One night I stood on a moonlight ridge, below me I could see the ruins of a once grand castle seated in the depression. No longer did the walls of this castle stand but their places were marked by piles of weather beaten rubble. Amongst the rubble walked a woman beauty beyond compare and her hair looked silver in the moonlight. She did not seem to see me but instead she walked the places that the halls of this castle once occupied; her hand trailing along the rubble piles as though she remembered the place. Upon the soft breeze I heard her voice coming in slow soft sobs, “He promised to return my home to greatness, he must return, he amoung all will understand the meaning behind an oath once it is given.”
Then as I was about to go to her, a voice from behind me startled me. “You shall surely die, you know that.” Turning I saw another woman, who even though the bright moon light was clothed in shadow. Her face was old and haggard and her arms were covered with pox marks, her hand, black and diseased, was pointed directly at my heart. She continued, "Surely you of all people know that man is mortal, and his death prevents the completion of his plans. You know in your heart that you are nothing more than a simple frail man, and your death will leave all those who count on you stranded, waiting,and unable to rest. You have simply began too much and you are too frail to see it through, soon it will become apparent to all others as well.
I was then taken from that place to find myself standing on a dry plain below a mountain. Its peak rose up to the clouds where it was hidden from sight. At the foot of the mountain lay a walled city, with guards at its gates. Then from atop the mountain flew a black bird, and as it descended from its roost on the mountain the clouds grew ever darker and soon threatened as storm, increasing in intensity as the bird approached the city. The city dwellers began to fear the bird claiming it would bring their destruction, their best archers lined the wall and began to shoot at the bird, but not one of the arrows hit, then a small boy with only a sling and a handful of pebbles let loose one stone. It struck the bird knocking it from the air, and it fell without a sound. As the bird crashed upon the dry earth the storm atop the mountain broken loose, with lightning. The lightning struck the ground and caught the dry crops on fire and the thunder shook the earth with so much furry that the walls and buildings of the city were destroyed, and the people homeless, thirsty, and hungry were forced out into the wilderness like the animals.
Again I was taken from that place and shown a new vision. In the dirt before me were four lines of ants. One line came from the east and carried upon its backs full heads of wheat, another from the west carried bits of leaves from the trees sacred to the elves. A line coming from the north carried tiny gemstones such as adorn the jewelry of the dwarves, and the line from the south carried seashells. The ants gathered into a pile in front of me, and began to climb over one another. Suddenly from below the ground a giant black shelled beetle crawled up and it began to eat the ants and their cargo. With each bite the beetle seemed to grow in size and the jewels and seashells began to decorate its inky carapace. Soon there were no ants left and the black beetle once again burrowed below the dirt at my feet leaving no tunnel behind it.
I then found myself standing in my garden, and before me where two snails. One snail pushed its way over everything in front of it, be it plant, stone, or other insect. The other moved slowly picking the path of least resistance, and avoiding the other insects of the garden. The first snail then came to the foot of the statue that rests in the garden and began to climb up it. Soon it had worked its way to the top, where it sat flexing its eyes around to see the whole of the garden, while the second snail was still lost in the grasses. But before the first snail could move on a large bird swept it up in its claws and pried it from its shell devouring it; the second snail continued its travels unseen by the bird who then flew off in search of other meals.
I was then transported to a forest clearing, where there sat a giant flowering tree. In its branches ran the small animals seeking food from its seeds, and there also rest the birds of the air, in nests safe from predators. Below the tree animals rested in its shade. But suddenly the leaves of the tree withered and fell and the tree was barren and without life. The birds no longer were hidden from predators and their nests were no longer safe from the snakes who sought their eggs. The small animals no longer could gather food and they soon fled into the forest to find food. No longer did it provide shade and no longer did animals come to it during the mid-day sun for it shade. The tree stood unmoving, unchanging, dead, but then a slight movement caught my eye. As i looked closer I realized that the tree was filled with worms and that a new type of life now inhabited the tree. I recoiled in disgust, leaving the clearing and seeking water as I had grown thirsty in my time in the clearing. Soon I found a man and he offered me a stoppered gourd, telling me that the contents would cure my thirst. As I unstoppered the gourd and raised it to my lips I found it did not contain water, instead inside lurked a poisonous cobra which reached out and struck my face. But the poison did not kill me, instead it sharped my senses and cleared my mind. I realized that the tree that once provided life during its life, is providing life for others in its death, if the trees of the forest can continue thier job of shelter and food beyond the veil of life, how is man different?