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Shine and Shimmer

Once it came to pass that I reached Shine's puzzling abode. On a tall cliff she sat, dressed in snow-white, ankle-length garments. Above her arched the nighted heavens, blue-black as the inside of an enormous jewel-box bolstered with black velvet and sprinkled with the stars as glistening diamond-dust. And as velvet-black was Shine's very long hair, which she sat and combed with a dreamy smile on her lips.

The cliff where I saw her sit was situated the farthest back in an inlet, that cut deeply into a land of tall, pointed hills and cliffs. The shoreline cliffs and the ocean were lit by heaven's silver stars beyond count, whose light was able to penetrate the dark of night and let the sea and the hills reflect some of the peculiar faery-glimmer, that emanate from the stars above those lands. But it seemed to me, that there must also have been yet another source of light. For the cliff that she sat upon and the cliffs closest to it were more brighly illuminated than the rest of the landscape. They seemed as if bathed in clear moonlight, despite the fact that no moon could be seen in the sky.

I realised, that it was Shine's pale, almost blue-shifting visage that shone. And its light had all the properties of moonlight, which lent a sense of otherworldliness to her beauty. But the ætherealness of her guise rose also from her gaze, that dreamily scanned towards the horizon of the slightly shimmering, seemingly endless ocean. Because when I looked into her eyes, it was as if I was grasping for something fleeting, enigmatic, ungraspable, and yet unquestionably present—almost like seeing from a distance, between treetrunks, bare branches and sprouting twigs an autumn fullmoon's radiance being reflected in a calm stream flowing past.

But did it not now and then appear as if Shine percieved something from beyond the horizon? I don't know why, but when I looked at her, I strongly sensed that she recieved some sort of response, a reception of another conciousness from afar. That might have been the reason for her enigmatic smile.

Shine combed her hair. With her dreamy smile—that of a nightly Goddess—she combed it down over the rough surface of the cliff. Like a thick and dark waterfall it flowed down to the base of the cliff, where it piled up in layer upon layer, filling the bay with its velvet softness. Seawater it became there, calmly rolling in gentle waves towards the ocean's wide spaces, shimmering in the faery-shine from the face of its owner.

It so happened, that I followed that glimmering flow out to sea. Soon I had left the coast where Shine dwells behind me. The horizon spread out increasingly unbroken around me, as I traveled—in the indescribable way one traverses distances in those realms—further and further out over the ocean. Finally the coast disappeared completely out of sight, and I found myself all alone at sea beneath the stars. The ocean, unmoved by even the slightest ripple, reflected heaven's countless constellations, to the effect that I percieved myself as being within a slightly silver-shimmering, unbroken sphere—yea, as if I was slowly floating through a fathomless and empty but yet soft as velvet cosmos with the silent figures of the constellations as my only company. Verily it was a most singular experience.

The illusion, if it really was one, was however broken when—after what appeared to have been æons of floating solitude—another coast appeared on the horizon. Softly rounded rock formations rose here to ever greater heights further inland, by the horizon becoming a mighty sky-reaching massif, still softly rounded, hiding whatever lands there might have been beyond.

And in a wide bay in this shore I found that Shimmer, the weaver, dwelt. He had the aspect of an elderly man, with long silvery hair and beard that seemed to glitter and glimmer in the dark of night. His face seemed lined by a nemeless, ancient grief, and his expression implied something between unbearable longing and extatic anticipation. In fact, his gaze seemed in some way related to the inscrutability that the stars radiate during winter's most crystal-glisteningly cold and disconsolatedly dark nights. I saw how he pulled heavy lumps of Shine's hair out of the water, and how he upon his loom turned it into an immense velvet-black fabric of hair, that piled up to great heights behind him. At times one of his own hairs got stuck in the fabric and curled together into one small silvery dot in sharp contrast to the dark fold-rich whole. I could tell this caused him pain—a wailing "Oh woe!" echoed at these times out over the expanses of the ocean.

Yea, I saw the fabric mightily pile up as it became finished, behind Shimmer and above him, for it was the velvet dark night sky he was weaving.


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