Auroras of Arverne

by Voima Oy

You can’t go there, they said, but I did. This is my story. 

The people who live there call their world Arverne. It is the third planet from their sun. Arverne is known for the spectacular auroras. Every night, colors shift and billow like curtains, colors I have no names for. 

I had not come to Arverne for the auroras. I had come for the colors. I had heard the stories in the bars of the port cities, just like this one. Whispers, villanelles, rumors of the people of Arverne, and their colored silks, their fabulous artistry. 

But as I said, it was forbidden to go there. Why? Because anyone who ventured there was never quite the same. Maybe it was the auroras that disrupted the instruments, the strange deep pool of the gravity well. Maybe it was the place itself, or perhaps Arverne was a figment of the imagination, a dream of spice traders, a utopia of peaceful people weaving fabrics by the sea. 

So I came to Arverne, to the port city of Azure. It is a tiny island, surrounded by sparkling waves. You can see a volcano in the distance. How can I describe the narrow, winding streets, the white hive-like buildings, the vast plazas with moving statues that seemed to follow you with their eyes? 

For the most part, the people seemed glad to see me. Their faces were friendly. A trader, you say? Their delicate fingers (six on each hand) pointed me in the direction of the bazaar. 

There I learned I was just in time for the folk festival, when everyone gathered in the plazas and splashed each other with colored paints. Was it the light of Arverne that so enchanted me, or the people, their touch electric on my skin? A laughing boy embraced me, and a girl smiled as she dusted me with red and magenta and blue. Soon I was covered in colors too. Now you are like one of us, they said. 

Under the auroras, I saw how the dancers turned into chimeras and sphynxes, phoenixes and birds with tails like fish. There were creatures that I could not name, so quickly they shifted from one thing to the next. 

Then, the dancing changed. The movements became quick and purposeful. The hair of the people grew into long, iridescent filaments, colors twining together, woven into patterns of astonishing symmetry. 

Too late! I was caught in their dazzling webs. 

All night, we danced in the plaza, while the auroras danced overhead. I could feel myself changing. Inside, a dark river was singing to itself. Along the banks, roots of trees reached down into the water. It was all the colors running. 

The next morning, the sky was gray. The people, too, had an ashy aspect, as if the volcano had covered them with dust. Then, the alien sun of Arverne came up. Everywhere, threads shimmered in the light. 

I see you don’t believe me. Is my tale too fantastic for you? Look into my eyes and you will see. See, the colors swirling there, the shifting auroras? Look, I have brought you the finest silks of Arverne, spider fine, forbidden colors.

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