Chapter One

Now, in The 42nd Year From The Beginning, I, Shy Fox, son of Bold Fox and nephew of The Old Fox, pick up my pen and dip it in ink to put down those things that happened to my beloved Uncle and The Founder Of Our Faith. May The Lords guide my hand, that I put down all as it was spoken to me, and as it did occur.
2 Now, in the third year of the reign of the assassin of our good king Gray Cat, there lived in the city of the water god, Tr, a merchant of rugs, pillows, and fine bedding, who was known by all as The Old Fox. For he was the eldest of his clan and the leader of his family.
3 Now each year, with the coming of winter, it was his custom to journey across the desert to Muk, pick up the weaving he had ordered the year before, pay his weavers, and arrange for the work of the following season.
4 Now, as he prepared his caravan many friends came to warn him. "You must take exxtra guards," they said, "your company is too small. Each year crossing the desert becomes more dangerous because of the fierce bandits roaming the wilderness."
5 But The Old Fox was set in his ways. "Thirty years I have made this journey," he said, "thirty years I have had no trouble. I will make it again, without problem." So it was, his caravan left Lo and began their trek down the desert road. Passing the last outpost they were three days into the desert, when they made camp by a large heap of rocks. Barely had The Old Fox laid down, when a great commotion erupted in the camp.
6 As The Old Fox emerged from his tent, he was struck a vicious blow on the back of the head, and he fell to the ground. How long he lay there, he did not know, but he heard many voices speaking.
7 "He is the one," a young, pleasant voice was saying. "I tell you, he is the one! We have waited a long time. He will bear our message to the people."
8 "He is old," another voice said, "The work will be hard. It should be another man."
9 "He is strong," the pleasing voice argued, "and he is good and trusted. Can you find a fault with him? Has he ever cheated anyone? Has he ever lied? Does he not treat his wives with the greatest respect? And many of his family already work with us. They will teach him."
10 The Old Fox heard much murmuring, then the stronger voice agreed, saying "Very well. He is the one. Take him."
11 The Old Fox felt someone touching him, and he opened his eyes. There was much shouting in the camp, and screaming. But the sounds of battle had passed. He looked up, and a young girl of perhaps thirteen seasons was tugging his shoulder.
12 "Get up," she ordered, "move! You must hide! They are killing the survivors. If they find you, they will kill you."
13 Struggling, The Old Fox gained his feet, and the girl led him from the camp. "We had no children with us, or, women," he asked. "Who are you? Where did you come from?"
14 "I am a Servant of The Light," the girl explained, "a follower of Truth. Come! Here, in the rocks there is a hiding place. Crawl in here, and go to sleep. I will return for you and guide you."
15 The Old Fox wearily obeyed. Crawling into the rocks, he concealed himself and barely had he laid down his head, then he was asleep. And he dreamed strange dreams. The girl came to him, holding out her hand. "Come," she said, "I must take you to your father." 1
6 "My father," The Old Fox answered, "has been dead for thirty years! Unless I am dead, how can you take me to him?"
17 The girl took his hand and led him through the fog, and they emerged into a beautiful countryside. The Old Fox asked "Where are we?"
18 The girl stopped and looked at him. "This is The Spirit World," she answered, "the Abode of The Dead. This is The Land of The Blessed. All of us here are dead and have been for a long time. But do not be afraid. You are only sleeping. You have been brought here to see things, to learn things. You will be returned to your body and taken home. Right now, come. There are important things to be done, and our time is short."
19 They walked up a path to a pleasant looking house, and as they entered the gate, The Old Fox's mother came to greet him. "My eldest!" she cried, "Age has only sharpened your good looks!"
20 "You are as much a liar, mother, as you ever were!" The Old Fox answered. "I am the unfairest of men."
21 The girl laughed. "None can lie here," she said, "but a mother can say what is in her heart. Is not beauty in the eye of the one seeing?"
22 "Enough of this discussion," scolded The Old Fox's mother. She warmly embraced her son. "Come," she commanded, "your father has been told of your coming. He is pleased that you are The Chosen One. That The Honor falls upon our family gives us the greatest of all joys!"
23 "What honor?" asked The Old Fox. A voice from behind them said "The honor of bringing down the gods; of revealing The Truth of them to all men, and raising your people form ignorance."
24 The Old Fox turned and saw his father. He went forward and seized his shoulders in the manner of men's greeting, and his father seized his shoulders in return. Then The Old Fox noticed his father's youthful appearance and remembered how weak and old he had been when he died. And he realized also, that his mother was young and fair.

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