Read the prologue to ‘Deeplight’ and then answer the questions.
They say you can sail a thousand miles along the island chain of the Myriad, from the frosty shores of the north, to the lush, sultry islands of the south. They say the islanders are like the red crabs that race along the shores – hardy, unpredictable, and as happy in the water as out of it.
They say that the ocean around the Myriad has its own madness. Sailors tell of great whirlpools that swallow boats, and of reeking, ice-cold jets that bubble to the surface and stop the hearts of swimmers. Black clouds suddenly boil in existence amid flawless skies.
They say that there is a dark realm of nightmares that lies beneath the true seas. When the Undersea arches its back, the upper sea is stirred into frenzy.
They say that the Undersea was the dwelling place of gods.
They say many things of the Myriad, and all of them are true.
The gods were as real as the coastlines and currents, and as merciless as the winds and the whirlpools. The Glass Cardinal throttled galleons with translucent tendrils. The Red Forlorn floated like a cloud of blood in the water. Kalmaadoth howled with a razor lattice instead of a mouth. Dolor lurched through the water, kicking with dozens of human legs. The hidden lady waited in the silent deeps, shrouded by her own snaking hair. Now and then, one would rise from the Undersea and appear in the pale light of day, devouring schooners, smashing ports to flinders, and etching their shapes into the nightmares of all. Some of them sang as they did so.
For centuries the gods ruled the Myriad through awe and terror, each with its own cluster of islands as territory. Human sacrifices were hurled into the water to appease them, and every boat was painted with pleading eyes to entreat their mercy. They were served, feared and adored.
Then, without warning, the gods turned on each other.
It took barely a week for them to tear each other apart – a week of tidal waves and devastation. Many hundreds of islanders lost their lives. By the end, no living god remained, only vast corpses rolling in the deep. Even thirty years after this cataclysm, nobody knows why it happened. The gods are still mysterious, though the fear of them is slowly waning.
They say that a coin-sized scrap of dead god can make your fortune, if the powers it possess are strange and rare enough, and if you are brave enough to dive for them.
This is also true.
Sultry – hot and humid
Throttle – attack by choking
Shrouded – cover to conceal from view
Schooner – a sailing ship
Cataclysm – a large-scale and violent event
Is this a fiction text or a non-fiction text? How do you know?
What type of story do you think this is? Why?
What evidence suggests that this story may not have a happy ending?
Do you think you would enjoy this story? Why?