He placed a hand again upon my shoulder. “It is so, though not as you say. Their flesh had gone, and their minds been corrupted. These you see were truly never born, though the children of the Profusion were. These were not children. They are not men as you understand them. They are the whole without its parts. Their bodies have been grown.”
I surveyed the wood with him a while, breathing in the sharp, cold air and lost in thought. “The machines of the White Swarm,” I said. “The night the city fell, they defeated the machines of the ancient dead, that were called the Blood of History. That was my cult, my addiction.”
“The White Swarm adds to itself the minds of other machines, and turns them toward its purpose. That is some of their power. In you, they met the machines you name.”
“But don’t you see? In my dream I was a woman named History. It was her blood, in the beginning. My dream was her memory. She wanted to share her mind. She created them, didn’t she? She created the machines that remembered the lives of the ancient dead. Thousands of years ago, she created the machines that house the memories the Never-born now carry.”
“She was your mother,” he said, and left.
I realized that my arm, just as he had said, was healed.