lands imagined by eye and ear
“Remember old Cornox, the boven man? Just a day before our departure, as Ayrie and I picked up pricklets in a thornblind down by the tar pool’s edge, we heard him come with another for a sit unseen on the round rocks.
“The other whispered a bit, but fell silent with a slap. Then the boven man began. In a voice that rattled of death he wheezed a musty tale, but nothing like we knew, all of the elders’ origin, of how they came to be. We couldn’t believe our ears and listened hard with all we had. This story was thick with politics. A lesson in the leader’s art, some of it dark.”
Fyryx coughed up something in his throat to make it go raspy and rough. “It went like this:”
So you believe the rhymes of children, do you? Songs of the elders’ election? O, how they were handpicked, selected from the wisest and most steadfast of all the land! Each by the touch of the Semperor himself, Poxum LVIII, the Foreknowing, Marshal of the Guarding Armies, Pilot Admiral of the Two-Seas Fleet, Keeper of the City at Syar-ull. Ooo, yes indeed. Then celebration! Their affirmation, solemn and warm, in the great cathydra’s Heroes Hall at Thynes, and the adoration of thousands strong, a throng awaiting them that night, beyond the storied rosewood doors.
Now surely that’s what some saw. But another side of the stone there was, the side in the soil with crawling things. Do you catch my meaning? It wasn’t just the good and pretty the Semperor picked. No, he was too clever not to toss some gutworms and bloodgrubs into the mix and be rid of them easy and quick…