- L.L. Stephens
Thaa knelt and gathered a handful of that pitiful flaked earth into one hand, let it dribble from cupped fingers into a little pile. Thaa did this again and again, lovingly, as one strokes the hair of the dead.
“Mulsor lingers. Great Mulsor! The Aryati turned her to dust. The sea flooded in and carried her away. Time itself cannot forget her. The children of Leur do not die.”
Thaa rose and pointed to the flickering vision of the dead City, forever trapped in the ghost of the World’s remembering.
This passage from The Second Stone describes the fate of Mulsor, one of the eternal Five Cities and capital of the Aryati Hegeistate. At the time it was created by Leur, Mulsor was second in beauty only to the City of Îs, where the Leur themselves dwelt. Mulsor’s sheer size and majesty reflected the power of the star faring Aryati and their rulers. Mulsor was also—like Sordan, Mormantalorus, and Permephedon—a primary Rill node.
Mulsor’s destruction during the Clone Rebellion against the Hegeistate precipitated the Devastation. The City vaporized along with a deep wedge of the planet and unleashed an unstoppable shattering of the Creation. The Sacrifice of Leur salvaged the Creation by separating out the Devastion in Time.
The Second Creation did not completely resolve the consequences of the Devastation. Mulsor is one of several traces that remain. As one of the Five Cities, a living artifact of Leur, Mulsor possesses a form of immortality that means it cannot be fully destroyed. Mulsor therefore is present in the Past (in the timeline wherein it was created); the moment of Devastation (Gsch) in which Mulsor is both destroyed and cannot be destroyed; and in the World That Is, the Second Creation, wherein Mulsor no longer exists—yet it does.
Association with the Rift.
During the age of the Triempery, Mulsor is a ghost city—a phantom from the past that brands any who see it with a terrible curse.
Sightings of Mulsor are an artifact of the Rift. The Rift manifests along a wound line that runs from offshore of Stauberg, south through westernmost Amallar into the border region of Trongor and Ardaen, and from there into the Kolpos and Sansordan. It roughly corresponds to the pattern caused by Mulsor’s destruction. Mulsor appears only at the very location where it once existed: the west shore of what is now Sansordan, on the Kolpos (Gulf) of Trongor.
Rift events—arcane storms—create the circumstances that allow Mulsor to “break through” into the Second Creation. The place where Mulsor originally stood is poisoned and desolate where land, and most has vanished beneath the sea. Because not every Rift event triggers an appearance, sightings are rare. Viewers more often deny a sighting than admit to them.
According to the historian Cibulitus, Amynas saw Mulsor and had this to say:
“Though it looks like it might break through, it cannot. Mulsor does not exist in a physical form in this Creation: The First World of Mulsor’s existence is forever trapped in the past; in Gsch Mulsor is but an immortal ruin; and in this Second World what we see is a dream, an immortal City remembering itself—what Mulsor was and how it ended. I cried to see her again and watch the horror of her demise.”
Patroculos, the famed traveler and geographer of the first two centuries of the Return and who chronicled the birth of the Triempery, said this in his well-known Journey to Many Lands:
“A man who has seen this City, though he would not give me his name nor any name I might use, painted a vision of white towers by the hundred, piercing the heavens, even the clouds. Taller than Sordan’s splendid crown and mightier even than Permephedon where the towers of the Three stand even now in glory. Bright these towers and shining, striving high into the sky. But even as he watched, the end came upon them and the towers wavered, they broke and they crumbled; all soon became dust to be carried on the wind.”
An Ardaenan logographer of that era, Oddingar, described Mulsor as being an expression of the Creation’s pain:
“A beauty too great for the world to bear.”
Because sightings of the phantom City are rare, they are accorded special status and mystical power. People who have seen Mulsor are said to be cursed and are considered by many to be bad luck—but paradoxically they are also said to be possibly fated for great things.
Patroculos conversed with the sailors he traveled with from Ilmar to Callorn and said of their beliefs:
“Few people have I found who will say they have seen this lost City. Most who see Mulsor are said to be cursed to come to a terrible end. Sailors in the Kolpos believe that even a glimpse of Mulsor brings bad luck and ships will not take onboard as crew or passenger any known to have seen her—and will throw overboard any they discover to have done so.”
Later, during the reign of King Estevan I in Essera, a Kheld traveler named Aebner Gethedson wrote of a journey across the Kolpos. Aebner says in his travelogue, To the Mountain of Fire:
“I had heard tale of a Fourth great City, a spectral visitor that could be seen only in this region, and that it had been seen by ill-fated Thorondar, of whom many books are written. Alas, my inquiry to the helmsman as to whether it might be possible to see this apparition nearly cost me my life. He demanded that if I so wanted to see Mulsor the Damned, I should be tossed overboard. He only relented when the captain proclaimed me half-witted and stripped me down to burn in the sun as punishment for invoking evil.”
Aebner proceeds to tell the tale of how Staubauns believed the World had ended. Khelds, of course, have no tales of Mulsor or the World's ending at all.
However, the Ardaenans, Lahgaelans, and the other peoples of that region, have many such tales. All are woven with calamity. The most common belief is that Mulsor is only seen by those on the brink of their own doom. Often this means by people on the verge of shipwreck or otherwise caught in a Rift event. Not all dooms are fatal, however. Famous cases of those who survived their encounters include Helga the Harpy—a pirate who founded Trongor—and Thorondar, the Ardaenan king who invaded Essera and slew that empire’s Highborn King, Eremun—only to perish on the return trip to Ardaen when a mountain collapsed on Thorondar’s army and carried it, and him, to the bottom of a gorge.
“I saw Mulsor” is an idiom often used to refer to uncommon bad luck.