Story One – Upside Down

Day Two.

Morning still, i woke up from the bed and, to be sincere,  it really didnt felt i was turned upside down. in truth, for the first hours i spend inside the inn, it looked pretty normal to me, it wasnt like i was turned upside down, instead, it looked like everything was the same as sleeping at a regular inn in a regular country. i only realized i was in Petra, when i looked the journal. i even wondered how funny the man reading the newspaper was, since it was what i called upside down.
to make things worse. when i left the inn, the sky was cloudy, so even if you looked down, you couldnt see the ground. and since i was supposedly turned upside down, i wondered why did Petra was so well illuminated by the sunlight. i went to a bakery so i could eat my breakfast, one thing a traveler must know, inn’s breakfasts are really expensive, if you want to keep your savings try to not eat at any inn, instead eat at some restaurants or coffees around, they’re usually cheaper, also there is nothing wrong in accepting a treat to a meal, i love when i get those.
so i went to the restaurant. everything was pretty much ok. really, petra wasnt anything different from a normal regular city, it was just prettier.
i decided to go see the museum, if i could learn something about Petra it would be there. wandering this city’s streets were something simple amusing, the houses all stylish build up of those pretty dark blue rocks with the roof blue in a grayish color, many questions came to my mind, first, the things i noticed from the city.
there was a small number of wagons and horses down at the street, and many cities have its street’s roads made up with small rocks forming a specific pattern, but Petra’s didnt, petra’s streets were made of  a single layer of a black rock. and carved on its sides, scribblings remembering flowers, at the middle from time to time there was a bear carved on it’s center. sure those people loved bears. such curious city. other thing, in contrast with the village, Petra wasnt all that colorful, it was more black, blue, gray, and the gardens were dark green with white or blue flowers. of course, particular gardens were often way more colorful than petra’s regulars, but it did was something to look after.
after another hour wandering and sightseeing the regular city, i arrived the museum, Petra’s Museum was also majestic, huge coluns made of dark blue rock, instead of carvings, petra’s museum had them made in another kind of rock, i guess it was marble. white marble, it was so beautiful, and by its entrance, there was a blue gem statue shaped as the image of a lion with  wings, just like those at the gates, and bellow it said:
” The right is for the few ”
” again with it? ” i said, then out of the blue i was welcomed by a old, tall, and frightening woman. ” h-hello you. ” i said recomposing myself already.
” good day miss, what brings you here at our magnificent museum? do you seek for a visit? ”
” yes i do madam. ” i said politely.
” so you came from the upside down world. ” that again… it was kind of confusing. but i could understand how did she felt right away, since when i woke up, if it wasnt for the newspaper being read upside down, i probably wouldnt know i was in Petra.
” thats right madam, i came from the upside down world. ” even thought i said that, my impressions of petra were still of one upside down floating island.
” be welcome then, were should we start? any interest in particular? ”
” not at all madam, i just seek for learning more about petra and its people. ”
” then, shall we start with our history? ”
” yes, by all means, madam. ”
there we went, petra’s museum insides were gorgeous, the floor were pure white marble, the columns were made of the same dark blue rock as the walls, but they had carvings in blue marble, the roof had beautiful ornaments mimicking plants, and the main dome had a huge chandelier made out of that blue gem. it was beautiful, i wish i could see it totally lit at night.
there we were at the history section. for start, there was a huge door made out of dark wood, it had the carving of a bear, and up at its arc carved you could read. The right is for the few. again with this The right is for the few saying. you could see it in any of their important places. it didnt matter were. if it was important, then the saying would be there.
” well young miss, at first, we, people from petra came from the upside down world. we were a tribe of wandering sheep keepers. the legend tells that when we came to this mountain’s feet, a lion with wings came and ate one of our sheep, and took another with it. it flew right to the mountain. our men went together to take down the beast. ”
she showed to me a old painting, it was really old, so old that you could see by its very trace. im sure, it was the most colorful thing i saw at petra thought… well she keep with the lecture.
” when our man went up the mountain, they wandered up and up and up, looking for the beast, but nothing they found. at night, they came back to the tribe, without having found the beast.” she gave a pause and then said. ” until now traveler, any questions? ”
” yes madam, i have one ” i said ” did they saw the island floating? ” with care i made that question, since she would probably get upset if i called petra a upside down island. she was very frightening i didnt wanted to see her being contradicted.
” for the first trip, they didnt went high enough to see our floating island. but then, there was a second trip. ” she said, and with that, keep with the lecture. ” when they went again up the mountain, they saw our island floating. they also saw the beast flying right above their heads, as if defying them. the childish stories say that the beast talked with the men, saying: ” follow me, into my lair to avenge your sheep. ” oh well ”
” did they went in? ”
” yes they did. they did went into the island, without fear, they went forth and as they arrived, the beast was there, waiting for them. they charged the beast right away, but it flew inside a forest. the man followed it inside. soon they noticed that they got lost. ”
i just keep silence, paying attention to the woman’s lecture.
” it lasted hours, the men, were all lost, but did not lost the motivation of chasing down the beast and slaying it for their sheep’s revenge. much they wandered into the forest until they found a cave. ”
” the beast’s lair? ”
” yes it was, the beast’s lair. ” the old woman responded with amusement ” the walls made of azurenitite, the same dark blue rocks our city is made of. ” by that point i told it was at least one mystery down. ” there was also many blue glowing gems inside it, the same as you can see all over our city. they’re called ceruleanire. ” another mystery down, i guessed. ” the men went inside the lair, astonished for its beauty, and in fear of the beast to show up and eat all of them. ”
” so… thats why the city is made of those? ” i had to ask
” thats not the main reason miss. ” she said, with a serious look on her face. ” let me finish the story, im sure your questions will be answered by its end. ”
i just nod, that woman was really frightening.
” the forth they ventured inside the cave, the men found that there was plenty of those two minerals, and yet, they found four colors of marble. but it became serious when they arrived a white marble chamber. ” she paused, and breathed, we moved then to another corridor, there, were a statue of a beast made of blue rock, and the statue of three men fighting the beast. ” they fought the beast, until the echo of the battle woke up a large dark bear, who attacked the winged lion and killed it stuck into spikes of ceruleanire. ”
” i guess i understand the importance of the ceruleanire now. ” i said. but then the woman said i was wrong.
” its not the only meaning behind it. the bear also killed four of those men, only one making it alive. when he was exiting the cave, he stumbled upon a rock and fell, the bear towering in front of him, striking fear with hits sharp eyes, let out a frightening cry, the cry was so strong that made the ground shake. but, the bear shouldnt have done it, for a spike of dark blue rock fell down upon the bear’s backs. slaying it down. ”
” so, the city have carvings of lions with wings and bears because of this legend? ” i asked.
” i didnt finished the tale yet. ” she said with a somehow angry look on her eyes, she was frightening the hell out of me, if i didnt had let my gun at the inn, this would be really dangerous. ” ahem… ” she said and then continued ” when going out the cave, the man looked up to the sky, just to find out that, from the place he was, he could overlook the world, without losing its sight.
he believed that the bear and the lion with wings were some kind of god, since he never saw such majestic and unique beasts. when he was backtracking his way to the village, he found the sheep the lion took with him, and brought it back to the tribe. but the sadness strode their hearts as four of their finest men were slew. ”
i keep in silence paying attention to the lecture, it was a pleasant story. and as it was old, i could understand why did they felt that the lion and the bear where gods. many stories tell of gods being mighty beasts, so that is reasonable enough to me. at least.
” it was their costume to wear dark colors when someone died, the man gave the idea of they going to live at the floating island, he lead the way. when arriving the place, its said that they heard a loud bear cry. frightening as if it was angry of being slew. the decision was to live in the island, making the bear and the lion their gods. and to never forget the men who were sacrificed. they would settle down and build a city out of the dark blue rocks, and as signal of power, they would use the glowing gems to adorn the city. ”
” ah, so thats why the city is do dark looking? ”
” yes, thats the main reason. the sadness of the original folk. ”
” so, this island is… ” i couldnt finish, she finished my sentence for me.
” god’s island. he looked, and still looks as a spirit, to the world from here, watching every kind, every folk, every action, forever. ”
i thought it was reasonable enough. if this was really god’s island, then they were right, the world was upside down, not the island, but… how to be certain of who was right? all the other nations told that this island was upside down, and this nation tells that all the other nations are upside down. is there a right one? this answer i couldnt figure out by myself.
” so, young miss, is there anything else you want to know? ”
for the time being, i didnt had much interest in anything else, the legend of how Petra was established was enough, by that i could understand why did they told they were right. but something was bugging my mind.
” miss Historicist, dont you find it was weird, the bear being killed by its own cry, and by the dark blue spike? ”
” it was because, even thought the bear and the lion were gods. the island itself is the main god. and it chose our people to watch upon the world with her. ”
” oh, i see… ” every folk have their own explanations of how the world was created, how man was born and about how its nation began. this folk were no exception. respect the culture, and understand the values of each country is important, even more for a traveler. for a traveler who cant respect a culture and its rules, would end being killed by the folk.
before i left the museum, i asked about two things.
” miss Historicist. could you ask me this? ”
” but of course, what is it young miss? ”
” when i was coming into the country, there was a road, full of white flowers. the conductor of the wagon told me that it was a man who long ago left the city to live on its outside. ”
” yes, i know of this story very well. ”
” how old is this story? ”
” when i first heard of this story i was just a little girl. my grandfather told me it. the scholars say that this legend is at least one hundred years old. ”
i was astonished, at least one hundred years old? then the man would probably have more than one hundred years. how could he still be alive? and so full of energy that he could take care of the flowers?
” oh hohoho. ” the woman was laughing. man, she was even more frightening when she was laughing. why didnt they got a more sympathetic person to take care of the museum? didnt anyone wanted to get the job? ” of course, young traveler ” she said. ” the man is already dead. but the archeologists found out that he dig a channel linking the flower road to the river. before he died. ”
ah, a reasonable answer. i was expecting, a bit more thought. like a ghost  or anything like that. but a channel is good enough, i guess.
” what about the candles at the mountain? ”
” the road patch to the city? ” she questioned
” yes, the very same miss. ” i responded
” oh, this one we dont know really who keeps that up, it might be the conductor of the wagon himself. ”
” he said it wasnt him. ” i said looking expressionless to her.
” dont be fool young miss. he might have lied to you. ”
” hmm… is that so? ” another reasonable answer. but he wasnt lying. somehow i felt that he was saying the truth at that time.
” anything else young miss? ”
” no, thank you miss historicist, it was a pleasant visit. ” i waved bye, it was sunset already. the sky was tinted beautiful with the colors of twilight. yellow, orange, red, the coulds were orangeish and there was small spots of purple around the scenery, such a beautiful sky. and to see the ground while looking at the skies… nowhere you could take the same experience. but i noticed something looking to the skies, i mean, to the ground.
there was no river nearby, neither there was a lake. so, where did came from the water from the channel? i found it hard to believe after this observation. and what about the candles on the road? the miss didnt had any explanations on it. well… the Mr. Elder said that, i should just keep that dear. this folk seems to like being right all time.
i waited it for be night, i just sat on a square’s bench and watched the kids play as the night drew near. as the sky colored itself dark. i went to a coffee to have my dinner, there was one nearby the inn, and it was just nice. i took my time there, listening to a nice group performing a song. relaxing, indeed. oh, and again, the menu was written upside down there. well it was the way this folk did the things right?
after the nice meal, and music, i went back to the inn, puzzled with many things on my head again.
” Hello young traveler. have you had a nice day? ”
” oh, good night miss innkeeper. yes i did, i went to the museum. ”
” so you learned about our country there? ”
” yes i did, i heard how did petra was established here on the upside down floating island. ”
” young traveler, dont be foolish, everyone knows that petra isnt the one turned upside down, but the world. ”
see? seems that this people loves to be right about everything.
” oh sorry. ” i said ” you’re right, my bad. ” i apologized politely.
” its alright young miss. its not your fault after all, you lived all your life along turned upside down that you might thing you’re the one turned upside down. hahahaha ” the lady laughed. i just tried to laugh along as i could. and then left back to my room.
before going back to my room, i found the newspaper. it also had bellow its tittle, that saying of their written down. ” The right is for the few ” this time i went back to the innkeeper and asked
” miss, why do the newspaper writings is written upside down and the saying ” The right is for the few ” is written normally? ”
” oh my dear, the newspaper is not written upside down, but the saying is. ”
” why is it? ”
” because this way, the people from the upside down world can read it. ”
indeed, a curious city with curious costumes.
after it, i went back to my room, and  watched the street’s lights from my window, i really was lucky this time, for i got a nice windows turned to the main street of this section. there was a constant movement of people ever going from all directions to all directions, and i could notice one thing. all the lion statues were turned to a similar direction. to the city gate.
i wonder why is it.
after some time, i went to my bed, the next day i was leaving the city. and  i would need some strength to do so.