Tárvalén Awaiting (2/2)

(Part one is here.)

“Many long years passed, as the faithful bandal waited before the gate,” the priest continued his story, “until with time and chance the man died too, and his spirit also approached the gate; and the spirit of the bandal bounded up and ran to meet him.  Joyous was their reunion, and for a time, the gloom of the Fugue was lifted by the ring of laughter and happy barking alike.”

“But then at last the time came, and they approached the Twilight City together, and once again Ivrél stopped them at the gate, saying, ‘You may pass, but you alone; for Heaven’s law forbids the City to those spirits of lesser orders.'”

“The bandal whined sadly, and made to turn away, but the man stopped him with a touch, and replied, ‘In life we ran together.  What just cause is there to part us now?'”

“‘It is Heaven’s law,’ Ivrél said again.”

“And anger furrowed the man’s brows, and his hand drifted to the hilt of his blade, and for a moment it seemed as if the clash of arms too would disturb the silence of the Fugue, but he knew well that Ivrél was sovereign in this place; and in a moment, they turned together and left that place.”

“‘There is no other way for you,’ Ivrél called after him, ‘for all souls called here must pass into the Twilight City.'”

“‘He stayed here for me,’ the man replied.  ‘Mélith demands, by Star, Stone, and Flame, that I can do no less.’  Saying this, he sat down with his back against one of the leafless trees, the bandal curling up by his side, and wrapped his cloak around them both.  And so their waiting began.”

“The years pass quickly in the timelessness of the Fugue, and as they waited the years turned to decades, and the decades to centuries, as they watched many souls pass through the Fugue on their wanderings.  And yet they prevailed and remained, sometimes walking amid the white-barked trees or upon the bridges that crossed the dark mist-cloaked waters, but for the most part sitting together beneath their tree outside the City’s gate.”

“Thus it was that in the thousandth year of their waiting, they saw the City’s gate flung wide, and from within a shining figure emerge, light wrapped in light and casting no shadow; Elmiríën, the Patterner, the Bringer of Order, the One Word of Truth, and approach the tree where they rested.  And seeing this, they stood to meet Him.”

“‘That you remain is something unheard of,” the Patterner said, ‘for those souls which remain uncalled dwindle until rebirth, and those which are called pass into the Twilight City.  None remain, and yet here you stand.'”

“‘I hear the call,’ the man replied, facing the god upright as one ought, ‘but I will not leave this place so long as my friend is here; and he will not leave this place so long as I am here.  Therefore, we remain.'”

“‘The chill of the Fugue cleanses the soul of those qualities which do not befit Our City.  After a thousand years, you are assuredly ready.  Come now within.'”

“‘My lord of Order, I cannot.  Heaven’s law forbids my friend entry, and thus -‘”

“‘Heaven’s law forbids’, the Patterner broke in, ‘those whose souls are yet stained by terrestrial passions from entering the Twilight City.  That you each remain here demonstrates your loyalty to be celestial in nature, not terrestrial.  Come you both within; there is a place and a purpose for you there, and know that the Twilight City is open to his kin now, and all of his order who can reach such heights.'”

“And with these words spoken, after their long wait, man and bandal entered the Twilight City together, walking side-by side.”

A small voice rose from the crowd.  “That’s the end?  What happened next, after they waited so long?”

“Why, child, they abide there still.”  He pointed to the statue.  “The defining souls of Holy Tárvalén, the Loyal.  One can, after all, only be called to the Twilight City by an eikone.  Even if that call is to become that eikone.”