Nowhere everywhere at once – Cage of Glass one-shot

Looking down onto her Dominion, the Zalethi welcomed the last golden rays of the afternoon. Her glassy body looked like a crystal woman filled with the stars and nebulae of the night sky, distilled in human form. She wore the same robes she carried during the day, for her long hours of meeting with the bureaucratic machine that necessary to keep her kingdom running. 

She passed a see-through hand against the helm that shadowed her face from the tip of her nose to the top of her head – a tall mask of stained glass that hid her eyes and her cheeks. 

Verdant fields and rich white cities of marbles lay below her unseen gaze – filled with the men and the women who lived under her rule, breathed the same air. 

All those lives running ultimately to the same end. 

She was the shepherd of a people who had called themselves Rasna, and they worshiped the Twelve Gods. But if she looked up, she who was known as their Herald, and their Messenger, would she have them listen to her prayers?

She did not expect things to change – she did not expect an answer. If they had not answered her for untold millennia, what would make them change their minds? 

And yet, hope perdured. It burned inside her chest like a stubborn and wayward star that would refuse to fall into cinder, no matter how many times she was forced to stomp on it.

Or perhaps it had been dead for until years, but it kept staining her mood.

Dead stars still burn, after all. 

“Do you think they will have made any progress?” She asked the living glass statue that had just walked on the terrace. The living sculpture regarded her with a placid smile, her eyes betraying no thoughts. A mind would pass through the Daimon just as easily as light passed through water. But she had her reasons to keep trying. 

Maybe hers was not hope, was simple habit. 

At this point, it was quite hard to tell them apart. 

The Daimon nodded, then shook its pretty head, turning on itself to display its perfect body, the statuesque proportions on its longs legs and wide hips that contrasted with its thin waist and slight, rounded breasts. 

“Maybe some day I will be able to make some progress as well,” she sighed, pulling the statue in and setting a quick kiss over its forehead. “But I don’t think it will be today. Let’s see how Lathie has been doing.”

She left the Daimon alone on the terrace – the sculpture kept dancing to a tune that only it seemed to hear. The Zalethi left behind the hanging gardens and entered her castle proper, a structure of labyrinthine corridors, frosted glass, ceramic and lamps that burned without smoke. 

She had been the one to build all this. Partly with her own arts, and partly just adding design after design. But just like her own mind, the castle’s structure had suffered the passage of time. 

She now walked under archways that sustained no ceiling, doors that tilted to the side, past corridors that twinned into blind and dark ends. 

As the years layered inside her, so did her memories, and there was a specific set of memories that she has lost access to since the last time she had needed them. 

Hence her reliance on someone else to help her recover them. In a way, she was making progress: she was reaching out to others, she was relying on outer help instead of brooding on her own shortcomings. 

She knew someone who would be very proud, if she could see her right then.

That chance, just like many others, was now glittering dust in the wind. 

While the Zalethi proceeded further down, reaching at first the height of the tallest bell towers surrounding her castle, the level of the houses and then the first actual dungeons, where light did not filter through the ever-darkening glass, she also met with less and less servants.

They bowed at her passage, but did not dare to speak. Most of them had learned by themselves not to bother her when she was caught by such mood, and the rest had been instructed. 

So, even if in a way she did try to reach out to others, if only because of her circumstances, she was nevertheless more and more lonely. 

By the time she began to walk through the dungeons, she was altogether alone. At least she knew the way, even though someone else who had reached this level did need help: she caught the lifeline Lathie had set against the glass, the white rope that would help him find his way through the reflective walls, their spiral pathways reaching nowhere everywhere at once.

She did not have need of light to see, but Lathie was just human – she found him sitting on the dusty floor, comparing pieces of mosaic at the glow of a lamp. 

He turned at the echo of her steps. 

“Ah! Eternal Grace. I did not expect your visit so soon.”

Soon? It was anyway far too late. They had a fairly different perception of time. 

“Greetings, Lathie. I dare hope you did find something?”

He scratched the side of his head. Lathie was quite young for a scholar, he had yet to grow any white or grey hair – but he seemed already to indistinct to her, as if she could just turn, and he would be a pile of bones, and he would not move her closer one nail’s width to finding what she needed. 

“We have too few fragments to find a pattern,” he sighed, showing what he had recovered. All around him, the glass disclosed pieces of faded mosaics, which schemes and colours mixed in fantastical spirals and fractal structures she had lost any memory of. A painting she had grown too blind to recognize. “I may have found a way to tell a false start from a promising one at least, and maybe…”

“It does not matter,” she cut it short. “You are free to go for the day. We may resume this up tomorrow.”

He hesitated, but only for a moment.

“Yes, Eternal Grace.” He stood up, gathering the scrolls with his notes. 

The Zalethi watched him pick up his things and leave. She was alone once again – she looked down at the mosaics which mystery she couldn’t solve. 

“Maybe I could just stop trying.”

It had been so long. 

“I did good. Didn’t I… sister?”

She waited for an answer.

But just like before on the terrace while she called up to the sky, none came.

Author’s Notes: maybe it’s the bad day I just had, but I feel like I have completely lost any inspiration with The Road Not Taken. I hope tomorrow brings me counsel and some way to change the tune, otherwise I will have to take some drastic decisions.

I’m sorry for this, but it is not an easy moment to produce art in, and I feel pressures from everywhere at once. Maybe it’s just one of those days. I hope the Muse sits next to me tomorrow as well.

And as always, thanks for reading.


Inserisci i tuoi dati qui sotto o clicca su un’icona per effettuare l’accesso:

Logo di

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Foto di Facebook

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Facebook. Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Connessione a %s…

%d blogger hanno fatto clic su Mi Piace per questo: