The Silver City is a great city. Actually it was more of a giant city, to be honest. It kinda had to be to house all the dead souls of the righteous and fun-loving that had traveled the underworld after their deaths to reach the paradise of Tymor, putting their faith in the eldest of rabbit lore. What it looks like is a wee bit hard to describe, but I CAN tell you that it is more than 1,200 miles squared or thereabouts and shaped like a crown. Naturally not ALL dead souls live here; some live on the neighboring hills and forest caves and some went to other paradises altogether. Not only rabbits lived here but also various other creatures like lambs, valkyries, lions, birds, giants, pookas, gigantes, ogres, wolpertingers, titans, huldras and even a few humans, all of them living in the Silver City or the surrounding lands.However, everybody had to pass the underworld at some point. Jane could see the city from here, on the hill her house was built upon.
"We will bear through" she said to herself and did a little thumb-up.
"As we always have"
She spied some new arrivals. Just like all the spirits arriving into the rabbit paradise of Tymor they had, upon entering, been crushed into a single point and remade in silvery and golden light into a new body filled with the life-force of The Silvercrowned One. The new arrivals sailed past Jane, spread out like a collection of shooting stars and then crashed in an almost comedic manner on the ground, spreading dust and rock all around. After about a minute or so, they would crawl out of the crater and take a look around, eventually spying another one of the new arrivals.
Looking themselves over for the first time, they notice that their new bodies almost glowed from within with the limitless power of life itself. Some of them would call out or reach for the others while those faster on the uptake simply found that they could jump from hill to hill with ease.
Feeling distinctly restless, Jane turned towards the city. At the gates of the city some of the new arrivals had stopped. Some of them had run inside to take a better look but most of them stopped to get some information from the guards. Jane recognized their look of confusion but also immense happiness. All of the newcomers looked the same. Jane saw that one of them had stopped and just stared. He had recognized one of the priests from his childhood together with a religious figure from long ago. Jane could not help but laugh. You could hear about religious figures and stories all your life but still not believe in them. Sure, you believed in a god, but not that you would ever actually meet. Not deep down in your heart, at least. That is why it was always so weird for the newcomers to see things like that. The priest saw the awestruck newcomer and came over to hug him. Slightly happier, Jane continued into the city.
"Good morning, Jane" somebody suddenly said.
"It is good to see you in the city today! Did you come to visit us?"
It was Jane's mother, a hunched bit still lively woman named Hagga. She was very happy to see Jane, because while her family lived in the city itself Jane had decided to live a traditional hare-life in the soil and hills around the city. Although Jane had entered the Silver City with no particular plan in mind she quickly decided to spend the rest of the day catching up with her siblings, parents and friends.
After staying in paradise for many years, Jane's friends in the Silver City, the neighboring hills and the rest of the paradise of Tymor were many. The most famous of them was undoubtedly DidIprai, one of the original prophets of The Silvercrowned One. DidIprai was a large man who moved and thought with the speed of continents moving, yet he had managed to marry a great queen and promote the path of digging forth today (or in human language, the secrets of the underworld) from a small sect into one of the largest religions in the world!
A historian would say that the queen DidIprai married, queen Shebaz, only made the religion official in her kingdom because it was matriarchal and thus allowed her to inherit the kingdom from her father instead of her younger brother, who was the eldest male heir. This was probably true, but as long as the way through the underworld was spread, was there any harm done? The Silvercrowned One would add that upsetting the mortal world like that was reason enough. And haughty as queen Shebaz may have been in life, in death she now lived with her husband just like everybody else in The Silver City. They were actually living right next to Jane's mother and father, who were hat-makers and makers of icons and ornaments as well as complicated parts for machines.
Between the hat-shop and the mansion of DidIprai and Shebaz were a small tavern owned by another of Jane's friends, Sue. Sue was a large and happy fox-woman, an uncomplicated and friendly soul. She had recently started to date Jane's brother Princeton, who was a librarian. Jane's other brother Alex was there as well, with his jackalope girlfriend Adva, who was in the Silver City on vacation from her duties in the underworld.
Alex was a very short man, his girlfriend Adva towering above him when they walked together, hand in hand. As an entrance to this little family reunion they arrived with Alex waving wildly while riding on one of Adva's shoulders, making everyone laugh uproariously. Alex was talking enthusiastically about his new studies of economy (his thesis was titled "Reaching economic balance in places with streets paved with gold").
While having a meal there in Sue's bar with DidIprai and her family, Jane was visited by her former boyfriend, Thomas.
"Hello, I doubted I would see you here today" he said and smiled.
"I thought you left the plains for a while?"
"Yes, but I wanted to visit the Silver City again" Jane responded and returned the smile.
"How goes your new job as a scribe of Shebaz?"
"Honestly, I doubted it would go as well as it has" Thomas replied.
"Oh, I doubted I would forget, but Shebaz sent me to get you, DidIprai! I doubt you'd want your meal to be interrupted, but could you come with me?"
DidIprai nodded (the nod taking almost twenty seconds) and stood up and bowed (taking another twenty seconds) and walked out of the tavern. Excusing herself as well, Jane decided to head home for now. She walked down the street with its shops and homes filled with untold wonders and strange things. She walked through the great gates, almost 200 feet tall, and into the green sunny fields outside. There were several factories there, but Jane had no problems with the noise. In fact, after growing up in her daddy's workshop she actually found the noise of tinkering quite comforting.
Seeing Alex's girlfriend had stirred something inside Jane. The jackalopes were the elite guard of the underworld, helping lost souls make it to paradise. It was very dangerous to be a jackalope; it meant nothing less than the risk of losing paradise and become lost in the underworld forever. As a reward for taking on this dangerous, but necessary job, the jackalopes were instilled with a fraction of The Silvercrowned One's power, making them grow big and powerful.
Not all of them possess bodily strength, either. Some of them were very smart or full of compassion. Some of them were artists, some lovers but all of them dedicated to making the long trek to the underworld as safe as possible for the shades of the dead.
Jane hurried to her burrow in the ground just outside the city. She stood outside the hole leading down for a moment, sighed and looked back at the sunset over the city before stepping inside. Soon night fell, filled with bright stars unsullied by pollution. Over the Silver City rose the symbol of the paradise of Tymor, the smiling moon. It was a giant perpetual crescent moon with thick black lines carved into it, making it appear as if a giant toothy grin hung in the sky. This was the abode of The Silvercrowned One's true essence.
YOU ARE READING
Where's the way the shades are walking? Where's the feet that crushed the cleavestones? Are you asking What's that thunder Rolling in the caves and caverns? I am urged, yes forced to tell you Of the rivers and the grottos Of the fierce-proud jackalo...