Every afternoon at 5.30pm SLT and the following morning at 10am, the LitFest is organising tours to the various regions of the Fairelands, and ask the people who join us to write stories of poems inspired by their explorations.
The pieces that follow are the result of our first explorations, to The Golden Delta (created by Alia Baroque):
A city. Golden Delta entry by Arnia
A city stands on the edge of sand and water.
Caravans enter by sand. Boats exit by water
A city watched by Isis and Anubis.
Isis watches the body. Anubis watches the heart
A city between life and death.
Some may ascend to higher planes. Others will leave by boat
Golden Delta by Zander Greene
Light, they told him as a boy, has no mass. You cannot weigh it nor gather it for safe keeping. Light, they told him, belongs only to the gods.
“Why do the gods share it with us?” he had asked his father. “Why not keep it for themselves?”
“Is that what you would do?” his father had asked in return. The set of his eyes and the flick of a horse hair lash to shoo away a fly had told the boy how to answer.
“No?” And that had made his father laugh.
All these years later, looking across the Golden Delta of home he understood the answer to his question. The Gods share light with us to prepare us for the truth:
We are light.
His son stands by his side and in this moment there are no shadows. Every instance passes, fades. But the waves that carry them along remain.
And he sees it. And he says, “That’s it. I have it.” And he smiles his father’s smile.
“Have what father?” his son asks.
“The answer. The secret.”
The Bride’s Lament ~ inspired by the Golden Delta FF 2016
by Aznana Shieldmaiden
The sun burns down hot and golden;
Bright as the statue of Isis that crowns the obelisk.
Dust swirls between the walls
And sticks to my cheeks where the tears have run.
I have been a bride of Anubis.
I have served him all my days.
I search the sacred writings that adorn the walls
And know that he will test me…
And find me wanting,
Because I loved a human man
More than I loved my god.
I watch the boats on the river.
One of them holds the body of my beloved.
His shell returns to the Golden City.
He will be entombed within its heart.
But my heart breaks and I know
The Eternal Peace will not be mine.
by Corvi Ashdene
Where have all the crocodiles gone?
The river stands empty.
the sacrifices have ended.
The fires are slowly dying.
The courts are silent
except for the hiss of blowing sand.
Where have all the gods gone?
There are no more worshipers.
Do they die as well?
Or carry on,
shadows of their former selves
yearning for a whisper of a prayer.
Where has the belief gone?
In a world full of logic,
fear of offending,
lack of free thought.
Only those brave enough to dream
can believe in the magic
of what is seen, and what can only
Sands and Deltas
by Aine 04.22.16 Golden Delta
How many boats have drifted?
Canopic jars free to travel.
while heart left behind,
to center of a person’s being
safely wrapped away
encased in cold stone
accepting offerings from the living
sand dances for the wind
“You are worth the weight of a single feather
in the eyes of the gods.”
Throw off those wards,
loosen the wrappings
and open your heart
Old gods are watching,
while you waste time,
Life is passing.
Nedjes, Potter of the Golden Delta by Midnight Dae
“Nedjes, leave quickly, he’s coming down the street!” The camel herder’s boy skidded into the shop, bringing sand and dust along with him. Nedjes held up his hands in apology to his wife, he loved her dearly, but still backed out rapidly. With a sigh, she reached for a broom once more to clean out the dirt, and prepared to face the Vizier.
Many years ago, Nedjes had been so named as the smallest and youngest of the potters, but he never grew like his playmates, which meant that he was easy to bully. He usually found somewhere else to be when the Vizier arrived. Djau had hated him from the time they lived on the same street and wrestled in the dust. Nedjes still used the family rooms above the shop, but Djau was now an important man.
Nedjes hadn’t found fortune and power like Djau, but he was known as one of the most talented. When the last Pharaoh died, it was to Nedjes that the priests came for the best canopic jars. He had wanted to be a priest, had felt the magic calling to him, but Djau had used his influence to block Nedjes from the priesthood. He was declared to have no magical skills, and after the accident which killed his elder brothers, he had to take over the family business.
Nedjes remembered his brothers fondly, so he left the shop when he heard the warning. Losing his temper with Djau could cost his life. He retreated to the Temple of Anubis, where clean water and cool stone absorbed some of the heat from the day.
“Djau, dirtying his feet in the merchant quarter again?” The quiet voice of Padiasetthe priest greeted his hurried entrance.
“He’s down here every few days, harrying us over the deliveries for the Sacred Valley. He couldn’t stop us getting the contract, but now he pressures every ship owner in the delta to prevent us supplying them!” Nedjes pounded the bench onto which he had flopped, causing a passing acolyte to jump in fright. Padiaset waved the boy on, remembering when he and Nedjes had been acolytes, in awe of the temple magics and whirling at every sound.
“I still have the papyrus which confirms you have no magical talent whatsoever,” he said thoughtfully. “Signed by the Head Priest and with the seal of the Vizier. It’s an impressive and authorized legal document.” The friends smiled.
Later that day, Djau questioned every priest with a truth stone. Spitting out his anger, he raged among them, flanked by his largest guards. All denied being powerful enough to accomplish one of the Great Spells. The Head Priest protested the inquisition, and confirmed what the gentle green glow of the stones had shown, no-one at the temple possessed such talent. Wisely they all praised the power of the Pharaoh, who must have ensured his priests received their supplies.
From the shade of the palm trees, Nedjes and his wife watched the silent procession of boats and smiled. Each boat magically appeared from beneath the Great Temple and carried a canopic jar safely to the Sacred Valley.