Now as the sweet voice of the boy lapped against her ears, the Empress felt a swoon overtake her, and her eyesight became distant and unfocused. When again she could see, she was in the midst of a Vision, something not of herself or her imagination, but true to her completely.

She was standing alone before a mirror, in a room filled with whiteness and the purest light. Her dress was the color of lilacs soaked in heavy cream. Her skin seemed fragile, blue veins shown along the crease of her jaw. On her brow was set a single gem, a sapphire, and as she gazed on the sapphire through the mirror, she saw the reflection of her reflection in the gem, and it seemed to her that the reflection of herself in the gem was clearer than the reflection of herself in the mirror, although the former was within the later.

She focused on the smaller reflection, and saw that in this image, an emerald was fixed the her brow, rather than a sapphire. And in this emerald was yet another reflection of herself, clearer that that which surrounded it. She focused on the image in the emerald, and saw another reflection of herself, this time with a ruby glinting brightly in the center of her forehead. And in the ruby was an even clearer reflection, which she focused on.

Now, she saw a diamond on her brow, and in this diamond was an image clearer than all that framed it, but this image was not the same as the others. In the diamond was a vision, a vision of her standing atop a rock rising out of a tremendous sea. In this image, she was naked and her hair was long, sweeping against the waves and keeping the waters from splashing on her skin.

In her hands in this vision was held a single, luminous grain of sand. She watched herself watch this sand’s luminosities. Something was being revealed through these lights. She looked upon the grain directly, and saw the Thousands, Immutable, and they were mutating, and within them she saw a single flaw, a single, miniscule flaw.

This flaw she focused on, for it was the clearest thing in all the sequence of her Vision. She focused on this flaw, and saw that it was of herself.

She raised her hand to touch it, but it fled from her, transforming itself into a flower that could not be touched. The Empress, chasing, transformed herself into a ray of light, and was about to absorb into the petals of the flower when the flower changed itself into a breeze which could not be struck by any light. So she took the form of a heavy sphere, and pulled the flaw towards herself by the force of her gravitation.

The flaw, falling, transformed itself into a shooting star, so that, by token of its falling, it would evaporate into smaller and smaller fractions, undetectable. In turn, the Empress became an eye, and caught the shooting star in her sight, and excreted this sight it into a tear. And when this tear was shed, she put it to her lips, and was thuswise able to taste it.

What she did taste was a secret, known only to her. A secret which she at once put into effect, creating out of it a new and beautiful gem, a jewel the world had not yet known.

She took this gem, and expounded upon it, until it was the dimensions of the grain of sand. Then she expounded upon it more, until it filled the entirety of the vision in the diamond. Onward she expounded, filling the reflection in the ruby, and then the emerald, until at last she expounded the new jewel to encompass the reflection in the sapphire, and then the mirror, and then the Vision entire.

It was then, the new jewel cultivated beyond the bounds of the Vision, that the Vision came to an end. When the Empress looked up, she saw in her hand a minute grain, whitish and silver and iridescent. The boy’s song had ended, leaving them once more to enjoy the suffuse movements of the trees and birds.