Gemini 7. Poetry which sounds beautiful but makes no logical sense.
Many of the words had become bored with appropriate relationships and were seeking other, more illicit connections. And definitions, though they had faithfully served the words they were bound to, had, over time begun to exude a boredom that made the words contemplate the possibility of distant travels, or even short trips, but in directions that freed them from all maps. They craved to communicate something new, something that irritated the understanding, causing it to wake out of an unknown sleep. And, of course, knowing all the time that there would always be ample worlds left to the pristine beauty of their unsayability.
A game of chance offering a fabulous prize.
Entering the labyrinth of Osach is a game of chance. One takes a chance in doing so because the labyrinth is constantly changing shape. Above ground it is a hedge maze, but in its corridors one finds many stairs at various places descending into the ground, and if one descends them by lantern light one finds below another maze with other stairs down to other levels – no one knows how many levels there are – there number probably varies as the labyrinth itself does, constantly.
But the labyrinth is kind – everyone escapes eventually, some in hours, other in days, or even years. Once you enter the labyrinth there is no need for sleep, or food, or water – the only need anyone feels there is the need to escape, and sometimes as they search for a way out they happen to find things: the prizes.
One man found a ruby the size of an egg. Another found a flower that spoke, though none but he could hear it. It told him how to make elixirs out of stars. Another found a diamond that melted as soon as he found his way out of the labyrinth. He never realized what suffering he would have experienced had the diamond not melted – and, in fact, many people brought things out of the labyrinth that they deemed worthless, not being able to recognize the preciousness of what they had received from it.
Scholars still speculate as to whether or not the labyrinth of Osach had been designed by anyone, or if it had miraculously given birth to itself. It had just appeared one day as a small room with hedge walls, and grew from there, becoming larger and larger until the populace feared it might take over all of Aab. Eventually, though, it stopped growing on the surface – that’s when the stairs began to appear.
Some of the wise think it a living being, a demon. Others an angel. Some who escape from it find themselves anxious to go back the moment they leave it. Others who escape shun it and refuse to speak of it. Irnad calls it The Temple of Jokan, God of Humor.