'This is not Being for this is Going!'
'Explain Master!' said the prince. And the holy man gave the prince the key to the mysteries; the secrets of the laws of equilibrium; the perception of time, and the illusion of matter. And when Sudanenka had finished, he raised his hand to show all was at an end. And at an end it was, for no more words were spoken for several thousand years. And during all that time they saw no one pass upon the road, and the prince's love and devotion towards Sudanenka, grew strong in their brotherhood. The bond of companionship was forged in fire, and hammered and shaped in Hell, yet a time would come... and a time did come! And there came upon the road a mighty rush of thundering hooves, from the gates of the palace. And horse and rider came nearer and nearer, and Sudanenka knew it to be King Death upon his nightmare steed. Closer and closer they came until Death halted before Sudanenka and the prince. Sudanenka remained unstirred by the intrusion, and the devoted prince had learnt to do the same. Death gave a great laugh and said:
'Prince Poet, a eulogy if you will? In mine honour: sing a song of Death! And thou shalt be crowned King Poet of the abyss!'
And the prince began to sing:
'Here be infamy for thy brains;
For thy sacerdotal pains,
For limbs shall lie with black caress
And lips shall quiver at its kiss.
And Death shall suck upon thy veins
Till nought but skin and bone remains.
In the darkness of gross desire,
Burn those very tongs of fire
In the charred basilisk of his strains
Made of damned immortal chains;
He hammers to the lute and lyre:
Yea! Those tongs of fire won't tire!
For 'tis Death that holds thee at the reins
As the moon waxes and the moon wanes
Above that dread, insufferable choir
Of the all-devourer, all-denier!
Within the hushed groves of these plains,
'Tis King Death in his tyranny reigns.
That dread blasphemer; that cursed liar
Shall scorch the virgin flesh with fire!
For he be the night time breed that stains
Thy virtue; and his Death's glance slains
Thy body with a cauldron's kiss
In King Death's realm of the abyss'.
'Amusing' said Death, 'but you do me an injustice. It is not worthy of my magnificence'. And with a wave of Death's hand, the prince was reduced to burnt ashes, and the prince was no more than cloak and boots! Sudanenka remained still, yet inwardly, he raged!
'What wickedness I do', said Death. 'I walk with famine, I skip with plague and run with pestilence, and I make mushrooms of brains. And I laugh, and I do it all again!' And Death roared with laughter so much, he almost fell off his horse.
'What say you now old man?' questioned Death. 'Dare you sit before me and not recognise my power over all?'
Sudanenka clasped his small hands together and spoke:
'Only pity can I feel for you, for to walk in your shadow is to hate and destroy everything of worth'.
'Yes, and I do it so well!'
'Tell me,' said Sudanenka, 'what disease drives you?'
'The same that drives you old man: power!'
'A sordid word, made more sordid on such a vulgar tongue'.
'Ah, but you have wickedness in you also, old man, you just look the other way! Come and I shall show thee riches beyond thy dreams and beyond thy God's comprehension'. And Death held out a bony hand towards Sudanenka. 'Come! Come drink of the wine of the abyss!'