The Growing City became depopulated. A. Domanides attempts to explain this with two facts. The first is the lack of water, the reason for which may be the drying up of the area's wells and streams. The other opinion regarding the death of the City may be explained by the epidemic spread of leprosy and the flight of that part of the population that was still healthy. More than once he cites the legible lines of a fragmentary inscription found on an urn in Sector F6:
"The reddening dawn was already noisy from the lumbering army of bell-ringing lepers, begging scraps from those in horror of them. Where a few years ago Parade Square was loud with the merry play of healthy youngsters, now wailing wraiths with decaying bodies (who once were us) lie all around. God plays with us like minute bean seeds..." (Hall of Judges, Tablet 45)
Of the flight Andreas Schiffer makes mention of a tiny little group who fled before the epidemic. Slowly reduced in number among the mountain ravines they got as far as Armenia. Numerous legends whose substance cannot be proven flit around the latter-day population. Some say that they continue to live a strange, secretive life on Mount Ararat, announcing themselves as the guardians of Noah's Ark. They tell each other long legends of the deserted City; these are argued over now and then, and then the manuscripts are burned together. Their messengers occasionally take strange pottery vessels as gifts to far-off regions, supposedly to remind faithless posterity of the Flood.
The fragment referring to the City's lack of water reports of similar despair when describing certain rituals and fastings: "The words roll hoarsely from our cracked mouths. Our skin is wan, our hair filthy and knotted. What can we give our crying children to drink? Pale stones grin where once the stream twinkled. In olden days we disputed over our plentiful catches by our fishing lakes: now these have become the dusty running track of youngsters..."
Tutelary urn against Leprosy
ceramic · 25 × 25 × 25 cm
Idol I.
ceramic · 53 × 25 × 24 cm
Idol II.
ceramic, wood, gold leaf · 56 × 24 × 28 cm

The last Inhabitant of the City

With time
The red-breast's well-packed nest falls
With time
The stone wall begins to crumble
With time
The left trace is borne away by the wind
With time
Our bodies turn to smoke
Distance swallow our screams.

(Inscription from the Hall of Self-Encounter, translated by Kowalski-Segner)
Portrait of Dr. W. Brunn
According to legend, the inhabitants of the region worshipped the half-crazed man who roamed among the ruins as if he were a god. At the time of the summer solstice, cripples and infertile women made their pilgrimage to the City, sleeping within its walls in the hope of his touch. To quote from the diary of Dr. W. Brunn, the only known authentic (or seemingly authentic) record:

"The nurses brought into the ward an ancient man, shrunken into a skeleton. On his forehead was the characteristic mark of the leper (facies leonina). He suffered his agonies without so much as a sigh. At dawn on the fourth day he wandered out into the courtyard. He turned his face towards the rising sun and cried out something like 'Uxlaen tiedissae hvatar'.
From the broken English of my faithful servant, Izdra, I gathered that the meaning of this is 'All have moments that they should keep concealed.'
The man knew of Biblos, of Ithica, and of the stone circles of certain island countries. He perished two months ago. At his own request, his corpse was burnt upon a pyre. (sic.)"