The Prophet, Verse XVII


Eventually, the servants saw him there, on the hill, and rushed up to him. They had the shape of dogs with wings, fangs and claws that could wound, but not kill, for those that knew the suffering of their sting were already dead, or Wandering, as the prophet was.

“Thy trespass, not allowed here, or on the road, or anywhere thus this side of Oblivion,” they said in unison.

‘I know,’ said he,
‘though I try not to.
Have a drop of mercy;
for a moment longer
let me rest.
There is no weariness
like wandering,
there is no weariness
unknown to the Lost.
Have mercy less than can
be measured, but only a little–
I am not a man, and do not
die as men do, I know,
but have a measure of mercy,
only a little,
and let me taste death,
if only with the numb
tip of my tongue.
There! In the thorns, my first
mother: I see her still wandering.
For how many years? Let me
go down to her, and help her in.
Have a only a little mercy!
She has suffered enough
–is she still weeping?
Weeping for her stolen womb?
Oh, let the Queen have only
a little mercy for us both!
I’ll take a handful of Oblivion,
just a few drops, for the tip
of our numb tongues,
and we’ll enter together
–or I won’t pass the threshold!
Only mercy immeasurable, and
let me taste death.

And so he pleaded, the prophet, but in reply they only stung him, rushed him towards the edge of the Void, which hangs above Aagos. The prophet ran in terror and despair, but was not allowed back into, even, the waters of Oblivion.

“For thou there shall be no rest,” said the servants, and kept him on the sand, stinging him along until he returned to the Void by another route, where they left him, hot with many wounds but again without form. There did the prophetwander, Lost, for ten thousand years, knowing only the deepest of hells he could summon from himself.

The Prophet, Verse XVI


Thus the prophet slept, and in his sleep, he dreamt. In his dreams, hewandered.

Wandered he first through empty air, emptier even than the plains of Amaranth, emptier than an ocean, the air knew nothing but intense loneliness. Solitude became a confusion and a pain in his first heart, a hot sliver, hopeless and futile but burning. He wandered this way for a thousand years, having no shape, and seeing no others.

After a while, the loneliness itself became a shape, and he housed it like a body. On the edge of the air, the prophet found a river, it’s wide surface still and undisturbed as old, grey glass, without sun or sky to reflect. So the prophet wandered into it, walking, and it never rose higher than his breast. Even in the forgetful waters, he knew no peace, and the sliver pulsed at all times like a crystal on the surface of his soul. In this way he wandered for another hundred years, but knew no time, for the river was Oblivion.

Eventually there was wet sand, grey as grave dust, and an opposite shore. In this land, the prophet had a shape. The grey sands were not a place to rest, but lie next to a road that promised such, and sanctuary, at the end. So the prophet wandered there.

Though he was still alone, there was a knowledge of others who traveled, and they all traveled in one direction: from the sea, towards Annwn. The travelers had no names and no faces, but when they came near enough to each other (some traveled more quickly than others, some were in groups) there was a sensation of knowing. All the while, the prophet still found no peace, for when he would move towards another for company, the faceless sensation would recoil in fear, and drift away.

The prophet knew why, but pretended to not. In this way he wandered for five-hundred years.

Eventually, there was a hill, and the prophet knew the name of the hill when he mounted it. It’s name was Epiphany, and it showed souls their future when they looked down from it into Annwn itself. But the prophet saw only Annwn, and no future, which pierced him with despair. He knew why, but pretended to not, and looked down on the city anyway.

Annwn is first circumvented by a maze of thorns, and not all of the spirits who wander into it find rest, but do so according to their karma. Those with unclean karma must struggle alone and blind for a long while, and in their travel they know much suffering. Eventually servants find these, and serve them into the city, through the thorns, where they wait to be judged. The parts of the city where they must wait is dark and frightening.

But spirits of more pure karma find Annwn quickly, and are not confused by the thorns. They need no servants, but greet them meekly when they find them, though the servants are terrible to look upon. These are allowed into waiting-houses that are clean and quiet, and know rest there from their long travels. They may rest as long as they like, entertaining themselves and each other in gardens and pavilions, telling stories and writing poems, or merely drowsing quietly on soft beds without dreams.

The prophet watched as both kinds entered Annwn and were judged. Those of pure karma would, when they liked, be separated from themselves: a part of them would remain in the gardens forever, or pass through them into places the Prophet was not allowed to know; the other part of them would be taken by the servants back to another shore of the waters of Oblivion, where their knowledge of death and Annwn would be washed away. They would then be rushed back to Aagos by another road, where they would live again. Those of unclean karma would endure much the same process, except that the part they left behind was allowed only dark places, and places beyond those that the prophet was not allowed to see. In this way, he watched from the hill, afraid to try and enter, knowing why, but pretending not to.

The Prophet, Verse XV


He saw there that against the flood had been built a high wall, and it stretched the whole width of [V]. Black waves lapped against the stones, menacing and ominous in sound and shape. And even behind this wall was another, higher and though invisible it hid things anyway. He saw there also, the handprint of a child of Vampyre and again felt the fear-wind brush his cheek, for there was no elder in [H] in the clan of Elbeht-Il.

Behind the Wall Which Hid Things, the prophet saw towers of construction. He saw also a child of the House of Kin on the bulwarks, setting stones.

“What builds behind there?” asked the prophet.

“Who are you? Look for yourself, I don’t care.”

So he did, and while the prophet was looking into the hidden place, one of the Many Princes walked up beside him.

“Why are you looking there?” asked the man with a degree of kindness, “What you are looking for, you will not see. You are looking with your seventh face, which sees only the surface of things. Come down with me and look with your first face, and I will show you the thing.”

Complying, the Prophet followed the man down into the hidden place, knowing he was an elder. Inside, was the Dragon. It was a terrible weapon to look on, though it was not yet finished. Using his first face, as the elder had asked, Vel’adyr could see the future of the Dragon and the crown it would wear, a diadem of many nations and stronger then the sceptre which the Emperor in the South had been given.

“I do not understand why you are building this thing,” said the prophet with honesty.

“You look, prophet, with your first face. Even you see its future, but still you do not understand? I had once looked from my own hall and saw this place, and the Dragon being made, and I saw already the flood in an age past. The Dragon will be built, even without us, but if we build it, then it will be our ally, and it will hunger for us less than it will hunger for the destruction of the Father of Rocks who threatens the North. Elbeht-Il said that you were coming, and that you should be sent among the Wandering because of your red cloud. But I think you will understand now what we have done, and go back to the House of Kin, and tell them that they should be patient for their salvation. Where you not on your way to the camp of our enemies?”

“You have surely broken a commandment, and though you mean good, you ask for Wrath like the Eye,” replied the prophet, assured of his demise.

With great sadness, the elder struck him, wounding the prophet direly. But in his wounding, he tore a hole in the prophet’s first face, and through the hole the prophet saw a future that the elder had not.

He saw the dragon complete
the flood rising over the wall
spilling into the north
black as tar
alight with flames
the dragon furious in retreat
until it was in the very hall
of the house of many princes
and kamur boiled with anger
at what he saw from the firmament
and what he could not see
so that his rage tore a hole in heaven
and through it the sun stepped down
from the house of kamur
to the northern lands
and saw but did not see
all the children of the house of kin
even in the space of his new temple
built on the piles of bones of the fathers
built on that ancient sound
and Kamur made a new sound
kamur made a new wrath
and the wrath touched the dragon
so that kamur could enter it
the sun stepped through the hole in heaven
and entered the dragon
where he touched there was death
where he looked there was death
and all of the kin on both sides
were swallowed up with the flood
in the aftermath kamur named the dragon ‘Viroth’
and placed the whole world under its feet

But the vision ended when the elder gave the prophet another wound, and this one closed the hole he had made, and the prophet did not survive.

The Prophet, Verse XIV


And of the Dragon:

In the North, in the House of the Father of Many Princes, the Flood had become a sea which lapped against their southern shores. Their cousins in the West had already been imprisoned in their own storehouses by that sea, forced to build homes on high hills, where they became isolated.

And the prophet who incited the Tyeni flood, in the voice of Imbahn, he was not present in the Hall of the House of Kin when his actions were first discussed there.

Kvaell’alan, Vel’adyr, the Reaping Prophet, was summoned from Amaranth to the House, and the situation was explained to him.

“Some of our kin do move amongst the Tyeni,” said the winged children there, “and have incited a movement of fire. We fear the outcome, that this feast should leave a bitter taste in our mouths.”

“Then disown them,” replied the reaping prophet, “and let the consequences eat themselves.”

“It cannot be done. Others have left this place for the House of the Father of Many Princes; they spoke of Elbeht-Il breaking the Second Commandment, and spoke that they would break it also and the two sins would thus eat themselves. But fear we that all the breaking would bring another wrath, as the Eye.”

“Then I will go and speak with them, our kin, in both the North and the South. I will take with me the Words of Balm, first, but if that does not work, then I will return to fetch the West Wind.”

“Then go, but know that they are not only children, but elders also.”

Hearing this, the Reaping Prophet felt the fear-wind brush his cheek, but left anyway.

He first went to the House of the Father of Rocks, to [M], and on the way he passed over, by wing, the waters of the Flood, which were now over the heads of walking men, and the waters were no longer clean and blue, but a hot black, like tar, ready to be ignited. Grimly, sayeth the Prophet:

What darkness,
from which black lung did you come?
From no well,
from no Tye,
from no Old God.
What darkness
but from a black cloud?
As black as mine is red;
from a singular suffering pours a multitude.
Surely there was a breaking of a commandment.

Thus, knowing for what he was looking, Vel’adyr landed in [H], upon the rock, and searched it. Though he found many children of Tye walking on it, only one had a black mist which poured from his nostrils and re-entered his mouth whenever he breathed. The cloud was invisible, and only the Reaping Prophet could see it.

He did not ask Elbeht-Il why he had provoked the flood, because he already knew; the children of Vampyre should not waste time relearning what they already know.

“You and your clan must leave, so the Flood can recede in a natural way,”

Elbeht-Il, seeing the diamond in the Reaping Prophet’s brow, replied, “Make one for me as well, and I will do as you asked.”

“It cannot be done.”

“Then I will make my own out of this rock that we stand on. Leave me be.”

Having no other recourse, the prophet left [H] for the North.

The Prophet, Verse XIII


About this time, there rose a distress amongst the children of the true clan, the House of Kin, and the hall of that House was churned. The cause was thus, the Dragon and the Flood:

The flood had begun in the House of the Southern Rock. Within that rock, it was said, lay a secret cavern, and within that cavern a well of great power, a storehouse that the Father of Rocks had built with the aid of Imbahn in an age past that stored the age itself. Which is to say: in that hidden well were violent and ambitious waters, the very core of the Rock itself. No Tye had tasted those waters for millennia, for fear of a reaction in the firmament.

But now, a certain lord of that House had been born with the mark of a key, a sign of some import, and all of the children of Tye were murmuring in wonder of what it might mean. Soon enough, another prophet had come to them in secret, wearing a mask that made his features similar to the features of the children of Tye, and reminiscent of Imbahn himself. This prophet was not a false one, but perhaps a relic too old to be of any good. His voice, also, was Imbahn’s, though he spoke only for himself. He came to the children of Tye in secret, and prophesied:

‘Whilst thou gapes,
Thou art blind in thy wonder.
Tye! See ye not only
A key-sign, but a sceptre-sign also?
He shall be high-lord
— Not only of clans, but houses.
— Not only of houses, but nations.
— Not only of nations, but worlds,
And all worlds will rest
beneath One Throne,
An emperor thou hast not seen
Since the world was whole.
Thou shalt serve as princes
And generals;
I shall serve as guide.
Haalos by Imbahn by I sayeth it is so.’

Within these words were a great fire, and it hopped from child to child, until all of that House was burning passionately. The new lord was weaned on that fire, and named Emperor. When he was old enough to rule with understanding, the emperor used his mark to unlock the Well of Imbahn, and all of the children of Tye drank from it and became drunk with lust for conquest.

The more water was drained from the well, the more full it became. In time it overflowed, so much that it became a pool beneath the rock, and then a sea. There was no force in the South and East that could stem the power of the flood, nor any defense in the West, and all the people in those lands were brushed away or submerged.

The prophet who incited this, his name was Elbeht-Il. When he was alone in the chambers that the children of Tye had provided for him in honor, he would stretch out his hidden wings, brushed with all the colours of dusk.

The Prophet, Verse XII


This is not all the fox had said; said he also these things:

“Surely, you are a prophet, and a speaker for the House of Kin. Though I am just a fox, I am not completely ignorant; you have deceived me with the power of Seven Faces and Four Hearts. You drew the oath we took on your fourth heart, the one closest to the surface. Dare thee, brother, to think that I am stupid so.”

“It is true,” said the prophet, taking a softer shape then that he had before, “But oaths are living things. It has crawled further down, and stands knocking against the door of the first, begging entry.”

“You deceived me; I have but one heart, and it is myself, and you have offended it.”

“It is true, but a creature can only have one master.”

“You deceived me, and you are my master.”

“It is true, but it was not fated to be so.”

“You deceived me, but you did swear an oath, and are accountable to it, brother!”

“It is true, but gods show me only the backs of their heads.”

“You deceived me; you are truly a monster without any honor!”

“It is true, but I mean it as praise.”

“You deceived me,” said the fox, and left in a cloud of anger, knocking the dust from its paws, considering what harm he might do to his brother in revenge. All faces and hearts of the prophet became as lead, the weight of lead, on his soul. With leaden eyes, he looked into the receding cloud and saw the future of the fox, who would not be gone forever, but would seek out the prophet again at a later date, a labor of love.

But this did not serve much as comfort. Vel’adyr saw other things as well.
So disrupted, the prophet lost the illusion of the world, and receded back to the great white field of Amaranth.

There, in silence sat
(a few years)
to draw shapes:
chrysanthemums and foxes
(images of silence)
with his fingers,
In the snow.

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.”

The Prophet, Verse X


And this is how the fox had come to be:


It’s name was Djetul, and it was born at the edge of the Southern Rock, in a sweltering cave that faced east, out to sea.

It was born too small, which enraged the father-fox, who was a great fool, and so he put the mother-fox’s neck in his jaws and bit through, severing her head. Having no milk, Djetul would satisfy itself, instead, on her blood, until it had grown enough to have full-knowledge of what its father had done. Djetul would rest all night in the rotting fur of its mother, conceiving curses which would march out of its mouth and out the mouth of the cave, out into the dark sky, searching for the father fox, which had long since found himself another cave, one that was not filled with the stench of a corpse.

It went on this way for a long time, until the curses, like shining rubies, tiny and furious, wandered into the House of Haalos while he rested beneath the lip of the earth. Wandered they, also, into the firmament, where the Mother of that void was watching between stars. Haalos found himself irritated, and searched his House for the thing which disturbed his rest. Finding the curses, he picked them up into his luminous palm, and was about to cast them into the Greater Void, when the Mother arrived to slow him.

“I have seen them also,” said she from behind her misty shroud, “I watched them come into your House. Please, they have found their way here; do not simply throw them away. See how they burn? They must want something.”

Haalos, though still angry, subdued himself, and looked again at the curses, like shining rubies, tiny and furious.

“What do you want?” he asked them.

“We seek the heart of the father-fox, so that we may pluck it out and use it to stop up his throat, for he is a great criminal.”

“What has he done, this fox? Who was it that cast you out into the world?” asked the Mother.

“He murdered his wife out of spite for his son, from whence we came. He lays still with the corpse, and sends us out each night, for he knows nothing else but pain, and is confused.”

As they spoke, having now an ear, the curses grew even hotter and more ugly. The gods looked across the face of Aagos, and saw that they spoke the truth. At that moment, Djetul was rising from a stuttered sleep, and was thus preparing more curses. Before it could begin, Haalos rushed to the cave and grabbed the fox by the tail, scorching it, and embedding the curses there — punishment for the disturbance Djetul caused in heaven. A fox’s tail became a scorpion’s, and the curses became a short sword. Thus cursing Djetul, Haalos blessed it also, carrying him to the location of the father fox and touching him with divine wrath.

The father fox had no chance, and was torn to pieces. Djetul did not slow his strikes until each piece was no larger than the end of a finger, and blood ran from the mouth of the cave like a stream. But the divine wrath was not yet spent, and the fox went from cave to cave, killing and eating the whole of his clan.

After this, he went to the villages of men, where he would go from house to house, only to be thrown out in fear or disgust. This is the way it was when the prophet found him.

The Prophet, Verse IX


Widely circumventing the camp was a deep wood of birch, where the prophet landed, and hid his wings, making to walk the rest of the way, to come to his foes as a subtle knife. There was more glory in it that way, than in open war. He walked for three nights, avoiding the guards which his enemy had set in the wood to protect the camp from him, becoming a pale trunk when one came, a dim flower with another, and so on, drawing the shapes from his fourth heart, and conforming to them. In such a way he walked for three days, unnoticed, until on the evening of the fourth day, a creature with the body of a fox and the tail of a scorpion lay itself inside the hollow rock which the prophet had taken the shape of. It came seeking sanctuary from the cold and those that pursued it. Vel’adyr felt the thing inside him, and took pity on it, knowing that the power of this enemy was far-sight, and that the fox would not escape long.

“We will travel together for a while, like this, until your wounds heal” spoke the prophet in a language the fox could understand.

“And why would you, magi?” the fox replied.

“I love all things that kill to avenge for their existence.”


The fox was pleased with that, and let the prophet carry him to another distant spot in the wood. But on the way, the fox was so churned and violent that it struck out and killed any living thing that came within its reach: any bird or fish, or flower, or insect. The prophet (who did not tell the fox that he was a prophet) thought at first that the fox was ravenously hungry, but this was false, as it failed to consume anything it killed. And when it would strike out at lesser creatures, it inevitably struck itself with its stinger, which was in the shape of a short sword. The prophet was as pleased as he was saddened, seeing the many self-inflicted wounds, and said:

“I will take you all the way to your clan, where you can rest.”

“My clan is dead; they called me mad, so I buried them all in my belly.”

“Then I will take you to your house.”

“Men have chased me out of it, but this house I will dwell in forever, and call you brother, because you are as mad as I. I will also swear an oath to you, making you my master, if you will reciprocate.”

“Then let it be,” swore the prophet, though not with his first heart, as he already belonged to the true clan and could have no other master but the Voice. In his first heart, he thought:

i would give you birth
and make you my true brother
but I am afraid
if you sting yourself
as you do
would you drown in a red cloud
as I do?

And so he put the matter off until a later time, considering the question.

“To whom will we hire ourselves out, brother? What damage can we do?” asked then the fox.

“Let us go to the men who chased you out, so that you may kill to avenge your existence.”

And they left in that direction, and the fox was pleased, though he bled from many small wounds.

The Prophet, Verse VIII


But this is a half-truth.

Time passed the shores of murder, beneath the high mountain plateau in the Illusion World, and the self-orphaned prophet was carried along with the current. In the waters of time, he found floating there, amongst driftwood and cedars, cousins, brother-sisters of his true clan, and thus communed with them.

The Children of the True Clan saw the wound in Vel’s head, the diamond shining there, and were pleased. Then they saw the secret marks that Chrysanthemum had left, and asked:

“Where is thy mother?
Thy bride, whom did mark thee so?”

“She fell from a high mountain, and was lost,” he replied, seeking to deceive them. But they were not deceived, for the waters had not yet washed away the blood of the sword mother.

“Why hast thou orphaned thyself?” they asked.

“I am the crescent blade prophet, I reap what others have sewn. I am the crescent blade prophet, mouth-piece without breath. Sanctuary!”

Satisfied, the Children of the True Clan grew dark wings, brushed with all the colours of dusk, and lifted the prophet from the waters, bringing him to the house of the second father, the House of Kin.

A great feast was laid out before him, and he was given wings like theirs, having been initiated in their clan. The display of affection frightened Vel, who’s lips still tasted of the sword mother’s poison, and thus the red cloud inside him was disturbed, churned, and began to boil over. It spilled from his nostrils, from his mouth, tasting of the West Wind. In fury, the prophet snatched up Amaranth and began to slay at random those sitting down at the feast. They let out a great cry of mourning, saying:

“Reaper! Slow thy scythe!
We are not yet ripe!”

From within the turmoil came another voice, quiet as death, wide as secret rivers beneath the earth, a sound more immortal, a shape more perfect than the prophet. A New God. It said:


Doing as he was told, the prophet left, filled with enlightenment, like a cup overflowing. He had come to love the children of the true clan, the House of Kin, and they forgave him his blind wrath, seeing that it was now contained in the voice of their father. As he left, they gave him a new name: Kvaell’alan, war bringer, reaping prophet, speaker for the House.

Kvaell’alan, Vel’adyr, returned thus to the illusion world on his dusky wings, riding the West Wind, asking the East Wind along as a guide, eternal Amaranth held in his Power Hand.