Intermezzo

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The One Who Dreamed About Funny Jokes, or Checkrizaradghansk in most human tongues, dreamed. Not about jokes, mind you, but a dream filled with laughter nonetheless. In her dream (because she was definitely very female, and anyone who dared to dispute that had to be either very brave or very funny indeed) a most excellently humorous rhyme formed and in that form a giggling door opened, double halves mirroring each other in a happy grin.

She was old, already on the threshold of becoming a god and the very thought made her beam happily. There were certain advantages to reaching such an imposing age, memories being the most important. There were also certain disadvantages, memories lost foremost of them. And the aspect of forgetting the need of haste.

She did remember one individual with fondness. One who hadn't understood the representation of her name in the sounds of man. One who failed to grasp that it was a compressed version of an entire concept, and doing so played the most marvelous joke on her. Refusing to understand what she had told him he stared blandly into her face and stated, "I see, so you're checkered." And so was she dubbed for ages to come and there was nothing she could do about it, and those knowing her had laughed and all was well.

She let go of her memories and dreamed about the doors opening. Another arrived, entered the newborn miniature universe only to trip over his own feet and fall headlong to the floor.

"I truly hate these pranks of yours," he wailed, but his complaints were draped in droplets of laughter so that when they reached her mind they were but a chuckle.

"I have been called to reach you," she said, her voice drifting like first snow seen by a child.

"By whom?" he cried, tears of anguish flooding the floor.

"This is my dream, and my dream only," she said and made him slip in his own tears.

"I apologize," he answered, unsuccessfully muting his emotions of sorrow, but he did try and she was content.

"The One Who Kills and Heals in the Name of Light told me in no uncertain terms that your presence was required," she thought, and her mind was wondrous to behold.

"Why?" Fear and hopeless desperation echoed through the room.

"We are not to interfere," she smiled.

"The newcomers are polluting our world. The latest one is even more different, even dirtier than the rest," he sobbed in response. "We should stop the change before it is too late," he continued, profound sadness filling his voice.

"You know how change is already upon us. We were forever changed when the first ones came and nothing less than total extermination could undo that, and maybe not even that," she laughed.

"We already agreed that would not be our course, not even when they tried to wipe themselves out," he agreed heartbroken. "Why don't we close the portal so no more of their filth can stain us?" he asked, tear filled despair ringing loudly.

"And lessen the power of wonders? What about the next arrival? It is only a matter of time. Do we close that portal as well? And the next after that? Will you be satisfied when all portals are closed and the gift is finally dead, and our world with it?" she cackled gleefully.

"They don't know that," he responded mournfully.

"No, they don't know. That is the best of my jokes," she giggled in agreement.

"You know there will be more," he stated in a flat voice void of happiness.

"There will be more, and as long as they don't bring their suns of death we are not to interfere," she answered happily.

"I see. I will tell my minions and they will comply," he sobbed.

"Not all of them will," she grinned.

"Not all of them, but at least all who are not called by She Who Changes Destiny," he cried.

"That is as good as it can be. We cannot force the daughter of Fate."

"Then I will depart to do your bidding."

"Yes, you may go."

He vanished.

She awoke.

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