City of Glass
Walking back along the shores of the lake, you look forward to returning to your little study in the town. You miss the most basic
things you once took for granted before your quest began: the apple orchard, the local farm shop, the friendly blacksmith
hammering away near the town gate, the cherry trees and the garden by the pond. You miss certain books, tomes of ancient lore
over which you have pondered many a weary midnight.

As the sun rises, however, you begin to realise that things are not what you expected. Have you taken a wrong turning? No, you
recognise the rocks out at sea, though they look somehow different, smaller fragments than before, as if they have begun to
dissolve in the sea. The air seems less fresh than before, and where is the dawn chorus you once knew so well? The dawn is a
fiery-red, but in an alien way. The Sun is weak, shrouded in haze. Reaching the summit of the headland a disturbing scene awaits
you. You have been to the Western Isles where time runs its own course and upon returning East you realise that many centuries
have passed.

The grasses, meadows and the trees have all gone! Save a few greying and broken skeletons of deadwood. The land is littered
with rusting metal and concrete and the cold shells of functional industrial units. Fences and barriers carve up the wasteland.
Beyond this desolate scape is a populace city indeed! Tens of thousands of people crammed into small housing units, like cells,
piled on top of one-another. They sleep only a few hours, for already many have been awoken and already many labour to keep
the city functioning. Tending to computer systems which dictate their routines. Their minds, like the computers they work upon
execute programs that, if truth was told, benefit the few. They have no reprieve, little chance of space to rest, grow and be, and only
then for a few days each year, year after year. Seldom are they able to think of anything but the programs that execute inside their
brains. They dare not falter, for they are the 'lucky ones'. Thousands sleep on concrete in cold streets, or in the sewers, and
thousand die upon those cold streets, year after year. If they fail then they are deprived of food and shelter by the system that
shapes and controls their lives. Indeed, the city authorities have given themselves the right to decide who lives and who dies. The
people believe they must live like this, for most of them know nothing of life outside the city, nothing of the ancient wonders that you
have glimpsed - nothing of the green gold. They are made to believe that there is no better way.

Once the land belonged to the people, to the tribes that dwelt here. Serious conflicts were few and far between. Then came the
metals. As the trade routes grew, so did the power of those who controlled them. These warlords became known as the 'elite', as
higher and greater than the rest. But, where are they now?

Do you recall the dream of Myrddin's sister, Gwenddydd?
'My true brother and friend, of a night in my sleep I thought for certain within myself that I was standing on a
great wide field which I saw full of stone cairns small in size and a few big cairns amongst the small ones. And I
could see great numbers of peoples gathering the stones from the small cairns and casting them into the big
ones without a pause. And yet in spite of this I could not see either the small cairns becoming smaller, however
much I could see the peoples gathering from them, or the big cairns becoming bigger, however great the
assiduity with which I could see the peoples collecting the stones from the small cairns and casting them into
the big cairns. And with the marvel of the dream I awoke; but verily I cannot let the marvel of the dream out of
my memory'.

'Gwenddydd and my dearest sister, do not marvel too much at thy vision, for no harm will come to thee from it.
And be it known to thee that the field thou sawest represents this island. And the small cairns represent the
husbandmen of the kingdom and its labourers of each and every grade who live lawfully and win their
livelihood by the labour of their bodies, and who place their trust in God alone. And the big cairns represent
the chiefs of the kingdom of each and every grade. And the people though sawest gathering the stones from
the small cairns and casting them into the big ones, represent the servants of the noblemen who are and
always will be ready to keep their servants to take the wealth of the labourers and the husbandmen without
ceasing for ever, sometimes under pretence or semblance of the offices of the law, sometimes by force,
sometimes by stealth.'

Chronicle of Elis Gruffudd, 16th century.
So it was forseen that the people would always suffer under a heavy yoke placed upon them by the few. It was also forseen that
the law would be an instrument that chiefly served the few at the expense of the many, despite its pretenses. It was not always so.
Tribes had their chieftains but inequity was slight. However, when new resources were discovered that only a few could
monopolise then inequity was truly born and with it abuse of power. Where there is inequity in wealth there is abuse of power, and
where there is abuse of power there is inequity in wealth. For thousands of years a few have grappled with the Beast, but none
were truly victorious, indeed many simply fought themselves instead, hurting others as they did so. They call this the 'madness of
the saints'.

Myrddin, however, had more to say about his sister's dream:
'And in so much as thou sawest not the big cairns increasing however much the load thou sawest the peoples
carrying from the small cairns to the big ones, that shows God's wrath and displeasure, for God does not allow
the wealth that is wrongfully amassed to multiply with the gatherers and their descendants. And in as much as
thou sawest not the small cairns smaller however much thou sawest the people taking away from them, that
represents the grace of God, for it is certain that the noblemen of each and every grade oppress the common
husbanding people for their worldly goods. And yet in spite of this, however much goods the noblemen and
their peoples take from the husbandmen by oppression, the latter will not be the worse or the poorer; for as
much as they may lose the one way God will send them twice as much another way, especially if they will take
such oppression forbearingly with patience and restraint and by entrusting the punishment and vengeance to
the Father of Heaven to Whom it is meet and rightful to punish all iniquity; for He ordained the weak and the
strong. And verily, however much an innocent man may lose in this world, God will not allow him to want any
worldly thing in this world, and an abundance of all goodness in the world that is to come. And verily this is what
thy dream represents.'

Chronicle of Elis Gruffudd, 16th century.
It is certainly true that the wealth of the 'nobility' persists but few generations. They grow like fields of wheat, standing tall and
proud, shining in a worldly sun, only to be cut away and replaced by another crop. Whether they earn their ruling status by
warcraft, politics, revolution or business, it really makes no difference. It is also true that every uprising and revolution has
ultimately failed to change the balance of power for anything but a short time - it simply ensures that one wave of nobles are
replaced by another.

Weather you consider it the will of God or simply the inevitability of natural cycles, the observations of this ancient voice seem true
enough, but the justice that is measured out never seems to resolve the problem. What of the oppressed masses that even today
are found in such abundance across this globe? What wealth do they receive to replace the loss of their worldly possessions?
The poor remain poor, but there are other riches. One cannot serve two masters. Those who strive for worldly wealth and power
will never be filled.

You have wondered through the wilderness. I have shown you a glimpse of the mysteries and wonders of Nature and the Cosmos.
Can money buy you these things? May you have money enough for your needs, but if you have understood a fraction of what you
have seen then do you need surplus? Can all the money in the world buy anything like the truth itself? Nevertheless, do you not
grieve at the lot of humanity?

Behold the city! Behold its glorious skyscrapers of glass! To some it is beautiful, but to those who have seen a greater vision it is a
barren desert. At night it is all aglow with neon lights, but to those who have seen the Sun it is a dark place. To many it is full of
thrills, if they have a moment each laboured month and pennies to spare. To those who have understood the splendour of nature,
these thrills may seem comparatively empty. There are things of note to see in all cities, for even in darkness there is a little light,
but in this the financial centre that has outgrown the rest, what is there but sterile towers of glass?
Do you know this city?

Walking around the lake, admiring the sad view which nevertheless has a certain beauty within it, you behold a terrible vision!
You have seen the Beast before, and though it is invisible to many (who nevertheless carry the burden of its power) to you it
cannot stay hidden for long! Behold its massive form towering above the City of Glass! Even now its tendrils permeate the very
substratum upon which the city sits, reaching into every powerful institution, corrupting all as it feeds upon them. See the true
master of the city, to whom even its nobles are enslaved, indeed more so than the rest! The Beast's watchful eyes see all! They
see through the walls of glass, so that none in the city can evade his gaze.

The more the people toil and suffer, the taller the towers become! The more the people are deprived of life and light, the less
freedom of thought they have, the denser the heavy shroud of ignorance placed upon them, then the taller the towers become!

What of the land that once belonged to all? Now it all belongs to a few, illegitimately so for not one of the great landlords can
account for a single grain of sand that made the city's glass. Not one can create a single worm that still burrows through the
barren soil! Not one can explain the nature of a single cockroach that thrives in the ventilation systems. These wonders are
beyond them, and yet they claim to own all this land! So great is the delusion that hexes this city. So great is the beguilement of
the Beast who hypnotises almost all! Even the temples of this city are under its spell! Indeed, almost the whole of this city is a
Temple of Glass dedicated to the Beast! All this could be yours, if you also do the bidding of the Beast!

How did it become like this? Many of the people of the city would tell you that there is no other way; no better way. Do you believe
them?

You brought back a little light from the West, to warm the World in this long winter. What good is that light now? Do you think the
people will see it or even want it? Did the people want to leave the Cave of Socrates and venture into the light? If they could see
the light, then they would surely see the errors of their ways. They have eyes, but they cannot see. So accustomed to darkness
they are, that such light they cannot even imagine, and if they could see it whole then it would blind them! Even such a fragment
of light as you have brought from the Western Isles is too bright for their dark-accustomed eyes. Your quest it seems has been in
vain.
Most of the trees have been destroyed. Some for their wood, some by pollution and disease, others because they were simply in
the way. Some that you once climbed centuries ago are now privately owned and inaccessible, but most are dead. Some lifeless
skeletons remain, but a few, polluted, diseased and weakened, linger on. They struggle to nourish themselves as the pollution
dims the Sun, and they struggle to breath as pollution clogs their pores, and all the time disease eats them away. Despite this,
some still live, their life-sparks hanging on in desperation for better times that may never come. Still, the wealthiest lords of the
city have each reserved their own private paradise, far away where spoil has yet to reach, where helicopter takes them from the
skyscraper tops, leaving those that labour in servitude to them behind in the city. They fail to realise that all living things are
connected, and even now the rot creeps towards their own paradises and all their wealth will not avail them. When gloom is
prescribed for the masses, it eventually contaminates the food of all. What we do unto others we do to ourselves. What we take
from others comes at a price. They take the land, the water and the labour of others, and the price they pay is ignorance.

The people of the city labour day and night. Always tired, never relaxed, striving and striving to get what was once given to all by
all - shelter, clothes, food and water. Soon they will have to pay for clean air to breath. Never do they prosper, never do their
cairns grow in size. Rules and regulations bind them in chains. The populace are but power cells, giving all their energy to their
masters, who feed upon them like energy vampires, in return for the 'privilege' of existence.
"When the Tao is forgotten, there is righteousness. When righteousness is forgotten, there is morality. When
morality is forgotten, there is the law. The law is the husk of faith, and the forerunner of chaos."

"When people go hungry, the government's taxes are too high. When people become rebellious, the government
has become too intrusive."

"When people begin to view death lightly, wealthy people have too much which causes others to starve."

Tao Te Ching
Look over yonder! A lone figure stands looking out over the lake. Come and see, it is one of the questing knights, a Knight of the
Sun. She too journeyed to the West to bring back a little light, and like you now finds herself out of time.
The Beast sees all!
City of Glass
The thread of life grows fragile
Reaching for the light in a world of darkness
Her chain mail is rusted and her
surcoat torn and tattered and stained
with blood. She is wistful and hard to
console. Looking at the city for too
long can fill one with despair.

What then to do?

You could live in the city and make
great wealth, but then you will probably
find yourself forgetting what you have
seen.

You could stay in the wilderness, but
as the trees die and the waters grow
sick it would become harder to do so.

You could try to find the best of both
worlds: travelling to the city a few days,
taking only what you need in
provisions, and then return again to
the wilderness for a time. This is
perhaps the best solution, but it is
hard. You must be aware of the city
masters who will try to enslave you and
ensnare you in servitude to the Beast
to whom they themselves are
enslaved. Ever do they resent the free!
They resent those who are their own masters, for they are not free. They resent those with knowledge of the wonders without their
city walls, for they know little of such things.

You could fight the city, storm it with an army and force it to do your will. That may seem an heroic path, but those who fight
monsters usually become monsters themselves. Remember that 'The Tao is the tabernacle of creation, it is a treasure for those who
are good, and a place of refuge for those who are not.' The supreme good, like the Tao, cares for all.
There are species of ant, labour parasites, which rely on unwitting slaves of another species. Is this city really any different?
There are predators and prey within the city, and there are slaves or hosts and parasites too. It is an ecosystem in which humans
fill many of the niches. It's the way of things. Life always adapts and diversifies to fill the niches. Woe to those who are part of this
machine! Maybe you can not change this, but perhaps you can escape from it. Perhaps you can free yourself from this relentless,
ruthless and unfeeling mechanism. You have a choice: go back to the city and surrender yourself to the machine. Perhaps you
might reach a certain level of contentment to live out your life. Perhaps you will become one of the lucky parasites at the top of the
labour-chain.

Our Knight of the Sun has quested like you and returned to also find herself out of time. Her chain-mail is rusted and broken, her
helm long-since shattered and her face scarred; but her surcoat still bears the icon of the fiery sun. She is weary with fatigue and
disillusionment. She too can not believe how the world has changed and how humanity has fallen into the void of matter. She too
knows not where to go or what to do now. How can we remain in the wilderness whose fruit and nuts sustained us, when the
wilderness is dying.

Do you recall Merlin's Winter Lament?
"Christ, God of Heaven, what shall I do? In what part of the world can I stay, since I see nothing here I can live on,
neither grass on the ground nor acorns on the trees? Here once there stood nineteen apple trees bearing apples
every year; now they are not standing. Who has taken them away from me? Whither have they gone all of a
sudden? Now I see them - now I do not! Thus the fates fight against me and for me, since they both permit and
forbid me to see. Now I lack the apples and everything else. The trees stand without leaves, without fruit; ... Winter
and the south wind with its falling rain have taken them all away. ... You, O wolf, dear companion, accustomed to
roam with me through the secluded paths of the woods and meadows, now can scarcely get across the fields; hard
hunger has weakened both you and me. You lived in these woods before I did and age has whitened your hair first.
... Perhaps that detestable old age of yours has taken away your strength and prevented your following the chase.
Now, as the only thing left you, you fill the air with howlings, and stretched out on the ground you extend your
wasted limbs."

Vita Merlini, Geoffrey of Monmouth, c1150.
So Merlin returned to the city for food and warmth, back to the noble life he had forsaken. King Rhydderch offered Merlin "clothing
and birds, dogs and swift horses, gold and shining gems, and cups that Wayland had engraved in the city of Segontium. Every
one of these things Rhydderch offered to the prophet and urged him to stay with him and leave the woods."

Merlin rejected these gifts, for he had no use of them, but preferred the groves and great oaks of Calidon, the lofty mountains
and green pastures. So he sought to escape back to the wildwoods. If I knew the secrets of a single great tree, then I would never
surrender that knowledge for all the mundane gold of the world. It bemuses me that humankind chases after diamonds, aurum,
pretentious prestige based upon material wealth and shallow glory, fancy cars and mansions; whilst failing to see the green gold
that is so much more wonderful and dazzling to behold. If they saw the latter clearly, then they would strive elsewhere for gold that
is potable. A man whose material wealth is sufficient only to give him food, shelter, clothing and warmth, has more than the
wealthy city lords if he sees the green gold as I see it. Thus, I know that the city lords, and those who strive to emulate them, do
not see clearly the world around them. It is a great failing of humankind that they strive for such poor and mundane things. Alas!
Too much of the world is lost in darkness and slowly dragging all that is good down with it. The light is fading.

Enter the city and you would have the chance to win worldly glory, fame and fortune. As for me, I enter the city for provisions in
the winter months, but I never tarry long. Like Merlin I have found myself caught between worlds. One of those worlds is dying and
the other is a desert for my soul. What will you do?

Whatever you decide, beware the city memes. Like a virus they spread, making people forget who they are, transforming them
into cogs in the Beast's machine. Never forget that you are a Knight of the Sun. Unlike the more worldly orders, the Knights of the
Sun have no temple in the city, no secret place to meet and receive orders from their grand masters. They serve only the
fundamental truth and so need no other master. Even if you are the last of the Knights of the Sun, never give-up the Quest. Even
if, like Logan, you find that there is no sanctuary.

Do you find, as I do, that your world is dying, slain by the Beast and his disciples, slain by desperate need and want, slain by
ignorance, slain by greed and oppression and misguided ideologies, slain by the 'system'? Are you one of the last of your kind, as
am I? Most of my kind have already left this world, and the ancient trees that were my childhood friends are fading too. I spent
many a day in the towers of learning, only to see them fall around me, as they too were swept away. Nothing lasts forever.

Wait, what is that pale light on the cliff tops? I see a
ghostly figure. Let us investigate ...