The murky water into which young Cicero had dived seemed to possess unfathomable depth. As if being drawn down by invisible weights, he sank relentlessly until he reached a mirror lying flat at the bottom. Cautiously he crept into it and found himself in a warm, dry room where a carved green stone as tall as the boy stood by a glowing fire. “You’re wondering what’s happening? Why you’re caught up with one bizarre event after another? And what it all means?”
Marcus nodded, and the voice continued, “you have been chosen to be the agent of the gods, to draw attention to those who threaten our world and kindle a spirit of defiance in the battle against them. The gods are alarmed by the relentless march of tyrants who rob the poor to aggrandise themselves and their rich allies, fanatics who sacrifice the innocent to gratify their perverted sense of righteousness, and charlatans who spread lies to serve their unscrupulous masters.”
“But what can I do?” asked the boy, “I try to explain but nobody ever listens. I’m as powerless as ever in the face of the horrors you speak of. They are everywhere, and there’s nothing I can bring about to stop them. I fear that regardless of what I do, however much I protest, even if the gods are on my side, all the efforts are in the end futile. How long have I been wandering now? For much, if not all, of the time, I’m just on my own. If I were struck down, nobody would even notice.”
“For a long time to come, it is true, you will remain alone. You will have to continue on your journey fraught with mishaps and dangers. And no one will pay any attention to you. But it is written that you will continue with your quest. Let neither the cold neglect nor scorching attacks you face divert you from the true path. Some day, the dream of Arpinum will give strength to hope, and the resistance to the darkness upon us will burn that much brighter."