their days. Thus, Erica’s first act was to inspire surrender in others. Yet she was not born of flesh like them, and did not fit into their world. She was a muse who reflected their humanity, but lacked her own.
Much like Ruby, Erica possessed the power to reflect the colors of the world, but unlike him, she mirrored the truth rather than embodying illusions. Just as the color white reflects but does not absorb, Erica mirrored the core of people moment to moment, then moved on to reflect other aspects of nature. When looking at Erica, people saw their demons exposed so brightly that they were blinded, but their darkness could never destroy her. On the contrary, she craved immersion, and yearned for anything demonic enough to cast a shadow over her whiteness, even for a moment.
She lived among wildlife in Erosia, singing with the birds like an animal reflecting on the human entanglement she lacked, yet also feeling more at home among creatures who were true to themselves as she was. Her music broke people open, and she enjoyed sharing emotion. Yet her deepest yearning was to find someone who could speak her language of passion. Society was grey compared to the nature of Erosia and the passions in her heart, yet she grew weary of exploring her wild world alone.
Everything changed when she met Ruby. Where once she had been isolated and white, he made her heart bleed red. She had always been honest, but he made her real.
He feared to touch her, lest he drain her of inspiration and ruin their love like he had with other women. Worse, he feared to reveal to her that underneath his lure, there was nothing but hunger and emptiness.
They played music together, communicating in the language that only they could share, but in the end, they could not resist the temptation to make love. As they consumed one another, Erica began to turn red, becoming a reflection of Ruby himself, with nothing left of her but lust and obsession. Ruby felt the dreaded feeling of emptiness. He needed to feast on her dreams, but all he could taste was the ashes of her innocence and the false hopes he had fed her. His inner hell had been exposed and reflected back in his face, leaving him more dead inside than ever. He could not look at Erica without seeing himself, and if he could not love Erica, he could love no one. He failed to believe in love, and thus, disappeared from Erosia. He left Erica naked with his guitar, starving for him, tainted red from their love making, doomed to obsess over him for eternity.
She wanted to follow him, but the Valentines told her she would lose her magic powers. They explained that, once someone was corrupted in Dystopia, they could never return to Erosia, as they could never love purely again. Regardless, Erica left Erosia with Ruby’s guitar, and turned up in Dystopia, New York. When she arrived, she had no voice, as her singing had been her magic power. She was doomed to speak in a whisper. Still, she did not regret her choice. Ruby was her muse, and there was nothing to sing about without him.
Although Ruby had lost his magic power, his vampirism had become habitual, and he consumed women in Dystopia just the same. He slowly built up his guitar skills and used his psychic sensitivity to pull people’s dreams from their souls and reflect them in his music. Yet now that Ruby was free of the Valentine spell, Erica had renewed hope. She believed he could shed his old skin, and be born again.
Erica spoke in a whisper, but songs about Ruby wrote themselves through her. She sang her memories of Erosia when they had longed for each other, the loss of her hope and dreams when he had disappeared, the emptiness she had felt when he’d left her alone, the soulful songs they had shared, her jealous hatred of the other women he seduced, and his reflection she kept seeing in the mirror. Music poured through her relentlessly, and she had no choice but to let it flow. Ultimately she released her first album, Slave to Freedom, originally called Freedom Broke the Exile’s Heart — dedicated to Prince Ruby. It was written as a conversation between her vocals and his guitar.
She knew her obsession with him would consume her, destroy her, and rebirth her. He was the only thing that was real to her. Where once she had yearned for her fantasy lover, she now obsessed over one she believed was real, who had barely slipped from her grasp. Her album reflected her love and longing, but was it truly love, or was she pining for the shadow of a dream that could never come true? Did she truly love Ruby, or did she love the reflection of her hunger that she saw in his eyes? Perhaps she and Prince Ruby Valentine were two sides of one person, doomed to destroy and inspire each other for all eternity. Theirs is a story of sex and death; their music is rebirth.
Ruby’s head is down.
His hair is covering his sunglasses which are covering his eyes. He appears to be nursing a cigarette and a jack & coke but if we watch carefully he is replacing each repeatedly. His movements are so fluid we barely notice the cigarettes moving from pack to hand to mouth to ashtray. It just seems to rest in his mouth perpetually.
The conversation is pivoting and everyone at the table shifts position. Ruby remains still. Under his hair and sunglasses we can glean that he is not looking at anybody. He is not reacting. Everybody wonders whether he’s paying attention. We have all heard him recite a conversation word for word years after it occurred when we thought he wasn’t paying attention or was asleep. But we just don’t trust it. We have known from past experience that behind those dark glasses Ruby is present. Ruby is here, now. But he isn’t participating. For all of his silence his presence screams. He is thinking through a projector but his thoughts are made of emotions. There are no words.
There is some joking going on. Everyone cackles. Ruby doesn’t budge. Then a clever line. Under his hair Ruby’s lips dissolve into a grin. He is listening after all.
Realizing the reaction he has displayed, Ruby adjusts his position. He spreads his knees wide into a masculine territorial stance, claiming control, abandoning his previous distance and epicine posture.
He lights his next cigarette with enough deliberation to be noticed. Clearly he communicates angst. What did we say wrong? Is it that we managed to squeeze a grin out of him, or having too much fun while he is displeased? Ruby is not a man of many words but he is a man of many needs. His defense – what some refer to as his attitude – is “I don’t need anyone” “I don’t need anything.” And that stirs the silence.
But he is constantly filling needs. Smoking, drinking. Remaining still only to make a statement through the very shifting of his legs. Ruby doesn’t care. Ruby cares. Ruby doesn’t care. Ruby cares. Ruby is only at peace when he is doing something with his hands.
After the position shift he looks around the room. With his head still & hair down it’s hard to see his eyes shifting but I know he’s looking for something. I deliver. I can’t suggest a guitar. I can’t hand it to him. He will resist. “I don’t need this.” “I don’t need anything.” But his cigarettes are almost gone and his tension is almost cold. I know he needs it, and I know how to deliver it to him. I glance at the guitar on the wall behind him, subtly. Then I look away. Ruby doesn’t need to check for it. Now that I’ve looked in its direction, he remembers what is there, what he saw when he first walked in. He has everything memorized. With his back turned he knows what kind of guitar it is, what color, what type of strings, possibly what year it was made, and which rockstars have been most known for using that kind of guitar. He wants it, but he doesn’t want to make any requests. But the rest is up to him.
I resume conversation. I don’t trust Ruby to know what he needs but once he figures that out I can trust he will find a way to get it.
As we talk, he casually fakes oblivion, and unassumingly stands up, stretches, focuses on the guitar. His fingers are aching for it and my nerves are preparing. He might just noodle and practice scales. He might plug in and rip our hearts out. One never knows. But my heart is of no concern to me. If Ruby is satisfied momentarily – I will be at peace. I will have the chance to let my emotions wander. My emotions, my thoughts, my body language, will be in tune with the music but it will not be slavery. I will volunteer myself to the will of the music before it begins and as it moves me, controls and enslaves me, I will know that it’s a choice I made. I may feel I lack the power to unmake that choice at any time. I could leave the room, but that might hurt Ruby, confuse him. And I would never want to cause him any unnecessary confusion. But I know I have made the choice to let the music take me.
The only thing that enslaves me, erodes my will to refuse, captures me with force I can’t resist and never had the choice to resist, is Ruby’s body. His hair. His jeans. His lips. These enslave me, but the music allows me to abandon the idea of resistance. It offers a purpose, a focus for my vulnerability. A motion that everyone in the room shares. Ruby’s body has many women in a fix but at that moment, I was the only one in the room and it enslaved me, and I had to bear the brunt of its power alone.
Tell me something so I can release myself from this LIMBO.
Pervert me or cleanse me.
Erosia has locked the gates and will never let us back in
but you carry on as though one day everyone will be judged at the gates of Erosia
you uphold a standard of behaviour for everyone as though someone else’s manner will be absorbed into you and poison you or detract from your quest to make it back to a place that cast you out.
Erosia cast you out, Ruby.
Erosia cast you out because of what you did and who you were
And who you are.
You have not changed since Erosia cast you out except to pile on the traits that Erosia rejected
You do all the things Erosia cast you out for and you do them twice as hard, with vengeance and defiance
As though one day Erosia will see how well it worked for you and welcome you back in with all your bad behavior, your mistakes and your flaws.
But it doesn’t work that way Ruby.
Erosia will always be there for those who can love. In Erosia every day is Valentine’s Day. You are Ruby Valentine, you were like a prince there. You were more loved than anyone there.
Every day was your day to be loved and to love. But you could not love and you could not accept love so Erosia cast you out. The love of the people of Erosia had to go to someone or something that could give it back, that could appreciate it, that could grow with it and help it grow.
Love is not a commodity to vie for, or an accomplishment to praise yourself for, or a reward to collect and display on a shelf among other rewards, other items you have collected in the past. Love is not territory to conquer and love is not a conquest to keep you motivated. Maybe you think love was Love in Erosia, and out here in Dystopia, love is twisted. Love lost its meaning, or disintegrated. Love is corrupt and therefore you pursue it in the manner of seeking instant gratification, symbols of love, collections suggesting having been loved, conquests demonstrating your ability to win love… but it is not love you are displaying, earning and it is not love you are gaining. It is this thing we see all over Dystopia, this ideal nobody can reach. Those few of us who attain it are welcome in Erosia, but outside the gates of Erosia there are only seekers, conquerers, faithless objectifiers. But the problem is we all give in to it.
Don’t give in to it Ruby.
You don’t have to give in to it.
I am out here in Dystopia because I found myself unable to love in Erosia when you were not there to be loved. I found myself unable to accept love from other people like I did from you. Obviously I thought I could love and be loved but I was wrong.
Erosia cast me out because in my mind I embodied the idea, the concept of love, in your image. You, Ruby Valentine, were the figure, the external force, the bearer of all that I could understand of love. Without you I was unable to feel that within myself or to extract or share it with other people. But I realize now that perhaps I did not love you either. I wanted you to be the best you could be; I put your needs and desires before my own. I called this Love because it felt bigger and greater than I was. But the kind of love people feel in Erosia is even beyond that. It does not entail feeling rejected and disappointed by a loved one’s shortcomings.
Ruby – neither of us belong in Erosia. I used to believe that if we were together we would make it back to Erosia. We would heal and forgive one another and overcome everything. But now I wonder. If I loved you I might cry only for the emotion that stirs within me when we hug like I used to. I might cry because your guitar solo tears at the gut of my piano melody. Like I so often did in Erosia. But now I am crying because you are not here. You are not here because you don’t care about me enough to find ways to see me. You didn’t even see me for more than a few minutes when I came to see you. You walked away. I am crying because you don’t love me anymore. Because you are not the Ruby I remember or fell in love with, and I wonder if you ever were. I wonder if I fell in love with the best parts of myself that were magnified in your music and reflected in your image. I wonder if you – Ruby Valentine – were like a God to me. Music was the God that we both shared, and for so long we shared our music and brought one another’s – and the collective whole – of music to the divine levels that could be shared by our elevated consciousness and an entire elevated audience; the people of Erosia. But now it is not music I am lacking. Music pours forth from me but all of the music is inspired or driven by the lack of you, your love, your smile, your guitar solo. I have to pluck out the solos myself over a recorded track. You are not there with me. The music and lyrics beg for you Ruby.
And the force that runs through my body as the music spills out of my fingers is only divine because it fills the space that you left. I am filling that space in myself but I am crying because I wish it felt whole. I wish there were not a space fo fill; a riff needing a guitar solo, a picture needing another musician. I pick myself apart wondering why I need you. How I lost you. What I did wrong. Why you are not excited and yearning to see me like you used to. Why you treat me and your other friends like we are undeserving of your affection. You used to display affection towards all of your admirers and lovers. Now there is a standard no one can meet, and by pushing everyone away, you stay alone and you fail to meet that standard yourself.
But I am doing the same thing.
I am pushing everybody else away because they can’t measure up to you. Ruby Valentine. I push you away because you can’t measure up to my memory of you. I am at fault here and I expect you to fix it. I cry because you won’t change, but I am doing the same thing. That is why I cannot see you anymore. I can’t see you. I want to see you and be next to you or even watch you from afar – more than anything. But I seek you out and I see something else, something other than the Ruby I remember, and I feel disappointed. I can keep focusing on how you don’t measure up to the memory or no one else measures up to you, or I can remove myself and try to find out why I feel unsatisfied. I refuse to do what you are doing; to try to get back to Erosia when the only way to get back is to love where you are, and who you are, whatever and wherever that may be. But I am doing that anyway by trying to love you, or wishing you loved me. I am trying to regain something that I lost, or something that extracted me and rejected me. And I can’t anymore. I need to be here. In Dystopia. I can’t help wishing you were with me, but I know it’s an empty and self destructive wish because I feel the most distance between us when you are right next to me.
I want to see you more than I want anything in this world, and I know where to look for you, but it’s ‘fata morgana,’ a hopeless quest, because I never feel that you were fully there.
Please understand Ruby – I once loved you but now you have become a path, a symbol, a lost truth to obtain, a goal, a failure. I don’t want to objectify you anymore and I am going to try to stay away from you until I can fill that space myself and need you less.
My past letters have focused on you and us, but this letter is all about me, so I really don’t need to send it to you. It will not benefit you in any way. I just had to write it. This is where it ends. There may be more letters and feelings but I am redirecting them at myself rather than you, and that is why I address them to Ruby, not you.