Tales from the Islands of the Sun: The Solar Garden

A story connected with the School of Shadows in Morlizomal:

I found myself within the walls of a pleasant garden, lit by the noonday sun and watered by twelve channels. A flight of stairs led up to a gazebo that overlooked the garden, made of stone inscribed with symbols I did not understand. From that high place I saw a maiden standing by a pool, her eyes fixed on me. “Come down here,” she said. “I have a task for you to accomplish. No, do not take the stairs.”

“I do not understand,” I said. “How am I to reach you without them?”

“You think it is impossible?”

“I do.”

“Then take the stairs, if you can find no other way.”

Somewhat ashamed, I went down. She gestured at the pool, asking me what I saw in those waters. “I see fish of many colors. A red fish with black discoloration. A silver fish with a wide mouth.”

“This is the archon’s garden, but he did not place these fish here. There is one fish in particular that you should look for, and when you find it, grasp it firmly and do not let go.”

“What does this parable mean?” I asked.

The maiden laughed. “You are slow-witted indeed. It will not be long before night comes and all these plants perish.”

“It would be a pity for all this beauty to pass away,” said I.

“Then catch your fish,” said the maiden. “Bring it through the east gate where I will be waiting.”

It took me a great deal of time to discover which fish I was to catch, but once I saw it I knew there could be no other. It was small and long and shone like a rainbow, and it was terribly difficult for me to keep a hold of it, but I took it through the gate, which was carved on each side with shapes of lions grasping suns in their jaws. As I stepped through the gate, the fish in my hands became a golden ring, which I handed to the maiden. “Now explain what you meant when
you said the archon did not put the fish in the pool.”

“There are other rules besides the archon, for every one of us can become a ruler through magic. The transformation of one of us is equivalent to the transformation of this entire garden. The fish you saw are the souls of men and women, both the Ghadari who were born in the sun and the Latoirn who were born in the earth, and it is not for the archon to dictate their destinies. But now you must make a choice between day and night, between servitude to the old ways and the creation of a new garden, where the sun will shine constantly and the earth will provide grain without fail.”

“It is not a choice, is it?” I asked. “Only a fool would reject what you offer.”

“You understand,” she said, and smiled so that my heart sang. “Now you only need to change into unsoiled garments so that you may attend the wedding of Idea and Form. You will find your new clothes under the lion’s mouth.”

At the far end of this yard was the statue of the lion, and when I approached it I heard words that I cannot reveal now, nor ever until the new day comes. But there I received my new clothing, and when the horns sounded I was among the guests. Idea was a stern man in robes of many colors; Form was a fair and pleasing woman in simpler attire that revealed more patterns the more I gazed on it.

The maiden who had welcomed me to the garden was seated next to me, and she whispered in my ear, “This is the culmination of magic: the transformation of disunity into unity. What are the six words that will accomplish this transformation?”

“Phoenix. Mountain. Ocean. Sky. Pearl. Shadow.”

“You are half right. So for now the transformation will remain half complete, until the pearl is fully built. And she will be the bride who will take the hand of the most glorious Idea that has ever been thought by human mind, and she will carry the new world in her womb. Forever peace. Forever the new day.”

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