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The Second Book of the Prophet, Verse VII

After all this, the Prophet blessed the House with ritual, and chose a path at whim back down to the world of men, meaning to align again their history and his. The path led him to a wide plain, where high grasses bent their heads always to the breath of the wind. Passing through here, he came upon a tower fortress. The call of the tower’s watchmen brought soldiers from its keep, and stone-faced, they surrounded him with spears before speaking:

‘Who are you, and why have you come to this place?’ they asked.

‘I am not bound to the earth, as the grasses are, so the wind has blown me here.’ replied the Prophet.

From the ramparts, the Queen of the tower saw all this occuring and commanded that the stranger be brought to her. Having no reason to resist, Kvaell’adyr went willingly, and was ushered into a hall of iron and onyx, where symbols of Fear and Fury where inscribed in patterns on the floor. Therein also was the Queen, who spoke to him in the language of Tye–though she was human–as was her custom:

‘You are of the Cursed, I know, and the smell of the Eighth Way is on you. You have come down from the House of Kin to my door, and I wonder why.’ She spoke like this always, making statements in place of questions, commanding in place of questions.

‘I am not bound to the earth, as the grasses are, so the wind has blown me here.’ repeated the Prophet.

‘A thing of your powers should have a master, lest they destroy everthing.’

‘My master is Vengeance and Destruction.’ replied he, knowing already what the Sorceress had in mind.

‘There is a city to the south, and they are at war with me only because they fear me, and I am at war with them because they have stolen from me a great artifact. You will be the representitive of my wrath. Go there and meet with my captain.’

So saying, she gave him a symbol of her authority, so that he would be recognized, and sent him to a place in the tower that had been prepared for him. She gave him also gifts: the blood of the servants of his choice, and items of wealth from her storehouse.

These things meant nothing to the Prophet, but he took them silently, staying as guest in the tower until he was ready to leave.

The Prophet, Verse XI


But this is a half-truth, and poetry. It was taught to the prophet as the two, brothers in malapropos breeding, made their way to the last house that the fox had been shunned from. Arriving there, they found it derelict and empty, and entered into it as nomads, to make of it a season where they could rest for a while, ignored.

This is a lie; they were waiting in ambush. Vel’adyr had made a secret sign on the door that would invite trouble, and invoke the churning of men’s subterranean wells.

On the second day, a man was thus invoked as he passed by. Looking in, he found the two had taken residence there, and became angry at the sight, through no fault of his own. He became a wound-offering to the fox, who bit him savagely on the arm, but did not attempt to kill him, so that he might run to fetch more men and mightier weapons than those he had happen to have. Run and fetch he did, and a host of men, numbering ten, arrived the next morning.

“Be gone, filthiness!” They shouted, “Did we not send you out before? Have you come back so we could bleach your bones in offering to our gods?”

“To show you new fangs, which I have sharpened,” replied the fox, Djetul, “Come in! Be guests, that I might lay for you a feast of curses, and watch you choke!”

And thus they came, enraged, battering down the door which the prophet had locked out of spite, to enrage them more. Between Amaranth and the stinging short sword, the battle was short lived. Each man’s head was removed and placed before the door in two rows, as stones line a garden path. Only one was allowed retreat, as the blood-lust of the two had not yet been slated.

The next evening, when Kamur and Haalos hid their faces from the world, a greater host came, arrayed in armour, marching with banners, but quietly, thinking to surprise the fiends that would not move. They were not surprised (they had been watching for such a thing), but the fox was awed by the sight of armies arrayed beneath the light of moons, marching. Vel’adyr, Kvaell’alan, turned his eyes upwards instead, and saw the house of Mortgah passing over, and spoke out to it:

“Hide your face, Queen of all souls
and sit in secret judgment!
but smell the incense I’ll offer,
a great cloud rising
to ring your house:
the cries of the dying are music
and the foundation of your Kingdom;
I’ll play you a tune.”

Thinking the prophet was speaking of his own death, in light of the arrayed army, the fox prepared for his own, and thus became so enraged (an echo of divine wrath, an echo) that he flew down into the first line of men, and slew them all, wounding himself slightly, as was his custom.

But, spreading his wings, Kvaell’alan became himself a dark god, a shadow of a god, the Prince of Furies Estranged, and so stretched out Amaranth into a bladed staff, a crescent blade, and clothed himself in arcane armour. Lighting from the earth beneath the canopy of night, he reached out to a whole company of men. Where he touched, there was death. Where he breathed, there was death. There was death, until the forces of men retreated in terror and confusion, the fox stinging their backs.

From the rear ranks came a cry from the lord of the hosts, cursing those he had brought:

“Run, as children at play,
And I’ll call you children;
To flee from the fray in the face of evil
Is to be yeselves evil
— Or less than!
Take courage, or be ye shamed,
I care not which ye claim,
But claim one and phalanx!”

And thus, the host regrouped, still scores strong, and lowered their spears, advancing. Kvaell’alan, dark shadow of a god, declared the earth to open beneath marching feet, and it did, making of itself a mouth and a throat, closing again to swallow the lord and host whole, leaving no trace of them.

“Surely,” said the fox, panting and bleeding, “you are a prophet, and a reaper of what others have sowed.”