|Chapter 15: "Don't Touch Me"|
Next Kasreyn began to attach his implements to the apparatus of the chair. These resembled lenses of great variety and complexity. The apparatus held them ready near Covenant's face.
"You have seen," the Kemper continued as he worked, "that I possess an ocular of gold. Purest gold--a rare and puissant metal in such hands as mine. With such aids, my arts work great wonders, of which Sandgorgons Doom is not the greatest. But my arts are also pure, as a circle is pure, and in a flawed world purity cannot endure. Thus within each of my works I must perforce place one small flaw, else there would be no work at all." He stepped back for a moment to survey his preparations. Then he leaned his face close to Covenant's as if he wished the Unbeliever to understand him. "Even within the work of my longevity there lies a flaw, and through that flaw my life leaks from me drop by drop. Knowing perfection--possessing perfect implements--I have of necessity wrought imperfection upon myself.
"Thomas Covenant, I am going to die." Once again, he withdrew, muttering half to himself. "That is intolerable."
He was gone for several moments. When he returned, he set a stool before the chair and sat on it. His eyes were level with Covenant's. With one skeletal finger, he tapped Covenant's half-hand.
"But you possess white gold." Behind their rheum, his orbs seemed to have no color. "It is an imperfect metal--an unnatural alliance of metals--and in all the Earth it exists nowhere but in the ring you bear. My arts have spoken to me of such a periapt, but never did I dream that the white gold itself would fall to me. The white gold! Thomas Covenant, you reck little what you wield. Its imperfection is the very paradox of which the Earth is made, and with it a master may form perfect works and fear nothing."