I.
Builder stood on even ground, looked round and tall and grim.
“People need something to look up to,” said Builder, and made her a city.

II.
White and high and clean and spare she made the city. Called she it
Op-Rendo
Towers and walls and cisterns she made the city. Called she it
Op-Rendo

III.
Rain from heaven, bread from ground, fish from the sea that flows and flows
Iron for working, gold for taking, coal for burning
Ka-Rone for living, Habadad for dying, Op-Rendo for dreaming

(From the Annals of the White City, Book I)

According to the Velvet Men, there are things under the sky which even the greatest akashic rememberer would call foreign, tiny hidden scraps of a world bygone and distant to modernity. They say Yadd Island once spun like a top in the sea; the sun rose looking westward at the Transitive Hill then set looking eastward at the same quarter of coastline, at Transitive Hill. The Velvet Men’s habitually make grandiose claims about the wonders of their far-northern land, in an attempt to somehow ensplendor their drab and brackish country. Those who lack native wonders are forever impelled to create them.

Op-Rendo is another story they tell, one which has no basis in truth. Supposedly somewhere in the far Northwest, out past even the furthest of the verrik islands, there is a green land where the sun shines ever and the animals do not fear men or giants and the soil is so rich that if you spit away your seeds at dinnertime you’ll find sprouts in the morning. It is in this heaven-under-heaven that the city of Op-Rendo stood, a palatial series of palaces, plazas, gardens, terraces, canals, and towers, all of white marble. Though city they called it, in fact no one dwelled there; it was rather a mausoleum. A single anonymous Builder sealed herself (or himself, depending on the mood of the taleteller) into the central tower and there slowly withered away, passing not into the ranks of the Undying (as might be expected from one with the might to raise an entire picturesque city of marble) but simply into white bones. These bones melded with the marble of the city, and after some sort of polis-magic change, the Builder’s bones were the very stones of the city. An absurd and faniciful tale.

On the Island of Green Pastures there are ruins of an early Diamond colony dating back to the first century after the founding of Ka-Rone, deserted since some time before the war with Habadad and the beginning of the General State of Crisis. While Living Memory tells us this villa was called Op-Rendo by its few inhabitants, its location and the great gap of time cast doubt on its being the original source of the Velvet Men’s story. For many centuries and especially in the most recent one, the name Op-Rendo has been a popular one for ships, boy-children, and pets. A sibeccai named Op-Rendo was hung three weeks ago on charges of arson.

(The Annals of the White City is located in the Under Library in the Tower of Tongues. It is a Type Five volume, and therefore restricted to Class Three scholars with signed-and-dated slip from the Office of the Most Highness or Class Four or Class Five scholars in good standing. Unauthorized access of a Type Five volume is a capital offense.)

SEE ALSO the Hoarding of Secrets Act, the Kingdom of Weal and Woe, the Velvet Men, Yadd Island


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