3148B638-1228-41E2-82AD-3E355EA7FF05.jpe

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33. Gathering together

From every corner of the kingdom, men and women came. They came on oxcarts and horses, on barges and junks, on horses and, most of all,...

32. Darkening of the light

The people gathered in the valley to watch the planet’s sun extinguish itself. The valley, cut through a desert, had been blasted by...

30. The Cauldron (II)

The bodies were piled on top of each other to such a depth that the Recorder could not see the bottom of the pit. The pit itself was very...

29. Inner truth

The monk sat in the centre of the lake. He was surrounded by a circle, and from the circle radiated precise concentric lines of water;...

28. Biting through (II)

He left the body where he found it, decaying in a shell crater. This was his second week in no man’s land; the second week fending for...

27. Work on what has been spoiled

This is the only question worth answering: can we regenerate ourselves? It is this question that stands behind science and the death of...

26. Abundance (II)

The harvest was gathered in a concave basin many miles across. The basin was not purely functional; it also had a ceremonial role in the...

25. The army

The leader stands on a column above the army. This assembly is a test; it is a test to see who will begin the march to the east. The...

24. The taming power of the small

A sparrow landed on the cloud. I had been sitting on the cloud for several hours, and I was surprised to see that a bird could do the...

23. Decrease

So the time of decline had come. People did not notice it for a while, except those who were the most estranged from the city. The city...

22. Deliverance

The sage was carried from his hovel wearing nothing but a small tunic. The tunic bristled the arms of the marine who carried the...

21. Revolution

“You know,” my grandmother used to tell me, “that man sheds coats just like any animal in the forest.” I used to laugh at her, as young...

20. Enthusiasm (II)

An old man told me, when I met him in a coffee shop, when we could still speak to strangers in coffee shops, that popular music is...

19. Enthusiasm

From the dock I could see the crowd, a crowd so great it fell back mile upon mile to the setting Sun. The city’s suburbs were shacks,...

18. The cauldron

What is a woman without her cauldron? You approach the mountain ridge in the darkness, though, just over the horizon, the Sun is rising;...

17. The power of the great

The man sits in a tower at the centre of the city. The tower is protected by the citadel’s walls. At his side, there is an astrolabe and...

16. Development

The blue flame rises from the centre of the planet. At the core, there is a lake. The lake is placid and clear, despite the great flame...

15. Abundance

We have far too much to feel joy. We are too satiated, too full. We have produced an overabundance of human life and a dearth of real...

14. Influence

You are right to be paranoid. People are out to get you. People are plotting against you. They plot without thinking about it, and they...