"I was eight years old when my father took me on pilgrimage," Aeldred went on. The same even, casual tone. He still hadn't turned around. It occurred to Ceinion to wonder how the king had known who it was who'd come walking over to him. His particular footfall? Or a simpler awareness that no one else would approach, just then?
"I was excited and impatient, of course," Aeldred went on, "but what you just said... that life was otherwise for them... that was clear to me, even when I was young. On the way, in one of the cities in the north of Batiara, where the Antae had their own court, we saw a chapel complex. Four or five buildings. In one of them there was a mosaic of the court of Sarantium. The Strategos-Emperor. Leontes."
"Valerius III. They called him `the Golden.'"
Aeldred nodded. "There was a king," he said. A wave crashed and withdrew, grating along stones. "You could see it on that wall. His court around him. The clothing they wore, the jewellery, the... room they were in. The room they had. In their lives. To make things. I've never forgotten it."
"He was a great leader, by all accounts," Ceinion agreed.
He was letting this unfold. At the back of his mind, his pulse rapid with it, was the awareness of ships, and the east wind.
"I've read one or two chronicles, yes. Pertennius, Colodias. On the other wall I remember another mosaic, less good, I think. An earlier emperor, the one before him. He rebuilt the sanctuary, I think. He was there too, the opposite wall. I remember I wasn't as taken. It looked different."
"Different artisans, very likely," the cleric said.
Очень правильный эпилог к "Сарантийской мозаике". Кей силён.
Кстати, в "Повелителе Императоров" упоминается "аримонданская кожа" (Arimondan leather): Аримонда - одна из Шести Стран в "Песни для Арбонны". Лишнее доказательство того, что все пять романов Кея описывают один мир (который вследствие этого оказывается географическим и культурологическим нонсенсом: три Италии, две Испании...)