Your temple isn't guarded by carved snake headed gods or winged demons. Instead a middle aged woman in a blue uniform with hair the colour of oxblood sits beside a button controlled turnstile. We hand over our coins, taking a small paper ticket in return and join the queue of tourists, history fans and ghouls. We climb the glass sided stairs unsure what to expect on the other side of the griffin sized doors.
Gold. Gold everywhere, catching the light like sun on meltwater. Pieces shaped into otherworld stags and ghost horses torn at the withers by dragon jaws. Gold so numerous it becomes like grains of dirt. We walk from cabinet to cabinet, peer at the labels, in two languages, neither ours.
I linger in front of a table carved in wood, each of its four legs worked into springing tigers. For a moment I wonder if the timber on the treeless plains you called home was as valuable as the spit common yellow metal.
The next room is full of beasts that stalked the nights beyond your tent, felted from the wool of long dead herds.
Then we turn. In the middle of the hall two heavy drapes brush the ground, covering a single door. Each person acts the same. Walks up to them, glances at the bored guard to the side, then slides a hand between the fabric, before stepping through with nervous paces.
Inside you lie in a glass coffin, lights much brighter than any sun you rode under. We begin by walking the outside of the room, like penitents stepping a labyrinth only we can see. You are silent, turned to your left as if your lover has risen leaving your outstretched arm numb. Your other is withered where death's horse gnawed it to sticks. A smile touches the lips lost to the rot of the melt. I come closer and peer at your shoulder. Thick lines cross each other like frost blackened grass, the beaked horse now faceless since you were born from the frozen ground as mammoth kin.
I know the sting of the needle and picture you in a tent, the wind howling ancestor names as soot from burnt animal fat is crushed to paste. The oil lamps flicker while the needle pierces the horse spirit into your skin. Outside your steed sings in the voice of the dead herd. The ink moves across your skin and the hoof stretches down to your chest, the beast riding with you while you gallop across the spring plains, your own horse kicking up clods of wild flowers and dew. And then I step back, leaving you to your lonely sleep, surrounded by your grave goods spread like gravel through the Kunsthalle. We leave through the cliff like glass doors. Outside the streets smell of Maroni and too many people, and I carry the scent of frost black grass, blood and crushed soot in my clothes.