Intro: As a trickle of sand leads to a mighty landslide, so does one tiny dot lead to utter annihilation.
One Tiny Dot
In the great valley of Grande Vast, something small is about to happen, something very small – but at the same time of ultimate, final significance. The world is built on traditions, my lad, that is what you must understand. The sun comes up not for any reason but this: it always has. When traditions change, when long-practised rites come to an end . . . more is at stake than the jobs of the wrinkled clerics who perform them. I can see that you don’t understand. Let me explain:
Sometime very soon, perhaps in your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s lifetime, there will come a time of horrific imbalance, when the very planet rocks and weaves, thrown from a dance we dared to call eternal, and when we, the creatures who have tilled and farmed it – yes, and plundered and wounded it, too – will die in our millions.
Our doom will be brought by an age of sharpened spears, of dripping blood, of ancient feuds re-ignited and of ancient weapons given new life, their power magnified immeasurably by the war-inspired ingenuity of cruel men, an age when strength is no guarantee of survival, when the most clever may be thwarted by circumstance, and when ruthlessness, only ruthlessness, decides who will win the day.
But before that will come a time when the traditions of a relatively small group of people – spread over a relatively vast area – come to tear away the very bedrock of the civilisations that ring them, a time in which one tribe, peacefully existing for generations beyond number, is suddenly roused, in which a thirst will be awakened in them born of the bloodlust of one insatiable ruler.
In this time, one history will rise to smother all others. Soon, it will become known as the only history.
But before that . . .
Long before that comes the painting of the head-dress of the baby who will one day lead the Saiy people.
Do you see it in the waters, lad? A bent old man . . . his skin is thin, and fragile as parchment. Do you see it? One small paintbrush held in a hand which does not tremble?
One final dot, dead-centre. Do you see?
One tiny dot . . .
It is already happening, my boy.