This is an original work caleld "The City". A futuristic Orwellian society on the brink of revolution. Any and all feedback welcome. He could feel himself being drawn out of the knowledge of all things. He perceived that his being and thought and memory were a swirling mass that was beginning to gather cohesion, and then he was aware of his existence. Through the rushing mist of his garbled senses he detected a physical form being given to house his being. Time continued to pass, and as it inched by, memories he had in a prior existence began to merge with what little he knew now. When a critical mass of knowledge was reached he began to understand where he was, what he was, and what was happening to him: He was being re-risen. His sight was restored and light painfully burst upon him. At first he only interpreted base light, blinding in some regions and dark in others. Soon, color streamed into his eyes from the images he saw. Objects near him began to trigger memories, and he perceived that he was in a square room full of beds. The face of a greeter was before his and he cried out in fear of the unknown as he was afraid of encountering another being of unknown intention. The greeter extended a warm hand, a woman’s hand, with gentle fingers. “You have been re-risen my friend, my brother.” The sound seeped into Monre’s mind, not through his ears, but directly into his brain as a thought wave, and short ranged. Her lips did not move, but the ideas came to his mind. The greeters thought speech was sweet and cooling to him. She stared at him through a silver pair of lenses that mostly covered her eyes, hiding her pupils. They wrapped across her face and were mounted to the sides of her head where her black hairline met her temples. The greeter smiled at him. He now recalled the purpose of the greeters and that he would be safe, and more importantly who he was. The greeter spoke again, welcoming him. “You are in your own time, and have returned much as you were before. You have come back to us unharmed and soon will know everything again.” “What happened to me?” he thought loudly. He had a sharp headache and put his hand on the back of his head where the pain seemed to be greatest. The touch of the two body parts felt unusual to one another. “Was I? Why was I reprocessed?” he continued while examining his surroundings. He was in a room that he had inspected before and knew it intimately; at molecular intimacy, it was a greeting room of the Central Riser, where he had previously worked as a molecular repairman. But that was before. He felt a bed underneath him, firm and warm, he had the feeling that he had just been born and the greeter was his mother. He felt as a baby though he hadn’t ever seen one. He had never before understood the need for the greeters and the soft ambiance of the greeting rooms, until now, and he was calmed. The greet thought warmly into his mind, “Monroe. I am very sorry. Even we are not sure what happened to you or what the cause of it was, but….you passed on from life….” Her voice trailed off unsure of itself. “How did I die? Did someone dispose me?” Monroe thought hard locally in his own mind, but the greeter only stared at him sadly. The majority of his former memory was quickly being recovered and then he perceived a mental bridge within his own thoughts. The bridge crossed a chasm of darkness to the knowledge of all things and the name of the bridge was Cenipross. Like a path found unlooked for in a deepening jungle at nightfall that would return a nervous wonderer back to their camp he desired to follow where it led. He requested cerebrally a list of the first one hundred prime numbers. The request was routed across Cenipross to the Idabase on the other side of the bridge and back again with the data returned almost instantaneously. The numbers flashed before his senses and he checked them all very quickly. He touched hands to his eyes and felt his own lenses resting on the bridge of his nose, and a spectrum of colors fled through his vision as he touched them with his seeking fingers. The lenses were transmitting all his senses to the Idabase as mental records: all sight, sound, feeling, and above all, he perceived them recording his very thought. He felt his mental capacity growing, and he felt the muscles in his body eager for movement. “Cenipross.”, Monroe made a second request and attempted to stand, “Please provide a summary for the cause of my death.” A wall of psychic power broke over him and he stumbled as it rattled the inside of his mind, “A platform failed to transport you safely. You fell to your death from your balcony.” Cenipross presented to his mind an accompanying moving image of his fall, and he saw it vividly. The greeter cut off the mental image with her own thought wave. “You will not find a reason why the platform failed. The platform was actually never requested. Hundreds of thousands of people are transported through out the city every day using the platforms and without accident, but you stepped off your balcony and fell without triggering it to transport you. We…believe you did not, or could not, make the request…and possibly this was…intentional. We could not understand this…other than to suspect a….” “A suicide?” he was aghast. Suicide was uncommon in The City, mostly people who required a new body but were denied due to not having the ability to pay for it. They would make the suicide attempt hoping to be provided a new body by Cenipress. Monroe could see his numerical worth displayed in the upper left corner of his visual field: 38998218932. He clearly had the funds to pay for a new body. “That is not a reasonable explanation.” He responded, appealing to a logical conclusion. “Of course it isn’t, and only your prior self will be able offer an answer. The Idabase contains no information about a motive for your actions. You have been satisfied with your body, yes?” he nodded in response to the obvious question. “Then the cause of your death will remain unknown. Enough of our speculations, your new mind is needful, and you must rest.“ The Greeter reached for his shoulders and with a graceful touch returned him back to his bed. “Well, yes…you are right. I am…very tired, I want to…to…” Monroe began to lose himself, the greeter opened her mind and a song of incredible beauty and rhythm came to his psyche as a thought wave of soothing elegance. Fatigue stole over him and his vision began to blur. Soon he lay back and fell into a deep sleep. During the next awakening Monroe began contemplating the events that led up to his death. He walked in the green brick gardens beneath one of the great buildings made of indestructible, yet light and transparent glastic that housed his sleeping quarters. He searched the gardens looking for his body. Meanwhile, he scanned through his final memories and froze each of them, considering them carefully, playing his thoughts again and again, trying to detect any reason for his apparent suicide. Partly he was interested, partly Cenipross would expect him to want to recollect and discover the answer; Cenipross had given him a number of awakenings to relive the final events of his previous life without requiring Monroe to report back to performing inspections at the Central Riser. He thought of his previous communal dreams and the memories frightened him slightly. It was not all thoughts of brightly scented flowers he remembered during the dreams but certainly nothing remained in them that would give rise to his self-destruction. It was clear from the images from Cenipross that he had woken up from the communal dream and committed the act of alledge suicide that wakening. He approached the grove of green brick far beneath his balcony and peered into an enclosure. His crumpled body lay between two green brick walls that lined the grove. Cenipross had not requested that his former body be removed. The body had been left for Monroe to investigate and also to pay his respects. To look upon one’s flesh that used to house the mind usually would trigger a sense of homage and Monroe stooped to look at his own face. He noticed the scar on the right side of the forehead that he never had removed, and he reach to touch his hair. The thin black strands looked and felt strangely unfamiliar even though they had been his. Though a number of wakenings had past since his death, his body remained unspoiled by microscopic life, bacteria having long been replaced by organic microbes designed and controlled by Cenipross. The face before him, with its closed eyes remained fresh and the body did not smell of rot.. Monroe had noticed quickly that he had died lensless and he searched the ground for his lenses in the grove briefly to see where they might have fallen. After a few minutes of searching he wondered if there was one to be found especially since if he had died with his lenses on Cenipross would have a detailed record of the events leading up to his plunge. He glanced up into the sky. The public sleeping quarters seemed to bend as it rose some seventy stories high. He entertained a moment of annoyance at his former-self. “Why would I remove my lenses?” Monroe thought. “Why would I try to hide the reason for my own death from myself by not chronicling it?” the thought bothered him. The Idabase returned nothing. Monroe opened a feed channel with his great grandfather Jason, whose advice he would count upon in times like these. “Maybe you were murdered” answered Jason. “and this is the reason for the hidden motive”. Jason was among the unliving and had not being re-risen although Monroe had entertained the idea of doing so many times. Jason existed alone and formless; an entity of thought and memory who’s being was held together by Centipross. His essence was stored as data suspended in the Idabase waiting for a request to express itself as a thought among the living. Monroe supposed that it was an uncomfortable way to exist, though he could not recall his own experience of existing in this state a few days before. Anyway, he hadn’t the financial means to bring every single member of his family tree back to life; Jason’s DNA was stored safely in the Idabase and he could be brought back at any point in the future. Still, Monroe felt a twinge of guilt. Monroe clearly did not agree, or want to agree, with Jason’s theory on his untimely end resulting from a murder. “And yet here I am, the product of a failed attempt?” Monroe retorted. “What is the purpose of killing those who can be easily re-risen? What gain would a murderer have to push me to my death only for Cenipross to remake me in a new body? Only the knowledge of my painful impact would benefit such a person, and if caught they would be punished severely.” “Then suicide it is”, Jason responded to Monroe trying to keep him from fretting. “and why bother with it then?…maybe you just wanted to try death for a change.” Monroe stood and took his gaze off his former body. “Cenipross, I’m finished, please clean this up.” Immediately, the form on the ground began to shimmer and slowly it was unmade, its atoms scoured by microbes returning it to less than dust. Later that evening Monroe returned to his quarters. He entered his room after being borne around The City on one of the personal energy transports, while contemplating the wreckage of his past life. His thoughts strayed to the new body he had obtained, and he caught his own gaze in a long wide mirror. He stopped and turned, removing his lenses. His eyes were bright blue, and he lingered closely to the mirror with his nose almost touching the polished surface. “My eyes”, he beheld the blueness of his eyes for the very first time. They we very light and very blue, like the color of the ancient sky. Cenipross had remade him perfectly, an exact copy of himself, restored via his recorded DNA sequence, pulled from the Idabase during his making in the Central Riser. Trillions of calculations had made him what he was, but as for memory, only the memories he had while wearing the lenses remained. But that was most of them, even as a child. The only forgotten memories would be ones like these, spent eyeballing himself in the mirror lensless; unrecorded moments. Never again would he hold this thought, this idea of the present, unless he remembered it himself and in this life. His natural eyes focused on the lenses, the glastro-lenses, that he held in his hands. They had changed everything; they had reinvented communication and provided the Idabase a vast amount of knowledge that was eventually used to catalogue all knowledge and all thought. They had changed change; they knew everything…except the reason for his own death. Suddenly he noticed in the mirror that a curtain shivered behind him. The French doors that led to the balcony were open and a gentle draft was entering the room; he wondered deeply at this as it was his habit to have them closed at all times. A feeling of violation stole over his mind which was visible on his cheeks and his temples twitched. He put his glastro-lenses back on. The tools for extracting all knowledge flashed in his mind, reaching out to be used, and he re-opened the feed with Jason. “Is it possible that you were not yourself somehow at the point at which you…fell?” Jason, ever helpfully speculated on the situation. “Or maybe I was not alone in my quarters after all….” Monroe pulled a diagram of his quarters into his mind providing granular details of every inch of his living space. Physical objects in the room of the tiniest size pulsed out their location on the grid before his mind, even those hidden from view, located inside cabinets, around corners, in the shadows……Monroe scanned the outside of the balcony as he carefully moved to stand between the French Doors that opened before it. Surprised, he found no evidence of intrusion. Only his hand prints could be detected, and most of those were on the balcony railing. He went through the doors and stepped onto the balcony moving toward the railing. He put his palms over his final set of hand prints he made before he fell, contemplating. His eyes passed over the skyline; he had always found it beautiful and spent many quiet moments before it on the balcony. The City was the world. Its edge was an oval dome of grey metallic, the skywall; it was ever shimmering from the light of a thousand skylamps floating high above. The far reaches of the skywall surrounded The City, hedging it in from what was on the other side, a vast nothingness that was unending, and some believed not even that much. The skywall swept around the entire metropolis in a huge circle, and above it was a cap upon the ceiling of the world. None who lived still remember the curtain of grey being pulled across The City a thousand years ago, and even the memories from the Idabase were few. In the center, stretching the height of the sky was a great column of power: this was Cenipross. A jagged cylinder of silent grey, it rose from a wide base of a circular half-mile to the apex of the sky. Along its height it tapered in width and was rooted to the top of the skydome that hung over the world. A strange power emanated from Centipross that could be half-felt and half-heard like a spectrum of deep wrong notes being played by the atoms from which it was made. The vibration was lower in pitch at the base than that which came down from its height, and this rumbling opus was the first of all sounds that the people felt spoken in the depths of the wombs of their mothers. About its base were hundreds of smaller buildings, and thousands of citizens weaved about them and past one another. They were borne by the energy transport platforms all sorted like ancient mail to their destination within the buzzing human enclosure, their path calculated perfectly by Cenipross to avoid collision. So it was that Centipross formed the dark spine of The City and held its sky-shade in place and was the over-protector of all the citizens: living, dead, and the re-risen. Monroe looked from the balcony over The City for a number of minutes thoughtlessly, then Monroe thought again of the riddle of his death. “Cenipross, please provide all lensic records that were captured in my quarters in the past week.” Cenipross returned the query result from the Idabase to him instantly. The only memory data recorded in Monroe’s quarters were of him taking a shower, looking over the skyline and a host of uneventful activities. The last visual record was of him removing his lenses in the mirror, twenty minutes before his plunge. What had happened in those unrecorded minutes? Monroe dropped his gaze from the vista and leaned over the glastic edge of the balcony analyzing the exact location of the grove where he had fallen. Before his eyes his glastro-lense mapped the trajectory he would have fallen downward, flinging a blue arc across his field of vision. It was calculated given the air speed on the day of his fall within the nine seconds of his decent to the ground. The arc descended and intersected with the ground ten feet short of where his body impacted in the grove. He could not have simply fallen off the balcony the way he had suspected, or have been pushed. At first he was downcast, then, determined. Monroe performed a second calculation of his fall. He mapped his trajectory assuming a running leap of maximum distance off the balcony given his physical condition. The blue arc pulsed and shot downward through the air becoming longer this time as it extended farther away from the building. The location it pinpointed on the ground was exactly within the area he impacted. “I leapt off the balcony?” he wondered? This was an encroaching fact that eliminated the possibility of murder, or accident and possibility, he speculated, it may have been a clue he had left for himself to find. He did not think this thought very loudly, for his possible intentions were starting to frighten him. Had he something to hide from Centipross? To make an ending for oneself with such resolve was a definite clue to his state of mind at the time. But what unrecorded event could he have witnessed or, perhaps, what thought, to cause such an extreme reaction? Monroe queried more data from the Idabase requesting his emotional records, air pressure changes inside of his quarters during those blind twenty minutes and any suspicious activities occurring in the building that day. None of the queries produced any meaningful explanations. Eventually fatigue began to sabotage his investigative efforts and he resolved to continue the following wakening and he began his pre-sleep routine. Afterwards, he approached his mantle above a glastic fireplace and opened his lens box. He removed the lenses from his face and was depositing them in the box when he felt something inside. On closer inspections he found a single sheet of paper at the bottom of the box. He had chanced to touch its edge. Now he picked it up and looked at it turning it over to the proper side. It was a letter, written with a crude instrument and comprised of markings of an ancient language. His hands shook as he opened the letter fearing he had finally been discovered in some unspeakable act he could not recall but suspected he committed. Dear Monroe, This is a letter you have written to yourself. Because you have found it your greatest hope has been restored. It means that you have had the courage to take your own life. Since you have found the letter before anyone else it is cause for great celebration. You wrote it lensless just before your death to avoid its existence being revealed when your memory repository was processed during in the night. Because you, meaning I, am dead this secret will die with us and will not be revealed this night and never will be if you are careful. But you are also in the greatest danger imaginable. Monroe, there is another secret that your death prevented from being discovered. A secret so dark that should it be made known, you will surely be cast out of the city, and thus the world and your very essence will be purged from all recollection. Something was revealed to you, and was recorded by your lenses today that could destroy Cenipross. It would have been with elation that you leapt off the balcony because the secret you held in your memory would never be scrubbed clean and exposed and so it has a chance of success. There is no need to reveal it here, for you will be contacted soon by others who share our fate. It is very important for you to not view this letter through your lenses. If Cenipross were aware of its existence it would be quickly be destroyed and I fear you would be exiled from The City. You must destroy this letter and as quickly as you can. Continue studying this ritual language without your lenses; you will need to be able to use it fluently before Cenipross can finally be disposed. Monroe read the letter many times over for his knowledge of ritual markings was rudimentary as all use of the ritual language were restricted by the ancient copyrights. It was clear that the author had claimed to be himself but the knowledge of the ritual wording far exceeded his own understanding. “Why would I have lost my skill of language from simply being reprocessed?” he pondered. “Could it be that I spent many hours, alone in my quarters in study lens-less?” His gaze shifted warily around his sleeping quarters, he opened drawers and cabinets looking for evidences of private study. Finding nothing after a number of minutes of searching he sat on his bed. Possibly, he had hidden materials, or maybe Cenipross had simply swept his mind clean of it while he was being reprocessed. In that case Cenipross may know something is afoot. Monroe began to feel sick. The language in the letter made him suspicious. Could agents of Cenipross have written the letter suspecting him of treasonous thought in an attempt to snare him? He yearned to put on his lenses and query the Idabase and discover the truth. The hunger for knowledge knawed at his innards and he shook for he risked revealing the contents of the letter, so powerful and loud were his thoughts of it. He decided to go another way. He strode across the room to where his lenses sat on the mantle and began to rehearse the thoughts he would think as cover after he put them on. He put the letter into his mouth and chewed. He had never tasted paper before, and he questioned whether he was able to digest anything, let alone paper, and swallowed a number of times deeply. The words slid down his throat. He reached for his lenses and made ready to attach them to his face. He took a deep breath, cleared his mind (or at least attempted to muffle his mental memory of the letter) and put them on. His senses were immediately overcome by a dazzling overload of information. He detected the familiar thoughts of all those within a mile of his location, many were engaged in a complex set of calculations. Once again the knowledge of everything was at his mental fingertips but there was only one thing he really wanted to know. “Cenipross, please provide a list of the IDs of all those who have ended there own lives in the past forty eight hours.” There was only one name returned on the resulting list that was not his. “Chaiberry at 2386294? Well that explains a lot!” the connection to Jason was still active. “He is nothing but trouble, oh, I suppose you can think with him without harm, but The City is a strange place these days. People are suspicious of him, probably a genetic problem people are slowly discovering.” and he added “He changes bodies frequently.” “To commiserate with him.” replied Monroe hiding his true purpose. “What?” “To sit and be with others like myself, who have taken there own lives and to learn the reasons for their despair. That is why I did the search”, Monroe desperately needed a cover and this one seemed as likely as any. Although Jason was his fathers’ fathers’ father, he could still be bent to Cenipross’ will. “I suppose he will also be happy to see you then….like needs like”, Jason could only speculate on this subject, like most others. “Yes, I ….” Monroe began but he was interrupted by a knock at the door. That was unusual; rarely did an unannounced visitor physically knock at Monroe’s door. And he was wary and fearful of anyone who would act in such a manner. Monroe walked purposefully to the door and tossed it open, half expecting to see a host of enforcement troops ready to take him away…he had been discovered after all. His intentions, unknown to himself, had been exposed. Standing at the door was a man, his grey Navitek vest, much like all the rest of the citizens of The City, seemed unkept and scratched. His face was hollow and he walked with a stoop from lack of use of his body. His lenses pulsed a green brilliance. “I am Chaiberry…I believe you are in need of…..” he paused and leaned toward Monroe and thought quietly “of…commiseration. And I know the perfect place at the perfect time.” Excitement began to build in Monroe’s heart as a dammed river would rise as he approached the meeting place where Chaiberry had directed him: a towering square building. Its high lofty corners pitched over and thrust out talons like those from some ancient beast. It was pure white. It had a shining set of engraved exterior walls that had long since outlasted the chisels that once cut them and they displayed gloriously. They were carved by skilled and forgotten hands by a long dead people. Those risen called it the Gravehouse and it stood on an earthen bed of blue-green grass; a billion identical blades all curving outward in a great lawn the edge of it hedged in by a running circle of green foliage. It had a single parting of great sycamore trees for an entrance to the open space. Through its midst a cobblestone path was drawn, weaving in an arc toward the door, parting the grass on either side as it wound. Monroe padded along the path conscious of his footfalls, and in the wide open space he could be easily sighted. All the more reason to meet here, and in public, for a private place might arouse suspicion. In the gloomy dimmed torchlight of the public Gravehouse, with a short grain of luck, only the un-risen, Chaiberry and the members of the secret gathering would be present. Monroe ascended the grand steps, their ancient edges still crisp from want of visitors, yet unkept of maple leaves. He reviewed the announcement of the construction of the building that came many generations before him. Cenipross - “We will make an offering to our posterity, a Great Gravehouse, to mourn and honor the memories of those who went before us.” It came as a mindcast so all in The City could hear. The City was still young then and since those years the Gravehouse failed to house the great and grand, but rather the unknown and un-risen. Among the long forgotten dead the secret gathering would have had little fear that a visitor would disturb them by wondering inside; it was hard to mourn the dead when they can be so easily re-risen. The dead of the Grave-house were worse than dead, they had fallen out of memory of those surviving and were never to be remembered. They were stacked in high marble coffin columns flowing up to the top of the structure leaving wide corridors at the bottom for family and historians and the bearers of the dead to navigate. A footfall rounded many corners when taken, if any feet were now walking. As it were, none were, except his own. He placed his right hand over the lenses and with a deft twist removed them from his face. As Monroe followed the main hallway he could see its end in the low light distance. Some twenty wary people stood inside, their glastro-lenses dangling unused at their sides. The silence of the room was broken only by their quiet shuffling that never strayed above a ritual whisper, and all stood in a makeshift circle. They shifted their gaze at one another eerily not fully trusting their part in the gathering which added to the unease of it all. They were revulsionists, young and old, male and female but seemingly all waiting for someone to act, to direct, for they all had lost the ability to speak in words and with their mouth in the ritual speech of old. Monroe came and took his place beside two young women. He was nervous in the group. He had never seen the eyes of another person in The City before. He felt slightly ashamed to look at his own blue eyes in a locked bathroom in sleeping quarters, but the sight of some twenty shifting and wiggling eyes in the Gravehouse unnerved him, and he was glad for the dimness. At the same time there was freedom in facing common shame, like people stripping off their clothes in unison to frolic free in a meadow. An old woman came forward to stand in the center of the group, her face brightened by a strange inner light. She turned to face them and clasped her hands together at her mouth, seeming to kiss them slightly as she looked fondly out at the group. She had no fear of the moving eyes in the heads of the people. She was one of the many survivors of the Mother’s War and not reprocessed since then. There were scars on her abdomen as punishment for her participation but they were hidden by her grey Navitek vest that all the people of The City wore; but the lines on her face showed her scars more clearly, and she was denied another body by Cenipross. There was a strange kind of the energy in the room, the kind that is felt by those making history. They were all holding the secret seed of desire for change in their very mouths and they wanted to share it but could not…but they were unable to share it TOGETHER…and only in aloneness did they share togetherness of plight. They were all by themselves as a brief and passing community and they were re-discovering themselves by discovering each other for the very first time in a thousand years. It was difficult to compress their excitement in the total silence and they all yearned to open their mouths to shout slogans of uprising. They were experiencing true connectedness, a common purpose and a desire to continue the journey on which fate had set them. They all faced each other in full Domatic uniform but without their usual constriction of spirit and their great silence was shared openly. There was a feeling of scratching in ancient dirt for years in vain, only to one day find a giant iron plate just below the surface and breathing great wonder at what may lie underneath. Their gathering of silent lenses pupils was an act of boldness and revolution. Many in the group shifted their eyes to the entrance and sometimes they flickered to the ceiling wondering if Cenipross would learn of them. The excitement was fading and fear was beginning to set in. And then the meeting was over as suddenly as it began, one by one their feet shuffled towards the entrance. The first step in their great journey as a dissenting people had begun. Monroe was one of the first to leave. As he stepped down the entrance steps a light fluttering came to his heart as he bent forward to carefully reset his lenses. As the lenses came over his eyes he brought in the knowledge of the world. An overwhelming amount of ideas, thoughts, images, and virtual sounds overwhelmed him. A public sport fight was underway, and he realized that the gathering’s ruse would work. A huge amount of processing was happening, the changes in bets and the calculations of the virtual onlookers overwhelmed The City's mental capacity. Cyberic cheers mounted from those who were winning and other virtual calls of anger roared over his mind. Monroe leapt into the psychic fray analyzing the fight as one of the crowd. There was no chance that Cenipross would have detected their absences, they entered a crowd of onlookers, the perfect diversion had indeed materialized. He scanned the mental consciousness of the citizenry to detect a hint of hesitation or suspicion, but could find none. All of the other revulsionists were under successful concealment. In the far reaches of the mental human uniformity Monroe detected slight blips that indicated new consciousness coming on-line: some of the revulsionists would were readjusting their glastro-lenses no doubt. Monroe smiled for the first time in many years, since before he could remember. Ritual speech would return to The City and break the ancient copyrights with a hammer of sound, but the first step was silence of the mind, and removal of the lenses. But he perceived the future, a nation of songs, and chants, and long stories filled with dancing. Change blew the maple leaves across his feet as he crept down the step of the Gravehouse and it scattered ideas all around his wondering mind. He could sense ideological uprising coming, revolution, and then perhaps if his side were strong enough…war. The struggle of thought was ending its beginning but the road to a final victory would be long. Rising high in the distance was Cenipross, a physical column of power to house its greatness, thrusting upwards and supporting the sky with its might, making small all the buildings of The City that surrounded it. But Monroe had no doubt in his mind, that at the end, he himself would cut and hew that column, that tree of power, that held his people in chains, chained to mortal existence, to be re-risen over and over and forever, never to discover what lay beyond life or what lay beyond the skywall.