World of Crystals > The Canon of Changes > The Canon of Changes... 6

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The Canon of Changes... 6

By Scen

::Genruo's Study::

With the aid of the Book of Mudora, Genruo toiled over the inscriptions on the gold tablets recovered from the World of Titans. Each tablet was engraved on both sides, and there was no clear indication at first of which face of which tablet came first in sequence, nor where to proceed once the first face was read.

There was also the lingering doubt of whether or not the three tablets Mu recovered were a complete set. It was entirely possible that there were more tablets missing from the cycle; either because the remainder had been lost or destroyed over the ages, or because Mu had been careless and left some of the tablets behind.

Sung Chiang appeared -- as he had an uncanny habit for doing -- just as Genruo found himself perhaps ready to report what his translations revealed.

"These are the Gold Tablets of Hara'ish," Genruo said. "They surtitle themselves 'The Legend of the Seventh Prophet,' and tell the story of a woman named... well, oddly enough, Hara'ish. She counted herself a contemporary of six other prophets, who together founded a cult of dragon-worshippers."

Sung Chiang snickered. "Dragon worshippers... two Hai-Xsian citizens such as you and I wouldn't know anything about that, would we?"

Genruo smiled nervously.

"What else?"

"The bulk of it's just the story of Hara'ish, her life," Genruo said. "She was clearly very bitter when she wrote this. Most of the people she meets don't come off very well."

Sung Chiang stroked one of his chins. "Indulge me. Maybe some of her prophecy is buried in among all that whining, then."

Genruo scanned the tablets, looked over his notes. "She was a pariah among the other six prophets. They didn't like her much, even though she claims to have been the only one among them gifted with actual prophesying ability. They outcast her, blinded her, and in return she betrayed them by revealing their location to the Giant King. After the Giant slew the six prophets, Hara'ish felt remorse... and sought justice at the hands of the sa'Bleu. They took her in and sheltered her, and made her engrave all of her sins on tablets of gold..." Genruo looked up. "That's where the first tablet ends. The next two are... mad ravings. Insanity fueled by guilt. She recounts... things a hundred years before she was born and then apologizes for them... lapses into prophesying events long after her death, and apologizes for them." Genruo blinked. "They made her keep writing. That was her punishment. She carved and carved and carved until she couldn't anymore."

"Inventive," Sung Chiang said. "I like it. I shall have to tell Mai about that one." Sung Chiang leered down over Genruo. "I don't suppose there's any piece of that gibberish that means anything to us?"

Genruo flipped open the Canon of Changes, leafed through several of the pages. "There was... one passage in the Canon that I remembered when I read through the latter two tablets..." Genruo stopped on one page and scanned it. "Ah! Here. Yes." He turned back to the tablets, pulling up the second tablet to the top of the pile. "Hara'ish keeps mentioning 'dragons of night' through her rantings. Multiple times throughout the tablets, she brings them up. At first I thought that she was mentioning something associated with the cult she formerly belonged to... but here in the second tablet, she describes the night dragons variously as 'beasts who wear the skin of men,' and 'men who adopt the form and power of dragons.'"

"... An obliquely poetic way of saying these are a race of shapechangers," Sung Chiang observed.

"My thoughts exactly," Genruo said. He continued: "She talks of an army of monsters, devotees of... of the Goddess of Desire, she names this figure... and says that: 'with the power of the dark gods behind them, the night dragons shall lead this army, in their Goddess' name.'" Genruo pauses. "Oh, and then she apologizes rather profusely for all of it, like it was her fault or something. I tell you, after a while reading through these tablets, Hara'ish's apologies start to lose some of their potency."

"Hey, an army of monsters doesn't sound half bad," Sung Chiang smiled. "The Canon corroborates it?"

Genruo nodded. "I did find a passage that seems to match Hara'ish's descriptions, yes. When you interpret the ideograms properly, that is." Genruo pointed to a passage in the Canon, and handed Sung Chiang a fresh parchment. "I've been re-transcribing the portions of the Canon we have corroborated, removed the ambiguities and chosen more precise ideograms. It should read clearer now." Genruo indicated the Canon, flipping pages. "Hara'ish's prophecy follows almost immediately after the Sahasrala portion."

Sung Chiang read over the transcription, pleased with himself. "Curious we should find chapters one and two in such convenient succession," he remarked.

Genruo nodded. "If you will forgive my saying so, master... being something of a dabbler in prophecy myself, I cannot say I believe very strongly in coincidence. We were clearly meant to uncover the meanings of the Canon's prophecy in linear order... because that is providence's purpose. Playing out before our eyes."

Sung Chiang sneered. "Yes... indeed. Commendable work, Sage Genruo. When I have ascended and come to rule this and all other worlds, rest assured that you shall sit at my right hand, as my Grand Vizier and High Minister of the Bureaucracy."

Genruo stifled a sudden pang of misgiving. Was he truly helping the Deft One, the Lord of Thievery, to unseat the Celestial Emperor?

He swallowed hard, burying deep all of his doubts. "If that is as providence wills it, master," Genruo said.

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