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Chapter 17


It was evening when we arrived at Imihsuf.  The road from the station goes past small shops, now closed, and snakes up the mountain towards the Great Shrine.

Here they worship the fox.  And here, at the great gate, there are a two foxes that keep watch.  Sitting on their haunches they stand taller than a grown man.  One holds the jewel of wisdom encircled by his fangs.  In the jaws of the other is the scroll that contains the secret to his teachings.

Foxes are not dogs and they don't easily give their treasure away.  It must be bought or earned.  And so the businesses of Otoyk pay handsomely.  For each, there is a red gate erected on the mountain.  The gates, built of hopes and dreams, create paths and tunnels that wind up to the summit.

As night fell, we dove through the gates, climbing the mountain.  We numbered 8 and for a while I walked by a friend named "Wishes-come-true."

There are many stories of the mountain, stories of fox's tricks, stories of men and women possessed who tell fortunes, and stories of those who seeking possessions.

We reached a clearing in the trail.  Looking out beyond the trees, the darkness of sky met the darkness of earth.  The fox was playing a trick.  What was once earth, dark and silent, was filled with lights like stars.  What was once a sky bright with moving celestial bodies was now only a paste of pale grey black.

We summited, entering a small shrine with a small mirror high in the boughs of the roof, paid our respects, and descended.  We descended into space, black and filled with burning globes, satellites, and buzzing rockets.