Julia and Gaia asked Kristen to read the Book of Disappearances aloud, at night. They learned about the city that was, the city that was built to last a million years and was submerged by the seas. They learned the story of the new city built on top of the old one, of artificial islands built between one island and the next, to allow the people the comfort of proximity and the convenience of walking from any place to any other place instead of sailing, or rowing. They learned how the new buildings, much closer to one another, were built by the people who lived in them. They learned that the open space between buildings is as important as the buildings themselves and that the continuity of the city is a texture which needs to be preserved by all.
They learned the story of the House of Air, the old building that was erected in fifteen days and fifteen nights. The building was home to the first popular assembly of the city, but some of the events that were described in the book were impossible to understand. Argos, the first Chairman of the Assembly, the wisest man of his era, felt time accelerating as he got older and managed debates ever rapidly, until some considered him unfit for the role. Sensing the discomfort, he resigned and died shortly after. Those who remained in the Assembly felt such a slowdown in the activity that most of them resigned in the following year, for disillusionment or boredom.
Events happen and are forgotten, said Gaia.
Time speeds up and slows down, said Julia.
We better talk to Mark.
Let us talk to a watchmaker first.
I have seen one, I can take you there.
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