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September 03, 2016
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Meet Wolfram von Eschenbach, last living descendant of his namesake, the 13th Century knight-poet Wolfram von Eschenbach, who fought alongside count Herman von Thüringen in the third Crusades. This is the story of a knight forsaken, misplaced in time and space. I took it upon myself to document Wolfram’s ongoing struggle to be accepted by society. His wayward reluctance to adapt leaves him feeling unwanted and insecure. Like any modern day knight he longs for a life of normality, fitting in and maybe, to find love. Over the next years, I will attempt to unveil the man behind the armour. To show everyone there ís a place for Urban Knights in our society. All images © 2015-2016 Martijn van Oers | Narrative by Andress Kools

A knight foresaken

Meet Wolfram von Eschenbach, last living descendant of his namesake, the 13th Century knight-poet Wolfram von Eschenbach, who fought alongside count Herman von Thüringen in the third Crusades. This is the story of a knight forsaken, misplaced in time and space. I took it upon myself to document Wolfram’s ongoing struggle to be accepted by society. His wayward reluctance to adapt leaves him feeling unwanted and insecure. Like any modern day knight he longs for a life of normality, fitting in and maybe, to find love. Over the next years, I will attempt to unveil the man behind the armour. To show everyone there ís a place for Urban Knights in our society.

All images © 2015-2016 Martijn van Oers | Narrative by Andress Kools

Full series can be found here: WOLFRAM’S URBAN ADVENTURES

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A REFRESHING BEDSIDE BOOZE

“It has now been more years than my befuddled mind can recall that I lost the only other familymember I know of. My father’s younger brother was found dead at a travelling carnival and I’ve been alone ever since. With the drink fuelling my days, my recollection of days past wavers ever more. Memories of how I got here elude me, but I call it ‘home’. My tongue, anaesthetised by the sting of bottled spirits, cannot remember the last time it tasted solid food. It matters not, for my belly is warmed by the ether of merriment.

My nights are haunted by mares of seafarers and mermaids, cannons that shoot lightning and being chased by a beast covered in human mammary glands. A refreshing bedside booze soon clears my mind of these phantasms and, as by miracle, recounts meeting a most pleasant figure. He dresses like the dullards in town, but is obviously educated in the arts of chivalry, as he recognised my noble stature and immediately offered to chronicle my farings by means of his black box. His efforts might not prove lucrative, but he seems not to care. I find his tenacity and his positive, outgoing personality to be a refreshing experience in stark contrast to the sullen folk whom often gather around my home to loudly protest my presence.”

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COMFORT A LONGING SOUL

“Each morning brings news from around the world to my neighbour’s doorstep. I take notice of many discoveries mankind has created for an even lazier existence; there is a machine for almost every purpose and the paper is filled with their pictures. The finer print, often without accompanying graphic adornment, tells of thievery, fighting and murder. Mild spirited men in suits cry their fake tears for victims of a struggle they will never know.

What is murder but a happenstance for a man who lives by the sword? What is thievery but a way of life for he who has nothing to call his own? These wars do not affect me. Far away poverty and hunger do not take food out of my mouth. Many would have taken their own lives if they had to live mine. My nights are without sleep as I lie in stupor after drowning in the last sip from a bottle of ill-tasting brew.

Morning tea I cannot taste and burn my mouth upon trying. No starving infant ever burnt their tongue on hot tea on account of being blind drunk. Soldiers are clad in armour of the highest quality, they ride, fare and fly in great machines to protect and kill, but their deaths are mourned as is every weak human’s. To have only one such problem seems like bliss compared to my daily dealings.

Starving children? War torn nations? Lucky bastards.”

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CAPABLE OF LOVE

“It looked at me with a longing for companionship. Yearning to be taken from its prison among bicycles. Unlike humanity, it seemed to know I am capable of love. My heart felt fuzzy under my armour as I took the little mutt, its big eyes full of cuddly promises: this could be my friend! An unearthly shriek emanated from a woman obviously as domesticated as the little mongrel and shattered my dream. This harpy seemed non too pleased and demanded I return my newfound friend. Women have always denied me pleasure…”

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GARDENS OF THE OLD EMPEROR

“The spirits of my forefathers haunt me in my dreams and bottled spirits can no longer purge the torture. My visions drove me to visit the grave of my father, whose dying wish was to be buried in the gardens of the old emperor himself, his grave pointing towards his place of birth. As I stood facing the monument that marks the bed from which he will never wake, a cross atop his encased and lifeless body, I realised there was something amiss.I feel a growing need to learn about my ancestors, my lineage, my past relatives. I yearn for the familiarity of kin, the recognition of fame and flaw one only sees in one’s forebears.”

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THE TOME OF CARNAL KNOWLEDGE
“In the streets, her flamingo coloured hair enticed me to speak to her. Clearly impressed by my physical appearance, she agreed to join me in an inn of reputable standing. As is becoming of a lady of class, she inquired about my wealth. After we agreed to trade an amount that satisfied her inquisition, she started to undo the strings of my codpiece. I had great plans for her, but as I showed her the tome of carnal knowledge, she fled in dismay! Although this ancient Indian book did not feature positions for a lonely participant, the illustrations tickled my imagination enough to stretch my undergarment…”

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FUELED BY A CAGED BANSHEE

“I found this wheeled monster, growling at the roadside. As I had often seen my chronicler control one of these fire-driven carts, there was no doubt that I, too, could master its rituals. Operating the levers and pedals produced terrible shrieks. Hellish noise that made me believe this apparatus is fueled by a caged banshee. It wasn’t untill my expert command quieted the beast that I noticed a spectacle of light and noise behind me.

Clearly, this man challenged me to a race of some sort, flashing his colours atop his coach, brandishing a knight’s shield upon his chest. The fool clearly had much to learn, as was made evident by his repeatedly bashing into the vehicle I had commandeered. His shiny monster had crippled my buggy and his yelling indicated he was some sort of wizard. He shouted "Freeze!” as if to invoke some weathergod’s blessing to quench the sun’s heat.

My metal companion now wheezed and coughed a smokey rattling as it sat against a wooden post. Nothing was freezing, but when the knight-magician produced his shackles, I hastily exited my transport and tactically retreated into a field…“

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“IT’S WOLFRAM, B**CHES!”

“I felt like a visitor to what is closest to a home. My ancestor’s castle stood as magnificently as I could remember it. Yet, I chose not to dwell on feelings of lost chances, but to revell in this splendour like a true visitor and have a flashbox graft a reflection of myself onto paper. My trusted blade perfectly balanced the photo-chamber at the proper distance and, as it is considered appropriate according to my knowledge of nowaday culture, like the minstrel Tupac, I identified myself by holding my hand in a ‘W’ shape. My chronicler calls this a "selfey”. I say: “It’s Wolfram, b**ches!”“

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CHRYSTALS OF A HEAVENLY BEAUTY

“Spending one’s day hunting scraps for food is a life unworthy of my noble self. But as of recent, Fortune hath smiled upon me with barren-toothed grin, as she sent me the White wizard of Heißenbergen with a book of potions! He made promise of one recipe so potent that it could endow its user with great imagination of otherworldly happenings. Once prepared, the solution of ingredients would boil down to crystals of a heavenly beauty, the colour of angels’ eyes and the sparkle of shattered ice from the greatest glaciers the alps have ever seen.

The wizard’s directions led me into a forest of ominous atmosphere. Along muddy paths and through a thicket of shrubs I came onto a clearing where a forgotten carriage no longer supported its previous inhabitants, but provided an excellent kitchen for my recipes to come to fruition. The vapour of the brew had the effect of a thousand pungent onions, burning the eyes and scraping my throat. This made me curious as to the effect of the finished potion, as there were no onions in the recipe, just something called ‘AA batteries’.

Through my wanderings I had seen the potion being used by the filthy gutterdwellers who were aptly named ‘junks’. By their account, its use imbues a mindbending glory, which overwhelms the senses and numbs the coil of mortality. A dragon seems to ride the pulse in your veins, while the putrid odour drives your very soul to the edge of oblivion. While the potion needs a small amount of fire to release its potency, it robs a user from their fire, leaving them weak and impotent as evidenced by their hollow stares. This concoction is not for those who seek interaction of a carnal nature, but merely for those without company, to wallow in their misery without knowing it. Even the strongest of influences cannot banish desparation from my mind . Alas, misery proves to be a mightily effective deterrent for company. ”

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MY NEWFOUND VAGABONDRY

“According to several letters I’ve received from council, police and the owner, my house is not, in fact, my house. Rudely I was woken when two uniformed brutes tore me out of my dreams and escorted me off the premises that had previously provided me with a roof to sleep under. The cloudy night sky was my new blanket, the wet streets, downtrodden by the townspeople I so loathe, my living room floor. I stood forelorn, coming to terms with my newfound vagabondry. A companion I found in a scraggly streetdweller. A man of stringy posture and the beard of a fourteen-year-old, he offered me a share of his meal and his drink.

My trust was betrayed and I felt foolhardy when the cold air of night tickled my private parts as I found myself bare and without armour! The lout had filled my belly with spirits and he left me bereft of my senses and my possessions. Never again will I trust a man who offers me his body for nightly warmth. I hastily followed the familiar sounds of my rattling metal husk across an unfamiliar maze of dark, sleeping houses and spotted the cretin in an ally, at the end of which he got caught up with my blade. In the crisp air of night, the vagabond’s last breath left the hole in his greasy neck in a puff of thin vapour, taking with it my hope of befriending anyone in this world.”

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THE HOUSE OF MY FIRST TRUE LOVE

“At last, the little box my chronicler presented me with has proven fruitful in its endeavour to find me a suitable lady. The flat little screen shows me pictures of women that require me to move them to the left or to the right. This ‘right swiping’ has produced me an unparallelled match in the form of a true Amazonian. She promised to mount me like a pony, ride me hard until sunrise and she did. Her abode was horrendous, but pretty women don’t need pretty houses. Perhaps the maid had an off day.

The morning found me feeling refreshed and soiled at the same time, and so I went downstairs to find the armour and my weapons that I shed that previous night. Suddenly, the door creaked and through a flap in the door appeared something wicked, demonic even. The image of this living gargoyle etched itself into my eyes and as it jumped up onto the table, I could not move a limb. Slowly I reached for the broomstick behind me, which was covered in cogwebs after what can only have been decades of careful neglect. As milady trotted downstairs, moving unsteadily after last nights escapades, I warned her about the beast and immediately gave it a mighty heave with the broom, sending it crashing into the door, where I pummeled it into a bloody mess, for which the willow branches at the business end of this housekeeping instrument proved dismally insufficient.

Standing gloriously over its wretched corpse, I expected the lady to thank me for saving her from this abomination, but instead she started bawling about her pet. Vaguely and in the back of my mind, I do recall her mentioning that, if I turned out to be a long term companion to her carnal desires, she would let me pet her hairless pussy… Maybe this Tinder cannot find me true love, for it raised my hopes on horny clouds and let them crash onto the pavement outside the house of my first true love.”

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GAME OF PORCELAIN THRONES

“Even though bravery, justice and valour are evident in my appearance, there remains some doubt as to my ancestry. The lack of clear documentation on my part raises questions about the validity of my knighthood. I have taken up a quest to find a royal house to bestow knighthood upon me. A royal house to which I vow:
- to fulfill any and all duties bestowed upon me by my monarch.
- to keep faith, following St. George Michael’s proze
- to protect the innocent, to punish the injust and to guard the purity of ladies. I shall take their virginity and keep it safe from others.

My journey led me to the oldest reigning monarch, the Queen Elizabeth. Her refusal of my services drove my desperation into a frenzy as I roamed the streets of the City, yelling about how I am a mere foreigner, willing to work harder for less compensation. I have been made to believe that the conclusion of their frustration with me is now called a ‘Brexit’. At last, amongst constructions of various retail, I found the palace of a true King! A feast was in full sway in the main hall and the kitchen was bursting with activity. The plebeians gorged themselves on oozing meat on bread and crunchy sticks of a yellow vegetable I could not recognise. Their children played horrible sounding instrumentations, fashioned of colourful cups and straws, to make one want to sear ones ears shut onto the kitchen grills.

I requested passage into the throneroom and was directed to a hallway, where a little girl sat crying for her parents. Upon learning of my duties, she made me haste to clarify myself, asking me wether it would be a number one or a number two. Stating I needed to fulfill all duties, she led me into the shimmering throneroom and told me to pick a throne for myself. Alas, Princess of the Burger Kingdom, I could not sit on a throne so glorious before first entering into your service. Since she did not have the proper regalia on her, I fashioned her a sword and knelt once more, to be inducted into the tier of knights and noblemen. My impression of her could not have prepared me for the mighty blow that followed my request for the gentle tap known as an accolade. Had it not been a blunt sword of wood, she would have decapitated me! Nevertheless she dubbed me Sir Wolfram, knight-servant of the Burger King, protector of the porcelain throne, keeper of duties.

As I woke from the debilitating blow to my neck and exited this golden hall of marble thrones, a flame-grilled feast welcomed me. My songs of joy were less appreciated by the seated thralls, whose food I claimed. As Lady Fortune smiled upon me, it didn’t require more than one public beheading for them to see my true nobility.”

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THE SYMBOLIC CROSSES OF CHRISTIANITY

“As demand is growing for my magic blue potion, thralls were required to fulfill the tasks of delivery. In the forests behind my wheeled laboratory, I found a following of seven hard-working men, stout in appearance. Once upon a time, they operated a small-scale mining company, until a roving necrofiliac prince took control of their mines to pay for his ostentatious wedding.

Although their size would suggest the contrary, a greater work ethic I have never seen. Their assignments they fulfilled with joy, not wanting more reward than a roof to sleep under and a bowl of porridge to fill their bellies. But their gleeful demeanor turned to their doom, as their restless singing of ‘heigh-ho’ plucked at my nerves like a blackbird digging for a worm. Their whistling of the same tune had to my ears become so despicable that a mere pouting of their lips stirred a lust for slaughter inside my tormented mind.

So on a midsummer’s night, heavy with mosquitos and the stifling odours of the blooming wilderness, I found myself in the forest upon their shack and summoned them to gather their digging tools. One by one, I had them dig their own, half-sized graves in the leaf-covered soil. Unbeknownst to them, they had carried out their final chore. As they merrily congregated in front of me, it only took but one fell swoop of my cold blade to strike the light from their eyes and send their heads in opposite direction from their bodies. No man whose death becomes him under the service of a true knight should rest without a proper burial, and therefore I fashioned the symbolic crosses of christianity to sanctify their eternal sleep.

It wasn’t until then that I noticed but six graves, where I expected seven. The little lout was bound to return, I deduced from his porridge still on the table. No sooner had I started digging the unknowing dolt’s grave, when he turned up with a bag of mushrooms and snared squirrels he gathered nearby. Our emotions were evident as we gazed into eachother’s eyes. He feared for his life. I was hungry. And so, a deal was made. Squirrel and mushroom stew with porridge for dessert does truly quiet the nerves. The mushrooms seemed to make the dwarf a little dopey, too. Who knows, I might just let this one live.”

Full series can be found here: WOLFRAM’S URBAN ADVENTURES

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