A Swirl of Shadows

I tell of the planet of Gdarrujh, far, very far, in space and time. There is a spot there, by a vanished sea, whereon, at certain times of the year, a swirl of shadows will appear on a broken floor of ancient marble. And these shadows are very strange, seeming those of living creatures, yet with likeness to none ever known on that world. Travellers who return from the spot compare the shadows to those of autumn leaves able to hover and flutter at will between sun and earth, shading the latter with their shape. Yet these shadows have heads and limbs, after a fashion, and certainly pertain to the animal, not the vegetable, and even to the human, as though the arms of Gdarrujh-folk were broad-bladed oars and men could row the very insubstantiality of air, ride there at will, though they remained solid flesh and sturdy bone.

And this shadow-swirl has nourished several schools of speculation on Gdarrujh. Some philosophoi say it is nothing real, being a mirage or trick of some long-dead, high-cunning’d mage, whose magick works on down the millennia, tempting the foolish to belief in nonsense and chimæras. But others say, nay, nay, the shadows are those of real creatures, past or to come, and are shown by design of the gods, that men might throw down their walls of dogma, topple their towers of certitude, and know that the Universe holds more than man sees or woman dreams. And a smaller school of the realitarians holds that the shadows are not of the past or future, but rather of the present, being cast somehow through a chink that separates known Gdarrujh from another Gdarrujh that exists in hidden parallel, where creatures dwell not only the land and sea, but also the air, being able to take to it, delight in it, partake there of the lightness of leaves and the grace of fish.

And the creatures of the shadow-swirl have mouths like knives, which gape as though they call, but, in repudiation of whose claims, in confirmation of whose, in relevation of what mysteries, no sound reaches the speculators of Gdarrujh.

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