Looking at it, the details lead you in, the little touches left in place by the deft hand of the artist. Candlelight, so soft and gentle, almost like a kiss laid upon the walls, to make them glow with a muted blushing – it bathes the painting with a rosy light.
Dive through the frame like a window and stare. Stare at his eyes, there, in the scene. Look at the light in them, bright, arresting. Hear the clamour of the people, feel the sweat slide down your skin and look, look into his eyes.
Let the sunlight burn into your skin, and the burnished armour blind you.
Feel the people brush against you, push you aside, and see him still, upon the ground, fatigued.
Let the weeping of the women pierce your heart.
See the blood flowing like a river, like the blood of roses spilt on desert sand. His blood.
Hear the whips that crack against his skin, and their shouting, and the cries, like blades come from the hand of a beloved friend.
Look at his face.
Look into his eyes.
Then, a movement, and the desert melts away. Startled, you look up, beyond the candlelight’s reach, into the shadows. There’s someone there!
His eyes catch your gaze, hold it, arrest it.
What shall I call them? To what shall I compare them?
Diamonds, hard and glittering, white-hot with flame the likes of which has never been beheld by men, or blazing embers, bearing a fearsome fire within them, the very heartfire of the earth?
Stars above, radiant and lofty, jewels adorning the firmament, or ice and snow, brilliant, colder than the breath of winter itself?
Lightning, swift and terrible, piercing through the heavens, or steel, firm and unbending, like the warrior’s resolve?
A man’s eyes.