Sacred / Profane

I slept, and I dreamt that I stood among the gods. I saw them laugh, I saw them weep, I saw them quarrel and love and scheme. And I thought, 'I do all these things. I never realized I was a god.'

--Zoraidia the Sage

Long, long ago, a traveller arrived at the gates of the monastery. The priests met him at the gates, and while they offered him food and water and a place to rest, they would not let him enter their temple.

"But I have come so far!" he demanded. "The gods have spoken to me, and they have led me here!"

The priests would not relent. Neither would the traveller.

For days, he waited for the priests to tell him he was ready. For days, he prayed to the gods for a sign of their favor. For days, he reminded the priests of his calling, that he was destined for greatness among the faithful. Then one night, when the priests were asleep, the traveller's patience reached its end and so, keeping his steps as quiet as he could, he opened the door of the temple. It was dark as pitch inside, so he lit a candle and carefully entered, then pulled the door closed behind him.

He approached the altar, staring up at the statues of the gods. "I have come!" he whispered as he drew nearer. "They tried to stop me, they didn't believe me. But I am here! Fill me with enlightenment!"

But the traveller tripped on the steps leading up to the altar. His candle fell from his hand and went out, leaving him in total darkness.

He heard voices then, barely louder than a breeze. "Well, you asked..."