Archives for posts with tag: The Sea of Trees

And then came one of those moments – increasingly rare, it seemed to Zy – but astonishing when they occurred: a moment when Akzasosan appeared to slip out of the limits of himself, and rise up, unpredictably, towards an entirely different kind of life.

The Lord began to sing.

From the Emperors of Steel to Moin III,
one thing has kept this world pure,
and forged together sky and sea,
made to shine, made to endure:
in the sounds of hammers and the ring of swords,
in the chains of blood and in all our words,
from Moin III to the Emperors of Steel
one thing has bound us, wheel to wheel:
that thing is metal.

Metal daughter, metal son,
we are the Metallic ones:
metal son and metal daughter,
calm in peace, calm in slaughter,
cool, fluent, indestructible,
through our veins runs purest metal,
and – oh, my noble daughter,
oh, my faithful son,
therefore, we are the Metallic ones.

Well, the world it turns and the world it burns,
but always, the world must learn
who alone will rule beneath this lonely sun –
we will, the Metallic ones.

Sleep then, Baby, right through the night
like soft silver, glowing, bright,
sleep my Babe hard and sweet
until Evening and Morning stars meet:
sleep like a metal beyond all dust,
sleep like a metal, through all rust
pass, pure and straight,
through the dawn’s defenceless gates:
and when you rise, rise like a sun,
always a Metallic one.

Fall, my sweet, as light on a lake,
fall, my dear, like white snowflakes:
and when you wake, wake first, wake quick –
for you are my child,
and you, my child,
are Metallic.

Metallic.

Metallic…

The Lord’s singing voice was lighter and higher than his speaking voice: he raised it. The wind had died down, and his voice went up through the cold calmness that had descended on the Sea of Trees.

From the first moment and the first word, Zy felt intensified, alerted, almost painfully so: he stopped breathing. How strange it is, he thought, the difference between the voice that speaks and the same voice entering into song. There is a kind of leap. With the transition from his wry, rather drab speech of the past few minutes to the haunting, twilit melody of the song, the Lord appeared to jump from being one kind of person to another – he seemed expanded, loosened, set free.

And the song itself – was it a kind of lullaby? – had something magical twisted into it, a profound power that instantly called to Zy, and emphasised its own difference from the conditions of normal speech. This was no jahzig song: it had its own beauty, but it was not that of the sunburnt, drought-dazed, aching, empty horizons of peasant melodies – there was a frightening coolness to Akzasosan’s song, its refusal to be quite one thing or another. Its rhythm was irregular, its structure asymmetric. It refused its own order, disdained its own laws. It was warm, and tender, but it was icy, and detached as well. It was gentle, but it was violent. It was a lullaby, but it was a call to arms. And there, out on the wild track running through Ahamuji Forest, when Akzasosan sang into the freezing winter air, it was like lifting a lantern up, and showing it to the world.

Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless


Re-post, with additional text | Original post, April 2015

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There was a soothing, very familiar atmosphere of sound and movement as they rode. The padding of the horses’ hooves on the snowstruck ground; an occasional clink of gear; the soft, heavy wrapped-up noises the riders themselves made as they changed position; even Akzasosan’s cough, painful as it sometimes sounded: all of these intimate, close-hung noises, belonging to the riders, were intensified in their intimacy a thousandfold by the sense of the surrounding emptiness of the great forest of the MerZirvora. The riders carried their sounds with them as a firefly carries its light, and in the immense, passive wilderness, the act of riding impressed Zy as being at once reassuringly humdrum, and yet also weird, spectacular – the small scale of people on this wild earth made their feelings at once very unimportant, and yet also precious, somehow, and essential.


Excerpt from Dustless, Volume 10, Mask [ii]

Yes, how quickly worlds melted away, and melted into being. The stuffy, oppressive grandeur of FerZon, although it was only an hour back behind the riders, now felt particularly dreamlike. For this was Ahamuji, the MerZirvora – the Sea of Trees. The forest was the law here: the forest was real, and the forest would endure. FerZon, it seemed to Zy, for all its venerable history, was an anomaly, an error, even – and for all the massivity of its buildings, its civic weight, it now appeared to the boy to be a kind of fragile bubble of stone, one that, within a few centuries, perhaps, the forest would pop, closing in on it, and crushing it back out of being.

Excerpt from Mask [i], Volume 9 of Dustless

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Dustless | Volume 9

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…

Dustless | Volume 1 Dustless | Volume 3 •DUSTLESS-FIN5 •DUSTLESS-FIN7 Dustless | Volume 9

Zy, perhaps infected by the Lord’s returning sense of urgency, watching the work going on as the riders ambled along the u-so’s central track, rather envied the villagers their quality of time. For the riders, time was fundamentally inadequate – the day always ran out, the night always came on, and for the Lord, at least, it seemed as if they had never ridden far enough. For the riders, time was always fleeting, they seemed to beat it before them like partridges as they went and send it whirring off ahead, leaving the human beings behind, earthbound and stalled. Perhaps it was partly RezIsimgria’s fault: they had been travelling for months now, and they had come great distances, and yet here they were, still out on the edge of nowhere (as the common people said), still thousands of karsts from their destination. Then they would ride again the next day, and again the next day would run out, and the village they reached would be similar to the village they had left that morning, and the Sea of Trees – after all, only a part of the Endless Plains – would seem pretty much the same, day after day.

For Zy, there was a kind of enchantment about the forest, the sense that you could lose yourself there for years among the snows, the resinous air, the frozen streams, the soaring, gigantic pines, the little tracks and the higgledypiggledy villages. On paper, certainly, on the map, there you could see progress, ground covered: but in the flesh, on the pulse, in the daydream, under the branches, the outside world, the “great world” as Zy had heard it described, appeared to have vanished: and every day, the MelZia Track looked the same, and every day the night came, and the riders were forced to interrupt their journey.

Sai, it was like King Canoopay and the Magical Theatre of Djing. The Sea of Trees was like scenery on the stage – such wonderful scenery, so life-like, the world of a forest in spring, where, one night, Princess Afsanay, daughter of King Canoopay, had crept in secret into the Theatre of Djing, set up in the grand forecourt of King Canoopay’s palace, and heard a golden bird sing, fluttering among the branches of flowering plum and flittering through the bamboo glade that, as you looked from the seats, seemed to go on and on, deeper and deeper, under the moonlight, so Princess Afsanay had stepped up onto the stage, and walked towards the back, but found no end to the scenery, and the night air was mild and full of the glittering, sparkling song of the golden bird, and the buzzing and sawing of night insects…

Like Princess Af, the riders had wandered into this magical forest, where they found, no matter how far they rode, they never had enough time, they never seemed to get out of the forest…


Excerpt from Mask [i] | Volume 10 of Dustless

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Dustless | Volume 9

Oh, the snow it falls, the way is long,
long, long, long as a song
and this path is strange to me
for I am lost in the Sea of Trees:
I must get home, to my wife Mari –

– in my house she waits for me:
she is warm, and I am cold,
and she is young, and I am old,
for I am lost in the Sea of Trees
upon this path so strange to me:

Ah, she is my world, my all-in-all –
oh, why must the snow fall?’


Excerpt from Mask [i] / Volume 9 of Dustless

Dustless | Volume 9

 

Yes, how quickly worlds melted away, and melted into being. The stuffy, oppressive grandeur of FerZon, although it was only an hour back behind the riders, now felt particularly dreamlike. For this was Ahamuji, the MerZirvora – the Sea of Trees. The forest was the law here: the forest was real, and the forest would endure. FerZon, it seemed to Zy, for all its venerable history, was an anomaly, an error, even – and for all the massivity of its buildings, its civic weight, it now appeared to Zy to be a kind of fragile bubble of stone, one that, within a few centuries, perhaps, the forest would pop, closing in on it, and crushing it back out of being.

Excerpt from Mask [i] | Volume 9 of Dustless


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Dustless | Volume 1 | The Sentinels

 •DUSTLESS-FIN1

There was an ancient, immovable quality about Ahamuji: it was not to be domesticated, and it was inevitable. For eras and dynasties, for centuries, emperors and warriors had strayed into the forest here, and been tangled up, and lost; battles had been fought here, Marks been founded and risen to eminence, and the forest had grown around them, and they’d become tangled up, and lost; cities had been built, and towers both raised and razed, ZarakGar and SharAmor, DuzakGar, the greatest buildings in the six directions, but they had been built here, in Ahamuji, and slowly over the millennia, the Sea of Trees had risen around them, until, eventually, the great Sharhir of the Eastern and the Western Lands would be tangled up in the branches of the trees, and overwhelmed, and lost.

Armies had vanished here. States had been engulfed. Ideas, temples, ships, laws, books, engulfed. This place, Zy felt, as the riders moved further into it, is entirely RezIsimgrian: it possesses the magic of endlessness, where space defeats time, so that time, in the end, stands still.

And in RezIsimgria, Zy remembered again, people disappear.

The North. The wilderness. The Sea of Trees. The wrong road, the wrong direction. Is that what is going to happen to us? Zy wondered. Are we, too, going to disappear?

Excerpt from Comb, Volume 8 of Dustless