Study Guide

Lord of Light Chapter 7

By Roger Zelazny

Chapter 7

  • Olvegg—remember him?—is captured by Nirriti the Black, who questions him on the state of the world, learning that Acceleration has gained ground while the gods lose it.
  • During the questioning, Olvegg reveals he knows Nirriti's real name, Renfrew. Nirriti remembers that Jan was a Christian and offers him a place in his army; Jan accepts seeing as job offers are generally more favorable than death.
  • In front of the Palace of Kama in Khaipur, an old man is brought into the kitchen for a drink.
  • Taraka thinks on what has befallen the world and his own dwindling power next to those he's fought beside. He decides to join with Nirriti and see the gods defeated once and for all.
  • Brahma receives a communication from a Lord of Karma: Nirriti is planning to attack Mahartha. The god assures his priest he need not fear (so… dude should probably start freaking out).
  • When Brahma asks Ganesha for advice, Ganesha suggests they let the Black One strike first, so they might judge his strength. Sorry, Mahartha.
  • Brahma has Ganesha recall Lord Indra and alert the City's powers.
  • Sam asks Yama to enumerate their strength. First, Yama tests him to see if Sam's powers are up to snuff. They are.
  • Their strengths include Lord Kubera, who went into hiding after Keenset and leaked scientific knowledge to humanity; Narada, Sam's old physician, is still kicking, and he's brought the resurrection machine Sam stole way back when; they've even got Krishna (the old man who demanded wine earlier), in a hot-off-the-presses body.
  • Also, Yama's been making those toys he's so famous for.
  • Sam asks about Nirriti. Yama says he's no fan of Heaven, but the Black One only wants to spread his special brand of Christianity across the world.
  • To keep Sam loose, Yama offers to practice with him in the sword.
  • Nirriti and the Rakasha topple Mahartha.
  • Back in Ratri's garden, she, Kubera, and Tak enjoy each other's company; Kubera knows Sam will have to make a move when either Nirriti or Brahma makes his.
  • On a high hill, Brahma watches as Nirriti's forces storm Mahartha. Ganesha advises they forego a frontal assault, and instead he suggests they hit Nirriti's forces with guerilla attacks as he marches on other cities. When they know he's weak enough—boom—they strike full on.
  • That night, Sam makes himself known to the Rakasha and demands they bring him Taraka. The Lord of Hellwell comes, and Sam asks him to deliver a message to Nirriti: If the Black One agrees to not war against Hindus, Buddhists, or Accelerationists, then Sam will join him against Heaven.
  • As Taraka returns, he decides he wants the chance to challenge Yama in combat and does not deliver the message.
  • Ganesha comes to Nirriti's camp. He informs the Black One that Brahma's full force will meet him in Kilbar. He wants only that Nirriti remember this when he is victorious.
  • Sam and company need to plan their next move as they sit between Heaven and Nirriti's warpath. Sam convinces everyone, including Yama, that Heaven is too weak to hold humanity too far back anymore; Nirriti, however, only grows in strength.
  • They decide to side with Brahma and go to make a phone call.
  • They hijack the communication device in the Temple and give Brahma a ring.
  • Brahma/Kali/Durga/Candi is surprised to find Sam still alive. Sam states his terms, and Brahma agrees. When the time comes, Brahma wants to discuss with Sam about her becoming a woman again. We wager it'll take a lot of Aretha Franklin.
  • When Nirriti comes to Khaipur, he meets both Sam and Brahma's forces. The battle is on.
  • Right off the bat—or sword in this case—Jan slays Olvegg and then falls himself.
  • Brahma faces Nirriti.
  • Taraka squares off against Yama.
  • Brahma breaks Nirriti's neck just in time to have Indra turn on him with his sword, injuring the god. Taraka looks into Yama's eyes, and the deathgaze weakens the Rakasha; Yama pushes it away.
  • Yama defends Brahma and deathgazes Indra to, well, death. Husky death.
  • Taraka, having not learned his lesson by now, attacks with water, wiping Yama clean of demon repellent. He then strikes at Yama with Indra's sword, but Yama catches the blade just in time for Kali and him to hit Taraka with their deathgazes.
  • The Lord of Hellwell finally dies.
  • Yama falls next to Kali's injured body. Nirriti recites Jesus's Sermon on the Mount to taunt the death god, but Yama refuses to take his life, and he carries Brahma off the battlefield instead.
  • Sam finds Nirriti and offers him water. The Black One asks for Sam to give him a blessing, and Sam obliges.
  • In the aftermath, Sam receives the injured Jan, and he calls for Kubera and Narada; as they bring Jan into the Hall of Karma, they stumble over Brahma's body.
  • Later, Tak finds Kubera in the Halls of Karma. He and Jan have both received fresh new bodies and want to take Yama's chariot and travel the world. Since Yama can't be found, Tak asks Kubera for permission to take the god's ride cruising.
  • Tak runs into Sam as he leaves the Halls of Karma—he lets Sam know that he always knew he'd win in the end. He offers Sam a place on their journey, but Sam turns him down. For a moment, Sam seems to recognize that Tak is his son, but it's unknown if he does so.
  • Kubera finds Yama at a local inn. He discovers Yama has a new "daughter" named Murga. She developed a mental handicap due to transfer effect, so Kubera swears to help Yama find a way to restore the girl to normal.
  • In the end, Varuna returns to the Celestial City, and more old technology is rediscovered in the world.
  • Kubera and Ratri stay in Khaipur while Vishnu rules in Heaven.
  • Sam leaves and is never seen again. Many different legends grow from his departure, all propagated by "the moralists, the mystics, the social reformers, and the romantics" (7.604). All involve a Red Bird not found on the western continent.
  • Half a year later, Yama also departs Khaipur, leaving his daughter in the care of Kubera and Ratri. No one knows his fate either, but with "Death and Light everywhere" (7.607) in the world, chances are he remains with Sam.
  • Meanwhile, Murga presents the only offerings of devotion the shrine of Yama has ever received: flowers.