Friday, July 12

In the Drowned City

Fish dart between the pillars, where the meretrix once paced; the purple silks of a dissolute age still hang, tattered, from glassless arches. Where the silk has disintegrated entirely, kelp sways in curtains, untouched for centuries.

Long-maligned Ahes walks through empty, sodden streets, an ornate key on the golden chain around her neck. Seawater has tarnished her silver slippers. Iridescent fish scales dangle like grape clusters from her ornaments; her gills are the color of rubies, gentle in their movement and implacable.

Anemone blossom and writhe in her footsteps. Sharks frolic in her wake.

In the well at the center of the drowned city, a voice rises in luminous bubbles. The red-bearded knight encased in coral cannot weep. His tears mix, unseen, with the sea, and his entreaties are lost amid whalesong and the dim clangor of the city's sunken bells.

When the City of Lights falls into the sea, Ys will rise again, a balance long promised, long prophesied. And the Lady of Kêr-Is will walk in her silver slippers in the moonlight, where roses will bloom bloody in her wake. But the red-bearded knight will remain at the bottom of Dahut's well until the sun goes black.