It came to pass that a great and mysterious spirit of old, the Sarmisethustra, came to the Darkwood. None could look upon it, blinded as they were by its light and darkness and shapes which had no expression for human eyes nor interpretation in human minds.

But it spoke, after a fashion, and the Mayor of Brightspear ventured out to meet it after laying plans for his people’s evacuation and appointing a successor.

Where are the Vle-Ya who long stewarded this wold? asked the Sarmisethustra in a voice that was not a voice. Why do they not respond to my passage?

“They are gone from this world and the ken of mankind,” replied the mayor, “and we of Brightspear have inherited their covenant. None have been seen since my grandfather’s grandfather’s time.”

Then it is too late, and I am bereaved, said the Sarmisethustra. I will depart, then, and seek them elsewhere.

“Tarry a moment,” said the mayor. “The Vle-Ya once sought to teach us of the forest and impart their knowledge. The stories say they interceded on our behalf with nature itself. We would ask the same of you, and grant you boons in return.”

What boon could you offer me? The affairs of your kind are beyond my ken, and to interfere would be to ruin.

“We would honor you as we do the memory of the Vle-Ya,” said the mayor. “And surely one of your power need not cause ruin.”

Ask the anthill how power is felt when applied out of scale. Ask the ant to pay you meaningful homage. It knows what it knows and it is what it is, neither inferior nor superior. Yet laws which govern us and the scales at which we operate are simply too different for meaningful interaction.

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