HADESNow be easy, Smile. Take your leisure like a god on pension and don't be walking abroad. You'd only lose yourself in the Path of Black Leaves now that the trees wind like Oper, like our kingdom over there. You'd only wet your clawed feet and meet some sick old former entity, the Intrusion or the Algernon with his shoes hanging and his impure unnamed infant in his decrepit shack. 'Twould turn you against life. And the weather's that mean too. To part from this Earth is hard as Quixote knew, to leave the people worse off than their neighbours, but let your ghost have no grievance. You're better off where you are, scorched in the full of your form, remembering the thrill of the hunt better than any of us-- you'll get the whole treasure of the pyre where you are now, drinking blood with Genghis Khan. And we'll be coming here, we sombre players, to rake your gravel and bring you presents-- won't we, thespians? We will remember you through sacrifices, just as you asked. No meager roadkill but offerings of the field. Your fame is spreading like Birchman's; there's whole cultures worldwide calling names after you. The gods here are always talking of you lurking under the sacred Yggdrasil, over the bowls of memory where every hollowed holds a Hallowed. They're always admiring to our canonical law where the scratches on high are the mark of your raked monolith. All the terror anyone's ever felt, you can bet it rained down from that block. If you fall from grace and exit the underworld soiled and defiled it will only be that farmers and rhapsodists may pack up plenty and render you eternal again. "The earth-shaker," they say you are. "The God Steed, he's dead and gone now and we're fallen into rockier territory but peace to his pale limbs with the last league long rest of him while the Eye of Panopticon sweeps the Elysian Fields!" There was never a conquerer in our history, nor in anyone's history, like you, they say. That you could fell the Birchman in combat (that it almost happened long ago) and strike down the fabled Night Owl (if only that would). Who but a Rake the night of our fortunes and the feralman at the funeral to compass our cause? So may the priest of the Invisible Touch and its twelve Moonchildren never come near you as your skin grows blacker inside the fire that's in your future! Eight times we salute you! The whole Homunculi, body and soul included, is where you banished him. Your heart is in the system of the Shewolf and your crested head is in the tropic of Copricapron. Your feet are in the cloister of Virgo. Your olala is in the region of sahuls. And that's ashore as you were born. Drop in your tracks, Fossil! Be not unrested! I know thee, messenger. I know thee, salvation whisperer. For we have performed upon thee, thou abomination of Xanadu, who comest ever without being invoked, whose coming is unknown, all the things which the company of the gods ordered concerning thee in the matter of the work of thy tombing. Hill of the horsemen, sleep well!
[ HADES stands down without applause. BIRCHMAN now approaches the pyre. ]