Wait! You might be saying. Spice Girls? Ninja Buddhas? Suffering?

What does that have to do with anything?

Where does one get this stuff?

At that, where did you?

Now, you might be saying, “Well, oh, me, I was just kind of reading the Internet and that last entry fell out,” or “Internet? Entries? I thought this was just a beautiful dream!

“I’m not the one on trial here!” you shout.

Or maybe you are! You’re reviewing the records of the court and realize horribly that something has been messing with the skandhas of the stenographer! My God, how can you use the story of Dehlai to find the hole in the prosecutor’s argument when he isn’t even a Spice Girl?

It could even be—

Unlikely but possible—

That it is even now five hundred years after the death of stars and you, the reader, are a hardy coleopteran bookworm supping on the stratified informational remnants of what has gone before. And in such a case the sudden jump to Skandha Lords would not surprise you. You would be world-weary and cynical. You would adjust your glasses, if such you had in that waning epoch, and say: “I always thought that Hitherby Dragons, like humanity, was a last gasp of folly before the universe grew wise.”

That’s what that hardy coleopteran would say.

But that’s not right!

That’s not it!

That’s not it at all!

What you are actually reading here, most of the time, is a show that is produced and performed by the players at the Gibbelins’ Tower. They’re not the last gasp of folly of a loveless, conscienceless universe where monstrosity reigns over it all. They’re lovingly produced phantasmagoria sent to you by Jane, Martin, and the various players. Like Saul, appearing the first time this chapter! Meredith! Sid! Max! And Broderick!

If you want to know why they’re putting on these shows you will probably have to go back and read the first chapter. If you want to know the what, though, you just have to keep reading!

There’s a bit about Saul coming up, and some stuff with Meredith in it, and later a piece or two of the serial Legend of Ink Catherly, who is looking for Hell and having a great deal of trouble finding it.

This isn’t just some feast of bookworms or history of the world. This is real fiction, made by real people trying to solve real problems by putting on performances in a tower outside the edge of the known universe with primordial beasts and gazebras.

So don’t just assume that what you’re reading is the truth.

We’ll get to the truth! In good time! Eventually! There will be a story! There will be a backstory! There will be something like the truth!

But first, the show.