The Second Book of the Prophet, Verse I

When the Prophet returned (as the whole of the universe had promised, cutting itself in oath), he went first to the mountains of his upbringing, the high and windy place of his second childhood, and watched from there for the signs of the seasons that all the valleys of the world had passed, the one they had entered.

He saw that the changes were no more and no less great than they had been from the mountain before, and the signs gave the Prophet comfort, in a way. Five more seasons he spent on the mountain, communing with only his thoughts and the stones, the short, hard trees that grappled each other for continuum on the bluffs.

At the end of that time, there came three visitors with a bundle wrapped in simple cloth, tied with a silver cord. They came flying up the face of the cliff on which the Prophet sat, cold air filling their dark wings–a greeting as right as any. He bade them sit, offering them the view, which was all he had.

You wear death well, said the first,
others we know of have known less fortune.
It is ours to bring you a gift.

Destiny is a lie, replied he, knowing.


They gave him the gift all the same: a white sword, infinitely familiar. He took it with a measure of silence.


Reclaimed for you, a labor of love, said the second,
others we know of have known less fortune.
The stones of the First House have been undone.
We have gathered them, and built a Second.

Knowledge is a lie, replied he, benevolent.


There is room for you at the table, there, said the third,
others we know of have known less fortune.
There is room for you under the knife,
and on its handle.

Continuum is a lie, replied he, but took up the gift and returned with them anyway.


In the hall of the Second House, a great feast was laid out on the table, and a multitude of fortunate guests communed with each other around it. The voice of the Father, he was told, did not fill this hall as often as it had the first, and guests must listen, then, more often to their own wisdom. When the meal itself was concluded, the younger guests pressed the Prophet (whom they called the name of the West Wind) for orations.

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