Viriconium (Fantasy Masterworks 07) by M John Harrison

By M John Harrison

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Example text

At the summit of the spiral lay the palace of the Young Queen, which had been Methven’s hall. A smaller building than most in that city, it was shaped like a filigree shell, built entirely of a pure white metal that vibrated and sang. Before its high bright arch stood guards in charcoal livery, who made stringent demands on him to reveal his identity and business. They found it difficult to believe him a Methven (memories had indeed grown dim, for their chief objection to his claim was that he came with no ceremony or circumstance) and for some time refused him entrance: a circumspection he could only applaud.

He was more puzzled than angered by Mor’s insult to the Young Queen. If a man normally given to dreaming of bargain prices and a comfortable retirement (if of anything at all) could show this measure of devotion to a political cause, then things were truly out of joint in the land. Immediately, he found himself thinking: And did you need to know that, Sir Cromis? Is it not enough that the Pastel Towers shudder and fall overnight? There must be further proof? ” For a moment, the survivor went on as if he had not heard: “—But she cannot hold for long when Canna Moidart’s Northern allies join with those patriots left in the city—” There was a feverish, canting tone in his voice, as though he repeated a creed.

Nothing to tell, my lord. He left no word. He seemed to have grown weary of the city, of me—” “But Trinor would not merely have abandoned you! It is cruel of you to suggest such—” She turned to face him and there was anger in her eyes. “It was cruel of him to do it, Lord Cromis. I have heard nothing from him for a year. And now—now I wish to hear nothing of him. ” She walked to the door. “If you would leave me, I would be pleased. ” There was a terrible patience in her voice, in the set of her shoulders.

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