Coomb Imago

These are a couple of sketches I made to give me a clearer idea of the setting of the scene in The Chosen in which Carnelian comes by bone boat to Coomb Imago to visit Jaspar. For scale, the figure of a Master is shown standing before the steps.

The first shows the approach to the coomb, a cleft in the Sacred Wall: “One more outcrop swung past the starboard bow, allowing him to look into an inlet whose upper reaches were filled with a dazzling avalanche of sculpted stone. Terrace piled on terrace. Spires and towers frowned and stared with faces. Giants stood impaled, disembowelling balconies, their skin riddled with windows. Where terraces came out over the water they were held up by man-shaped buttresses up to their waists in the lake. The boat was nearing a white caryatid colonnade. The figured columns looked down, their faces desperate, enraged as they bent under a mountainous piling of balconied halls. As the boat came to rest, Carnelian squinted into the cavernous atrium framed by their shins.”

note: the caryatid colonnade at the base of the palace which is the front of the atrium.

The second sketch shows the entry into the palace which lies at the back of the atrium: “Carnelian turned to peer into the atrium. He walked round a lichened foot and column leg. For a time there was nothing but blackness. Then from the gloom there emerged a wall of crowding Masters, tall as trees. He discovered in their midst a doorway that even they could have entered without stooping. It opened on to a flight of steps flanked by oily mosaics. He ran his hand over the amber and jade.”