Friday, June 19, 2009


There is a light there, atop the tallest tower.

Samuel is walking up the steps, towards it.

There are those that oppose him. There have been such ever since he first heard, upon the wind and within the cities, of this light. The opposition first acted against Samuel in minor ways; the loss of records, relevant to the case; the forgetfulness of travellers and story-tellers, dice appearing beneath his bare feet. It took him some time to recognize this opposition; but by now, he has come to the conclusion that it may be a fundamental property of the world, to oppose his efforts in this matter.

The opposition has intensified somewhat, since those beginnings.

Briefly, the stairs open into a large chamber, midway up the tower. There is a company of soldiers there, all armoured in silver and steel. "This treasure is ours to possess!" its leader proclaims. "We have hunted it for twenty and ten-score years; you will not take it from us now!" Their swords glow, faintly, in the torchlight of the tower's interior. They attack.

Samuel continues.

It took him a very long time to learn enough of the light to know that it existed; longer yet, to learn its name. And it was only a few weeks ago that he finally discovered its location.

Perhaps ironically, its purpose was known to him from the first.

Again the long, winding stairway opens; this time into the open air. A large group awaits outside, floating in the open air; their wings are long and white. "Do not do this thing, mortal man!" they urge. "This treasure is not meant for you; you are unworthy of it!"

Samuel continues.

It would be fair to question Samuel's motives in the matter. Why did he undertake this quest? Why did he confront such endless opposition for this light, this treasure? One assumption could be that he did it for the love of adversity; while Samuel did enjoy a challenge, the scope of this one would have entirely daunted him, should that have been the only reason he sought the light. Alternately, he might have acted under impulse of driving curiosity, as might a cat; but, while Samuel possessed a healthy quantity of curiosity, this was hardly his primary motive in the matter. No, his motive was simple and pure, and he had known it from the moment he had heard of the light, and its purpose.

A third time the stairway opened; but this time it met its end. Here was the tower's top, tall and wide (wider than its base, perhaps - but here the normal rules of architecture did not apply), crenellated and decorated. At one side was the stairway's exit; at the other, a tall pedestal, atop which the light rested. Between was - something which, quite fairly, might be termed "indescribable." Certain of its features might be named - wings. Wheels. Eyes. A terrible burning numinance. But, in part because of that last, their combination was impossible to comprehend.

And this thing it said:

"Turn back, Samuel! If you do this thing, you will die; your life will reach its end; your existence will cease. Turn back!"

Samuel continued.

The light was small; no larger than Samuel's head, and floating just below its level. Its radiance was tinged faintly with blue. Samuel reached out towards it.

"By the power of my will," he incanted, "become mine!"

The light began to pulse. Tendrils stretched out to it; first tiny, hair-thin, then longer, thicker. They covered Samuel, first thinly, but with increasing density; they appeared as a cloak of light. Everywhere about him was the smell of ozone and the sound of thunder. Everywhere about him was a blue-white glory; for a thousand miles away the event might be seen; night turned to day. Also, in the last minutes of his possession of the light, it is possible that he began to float.

"At last," cried Samuel , "I am become God!" - for that was, in the end, the purpose of the light.

(In a universe more closely attuned to dramatic convention, Samuel might have been dramatically struck down - even at the very moment of his ascension! Such things, it is said, please the muses.)

(But not here, and not now.)

Samuel became God; his corporeal body fell to the earth, lifeless.

The world continued to turn.

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