"Another side?" Aun gave a puzzled frown
"Yes. Aun, in your story you mentioned a sort of dark horror... invader, you said. You think it was something not of the world? And it was destroyed or banished in the end?"
"Such was Botaram's fearsome power," said Chax. "And you assert that it was our treachery that caused this disaster that only Botaram could allay. But we blame you for it, and here is why.
"Susekho, Aun, was the grand height of beauty and peace, and it touched the earth and smoothed it where it rested, and gave its glory to the world around it. We the Oistrem preserved and guarded the history of the world, and kept peace where we walked. Under our guidance, all the creatures of the world grew and prospered, even the Strasmin, who then were... like us, caretakers... but of a lower order.
"In those days Botaram was a source of bounty, which flowed into Susekho and thence to the world. And this gave the Oistrem much prestige, and a measure of pride unwarranted. In what happened, Aun, we do not hold ourselves completely guiltless, if that gives you any comfort to hear...
"Yet the Strasmin grew greedy, and longed for greater mastery, which the Oistrem were not ready to permit. Perhaps we should have, but how could we have foreseen what would result? For the Stramin schemed among themselves, and seduced the creatures of the world with clever lies, and set them secretly against the Oistrem, so that for many cycles things continued peacefully and we were unaware of any dissent.
"Now in time, it happened that a thing was sent from Botaram itself, a form that was not exactly like any thing of the world, but was a living thing just the same. The best explanation I have heard was that this was Botaram taking upon itself a form matching our stature, that it might more easily communicate to us its desire—a herald like enough to us to fit our understanding, but different enough to display its authority. And this herald came to Susekho..."