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Lyonesse: A Land from the Arthurian Legend

In the dead of night, deep into the sea, two fishermen were all set to make an early catch. With their nets out in the sea, they waited patiently. They were glad they might have caught a big fish when they heard a movement under their boat. What surprised them was that when they pulled their net, all they found were weirdly shaped stones. Stones that looked like they were a part of a wall, too well-shaped. The two were thinking about how bad their luck was. One of them grunted:

“Waiting for so many hours and finding stones! Huh, what a stroke of bad luck!”

Suddenly, the silent sea became turbulent and choppy, the waves started crashing in, the winds began howling, and the boat lost momentum. The fishermen were now scared, knowing what was coming on; a storm. They had heard the forecast the previous day but had ignored it. Terrified, the two started rowing against the tides, trying to reach the shore. While making this attempt, panic struck them hard as they heard church bells ringing. Not one or two, but hundreds of them. Petrified, they weren’t sure if they would make it back to the shore. 

Just a few meters away, in a quiet cottage near Jamaica Inn, Emma was fast asleep in her old, rustic bed. The ring on her mobile phone woke her up. 

“Hello,” she responded as she checked the time. 5 Am she noted

“Hello, Miss Wilson. I am calling from the Cornwall Archaeological Unit. We have found some strange structures offshore today. It would be great if you could come and inspect the site.”

Wide awake now, Emma listened to the officer intently. 

“Where is this site?”

“It would be better to discuss the details in the office, ma’am.”

“Okay, I will be there.”

Emma, a historian by profession, had come to Cornwall to look at some historical English structures and research a lost city. Mentioned in the legendary story of King Arthur, she was deeply interested in the land of Lyonesse. Excited, she moved toward the books that lay open on her desk. She absent-mindedly started reading what Walter de la More had written about Lyonesse:

“In sea cold Lyonesse, 

When the Sabbath eve shafts down, 

On the roofs, walls, belfries, 

Of the foundered town…..”

Emma was seen walking in the sun on a long stretch of land from the tip of Cornwall. In the distance, she could see a vast land of an inhabited city surrounded by huge mountain ranges. Entering through one of the city gates, Emma saw a vast fishing town settled around a castle-like structure. She asked one of the villagers passing by,

“What is that place?”

The villager smiled and replied, “That is the city cathedral. It is an important place in our city.” 

Emma was intrigued by this power structure but shifted her attention to things and people in front of her first. She quietly started walking on the wide pebbled road in front of her. As she walked on, she noticed the town was divided into many well-planned villages laid out in a grid pattern, all facing the cathedral. 

“How many villages would it be?” she thought to herself. 

The sound of multiple bell towers ringing simultaneously distracted her from her thoughts. She stopped to see what was happening. It was mid-afternoon, and it seemed like people were returning home after fishing the entire morning for a good afternoon break. 

She caught up with a young boy holding a fishing net and asked him, “Where are you going, young man?”

“Back to my village for an evening prayer”, he replied. 

“But isn’t the cathedral in the opposite direction?”

“We don’t go to the cathedral for every prayer, miss. The cathedral is a gathering space for those big festivals. Every community in this town has small churches for praying. We go there”, he explained. 

Emma walked with the young boy round to the corner, where his village began. Through the centre of the village passed the main street lined with stone houses and cottages on each side. Most houses were asymmetrical, dressed in limestone with a high-pitched roof. As Emma walked through the village, the people and the environment around her gave her the vibe of a musical town. 

The people of the village were welcoming and relaxed. Most men and women sat near their worn casement windows or on their porches, playing musical instruments and enjoying the afternoon sun. Though low stone boundaries surrounded each house, men and sheep moved freely as if these physical boundaries were invisible. 

At the end of the street was a small church laid out in a cruciform plan. Emma noticed that in contrast to the grand cathedral at the reef, the church was simple and constructed in stone and wood. It had a buttressed porch with semicircular arched windows and a sloping roof supported by wooden rafters. The walls of the church were covered in frescos depicting stories from the bible. At the end of the complex was the bell tower. 

Emma saw an old woman offering evening prayer and realised the sun was about to set. The cold evening breeze was slowly replacing the warmth of the afternoon sun. Bornfires had started coming up in many houses and on major street junctions.

Emma decided it was finally time for her to visit the cathedral. She glanced at the high and mighty structure on the reef and started walking in its direction. Climbing halfway through the stairs to reach the cathedral, she stopped to catch a breath. She turned around to take a look at the town and gasped. These were not ten or twenty villages; these were more than a hundred fishing communities facing the sea. Extending beyond them to the horizon were fertile lands. 

Emma was now excited to know what lay above the stairs. She walked on and reached the top. On the top of the reef, on flat grounds, the cathedral stood like a majestic belief holding the entire city together. The grand building was ornately decorated with many spires rising high up in the sky. The high pointed arches covered in various patterns of stained glass and the flying buttresses added to its grandeur. Emma remembered what the villager had told her when she entered the city; the cathedral was more than an essential structure for the city. It held power and belief in the town. 

Moving towards the opposite end of the grounds, the reef fell into a steep, deadly slope. High above, one could still hear the sound of the sea waves crashing on the stone below. Standing at this end, Emma thought to herself, “Only a fool would attack this city. Standing here and you can already see miles in all directions….What a perfect natural advantage!”

She was bought back to reality from her imagination by the sound of an alarm ringing. It was already 7 Am. The car taking her to the office would be arriving soon. Whether she had finally found the lost city of Lyonesse or not, only the underwater site discovered some hours ago could tell.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Deepa Mehta

    Each topic about your blog is always different. The way you write makes us curious to read your blog, as gives it the information in a unique way n i really enjoy reading ur blogs.

    1. khyati

      Thank you so much!

  2. Kajal Bajaj

    Really well written, language is easily understandable. It seems that we are there and we are part of story. Amazing..keep it up.

    1. khyati

      Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  3. Shyam Manuja

    We correlated with what is written. Felt we are a part of the narration. Really engrossing.

    1. khyati

      Thank you!

  4. Palak Jain

    Wow so interesting old architured blog Heartfelt congratulations to you.” this is very unique story like a suspicious movie.
    Enjoyed reading 😌😀

    1. khyati

      Yes, the whole idea was to keep the reader hooked and pass on information about this land. Thank you!

  5. Bhoomika

    So beautifully written!

    1. khyati

      Thank you!

  6. Neepa

    The blog when I read , I felt as if I am travelling through this city. The way you present the stories it makes you feel like reading the whole article.
    Keep writing and sharing

    1. khyati

      Thank you so much!

  7. Nishita

    Amazing written 👍❤️

    1. khyati

      Thank you!

  8. DEEP

    Great write!

    1. khyati

      Thank you!

  9. Sahil Valmiki

    Nice story with nice idea when I started reading this story i wonder this story looks like that any professional author had written this story and really appreciable 👏👏🔥

    1. khyati

      Thank you so much for the encouragement

  10. Mohit Chhabria

    Really well written, language is easily understandable. It seems that we are there and we are part of story. Amazing..keep it up.

    1. khyati

      Thank you!

Comments are closed.