Once, in a neighboring galaxy, not so long ago, in the space between two sister stars, there spun a station.
It was a station like any other. Many different peoples passed through on their way to other realms, whether for pleasure, profit, or other deeper purposes. Many lived and worked upon the station. Some never ventured beyond the unseen boundaries of the station’s space.
But there came a time when the station took upon itself the burden and the honor of hosting a most profound and prestigious feast. A feast that would celebrate a long-sought but fragile new peace between the peoples of a nearby world.
Among the many workers who would provide delights to the guests was an unrenowned cook who won a contest to prepare a dish for the feast.
He was a stellar elf, whose family had lived upon the station but for one generation. And his name was Fiorenzo.
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The story will be told by the young and by the old, many times this night, of the nine gods in masquerade. And it seems to me, that most of these storytellers have only pieces of a greater puzzle.
The masquerade is an ancient custom, they say. They all say that. And that part is right.
It’s the one night when the gods, in disguise, walk among the mortals, they say.
We all know there’s no such things as gods. Only ancestors, some of whom knew more and better than we do, and some of whom knew less and worse.
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“By accepting this challenge when you are so obviously unready for it, you are jeopardizing the peace meal—“
“No, you’re jeopardizing the peace meal,” Jae said, as she took a step toward her challenger. “By your obvious poor example of what peace means. There is no graciousness or humility in your demeanor. There is no generosity or compromise in your attitude toward those who have been chosen—or even those who did the choosing. By questioning me, you are questioning, doubting, and disrespecting those who chose me.”
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The king is the hound and the hound is the king.
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The feasters come and eat, but they don’t suspect a thing.
It’s a feast like none they’ve seen, a spectacular repast.
They never e’er suspect that the meal will be their last.