“This is fascinating architecture,” noted Nisrioch, glancing at the arching ceiling of Old Montfort Palace.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” agreed Morgaine.
Nisrioch frowned at his sister. “You didn’t even look,” he chided.
Morgaine sighed. “It’s… walls, Nissy. Every time you talk about architecture, you’re talking about walls, and windows, and occasionally buttresses…” She paused to snicker to herself, and then gave a slight cough. “Anyway--they aren’t interesting. Not even the buttresses, once you get past the highly amusing name.” She shrugged. “I mean, sure… occasionally, you see some funny bit of naked sculpture, but mostly it’s just… walls…”
Nisrioch frowned slightly. “This is a ceiling,” he noted.
“Oh, a ceiling’s just a wall at a funny angle to keep the rain out!” snapped Morgaine.
“Can’t argue with that,” said Nisrioch after a brief consideration. “Or rather, I can, but I doubt it would be worth it…” He looked at his sibling rather desperately. “But… listen there’s something very interesting about this particular ceiling?”
Morgaine yawned. “Is it… secretly made of gold?”
“Oh, no,” said Nisrioch, with a laugh. “That would be very bad. Gold, you see, is quite heavy, and thus requires a lot of support…”
Morgaine rolled her eyes. “Well, I’m already bored, and you’re making more bored, so your promise of “very interesting” things are not coming true.” She glanced up. “Right. I don’t see any amusing naughty drawings… so… there aren’t amusing naughty drawings under the paint, are there?”
“There are not,” said Nisricoh. He gestured upwards. “However, if you’ll note the dome in the center of the ceiling, you’ll see it is identical to that used in many abbeys to Mother Night in the Lands of Night.”
“So they built this place the same way they built an abbey for the Darksome Lady,” muttered Morgaine. “Big deal.”
“It is a big deal,” declared Nisrioch, gesturing heavenwards. “Those abbeys were built by a handful of holy orders, who kept their house secrets… well… secret. And yet here this same style of building built on the other side of the river, at around the same time as many of the older abbeys.”
Morgaine blinked. “I think you’re getting to a point, but I can’t see it.”
Nisrioch gave a depressed sigh. “Oh, very well. If you insist on my spelling it all out. This building shows various signs of having been built originally as an Abbey to Mother Night. But it’s on the wrong side of the river.”
“Ahh.” Morgaine regarded him blankly for a moment. “If you throw in a ‘or is it?’, I will hurl something at you. With my mind!” She wagged a finger at him. “And you know I can do that.”
Nisrioch glanced at his feet, his disappointment obvious. “Well… you must admit it’s an interesting theory.”
“No, I don’t,” said Morgaine. “Not the least because it is a crazy theo…” The vague sound of singing reached the pair’s ears. “What is that?”
Nisrioch turned around. “It sounds like local folkways!” he announced, rushing off in the direction of the singing.
Morgaine rushed off after him. “Hey! Remember, my little legs don’t let me run as fast as you, beanstalk!” The pair’s path took them through the winding paths of Montfort, through the crazy winding streets, past the former (and now thoroughly vandalized) residence of the Eremites--most of whom were presently imprisoned in the city dungeon--into what had been pointed out to the pair as ‘Montfort Square’, which was less a square, and more of a strange off-kilter diamond. In the center of the square, young Prince Gandin sat on a pillar, with flowery chains wrapped around him.
“Creopan break the chains, Creopan break the chains, Creopan break the chains,” sang the assembled folk of Montfort. A few played along on simple instruments--flutes, and rattles and simple drums.
Morgaine glanced around, noting quietly to herself that for the first time since their arrival, neither she nor her brother were attracting notice from the crowd. Then again, it wasn’t exactly a mystery why…
“Oh, there you two are,” said a familiar voice. The Lady Belecane made her way through the crowd, smiling at the two Cthoniques. “I was wondering where you two had gone off to.” She gestured to the festivities. “It seemed bad manners to not let you two see this…”
Morgaine nodded. “Yes, well, we’re seeing it now…”
“I was showing Morgaine some interesting architecture in the palace,” explained Nisrioch.
“It went about as well as you could imagine,” muttered Morgaine. She glanced out at the crowd. “So… what is this?”
“It is the feast day of Saint Creopan the Chained,” answered Belecane. “Gandin is playing the Saint because he’s the oldest Graharz here. He’ll break his chains at the end of the song.” She smiled. “It’s all very lovely and symbolic.”
Nisrioch leaned down to his sister. “Remind you of anything?” he asked quietly.
“I’m sure it’s a coincidence,” she noted.