Friday, 15 July 2016

Looting Averorn

The Merman's Children.

Fish eat the dead, netted kraken. A line descends from the cog. Every half hour, it hauls up a bag of:

coins
plate
rings
crowns
ingots -

- or a hook holding a golden:

chest
horn
candelabrum
god

Tauno attaches a lanthorn to the rope because it descends in different places due to the cog drifting. While the line is aloft, the three merfolk:

search
rest
eat cheese and stockfish from a sack

Eventually, they have more than enough. Treasure is effectively endless if there is more than can be consumed in a lifetime. The ascent is described succinctly:

"From cold, dark, and death, they passed into light and then into air." (p. 58)

These are three distinct environments: air; water with light; dark water. By contrast with the ocean floor:

"The sun cast nearly level beams out of the west, whose sky was greenish; eastward, amidst royal blue, stood forth a white planet. Waves ran purple and black, filigreed with foam, though the breeze had stopped. Their rush and squelp were the lone sounds in that coolness, save for what was made by the lolloping dolphins." (ibid.)

We recognize familiar elements in the description:

sun beams;
vivid, contrasting colors in sky and sea;
different colors east and west;
several sounds;
other senses, coolness and a recent breeze.

These dolphins speak. Is this fantasy or a recognition that dolphins might indeed be intelligent and linguistic?

Human treachery: as soon as they board the cog, one merman is murdered and the others must flee back into the sea. One chapter of seven pages remains in Book One, "Kraken."

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I've been wondering, do mer-people in this book eat UNDER water? I admit that seems odd.

    Human treachery? All too true and plausible! Far better, of course, for the captain of this cog (whose name I don't recall) to have scrupulously honored every part of the deal he made with Vanimen's children. I can see why Poul Anderson wrote this in: to make the plot of the book more interesting, to drive it in ways it otherwise would not have logically gone.

    Sean

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