Study Guide

Lord of Light Chapter 5

By Roger Zelazny

Chapter 5

  • A god stalks the jungle of Kaniburrha, a jungle sitting beside the Celestial City beneath the dome of Heaven. The she god doesn't know what she hunts for, only that she hunts.
  • Lakshmi sits with Kubera in the Garden of the Lokapalas. She wants to know if it's true what they say: that Kali wants a human sacrifice for her wedding. Kubera wouldn't put it past her; she is a death god after all.
  • Then Krishna does the Dance of Lust. He's apparently really good at it.
  • Elsewhere, Lord Rudra and Lord Murugan are having a shooting competition. Rudra talks about Sam from ye old days; he was known as Kalkin then, and he developed an Attribute that let him bind demons.
  • They wonder what Brahma will do with Sam now, coming to the conclusion that only Brahma knows what Brahma will do. The logic's a bit circular, but no less accurate.
  • At Worldsend, there is a place called the Pavilion of Silence. It was built by Kubera for Sam as a gift for Candi the Fierce a.k.a. Durga a.k.a. Kali. Its five rooms are Memory, Fear, Heartbreak, Dust, and Despair, and Kubera infused each room with its emotional namesake. Guess when you live in paradise, you need a little visit to Heartbreak now and again.
  • There, Sam and Kali talk. They reminisce about the old days, recounting their love and glories and victories.
  • Kali wonders if Sam still loves her. He admits that two people from the past probably loved one another, but he is not that man, and she is not that woman. So… no?
  • Kali claims she has not changed, but Sam behests her to go live with Yama.
  • She says she'll join the cause of Accelerationism, but Sam still won't be baited.
  • She then says she spits on Sam's Accelerationism and gets angry with him. But she says that "[she] lied when [she] said [she] lied" and offers to lay with Sam in the room named Despair.
  • Sam accepts.
  • Elsewhere, Mistress Maya visits a currently non-ape Tak in the archives.
  • She asks him what Accelerationism is, and he warns her not to ask such questions unless she wants to end up as a name on the wrong kind of list.
  • He has her lock the door and lets her in on a secret: The one called Sam is Tak's father although many different bodies removed. But, hey, what are such simple matters as family matters to immortals and gods?
  • As for Accelerationism, it's simply a doctrine of sharing: Give humanity access to the technologies of the gods to raise their level of existence. Fancy name, amazingly simple concept.
  • The opposition suggests that all of humanity cannot have access to the power of, say, nuclear bomb wielding Agni without fear of them destroying themselves.
  • In the forest of Kaniburrha, Ganesha and Shiva walk together. Ganesha suggests that they need to use Sam to bring his followers out of hiding before killing Sam.
  • At yet another elsewhere—the Hall of Mirrors—Vishnu and Brahma talk about what to do with Sam as well. They decide they'll merge Sam's religion with their own by spreading the gospel that Sam was another avatar of Vishnu. They still don't know what to do with Sam himself.
  • Brahma heads to his garden where he meets Kali.
  • She wants to know what will happen to Sam. When he says he doesn't know, she suggests they don't kill him, but alter his being instead. Brahma might be convinced otherwise, but it'll take three days worth of convincing (if you catch our drift).
  • Meanwhile, at Helba's house, Sam is being entertained by the god/goddess of thieves.
  • Helba tries to entertain his guest with stories of his former glories, but Sam is bored; he's heard these stories before and that was when he lived in Heaven.
  • Sam says he needs someone else, but Helba calls him back. He/she wants to know what's on Sam's mind.
  • Sam wants to go all Ocean's Eleven and steal the Talisman of the Binder from the Museum of Heaven—the old relic will substantially increase Sam's powers.
  • The idea of Sam owing him/her a favor, and the days of glory and battles returning to Heaven, seems to convince Helba.
  • In the forest, Krishna chases Ratri. As he reaches for her, she disappears, and her voice claims Krishna needs to be punished for his presumptions; she binds him to a blinding darkness.
  • A mythological cavalcade of the rich, famous, and fabulous journeys to the Celestial City for the wedding.
  • Tak seizes his Bright Spear in response to an alarm from the Museum. He arrives too late but sees two figures fleeing the scene.
  • He gives chase and reaches the two in time to hear them arguing over who tripped the alarm.
  • Sam tells Helba to leave and faces Tak.
  • Tak asks for Sam to return whatever he stole, but Sam isn't so inclined.
  • Having learned to fly, Sam goes up-up-and-away.
  • He tries to soar out of the dome of Heaven, but he's attacked by the illusions of Mara. Darkness consumes Sam.
  • At the Halls of Karma, Lord Murugan demands his new body be made ready in time for the wedding. The Lord of Karma apologizes that his body is not ready yet because the Great Wheel has not made it so (read: everyone is gone to prep for the wedding).
  • Murugan wonders if Lord Brahma would agree that the Great Wheel had not made it ready when he wants the body transfer done. The Lord of Karma agrees it will be ready in time.
  • Speaking of Brahma, he's with Kali, and she's changed her mind—she wants a human sacrifice as an offering at her wedding. Sam should do it and throw in the god of thieves as an encore.
  • On that day, a pyre is built at Worldsend and Sam and Helba's affects are burned. Parvati—Sam's mother or wife or sister or daughter or something—flees Heaven, heading for lands to the east.
  • Heaven is put into lockdown mode, streets emptied, portals closed. Sam and Helba are released into the city, and the Mara lifts the barrier between the city and jungle. Some of the gods have transmigrated into white tigers. The hunt is on.
  • Sam runs, but eventually a phantom cat hunts both him and Helba down. Sam dies.
  • Tak kills several tigers with the Bright Spear to protect Sam, but Lord Ganesha incapacitates him by way of chair to head.
  • Vishnu is not pleased with the proceedings, unhappy to see blood on the streets of his beloved city, and that Lord Varuna the Just spent the time in the room of Fear.
  • What remains of the victims is burned on the pyre, and the ashes blasted by Lord Shiva beyond Worldsend.
  • Now it's time for a grand old wedding. The party that follows is seven days of godly, epic hedonism that would make your grandma faint.
  • After Yama and Kali leave, the party gets even heartier. Lord Rudra gives an inappropriate speech about the bride, and Lord Agni challenges him; afterward, they need to find a new Lord Rudra.
  • Once the hangovers have subsided, changes are made in Heaven: Tak is transmigrated into an ape body; Lord Varuna the Just beats feet out of dodge; the Heavenly Purges begin and Accelerationism returns to the Celestial City; and Brahma the infallible regrets making a certain promise to Kali.
  • In the Pavilion of Silence, a lone god enters the room of Memory and laughs.

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