THE QUIET CALLING
Somewhere out in the desolation of the Night Lands was a second Place of Refuge, where had gathered some last millions of the human race, to fight unto the end.
Of the reality of this foreign Refuge I never doubted, from the day I first heard of it from our Master Monstruwacan. He and I had always an affinity and close friendship, though he was full grown, and I a youth. Thus, when I had come to an age of 21 years of life, he opened to me a post within the Tower of Observation in the apex of the Pyramid, a most desired post.
Now, let me tell here also, lest it be thought that I was unduly favored because of my friendship with the Master Monstruwacan, that there was a sound justification for his choice. I had that strange gift we called Night-Hearing, and could hear the vibrations of the aether. Without harking to our recording instruments, I could take the messages which came continually through the eternal darkness. I listened for a voice that had not rung in my ears for an eternity, and yet which sang sweet and clear in my memory-dreams; so that it seemed to me that Mirdath the Beautiful slept within my soul, and whispered to me out of all the ages.
And then, one day, at the fifteenth hour, I thrilled suddenly, for out of all the everlasting night a whisper came upon my more subtle hearing. I answered by no name, but sent the Master-Word through the night and I knew that she who called would have the power to hear without instruments, if indeed it were she. If it were but one of the false callings of the Evil Forces, or more cunning monsters, or as was sometimes thought concerning these callings, the House of Silence, then they would have no power to say the Master-Word.
As I stood, trembling and striving not to be tense the Master-Word beat steadily in the night back to me. With all that was sweet in my spirit, I called with my brain elements: “Mirdath! Mirdath! Mirdath!” And at that instant the Master Monstruwacan entered and, seeing my face, stood very quiet. Although he did not have the power of Night-Hearing, he was wise and thoughtful, and took much account of my gift.
And to him I told something of my story and my thoughts and my memories, and of that awakening. He listened with sympathy for there, by the refinement of arts of mentality and the results of strange experiments, men were able to conceive of matters that in the past would have sounded like lunacy.
And all the while I told my story, I listened with my spirit. Save for a sense of faint, happy laughter that wrapped about me, I heard nothing.
Fun fact, nearly every paragraph of the original of this chapter begins with the phrase “and then.”
And then, all the reported conversations, when we never actually hear anything the characters have to say to each other? Sigh.