Written on September 24, 2019 (♎)

Author's Notes: I have a lot of feelings about the way that FFT's fake JRPG Catholicism is thematically related to death, and I wanted to sketch out a non-Beoulve dysfunctional family for once. The title is taken from the river Chebar from the Book of Ezekiel, where the prophet receives his visions in the presence of God and encounters numerous angelic entities, including the Hashmallim.

There seemed a quickening throughout every atom of his body, and Vormav was overcome with the ineffable sense that he had stepped once more near the threshold. He had only thought himself this close to the True Presence but once, and as the stone glowed from grey to gold he remembered that ordeal. How long had he persisted in vanity—his unwavering proclamations that God would save her? Had it been weeks? Months? It had been long enough that those around him did not question him anymore, and when he met with his inevitable disappointment, he recognized his folly.

It was not that he had not prayed deeply enough nor borne a strong enough faith in her recovery. It was that he had misunderstood faith altogether. After the burial, he had lain as if in a fever, barely noticing how the sweat ran from his brow like a torrent of blood.

By the second day of that ecstasy of wasted grief, he knew that to wish any mortal thing to persist was idolatry. The Saint did not come to preserve. He did not come to save. Every miracle He performed—from the poisoned well to the wreck of Yudora—was a miracle in the service of death.

Death. This was the true pillar of Glabados. It had been a sin to cleave to his wife, and God had granted a benediction in removing an obstacle that stood between Him and his servant's devotion. By the third day he came into the full knowledge of such things and left his chambers, awake suddenly to the cold light of Murond's winter and the weeping of his children. Looking to the holy city that housed them, he saw its marble towers—as if for the first time—in all their sepulchral glory.

As he felt the quivering of the artifact between his fingers, he thought at what boon it would have been to die in that instant: to go into the Kingdom with a full recognition of its majesty. He did not though. He knew he had faltered, remembering with lingering shame the pallid face of his daughter as she called pleadingly after him. The remnants of the funeral meal had not lasted them more than a day, and her brother would not stop wailing. When he had run to embrace her, he imagined that she—in her terror—must know the full extent of his own revulsion, and he fell to petting her amidst a flurry of comforting lies.

He would not falter now, he thought, and as the stone rose soft into the air he felt as though he were wrapped in a great cloud and a fire infolding itself.

"Stone bearer, with me now do treat..."