A Tale of Twin Cities
Twins is a interesting concept to consider in these books and there is no good reason to assume that they don’t exist in Pat’s work… But if I were to ask you to name any instance of twins occurring, then I bet that you would fail. However, they do exist, which is nice to know as that’s enough proof to validate investigation, although I only found one pair mentioned specifically: the twin sisters who made candles and taught strange dance steps in Ademre. Most of you should have come up with another clear use of the word though and point out that Skarpi in his tale of the Ergen empire spoke of the twin-cities of Murilla and Murella. But cities are not siblings and they don’t share the same maternal root. So what exactly makes them twin-cities? well we simply don’t know. History books that might have mentioned Ergen as an unlikely myth have long since crumbled into dust meaning that’s about it as far as we can go on our quest for ancient written knowledge. However, these twin-cities do continue to live in the memories of some few truly ancient folk that we encounter who actually spent some time in them the betrayal, such as Felurian.
‘Was Murella in the Fae?’
‘No. I have said. This was before. there was but one sky. one moon. one world. and in it was murella. and the fruit. and myself. eating it. eyes shining in the dark.’
She also tells us that murella (no capital, of course) was a walled city, a wall on which she sat and ate of the shaper’s fruit from their silver tree, under the light of the eternal moon which was always round and full every night in those days. MurElla was also one of the last seven great cities that held out against the enemy and although Felurian never mentions it, Skarpi states that it also had a near identical twin-city whose name was MurIlla which shares a virtually identical spelling to underline their nearness to each other. We can confidently assume that they would have always united together against the common enemy which assaulted their respective city walls, not just in the wake of Lanre and Lyra’s unifying actions and worked as a team implying that the two of them were not completely cut off from each other…yet. Perhaps their link was geographical and each piece controlled one side of a bridge, like the one that spans the Omethi river? Perhaps they were like Severen high and Sevren low, two distinct halfs with a cliff-edge relationship? We can only speculate on this but any such guesswork, whilst entertaining, is not really that necessary because we already know enough to proceed, both places are somehow counted as two but they are also somehow joined as one. Their names mean that they have always shared a unique bond of some sort that unites them and marks them as perennial allies against the common foe. There was at least one wall between the twin cities, Felurian sat on it, and she ate the fruit and her eyes lit up and it was a most wonderful time and both walled cities were, once upon a time, to be found together under the sun by day and beneath Ludis at night, and none of them had fallen to the enemy at the gate…yet.
One thing that we can say for sure is at least one of our twin-cities, either MurI or MurE, definitely fell as part of Lanre’s betrayal. Myr T (no relation) also burned that night and six further pyres of smoke marked the fate of the fallen.
‘Selitos looked out over the land below and felt a small spark of hope. Six plumes of smoke rose from the land below. Myr Tariniel was gone and six cities destroyed. But that meant all was not lost. One city still remained.’
Pooling together all our vast knowledge of the great betrayal tells us… not a lot. We start off, luckily enough, with Seven cities to choose from. There was also the One city but we can strike Myr Tariniel off the list as even the adem concur that the ‘one city’, however it was named, did fall. We can put a cross through Belen, too as when Skarpi#2 speaks of Fair Geisa he mentions Belen’s fallen city walls, but that’s about as much as we can state as being fact. Mixing our various stories up together, however, provides us with one more tinfoil connection. Skarpi lists the cities for us in a specific ordering of his own reasoning and in his list the twin-cities are the last two to be named. If we line this up next to Trapis tale, he tells us that the cities fell one per day and it was the final city which was saved by Tehlu on the seventh day, which would equate in Skarpi’s list as being MurElla. Since the other six would have already fallen, this would also indicate MurIlla as being the penultimate casualty. Tying seperate stories together to prove a point is, I agree, rather thin tinfoil to rely too heavily upon but one more line of thinking might give it some added strength because although Encanis succeeded with his task on the first six days, on the final day Tehlu ‘drew near’ before the demon lord could bring his power to bear and so the seventh city was saved. My reasoning here is that given the Empire being described as vast, many miles should lie between any two given cities for Tehlu to walk each day. Except , that is, for the distance between our twin-cities which must surely count as being ‘near’ to each other and if relative distance was an influencing issue in Tehlu’s journey then our twin-cities would share an obvious closeness and may well have thus denied Encanis the necessary time that he may have required in order to summon enough power for him to bring down the walls of the second twin. All told it’s definitely starting to look quite promising for Murella.
With Myr T a definite goner, Seven cities will now remain in the game. The fall of Belen has reduced the field further but still only one of the remaining six will get to see the new dawn. This makes our in-play scenario currently look a lot like a game of russian roulette where each city will now share the same 6/1 odds of it being the last man standing. But Team M’s twin connection means that between them cover two chances and are, for betting purposes, to be viewed as the 3/1 co-favourites for one half of their dual domain will outlast all the others and so become the new ‘One city’ There can be Only One, after all. Just like MurElla’s original winning chances of one in seven, so does it’s new odds of one in three also contain a lucky number, too. Factoring in Skarpi’s counting system means that the smart money is now being placed on MurElla as being the mystery last city of hope.
If it was the worst of times, both MurIlla and MurElla have already fallen to betrayal which makes any further investigations into them seem rather pointless, but that gloomy thought can wait in the wings for now, We can sort that thought out later in our Who’s Who.
If it was the very best of times, though, One of our lucky numbers has come in, meaning that one of our twin-cities still stands… HurraH! but that is as good as it ever gets because the other twin, by default, cannot also do so too since there can be Only One! Whichever way things may have fallen out, one thing is for certain. Any historical link that ever existed between the twin-cities has most definitely now been cut because the one remaining city of hope will always stand alone.
We can imagine the nameless ruler of this last undefeated place standing on their own city walls as they watched the dawn break and, just as Selitos was doing far away, they were looking out to see the seven self same plumes of smoke rising. One for Myr T, high in it’s mountain fastness. Five for the other diverse cities that formed Ergen’s other powers, and finally, nearest of all the ruins, and in their eyes, by far the worst sight of all to them personally, lay their own fallen twin. These smoking ruins represent the other half of what once made them a whole. Twins have a special relationship that goes far beyond what my ink can describe, but that link is now certainly no more and for the first time since these twin-cities were co-founded, one twin will find itself alone as all that remains of Ergen following the fall of empire.
Putting a name to this still unknown ruler might just be possible thanks to the Adem’s rhinta story.
‘Six of them betrayed the cities that trusted them. Six cities fell. One of them remembered the Lethani and did not betray a city. That city did not fall
This clearly puts the chandrian down as being six influential and important people in Ergen whom each great city once thought to be trustworthy, a lot like Selitos says that Lanre was ‘considered beyond reproach’ by himself and his fellow ruling Lords and Ladies. It is not unreasonable to imagine that when the enemy ‘moved like a worm through fruit’ it would have aimed at subverting the topmost eight rulers of the empire and would have fully intended for all eight to forget the lethani. One of them, however, did not which whilst commendable, still meant that they once considered it and so that still puts this one ruler into the same original bag together with all the chandrian-to-be whose names and signs are remembered in Adem history.
If the last hope for Ergen was indeed once one of our twin rulers, then in our best of times scenario they would now also know that their original and staunchest ally will now be counted among the Seven chandrian. Alternatively, if this rule were now applied to the worst case scenario this would mean that among the chandrian’s ranks would now be found both of our original pair of twin rulers, united in their new service to Lord Haliax plan. That one rather notable situation is not even remotely hinted anywhere as being true, not as unfounded folk rumour or in even the silliest of our children’s songs or stories making it almost certainly not going to be the case in point and so all but confirm the survival of one twin-city. The single fallen member of their twin relationship will however be found among those listed in the Adem story and will also have been painted on the Mauthern pot which gives us an opportunity to line up some names and faces with our seven other cities the better to work out exactly Who’sWho.