THREE BROTHERS ⋅ A NEW GOD ⋅ CITY OF SALT ⋅ LAKE OF DREAMS ⋅ SUSPENDED! ⋅ THE TWO STREETS ⋅ ON THE EDGE OF THE MARSHS ⋅ BLACKSUN ⋅ DEMON ⋅ GAZELLE ⋅ THE HARDRIIM ⋅ RIDER ⋅ THE FLYER ⋅ ARABIAN NIGHTS ⋅ THE EMPTY MIRROR ⋅ THE SOLDIER ⋅ THE BICYCLE ⋅ THE CROCODILE ⋅ THE THREE TRAVELERS ⋅ OCEANSONG ⋅ THE FLUTE ⋅ THE TREE ⋅ THE TOWER
The city of salt lies quietly on the flats; its formerly bustling alleyways are now destitute, its market places and squares buried. The city was built by a king in the distant days of the third dynasty. According to local legend, the king had wandered his capital one night during a time of plague; the more he wandered, the more he became enamored of the deathly silences and stillness that held sway over the capital. By morning he had resolved to build a deserted city as his funerary monument, a city where he could wander in solitude for eternity. The construction took many years, but the king never once visited his dream city during this time, choosing to observe its progress from a distance so as not to break the illusion that his city was unpeopled. Eventually the city was completed, but still the king waited; many wondered if he had forgotten about it entirely, or lost interest in the fanciful notions of his youth. Unbeknownst to the general populace however, the king had already left for his city - he had waited for an evening remarkably similar to that evening during the time of the plague and had stolen away, accompanied only by one faithful servant as a companion, who was to hold the king’s horse outside the city gates. It was a fine moonlit night, and the king felt ecstatic as they crossed the salt flats. How his city gleamed in the distance! But at a certain point, a creeping anxiety began to prey upon the king. Surely this night was a most unreal night, fragilely beautiful to be sure, but subtly poisonous, overly alive in its clarity. The king grew pensive and began to question his desire to wander alone for eternity, imprisoned in a city of his own illusions. The dead city seemed to represent the crumbling of the mighty empire he had inherited; he found it hard to remember where its borders lay, whether it had prospered or floundered during his reign. It now seemed to the king that during his solitary night wanderings in the time of plague he had become enraptured with the face of death. Looking around him, the king realized that his companion was nowhere to be seen. More alarmingly, the capital from which he had come seemed to resemble the dead city to which he was heading so exactly that the king could no longer distinguish between them. It was as if he were standing before an enormous mirror; the moon hung low over each city, the flats receded infinitely towards identically crystalline mountain ranges. Terrified that he might see the twin image of himself, the king attempted to close his eyes, only to find they where already closed. Opening them, he again saw the dead city before him, now with a waking clarity, the only city that had ever existed - was it his past or his future that had been stolen from him, the king wondered. Surely I died during the time of the plague, how vivid the deserted city looked to my dying eyes as I wandered it for the last time, I felt as a king amid the silent stinking alleyways, the beggar thought to himself.