The Prophet rose
from his meditation
. He stepped out of his sparse chamber, polished wood floor, bare paper walls, and stepped to a latticed window, looking out over the sparkling cityscape far below, and the sparkling ocean beyond. Presently, an errand-boy appeared at his door, which was after all never closed.
"The Council is assembled," he allowed the boy to declare, though he knew already that the boy's presence -- Gord was his name, he now remembered -- could portend nothing else. The boy turned and left. The Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth followed.
The Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth, took his place at the grand golden table, sitting at the space marked by a completely unnecessary nameplate
, given the familiarity amongst all in the room. Still, it was the tradition. The Council of Prophets convened. Another of their number, a grim figure in a red hood, spoke.
"Your foray to the Prime Material Plane -- it seems it has been productive. Yet I fear our warnings will again go unheeded, as they have every time before. The people of the world we seek to save, so hesitant are they to believe
, and to prepare
The Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth nodded solemnly. "I have spread the warning in as deep and innocuous a manner as I could devise. It is for the people of Earth to recognize the truth of the warning, now."
And another man spoke -- not one of the Prophets, but accorded respect among their numbers, for he was Ephan, the King of Saints. "Our ingenious friend here hid his warnings within, of all things, a game
, and stories made to accompany it. And even that aroused some suspicion from our enemies, enough that the vile horrors briefly exerted some energy in having their pawns denounce the game itself as an evil." St. Ephan paused, thoughtfully. "He and I chose different means of warning," he gave the grim figure a brief nod of acknowledgment, "mine through the sort of storybooks which are popular with the denizens of this plane." St. Ephan gestured approvingly toward the Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth. "But he has done the best that I think any Prophet could do to warn this world we visited, this 'Earth
,' of the sorts of horrors which await those who will inevitably discover the means of opening portals to other planes."
The Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth thought back over his efforts. He had appeared on this world of the Prime Material plane as an unassuming man-child, as a dreamer that no enemy ought to take seriously; and yet in that guise he had, indeed, set forth the list of horrors, and with it as complete a description as could be made in the time he had of the means of attack and defense against each, and the sort of mystical forces that might be raised against all manner of evil. His task accomplished, the Prophet had shed the unassuming form he had adopted for the task, leaving it behind as a mere corpse
, his true essence arising back to the higher planes.
St. Ephan rose from his position at the table. "My work on Earth continues; I will return to the physical body and identity I have assumed there to warn through my writing of the many means of evil
which the people of Earth will very soon face."
"Yes, naturally," the grim figure agreed. "And convey our hopes to the Prophet Clie the Fifth, who has remained on Earth in this time. But I am curious, what are the identities which you have taken for your journeys to Earth?"
St. Ephan cocked his head in amusement. "We followed the example set by yourself and your brother, Prophet Grimm
, and used variations of our real names
For the briefest of moments, the nameplate before the Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth flashed a brief difference; instead of reading "Ga'Rygyga X," the spacing and lettering shifted so that it read "Gary Gygax
." Slightly more dramatic shifts occurred on the nameplate for "St. Ephan, King
" and that of the absent "Clie V the Barker
The business of the The Council of Prophets having concluded, the hall emptied slowly. At last, the Prophet Ga'Rygyga the Tenth rose to leave as well. And in a moment of afterthought his eyes wandered to the portrait
at the end of the hall erected in memory of the last Prophet before him to erect so dire a warning for the people of Earth -- the one who, despite the grave and dreadful horrors he sought to faithfully document in the disguise of fiction, was known only as the Crafter of Love