The Dream Archipelago Week 9: The Cremation conclusion
- Graian Sheeld has just had a discussion with Alanya Mercier at the cliff house and he decided to head back on his own.
- He finds a path - not the one he had arrived by, but seemingly going in the right direction. However, after a time he finds the way blocked by exposed tree roots and disturbed soil - signs of thrymes. so he heads back.
- When he returns to the house, Alanya is locking up. She accuses him of wanting to have sex and then blackmail her for the family money.
- She claims that every person leaves a trace, and that the Merciers are proficient at following these traces.
- Sheeld denies this version of events, and (on the surface at least) they seem to reconcile their differences. She agrees to lead him back to the house.
- On the way back, however, she keeps insisting she has been wronged and spurned by him.
- At one point, she claims to see a thryme by his feet. He feels panic, but it turns out to be a fruit, not a thryme.
- Alanya tries to get him to eat the fruit with her, saying it's a method of expressing reconciliation in local custom. He refuses.
- Back at the house, a servant tells them that Fertin Mericer wants to see them. Alanya tells the servant 'not now'.
- Sheeld tries to leave, but again the fruit is pushed upon him. He takes it in his hand but refuses to eat.
- He tries to leave again, but the servants block him. He is told to wait in the garden.
- While he is waiting, he gets thirsty and decides to eat the fruit to quench his thirst.
- Just then the family enters, led by Fertin Mercier - Alanya's husband.
- Fertin accuses Sheeld of indiscretion with his wife, and when this is refuted, with insult at the rejection. Fertin tells him the only way out for hi is to eat the fruit.
- Sheeld says he already did. The family gasp, and then it's revealed that the black pips in the fruit are juvenile thrymes. Sheeld is already dead and is told he will be cremated. As he dies, Sheeld witnesses the spiral of planes caught in the vortex above.
- There seems to be plenty of foreshadowing in this story. Did it hold any surprise for you? Did he bite it just when you had thought he escaped?
- What role does the Trace play in this story?
- Is this a version of The Garden of Eden turned on it's head?
- What's the significance of the last sentence, in which Sheeld sees the planes converging in the vortex?