Archives for posts with tag: Gon

Packed into an inn, the sign of the Scarecrow, in the remote village of Deer Path, travellers must wait out a snow-storm before continuing their journey through the Sea of Trees…

‘…Ay yi yi! The snow that came that day! They say that in the south of Uchar, even in northern Gon, horses died on the road…’

‘…foolish – that’s just my view, mind!’ ‘Well – I can’t help thinking you’re right, Zubo.’ ‘Great SilVo is a howling distance away.’ ‘So many karsts…’ ‘And they’re strange folk, out of MerZirvora.’ ‘Ay yi, that’s true, true.’ ‘Amaria’s old man, though, he is of SilVo.’ ‘A decent man, they say.’ ‘Oh, I don’t say different, I say no different – but not a man of MerZirvora.’ ‘Uxo – not of MerZirvora.’ ‘Got beyond herself, a little bit, Amaria, some might say.’ ‘Some might.’ ‘With her letters, and all, flitter-flattering off to SilVo…’ ‘Only city folk in SilVo…’

‘…and Somo Kali said, he hadn’t seen a single soul on the road: not a one. Like the whole south was empty!…’

‘…Well, we will find out, we will find out! The ancestors and descendants watch over us!’ ‘Sai, sai, and the Great Father himself: may he watch over his souls’…

Snugly, droopily, Zy listened to these conversations. It was like tending a saucepan of broth – watching the bubbles form in a brown soup, bleb up then slip away. After his more or less sleepless night, he didn’t have the strength to stir the pan. But he listened with a kind of inattentive concentration. He noticed how slowly and carefully the jahzigs went over the ground of their conversations, marking it out, walking it, often going round and round a particular spot, standing still for a while, then starting up again. He liked the way the talk went in circles – as if the people were loathe to move too far from one conversational place, but wished to test the earth of it, press their feet down on it, dig and rake at it, and then dig and rake some more, perfectly content with a few square dedaziles of earth.

The peasants’ talk was like the peasants themselves: solid, dependable, rooted. He felt oddly comforted by their funny ways: whatever might happen to the riders, Zy felt, dreamily, it almost didn’t matter – for as long as the jahzigs went on with their lives, then the world would really always remain the same. Sameness, after all, was the jahzigs’ world: their lives were lived within a small compass, perhaps, but they were lived thoroughly, with strong, obdurate attention to details. Wasn’t this a kind of vigilance? Wasn’t this the Way, too?

Outside, the great snowstorm blew. Zy felt half grateful to it: the wildness of the elements had forced these travellers to gather here, crouched in together, stalled, weathering. An oil lantern, hung from the ceiling beams, giving off a heavy, fishy odour, swung in a draft. The Sign creaked and seemed almost to sway, as if it were a boat and had become unmoored, and were drifting along upon a big river of snow, heading no one knew where, because no one put their heads out of the cabin: everyone was inside, battened down with their bread and their cured meat, their pipes, their babies, their rakono

The Lord’s head had settled forward on his shoulders. He was still sitting cross-legged, SharBason, but he had laid his sword down beside him, folded his hands in his lap, and appeared to be asleep…

Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

Please lose yourself in…

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…’The government has no interest in us, they say. It is not like the south, Shion, I suppose. There is little enough to govern out here. I know, there has never been much here, in Gon, or in the other Desolate Cantons. Not ever, they say. It’s always been an out-of-the-way part of the world. Yet, we are people of O, too, Shion, are we not?

Akzasosan nodded sombrely. ‘I have heard this, or much like it, for hundreds of karsts’ he said. ‘It is regrettable. In the absence of the ZirSolIram, the pure word of the law, the House of Alzu only accumulates more merit for maintaining a proper vigilance upon its lands. But who acts for the Shion here?’

‘Well, Lord – the Utmen of the villages deal with the small potatoes’ Anso­bar said, modestly ‘and during the spring or early summer, the Shion’s agent, his SoPagir, Mister Rigo, he deals with the big potatoes.’

‘I see. But what happens if you dig up a big potato in the winter, when Mister Rigo isn’t here?’ Akzasosan asked, with a pleasant smile.

‘Well, Shion, it depends what you mean’ the Utman said, thoughtfully. ‘It depends on the potato. Most big potatoes, well, they’re not that big, when you finally cross the field; and if they’re not that big, I tend to treat them like small potatoes, really, and take care of the matter myself.’

‘The Shion of Alzu is fortunate in his Utman’ Akzasosan said, without irony. ‘So much for the medium-sized potatoes. But what if you unearth a bigger potato?’

‘Phaw!’ the Utman sighed, expelling the breath loudly as he worked to explain his philosophy of potatoes. ‘Well: with the bigger ones, I take a good look at them, and I think, “Now, then: will this get bigger if I leave it for a while, or will it just stay the same size?” Most potatoes like that, in the end, they won’t get any bigger, so I tend to just pop them back in the ground, if you know what I mean, and let them lie there till the spring.’

‘A very sensible policy, Utman Ansobar. And if a potato is too big to wait until the spring?’

‘Well, that’s a sort of emergency potato, Shion. Those you have to deal with, one way or another, straightaway – cook ’em, as it were, on the spot.’

‘So Mister Rigo doesn’t cook all the big potatoes, then?’ Akzasosan asked, smiling.

‘Not all of them, no, Shion.’

Excerpt from Fire House, Volume 6 of Dustless