UVG • VotBO • Mythos • Story
I walked incorporeate as so many times before. My body composed and flattered in the repository of Mme. Salvenos. Safe, there, to permit my explorations.
I crossed the Ivory Plain, my mind’s eyes caressing the corpses of the tower cities. My soul’s ears pricked to the thousand thousand agonies inscribed in the vibrating force fields holding frozen the reality breakers of the angry would-be-gods who killed that land.
I crossed the Chasm. I crossed the Cyan Sea. I crossed the Seven Bridges. I crossed the Three Round Bays.
I have told you of these journeys before; I will not repeat them tonight. This journey was different. I fortified myself with the soul juice as I rested on a wafting cloud. I watched the fast stars flare in the light of the setting sun.
This is far to the south, close to where the False Sun burns, and it was the season without night. I know you wonder, why did my spirit not burn in that object’s blue glare. All I can say is that all fires are weaker in the high airs, above the hazes and the stuck forces of the lower reaches.
Yes, it is an art, ascending the invisible ladder, climbing heaven’s stair, and I practice it. But this is not what I would speak of now. You are not ready yet for those mysteries, and if you keep interrupting in this way, perhaps you never will be.
Now, this journey was different. There, beyond the Three Round Bays, in the blue glare of the False Sun, I sensed the clamour of unburning spirits. Unburning in the flensing radiance of that blue object!
I cast the line of my aura down, and I followed it like a swooping hawk. The incorporeal I thrummed and spread on impact, absorbing sights, sounds, emotions, stray thoughts, then coalesced once more. From being of pure perception to being of pure thought to being myself once more.
I stood on the shore of a great river. I stood in a swamp. I stood on a hill. I stood on a tree. The river was stone. The swamp was glittering obsidian. The hill was a dome. The tree was a monolith of pink quartz. Pink granite. Pink somestone. Some hardness.
The eyes of my mind refocussed, the ears of my spirit wailed. There was sound and noise all about me. A racket and cry of many voices, but no despair. A crowd, well-ordered, greased by some commerce of prestige, some bargaining of status, some games of great import.
Again, I held myself. I repeated the mantras of the seven breaths. I repeated the meditations on existence and non-existence and re-existence. Following a cast aura line is always disorienting. Reality fractures a smile and offers suggestive glimpses behind its many veils. A vainglorious walker incorporeate, unskilled in these transitions, is easily lost. I have seen it happen to friends sometimes and to would-competes quite often. I choose my friends well. Ah. Ah, I digress again.
I centred myself. I held.
Rivers and streams of stone, swamps of congealed stone pooled around the forest of stone monoliths. The size of those things, the scale of everything. Each monolith the height of twenty, forty, sixty folks. The rivers wide enough for a dozen bubble carts abreast.
And the crowds, the gathered, walking, rushing, living throngs, passing through one another, floating along the rivers, resting on the swamp formations, glittering in and out of the monoliths.
I descended from a monolith. As I approached the ground, I passed white and pink and yellow trees growing like mushrooms and ferns at the feet of those massed endless monolith ranks. I saw channels and weirs and rivulets of crystal water. I realized the scale had confounded me. This was no forest of stone; it was an endless parkland of tree and brook woven through vast, protective canyons of pink stone.
But these could not be natural canyons. Too orderly, too geometric in that quadrilateral way favoured of the four-limbed humans. I do suspect they like squares so much because it gives them comfort, you know. Four arms to reach the four corners of their circumscribed vitruvian lives. But I meander again, and no, I will not go into a discussion of the optimal natures of hexagonal and triangular architectures. No pure geometry survives contact with nature, and it is best to leave off such follies.
Yet there, in that pink expanse, geometry seemed to live in symbiosis with a verdant nature. Cranes and crows, chiens and cats, cows and chevres gambolled like parkland attractions. But by then I knew, I must talk to the people of that place.
I ventured across pricking grass to a hedge of bamboo shielding one of the rivers of stone. I sensed the hum of thought beyond that green palisade and slipped through.
The crowd flowed and swirled. Walking, talking, cheering, dancing, trading, fighting, flickering, melding, floating through one another, insubstantial as figments.
I stayed my voice.
Ghosts. Living ghosts, all of them.
—Explorations of a Far South, Somo the Embodied (19,999).
The Pink City of the Kabalithics
The Pink City stands on the shores of a wan river flowing into the third of the Three Round Bays. Perhaps it is the last remnant of what was once a vast civilization. Maybe it is the first city of what will be a vast civilization at some point. It is not dead. The city grows and regrows and reforms itself.
Arteries and monoliths and veins and plates and spires and strands of pink stone glitter night and day with the thoughts and dreams and games and frivolous pursuits of its countless ten-thousands of ten-thousands of citizens. The beautiful people shine like stars, rendered in ghostly perfection by the great dreaming machines woven through the pink stone. All the bodily ha of the citizens is subsumed in their city; they are one with it, that their minds and spirits may live as the immortals: perfect, incorruptible, undying, free to pursue pleasure and purpose till the new sun is born, and then as long again.
This is why they are called the kabalithics—the mind-spirits of stone.
Rumours of the Pink City
- It preserves the kaba by subsuming the flesh. Many local neoprimitive tribes bring their dead to the city, exposing them on crystal platforms.
- Local seminomadics worship and protect the city as a shrine of their forebears.
- The city protects the animals and plants within it. To pluck a plum or spear a squirrel is to court pain and confusion.
- The pink rock is alive with thought. A jewel of it carries voices and dreams and is said to increase the mental acuity of whoever wears it.
- The pink rock of the city is stronger than steel, but ruby knives can scratch it.
- The city protects itself with dreams and pain and ghosts and terrible forcefield weapons that cleave matter at a microscopic level.
- There are satellite cities half sunk in the mud of the Three Round Bays. Over-potentates like to source dead pink rock there and pretend it comes from the one Pink City.
- The city slowly moves across the aeons, new monoliths growing, old ones retreating.
- The city is searching for something. It possesses the bodies of visitors and sends them out as emissaries to retrieve knowledge and artefacts.
- The city is planning to leave the world and take flight into the void.
- No wormgates or portals can open near the city.
- The pink rock gives off a serene perfume. No, it is the white trees. Mortals and abmortals who smell it alike are overcome with sadness and satisfaction at the short beauty of their lives.
Visit the stratometaship.Not made from trash pandas or other living sentients.
It lives on humans.