Greg Morrow (drelmo) wrote,
Greg Morrow

A Fragment

 There are three mountains that reach for the sky around us. One, the largest, is to the south. It is from this direction that the barbarians come, and so the mountain is called Wintergate. Once every century or two, they come and kill us all. One or a few manage to survive. They go to the outside world and do great deeds, returning to the city with their followers when they are too old to do great deeds any more, and so the city is restored.

I will not leave the city during my entire life.

The mountain to the west is old and gentle, with many valleys where deer and nimble antelope live in misty forests. This is where the griffons hunt, and twice a century or so the wyrm-snake Aleph, who comes to the city to talk philosophy with the masters when it has eaten. No one else ever comes from the west, so the mountain is called Friend.

The top of Friend is hidden behind clouds. I will not see it once during my entire life.

The mountain to the north is a volcano, whose red glow lets the young-eyed travel the streets of the city at night. Though the rim of the crater is open to us, the lava flows always find a path away from us, down to the sea, where at least once a century but not more than once a decade, great steam clouds lit from below by glowing rock warn sailors away from the shore. The volcano has no common name, for Death is too on the point, and Earthpimple too crude, and all other attempts have been discarded as too pretentious in their intent to use, so it is simply the volcano.

After I am dead, the volcano will still be there, and its glow will still light the city.

This, then, is how I was assassinated, and how I thereafter came to leave the city and its three mountains. I will never return to the city after my death.

I would rather have not walked through a night unlit by the volcano, nor seen the top of Friend, nor left the city at all.

Sometimes we have choices. Sometimes we do not. If that is a theme, well, it is a poor one, to be so nakedly avowed. But I am no philospher.

That is why the conversation with Aleph came as a surprise.
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