A Grand Palace Within The Dune
Some of my favorite stories aren’t so much stories as they are descriptions.
Descriptions of spaces.
The piece you are about to read is my attempt to describe a space.
A vast space rich with beauty and wonder.
Even if this piece isn’t very good — your opinion may, of course differ — the space itself, as well as the possibilities it offers, evoke a sense of wonder within me.
My hope is that it will do the same for you.
A Great Singer; A Great Palace
Many ages ago, there lived a woman named Dinara.
Dinara was a singer.
A singer who sang songs.
Songs of great beauty. Songs of great power.
For these songs, when listened to with intent, evoked something.
Something very special. Something very strong.
A strength and creativity that allows you to go beyond your limits.
To go beyond your limits and, in going beyond your limits, to thrive.
To thrive and, in thriving, to create.
To create and, in creating, express yourself.
To reach the highest peaks of self-expression.
Or, perhaps, one peak, within an infinite network of peaks, each one greater and more beautiful than the other, yet each one rooted in your deepest passions and longings.
Dinara’s work allowed her to amass a great deal of wealth.
A great deal of this wealth went to those in need.
Some of it, though, was put into a vault.
For many ages, the money within this vault grew and grew.
Eventually, Dinara retrieved this money and invested in a palace.
A great palace that was to be erected for Dinara and her lover.
No one knew the name of Dinara’s lover.
To this day, that remains the case.
But, what is known is that Dinara’s lover was a woman with three faces.
Each face, a different shade of blue and crimson, signifying a new story.
Stories of what?
That, too, is unknown.
Returning to the known, though, this palace was a palace of beauty.
A palace of beauty and magic.
A Palace Of Beauty And Magic
The aesthetic beauty of this palace is known to those who can imagine a palace.
But, what may be far more challenging to imagine is the richness of this palace.
For, you see, this palace was not finite but, instead, infinite.
The palace was rooted within the dunes of the Great Desert Of America.
Right within its very depths, there lies — and continues to lie — an infinite series of floors.
Each one of these floors is unique and intricate, in its own distinctive manner.
None of them are without purpose, although they may appear to be.
Some of the floors within this palace serve purposes as vast and varied as:
• Containing Aquatic Beings That Generate Doorways To Other Worlds
• Growing New Ecosystems Within Microscopic Arcologies
• Managing A Vast Network Of Energy And Waste Systems
• Housing A Vast Set Of Books And Works Of Art
• Containing Many More Books And Works Of Art
• Housing A Vast, Overgrown Jungle
• Serving As A Labyrinth That Leads To A Series Of Invisible Spaces
• Storing A Vast Set Of Photographs From Long Ago
• Serving As A Smaller, Comfortable Library That Leads Into A Tunnel
And so on and so forth…
The latter space is our focal point.
Prior to exploring such a space, there is something that must be said: many of the spaces within this palace remain sturdy and functional, yet many of them are abandoned and decrepit.
For, you see, the winds and the dunes and the sand — among so many other elements — flow through the materials surrounding the exterior of the palace, transforming its very essence.
Even so, though, for an explorer, or a mere wanderer, the palace remains a source of infinite wonder and limitless delights, just as Dinara intended.
For, you see, Dinara erected such a palace not merely as a home — although, that was, in the end, part of the intended — but a space for others to simply be.
To simply be and, in being, to live and explore and thrive and create and learn.
And, in the end, so many other lovely things, for that is all Dinara wanted to give us.
The mere experience of being alive in the ways we wished to be alive.
Simple Spaces; Complex Spaces
Somewhere, within Dinara’s great palace, is a library.
A rather small library, with chairs, tables, shelves, a fireplace; and many other nice things.
Right behind a shelf, to the right of this fireplace, there is an opening.
To those unaware of this opening, the shelf merely obfuscates the surface of a stone wall.
But, to those aware of this opening, this shelf obfuscates another world.
For, right behind this opening, is a tunnel.
A tunnel made of dirt and rocks and sand — not unlike the caves within the canyons found all across the Great Desert Of America — that leads down.
Down to a single elevator shaft.
For those who are lucky, this elevator shaft is blocked off by a metal elevator.
A metal elevator, with black paint that obfuscates silver components.
A wanderer may activate this elevator and begin descending.
Descending not into the palace but, instead, the outskirts of the palace.
A deep descent that leads to a dark, watery space.
A wanderer must walk through this knee-deep water.
That is, until they reach a series of doors.
Or, perhaps, another elevator.
Then again, they may not see either of those and, instead, find another elevator.
For, there exists yet another elevator, within this space.
And, this elevator travels downwards, as well, into another space.
And so on and so forth, infinitely and endlessly; for the palace, and the Great Desert Of America itself, is infinitely deep.
No matter where one goes, they will find themselves surrounded by delights.
Delights as rich and varied as:
• Vast Aquatic Cities
• Forgotten Ruins
• Infinitely Vast Libraries
• Systems Designed To Harvest Arcane Sources Of Energy
• Temples Honoring Machine Gods
• Old Oceans That Contain Great Wonders
• A Vast Network Of Caves
• Living Doorways To Other Worlds
• A Tomb Honoring Beings Vaster Than Our Comprehension
• Memories And Elegies To Lost Loves
• Living Jungles And Living Deserts
And so on and so forth…
For those who choose to continue descending into the outskirts of the palace, they will find themselves immersed within spaces just like this, yet far less delightful as they go on.
Spaces of great magic. Spaces of great beauty.
Spaces of great magnificence.
And, yet, these spaces are absent of light and presence.
There is enchantment and there is possibility.
But, you are not welcome in these spaces, for your very presence threatens them.
That is, to say nothing of the light.
And yet, that may, in the end, be the central thesis of Dinara’s vision.
Your light is magnificent and powerful.
You must remember that.
Just as you must remember that it threatens those who belong to an environment that are not conducive to this light, to your essence, to who you are and must be.
If memory serves — and, well, it probably does — this piece was written in February of 2022.
I’m not entirely sure what my intentions were with that last bit.
Regardless of that, though, thank you for reading this story!
I hope you enjoyed it and, in turn, I hope you have a lovely day!