Requiem at the Howling Wolf Inn
It is Isilnight, the moon shines through the misting rain, and two figures enter the stone building in the wilderness, one carrying an urn. Once, it was an inn. It is now abandoned and cobwebs fill its alcoves. Against the wall is a table and a chess board. Black should be winning the unfinished game, but isn’t. A backgammon case rests on a shelf, beside a wine goblet.
In the corner, carved out of the stone is a triple-pillared altar to Isil. Orëveriel is kneeling before the altar, hands on her knees. The figures approach, a man and a woman, Vanyanan and nariel. nariel kneels beside Orëveriel. A third, Calemorrina, waits outside.
One of the pillars has shattered, and Vanyanan crouches to place the urn beneath it and rises again. The three begin to sing, quietly but growing louder the words of the Untold Myth, the only time when the words may be recited. As they sing the words, Isil’s liturgy if she ever had one, Vanyanan still wearing the sign of Ainofiriano’s promise, the rain turns to a thunderstorm. The moon shines through the clouds.
Through the rain, between the clashes of thunder, voices are carried on the wind, as millions of voices join in the singing of the Untold Myth. They will deny knowing the mystery, deny having ever recited it, but now they sing it from a million altars to Isil around the world.
And Ainofiriano watches in silence and denies his benedictions and promises victory over Isil.
Someday, the second pillar will fall, and then the Untold Myth will be sung again.
And someday, the final pillar will fall, and the Howling Wolf Inn will be swallowed into the earth and the world will end, as a billion worlds before it have ended. And Ainofiriano will speak his, his moment of victory come at last.
But now, the world lives, and for the nameless one who died, Vanyanan and Oreveriel and nariel sing the death liturgy on Isilnight.
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