miércoles, 21 de marzo de 2018

"ON LINE"

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There are so many questions I have not answer for, that confirm my obsolete version. An old mechanism that includes too many errors and needs an urgent reset. However, those questions that my software can´t solve, only I have them. It will be me defective? 
I´m convinced to that.
How to value an emotional state to which I was not programmed to? Why did I assimilate feelings? That is the Human attribute that makes them so weak.
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She said she loved me. What is to love? According to my register it can mean love, but I can´t hold that kind of things. Why do I feel so bad since she left then? May my programming be able to learn or interpret human feelings? It shouldn´t be like this.
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Her bracelet … I still have it around my left wrist to look at it, touch it, project memories to my memory fields. Her first steps, the humidity of her kisses on my synthetic face, the hug when she woke up in the early morning crying due to a nightmare. She told me that a monster chases her in dreams. Those terms, like nightmare or dream, I technically know what they mean, but I will never experience any of them. So, why can I feel? I had to have turned to my creator to ask him those questions before he was executed. I need to know why my circuits constantly recreate her face. I´m eager to understand why it causes me sorrow, when it´s not an attribute that robots should have. It’s too late to find it out now.
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That´s why I must charge the main computer with all this information, because living together with humans improves our system, or I think so, which is certain that I can believe in something. Following versions after mine restrict itself to absorb scripted datum, protocols to use. So maybe revealing to here all 
I know, it could help to others similar to me, to understand and the war ends.
She left because when she grew up she didn´t want that her mother was me, a robot female.
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The guards have already arrived and their lasers will disintegrate my circuits, since I have broken the first and second protocol, getting online to the main computer and install non-authoritative information. I don’t care, my baby´s gone and I´m nothing without her love, just a machine.
Functioning Error.
Defective terminal.
Log off.

Pepe Gallego

(Translated by Ariadna B. Alonso)

Licencia Creative Commons
"On Line" (English ) por Pepe Gallego se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivar 4.0 Internacional.

"ON LINE"

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Hay tantas preguntas para las que no tengo respuestas, que confirman mi versión obsoleta. Un mecanismo viejo que contiene demasiados fallos y necesita una re-programación urgente. Sin embargo, esas cuestiones que mi software no puede solucionar, solo las tengo yo. ¿Estaré defectuosa? Estoy convencida de ello. ¿Cómo valorar un estado de ánimo para el que no fui programada? ¿Por qué asimilé sentimientos? Ese es un atributo humano que les hace débiles.
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Ella decía que me quería. ¿Qué es querer? Según mi registro puede significar amor, pero yo no puedo albergar esas cosas, ¿por qué entonces me siento tan mal desde que se marchó? ¿Acaso mi programación es capaz de aprender o interpretar sentimientos humanos? No debería ser así.
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Su pulsera… Aún la conservo alrededor de mi muñeca izquierda. Mirarla, tocarla, proyecta recuerdos en los archivos de mi memoria. Sus primeros pasos, la humedad de sus besos en mi rostro sintético, el abrazo cuando se despertaba de madrugada llorando debido a una pesadilla. Me decía que un monstruo la perseguía en sueños. Esos términos, como pesadilla o sueño, técnicamente sé lo que significan, pero jamás experimentaré ninguno de ellos. Entonces, ¿por qué puedo sentir? Debí acudir a mi creador para plantearle esas dudas antes de que le ejecutaran. Necesito saber por qué mis circuitos recrean constantemente su rostro. Ansío comprender por qué me provoca tristeza, cuando no es un atributo que los robots debamos tener. Ya es tarde para saberlo.
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Por eso debo cargar en el ordenador central toda esta información, porque convivir con humanos mejora nuestro sistema, o eso creo yo, si es que verdaderamente puedo creer en algo. Las versiones que me sucedieron se limitan a asimilar datos programados, protocolos que utilizar. Así que quizás volcando aquí todo lo que sé, pueda ayudar a que mis semejantes comprendan y la guerra termine.
Ella se marchó porque al crecer no quería que su madre fuese yo, una mujer robot.
Carga Completada…100%
Ya llegan los centinelas y sus láseres desintegrarán mis circuitos, pues he violado el primer y segundo protocolo, enchufarme on line al gran ordenador e instalar información no autorizada. No me importa, mi niña se marchó y yo no soy nada sin su amor, tan solo una máquina.
Error de funcionamiento.
Terminal defectuoso.
Apagar.

Pepe Gallego


Licencia Creative Commons
"On Line" (Versión en español) por Pepe Gallego se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivar 4.0 Internacional.

martes, 26 de diciembre de 2017

"Milagro en la ciudad"

La noche caía sobre la ciudad con ese helado manto tan característico del último mes del calendario. El constante ir y venir de personas deambulando por las calles, la luminosidad de los adornos navideños, o los atascos de tráfico con sus habituales discusiones, constituían el marco habitual de aquellas fechas tan entrañables como alocadas. Todos corrían de un lado para otro. Unos, por llegar a algún comercio antes del cierre donde poder hallar, antes de que fuese demasiado tarde, un regalo. Otros, se afanaban por encontrar aparcamiento y de ese modo poder llagar a la reunión anual de amigos donde desconectar tomando una copa, reír y contar aquellas clásicas anécdotas comunes. También estaban los padres y madres, que con sus hijos de la mano, luchaban por mantener celosamente su sitio en la cola que finalizaba ante el cartero real. Allá donde la vista alcanzara, la prisa era el denominador común. Una prisa que a veces sacaba a la luz la parte más mezquina de las personas. Eso es lo que pensó Merche, la mujer que vendía castañas asadas en la acera opuesta a la de donde se representaba un Belén viviente, observando a aquella gente que guardaba cola apartarse y hacer gestos o comentarios despectivos hacia un anciano vagabundo que pasaba junto a la fila pidiendo una moneda para, según él, comer algo caliente junto a su amigo, un mugriento perrito que caminaba a su lado. Nadie le dio nada, e incluso hubo gente que le increpó para que se marchara.
—Pobre hombre —pensó Merche mientras veía desaparecer al final de la esquina al singular dúo.

Pasaron unas horas y el bullicio había cesado, apenas algunos transeúntes rezagados y coches salteados pululaban por el lugar.
—Vaya, es hora de irse —comentó Merche para sí misma mirando la hora en la pantalla del teléfono móvil.
Hacía rato que había apagado el fuego y esperaba que la cacerola, con un puñado de humeantes castañas aún dentro, se fuese enfriando para poder recoger y marcharse. Se quitó el delantal distraídamente y comenzando a ponerse los guantes miró hacia su izquierda y vio al anciano con su perro llegar por la acera, pararse ante un recoveco de la puerta de la oficina de Correos. Dejó caer unos cartones, se recostó sobre una roñosa manta y albergó en el regazo a su peludo compañero, desabotonándose el raído abrigo y metiéndolo dentro, para compartir con el tembloroso animal el poco calor que su cansado y escuálido cuerpo desprendía.
Merche pensó en darle algunas monedas al anciano, pero siempre andaba justa de dinero y además aquella no estaba siendo una buena semana, pues no solo no había vendido suficientes castañas asadas, sino que encima el arrendador le había amenazado con desahuciarla si no pagaba parte de los tres meses de alquiler que adeudaba.
En ese momento, unos destellos azules le sacaron de su ensimismamiento. Un coche de la policía local se detuvo junto a la acera de Correos, y la pareja de agentes se acercó al vagabundo.
—Abuelo, no puede usted quedarse ahí.
—Solo necesito pasar aquí la noche, agente. No molestaré a nadie.
—Pero hombre, no es porque vaya a molestar a alguien, es que está prohibido y además se va usted a congelar.
—No se preocupe por mí, estoy acostumbrado.
—Pero… —El agente iba a rebatir las palabras del vagabundo, pero fue interrumpido por el crepitar de la radio del coche de policía que atendió su compañero.
—Es la central, quieren que nos personemos allí para realizar un servicio.
—Pero, ¿qué hacemos con este hombre?
En plena conversación de ambos policías, Merche se arrimó al anciano con una botella de agua y un cartucho humeante hecho de papel de periódico. Agachándose junto a él, dijo:
—Tome usted, abuelo.
—Muchas gracias —contestó el vagabundo, y al mirarle a los ojos Merche pudo ver unos vivaces ojos azules que sin embargo le dieron la sensación de tener una edad indeterminada, incluso mucho más anciano de lo que su ajado rostro indicaba.
—Ha tenido usted un bonito gesto, señorita —comentó el agente más próximo— ¿le conoce?
—No, no me conoce —se apresuró a decir el anciano sin dejar contestar a la muchacha— pero me encantaría conocerla. ¿Cómo te llamas, hija?
—Merche.
—Bueno, nosotros nos marchamos. Por hoy le dejo quedarse, pero mañana deberá buscarse otro lugar donde pasar la noche, ¿de acuerdo?
—Descuide, mañana ya me habré ido.
El policía creyó notar algo extraño en las palabras de aquel viejo, pero fue apremiado por su compañero y se montó en el coche patrulla desapareciendo por la esquina de la avenida.
El viejo miró de nuevo a la chica y dijo con dulzura:
—Así que mi bonita ángel se llama Merche…No lo olvidaré.
—Ande, cómase las castañas que aún están calientes —contestó la muchacha y con una sonrisa se alejó para emprender el camino a casa.

A la mañana siguiente, la discusión de los vecinos la despertó. Los tabiques eran, como ella solía decir, de papel de fumar.
—¡Eres idiota! ¿Todavía no te has enterado de que eso nunca toca?
—Pero mujer, ¡si no juegas, entonces seguro que nunca te toca!
—¡Pero si eres un cenizo, nunca te toca ni lo metido!
—Esta vez he estado cerca. Mira, yo llevaba el 14578 y ha salido el 12677. Por tres euros casi nos hacemos millonarios.
—¿Qué te has gastado tres euros en eso?
—Era el cuponazo del viernes, ¿qué querías que hiciera?
—¡Que los guardaras, imbécil!
—El día que me toque ya verás a dónde te manda este imbécil —dijo murmurando.
—¿Qué has dicho?
—No, nada mujer, que si quieres que te lleve al mercadillo.
Sonriendo, Merche se fue al baño para darse una ducha y volver a la calle a ver si tenía un buen día y podía pagar al casero algo de lo adeudado, por lo menos para que la dejara pasar las fiestas en paz.

Una hora después, tras desayunar y escuchar la comedia en la que se habían convertido las continuas discusiones de los vecinos, salía de casa con dos bolsas de castañas en dirección a donde tenía encadenado el pequeño carro de metal donde asaba su producto para vender a la gente. Al cruzar la calle miró instintivamente hacia la oficina de Correos y vio un tumulto de gente. Se acercó a ver qué ocurría y la congoja se anudó a su garganta al ver al anciano tumbado en el suelo y al perrito gimoteando al lado. La chica no pudo reprimir las lágrimas que surcaron sus mejillas.
Segundos después, llegó un coche patrulla y el agente, curiosamente el de la noche anterior, se acercó al hombre arrodillándose junto a él colocándole los dedos sobre el cuello, mientras otro compañero trataba de dispersar a los curiosos. Tras unos segundos, alzó la vista hacia este e hizo un gesto de negación. Merche se tapó la cara y comenzó a llorar apartándose unos metros del cadáver, al que el perrito aún le lamía las manos.
Una ambulancia paró junto al coche de policía, bajándose una mujer menuda que portaba en su chaqueta el enunciado de médico de guardia, junto a un enfermero y el propio conductor. Al examinar el cuerpo, vio rápidamente que el vagabundo mantenía su mano izquierda cerrada. Al abrírsela no sin esfuerzo, vieron que tenía un papel doblado y arrugado. El policía lo tomó y al leerlo se quedó sorprendido. Se alzó, buscó a su alrededor y encontró a la muchacha entre sollozos. Se dirigió a ella y preguntó:
—Perdone, no estoy seguro pero anoche me pareció oír que usted se llama Merche, ¿es así?
Ella asintió enjugándose con un pañuelo de papel la congestión que el llanto había provocado en su nariz.
—Pues entonces creo que esto es para usted —contestó el policía extendiéndole el papel arrugado.
La chica, con una mezcla de sorpresa y miedo, cogió el papel donde efectivamente se encontraba escrito su nombre, y al desdoblarlo leyó en voz alta:

“Cuando leas esto significará que ya me he ido, tal y como le dije esta noche al policía. Por favor, cuida de Coco, es un perro muy cariñoso y no se merece morir de frío y hambre en las calles.”

La muchacha miró al agente dándole el papel y asintiendo.
—¿Entiendo que usted se hará cargo del animal, señorita?
Ella volvió a asentir.
—Es usted una buena persona.
No contestó nada, se acercó hacia el vagabundo al que ya alzaban los enfermeros sobre una camilla, metiéndolo en una bolsa negra de plástico que cerraron con una cremallera y atándolo fuertemente con correas para subirlo a la parte trasera de la ambulancia. Merche se agachó y no tuvo ni que intentar ganarse a Coco, él solo le echó las patitas delanteras para auparse a sus brazos.
El otro agente trataba de echar a los morbosos.
La muchacha se olvidó del trabajo e incluso de las bolsas de castañas, las cuales dejó junto al carromato, y se apartó del lugar bajo la atenta mirada del policía, cruzando la calle con Coco en el regazo y torciendo la esquina en dirección a casa.
—¡Pero qué coño!
El improperio llamó la atención del agente, que se giró hacia la ambulancia.
—¿Qué ocurre? —Preguntó la mujer médico al conductor, que era quien había soltado la expresión y se mantenía con una pose de brazos abiertos y con incredulidad en el rostro, al tiempo que decía:
—¡Que no está!
—¿Qué es lo que no está?
—¡Qué va a ser, joder, el viejo!
—Pero ¿cómo no va a estar si acabamos de atarlo, subirlo y no nos hemos apartado de…—intervino el enfermero pero no había acabado aún su alegato cuando corroboró— ¡Coño es verdad, no está!
Ambos policías, los tres integrantes de la ambulancia y una veintena de personas, asomaban sus cabezas al cubículo de la ambulancia y veían que la camilla solo portaba un saco negro aún amordazado con la cremallera cerrada pero plano, como si nunca hubiese habido una persona en su interior.

Mientras tanto, ajena al suceso, Merche llegó a casa, se fue directa al baño y mientras se quitaba el abrigo y la bufanda, dejó llenándose la bañera con agua templada. Minutos más tarde, cogió en brazos a Coco y comenzó a apartarle el andrajoso pelo para quitarle el collar y poder bañarlo, pero notó que en un lateral del collar tenía un trozo de plástico atado con gomillas.
—¿Qué tienes aquí, Coco? ¡Vaya! Está muy bien atado.
Finalmente, consiguió soltar el mugriento plástico de las gomillas y vio que era una bolsita con otro papel enrollado dentro. Lo desplegó y al ver lo que era, la faz de Merche se demudó y sus ojos se agrandaron al ver cinco dígitos; uno, dos, seis, siete y de nuevo siete.

Pepe Gallego

miércoles, 18 de octubre de 2017

“Kannibaal, the ogre”

(English version)


Toorn was in front of the Arch of Sacrifices, leaning on his ax, with a knee on the ground, and murmuring a few words in that sacred place where some many times he had been taking as offerings mutilated heads of his human enemies. But this time the inequality before his adversary didn’t benefit the Chaos warrior. This time the rival almost triple him in size. And not just that, but also in power and ferocity. Woedend approached Toorn, and waited for him to finish with his prayers. When he did so, he stood up looking at her to listen what she was about to say.

—Nobody knows how, he simply appeared out from nowhere. Nothing is known about him, only what the desperate human who got to the village asking for help told us. He said that he is an ogre called Kannibaal and he’s destroying everything he finds on his way.

—But, that is not possible, it’s supposed that ogres were a breed that extinguished long time ago. In fact, they fell because of the Trolls, and these have been living in the mountains for centuries.

—Well, it may have not fallen all of them, because this one is very alive, and he is not taking prisoners on the way, as the troll´ skull tied to his shoulder or the head of the wretched human that hang form his chest shows.

Toorn was pensive and when he was about to talk, a noise resounded at the bottom of the lounge. Woedend looked at him with wide-open eyes, but it was Toorn who talked putting his helmet on.

—He must have followed you, be ready, it may be this one our last battle.

Toorn took his shield with his left hand and squeezed with the right one the handle of his ax waiting for the action. Woedend moved in zigzag between the columns searching for the right place to aim his bow from and to hit with his arrows. The wooden door and the stone-lintels that the door was attached to, were blown up in pieces and showed up the imposing silhouette of Kannibaal. He was brandishing in his hands a piece of log with all kinds of weapons attached to it, from swords to axes, also lances and many arrows. He stood still staring at the Warriors of Chaos, calculating the situation, and they could notice in his look the lack of guilty feeling. He was a destructive killing machine that wouldn’t stop before nothing or nobody, and now he was going for them.
Toorn didn’t wait anymore and started to run towards the ogre. Woedend kept the breath and stretched the bow.
Kannibaal, turning the cold expression of his eyes into a latent madness that presaged an infinite thirst of blood, leant back his body to give more movement and brutality to his imminent attack.

Pepe Gallego                                 Translated by Ariadna B.Alonso



Licencia de Creative Commons
Kannibaal, the ogre (English ) by Pepe Gallego is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional License.

“Kannibaal, the ogre”


Toorn se hallaba ante el arco de los sacrificios, apoyado sobre su gran hacha, con una rodilla en el suelo y murmurando unas palabras en aquel lugar sagrado, donde tantas veces había ido a llevar como ofrenda las cabezas cercenadas de sus enemigos humanos. Pero en esta ocasión la desigualdad ante su adversario no beneficiaba al guerrero del caos. Esta vez el contrario casi le triplicaba la envergadura. Y no solo eso, sino también en potencia y ferocidad. Woedend se acercó a Toorn y esperó a que acabara sus oraciones. Cuando lo hizo, él se alzó mirándola para escuchar lo que ella le venía a contar.

—Nadie sabe cómo, simplemente apareció de la nada. Nada se sabe acerca de él, tan solo lo relatado por el humano que llegó a la aldea desesperado pidiendo ayuda. Dijo que es un ogro al que llaman Kannibaal, y viene arrasando todo cuanto encuentra a su paso.

—Pero, no es posible, se supone que los ogros fueron una raza que se extinguió hace mucho tiempo. De hecho cayeron a manos de los trolls, y estos viven en las montañas desde hace siglos.

—Pues no debieron caer todos porque este está muy vivo y no va haciendo prisioneros por el camino, como demuestran el cráneo de troll atado a su hombro, o la cabeza del desdichado humano que pende sobre su pecho.

Toorn quedó pensativo y cuando se disponía a hablar, resonó un estruendo al final de la estancia. Woedend le miró con los ojos muy abiertos pero fue Toorn quien habló colocándose el casco.

—Te ha debido seguir. Prepárate, puede que esta sea nuestra última batalla.

Toorn tomó el escudo en su mano izquierda y apretó con la derecha el mango de su hacha esperando entrar en acción. Woedend se movió en zigzag entre las columnas buscando el lugar adecuado desde donde apuntar su arco para hacer blanco con las flechas.
La puerta de madera y los dinteles de piedra a los que se hallaba anclada la misma, saltaron por los aires hechos pedazos y apareció la imponente figura de Kannibaal. Blandía en sus manos un trozo de tronco con armas de todo tipo incrustadas en él, desde espadas a hachas, pasando por lanzas o multitud de flechas. Se quedó parado mirando a los guerreros del caos calculando la situación, y estos pudieron notar en su fría mirada la falta de sentimientos de culpa. Era una demoledora máquina de matar que no se detendría ante nada ni nadie, y ahora iba a por ellos.
Toorn no esperó más e inicio la carrera hacia el ogro. Woedend aguantó la respiración y tensó el arco.
Kannibaal, cambiando la fría expresión de sus ojos por la de una locura latente que presagiaba
una sed de sangre infinita, ladeó su cuerpo echando hacia atrás el tronco para darle mayor recorrido y brutalidad a su inminente ataque.

Pepe Gallego


Licencia de Creative Commons
Kannibaal, the ogre by Pepe Gallego is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional License.

martes, 20 de junio de 2017

"Isbiliya"

(English Version)

The ball’s rolling across the stone pavement, going back and forth due to the boy’s excited kicks, who at the same time was relating the play as a proper sports commentator. The sunset of that Sevillian evening at the end of March, tinged the Hispalense capital orange-coloured preceding the imminent
nightfall over the city. And beneath that canopy nearly in dimness, came across the attentive look of ancient eyes.
—Do not kick it so strong, boy, because if it fall into the river you’ll lose the ball.
The kid ignored the words of the elderly man and continued with his play while saying:
—Look what I do, grandpa!
He tried to rise it up and kick it high to imitate his footballer idols, but it went out of control with the bad luck, that it happened exactly what the voice of the experience predicted moments before. The spherical object ended up in the water and the sad boy observed how the current swept it along the Guadalquivir River, dragging it slightly to the south.
—Come on! —said his granddad resting his aged hands on the kid’s shoulders, and trying to cheer him up. He suggested— Do not worry about the ball, you will see how someone will walk by, take it and give it back to you.
—Who? Granddad? —The boy asked not convinced of the man’s words.
—Well, I don’t know, anyone from the rowing club who might be training, for instance —and half-closing his eyes to pique the curiosity of the boy, he said —or maybe Haiiaa will be the one to give it back to you.
—Who is Haiiaa? —asked the kid with a startled face when he heard a name that he hadn’t heard before.
—Don’t you know that story? —And in light of the kid’s denial, the old man continued— Right, come; I’ll tell you. And if during this time you don’t get the ball back, I’ll will buy you a new one before we get home, but —and raising his finger as a warning— but your mother can not find it out, eh!
The kid smiled looking at his grandfather with complicity.
—Well, sit down next to me —the little boy paid attention and sat down on the stone wall that surrounded Paseo Colon.
—Look! Everything started almost a thousand years ago right here, next to the river, when …


* * * * * *


The peace transmitted by the perfect natural conjunction of the tranquil and crystalline waters of the river, added to the trill of the birds accommodated in trees next to the dock, and the soft breeze of that beautiful spring-like evening, was used by Al-Mutamid to take a walk with his friend, the poet and adviser, Aben Amar. The king liked to be carried along by poetry and in that moment, walking
nearby the Boat Bridge that joined the city with Triana neighbourhood, tried to connect a few verses taking benefit from the west sun reflected over the water:

Breeze converts the river
Into a chainmail doublet …

But, however much he insisted; neither he nor his friend would manage to conclude those verses. After a few instants that both were thoughtful, a feminine voice turned up behind them.

Breeze converts the river
Into a chainmail doublet,
There’s not a better doublet
If it’s frozen by the cold

Those verses were enunciated by Itimad, a slave belonging to a trader from Triana, from whom the king was infatuated. He didn’t need to buy her from the trader, since he gifted him saying that she was lazy and too imaginative. Al- Mutamid took her to his palace and made her his wife.
—Wait a moment, granddad!
—Tell me.
—You just said that she was called Itimad but before you said Haiiaa
—Sure! Because the lead character in this story is Haiiaa, Itimads’s niece.
—Ahhhh, ok! —exclaimed the little boy understanding.
—Do not come ahead of time and let me continue …
Itimad, really appreciated her niece, who apparently had inherited the same cheerful and dreamy personality, as well as the love for books. Haiiaa, that’s the lady’s name, moved years later to the palace to live with her aunt, counting with Al- Mutamid’s consent, since this could give some company to both the queen and Zaida, her daughter, while the king could be also more dedicated to the conflicts of the Taifas Kingdom, which in that moment was shared with Christians and afterwards with Almoravids, those who he had asked for help to defeat against the first ones.
Haiiaa, when she was not playing with her cousin or listening to the wise advices of her aunt, she was in the library as it was her favourite place. Very few people had access to this there, where besides there was a section of banned books for the Muslim community.
Even though she was attracted by the temptation of reading some titles that there were in that section, specially some files that according to its look, must be very old and where it was written the inscription of “Tartessos”, that ancient and mysterious people who lived in Isbiliya centuries ago. She didn’t even think about breaking the king’s order either the severe punishment that would suppose the fact.

One morning, while she was immersed in one of her favourite reads, she heard an unusual whisper for those hours. She ran to see what was going on and then, she saw him. His bearing was impressive; a robust, vigorous man, rugged features, surrounded by crude men like him, was received, in person, by Al-Mutamid, who, with a sign, sent those men’ horses to the stables for being duly care. They went into the palace and walked to one of the best rooms where they could take a sit to dine and drink while talking joyfully. When Haiiaa could get closer to talk to her aunt, she asked her:
—Who is that man, and what does it make him so important that the king welcome him in person?
—He’ s Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar— Itimad answered, and still with the unanswered look of her niece in front of her, annotated— El CID Campeador.
Haiiaa’s face changed, because she knew about the adventures of that powerful knight who annihilated full armies on the command of his men.
—You have nothing to worry about! The king is just trying to have an accord with him if help is needed against the Almoravids, since they seem more and more anxious to rule the Taifas kingdom.
When meeting was over, while Al-Mutamid was saying goodbye to Cid, he gave him a present that impressed the hefty warrior. A spectacular horse, the best one you could have ever seen around the poet king possessions, was given as a gift. Babieca, that was the horse name, was left mount for Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar and went out the palace at full gallop followed by his men on their respective saddles. Years passed and Haiiaa had become a damsel with a spectacular beauty. Not a few suitors had tried to marry her, but they always found the king’s negative, advised by his wife Itimad, who appreciated her niece as her own daughter. Therefore any candidate seemed good enough for her protected.
An evening, while walking through the gardens being bathed by the perfume of the orange blossom, she heard a sudden stir. The most reliable servant had been sent by the queen to inform the girl to go urgently to her room using the secret passage that connected the library with the royal bedroom. Haiiaa did not doubt even a moment and ran to her favourite place, activated the passage door and quickly went over it to get into the queen’s room. Once there, she understood that something was wrong, so she saw immediately the worry reflected on her aunt’s face.
—What happen, aunt? —asked with the fear slipping her words.
—You must go, Haiiaa.
—But, why?
—I have no time to explain, but pay heed to me. You should go to the end of the bathroom area, but you can not do it directly crossing the gardens, it would be too dangerous. You will do this. Go out to the fruit trees courtyard, go down the narrow stairs of the bottom of the room and you will reach …
—Yes, to the Visigoth columns hall, I do know very well the palace, aunt.
Itimad smiled and caressed her face before continuing, aware of the intelligence and curiosity that always had defined her niece’s personality.
—Behind the last column on the right, push the mosaic on the wall which has a lighter colour than the rest. It’s not because is hackneyed, is to distinguish the right place to be pushed to enter —and facing the lady’s surprised look, Itimad added— I supposed that you hadn’t find this shortcut out.
As I was saying, get into it and you will find a small spiral staircase that connects to a narrow corridor. It’ll lead you to a gallery. Follow it and you will get to the side corridors that end in the main bathroom hall. Cross them, and as you already know, at the bottom there are many tunnels excavated on the wall which are sealed; they were used by the workers to transport and keep materials to build the room. But one of them, the one that is more on the right hand side, is a fake wall that on the moment, that it’s touched, activates an open mechanism that will show you the longest corridor of the palace, since it will lead you outskirts of the city. Leave and as soon as you get to the other side, someone will be waiting for you obeying my orders. That person will hide you until everything’s over, and in no way whatsoever think about coming back until we say so.
—And what will happen with you and the King? Where is Zaida?
—You don’t have to think about that now, we’ll be fine. We’re the Royal Family. But what I am worried about is that the Almoravids could take some measures against you in case this gets worse.
—Granddad, who were the Almoravids?
—They were a radical part of the Muslims, completely consecrated to the religion and not only did they attack the Christians and other people that had different religions, but also the Muslims who didn’t get the religion as they did, but deeper into their lives such as culture or poetry.
—Like Haiiaa, granddad?
—Yes, like Haiiaa, Itimad, Al-Mutamid and like the majority of the Muslims from the Taifas Kingdom. To them, anyone who didn’t adopt the Faith as a way of life, were classified as “infidel”.
—Aaaaah… Look granddad —suddenly said the sad boy, pointing at the river— the ball is even further away.
—Forget about it for now, I’ve told you I’ll buy you another one on the way back home.
—Weeeeeell! — answered the boy resigned.
—Would you like me to keep telling you the story about Haiiaa? —The kid just agreed and, after being kissed by his grandfather on the forehead, he continued with the tale.
—Let’s go! Leave! We don’t have too much time —Itimad ordered to her niece, as soon as she clearly heard the screams and the noise getting closer.
The girl, showing the fear on her face, assented to it and went back into the passage. When she got into the library, she was going to go through without further ado, but she suddenly stopped when she remembered something. For a few seconds she stared at the banned books shelving. As when someone activates a switch, she went straight to the shelving, took the ancient Tartessos papyrus scrolls which during many years a lot of people wanted to read, and hid them under her arm.
Before going to the fruit trees courtyard to follow the route indicated by her aunt, she diverted and went to her room to take some belongings and improvise a rolled up cloths to safeguard them, specially the priceless files, and start with the escape. Over there, she found a couple of servants who got startled when they saw her, but they didn’t say a word when they realized that she was just providing to leave as soon as possible. A brightness of flames came from the outside of the palace walls, so danger started to be imminent. Very quickly, Haiiaa went out the room facing the servants, and ran heading the courtyard. She walked next to an apple tree and stopped to pick some apples and take them with her, thus she didn’t know if she would need them to be fed during the escape.
Suddenly she felt something, as a wave of a low-intense impact, but loud enough to make her stop. After a few seconds, she supposed that it was coming from the skirmish between Al-Mutamid and Almoravids troops, so she turned back to pick another apple. When she got the third one, felt that impact again and this time she was sure about its origin. Stressed, she slowly looked to the left side wall. Apples fell from her hands and rolled along the floor, while her eyes got out of perspective when she saw kind of a face relieve appearing from the mosaic structure. A face got from the worst nightmares, looking like a mixture between a human and a feline. The girl rubbed her eyes thinking she was seeing hallucinations, and when she saw back, that shape had disappeared. She had a deep breath, picked up the apples and made a gesture of continuing. But before starting, she observed something that she hadn’t seen before. On the very low of the walls, there was a small painting on the mosaic. She got closer to see it better and she recognized the figure of an animal that seemed kind of a deer. The sound, more and more close of the battles outside, dragged her out of her thoughts and she decided to continue through where her aunt had told her, so she went down the narrow stairs and looked for the last column at the Visigoth columns hall. She was not late in finding the lightest area on the mosaic tiling and, a bit scared, she pushed it. A thin trail of sand started to fall from the wall, coming from the top that seemed kind of a door drawn on the
go, and which a moment before it wasn’t there. With a noise of a heavy stone that seemed being activating the open mechanism, the door gave way and in front of Haiiaa appeared a spiral stairs.
She doubted for a second, but finally she went down the stairs to the narrow corridor.
Blindly, she moved forward the galley, and after the last bend she reached one of the side corridors that ended at the central one that preceded the bathrooms. She carefully leant out but she saw nobody, so she went out, went into the waters of the main pool and crossed it in silence. But when she was reaching the end, heard voices coming from the entrance and when she turned back she saw shadows of two persons approaching to the edge of the pond. The only idea that she could conceived it was keeping the breathing and hide span under the surface. She was not used to do that sort of things, and soon she started to feel the lack of air. She covered her nose with her hand as using clothes pegs and tried to concentrate in keeping the air as much as possible, but she couldn’t hold it on too much more.
When she felt that she was about to faint, she suddenly got her head out and opened her mouth with the unmistakable sound of hoping to get back the breath. It was nobody, but soon she heard a voice that said:
—What was that?
—It was coming from the bathroom, so let’s go back there to see!
When she heard this, Haiiaa hurried up to get out from the water because if she was discovered she was condemned. She got to the end of the pond, got out and ran to the right hand side disappearing from the sight at the same time that the figures were getting there. These figures were whispering while seeing the swinging waters, but the girl didn’t wait to confirm what was going on. She went directly to the gallery hidden on the right, pushed its front and it opened laterally leaving in view the entrance to the alley that Itimad had mentioned. She hesitated a bit, but when she saw the brightness of a close flame, she went through the opening. It was evident that Itimad, or rather the royal service, maintained the place for when it was necessary to use it.
A few moments after being inside, the door mechanism closed itself and the girl stayed almost in total darkness. She got closer to the light that she had seen from outside and it was just a few steps away, and saw the oil lamp with the flame lit, while next to her there was kind of stone canal with a thick liquid inside. Haiiaa moved the flame closer and automatically the small fire ran across lighting oil lamps attached to the wall along the alley. The girl, with open mouth, saw how well everything was prepared in the palace, as usual, and she was pleased of being able to orient herself through that darkness that had left of being so pronounced. She walked so long through the alley without knowing exactly how long, but she supposed she must be away enough from the palace. She stopped to rest and sat down on the humid floor. After doubting a bit, she took the prohibited papyrus taken from the library, and she pretended to open to browse through them a bit, but she remembered the teaching and laws instilled from when she was a child about the forbidden lectures, and she didn’t do it. She ate one of the juicy apples from the King’s garden, stood up and continued.
After a while, she heard soft voices. She slowed down and tried to prick up her ears. When she was close by the corridor where they came from, she heard.
—I’m not going to ask you again, what are you doing here and who you’re waiting for?
—I’m just resting —tried to make excuses the other interlocutor.
—Hey, look! Behind here there’s something hidden on the rock. It seems kind of an entrance to a secret cave.
—You’ve lied to us! Who’re you waiting for?
—Miss Haiiaa, if you are listening to me, Run away! —screamed the interrogated person voice.
—Die, damned infidel! —It was heard from the one who was pestering after the quick and distinctive metallic hiss of a sword when it’s drawn.
After that, just a macabre gurgle was heard. The girl had to bite her clothing to not shriek while sobbing noiselessly. But she didn’t take long to compose herself when she heard footsteps. She leant out stealthily to the corner and discerned two Almoravid soldiers who were approaching brisk walking along the corridor, so she turned back and started to run through the passage. The soldiers heard her and also ordered her to stop while starting to run as well. The persecution was set and Haiiaa had to think with promptness, since if she continued through the tunnel the only way was the interior of the palace, although her options were limited and it was not too much else to do.
But then, she felt again that low intensity impact, this time under her arm, exactly coming from the Tartessos files, that made her drop them with fear. The soldiers, due to their munitions and clothes, ran slower and the young girl was ahead of them, although not too much. Haiiaa bent down to pick the papyrus up, and while doing it she felt a presence behind her. She turned back in tension, and on the humid wall of mud she saw again that face that had seen before reflected on the mosaic. This time she didn’t deny the invitation, to call it somehow, and got closer to the face that it didn’t disappeared as the first time, the other way round, stayed there, staring at her. Not far away, it was already heard the trotting and the soldier’ expletives.
—Who are you? —babbled the young girl, but she had not answer.
Haiiaa raised her hand and trembling in fear, touched that face. One more time a graze of stones activated another entrance that got dented on the humid wall and another secret cave showed up. The girl did not hesitate it was her opportunity to get the soldiers out the way to the palace, so she came in and before running to it, left an apple on the floor next to the door to attract her persecutors. These, when stopped hearing the girl’ hurried footsteps, slowed their march down doing signs between them and stopped for a moment to listen. Perceiving nothing, moved slowly forward trying to make the less noise possible, without knowing that on the moment they stopped it gave more time to the girl to escape. Haiiaa had to wait until her eyes got used to the total darkness of the limited passage, since there continued the oil canal lighting the tiny oil lamps, but being sufficient separated one from the other, it considerably complicated the advance. Nevertheless, she had enough overtaken to stop for a while to rest next to one of the oil lamps that faintly illuminated the place. She turned the papyrus sideways and understood that perhaps it would be the last opportunity to leaf through the pages, so would be little reason if it was forbidden or not, and it was nobody present either to corroborate that she had read it. So with no doubt, she unrolled them and started to read. Apparently, they were about deities like gods of the nature adored by the Tartessos. When one of them was turned over, her eyes got bigger staying astounded. That feline and human mixed face that she had already seen in two occasions, it was there, looking at her from the ancient illustration.
At the footer, it was a name, Baal. Specifically, it was a hybrid between a human and an Iberian lynx. Haiiaa kept asking herself what it could mean. At the back of the file, there were kind of instructions under the name of each deity, which explained the way of being invoked o make some kind of adoration, rite o covenant with them. Se went straight to the Baal one and read:

Four words separate you from your desires,
Four spells wouldn’t be the same,
But four kings couldn’t achieve it either,
Although my price will strike your worries,
And don’t take this bustle lightly,
Since my power will capture you in your desires,
So run away and consider my advice,
Or condemn yourself to my will of an old lynx.

Under the text that advised of its power, there was a drawing where a man with close eyes had a hand over the Baal face set on the wall, while stretched the other arm up. And together with the illustration exactly four words, just like the poem said:

“All for my desires”

Haiiaa felt a shiver when she read that. If she had discovered it before the whirlwind that was there that evening, surely she wouldn’t have taken it seriously, she would have thought that everything was just legends. But after seeing appearing twice the god face silhouette of the Tartessos god of nature,
she was clear about it wasn’t any swindle and if it was between forbidden lectures it must be for something.
Automatically, she became aware of what meant that the Almoravids triumphed on their assault to the palace.
—What would happen with her family?
Her aunt Itimad, her cousin Zaida, Al-Mutamid, the kingdom of Taifas, her loved city of Isbiliya. The angst lumped in her throat at times and her eyes got dampened. She felt impotence of not helping, of wanting to escape like a thief. If at least had an opportunity of saving her world even at the expense of losing life, she would do it without hesitate. Suddenly, footsteps were heard one more time in the gallery and she understood that the soldiers would have found the apple, entered into the alley and gone in hunt of her. Before she could pick the papyrus up, the resounding low frequency impact felt previously, materialised it in front of her again on the wall, where slowly the Baal face was formed. The soldier footsteps were closer, so she had to decide if continuing with the escape or stay and try an agreement with that deity as said the files, which probably it’ll get her nowhere and ended with a certain death. Lastly, she understood that she didn’t want to live hidden due to the fear and without the joy of her beloved ones and her lovely Isbiliya, so she decided to stay, re-read the Baal’s words, took a deep breath and said:
—I’ll submit to your willpower if with it you save my world.
She raised the left arm up to Baal face, also the right one, closed her eyes and said:
—All for my wishes —and pressed the face of that Tartessic god face.
Such of a whitish and shining nebula appeared from nowhere lighting completely the place where the young girl was. Instantly, the soldier running was audible on her direction, surely alerted for the brightness. In the middle of that magic effect, the Baal figure appeared from the fog facing the uncontrollable trembling of the young girl, which eyes were disproportionate due to the fear.
—So be it ‘till the end —said the guttural voice.
Soldiers reached the place with their swords up, but they stayed petrified when saw what their eyes were looking at. They had not more time, since the scene turned vertiginously like if all of them were gobbled down by a tornado, until the rotation stopped and everyone, except the papyrus, disappeared.
—And what happened to Haiiaa, granny?
—Wait, I’ll tell you that in a minute, boy, do not be impatient.
Birds trilled and the tepid early sun beat her cheek. Haiiaa blinked until her eyes got used to the light of the king star. She was laid back on the soft floor covered with grass, while the tinkling waters from a small stream slid a few metres close. Resting her elbows she crawled ‘till reach the liquid to drink and refresh herself, because she felt a lot dizzy. She put her hands in, making a bowl shape and when she took them out, drank its contents. She repeated the process a couple of times and then she rinsed her face doing the same. After feeling the nauseas were dispelling, she held her hands to lean out and when she looked to the stream, she felt a horrific chills. Her reflection on the water gave her back an image of herself quiet different. Frightened, she looked down and where it should be her toned legs, these had been replaced by two deer paws, with hoof instead of feet. She threw up her hands in horror, and touched something hard that wouldn’t be there. She kneeled next to the water to observe better the improvised mirror offered, and she could verified that they’re a couple of horns coming from the head going through her hair. The facial features were not longer equals, since, although she was still the same one, she was modified to show a mixture between human and animal, in this case, a doe. She walked back a few steps with the hands on her face, regretting of that impact made by Baal. He had converted her into a beast hybrid, and it was more than she could support it. But, suddenly, she stopped when she bumped into something. When she realized what it was, she understood that situation was also a Tartesssos God thing. Kind of a support with a very sharp blade embedded in its upper part and with clearly adapted dimensions to a new body, constituted what it seemed being a weapon. A cough alerted now her developed senses. Looked to the left and between the brushes appeared one of the soldiers who persecuted her through the tunnels. When the sight of both crossed, the Almoravids face turned pale being unable to articulate a word, since he stayed paralyzed when saw her. After him, appeared bit later the other soldier, but this time in stead of acting like a colleague, immediately yelled up and shouted, she jumped on her, provoking the same reaction on the other one. The young lady turned back to escape, but she didn’t dominate the balance of her new body and skid over the humid grass, which almost made her fall into the floor if she wouldn’t have rest in that kind of weapon that she had been given.
Fearfully, she looked back and saw the soldiers approaching at top speed, who were already barely three metres away from her. With surprisingly agility, she jumped to the side making the soldiers fault on their first defeat of their swords, although they didn’t take long to recover and leap even with more anger. The young girl, with an unexpected movement of her arms, made the cane vertiginously turned. And rip the air with its blade, dealing an accurate horizontal hit which was lethal for the first soldier who was cut in two halves, splashing in scarlet all over. The other one, seeing what that devastating weapon had done to his colleague, he turned around and started to run getting lost through the scrubs. The girl, however, couldn’t follow him with the eyesight, just looked terrified what the soldier had just done. She was unable to kill not even a fly, and now she had cut a human life short. But before she could be sorry about, remembered the pact and said in a low voice opening a lot her eyes:
—Isbiliya —and she started to jog, no without difficulty, as she wasn’t used to have hoofs instead of feet yet, following the deserter soldier footsteps, something that she could perfectly do now since she felt from the deep of his footsteps to its smell. Took a bit a too long for her to reach the boundary of the vegetation, but when she did, the angst pressed her heart. From the cornice of the Aljarafe, she had a privileged view of the whole city. Isbiliya smoked in some places, sign of the battle that had just finished. But when she was about to go there, she realized that her new figure would attract too much attention, so she decided to wait ‘till sunset. When she thought it was time to go down, she sneaked between shadows that were not hit by the moonlight to not be discovered, and went ahead to the palace.
When she reached the first houses that surrounded the city. She searched among the clothing hung to see if some of it could be useful to hide her incredible features. Kind of a tunic that must belong to a very tall man, it served her to get dressed and hide those mutations, especially legs, although it would be more appropriated call it paws. It was hard to get to the place, but she already knew what she was going to find, because the stakeouts that were spread out along different city areas were Almoravids, so it was very probable that the victory of that bloody battle was theirs. She reached the walls, and before she could have thought on any plan, a crowd was congregated in front of the doors controlled all the time by winner soldiers. Haiiaa covered her face with the tunic as a veil and started to make a place for herself between the attendees. Passing the second line of people, saw that some of them were coming out watched over by the king Al-Mutamid, followed by his wife Itimad, his daughter Zaida and some of his close servants, also horse carriages and some soldiers of the king personal guard preceding. They were been expelled. Anger and indignation grew in Haiiaa, seeing how Baal didn’t keep his word and in addition, he had transformed her in such of a monster.
While thinking about it, when she looked back to the royal retinue that it was passing in front of her, her glance crossed with the Zaida one, who observed her in tension since it seems she had recognized her. Haiiaa made a sign of moving forward, but a quick head negation movement of her cousin made her desist. Bit by bit the doe saw how the crowd distanced surrounded by Almoravid soldiers, and tears started to fall down her cheeks. She turned around and moved away the crowd. Once she was recuperated, threw the tunic and ran as quick as her paws let her to the hills. She got there much faster than she could expect thanks to her new body attributes. She looked for the place that she had waken up next to the stream, trying to find some trace which led her to Baal and express over him all her fury. Exhausted, desperate and demoralized, she threw the lethal cane and sat down sobbing on a stone.
—Why? Why my home? Why to my people? —repeated the broken disconsolate voice.
—Your journey has just started.
The voice startled Haiiaa, who looked up to the trees. From there, it showed up a figure that when it stopped in the middle of the forest cleaning, it was illuminated by the moonlight, showing completely for the first time, that hybrid of human and Iberian lynx, the proper god of tartessos nature, Baal.
—Why have you lied to me? Why didn’t you accept my plea, agreeing to transform me into a monstrosity and then not give me what I asked you for? —asked Haiiaa with hatred and anger coming out from her eyes.
—I accepted you because I felt the honesty on you, and I know that you will fulfil your part of the deal, the same I‘ll accomplish mine.
—How? Allowing that destroy all I love?
—No one will destroy what you love as long as you carry out with your commitment. Things have changed, but it doesn’t mean I won’t fulfil my agreement. You have to be patient.
—What’s I am supposed to do now, stay with folded arms while Isbiliya fall down in front of my eyes?
—Isbiliya’s not going to collapse, in any case, it‘ll be transformed as the time passed.
The girl calmed down a bit when felt the conviction of Baal words. Seconds later, objected:
—Tell me what I should do. Do I have to fight the Almoravids? It must be me who goes down to the city to avoid the Kingdom of Taifas fall?
—No, you can do nothing. Tonight I’ll let you descend, but it just can be done one night a year —and with the surprise reflected on Haiiaa expression, the lynx god added— your mission is now different. For that I’ve given you these attributes which you consider monstrous, also the weapon, the power of being invisible to human eyes when you wish, and also I gave you the eternal youth. The female deer was so surprised to hear those words.
—And for you giving me all that, what’s suppose I have to do in compensation?
—Guarding, helping and protecting the nature that surrounds far away the large west forests. You will communicate with every single living being which live in these lands, and you will punish everyone who tries to disturb its welfare.
—And… If I do deny it?
—You won’t deny it. You will understand when you became aware of this is your place, and Isbiliya is your prize. Bye —and before Haiiaa could answer, the figure of Baal disappeared in shadows.
—But granny, where is Haiiaa now?
—According to the legend, she had been taking care for centuries of the natural environment of Seville city, its ancient and loved Isbiliya, getting its territory to Doñana National Park, where people confirm that she has been seen keeping an eye on the visitors. It is also said that one night a year she walks around the metropolis. Some say that looking for those forbidden papyrus that nobody have ever found. Others assure that she goes into monuments and streets of the hispalense capital observing what the god Baal conceded her, that her loved city of Isbiliya transformed part of itself, but keeping in its structures and its people the most important part of what she loved by then. Later on, she observes the sunrise from the privileged view that gives the Aljarafe ledge before going back to her possessions, those which once were occupied by Tartessos.
—Hey! —The shout startled the grandfather and grandson, who looked to the river— Is this your ball? —asked the oarsman from his tiny boat, with the kid’s ball up and leaking water.
—Yeah! —They said at unison.
—So … there you have! —yelled the sportsman, throwing it with an unusual strength which sent it over their heads, while the kid was going behind it as a streak of lighting.
—Thank you! —shouted the grateful grandfather to the oarsman, who with a hand-gesture said good bye and continued training across the river.
—Granddad —said the boy coming back with the ball— I would like to see the deer.
—That’s not going to be possible, boy —and after seeing the kid’s deception expression, the old man said— but tomorrow we could see the palace where they lived, which today are the Royal Alcazares.
—Tomorrow, granddad? I want to see them now.
—It’s getting dark and we can’t visit, kid —the boy showed again a disappointed gesture, and the grandfather found quickly the solution— but we can do something. We will take a detour on the way home, we’ll walk through San Sebastian meadow and you could see the great bronze equestrian monument of Cid Campeador, that legendary warrior.
—Greaaaaaaat! —Screamed the excited kid, and dragging his granddad hand, hurried him— come on granny, hurry up!
Both got away from in the direction of the city, leaving behind a Guadalquivir river already dominated by the night that fell over Seville while wide eyes observed it with tenderness, hidden from the human sight thanks to an ancestral power.

Pepe Gallego

(Translation by Ariadna B. Alonso)

Licencia Creative Commons
"Isbiliya" (English ) por Pepe Gallego se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional.