Marie Brennan’s staggeringly imaginative DRIFTWOOD is exciting delve into a land filled with magic and mystery
DECAMERON PROJECT offers the Driftwood tale “Remembering Light.”
In her first light, Noirin never thought it strange that her world should be only a few blocks square, and that on the other side of the Palace Way (whose palace had vanished before her grandmother was born) there should be a place where the people had four arms and water always fell from the sky. She never gave it any thought at all, until the day the chantry disappeared.
It stood—had stood—on the other side of Surnyao from the Palace Way, and at first dawn its long shadow had stretched across the intervening blocks, all the way to the boundary with Yimg, the place of rain. The Asurnya measured their world by that tower, the tallest they had left. Then one day the first sun rose and no shadow answered; the Asurnya looked to the sky and found it empty, and Noirin realized what they meant by measuring the world, what her mother was talking about when she said there was once a sunset chantry on the other side of the Palace Way—that there had once been an other side that was not Yimg but Surnyao.
She grew up in the absence of that shadow, one absence among many. One more thing her people had lost. Noirin underwent the rites of early light in a ramshackle tower built to replace the missing chantry; by the time she reached her increasing light, that tower had collapsed. She departed her girlhood in a shabby building of only four stories, where the remaining suns could barely find her at all.
There were only two left. But Noirin faced the horizon anyway; she covered her eyes seven times, and whispered a sacred vow to the wind.
“I will recover what we have lost.”
Surnyao, as it had been before the seventh sun burned out, and the end of the world began.
Before they came to Driftwood.