If it can be imagined, then it can exist; what might only be pictured in this world can take on a tangible reality in another. Access is usually denied us, but a group of young artists find themselves drawn into the turmoil of this 'other' world, become a part of the landscape of Bosch and Blake, of Munch and Magritte.
If it can be imagined then it can exist, and it seemed to Auberjonois that the architecture of Golgonooza had been intended to make this very point. Seated in the bay of the window, on the uppermost floor of the lodging house, he gazed out across the rooftops with a restless dissatisfaction. The sulphurous city skyline offered a jumbled silhouette of gables and spires, buttresses and turrets, steeples and minarets and featureless Cubist fabrications, everywhere the eye roamed it was jarred by a cacophony of architectural styles and for a man who held order dear, a man with a warrior’s disciplined mind, it was torture to behold. The city might have been the work of a committee of architects, the product of an argument of planners, a disagreement which would never be resolved. Fabled city of art and science, was it? Well to Auberjonois’ mind, at least, it was ample proof that the two could never comfortably coexist.
Dispiritedly he swung his feet to the floor, the action lazy since it lacked any purpose other than to break the monotony, and beneath his considerable weight the parched wooden floorboards groaned. There again was evidence of the laziness which afflicted him, the sloppiness born of lethargy, for if Auberjonois had chosen to he could have walked across a floor of crumpled paper without ever making a sound. But where was the need for such stealth in this godforsaken place? He gave out a curse which was like the discontented grunt of a caged animal and thumped his fist against the thin partition wall, saw the crumbs of stucco fall, knowing that each flake might be counted and weighed and added to his bill.
Well let that be so! Let the harridan of a concierge and her obese husband charge what they liked for their ramshackle shelter! He would pay whatever they asked and double just to get away from this miserable place!
There was a soft and fragile creak of timber against timber, a stair protesting against the weight which bore down on it, and for a second his senses sharpened, the lobes of his ears pricked, their fragile membranes stiffening like those of a bat. Then, even as his hand was reaching for the sword which lay by the bed, he relaxed again, recognizing the tread and throwing himself back onto the mattress in disappointment.
“Anything?” he asked, on hearing Siddig enter the room, though he could already read the answer in the way his friend’s boots scuffed sulkily across the floor, and Siddig answered with a curse –“f-- all”- spoiling the quiet of the night with the clatter of weapons and armor which he threw to the floor, the sword and shield and the breastplate of burnished metal.
“f-- all!” he repeated. “We might as well have gone to Bosnia or Bannockburn or the Little Big Horn for all the profit we’ll get out of this damned place!”