Mist and Lanterns

Header image by Miya.m under Creative Commons 3.0.

I woke up on the high point of a lush meadow on an island; just from vision and periphery I could tell the island was still a respectable size but I was on the edge either way. I didn’t remember much, but one of the few things I did know was that I lived here, and so far this was just another morning. I looked out towards the horizon, and saw floating islands in the distance through the fog. I’m not sure if they qualified for islands, though. They were large pieces of land, but there was no ocean – just a hazy white void populated by similar large pieces of land.

When I looked up, I saw that the one I was on was chained to a much larger island beside it – seemingly populated as there were buildings visible, and lights on the distant edge. I hadn’t really been there much – the city didn’t particularly suit me very well, though I did know how to get there. The void ferryman was a nice person, so I was never particularly apprehensive about the trip anyway. Before I did that, though, I just had to take a walk around my home island. The flowers looked particularly nice today; a walk through the field would be worth it.

An undefined walk later, I arrived home. I’d received a message from my friend Yang; she wanted to know if I would be going to the festival on the mainland city. I told her I would – I’d already considered going to the mainland anyway, and even if city life wasn’t my pace, it wasn’t something I could miss either. I’d been busy recently as well, so I hadn’t had much time to reply to her messages, so I owed it to her to actually do something. Another undefined walk later, I took the ferry to the mainland. I remember the ferryman wished me a good time at the festival. I thanked him as I started to make my way through the dark corridors leading outside to the city.

Most of the place had a Roman-like architecture, if the Romans had ever been here in the first place; the city was ancient but very well built and maintained just as much. It was a fair few corridors to walk but I knew the way just about well enough to get there. When I made it out, I was in a large quad embedded in what was probably once shallow rolling hills; I could see a swimming pool at the lowest level several levels below mine, and all the stairs and corridors leading there. I could see paths embedded in the hills leading to other parts of the city. Same as the corridors, lanterns lined each level in a uniform distribution. There was a river just outside the quad.

It was raining when I got there. The sort of misty morning rain you’d go to work in under a white blanket sky. I’d already explored to kill the time until the festival though –  it was only late afternoon right now, however – I had to wait to truly appreciate the place. In the meantime, I asked around to see if Yang was here yet. Apparently not, but I wasn’t irritated, though I did mistake several other people’s short black hair for her. (I don’t clearly remember seeing her during the festival, however I don’t remember a lot of the night and I do remember being with someone just before I left to go home. It’s not certain, but likely it was Yang.)

Once again, I took a walk. This time, to pass the time before the festival. I remember exploring other parts of the city outside of the multi-level quad. That part, I really don’t remember, which is a shame. That didn’t matter any more – night was upon the void and its islands. I met up with somebody around half an hour into the festival (as mentioned, likely but not definitely Yang) and had a great time. The lanterns became apparent now, and every corridor and path was populated by other festival-goers. I don’t remember any specific event; it seemed we were there just to have a good time. There was a lot of choice in the way of food and drink. I bought some of both, but again don’t remember. The entire night is mostly a blur to me.

I do remember saying my goodbyes, though. I remember slowly making my way back home, through the corridors to the ferry and into darkness.

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