"A thin bespectacled man, not a God,
Awkwardness in his clawing fingers
And his tie sticking out awry,
Looks in confusion, his breath uneven
Like a boy, his eyes downcast.
And he bows so awkwardly,
He hasn't learnt how, that's why he's triumphant now."
I shouldn't have a part in this. The whole story should have gone on without me, played through over me. I should have seen it, would have seen it, but should have only been able to react from the sidelines. To give a whistle of relief or a cheer at the end. That would be all that's necessary. I could have taken the initiative to document the matter in song-I'm certain I would have. But that product would have certainly sounded differently than what plays through my head now. It would have lacked the feelings that I know now. What I would have had was a summary, fine if I'd only gotten to stay out. Enough for what might have been. But what might have been isn't, though. I can't emphasize enough. Some force decided to pick me up and cast me headlong into that stormy whorl of red and grey, into the situation that somehow left me standing as a titan.
I am hardly conspicuous other than in name. Zolotoiy Lyes and environs, Mtsensk and districts surrounding have their fair share of songwriters, tunemakers, notesmiths. They each have their fair share of foxes, too. Thus I stand, average in height, less in weight, bespectacled, clad simply, manuscript in paw. A generic, maybe less than so. But tag me with my name and I stand out like a beast who's lost his nose and is running around chasing it. Maybe it's something to do with how I came from neither end and was pushed into both at once. All to do with Ismailov is documented; all concerning Zlaya was carefully noted. And now they want to hear all to do with me.
I'd say I've already done my share to memory. Prose be not my strong suite; my testimony to the mess lies, as always, in song. But with that, somebeasts don't get it. I'll be approached, asked to explain what those tones convey. "It's about what the title says," I'll tell. "Listen. It's clear." But they don't catch it, they want to hear more in it. Apparently, ironically, they've not grasped how much music can tell. And so for them, as I must, I clarify. There have been, and there will be many more histories of the downfall of Zlaya Trudnaya's evil. From passers-by, observers, like my mind wishes it was. Might have been interesting to see how it would have played out without me. But as that is not the case, I have the allowance and should take the time to see and show from the inside of one of the greater conflicts in these woods.
This should really need no preface. I should just go and tell. What you've just read is irrelevant to things for the most part. But I do admit, it's not to me, so I wrote it. As I am Mitya Shostak, quite literally of victor's note, I'll give to the conflict between Ismailov and Mtsensk the time I before refused to assign it.