An fantasy short story of George R. R. Martin’s, light on plot but heavy on atmosphere. Very melancholy.
Martin does a pretty good job building up an interesting setting and backstory in few words here, a lot of it eventually regurgitated in some form in later works (Bakalon, the name of a group of deities being “the Seven”, etc.).
The characters aren’t hugely interesting as people, but the fantasy story woven around them isn’t bad.
Unlike a lot of Martin’s other short stories focused on romance, I didn’t feel much personal emotional experiences Martin has been through here; this felt purely like a fantasy invention. It never really clicked with me because I didn’t find anything compelling to grasp onto. The characters were ciphers. The worldbuilding was interesting enough, but why invest in just a pretty good setting when it’s never used again? There was little plot.
I wouldn’t really call it a bad story, and Martin’s writing has clearly improved significantly by this point in his career, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I give it two songs, and a prophecy.