Zelazny, Roger - Lord of Light (v3.0) by Lord of Light

Zelazny, Roger - Lord of Light (v3.0) by Lord of Light

Author:Lord of Light [Light, Lord of]
Format: epub
Published: 2010-04-12T09:25:03.693000+00:00

How long it was before he recovered, he did not know. It was a slow thing this time, and it was in a palace where demons walked as servants that he woke up.

When the last anesthetic bonds of mental fatigue fell away, there was strangeness about him. The grotesque revelries continued. Parties were held in the dungeons, where the demons would animate corpses to pursue their victims and embrace them. Dark miracles were wrought, such as the grove of twisted trees which sprang from the marble flags of the throne room itself—a grove wherein men slept without awakening, crying out as old nightmares gave way to new. But a different strangeness had entered the palace.

Taraka was no longer pleased.

"What is the curse of the Buddha?" he inquired again, as he felt Siddhartha's presence pressing once more upon his own.

Siddhartha did not reply at once.

The other continued, "I feel that I will give you back your body one day soon. I grow tired of this sport, of this palace. I grow tired, and I think perhaps the day draws near when we should make war with Heaven. What say you to this. Binder? I told you I would keep my word."

Siddhartha did not answer him.

"My pleasures diminish by the day! Do you know why this is, Siddhartha? Can you tell me why strange feelings now come over me, dampening my strongest moments, weakening me and casting me down when I should be elated, when I should be filled with joy? Is this the curse of the Buddha?"

"Yes," said Siddhartha.

"Then lift your curse, Binder, and I will depart this very day. I will give you back this cloak of flesh. I long again for the cold, clean winds of the heights! Will you free me now?"

"It is too late, oh chief of the Rakasha. You have brought this thing upon yourself."

"What thing? How have you bound me this time?"

"Do you recall how, when we strove upon the balcony, you mocked me? You told me that I, too, took pleasure in the ways of the pain which you work. You were correct, for all men have within them both that which is dark and that which is light. A man is a thing of many divisions, not a pure, clear flame such as you once were. His intellect often wars with his emotions, his will with his desires . . . his ideals are at odds with his environment, and if he follows them, he knows keenly the loss of that which was old—but if he does not follow them, he feels the pain of having forsaken a new and noble dream. Whatever he does represents both a gain and a loss, an arrival and a departure. Always he mourns that which is gone and fears some part of that which is new. Reason opposes tradition. Emotions oppose the restrictions his fellow men lay upon him. Always, from the friction of these things, there arises the thing you called the curse of man


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