Part 44: Remembering Colour
Ur. It's me.
What happened? Is Kullervo dead?
I'll explain on the way out. We can't stay here.
Not a story I enjoyed telling.
I'd hoped it might be cathartic, recounting everything to someone, but Ur was too good at listening. He only waited for me to finish, never prompting or interrupting, not sharing in my hurt. Little different from talking to myself.
I apologise. Rex knew to use water against us. There was nothing we could do.
I'd suggest finding a new place to stay first. Then we can-
I have one already. Got lucky there.
...If I write about someone, they get put in the new world, don't they?
Not as such. You would only be recreating them, not carrying them over.
Right, but it'd be someone like them, wouldn't it? Someone who acts like they do?
If you wrote them well enough. Yes.
Do you have someone in mind?
I think so. I'm kind of starting over. Need something to go from.
This isn't quite the best time to be "starting over".
I know. I just...
It's not my place to tell you what to write. But one person doesn't make a world, no matter how much you think of them.
I need more time. Everything's going by too fast.
Could you take a look at...I mean, can I show you...
Describe it. I'll tell you what I can.
It's Fana's page. There's something wrong with it.
At first I thought it was because...because she was gone. But Olly's dead, and her page didn't get like this. Neither did any of those monsters.
Yumil. Are you absolutely certain that Fana was killed? Did anyone see her body?
I don't think so.
If anyone'd seen her, it'd be Helen. But she came asking me where she was. So I don't know.
She's in the book.
She's in that page. Alive. I can't say how, but-
Fana! Can you hear me? It's Yumil!
What do I do? I have to get her out!
Ur! Tell me what to do!
I...don't know. This has never happened before.
You must have some idea! You're supposed to know how this all works! I need her back!
Where did this all begin?
The place where you claimed the book. Think of where it was. You were drawn to it your whole life, without knowing why.
I went there all the time, to take naps. The dreams were never as bad there.
Where the book appears, that's where creation begins. It's a place of miracles.
Go there, and hope. That's all I can offer.
This is it. Everything started here.
What should I be doing?
I'm not sure. If there were a method to miracles, they wouldn't be miracles.
But what do you think I should do? I mean, do I reach into the book and pull her out? Or should I try writing something?
I'm sorry. I honestly don't know.
May I please have her back?
Please. I've done so much for you. I've never asked you to repay me. Not once. I just need this one thing, then I'll be ready for whatever happens. Just let me see her again.
Fana. If you can hear me, come back. I miss you. Helen misses you.
I know you're hurting, but just for a little while. It won't be much longer now. Please.
The book isn't as it should be right now. Too many pages are missing. And the other spirits, of course.
Perhaps if you try again once we've recovered everything...
He didn't believe what he was saying, and neither did I. But I didn't have the will to argue.
Are you upset?
What do you mean "am I upset"? What do you think?
...I think it would have been best if you'd rescued one of the others first.
I'm the "last" spirit. By chance or design, I'm always the last one the author finds. So I don't get much time to...to be awake. To interact. I'm not sure what to say to you.
You've never had a problem giving advice before.
Oh, advice, yes. Knowledge. I can always offer that. Rempo would say I offer too much. But do you need advice? Is there a question you need answered? Or do you just need someone to make you feel better?
Yes. You see, that's why you need someone else.
The book seems to enjoy asking the impossible, doesn't it? You're expected to create a world with just ink and paper. I'm expected to see what someone's feeling and try to help them, when I can't even see what's in front of me. All I can see is a shackle.
It's...very difficult, sometimes. And I do sympathise. I hope it helps you to know that.
I don't know what more I can do.
...it's a grassy hill.
In front of you. We're on a grassy hill right now. Deep, green grass.
Do you remember colour?
I...I don't know.
Green. It's the colour of leaves, and the forest, and...Mieli. Mieli is green. Think what Mieli would be if she were a place. That's what this looks like. A place you can just lie down and feel safe and happy.
There's a monolith next to us. About twice as big as you are. There's all swirling patterns round the edges, and writing carved in the middle. Some old language. I don't know what any of it means, but I really want to find out one day.
And if you look past that, over the hill, you can see Rhoan. All of it. You can hold your hand up and pinch it between your fingers.
It's three towns stacked on top of one another. On the bottom is the poor place, where I live. It's a mess. Like if you dropped a bag of cottages and fences and forgot to pick them up. Sad, tired cottages. They just want to fall down and sleep. And around that it's all dirt roads and dirt farms and...dirt. Brown. Lots of brown. Brown is what a bad smell looks like.
On top of that, there's the markets and craftsmen and things. It's afternoon, so it's packed full of people and horses. Everyone dodging and shoving, trying to get somewhere. The buildings look packed in, too. Red brick buildings, all clustered together. Red is hot. Or angry. If you ever lose your temper, you see red.
Like Rempo. And on the very top is where the rich people live. Big, wide-open spaces with statues and gardens, and houses you can get lost in. The castle's in the middle, where we came from. You could fit everyone in town into that place, if they stood on each other's heads. It's hard not to look at it. The whole thing's marble and slate. White and blue. Like Neaki. Icy colours. There's nothing else in Rhoan like it.
And right in the centre, there's a giant spire that reaches the clouds. It's the tallest thing in the world. Taller than the mountains. Imagine a lightning bolt stayed after touching the ground, and someone built a tower around it.
That's what's in front of you.
Oh, hey! Welcome b-
Never mind. Welcome back. How'd the trip go? Any trouble?
I, um. Almost died.
Glad you didn't.
You look better, though. More, heh, more colour in your cheeks.
Come on, then.
Where are we going?
I was about to go hunting. And now you're coming with me.
I don't know what I'm doing, I'll only get in the way, I just got here, I need to rest for a bit, for god's sake, she saved your life. Shut up and do it.
Sounds good to me.
Okay. You wait here. I'll circle around. When I wave, we both go. Got it?
Um, sure. Can I just try something first?
Look, whatever. Hurry up before it sees us.
Yep. I'm a cheater.
We can't even eat that. It'll taste of fraud.
...thanks. That saved a lot of trouble.
So! Pretty sunny out there, huh? In the desert.
Nice of you to bring some back with you.
I'm sure she'd have let me call it a day then. Put my feet up and settle in for some roast pork a la Lauca. Extra bloody, with a carbon crust.
I appreciated her effort. I did. But my stomach could only handle so much crunchy black.
Maybe I should handle the rest. You know, since I caught it.
You trying to say something about my cooking?
Yes. It's awful. I'm sorry.
Well if you're not even gonna sugarcoat it, you'd better impress me. 'Cause I'm in a huff now.
...yep. My cooking's awful. I admit it. I proclaim it. Hell, make this again and I'll put it in writing.
You gonna finish that?
I haven't even touched it yet!
Better eat fast. And there's no need to look so embarrassed.
...I'm not embarrassed.
Oh, really? So do you just blush around girls, then?
Wh...I'm not blushing!
I dunno. Maybe you're just hot. Maybe you've had a fever since you came back.
What are you talki-
YOUR FACE. YOUR FACE IS BURNED. YOU WERE OUT IN THE SUN TOO LONG AND YOU LOOK LIKE A TOMATO.
Well now I am embarrassed.
Doesn't it hurt?
I'll get some cold water.
Could've mentioned that.
No. Actually. I couldn't have.
Perhaps invest in a pocket mirror.