Labyrinthe Travelogue · Solaris | World Anvil

Labyrinthe Travelogue

Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
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Written by skairunner

The lords and ladies of Labyrinthe like to think that light is best used to highlight and accentuate. It is something to be let in through carefully designed crystal or denied in a way that makes the act of denial itself art. A shutter, painstakingly carved and painted; layers of gauzy fabric, each layer ineffective on its own but draped and folded so it can cut the day-glare; the whole building angled and architected so that the wrong kind of light cannot even approach the interior. It was beautiful, yes, but the artificiality started to wear on me.
  It is only in recent times that the city has grown over and around the canals in a misguided attempt to reject them. The canals of Labyrinthe have always been a feature of the city, though, and the act of hiding reveals that something is hidden. Manors cannot be built over the wasteworks, and while the promenades may meander they necessarily must return to serve as a lid on the undercity. Gates and passageways dot the streets, though, leading away from the known world and into one that is unknowable.   In the wasteworks, light takes on a life of its own. It grows from a previously dark nook, a perpetual crystal-lamp propped against the wall. It twines around a pillar, leaps across a canal as a series of light orbs strung on wire. Light would sometimes float down the water on a trolleyboat, bright as it faced you and colorful along its sides, red and yellow and orange, discoloured from age and wear. No two orbs were the same.   Light was what peeked through a mosaic of stained glass, a lamp perched on an illegal stall that practically blocked the walkway, a companion to the beckoning aroma of triloceps on a skewer flash-cooked on a cooking board. It never did turn out the same when you tried to make it at home. Light was the people, the little trinkets they carried to be seen in the dim canals, clever things that would catch the light that already existed, borrow it, used it to advertise, I am here, nothing more grandiose than that simple statement.   Perhaps the light in the wasteworks was not as beautiful as that from above. Perhaps it was too busy, maddeningly inconsistent, blindingly bright or far too dim. Perhaps it revealed too much and hid what needed to be seen. It could not be denied that it was alive, though, just like the wastework itself.


Author's Notes

The idea of the two-sided city of Labyrinthe inspired me to write this little travelogue. I feel like exploring this city up close from the perspective of one person helped me appreciate Labyrinthe even more, and I hope it does that for you too.  

Settlement | Dec 31, 2023

Labyrinthe is the capital of the Comiterranean. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and has been inhabited for millennium. The city has continually built on top of itself.

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Oct 31, 2023 10:28 by Annie Stein

I love your prose so much, this elevates Labyrinthe so far beyond what I wrote that it's just humbling. You're an incredible writer.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Oct 31, 2023 11:09

Its a collaboration! One is not possible without the other ✨

Oct 31, 2023 12:19 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Beautiful descriptions. I reread this three times and discovered something new every time. :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Oct 31, 2023 12:37

thank you!!! I enjoyed trying to pack each sentence full of detail and I am happy that it's been seen and appreciated!

Nov 5, 2023 20:49 by Aster Blackwell

This is written so beautifully! The descriptions are so creative and captivating. I'm in love <3

Dec 4, 2023 17:27

I was very inspired when I wrote this and I think I go ham with the metaphors when I do :D I am happy that you enjoyed!