He frowned, too. “After the end of the Profusion came the wars between the cities, a period of tyranny, slavery, and madness. And in those wars a man arose, a great captain fighting for one of the tyrant-kings. But he became so sickened by his conquests that he left his army and wandered alone in the mountains. He lost himself there, forgetting his own name.
He wandered until he found a valley, where there lived herds of mastodons like that used in fighting, but here wars had never come. He would have remained alone in that place, but dreamed of a white city, untouched by the wars of machines and men. He knew then that he had been delivered for a purpose, and left that valley. Wandering again, he was gored by a smilodon, so that he nearly died.
Yet there opened to him in that place a Well of Healing, one of the last of its kind. After three days and nights lying within it, he stood, as well as he had ever been. He looked out from a plateau across a broad valley. And when he saw its white stone, he decided that he would build his city here, and name it Ariel. He left then to make war on the tyrants themselves, and free the people of every city. And when he formed his army they named him Faith, for they trusted him. But standing before them he vowed that no Profusionist weapon or machine would ever enter Ariel. His city would heal, and only heal.”
I waited. He sat on another one of the casks and clasped his hands.
“I have never liked that story,” he finally said. “It contains evasions. I woke a spikeship, for example, beneath the city Temple.” My eyes widened. “The one I sent to you on Earth,” he added quickly. “None other was ever found.”
“I’ve always been a non-fiction girl myself,” I said. “Communication was my function as an officer.”
He nodded again. “You have an army and no weaponry. You will find none in Ariel. But to the south lie all the fields of battle of the war that claimed this world, and all the equipment you will ever need. But it is defended by those you call the Augers.”