Monday, June 11, 2018

The Two Castles, The Cup, and The Lost Princesses of the Moriad

There is a smaller lake at the center of the city, which is already all a lake. The water here is clear and shallow, the tiles of the square can be seen under the water, though the rain that falls into the water clouds the surface. On one side of the lake is the queen's castle, which is made of glass. The rain streams down the walls, it falls in sheets from its arches and bridges, the rain makes it so the interior is warped and darkened. Only dim shapes can be seen moving inside. On the other side of the lake is the king's castle, which is made of the same stone the city is made of. The water from the roof is diverted into chutes, and what is not brought into the cistern is moved outward and falls out the mouths of statuary women into the smaller lake, the king and queen's plaza.

You can stand on a boat at the center of the square, where there is a fountain, and see the king and queen's castles on each side, and on the south side, the house where they keep the cup. There used to be a red boat shaped like a swan that would pass through the plaza lake carrying a word of formal greetings, and news from each castle, written by the king or queen him or herself. This has ended.

The cup still looks like it used to. It is a chalice of darkened gold. When the light flowed from it the cup was displayed and you could touch the light, but now it is covered with a cloth, and set inside a box of engraved wood, and the wood box covered also with a heavy veil. If you enter the house, you can see the stiff white cloth at the far end of the chamber, and you can approach to the cloth separators that keep visitors away, and inspect the embroidery of the veil, and speak to the priest who tends it, but you cannot look at the cup. There is no point anymore, and they fear that the gaze of visitors may harm it further. They do not know what caused the light to stop, but perhaps there is something worse that could occur.

Anyone can tell you that the rain started when the cup changed. Many will describe the sight of the city under sunlight, the painted paving stones and walls, and the animals and people that walked the streets. All travel by boat now, and the paint has run. It is harder for them to talk about the sense that the city was blessed, and now is not. There is a private fear that the city is cursed. Certainly, the rain has not stopped for twenty years, and the lower stories of every building are lost in water. The water is rising. Some buildings are weakening and have fallen into the water, others are abandoned. Most were built so powerfully at the height of the Moriad's power that they will not fall. But some people say there is another city under the water, and that out of side of the reflected and reversed city are other people, and that when sun shines on the water (it does not) you can pass through to it.

My sisters, the other six princesses of the Moriad, have gone away too. They are on private journeys like my own. If you meet them, wish them well, and tell them I miss them and wish them well. I remember when we were young together. I hope I see them again. Though if I die during my quest that will be alright, so long as the Skoros Orb is brought back to my city. It will be the balm we need.

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