When, according to request, I arrived at the Agacoe palace on the next morning, I proceeded directly to the private office there occupied by Prince Menax, expecting to find my father
alone. But in this I was disappointed, as Rai Gwauxln was there with him. The two were in conversation when I entered, and did not cease, evidently not regarding me as an intruder. At last I heard the Rai ask:
"Should we not now go to the Incalithlon?"
"If it please thee. And thou, Zailm, accompany us."
A palace car was summoned by the Rai, and came rolling along into our presence without any person to operate it; came in at the door of the office, which opened to allow its passage precisely as if some court page had opened it. It wheeled into the room and came to a stop in front of us. All this was done exactly as if under a guiding hand. But no visible hand was there. This was the first time I had ever seen any exhibition of occult power on the part of Gwauxln; indeed I never saw many examples of his power, notwithstanding his high adeptship. Like all true adepts he was exceedingly chary of such object lessons, disliking to show his knowledge before those not possessed of sufficient common sense to know that any acts of the sort were but examples of the control of nature through an understanding of higher laws than the ordinary mind perceives in its natural surroundings; but I was not one who saw anything miraculous in the occult; if I understood not the process, I did understand that it was but the operation of some unfamiliar law. Hence Gwauxln was not averse to allowing me to witness his power at times.
The car conveyed us to the vailx-landing outside, where we found a vailx of small size, into which Rai Gwauxln courteously assisted first Menax, then myself, and himself entered last. Here was a spectacle worthy of note, the ruler of a mighty nation without the display of a single attendant, not more deferential to rank than to those of inferior station. True, as a Xio-Incali, Gwauxln had command over mechanical service which was more regal far than a retinue of menials could be.
Like father, like son. Gwauxln, who was as a father to his people, was copied by them in his demeanor. They, too, were simple in habits, courteous in manner, and, though in many
cases wealthy and luxurious in their habits in life, were entirely unostentatious, as their Rai set them example.
The great temple of Incal was distant several miles, but a few minutes sufficed to bring us to its huge structure. Outwardly the Incalithlon was shaped like the Egyptian pyramid of Cheops, not quite so high, but covering an area of twice as great extent. No windows pierced its sides, and sunlight or that of day never entered its interior. Besides a number of small apartments, the building contained one vast hall where was space for several thousand worshipers. The Poseid habit of copying nature was followed in this sanctuary with extraordinary faithfulness. Instead of straight walls, or alcoves, or the ordinary arrangement of interiors, the enormous auditorium was in faithful semblance of a cave of stalactites and stalagmites. In placing all this calcite, utility was consulted with regard to the stalagmites so that too much floor space should not be occupied by them. But the stalactites, being pendent from the marble ceiling, had been placed as thickly as space allowed and sparkled like stars in the light from the incandescent lamps swung midway between them and the floor below. From the latter point of view these lamps were concealed by broad concave shades so that their glow was wholly invisible from beneath, but shining upwards was reflected from myriads of sparkling white needles, filling the temple with a steady and. soft, but powerful, light that seemed to emanate from no special point, but from the air itself, a light well adapted to religious meditation.
We left the vailx and entered the unimposing but ample portal, and proceeded across the hall to the Holy Seat, in the back of the sanctuary. Within it we found Mainin, the Incaliz, or high priest, a man of wondrous attainments of knowledge, second to none in fact. To him we all made courteous obeisance, and then Prince Menax said:
"Most holy Incaliz, thou knowest, in thy great wisdom, upon what errand thy sons have come before thee. Wilt thou fulfill our prayer by granting us thy blessing?"
The Incaliz arose and bade us to follow him into the triangle
of the Maxin, or Divine Light, in front of the Holy Seat. Deferring the relation of our subsequent action, I will describe this especially sacred part of the temple. It was a raised, triangular platform of red granite, several inches higher than the floor of the auditorium, thirty-six feet between its points. In the very center of it was a large block of crystal quartz, upon the perfect cube of which rose the Maxin. This seemed aflame, in shape like a giant spearhead, and it cast a light of intense power over all things around, yet one could look at its steady, unwavering white glow without desiring shade for the eyes, even though these were not strong. Over three times the height of a tall man it stood, a mysterious manifestation of Incal, as all spectators believed. In reality it was an occult odic light, and had stood in that one spot for centuries. It had witnessed the grander development of Poseid and its capital city, and had seen the original temple of Incal (a small architectural structure, unworthy of a great people) torn down, and the present Incalithlon built around it. It made no heat, did not even warm the quartz pedestal; yet for any living being to touch it was fatal in the instant of the rash act. No oil, no fuel, no electric currents fed it; no man tended it. Its history was peculiar, and can not fail to interest thee, my friends.
Many hundred years previously there had been for four hundred and thirty-four days a ruler over the Poseidi who possessed wonderful knowledge. This wisdom was like that of Ernon of Suern. No one knew whence he came, and not a few were disposed to question his statement, while all were in doubt, as to whether his meaning was figurative or literal when he said:
"I am from Incal. Lo, I am a child of the Sun and am come to reform the religion and life of this people. Behold Incal is the Father and I am the Son, and He is in Me and I am in Him."
He was asked to prove this claim, whereupon be laid his hand upon a man born blind, and the man received his sight and saw with the doubters that his deliverer stooped to the pavement of the triangular platform, and with his finger drew a
square five and a half feet either way. Then he stepped outside of the lines indicated, and at once the great block of quartz appeared, a perfect cube, in the place. Standing by its side he placed his finger upon the rock, and blew thereon with his breath, As he withdrew the finger the Maxin, or Fire of Incal, sprang up, and thus had cube and Unfed Fire remained during all the centuries since.
It is needless to say the proof was satisfactory, and thereafter the mysterious stranger revised the laws and provided then the code which had ever since governed the land. He had said that whosoever should add to or take from his laws, that person should not come into the Kingdom of Incal until "I am come on earth for the final judgment."
No one had ever desired to disobey, it would seem, or at least no change had ever been made. The laws which this Rai had given were written by him with his finger upon the Maxin-Stone, and no work of sculptor's chisel were better done. They were also written upon a book of parchment leaves, and this he placed under the Unfed Light itself, which thereafter sprang from the surface of the Book; this had remained ever since, unharmed, unscorched. The wonderful writer had placed it there in sight of all the people who could enter the new Temple built in place of the old one. As he did so, he said:
"Hearken unto me. This is my law. Behold it also written on the Maxin-Stone. No man shall remove it, lest he die. Yet after centuries have flown, behold! the Book shall disappear in sight of a multitude, and no man shall know its place. Then shall the Unfed Light go out, and no man be able to rekindle it. And when these things have come to pass, lo! the day is not far off when the land shall no more be. It shall perish because of its iniquity, and the waters of Atl shall roll above it! I have spoken."
Once, in the history of Poseid, a Rai had come to doubt whether a man would surely die if he tried to withdraw the Book of the Unfed Light. He conceived the idea that as the Maxin sprang from the top of the Book alone, and not from its sides, that removal might be possible. So therefore he
forced a malefactor to attempt the deed, fearing after all to try it himself, although in the tyrannous policy which he followed, he cared not whether the man died or not. That was a day of growing darkness and wickedness, when men had somewhat forgotten the Great Rai, Son of Incal. The unhappy wretch was made to grasp the Book, and withdraw it if he could. He found it impossible to move it, but yet was not destroyed by the Maxin. Grown bolder, and urged by the Rai, he tried harder. He pulled, and then his grasp gave way, and one hand passed through the Maxin. The member was instantly destroyed, cut off, gone, while the monarch, standing many feet distant, fearful of approaching near, was stricken in that same instant by an outleaping flash of the Maxin, and no one ever saw him more!
That one example was sufficient! The error of their ways suddenly became very apparent to the evil-doers, and administration of the laws was again in accord with their spirit, as with their letter. The day of the "Dismal Prophecy" had been looked for as the decades passed into centuries, but its time was not yet come, and though many alarmists set days when it would surely come, it came not, and the Unfed Light continued. According to the law, bodies of all souls which had passed into Navazzamin were cremated. This even included some animals. Those dying at a distance from Caiphul were incinerated in some one of the multitude of Navamaxa (furnaces especially for dead bodies) which the government provided all through the provinces, and if the incinerated body was that of a human being the ashes were taken to Caiphul and cast into the Maxin, as a ceremonial act. Those of the departed from Caiphul were taken as they lay in death to the Incalithlon, and being raised to the top of the Cube, were let fall face forward into the Unfed Light. In either case, whether as incinerated ashes or unaltered forms, the result was the same; that is, while there was no flaming, no smoke, no tremor of the Maxin, nevertheless the instantaneous disappearance of the object occurred at the second of contact with the marvelous Unfed Fire.
Hence it had been sung by poets as the "Gateway" to the country which each soul must discover for itself. To die, with out in some manner passing into the Maxin, either in corpus personae or by the ashes from prior incineration, was thought to be the most frightful calamity by the greater number of the people.
It might appear that people of such scientific erudition would not be so seemingly childish in religious conceptions as this. As a verity it was not childishness. Instead, it was an insistence upon such entire destruction of the earthly casket of the soul, as to render certain the freedom of the real person from all earthly restraint in entering into, Navazzamin.
Not that many people understood the esoteric significance of the rite; no, they but understood so much of the real meaning as the Incali had given them through comparing the earth-leaving soul to the seed which, sprouting, leaves behind it every fragment of the shell.
To return to the Incalithlon and the ceremonial of my adoption by Prince Menax.
As we stood beside the Maxin-Stone, Gwauxln bade me kneel, and then, placing his hand upon my head, spoke, saying:
"In harmony with the laws of the land, made and provided in such cases, Astika Menax, a Councilor of the land of Poseid, hath a wish to adopt thee, Zailm Numinos, for a son unto his name, in place of one departed hence into Navazzamin. Wherefore, as thy Sovereign and his, I, Gwauxln, Rai of Poseid, do declare it to be as prayed for by Astika Menax."
The Incaliz completed the ceremonies by placing his right hand upon my head and his left upon that of Menax as we knelt before him, and invoking the blessing of Incal upon us both. As he removed his hands, he addressed me thus:
"Be thou erect in the sight of Incal, that no man may accuse thee truthfully. This do, and thy days shall be long. But even as thou shalt fail, so then shall thy time be shortened. May the peace of Incal be with thee."
Not one of the three hearers, of the Incaliz understood him to mean that my days would be short because I would fail in
rectitude, but only as a warning were the words taken. Yet I knew afterwards, all too late, what prescience guided Mainin in his words. Knew in a flood of bitter memory, which recalled how recreant I had been to the high resolve on Pitach Rhok to be successful, a, a result of being true to my divine. God-considering selfhood. But, all this came, as I thought, too late. Too late was it, when I lay in a dungeon awaiting death, from which no mortal could save me, and dreamed that my soul sat on a verdureless shore looking across a limitless ocean. and crying, "Ah! where is the hope of my years!" Bitter and fiery was the remorseful agony, but my name was still on the Book of Life; still there, and not erased as I feared. Karma is inexorable and severe, my brother, my sister; but our Savior hath said: "Follow Me." "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only."
As we turned away, an Incala, who had been present, began playing on the great organ of the temple; then the silences of the vast auditorium responded as no human voice could make them do.
"On the winds the bells' deep tones are swelling--"
The echoes rang again and again as the thundering voices of the great organ pealed forth, thrilling the soul with its mighty harmony. Rays of many-hued lights, some brilliant, some soft-tinted as those of a spectroscopic image of the moon, played from point to point in exhausted air-tubes, and as the colors changed, so did the notes of music, for every ray of light, whatsoever its source, is a pulsing choral note, if developed rightly. Thus the stars sing.
The Rai did not go with Menax and myself, when the conclusion of our business was reached, but remained with the Incaliz Mainin. With him Gwauxln was more familiar, his friendship more deeply intimate than with any other human being. And the reason was that both be and Mainin were Sons of the Solitude and had been youths together in the days ere public favor had marked the one for Rai, the other for Incaliz, these both being elective positions, the office of High Priest being the only ecclesiastical office which could be filled by
popular vote. And this exception was because it was considered true justice to allow the people to consult their own desires in this matter of choosing one whom all believed to be the most eminently good and perfect example of moral life, to be over them in this highest spiritual office.
But in the days of their youth neither had seemed to expect the preferment which the years had in store, and after the long course required of Xio Incali at the Xioquithlon, both had hidden the world of men adieu and had gone forth into the solitudes of the vast mountains, where only the Sons of Incal had abode, of all mankind. These men were the Theochristic or Occult Adepts of that olden age, the Yog-Vidya of their time. They were indeed chary of their wisdom, then as now; but to Gwauxln and Mainin they imparted it without stint. They had no families then, nor do these students of God, of Nature, deviate now from the same celibate principles. None who hope to achieve their deep knowledge will mate. 1
After years had flown, so many that men had almost forgotten them, Gwauxln and Mainin did what few had ever been known to do--returned to the haunts of ordinary humanity. My father, Menax, had been but a babe when Gwauxln went away, and the latter's sister was not then born. Yet when Gwauxln came back, the silvery threads of age already gleamed in the hair of the Prince Menax, while as for the Rai that was to be, he looked a little more mature, but otherwise unchanged from the youthful semblance of the days of yore. In the interim, his sister had come to the world, grown to womanhood, wedded Menax, and after bringing into life their son, Soris, and their daughter, Anzimee, had gone into the undiscovered country through the Maxin gateway. Mainin, too, was of a similarly youthful appearance.
Both of these "Sons of the Solitude" came back, giving as their reason for return that their presence was needed, and both were eventually chosen by the people to fill the respective positions which we have seen them occupying, positions rendered vacant by the death of the incumbents. It is only now,
after twelve thousand years have slipped into eternity through the back door of time that I have come to know how much Mainin had to do with those events, and how wholly in the dark concerning his real character was Gwauxln and every other Son of the Solitude. Not to anticipate, is it strange that Rai-Gwauxln felt more pleasurable intimacy possible in his intercourse with Mainin than with any other person connected with his daily life? Or that he felt his finally exposed treachery more keenly than any one else could? I think not.
137:1 I, Cor. vii., 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 29, 31, 32.