Dii Montium Sunt Dii Eorum

(The title is taken from the Vulgate translation of 1 Kings 20:23)


The mountains are the wild place, the mountains are the untamed: The hordes dwell within them, and their gods are the gods of the mountains. The Alpine heights hold plutocrats and kleptocrats. The Dinaric and the Balkan all those who wish the return of old scars and old wars. The Carpathians, those most secret of all, the hidden redoubts of those with the most to hide. The Scandes shield tax exiles and blood sacrificers.


The mountains of Cantabria are the home of rebels and separatists.


Europe once had distant corners to hide in, but as it drew closer together, the fringes, those darkened edges, needing ever better hiding places from unified surveillance, unified policing, moved upwards. The mountains were a strange blind spot. Somehow, the infrastructure of the EU did not extend so far upon them, and thus they became the borderlands worth running to.


And Europe, too, had crushed any thoughts of separation, had demanded sole, total unity. The enemies lay outside. Eastward. They had happily tinkered in the Caucasus because they knew that they were equally weak. Most of the terror incidents in that brief period known as the war on terror were internal separatist groups. The global agenda was minor. But Europe had to play big games. No concessions: No secessions.


Thus, by a gate that holds no gate, yet none ought to pass, there stands a wayward man. His name is irrelevant, his allegiance is to fragmentation. Differentiation. Not to a wide land under one sky and one rule. He believes that different gods hold sway in different places. Here was the place of San Martin Txiki, Cheeky Saint Martin, who steals from the one who thinks himself the overlord of the forests. Green Spain belonged to the devious saint, not the god of the trees. Let not all things be one!


This road leads to their village, their town where the language is old, the traditions also, where law is pronounced by elders and not by legislators. Where outsiders or enforcers shall find neither home nor mercy. The man, waiting for one of his companions, his brothers-in-arms and his cousin-in-blood, looks down at the land, the steep hills that he knows well. Maybe Europol SC5, who countered terrorists, had caught him. That was always the fear. They had heard that there was now a Second Officer in Cantabria, a Swiss girl called Christa Haley-Aster. They were having to become more careful.


Maybe he shouldn’t worry as much, he thought. Who would trouble us up here? They hadn’t fought any serious battles in a long time. They knew their time, their cause, was a matter of retreat, not advance. His parents had not been mountain people. But now he loved this place as if it were part of his very soul.


Perhaps his cousin was merely delayed. He called him. He was. It was all alright. They were safe, up here in the wilds.

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