Stone of Tears page 476:
“I am the sister in charge of this boy. These directives are beyond reason if not absurd. I demand to know the meaning of these instructions. I demand to know upon whose authority they are given.
-Yours in the service of the Light, Sister Verna Sauventreen.
“You will do as you are instructed, or suffer the consequences. Do not
presume to question the orders of the palace again.
-In my own hand, The Prelate.”
Blood of the Fold page 294:
“You must first tell me the reason you chose me the last time. I remember every word. One mistake and this journey book feeds the fire.”
Blood of the Fold page 330:
“Tomorrow night, when the moon is up, go to the place you found this.”
Blood of the Fold pages 346-359:
“My dearest Verna, First the easy part. I asked you to go to the sanctuary because of the danger involved. We cannot take any chance that others will read my messages, much less discover that Nathan and I are alive. The sanctuary is the only place I could be sure no one else would read this, and that is the only reason I failed to follow your reasonable precaution before now. You, of course, should expect me to prove myself, and now that I can be sure that you are alone and safe from discovery, I will provide the proof.
In accordance with this caution of only using the sanctuary to communicate, you must be sure to erase all messages before you leave the protection of the sanctuary.
Before I go on – the proof. As you requested this is what I told you in my office the first time I saw you after you returned from your journey to recover Richard:
‘I chose you because you were far down on the list, and because, all in all, you are quite unremarkable. I doubted you were one of them. You are a person of little note. I’m sure Grace and Elizabeth made their way to the top of the list because whoever directs the Sisters of the Dark considered them expendable. I direct the Sisters of the Light. I chose you for the same reason.
‘There are Sisters who are valuable to our cause; I could not risk one of them on such a task. The boy may prove a value to us, but he is not as important as other matters at the palace. It was simply an opportunity I thought to take.
‘If there had been trouble, and none of you made it back, well, I’m sure you can understand that a general would not want to lose his best troops on a low-priority mission.’
Verna, I know that those words must have broken your heart to hear. I do know that it broke mine to say them, because they were not true. It must seem to you that you are being used in a nefarious way. It is wrong to lie, but it is worse to let the wicked triumph because you adhere to the truth at the expense of good sense. If the Sisters of the Dark were to ask me what my plans were, I would lie. To do otherwise is to allow wickedness to triumph.
I will now tell you the truth, realizing that you have no reason to believe that this time, my words are true, but I believe in your intelligence and know that if you weigh my words, you will be able to see the truth in them.
The true reason I chose you to go after Richard is because of all the Sisters, you were the one I trusted with the fate of the world. You know, now, the battle Richard won against the Keeper. Without him, we would have all been lost to the world of the dead. A low-priority mission it was not. It was the most important journey any Sister has ever been on. I trusted only you.
Over three hundred years before you were born, Nathan warned me of the danger to the world of life. Five hundred years before Richard was born, Nathan and I knew that a war wizard would come into this world. The prophecies told us some of what must be accomplished. The challenge was unlike any we have faced before.
When Richard was born, Nathan and I traveled by ship, around the great barrier, to the New World. We recovered a book of magic from the Wizard’s Keep in Aydindril to keep it out of Darken Rahl’s hands and gave the book to Richard’s stepfather, securing his promise that he would make Richard learn it. Only through such trials, and events in his life at his home, could this young man be forged into the kind of person with the wits to stop the first threat, Darken Rahl, his real father, and later restore the balance to the world of life. He is perhaps the most important person born in the last three thousand years.
Richard is the war wizard who will lead us in the final battle. The prophecies tell us this, but not whether we will prevail. This is now a battle for mankind. Our only chance was to make sure, above all else, that he was not tainted in his training as a man. In this battle, magic is needed, but heart must rule it.
I sent you to bring him to the palace because you were the only one I could trust to accomplish the task. I knew your heart and soul, and I knew you were no Sister of the Dark.
I’m sure you are now wondering how I could let you search for him for more than twenty years when I knew where he was all the time. I also could have waited, and sent you after him when he was grown, and at last revealed his whereabouts when he triggered his gift. I am shamed to admit that I was using you, too, much as I used Richard.
For the challenges that lie ahead, I needed to teach you things you would not learn at the Palace of the Prophets, while Richard grew and learned some of the essential things he required. I needed you to be able to use your wits, and not the reams of rules that the Sisters at the palace thrive on. I had to let you develop you innate skills in the real world. The battle ahead lies in the real world; the cloistered world of the palace is no place to learn about life.
I don’t expect you to ever forgive me. That, too, is one of the burdens a Prelate must bear: the hatred of one she loves like her own daughter.
When I told you those awful words, that, too, was to a purpose. I had to finally break you of the palace’s teaching that you must always do as you were trained, and blindly follow orders. I had to make you angry enough to do what you judged was right. Since you were little, I could always count on your temper.
I couldn’t trust that if I told you the reasons, you would understand, or do as was necessary. Sometimes, a person can only properly affect events by using their own moral propriety, and not by carrying out orders. It is so stated in prophecy. I trusted that you would choose right over training, if you came to the conclusion yourself.
The other reason I told you those things in my office was because I suspected that one of my administrators was a Sister of the Dark. I knew my shield would not keep my words from her ears. I let my words betray me so she would attack me, and force their hand. I knew I could very possibly be killed, but I chose that fate over the possibility of the world being plunged into the grip of the Keeper. Sometimes, a Prelate must even use herself.
So far, Verna, you have lived up to my every expectation of you. You have played a vital role in saving the world from the Keeper. With your help, we have thus far succeeded.
The very first time I laid eyes on you, I smiled, because you had an angry scowl on your face. Do you remember why? I will tell you, if you don’t. Every novice brought to the palace was given a test. Sooner or later, we wrongly blamed her for a small offense of which she was innocent. Most cried. Some pouted. Some bore the shame of guilt with stoic resignation. Only you became angry at the injustice. In that, you proved yourself.
Nathan had found a prophecy that said the one we needed would be delivered to us not with a smile, or a pout, or a brave face, but with an angry scowl. When I saw that look on your face, and you little arms folded in a fit, I nearly laughed aloud. At last, you had been delivered into our hands. From that day I have been using you in the Creator’s most important work.
I chose you to be Prelate in the illusion of my death because you are still the one Sister I trust above all others. There is more than a good chance that I will be killed on my present journey with Nathan, and if I do die, you will be the Prelate for real. That is the way I wish it.
Your justifiable hatred weighs on my heart, but it is the Creator’s forgiveness that is important, and I know I will have that much, at least. I will suffer your scorn as my burden in this life, as I suffer other burdens for which there is no relief. It is the price of being Prelate of the Palace of the Prophets.
But the past is past, and we must now go on with what mush be done. The prophecies say that the greatest danger now lies before us. The testes that have come before would have ended the world of life in a final, terrible flash. In an instant, all would be irrecoverably lost. Richard passed those tests, and kept us from that fate.
Now a greater trial is upon us. It is not from other worlds, but from our own. This is a battle for the future of our world, the future of mankind, and the future of magic. In this, in the struggle for the minds and hearts of men, there is no final flash, no instant end, but the inexorable, grinding stuggle of war, as the shadow enslavement slowly creeps across the world, and darkens the spark of magic, through which comes the Creator’s light.
The ancient war, started thousands of years ago, is again aflame. We, in protecting this world from others, have unavoidably brought it to pass. This time, there will be no cessation of war because of the efforts of hundreds of wizards. This time, we have only one war wizard to lead us. Richard.
I cannot tell you all of it now. Some, I simply do not know, and as much as it pains me to have to leave you in the dark about some things I do know, understand that because of forks in prophecies that must be correctly taken, it is necessary that some of the people involved act instinctively, and not by instruction. To do otherwise would make the correct forks impassable. Part of our job is to hope to teach people to act in the right way, so that when the test comes, that will do what must be done. Forgive me, Verna, but must once again trust some things to the fates.
I hope that you are learning, as Prelate, that you cannot always explain everything to others, but that you must sometimes simply give them a task, and expect them to do it.
Some things, though, I can and must tell you so you can help us. Nathan and I have gone on a mission of vital importance. For now, only he and I can know its nature.
Should I live, I intend to return to the palace. Before then, you must find out who are loyal Sisters of the Light, novices, and young men. You must also identify all those who have given their souls to the Keeper.
I leave it up to you to find a way. You don’t have a lot of time. This is important, Verna; it must be done before Emperor Jagang arrives.
Nathan and I believe Jagang is what was called in the ancient war a “dream walker.”
Above all else, remember this: No matter what happens, your only salvation is to remain loyal to Richard. A dream walker can take just about anyone’s mind and enslave them to his will – those with the gift more so than others. There is only one protection – Richard. An ancestor of his created a magic that protects them and any loyal to them, bonded in cause to them, from the power of the dream walkers. This magic is passed down to any Rahl born with the gift. Nathan, of course, has this same protective element to his gift, but his is not the one who can lead us. He is a prophet, and not a war wizard.
By going against palace law of your own free will and helping Richard escape, you became bonded to him. This bond protects you from the power of the dream walker, but not from his waking force of arms and minions. This is part of the reason I had to deceive you that day in my office. It made you, of your own free will, choose to help Richard over your training and orders.
Nathan is protected, of course, and I have been bonded to Richard for a good long time. I pledged myself to him when I first saw him. In my own way, I have been letting him set his own rules as to how he fights for our side. At times, I must tell you, it is difficult. Though he does as is needed to protect the innocent, fee people who need his help, he has a mind of his own, and does things that, if I had my way, he would not do. At times, he can be as much of a trial as Nathan. Such is life.
I am finished telling you what I had to reveal. I am sitting here in a room in a cozy inn, waiting for you to read this. When you have read this message over as many times as you wish, I’ll be waiting here should you wish to ask me anything. You must understand that I have had hundreds of years working at events and prophecies, and there is no way I can impart all that knowledge to you in one night, much less in a journey book, but I will tell you what I can of what you wish to know.
Also, you must understand that there are certain things I cannot tell you for fear of tainting prophecy and events. Every word I tell you carries a danger of that, though some more than others, but it is necessary that you know some of it.
With that in mind, I await your questions. Ask.”
“My dearest Mother, I beg you forgive me the things I thought of you. I am humbled by your strength, and shamed by my foolish pride. Please don’t get yourself killed. I am not worthy to be Prelate. I am an ox that you are asking to soar like a bird.”
“Thank you, child. You have lightened my heard. Ask what you need to know, and if I can, I will answer your questions. I will sit here all night, if I can help you with your burden.”
“Prelate, are you truly safe? Is everything well with you and Nathan?”
“Verna, perhaps you enjoy having your friends calling you Prelate, but
I do not. Please call me by my name, as all my true friends do.
And yes, I am fine, as is Nathan, who is presently occupied. Today he bought himself a sword, and is now having a sword fight with invisible enemies in our room. He thinks a sword will make him look “dashing.” He is a thousand-year-old child, and, at this moment, is grinning like a child as he lops the heads off his invisible foes.”
“Ann, you said I must find out who is sworn to the Keeper. I have no idea how to do this. Can you help?”
“If I knew how to do it, Verna, I would tell you. A few made me suspect them, but most did not. I was never able to find a way to divine who were the Keeper’s. I have other matters I must deal with, so I must leave this one to you to solve. Keep in mind that they can be as clever as the Keeper himself. Some, how I was certain were against us, because of their disagreeable nature, were loyal to us. Some who revealed themselves and escaped on the ship, I would have trusted with my life. I would be dead now, had I.”
“Ann, I don’t know how to do this! What if I fail?”
“You must not fail.”
“But even if I find a way to identify them, then what am I to do with this information? I cannot fight Sisters with the power they have.”
“Once you accomplish the first part, Verna, I will tell you. Know that the prophecies are vulnerable to tampering, and in danger. Just as Nathan and I use them to help us influence events so as to take the proper fork, so, too, can our enemies use them.”
“How can I work to identify our enemies, when there is so much work to do as Prelate? All I do is read reports, and yet I fall farther and farther behind. Everyone is depending on me, and waiting on me. How did you find the time to accomplish anything, with all the reports?”
“You read the reports? My goodness, Verna, but you are ambitious. You certainly are more conscientious as Prelate than I.”
“You mean that I don’t have to read the reports?”
“Well, Verna, look at the value in reading them. Because you read the
reports, you discovered that the horses were missing from the stables. We could
have easily bought horses after we left the palace, but took those instead so
as to leave a sign. We could have paid for the bodies instead of going through
the complicated arrangements we did, but then you wouldn’t have been able
to talk to the gravedigger. We took, care to leave signs you could follow so
as to discover the truth. Some of the signs we left were quite troublesome,
such as the one with the discovery of our “bodies,” but were necessary,
and you did a good job in figuring it out.
But I must confess that I hardly ever bothered to read reports. That is what assistants are for. I simply told them that they were to use their judgment and wisdom and, in keeping with the best interest of the palace, handle the matters involved in the reports. Then, every once in a while, I would stop before them and pull out some reports that they had dealt with and read their disposition. It always kept them diligent in their task, for fear I would read their instructions given in my name, and find them unsatisfactory.”
“You mean to say that I can simply tell my assistants, or advisors, how I wish matters managed, and then have them handle the reports? I don’t have to read them all? I don’t have to initial them all?”
“Verna, you are Prelate. You can do as you wish. You run the palace, it does not run you.”
“But, Sisters Leoma and Philippa, my advisors, and Dulcinia, one of my administrators, all told me how it must be done. They are so much more experienced that I. They made it seem I would be failing the palace where I not to handle the reports myself.”
“Did they now. My, my. I think that if I were you, Verna, I would do a bit less listening, and a little more talking. You have a fine scowl. Use it.”
“Ann, what is your mission? What are you trying to accomplish?”
“I have a small task in Aydindril, and then I hope to return.”
“Warren gave a prophecy. His first, he said.”
“Do you remember it, word for word?”
“Get that boy out of the palace! Get him out!”
“Sorry. Verna, if you are certain that you remember the prophecy, word for word, then write it down so we may see it. If you are unsure of any of it, tell me. This is important.”
“I remember it word for word, as it pertains to me. It says:
‘When the Prelate and the Prophet are given to the Light in the sacred rite, the flames will bring to boil a cauldron of guile and give ascension to a false Prelate, who will reign over the death of the Palace of the Prophets. To the north, the one bonded to the blade will abandon it for the silver sliph, for he will breathe her back to life, and she will deliver him into the arms of the wicked.’”
“Hold, please, while Nathan and I study this.
Nathan and I have been going over this, and Nathan says that it is an immature prophecy, and because of that, he cannot fully decipher it.”
“Ann, I am the false Prelate. It troubles me greatly that this prophecy says I will reign over the death of the palace.”
“You are not the false Prelate in this prophecy.”
“Then what does it mean?”
“We do not know its full meaning, but we do know that you are not the
false Prelate named in it.
Verna, listen carefully. Warren must leave the palace. It is too dangerous for him to remain any longer. He must go into hiding. He could be seen leaving in the night. Tomorrow morning, have him go into the city on the pretense of an errand. In the confusion of people it will be hard for anyone to follow him. Have him get away through that confusion. Give him gold so he will not have any trouble doing what he needs.”
“But Prelate, Warren is the only one I can trust. I need him. I don’t know the prophecies like he does, and will be lost without him.”
“Verna, the prophecies are in danger. If they get their hands on a prophet--He must get away. Do you understand?
“Yes, Prelate. I will see to it first thing in the morning. Warren will do as I ask. I will trust in your instructions, that it is more important for him to leave than to aid me.”
“Thank you, Verna.”
“Ann, what is the danger to the prophecies?”
“Just as we try to help our effort by knowing the danger down various
forks in prophecy, so, too, can those who wish to rule mankind use this information
to guide events down forks they want to come to pass. Used in this fashion,
the prophecies can defeat us. If they have a prophet, they can have a better
understanding of the prophecies, and how to direct events to their advantage.
Tampering with forks can invoke chaos that even they don’t expect and can’t control. This is dangerous in the extreme. They could inadvertently walk us all off a cliff.”
“Ann, are you saying that Jagang is going to try to take the Palace of the Prophets, and the prophecies in the vaults?”
“How can we stop him?”
“The Palace of the Prophets cannot fall so easily as Jagang thinks. Though he is a dream walker, we have control of our Han. That power is also a weapon. Though we have always used our gift to preserve life and help bring the Creator’s light to the world, a time may come when we have to use our gift to fight. For this, we must know who is loyal to us. You must find out who is untainted.:
“Ann, do you intend to call upon us to become warriors, to use our gift to strike down the Creator’s children?”
“I am telling you, Verna, that you will have to use what you know to help prevent the world from being taken forever into the darkness of tyranny. Though we struggle to help the Creator’s children, we also carry a dacra, don’t we? We can’t help people if we are dead.”
“I understand. I will do what I must.”
“I wish I could give you better guidance, Verna, but right now I don’t know. Events are already rushing ahead in a torrent. Without direction, and probably on sheer instinct, Richard has already taken precipitous action. We are not sure what he is up to, but from what I gather he already has the Midlands in an uproar. The boy doesn’t rest a minute. He seems to make up his own rules as he goes.”
“What has he done?”
“He has somehow taken command of D’Hara, and has captured Aydindril. He has declared the Midlands alliance dissolved, and demanded the surrender of all lands.”
“It is the Midlands that must fight the Imperial Order! Has he lost his mind? We can’t afford to have him bring D’Hara and the Midlands to war!”
“He has already done it.”
“The Midlands isn’t going to surrender to him.”
“From what I gather, Galea and Kelton are already in his fist.”
“He must be stopped! The Imperial Order is the threat. It is they who must be fought. We can’t allow him to start a war in the New World – the diversion could be fatal.”
“Verna, magic is marbled through the Midlands like a juicy roast. The
Imperial Order will steal that roast one slice at a time, as they did the Old
World. Timid alliances will balk at starting a conflagration over one slice,
and let it go instead, then the next slice will be taken in the name of appeasement
and peace, and then the next, all the while weakening the Midlands and strengthening
the Order. While you were gone on your journey, they took all of the Old World,
in less than twenty years.
Richard is a war wizard. It is his instincts that guide him, and everything he has learned and holds dear forge his actions. We have no choice but to trust him.
In the past, the threat was a single individual, like Darken Rahl. In this, it is a monolithic threat. Even if we could somehow eliminate Jagang, another would take his place. This is a battle of beliefs, fears, and ambitions of all people, not a single leader.
It is much the same as the way people fear the palace. If a leader came to the fore, we could not eliminate the threat by eliminating the leader; the fear would still be in people’s heads, and taking their leader would only intensify their belief that they are justified in their fear.”
“Dear Creator. Then what are we to do?”
“As I said, child, I don’t have all the answers. But I can tell
you this: In this, the final trial, we all play a part, but it is Richard who
is the key. Richard is our leader. I don’t agree with all the things he
does, but he is the only one who can lead us to victory. If we are to prevail,
we must follow him. I am not saying we cannot try to advise and guide him in
what we know, but he is a war wizard, and this is the war he was born to fight.
Nathan has warned that there is a place in the prophecies called the Great Void. If we end on this fork, he believes that there is nothing beyond for magic, and thus no prophecy illuminating it. Mankind will go off forever into that unknown without magic. Jagang wishes to take the world into that void.
Remember this above all else: No matter what, you must remain loyal to Richard. You can talk to him, advise him, reason with him, but you must not fight him. Loyalty to Richard is the only thing keeping Jagang from your mind. Once a dream walker has your mind, you are lost to our side.”
“I understand. Is there anything I can do to help?”
“For now, the things I have already told you. You must act quickly. The war has already charged ahead of us. I hear there are mriswith in Aydindril.”
Temple of the Winds pages 268-271:
“Verna, we have trouble here. We finally caught up with Nathan, at least who we thought was Nathan. Than man we had been pursuing turned out not to be Nathan. Nathan tricked us. He is gone, and we don’t’ know where he went.”
Nathan left us a message. The message is more trouble than the thought of Nathan being on the loose. He said that he had important business – that one of “our Sisters” was going to do something very stupid, and that he must stop her if he could. We have no idea where he went. He also confirmed what you told me Warren had said, that the red moon means Jagang has invoked a bound fork prophecy. Nathan said that Zedd and I must go to the Jocopo treasure, and that if we wasted time going after him instead, we would all die.
I believe him. Verna, we must talk. If you are there, reply. I will be waiting.”
“I am here, Ann. What happened? Are you all right?”
“It’s a long story, and I don’t have time for it now, but
Sister Roslyn was hunting Nathan, too. She was killed, along with at least eighteen
innocent people. We can’t be sure of the true number consumed in the light
First of all, Verna, we need to know if you have any idea what the “Jocopo treasure” is. Nathan didn’t explain.”
“Ann, I think I recall hearing that the Jocopo were a people living somewhere in the wilds. If I recall correctly, they are all dead – exterminated in a war. I believe all traces of them were destroyed.”
“The wilds, you say. Verna, are you sure it was the wilds?”
“Wait a moment while I tell Zedd this news.
Zedd has succumbed to a bout of loud cursing and arm flailing. He is swearing oaths about what he intends to do to Nathan. I am quite sure that he will find most of his intentions to be physically impossible. The Creator is humbling me for complaining to him that Nathan was incorrigible. I think I am being taught a lesson as to the true meaning of incorrigible.
Verna, the wilds are a big place. Any idea where in the wilds?”
“No. Sorry. I only recall hearing the Jocopo mentioned once. Somewhere in southern Kelton I once admired a pottery relic in a shop of curiosities. It was purported by the proprietor to have been made by a disappeared culture from the wilds. He called them the Jocopo. That’s all I know. I was hunting Richard at the time, not vanished cultures. I will check with Warren. He might know something from the books.”
“Thank you, Verna. If you find anything, send word at once. Now, do you have any idea what stupid thing it is that Nathan thinks a Sister is going to do?”
“No. We are all here with the D’Haran army. General Reibisch wants
to stay to the south so as to thwart the Order should they invade. We await
word from Richard. But there are Sisters of the Light being held captive by
Jagang. Who can tell what he will make them do?
Ann, did Nathan say anything of the bound fork prophecy? Warren might be able to help if you would tell me the words of the prophecy.”
“Nathan didn’t tell us the words. He said that the spirits denied him access to its meaning. He did say, though, that the victim of the double bind in the prophecy is Richard.”
“Ann, you wrote “Richard.” Did you really mean Richard?”
“Not for now. Your information about the Jocopo will help. We will be able to narrow our search now, and know the questions to ask. Thank you. If you learn more, let me know. I had better go. Zedd is complaining of life-threatening hunger.”
“Ann, is everything all right with you and the First Wizard?”
“Ducky. He has his collar off.”
“You took off his collar? Before you find Nathan? Why would you do such a thing?”
“I didn’t. He did.”
“And yet he is going with you?”
“Verna, I am not quite sure who is going with whom, but for now we both understand the dire nature of Nathan’s warning. Nathan isn’t always irrational.”
“I know. No doubt that old man is right now smiling at a woman, trying to make her swoon and fall into his bed. May the Creator hold you safely in his care, Prelate.”
“Thank you, Verna. One other thing. Zedd is concerned for Adie. He wishes you to take her aside and let her know that he is alive and well, but “in the hands of a crazy woman.””
“Ann, do you wish me to tell the Sisters that you are alive and well?”
“No, Verna. Not just now. It helps you, and them, that they have you as Prelate. With what Nathan has told us, and what we must do, it would be inadvisable to tell them that I live, only to have to turn around and tell them that I am dead, after all.”
“Ann, don’t say that. You be careful. You and Zedd must protect each other. We all need you back.”
“Thank you, child. Take care of the Sisters of the Light, Prelate. Who knows, I may want them back, someday.”
Faith of the Fallen page 536:
“Verna, I am waiting, if you are there.”
“Prelate! You have been able to fix the damaged journey book? That’s wonderful. Where are you? Are you well? Have you found Nathan?”
“Verna, I am well. I was able to restore the journey book with the help of some…people. Strange people. But the important part is that it is restored – for the most part. I am still searching for the prophet. I have some good clues on Nathan’s whereabouts, and I am looking into them. But how are you Verna? How goes the war? Warren? Kahlan? Is Zedd giving you much trouble? That man can try the patience of stone. Have you had word of Richard?”
“Oh, Prelate, some terrible things have happened.”
“I am sorry, Verna. Verna, I am here. I am going nowhere for the night. Take all the time you need. Tell me what happened. Tell me how you are, first. I worry so for you. Verna, I love you like a daughter. You know I do.”
“And I love you, too, Prelate. I fear my heart is broken.”
Naked Empire page 197:
“Verna, I believe I have discovered where the prophet is hiding.
I should have Nathan within days, now. I can hardly believe that after all this time, I nearly have my hands on that man. I will let you know soon.
How are you, Verna? How are you feeling? How are the Sisters and how go matters with the army? Write when you can. I will be checking my journey book nightly. I miss you terribly.”
“My dearest Ann, I’m afraid that things here are about to become
The siege of the passes into D’Hara is about to begin.”
With manny thanks to SaaveDra who typed all this out.