2 And as they walked away from the village, they were intercepted by a mirthful messenger bearing a Smile and dressed in brilliant indigo, who bore a letter from the Grand Highblood for the Signless one. 3 The followers all knew the message was genuine, for it was written in the ancient dialect of the Subjugglators, forbidden to the lower Bloods; and each letter was picked out in the same rare and jocund colour that the Grand Highblood clothed his courtiers in, and the Ψiioniic could sense that it was indeed his blood in which the letter was written. 4 The letter requested that the Signless one and his followers visit him in the great TeRmInAl, the InCoNsIs TeNt at the heart of his reign, and he also offered the Signless one entitlement to any of the many Coulracourtesans he maintained on the roof, granting him permission to perform either the Rutilant or the Atramentous act with them, as often as he pleased, and in whatever mood took him, and with no regard as to how sloppy it may be. 5 Upon reading the summons, the Signless one felt a great fear in his heart, because he knew that a royal Blood taking interest in him was a sign, less that he was destroying their kyriarchy, and more that he was now in grave danger; he doubted he would return alive. 6 Yet the fear continued to grow inside him inescapably, like a chuckle rising in his voice tube, unable to be suppressed, and soon the Signless one began to fear the results of refusing the summons, which would immediately have him identified as an insubordinate to be culled. 7 For 69 days and 69 nights the fear consumed his dreams, until finally he gathered his followers about himself and the Signless one, the Disciple, the Dolorosa and the Ψiioniic began travelling to the TeRmInAl.
1 Upon their arrival, the Grand Highblood became filled with a great whimsy, and seated his guests at his finest banquet slab laid with all manner of food, even providing copious amounts of the numbing Slime that he consumed as sacrament to his Giggling Gods; and sent in his troubadours to entertain the guests with the poetry the Grand Highblood admired. 2 The Signless then spoke to the Grand Highblood: 3 THESE SPEAKERS, WHOSE WORDS SHOULD BE AT THE CENTRE OF OUR MINDS, AND COMING OUT OF THEIR MOUTHS IN THE FRONTEST WAY POSSIBLE, CAN HARDLY BE HEARD OVER THE CLANK OF THE FINERY THEY WEAR AROUND THEIR NECKS, ABOUT THEIR FANGS, AND DRAPED UPON THEIR SHARPENED HORNS. 4 THIS CRAFT WHICH THEY SHARE WITH SUCH DESIGN TELLS ONLY STORIES OF WEALTH AND COPULATION AND OF THE MANY SUBJUGGLATIONS YOU HAVE PERFORMED, HIGHBLOOD; AND THEY WEAR IMPUDENT LEGGINGS, PULLED SO LOW DOWN AS TO BE PRACTICALLY USELESS, TO DISPLAY THEIR INHUMILITY FOR ALL TO SEE. 5 For the Signless one expressed his humility through shunning finery, the open display of his shortened and nubbinned horns, and wearing leggings that rose high on his body in total denial of impudence.
6 Upon hearing this, the Grand Highblood donned his harsh upon himself; he had hoped to tempt the Signless one with the splendour he was currently rejecting, but now realised it would not change his flaming heart. 7 Disguising his feelings by agreeing with what the Signless one had told him; he declared their manner of poetry to be a blasphemy, he ordered the troubadours be Laughassassinated, and they were slain and their heads drawn off, 8 and the Grand Highblood mingled their blood and daubed his Smile with it, to blacken it further.
9 The Signless one was filled with righteous fury over the horror he had just witnessed, and aggressed, scattering the banquet slab. 10 But his rage was not enough to overcome the combined strength of the Laughassassins, and he was swiftly subdued, preventing the rage from escaping, and locking it up inside the fire of his blood forever. 11 While the Signless one was restrained, the Grand Highblood spoke:
12 I am a follower of the Mirthful Messiahs, and a believer in their teaching that we are surrounded by Miracles. 13 I have heard tell that you can perform Miracles, and this gathers people to listen to your teachings, Signless one, which is in itself a Miracle. 14 Your teachings and mine are not different, Signless one; both you and I believe in equality across blood colour, a haemo made up of trillions of people, across the sky.
15 The Grand Highblood spoke: 16 A man with your Miraculous abilities is of high value to Alternian society, and your gaudy blood does not matter to me; I ask you as your superior to teach your followers of your Miracles, and of the Mirthnasty Flow of the Messiahs, to instill in them the fear of the Dark Carnival and fear of my Giggling Gods. 17 Signless one, you are a dangerous one with values that must be kept in line, and I am willing to take personal responsibility for you as a Subjugglator, on the condition that you incorporate my beliefs into your schoolfeeding of the Rusted peasants.
1 And the Signless one was filled with rancour when told this, for he knew the Highblood only believed that people of all Bloods could be murdered the same; 2 an equality that could only be held by someone in the greatest position of power that exists upon Land, with the unholy right to murder anyone lower Blooded than himself. 3 He spoke: I PERFORM NO MIRACLES; I AM NOT SUPERNATURAL; MY ONLY GIFT IS THE GIFT OF AWARENESS, AND MY ONLY CURSE IS THE ONE YOU SHARE; THE CURSE OF BEING A PARADOX, THE SON OF YOUR OWN SON, AND HE AGAIN YOUR SON IN TURN; 4 A RING THAT FOLLOWS ITSELF, PAST AND FUTURE CUFFED TOGETHER IN IRONS. 5 IN MY VISIONS I SAW YOUR SON AS YOUR FATHER AND YET AS YOUR SON; A DELIRIOUS, ELIXIR-STICKY CHILD WAITING ON THE SHORE WITH EYES WITHOUT FOCUS AND CAPRICE IN HIS MIND. 6 HE BIRTHED YOU, AND YOU BIRTHED HE.
7 And the Highblood said to him, 8 I do not believe your Flow, for I myself have had great spiritual visions, revelations of fear and awe; 9 I have watched unmoving as the carnival of the universe performed for me. 10 I am the Grand Highblood, The Ferrisee, and my duty is to pass the wisdom of my visions onto those in my church, so they may also know of the true, Mirthnasty Flow, passed down frontward from the smiling, painted mouths of my Messiahs.
11 And the Signless one said back, YOUR VISIONS COME NOT FROM THE UNIVERSE BUT FROM YOUR OWN MIND; 12 YOU DETEST THE MIRACLE OF YOUR OWN AWARENESS, AND DROWN IT IN THE SACRED SLIME, WHICH FILLS YOUR EYES WITH RAINBOWS AND STEALS FROM YOUR HEAD ITS CONTROL. 13 YOUR FERRISEE VISIONS LAST FOR MANY PERIGEES, DURING WHICH YOU ARE DIVORCED FROM REASON; YOU ROAM THE LAND, AND IF YOU HAPPEN ACROSS A VILLAGE YOU MURDER ALL WHO DWELL WITHIN ITS LAWNRING, 14 AND THE GLITTERING DUST THE SLIME PLACES IN YOUR EYES MAKES YOU INTERPRET EVERY FEELING AND SENSATION AS POSSESSING FAR GREATER SIGNIFICANCE THAN IT DOES. 15 I KNEW YOU IN ANOTHER TIME LIKE THIS ONE, AND WE PLAYED TOGETHER, MUCH AS MY SON-FATHER AND YOUR SON-FATHER SHALL ALSO. 16 BUT YOU CHOOSE NOT TO REMEMBER AND TO PUNISH THOSE WHO DO, FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU PUNISH WHATEVER THEY REFUSE TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND.
1 The Highblood had long since tired of the Signless one’s righteous stubbornness, and no longer wished to find compromise or common ground. 2 As the Signless one spoke his objections, the Ferrisee approached, mouthing shooshwispers to diminish the value of his divine words.
3 He took in his hands the idolistic Facekit he so worshipped - a bowl of greasepaint white as fang, and a bowl of mixed bloods, a pigment black as space. 4 And he touched a rag and soaked it in blood, and told the Signless one:
5 This is your knighthood in this blood; this is freedom to travel and teach. 6 But it must be done with a Smile. If you Smile, it will be the best Miracle you have ever been a part of.
7 The Signless one could not convert to the Highblood’s blasphemous religion, but as the Highblood approached, fear struck his feet down, and he was unable to move. 8 As the Highblood raised the inked cloth, the Signless one summoned all his rage, and through the terror, let out an almighty scream, so terrible its echoes shook scab dust from the walls of the TeRmInAl and made the lower Blood Coulracortesans fall and weep from the psychic force of his fury.
9 And the eyes of the Highblood then softened, for the rage had shaken his head clean. 10 And his hand did loosen its grip about the cloth, and drop it. 11 And the followers of the Signless one’s watched as the Highblood raised his hand again, and reached out to the Signless one’s face, his claws unraised, as if in a conciliatory gesture of love. 12 And then the Highblood struck the Signless one’s face with a blasphemous pap, and the Signless one’s face burned bright with the fire of his blood, and he fell silent.