"On this dawn they lined the banks of the ancient river, a whole city turned out, near a hundred thousand, as the sun lifted east of the mouth that opened to the deep bay. What had brought them there? What ever brings the multitudes to a moment, a place, an instant when a hundred thousand bodies become one body?
As the red waters spilled into the bay’s salty tears, they stood, saying little, and the great ship pyre took hold of the fires and the wind took hold of the soaked sails, and the sky took hold of the black column of smoke.
Ehrlitan’s great king was dead, the last of the Dessimb line, and the future was blowing sands, the storm’s whisper was but a roar of strife made mercifully distant, a thing of promise drawing ever closer.
They came to weep. They came seeking salvation, for in the end, even grief masks a selfish indulgence. We weep in our lives for the things lost to us, the worlds done. A great man was dead, but we cannot follow him-we dare not, for to each of us death finds a new path.
An age was dead. The new age belonged to generations still to come. In the stalls of the market rounds the potters stacked bowls bearing the face of the dead king, with scenes of his past glories circling round and round, for ever outside of time, and this was the true wish of the multitudes.
Stop. Stop now. Pray this day never ends. Pray the ashes drift for ever. Pray tomorrow never becomes. It is a natural desire, an honest wish.
The tale dies, but this death will take some time. It is said the king lingered, there in the half breath. And people gathered each day at the palace gates, to weep, to dream of other ends, of fates denied.
The tale dies, but this death will take some time.
And the river’s red tongue flows without end. And the spirit of the king said: I see you. I see you all. Can you not hear him? Hear him still?"