The voices of Vloles spoke together, in unison. A city of billions, united beneath living battlements. Unknown, unknowable, and yet here, now, and present.

“Were it easy,” Vloles said. “It would be meaningless. Were it impossible, it would be equally so. Welcome, then, and take your places with the others.”

“Is this the Next Dream, the Dream-to-Come, the Deepest Dream?” Farciya said. Tiris could feel himself drifting away from her even as the great turrets of Vloles came into sharper focus.

“Perhaps,” came the answer. “Perhaps.”

Tiris could now feel himself drifting away, drifting apart. The arms of immortal Vloles were wide, its gates thrown open, and he was welcomed even as he was extinguished thereby.

Light and sun faded from frozen Harbiyyah, and he opened his eyes, painfully and tearfully, upon the rocky shores with the smell of his friend’s blood mixed with that of the salt, the sea.

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