"Cogito Ergo Sum"

"The hand that spun a legend will also become a legend itself."

It was a deceptively ordinary day, Harald mused, removing his gloves as he stepped inside the building, rubbing his hands together to warm them from the winter's chill. Berlin had descended into an eternal winter; many agreed yet refrained from voicing those opinions. Indeed, he was here to bear witness to those who wanted to bring the light back to the Europe that had once glittered so brightly.

He was well versed in anthroposophy—he had even heard Herr Steiner speak on this subject before, at the university in Wittenberg where he had studied post-baccalaureate. While others waxed fanatical over the creation of military arms, here was a field of study unsullied by such proletarian views—the mind, he fervently believed, was truly the gateway to unexplored realms that the rest of the world could barely comprehend, yet alone experience.

Seating for the event had already begun, and Harald followed his colleagues into the large hall. The small seminar room was resplendent with the trappings of an age gone by; the walls were papered with an elegant gold design which made the room seem almost to glow with the sunlight from the multiple windows lining the room's left side. He found himself a seat in the third row and occupied the remainder of his time by studying those seated close to him.

Several were professors, that much was obvious by their apparel and accoutrements of academia. He even thought that the man seated in the corner must be a general, or close to it—here on assignment, attempting to seem invisible. Hopefully through the course of the afternoon he would find some enlightenment here—the goal of anthroposophy was to provide truth: a concept, not a weapon. Well, perhaps truth could be considered the greatest weapon… just not in the material sense.

The man Harald recognized as Herr Steiner, aged tremendously since he had seen him last, approached the podium set up on a raised platform at the front of the hall. He cleared his throat as the hall grew quiet, then instructed the crowd on the experiences in his life which had brought him so close, as he described, of visualizing the spiritual world. "Truth—" and his voice rang about the hall thick with imparted wisdom, "is both an objective discovery as well as a free creation of the human spirit, that never would exist at all if we did not generate it ourselves. The task of understanding is not to replicate in conceptual form something that already exists, but rather to create a wholly new realm, that together with the world given to our senses constitutes the fullness of reality."

The hour passed without Harald ever looking down to check his watch, he was so engrossed. The thought of it all was so compelling—just imagine the tremendous power one could unlock, that of human comprehension! And of course, to understand one must first experience. It was what brought him to this hall—to learn, to experience, to discover.

The sound of applause jolted him out of his own reveries, and the seminar moved smoothly into an open forum for questions. He had never been comfortable with voicing his opinions aloud, instead preferring to watch and observe.

She was one of the few, maybe half-dozen women in the room, and her daring to stand up in front of them all both impressed and intrigued him. Her voice was strong and proud, evidence to him of good German breeding, though her logic was questionable. "I would like clarification regarding your opinion on an individual's sense of freedom. You say that the end result of following this path makes one a moral, creative, and free person—but in what sense of the word?"

Herr Steiner's terse reply: "Why, free as in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love."

She returned to her seat in the row behind his when Steiner called for the next question, clearly dissatisfied, and Harald felt himself instinctively tense in his own seat. He resolved to introduce himself once the seminar ended—he had never felt such an urge in his life. Once Steiner turned from the podium he leaped from his seat and hurriedly grabbed his things, turning then to where she still sat, her yellow dress standing out next to the wooden chair.

"I'm sure there was more to your question than what Herr Steiner chose to answer to," Harald's brain worked rapidly, churning out phrases and plucking words from the air to give just the right impression.

"Of course," she bestowed on him a rare smile, and a part of Harald decided that even then, he just might have loved her. "I wanted him to clarify on the nature of such a purely motivated action. Through my own beliefs and experiences I have yet to see this proved true."

That small part of him felt stricken, and began to curl inwards into itself. "You do not believe in love?"

"I do not believe that a person's actions can be solely motivated by love. There will always be an exterior motive—greed, ambition, any other emotion to challenge the purity of love. Love is not pure—Love is idealism."

"Then you are not a believer in anthroposophy? Fraulein—"

"Wielant. Emma Wielant." The name suited her perfectly. "I believe to the extent that I allow myself to believe. A true believer is one who questions, not one who blindly swallows everything they are fed without checking first for poison. You ask a lot of questions, Herr—"

"Harald Hoerwick."

"You ask a lot of questions, Harald Hoerwick."

"Perhaps it is because you keep me guessing, Emma Wielant." He checked his watch, paralleling the end of the workday with the setting of the sun. "Would you care to go to dinner with me and continue this marvelous discussion?"

He offered his arm to her, and after a moment's consideration she took it.

There were many dinners beyond that first one, some with various friends and family but mostly alone, just the two of them conversing at a level most in their spheres of influence could barely understand. They talked of meditation and of religion, of current events and, most recently, social reform.

"My family doesn't much approve," Harald mused over bratwurst at their favorite café. "I fear I've scandalized them with your company—though it wasn't a far fall from their original perceptions, I assure you. Next time, just keep to topics of a less liberal nature." Not that their opinion would have changed a thing—even after all of these months he was still as smitten over her as ever.

"I understand. No mention at all of my state of living or employ, no talk of my gallery, and absolutely no conversation beyond the weather or the degeneration of the service at whatever establishment they frequent. Are books a safe subject?" Her eyes twinkled at the private joke.

"Don't you dare mention the service if we are dining at home. Books are tolerable—I'd stick to the natural sciences." He paused, his fork halfway to his lips. "I suppose it goes without saying to refrain from history—especially recent history." He tried to catch Emma's eyes, as if to impart something secret, almost shameful, without giving voice to it but her gaze, like her mind, was elsewhere. That was a door he would come to open later. For now, he was content to watch her, and marvel at his own good fortune.

"That reminds me, you haven't seen the gallery yet." She was back, dabbing at her lips with a napkin. "Would you like to?"

He paid the check and buttoned his coat and together they walked to the second story walk-up where she kept her paintings. It wasn't a formal gallery, and heaven knew if there were more than a dozen in the entire city—Berliners enjoyed their art in audible form, and weren't shy about expressing it. He actually wondered why she chose to pursue art rather than music, so alike in temperament yet so unequal in yield.

Like all apartments it was long and narrow, and when he moved to throw the switch she stopped him with one hand upon his arm. "They look better this way."

They were landscapes, each one more whimsical and fantastic than the last. The colors were vivid, coming across quite clearly in the moonlight, and he fancied that if he reached out his arm would sink into the world portrayed on the canvas and become one with the grass that almost seemed to move and the mountains that not only had faces but also histories, bonded with the canvas on a level deeper than molecular.

Another painting was of a dungeon, with massive stone walls and a hint of fire, and of a shadow just out of sight…

"I'm going to put my coat away, I won't be long." Emma disappeared into an adjoining room, leaving him alone at the end of the gallery hallway. There was one other doorway opposite the room she had just entered, its door not quite closed. Overcome with curiosity, he drew his face near what must be the entry to her studio. He could make out only the slightest sliver of an unfinished painting in the space between door and frame, and his eyes squinted in the dim light trying to take it in. The image was a still life, painted with an almost clinical detachment yet each line of the medical instrument was so intense, he could almost see the sheen of the metal as it wavered over the painted-yet-not-painted heart below…

The painting stopped, punctuated with a hurried smear of red at the canvas' edge. He stepped away from the door, eyes ducking in shame as if he had just witnessed something private, unmentionable, and as she entered the gallery his eyes alighted on her with a new and profound gentleness.

"Well?" She said, her voice seeming softer in the dark and narrow room. "Did you like them?" Her eyes drifted towards the canvases and for one fleetingly perfect moment he imagined both of them in the World of her imagination, away from all of life's pressures. He reminded himself again that he loved her.

"Sie sind schön." They are beautiful. With a conviction that he rarely held in his entire life he closed the distance between them and kissed her.

Pulling away, he searched her eyes for any lingering traces of sadness or sorrow. He would chase those fears away. He closed his arms tightly around her, briefly kissing the top of her forehead. "Sie sind schön." You are beautiful.

In Berlin spring was unusually warm, and Emma seemed to come out of herself just as the flowers in her window box unfurled, reaching their petals to the sun. She approached the table where he waited with coffee and pastries, her face radiant.

"Do you know what a monolithic integrated circuit is?"

Without even waiting for his answer, she launched into conversation, completely ignoring her plate. "It can store information. Perform calculations that we previously didn't even know existed. With the right technology it is said to be able to do anything."

Harald blew on his coffee to cool it down, waiting for her to stop to breathe. "I haven't any idea what you are talking about."

"You must know about UNIVAC. Did they not teach you anything at University?"

A brief frown crossed his features, smoothed by recollection. Wittenberg did have one of those massive computers, but he had never seen such a thing. "What does this circuit have anything to do with UNIVAC?"

"It is a replacement of the vacuum tubes," she explained, waiting for him to catch on. "It makes these computers much smaller but also infinitely more powerful. Imagine what sort of new things we can discover simply by tapping into all of that new potential! Think of the possibilities, Harald—Technology and anthroposophy, working together! The universe is at our door!"

He barely sensed the burn of the hot coffee as he swallowed, barely noticed the taste or the smell—what was sensory experience compared to the limitless untapped power of these new information storage devices? This could not only restore Germany to its former glory, but make a place for them in history's annals. Computers, combined with human intellect and experience… he felt himself tremble from both excitement and fear. What did it mean to push those boundaries? What would they find? He reminded himself that they weren't the only ones looking.

"This is something we can do together." He rested his hand in her open palm, ignoring the momentary twitch of her fingers before they closed around his. He turned his gaze back towards the coffee to keep from noticing the smile that did not quite reach her eyes.

Harald's parents lived in an estate in the country—this was perhaps the main reason for his residence in the city. But scarcely a month would go by without a summons for dinner, and Harald found himself uncovering his scarcely-used automobile to make the journey to their estate.

Their villa was in the grand style, with crystal dripping from every fixture like rain and marble polished so brightly that it made the whole room shine. He resisted the urge to duck his head as he entered because he didn't want to see his reflection in the stone. His parents were waiting to receive him in the drawing-room and as he crossed the floor he was struck with the memory of playing in one of the back rooms when he was young. He had entered one of the doors he suspected was a closet in the hopes of hiding from one of the maids, but the room he found himself in was far larger than his own closet. The room was filled with newspapers, portraits, and the walls shone with medals hung from lengths of ribbons the color of blood. One symbol stood out on all of them: the broken cross that he could never remove from the back of his mind, no matter how desperately he tried.

Harald shook his head to clear it and found himself looking at his own reflection in an ornate gilded mirror, and the tick of the grandfather clock in the hall provided the cadence that matched his own heartbeat, and for a moment he felt aged far beyond his own years.

"Harald! Don't you ever eat anything? We need to have you around more often." His mother was stout and strong, a caricature of the ideal German woman, and as her only child he fell under her whims more often than he would like.

His father nodded at him, his eyes narrowed in condescension upon seeing the son that never would fulfill his expectations. They were seated around the dining room table, a cherry-wood affair that cut the room in half like a knife.

"Are you still seeing that artist?" At least his father got to the point quickly.

"Yes. Emma and I are still together." He failed to add that the next day would, in fact, mark four months since they had first met.

"You really must bring her around, you've told us all about her," his mother pressured.

"All in good time." His father didn't look particularly pleased, even as their soup was served. They ate their meal in relative silence, remarks about their social calendar and Harald's lack of one filling the emptiness.

It was getting late, and Harald left to drive back to his apartment thinking that, if not for Emma, he might have given in and become more like those he was, at the same time, tempted to turn his back on forever.

The next day, his heart lifted at seeing her expression at the present he had gotten her—although it had been an easy, almost instinctual purchase. He stayed to watch her open the art supplies and paint one of her famous landscapes for him. It was the first time he noticed that none of her paintings had people in them, and he didn't quite know how that should make him feel.

The days that followed were spent at the University in Berlin. They received special clearance to access the libraries, and they spend hours poring over musty anthroposophy textbooks. They watched the sun set over the green and ended many a night at the small coffee shop across the street from the imposing neoclassical building. He felt almost proud, walking up the steps hand in hand with Emma each morning.

One day they visited the large computer that was housed in the University's Technology building, and staring at the computing machine, Harald had never felt so small, or so reverent.

Harald paused, his lips inches from her neck. Her hand, holding the paintbrush in mid-stroke, began to tremble. He pressed his lips to her skin, fighting a smile at the shiver that spread across her shoulders. Emma set the paintbrush down, turned to him, and offered no resistance.

When Harald woke up, Emma was still asleep, her face turned away from the sunlight streaming in through the window. He lightly kissed her temple and smiled. Basking in his own happiness he wished that this morning would just last forever, and reminded himself to smile when she rolled over and opened her eyes.

She kept that painting unfinished, and to him it was the more beautiful for it.

Later that week Harald found himself caught by a particular window display without knowing how he had ended up in the commercial district yet realizing exactly what this meant. Acting with unusual conviction, he entered the store and made his purchase.

The entire day he couldn't stop himself from grinning like a madman.

"And this is the pedal you press to brake the car." Harald's voice was soft, the voice he adopted whenever he was imparting information. "And the wheel controls the movement of the car as well. Do you understand?"

"Yes." Emma's eyes were shining. They were about an hour outside of Berlin, on the untraveled country roads, perfect for keeping his promise. For reasons unfathomable Emma wanted to learn to drive his automobile. "So I can start now?"

"Gently apply the gas… gently!" The car leapt forward, and then slowed suddenly as Emma pressed the brake pedal. "Try again. You'll improve with practice." The road was perfect; straight and empty. The forest of trees made it seem like they were the only two people in the World, and as the car eased forward, gradually gaining speed, Emma threw her head back and laughed. "Watch the road!"

"Right." She laughed again, and he found himself laughing too. He was happy that he hadn't forgotten how; and in that moment he resolved to laugh every day with her at his side.

After several hours they had parked the car on the top of a hill, and simply lay there, content with each other's presence. The sky turned dark, and gradually became dotted with stars. One never really saw the stars in the city. It was only in the country that they shone, each one brighter than the last. Sie sind schön. It was a small thing, so simple, which was why Harald supposed it meant the most.

Harald received a white card in the mail one day. Cursing his parent's timing, he took it with him the next time he visited Emma. He wanted her to stay his secret, and was surprised when she immediately agreed to the invitation. "I do want to meet them," she reasoned.

"But… but you don't know them."

"You sound like you don't know them either." They both seemed taken aback by her outburst.

"Y-You don't understand." He hated himself for the words coming out of his mouth. He didn't want her to understand.

"I'm sorry." Her face looked as radiant as ever, even though her eyes looked tired. "I'm not feeling well, but it should pass. When is the dinner set? Three weeks from now?"

"Yes, three weeks to the day." He rested one hand upon her forehead, but felt no fever. "I'll let you rest. Unless, do you want…?"

"Please," she said, and her voice had never sounded so desperate, "come back tomorrow."

The last thing Harald did before leaving to pick Emma up for the family dinner was slip the small velvet box into his jacket pocket, just in case.

Even compared to the estate in its glittering splendor, Harald still felt that his Emma shone far brighter. She was enchanted with the house, greeted his parents with much more vigor than he would have anticipated, and smoothly transitioned the conversation into the dining room. Harald had to stifle a grin when they conversed about the weather for the better part of twenty minutes, his mother ending it with an aside about the groundskeepers in their employ. Her eyes met his several times; even though he knew she was intentionally trying to charm them for his sake, he had no idea she could do it so well.

The strains of music from the Grammophon wafted through the room, and Harald recognized it as Carl Orff's Omnia sol temperat, a movement from his parent's favorite piece.

Rerum tanta novitas in solemni vere et veris auctoritas iubet nos gaudere; vias prebet solitas, et in tuo vere fides est et probitastuum retinere..

His heart did ache for her. "Emma, what do your parents do for a living?" His mother questioned.

In his mind's eye he saw his mother with a hammer, slowly chipping away at the façade Emma had put on for their benefit. Harald had never asked this question because he had never had to. Courageously, he looked into her eyes.

"They are dead." Her voice sounded hollow, the opposite of sad.

"From the war?" His father's sudden interest made Harald acutely aware of the changing dynamic of the room. He let his eyes dart towards the kitchen door before bringing himself back to the moment.

"From…before the war."

Ama me fideliter! fidem meam nota: de corde totaliter et ex mente tota sum presentialiter absens in remota. quisquis amat taliter, volvitur in rota.

The clatter of silver against wood interrupted the music. His mother, red-faced, had dropped her fork. At that instant, kitchen staff rushed into the room, plates of salad in their arms. His father stood up, his voice thunderous like the bark of an animal. "We won't be needing the food." He turned on his heel and left the room, not looking at either of them.

"Harald? The drawing-room." He knew better to disobey. He remained standing while she moved to the cabinet and poured herself a measure of alcohol. "Do you know what she is?"

"Don't you talk about Emma like that—" His eyes were blazing.

"You will not be allowed to destroy our line like this." Her voice was shaking as she delivered the final blow. "If you marry her you will no longer be considered one of us. You will be cut off—completely. Unless you come to your senses and get rid of her."

Wordlessly, Harald reached into his pocket and withdrew the ring. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

"Get out."

Emma had yet to rise from her chair in the dining room, yet he knew she had still heard everything. "Emma, I—" He felt his heart clench, seeing her so weak.

"Please. Let's just leave." He moved forward to help her out of the chair but at her withering stare he simply handed her her jacket. They drove back to Berlin without speaking. He wanted to say something, anything, yet couldn't even figure out where to start. Stopping the car, he found that they had arrived at his apartment. He opened the door for her.

"Please say something." Still she remained silent. "I'm sorry."

"Are you secretly like them? Do you want me to leave too?"

"No!" He gasped. "Emma, I… I love you. You must know that." Looking into her eyes, he saw the first traces of emotion. He did love her. He had always loved her.

"How can you say that?" Her eyes began to well with tears. Despite her posture, always tall and strong, he knew that inside she was breaking. He couldn't lose her—not now, not ever! Not quite knowing what to do, he felt himself reach into his pocket.

"Emma Wielant. I love you and I want to make you my wife." He knelt before her, his own eyes blinking back moisture. She must know that all he wanted to do was be with her. "Please say you'll marry me."

He had thought about this moment for weeks and it was here, now, when everything was crumbling around them. He didn't want to think about the future. He would have to work to support them, would she want a family, everything flashed through his mind in an instant, and he knew that they were all on her mind as well.

"I can't!" Tears flowing freely down her face, she jumped up from her chair and ran from the room. He faintly heard as the door to his apartment slammed shut before realization dawned. His automobile… Putting the ring back into his pocket he ran after her.

Emma started the automobile the way she had been taught, finding it hard to see through the tears. She knew the way back to her apartment. That night, she would pack, and be gone from his life forever. She would not let him ruin his chances, his life, on her. She thought back to the first time they met. He should have known…

"I would like clarification regarding your opinion on an individual's sense of freedom. You say that the end result of following this path makes one a moral, creative, and free person—but in what sense of the word?"

Herr Steiner's terse reply: "Why, free as in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love."

Then: "I'm sure there was more to your question than what Herr Steiner chose to answer to," Harald was so young, was still so young, and being young, his mistakes much graver for it.

"Of course," she bestowed on him a rare smile, and a part of her decided that even then, she must not let him fall in love with her. "I wanted him to clarify on the nature of such a purely motivated action. Through my own beliefs and experiences I have yet to see this proved true."

He looked stricken. "You do not believe in love?"

"I do not believe that a person's actions can be solely motivated by love. There will always be an exterior motive—greed, ambition, any other emotion to challenge the purity of love. Love is not pure—Love is idealism."

She believed that even though he loved her, he did not love her. He couldn't. He pitied her, for something she could barely control, her own birth, and looking down at her stomach, only slightly rounded, she resolved not to perpetuate the cycle. No one would pity her unborn child, because no one would ever know.

Emma blinked back tears; life was cruel, for all of it that she had been allowed. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears, and she didn't want to do it. But the alternative was unbearable. She didn't love him back. She couldn't love him, because if he were to leave she didn't think she could take it. She still couldn't forget the night her parents were forced from their home and she was left alone, so alone, and she felt that alone now, even with that other life inside of her struggling just as she was. She had wanted to discover a new, anthroposophic, spiritual world to see them again, to bring them back, but now, she supposed, she would see them again. In a way, she had succeeded after all.

The car approached the crossing over the Havel, and despite the tears clouding her vision she thought that Berlin had never looked so beautiful. The lights of the buildings glittered over the river, and this night she could see the stars. It was as if she wasn't in Berlin anymore at all, but rather somewhere else. Before she lost her courage her hands twisted the wheel just enough, and in the instant before the automobile landed in the Havel, with her hands clasped over her stomach and Harald's name on her lips, she felt like she was flying.

Harald couldn't find any trace of her at her apartment, although he stayed there the entire night. He returned to his own later that day, his fingers feeling numb even though he kept picking up the ring, her ring, without realizing it. He stayed in his house for three days, hardly eating and barely sleeping. It was on the last day when he heard the knock on his door.

It was a policeman. He listened calmly, expressionlessly, as the man explained that he needed to identify the remains of Emma Wielant. Excusing himself, he went into his bedroom, locked the door, and started to cry.

It was when he was at the morgue that Emma's biggest secret was revealed to him. The mortician had discovered extremely high hormone levels in the body, which led her to find the fetus in the autopsy, and told Harald that he would have had a daughter. At a new wave of tears, the mortician covered her mouth. "I thought you knew."

"No." Harald wanted more than ever to be alone. "Thank you for letting me know."

He didn't want to believe it, but the pieces fit together too well. She never told him—had she thought that he knew? That he wanted to marry her out of pity, to support their child, even knowing that the action would disown him from any wealth he was entitled by birth? He wept fresh tears at each thought.

Their funeral was simple, and Harald was the only mourner. He had them buried on a familiar hill in the country with a perfect view of the stars.

Harald woke up one morning, days later, weeks later, months later, and decided that he was going to the library. He didn't know why he wanted to go to the library when their project would never be completed, but he had to fill the emptiness somehow. He refused to buy another car, and instead walked the distance to the University until he passed underneath the columns of the library, alone.

His fingers found the spines of familiar books; they ghosted over page corners folded down to mark passages she had wanted to review later, and he wondered if this was a good idea. But he found himself reading first one book, then another, and before he knew it he had passed the day there.

Days turned into months and months turned into years and finally, the package he had ordered arrived. Harald opened the box and pulled out a computer.

On a deceptively ordinary day, Harald brought her paintings of the World to life.

Anthroposophy. Technology. And the power of the human spirit.

Harald had succeeded in the project that he and Emma had started together, but his real success was in this project. He would have a daughter. He had decided to name her Aura, and she would be beautiful. In this World, he would have her… an expression of his love in a tangible way. Her mind would be a part of the World, and through that form she would exist. She would be real…

But she wasn't ready yet. Morganna would make sure that she would awaken when the time came. It would be soon. She was so close—

And now, here, as he lies on the bed, his mind comes back to the world, so plain and colorless now that he has his creation. He feels something, a tremor in his chest, and it is disquieting. He ignores it, attempts to go back into the World; he needs to fix Morganna before any more damage is done, because damage once done can never be erased, and he knows this well. He doesn't understand why he can't move his limbs. For one terrifying moment he feels a sinking feeling in his lungs, like the weight of the world is pressing down upon him, but then a nerve ending in his mind fires and something brings him back to the World. It is different, though. What he wants is to see his daughter. Harald doesn't understand why he can't see Aura.

I love you.

I… I wanted to leave my feelings and yours in a tangible form…

The proof that you were alive.

The proof that I loved you… place them in a tangible form.

But… it seems I was mistaken.

She… is my… is our hope.

Look after her.

I know that I, who failed as a father asking the one who comes here is too convenient. I know that… However, that is the only thing I can do. I did not know this feeling of impatience. How narrow was my world. Please. She is your and my… the fruit of my feelings for you, my beloved…

I could not do anything as a father. Please forgive me. No, it is all right if you don't forgive me. I, who was a fool, do not have the right to be forgiven. But her… Please look after her.

I love you.

The End.


Cogito ergo sum, translated in English as: "I think, therefore I am", is part of a philosophical argument by Descartes. A simple meaning of the phrase is that if someone is wondering whether or not they exist, that is in and of itself proof that they do exist.

Anthroposophy is a spiritual philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development—more specifically through cultivating conscientiously a form of thinking independent of sensory experience.

Emma's 'secret painting' that Harald discovers is actually a Schindler's List reference. Emma is painting a stethoscope, used to measure the beats of a human heart. During the Nazi regime, these instruments of healing were used to discern heartbeats of individuals hiding between walls.

A monolithic integrated circuit might be better known as the 'microchip.'

Omnia sol temperat is a movement from Carmina Burana, a piece that was embraced by the Nazi party due to its primitive and elemental score. The translation for the lyrics I have used is as follows: The power of Nature's renovation in the glorious Spring commands us to be joyful. Spring evokes the wonted ways of love. Hold fast thy lover!

Love me faithfully, feel the constant adoration of my heart and mind. I am with you even when apart. Whosoever shares my feelings knows the torture of love.

The opening quote is the inscription on Emma Wielant's tombstone. An alternate translation would be: "Creator of legends, rest here now, as your own legend."

The ending section is the loop that Harald delivers as the 'broken man' in episode 14 of .hack//sign.

As this is fanfiction, I will first state that I do not own .hack//sign, and then I would like to share what we do know about the characters and what is my creation. Everything about anthroposophy and technology fits into the dynamics of the characters. We do not know anything about Harald or Emma's parentage, religious affiliations, or social status. I apologize if I offended anyone with Harald's parents' comments or viewpoints, this was not intentional at all—I just think it provides a level of complexity and foundation for motivations. Emma's paintings are fictitious, but a nice alternative to her 'epitaph of twilight' poem that was thought to have inspired the World. We actually do have some chronology, which unfortunately makes this story AU (I intended for it to be a prequel to the series)—this story moves up canon events by several decades—although with how old Harald looks in the anime, this seems a logical age to place him here. We do know that Emma died in a car accident, the actual details surrounding that I have elaborated on. Last, I have never visited Berlin, therefore all locations are fictitious, with the exception that the Havel River does exist.

This story's beta is the talented Jess, aka My Misguided Fairytale. Thank you for reading and please review, I value and treasure each one.