In the fifth gyre of the Age of the Middle Gohlguanarchy:
A bone-linked pair of poets die without heirs in year 13.
Their unrhymed words strike bronze upon a secret chamber
Beneath a vacant labyrinth: two royal monuments
Carved into the skull shape of mummified fetuses
With four miniature faces of goat, ram, boar, stag.
The penitent coward who was never a killer,
A conqueror, or a liberator, finds himself far from his goal.
He becomes the blackskin companion of a hired archaeologist
Whose knowledge of his monstrous subject is unique.
They unearth the abandoned book of a heretic coregent;
This burned and scratched object of temporal power
Seizes weak minds with dreamless sleep and early death.