23 May Roger Zelazny
“I will spend some time in meditation, goddess.”
“Upon what shall you meditate?”
“Upon my past lives and the mistakes they each contained. I must review my own tactics as well as those of the enemy.”
“Yama thinks the Golden Cloud to have changed you.”
“Perhaps it has.”
“He believes it to have softened you, weakened you. You have always posed as a mystic, but now he believes you have become one — to your own undoing, to our undoing.”
He shook his head, turned around. But he did not see her. Stood she there invisible, or had she withdrawn? He spoke softly and without inflection:
“I shall tear these stars from out the heavens,” he stated, “and hurl them in the faces of the gods, if this be necessary. I shall blaspheme in every Temple throughout the land. I shall take lives as a fisherman takes fish, by the net, if this be necessary. I shall mount me again up to the Celestial City, though every step be a flame or a naked sword and the way be guarded by tigers. One day will the gods look down from Heaven and see me upon the stair, bringing them the gift they fear most. That day will the new Yuga begin.
“But first I must meditate for a time,” he finished.