Fugacious

As the moonlight shone on the ruined city of Carin, a most peculiar thing happened. It started with the sounds of a bustling metropolis being carried as a whisper on the wind as it passed through the ramshackle streets and through crumbling buildings.

For a hundred years it lay empty, torn apart by senseless war. What took many a year to build was lost in the space of a few days. Salt was scattered across the ground to purge it of life, the thicker chunks of rock salt tinged pink from the blood on the ground. And yet, every year since that fateful first day of attacks, as the moonlight bathed the city in gentle light, activity began to stir.

The orchestra of city life was building in volume as the spirits stirred. Where walls and roofs had once been whole spectral structures flickered into place to complete the buildings. These new walls were mottled in colour, a shifting pattern as the fabric of the afterlife was brought to overlap that of the world.

As the moon ascended in its arc across the night sky, the details and activity in that ruined city became more pronounced. Wisps drifted along the street; then they were faint images of vaguely human form. Their shapes coalesced and grew more defined, and as an ethereal bell struck twelve times for midnight, they were ghostly figures wandering the streets about their business.

There was no malice to the appearance of Ephemeral Carin. Ghastly soldiers did not wander the streets slaying their foes in death. Items that had been looted or lost over the years were there in spirit form. Buildings that had long since collapsed, their footprints covered by dirt and overgrowth, returned each year at night.

Children played in the streets. In taverns old men swapped tales of adventures had in the past. House staff gossiped in the marketplace while haggling with the traders. Soldiers that had long since been slain practiced their drills in the grounds of the barracks.

That first kiss of sun was all it took to break the spell. As the morning rays struck the scene in the barren shell of the former trading center, the walls shimmered away into the realm of spirits. The effect spread quickly, and while it took hours for the city to form from the faintest of memories, it took only a second for it to be blown away on the winds.

On the century anniversary of its destruction, Carin rose. But like all spirits it was fugacious. As much as the spirits wished it would not, could not, stay.

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