The waters had just receded to the sound of the lakes exhaling, and the earth crawled with sprouts and sinews.
He woke suddenly, because in his mind’s eye he had seen a vision so clear and tremendous it paralyzed him. It was not of him, the way it had descended so quickly and expanded to fill his chamber.
He saw cathedrals rising on the backs of elephants, fueled by lotuses that drew in energy from the muck around them, crystallizing sharply into spires that filled themselves in against the darkness and rooted themselves deep beneath the earth. He saw towering mountains rise from sandstone, scoured from the base of the pedestals supporting the celestial thrones along the whole breadth of the universe. He saw the million prayers of his million subjects rise in a granite column to the skies, bringing down a shower of radiance and searing vigor on the forests, which uprooted themselves in gnarled tumult and wrought heavy serpentine trunks around the galleries. He saw the million backs and arms of his strongest warriors forge a lineage unifying the heavens and the earth, and saw the very matter of the skies collect day by day in cerulean pools that trapped the brilliance of stars and captured the beating heart of the moon. He saw the nymphs alight and step into the city he had built, and the Protector himself occupy the lintels and pilasters.
He saw time churn its infinite, depthless configurations. He saw the Destroyer, in command of his enemies, visit annihilation on the empire, and his subjects crumble before them. He saw reawakening and peace, and a northern prophet sanctify the kingdom so that smiles forever creased the stones. He saw bloodshed and sorrow, and heard the last voice speak his language, and saw the dowagers perish and their children leave the land.
The stones subsumed the souls of a hundred generations. All time would pass despite them, but every morning took an eternity to rise. Time, a continuous tapestry woven into the immortal mind, a colossal mind that contained the million forms of god. The imperial city vanished into a single dot in the consciousness of the divine, this eternal mind, a mind whose cardinal points delimited the boundaries of the universe. It was a mind that now filled him so tremendously he woke with the thought that it might kill him but he had not a choice to make. He did not know whether it was this mind or his own that heard the rooster crow.
He woke to the chirping of the crickets, and summoned his minister. Bring me the shells of the turtles that support the mighty stand of the earth. Bring me the stones from the kilns at the beginning of the world. Flatten the mountains and bring me their substance, bring me the ocean in buckets, and every hue and mineral contained in all the galleries of the universe. Wake the armies and the priests, the slaves, the farmers, and the merchants, and have them build me moats and ramparts filled with the shapes of all creation, and bear them, and where there is a voice summon it to cry, and where there is life awaken it to build our city.
Today we are convening the deities for all eternity, and setting before them an expression of the universe, for today we are performing the intention of god.