Aun stared at Chax, silent, face masking an unguessable emotion. Chax skirted the edge of a mental precipice and thought on how to proceed. At length, he forced himself back into speech.
"What did this herald desire? Had it come to give us warning that our pride carried us swiftly to disaster? Was it there to guide or observe? We have only speculation.
"For it was just then that the Strasmin betrayed all. They caused an uprising of the beasts and plants, and struck at Susekho's roots. And there was also one beast that the Strasmin had altered most vilely, so that it could bear the Strasmin aloft to the highest spines of Susekho and permit them to strike at us from above."
Aun's expression tightened, but he said nothing. Chax breathed faster, pulse racing, as he fought to master his emotions and continue his speech to its painful end.
"We fought to suppress the Strasmin revolt quietly, but it raged beyond our control... And, we believe, the herald took notice, and acted with its fullest might. It cared not who had usurped the ancient authority and order imposed by Botaram. The betrayal was fundamental, intolerable, and all involved were tainted, Strasmin and Oistrem alike.
Chax was unable to speak for a great while. Aun saw that he was striving not to weep.
"Aun... Susekho died that day.
"It was severed from its position of trust... Its power and life drained away. There was a sickening splitting noise, a lethal burst...
"And the world cast us loose."
With these words, uttered in astonishment, Chax lost his inner battle.