I cradled the oracle in my synthetic hand, as if appraising 8y w8 the mystic qualities it still concealed. With my vision 8fold seared away, I was as 8lind to its secrets as the old Doctor was to its present wherea8outs. I'd learned to keep it cloaked from the awareness of the man who once called me his protege, a 8ackhanded term of endearment from a smug manipul8or. Loc8ing his so called dark pockets was the only gam8it I had in countering his milktongued dou8lespeak. The expatri8 for indiscerni8le reasons seemed naturally surrounded 8y such a void in the Doctor's awareness, and so was uniquely fit to inherit the or8. The Doctor could not see his treasure, nor I into it.

I considered what to do with it for a while. Should I find Pyralspite 8y consulting with the oracle, as I'd done so often to steal fortune from my adversaries? I guessed exploiting some technological means of gazing through its surface may have 8een simple enough, 8ut I hesit8ed. Every expedient granted 8y its counsel, though never instantly, came at a price. Knowing his n8ture, I'm surprised I only now recognize it as yet another instrument of his spurious 8enevolence, dangerous 8y way of selective divulgence. The sense of infalli8ility his oracle 8rought me was superficial, and in hindsight weakened my readiness. Knowing my f8 so far in advance, I took Redglare's threat lightly. The gr8est mistake I have ever made was asking the or8 when I would die.

8ut as I revisited the prophecy surrounding this unfortun8 query, something struck me. I thought of the man I would have as a m8sprit centuries from now, who was said to command an army of 8easts. The one it called the summoner.

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