"Return," he had heard. "Return to the temple. Return to there where you began."

And so the hero had, with hardly a moment's rest. For he remembered that voice, that odd, shifting, cacophonous voice which sounded simultaneously the most beautiful and the most terrible thing imaginable.

The villagers had welcomed him warmly, showering him with gifts and symbols of their gratitude and affection. But he was not interested in their petty materialistic goods; his true reward, he knew, awaited him within the holy walls of that lone place of worship, long abandoned for the rats and the mold.

The doors slowly creaked open, the long, shrill death rattle of old wood and rusted iron echoing hollow through the great emptiness of the rotting temple. He stepped across the threshold, wincing and crying out as visions of innumerable forgotten horrors flashed through the haze of his consciousness, probing him, wreaking what havoc they could before retreating to the temple walls, once again patiently awaiting the coming of another who might finally prove to be He who had been shunned by the gods. This, however, was not to be the fate of the man now shuddering on the floor, recovering from the assault; his business was with the others who resided in the temple.

After a time, he arose, self-consciously brushed himself off, and continued forward. Past the decaying pews, beyond the cracked altar, through the crumbling doors to the crypt, and down, endlessly down did he travel.

Finally, his destination loomed up before him, a towering of void, discernible only by the even greater monument that it contained. This was the home of the gods, the lone crystal of faith and power in an infinity of worthlessness.

The man called out to the greats.

"I have done all you have asked of me, great masters!" said he. "Is there anything more that you require?"

Again, that amazing and terrifying voice responded.

"You have fulfilled your purpose admirably," he heard.

"What am I to receive for my efforts?" asked the hero.

"You are sincerely thanked for all that you have accomplished," continued the voice, ignoring him.

The man felt a sudden, indescribable pain across his chest. He fell to his knees, clutching at his heart, but there was nothing to be done. The last thing he heard before his life-candle finally sputtered out was the voice, suddenly devoid, as it had always truly been, of any beauty or wonder.

"It is regrettable. You are, however, no longer necessary."

Re*ward" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Rewarded; p. pr. & vb. n. Rewarding.] [OF. rewarder, another form of regarder, of German origin. The original sense is, to look at, regard, hence, to regard as worthy, give a reward to. See Ward, Regard.]

To give in return, whether good or evil; -- commonly in a good sense; to requite; to recompense; to repay; to compensate.

After the deed that is done, one doom shall reward, Mercy or no mercy as truth will accord. Piers Plowman.

Thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. 1 Sam. xxiv. 17.

I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. Deut. xxxii. 41.

God rewards those that have made use of the single talent. Hammond.


© Webster 1913.

Re*ward" (?), n. [See Reward, v., and cf. Regard, n.]


Regard; respect; consideration.


Take reward of thine own value. Chaucer.


That which is given in return for good or evil done or received; esp., that which is offered or given in return for some service or attainment, as for excellence in studies, for the return of something lost, etc.; recompense; requital.

Thou returnest From flight, seditious angel, to receive Thy merited reward. Milton.

Rewards and punishments do always presuppose something willingly done well or ill. Hooker.


Hence, the fruit of one's labor or works.

The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward. Eccl. ix. 5.

4. Law

Compensation or remuneration for services; a sum of money paid or taken for doing, or forbearing to do, some act.


Syn. -- Recompense; compensation; remuneration; pay; requital; retribution; punishment.


© Webster 1913.

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