Wednesday, 27 April 2016
What Do You Know Of Ys?
(i) "Wind roared and whistled." (Roma Mater, p. 58)
Wind is a powerful symbol of gods and magic. Later, when a ship's captain realizes that Gratillonius is "pagan" and ejects him from his cabin:
"The centurion did not argue, but rose and went forth onto the deck, into the wind." (p. 66)
(ii) "Clouds were appearing over the horizon."
Clouds appear when the mysterious "Veiled" Ys is mentioned.
(iii) "Their shadows raced across winter-grey hills and the few springtime-wet croplands."
Shadows, winter, greyness and only a hint of spring.
(iv) "A solitary willow nearby lashed its withes around."
(v) "At their removes, the manor house and the soldiers' camp looked very small."
Civilization suddenly seems small.
(vi) "The hawk wheeled scornful overhead."
In fact, nature scorns it. Ysan magic controls nature and the Witches send their souls forth as birds.
(vii) "Lines deepened in Marcus' brow and beside his mouth."
At last, Marcus responds but at first non-verbally. Then:
"'I was never there myself,' he said."
We are still not told anything! At last we learn that:
he has spoken with three or four captains, each of whom had called there only once;
the Ysans travel and trade but do not receive traders at their city;
the city is wonderful, ''...of the hundred towers...'" (p. 58);
but there is always "'...an otherness.'" (ibid.)