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saga juliet

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  1. Cautiously, at first, as if stiffed; then, resolving themselves to the tides of the situation, which resembles more a standoff than a chance meeting of neighbors, they remove their hood to look Isabel in the eye for the first time. The woman – and she is a woman, and against all reason, this fact causes Isabel to soften and feel the attenuation of a bond between the two – tries again, this time as stranger-to-stranger, with no pretensions of friendship. Things being, in the end, more equitable, more same-page. Two people cannot communicate without a mutual and truthful understanding – even if they are both women – is what Isabel believes. There is no room for deception in the jungle, where the worms and taproots have ways of drawing the truth out of one as water. “You’re quite the interesting one, aren’t you?” the woman says. “Not at all,” Isabel says. Isabel looks at her, up and down. The outsider has the luxury of thinking things in these terms. Interesting, uninteresting. Fascinating, not-so-fascinating. “Though I know that the foreigner is most often fixated on exotic women. Although I imagine if that’s what you were looking for, you must be disappointed, Miss Outsider.” “Outsider, yes,” the woman says. She faces the unspoken question head-on. “Am I a militant? No – no demands. Just curiosity. We are not lost.” “This used to be a road, you know. Cala Alberdon street, always busy, always packed. If you dig down a little, past the dirt and gravel, there’s still the foundations of the road. In-between the roots, and such. That’s what it used to be. I don’t think anyone who lived here once would still be able to recognize it now. I’ve lived in Biazo City my whole life and I’ve lived in this impossible new jungle that came after it, and sometimes it seems like I wake up in a new place every morning.” Isabel puts the book into her bag, and rises to stretch. “It used to be a road but now straight shooting will hit you tree in about thirty meters, wherever you aim. There aren’t any roads in this jungle, and in particular, there are no roads leading to us here. If you’re not lost then you must have come looking for – sorry, curious about – something big. I don’t know what that is, but I know we don’t have it.” “We follow death,” the woman states, as if all things will be cleared up by such a vague statement. “The air here is thick with dea– “ “Believe you me, I’m well aware of that. I’m the village doctor. The air’s thick with a lot of things, and all of them can kill. But that isn’t a story, that’s just the ordinary matters of life and death.” She stands. “The moon will set soon. I don’t know that one would like to be wandering when it does.” “I – please allow me to apologize,” the woman says at last. Her manner still no less formal, or frigid. “I am Saira. My furry friend here is Gauge...how did you meet with such sorry times, if I may ask?” “History’s hard learned, and I don’t think it matters very much,” Isabel says. “To be honest, I’m damn close to forgetting. Would you like to come for tea?” Isabel’s hut is the first they come to. Other homes lay further within, mounted atop boulders barely discernible as the remnants of geoball spectator stands, and some of them even glow with the sickly light of oilfruit lamps. Indicating, perhaps, that there are others who cannot sleep, or that there are a few who are, after all this time, still afraid of the dark? The two women who proceed do not know, but neither would come as a surprise. The night has character to it, both insomniac and paranoiac. The pulsing heart of Gaia, which even now remains a steady green gauze cast over the sky to the west, strokes the hair of her children like the touch of a dead mother. “I used to be a priestess,” Isabel remarks, gestures at the flickering jungle-heart. “But then I quit believing in good and evil. This jungle is all the doing of that thing you mainlanders put here. Sometimes I’m afraid of it. Afraid of the way things sprout up from one another’s throats, choke, trying to live so hard their veins pop every time it rains. Is it better or worse than what came before, I don’t think is a fair question to ask. If it were up to me, I’d have Biazo City back in a heartbeat. But the snakes of the forest and the Unnaturals in the caves beneath are grateful for their home. Even in-between the two, when this city was still a bombed-out wasteland, there were good parts to it.” In the kitchen Isabel boils water in a flask. Tea is fished from a shelf on which is contained a variety of botanicals; hastily-drawn skulls decorate a few of them. Beneath the tea-cabinet is a drawer. Inside the drawer is a revolver. Isabel hefts it, examines the chambers, then puts it into her pocket. None of it is done secretly. As again; no secrets in the jungle. Secrets have a way of poisoning people. There is simply no need, Isabel understands. She brings two mugs to the table. “No milk within a hundred miles of here, but plenty of sugar, if that’s to your liking.” @-Lilium-
  2. Thanks for the likes, darling!

    1. vielle

      vielle

      You're welcome! You've a lovely writing style; keep up the awesome work! ?

       

  3. The Dream – A Prologue – Promises To Come – The Beginning of All Things – The Birth of a Hero – One Quiet Night This is a memory and, partly, a dream. It is the night of miracles and the night of omens. In the officer’s mess, there are four men seated around a wicker table who are all eventually doomed in different ways. They are playing Rummy. One of them occasionally flits across the room to stoke the teapot hanging in the fire, to keep us topped off and our cups warm. Farseer, who sits beside the hand left unattended, is not cheating. (That is a miracle, although it is not one of the miracles of the night.) Of the other two, one is telling a story from a faraway land. The last one, then, must be me. In this dream I cannot hear anything, because on the night of miracles I remember there encompasses us an absolute void of noise. The fire is a coward’s fire, diminished in the brazier, while beyond the window for the first time in what feels to be living memory there is no wind which whips the surfaces of puddles, no rain to scour the rust from the rooftops. The quiet is not imagined; it is remembered. And although I do not hear it, I remember the story. Each time Cazch loses a hand, he gives another inch of folklore as Turncollar deals. Turncollar is slow and methodical with his deal. He is the only one to be trusted with the deck. Cazch and Farseer have a way of charming the cards. “Two years the dragons laid waste to the mountains,” Cazch says. “In a way, they made their own bed. When they touched the volcanoes, they blew ash into the air until the whole sky was blotted out. And then? Prophecy was this: forty days and forty nights of darkness. On the forty-first day, the sun would shine again, and then a hero would be born.” “A hero!” At this time we laugh. “Hope has existed for a long time. Besides, this was the real deal. Twenty years later, man went on a rampage. Killed about every last dragon there was.” Cazch chuckles. “What makes a legend. Forty days and nights.” Then he looks at us significantly. “Have you been keeping track?” Me and Turncollar trade looks. “You have,” Turncollar says. “Else you wouldn’t have that shit-eating grin on your face.” “Forty days and forty nights of rain, my friends. And tonight...” Cazch spreads his hands wide. He is having his own brand of fun. He likes to live in a fairy-tale world, despite his own poisonous tendencies. “It isn’t much of a sun,” Farseer rebuts. Farseer, I can see, is tickled. Clairvoyance are Farseer's domain. He believes, with a stunning lack of self-awareness, that prophets are full of shit. “In my language, sun means light. What is the moon but light, friends?” Turncollar makes the deal. “Then there is a hero out there, no other questions about it.” I pick up my hand. “An honest-to-god white knight of deliverance. Write home to Byrn, Cazch, and be quick about it. Get the big-shots to eat him up while the boy’s still impressionable.” “Now hang on here,” Farseer says. “Who says the hero’s gonna want anything to do with that shithole?” We consider that. Cazch puts down a cut of treys. “What do you mean?” “Use your noggins here, gentlemen. Where's it been dark as a whore’s tit for five-odd weeks? Byrn? Or Monzia?” “It was Byrnian prophets talking big,” I say. “Odd if the baby weren’t theirs.” “Tell me that a wench in Byrn shits out a demigod every time some city in Isore’s pissed on for too long a thousand leagues away.” Cazch cedes the point in this imaginary argument. I am surprised. Nobody likes to admit that Farseer could be right about anything. He is already too correct too often. But the stakes are low in this hypothetical. We only wish there were heroes and villains. It is easy to be wholly evil or wholly good. “If that’s so, then we’ll have quite the insurrectionist problem in about twenty years,” Turncollar notes. “I can see it now. Our proud little boy smiting us left and right. The oppressors of his youth. Surrounded by a blinding radiance, no doubt, from God or whoever else.” We chuckle uneasily. We have engendered enough dislike from the locals. It is only understandable. They are Isorians. They are born and raised to hate us. And now we break down their walls and eat their food in the leanest time of year. “A purge, then,” I suggest. “And we can gut all the baby boys three weeks in either direction, just in case.” Turncollar and Cazch both stare at me. “You have a most disagreeable turn of mind, Colonel.” Farseer cackles as he puts down an ace. I shrug. “It’s profitable to plan ahead. Twenty years? We’d be outplaying them until the end of time.” “You’re lucky your old man didn’t think twenty years ahead when he saw you come out with a mug like that.” That sparks something mysterious and forgotten. The other three are our wizards, concerned eternally by the movement of miracles and the action of omens. They do not sleep on nights such as these. I am an ordinary man, unlike them. I am awake because I cannot sleep. I cannot sleep because I have remembered something. I tell them about the dream, which feels more like a memory. “Visions, or, I don’t know. I’m myself but not now. It’s as if I’m remembering my whole life, looking back. This whole war. I don’t remember what I remembered but I knew we were about to step into a lot of hurt. And I was remembering all the things that we’re going to do wrong.” I deflate as the words leave me. The images which were so clear, so prophetic at one point, come up out of the water flat and smooth as pebbles. Maybe I caught the delusion bug. Minds can feel things without reasons. Maybe it was just worry. “Quacks like a duck,” posits Farseer. Turncollar turns his hand. A run of spades. He wrings his mouth in a smile and takes the pot amidst our grumbling. He taps the card before he gathers it up to deal. “It doesn’t take a wizard to call it a spade, Perching.” By which they mean the message is self-evident. Slowly and eventually, I nod. It may be obvious now: it is a dream and a message for the future. For eventual things. Constant vigilance; remain wary. The road is long and ill-paved, except by the bones of those who have walked it before and made the next mistake. But don’t we all know that. So it goes. While we play cards in high towers, nestled atop the city, and while Monzia glitters beneath us in the deepening shadows by the reflection of the moon, the Isorians assemble in packs across the swollen Sparmo, readying to eat us alive.
  4. @-Lilium- Long before they come into sight, the forest whispers signals in Isabel’s ear. That’s a trick one discovers only after the jungle is no longer seen as an enemy, or an unwelcome roommate, but rather a fellow creature to be learned from. The elephant-fern has several different sorts of rustle to notify its neighbors: the thin and soft to indicate the presence of snakes; the erratic to indicate the patience of a leopard; the continuous thrum for packs of horned gorillas, who go where they please and answer to no other. And, of course, the back-and-forth zig-zag of mainlanders who, never being content with where they are, continually seek easier roads, better soil, greener grass. This last is what will come out of the undergrowth; and seconds later, they do, blinking in the sudden moonlight, as if all things had taken on the shapes of mirages. Regarding her as part of the same – is she mirage, or man? Neither, of course. She is Woman in the form most failed, is how she feels. Caretaker, nurturer? Wellspring of human life? Ashes scatter beneath her. Wherever she lives, people die. She’s here to comfort them as they do so. She’s a doctor. The man opens his mouth, as if to greet her. Then he thinks better of it. “You should read aloud.” The dog-thing rounds her, then seats itself at the base of the log. The man bends to examine the ashes. The way they acted, like children waiting for a story. Isabel watches him for a little while. Then she lowers her eyes to her lap, pronouncing very solemnly: “The End.” – and closes the book. “You do not belong to the ranks of the Mule. You’re neither unnatural, nor touched by the blessings of the mother.” As she says this, she brushes the side of her dress. Where her knee was once, is now a bulging mass of flesh, fusing down into a gnarled wooden leg that nonetheless pulses beneath the surface with blood and nerve. “Which means that you’re an outsider. But you don’t have the military look about you. Unaffiliated, or plainclothes?” She speaks in a way that makes it obvious that they were of one nation, once, with catches in her pronunciation that makes it obvious that they are no longer of one nation. “On the contrary, you are quite a lost puppy. Shall I offer you hospitality, or is there a demand that I can frustrate for you?”
  5. Paralysis sets in, not all at once, but in such a way that by the time they find her Isabel can still move, but jerkily – and you might not be able to tell whether her eyes are speaking loudly, or simply twitching in the throes of seizure. Isabel knows, however. Isabel is keenly aware of the symptoms of paralyzing poison, and remains lucid so that the velocity of her mind remains unburdened by the things that are ruining her from without. She can still think at high speed. As Ishanis handles her Isabel has several subroutines carried out by her mind. The first is the insistent movement of her eyeball towards cabinet in which the antitoxin is stored; Isabel is prepared, if necessary, to blink only once they have chosen the correct vial. The second is the continued appraisal of the strangers who have entered in the clinic in her moment of weakness. Neither villager, nor Mule-man. So. Mainlanders, or settlers, or conquerors. Someones from a long time away, who came now into the jungle wanting something. They always did. How long has it been? She recalls the location of her revolver, and attempts to remember how many rounds remain in the cylinder.
  6. One fine night… All quiet. Wind and flies, sure, but those things had long since disappeared and mixed into the colour of life, as all passive sufferings do. Isabel ruminated and scuffed her palm-leaf sandals in the dirt. What kept her waking were the brighter strokes of more acute pains. Arithmetic, easy as a child’s, just the sum difference of a few single-digit numbers. Three and two; the former, representing Gado, Ljoda, and Walmot’s succumbing to blood infection and wasting disease; the latter, representing Noam and Jare, two stragglers half-eaten by parasites who had been found wandering the streets of the jungle half-mad some weeks ago. Jare was still put up in the clinic, but Noam had recovered well enough to assemble a cottage of sticks and mud, just past the three freshly abandoned quarantines. Isabel went out past the limits of the village, where the chicken-scratch footpath intersected with the ruins of the old road. Three wooden crosses decayed atop a bed of damp ashes, from which grasses had already begun to sprout. Three and two made a loss of one. This year had been kind and generous, Isabel reckoned. No children, three dead, and two broken bodies dredged from the morass of the jungle. There had not been children for five years. Such a gap was, as she recalled from countless times in history, enough to cauterize a civilization. Behind the graves was a jar, which she had left here the last time she’d come, and a bench shaved from the surface of a fallen log. Inside the jar rested a crowd of fire-flies, which came to life as she dropped another handful of charcoal ash to feed their ardor. Then she sat. By the light of this jar of fireflies, she opened and began to read a book that she had read a dozen times before.
  7. One brilliant night… The jungle glowed. Sickly green light bled through the walls of mud huts as bright as any moon. Unable to sleep, Isabel parted the hide curtains and emerged onto the balcony. Nights like these, things underwent a reversal. The trees became dark hulks of shadow and the gaps shone clear for miles. Something of an underwater perception where light was scattered rather than cascading in rays, and did not fall upon any single thing but danced in the medium eternal. Unwilling to settle down. Falselight was what the villagers had taken to calling it. The lie was the color, which was the same as that which heralded the monsoons of the former wet season: green at midnight. The first time they’d seen it, not long after the eruption of the emerald glow to the west, they’d all taken to the trees, scared to death that the unseasonal rains of the past would drown them in their sleep. No such thing. The light came from motes and particles, light-bugs the size of pinpricks that drifted and fed upon the pollen. The show was all about mating – no surprises – and that’s how she had, privately, been counting the days, after the days had become uncountable for her. How many spaces can marks be scratched before the marks themselves fade into noise? Perforations and chips in the mud. Days follow one another like lemmings, faster and faster as they go; nothing to remember them by. The Falselights came exactly every three weeks, the insects’ conjectured life-cycle. Through them Isabel could still remember that it had been four years, two months, seventeen days since the beginning of the jungle era. All numbers. All those numbers meant was that it had been four years, two months, and seventeen days since each day began feeling like all the others. One can be conscious of the duration of a length of a time without understanding how it all passed. Had they passed? Passed successfully? Or had one of them, one day, reached out some thorned arm and grabbed her neck so that she would be dragged along by the same into history, as everything moved on around them? A luminous frog leapt onto the back of her hand. She stared. Striped black, the rest struck through with translucent veins that shone into its stomach, where washed a feast. Isabel lifted her other hand, put it on top. She squeezed. The frog bugged out. She didn’t move. This animal, she recognized. Ammoferrus Dostover. Tree frog ever-covered in a self-secreted mucus with particular useful properties. In large doses, strong enough to tranquilize a horse-man like the town barber, Raoul. In small doses, a potent local anaesthetic. The protein was highly adapted to absorption through the skin. Already, she could feel the nerves in her hand shutting off. Isabel Payne stumbled to her feet. The frog squirmed to no avail. It had already done all it could. Now it was her mercy to give, her game to lose: whether she succumbed before she could find the antitoxin in the clinic.
  8. @Fennis Ursai @-Lilium- and for anyone else who might want to stop by - even a post or two is welcome! I have the introductory post up and running. For these two, I will also have short scene posts to be thrown up - do wait for those. They'll be shortly incoming in, oh, a day or two.
  9. Nak’mbu. Valley of the lost. Oasis in the jungle. The location formerly known as: Biazo Swallowtail Geoball Stadium, sponsored by: Sanzang Electronics, home of the Twenty-Second Geoball Reigning Champions, the Biazo Batters. All of these descriptors not quite accurate, each not quite capturing the full extent to which history has left a mark upon the place now called Nak’mbu. Once the widest enclosed space imaginable, formerly torn asunder and exposed to the sun, now encroached upon by vine and undergrowth; concrete once white, formerly blasted black, now colored by damp and darkrot. Once, tens of thousands of cheering mouths. Formerly, the silence of none. Now? A village of some sixty inhabitants, but quiet, still so quiet. The hypothetical visitor finds Nak’mbu only with great difficulty, from the exterior hardly distinguished from the remainder of the jungle. From the east stands of the stadium it is impossible to sight any sign of residence; only on an approach from the north (for the south has long collapsed into a canyon pit) might the first signs of residence resolve to the eye. Leaf-thatched roofs emerge between the trees. Hard-fought clearings grow elephantine yams and cassava. The signs of fire percolate through the foliage. The footpath – note the singular – leads one house to another, all in a chain, for it is easier to tread old roads than to hack new ones from the earth. At the near end of the footpath is the beat-wood clinic of one Isabel Payne. At the far end past the last homes and up the stands is the announcers’ box of the stadium, now one of a handful of vantages from which one may see the sweeping canopy of the jungle and, on lonely nights, glimpse lights flickering from the tops of other towers scattered across the dead city. And one may dream of one day meeting one another across a green-vined eternity of distance. There are other points of note. In the middle of the old freeway to the North has erupted a grand old palm, entirely alone up to an altitude of a hundred feet, on the ground poisoning everything that grows within a hundred yards. Water collects in its roots’ asphalt eaves, attracting the local wildlife and the villagers alike. The animals and villagers do not yet realize it, but palm water is an exceptional abortive, which is why the waters are ever-clear and free of mosquitoes. If our hypothetical visitor should look west, they will see the heart of Bi’le’ah, an emerald glow like some radiant fallout from a weapon long ago. The glow ripples, on dark nights, upwards as a spear thrust from the heart of the world. To the south, a long gash exposes caves from which half-men and unnaturals look upwards, and into which the above-ground visitor may look down. The two worlds are exposed to one another but are not incident, not here, and not now. This hypothetical visitor remains entirely hypothetical. There are, after all, no roads leading into Nak’mbu. It is a lost place, entirely forgotten. Those who find it are just as like to have forgotten what they really came here for, no? Because when they arrive, they will find that they have found exactly that which they remember: Nothing at all.
  10. Nevertheless is a word that I always found to be comforting. I learned that word in the fourth grade, for a spelling bee. Biazo's Second Preparatory, class 2-A. Miss Chambers. We had spelling bee outfits - imagine! Long black robes, I think, partially to inspire a sense of the academic among us snot-nosed brats who never saw the virtue of words by the hand. After all, isn't saying it enough? Didn't they know what we meant, anyway? Not little Isabel. Isabel had always trusted in authority. If they told her to drink her milk, she would. If they told her that she'd succeed Daddy's congregation, she would. And if they told her to spell, why by Gaia, she'd do it. Not fully understanding the consequences of access to the written word, the aftershocks of which reach her even today. She was proud to do it. Higher powers knew best. She got out on the stage and tied it all up, four letters at a time, then five, until the final round had her panting out polysyllabics against that insufferable twat, Roman Payne, from 2-C. Oh, she won in the end - a memory she cherished up until three years ago - between the e's and the v's and the the in the middle of it all. N-e-v-e-r-t-h-e-l-e-s-s. Isabel still remembers that word best of all today, but little Isabel wouldn't know how much trouble that victory would make for her in the end. The auditorium is still standing, right now, about five miles down through the jungle. It's all that remains of that school, and last time I went I saw two Half-men crucified and burnt black in the very middle of it. Memories abound every path I walk through the jungle, because those paths Isabel walked once, too. But now is not then. Then was before now. One only needs to see the fallen buildings and trip over scattered bones once to realize the difference and order of these two eras. Rot proceeds in only one direction. Gaia is back in this land after indefinite hiatus: the Terrans brought her back not because they remembered all the mistakes they had made, but because those mistakes festered like unattended cuts until gangrene had spread. It was a hiatus of convenience, I think. I still think that Gaia is good and that she loves us, but I do not think that the Terrans care one way or another who Gaia loves as long as they are in favor. Nevertheless, Biazo has changed. I am told that it is called Bi'le'ah now, because the weight of that name is too much to bear for Terran sensibilities. I will still call it Biazo, even though it has changed. Even though everything that was once recognizably Biazo has by now been ground into the ground. Even after the pandemics of change, even after the Unnaturals came, more misunderstood than violent, even after the chaos storms swallowed the last of us and spit us out, former identities utterly annihilated. The Terrans make only military incursions anymore. The jungle has eaten so many of them up that I am not surprised, but if only they'd learn that the jungle is not inimical but merely gives in kind. How would they know? The jungle was not a part of the then that the Terrans remember. We ourselves have been marked by every force; first by the Unnatural force, then by Gaia, in every direction, until even the monsters that crawl through the shadows and eat men are more familiar to the Terrans than ourselves. Some of us who remain go mad. We still have sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers in distant lands whom we once resembled. They should shudder to think of the way their mirror has changed now. Biazo, once a gem, is now imperfect. Filth, apparently, has worked its way into the matrix. I think of the half-men on the stage, for all to see, and sometimes I can even understand that perception. That's the production of Biazo. That is what is worthy of display. That is the art and the artifice of this dead country. Nevertheless, we're still here. After all this, and all the things that we are, we're still here. Isabel Payne nee Jacobs, former Gaian Priestess, former believer, current doctor, runs her own uncertified clinic in a village of refugees deep in the Bi'le'an Jungle. The certification office is still open, mind. Just, the bureaucrats that operated it are mostly dead, and those that aren't have been transmogrified by Gaia's woefully underappreciated wit into ratmen that lurk beneath the city. So the clinic goes uncertified. Isabel herself has hardly any real medical training, either. But it's better than what the remnants of Biazo are used to getting, so deep in the jungle. Isabel Payne's full of stories, miseries, and her titular pain, and she has a chip on her left shoulder big enough to weigh her down on that side. Or maybe that's the limp after her leg was transformed into the same leg, minus the foot. (The transmogrification was IED-like in nature.) She offers assistance to travelers, but more often than not it's the travelers that give her assistance. There is very little in the way of supplies in Bi'le'ah, and little in the way of daily happinesses. Nevertheless... Anyway, parties interested in pursuing a small, quiet interaction or a larger character development in the vicinity of the village of Nak'mbu (which I have certifiably just invented) are welcome to list inquiries. Otherwise, come and stop by the clinic to glimpse a course of Isabel's daily pain.
  11. —P— Of Lances and Lilies 1098 My current life began twenty years ago beneath the bougainvilleas on the porch, when I was given a name to the thing which followed precisely in my footsteps, which peered at me around corners, drifted in plumes above woodsmoke chimneys, danced in the sound of clattering cookware until my muscles locked up. I once thought it was a ghost - I am particularly sensitive to intrusive presences - of some buried native, or some vicious prior resident. But no; the land in this area had been desert not fifty years ago, and is entirely new. As is the house, and everything in it: the bougainvilleas imported from some faraway land I still think of as home; the stove, a type that functions not on coal but some invisible vapor. “Propane,” my husband calls it. There is in the foyer a tall device called a clock which keeps precise track of the seasons and the moons. So many new things these days; so many impossible movements that have taken place in the world, or perhaps undertaken by it. The world moves on, hurtles through the revolutions of the clock and forgets all its scars. No, it has no scars to begin with. All things are but temporary wounds. The nature of the world is ever-changing, and change is healing. So said the doctor who brought another new thing to me twenty years ago. “Post-traumatic stress disorder” is what he called my apparition. An apparition that occupies not space but time - an apparition of the past. In the course of treatment, which seemed to me to be generally quackery, he suggested an accounting. It is simple, and much like the accounting of a city-state, or the administration of a system of taxation. Every person in the estate of the mind must pay their dues in the form of memories, each event recorded and understood. The apparition lives in the eaves of this accounting, the doctor said. The apparition is the shadow of a memory. Once the memory is grasped as a tangible object, it will become manifest; and then it is no apparition at all. His final suggestion was that I keep a journal of the effort. To aid me in charting unknown waters. Twenty years later, I have fulfilled his Herculean task. The doctor could not have perceived the difficulty; the memory isn’t mine to grasp. It is a memory that is shared by many people. Most of those people, this memory touched more directly than just in the head. I suppose good fortune must come my way sometimes. Because I was not there for all of it, only certain portions of the later half of the accounting were drawn solidly from my own remembrance. Otherwise, it derives from journal entries, epistolary scraps, interviews with the spare few left from my childhood, conjecture and deduction, and the eventual clarity of my own hindsight. It has been written with the help of neither prophets nor pastseers. The reason for this is because those who see beyond sight cannot be trusted, as will become clear. This memory is a story all of its own and, though I expect that in the future it will serve as the basis of a dissertation or even an eyewitness account of our little troubles in Erasmia, it is not a history. History differs from story in many respects. The latter has a beginning and an ending, and misleads the reader into thinking that the events contained therein are self-contained. The latter is inaccurate, fraught with emotive gestures, unrevealing neither of the true character of the actors involved, nor of all the consequences that transpired as a result of their actions. The latter romanticizes. It forgives and forgets. A...friend once said to me that paper only speaks lies, and that has remained one of the great truths in my life. The former, however, is essentially unattainable. So here we are. The first memory begins in Monzia, modest castle-town on the banks of the Sparmo river which presently delineates the Zenith-Isorian border, but at the time was but one long bulwark of many in the Low Country against Zenithean encroachment. It was springtime, and the Sparmo river had reached the peak of its swell. In the eddies among the riverbank trees, in the cool shade where the water hardly flowed, water-lilies were coming into full bloom. At that time the low country of Isore was resplendent with blue and white. So too were the colors of the banner-tipped lances that blew in the warm wind, blue, white: the heraldric colors of the armies of the mage-lords of Zenith, who marched in unending columns from the south. They suffused through the forests and sailed up the rivers and spread out across the plains, accompanying the lilies wherever their bloom. At Monzia they met, and the first army of the Isorians were eventually broken on the face of the creep. Yet long and bitter was the struggle, until the seasons turned and the spring tide of the river rendered it all but impassable for six long months. So they sat, occupying the lands of the Low Country, and waited on the bank of the Sparmo for the floodplains to recede. Across the banks were the promises of another army, another thousand emerald banners on the march from the distant city of Isore itself. The two, drifting as slow as clouds, were months apart, but at the fringes would come the first rains. ~ I.P.
  12. Welcome to Valucre! Hope you like what we got here ^-^

    1. supernal

      supernal

      Welcome to the site!

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