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Over millennia the Hemp Road spread from Condigeo south through the isthmus and deep into the southern continent. When the caravans died out, the feathered serpent remained a symbol of civilization.

The "Native" Americans who invaded the American continents from Siberia fourteen thousand years ago found that they could use the native mammoths and horses as meat. These creatures they ultimately exterminated. When the Americas were later invaded from Europe, there were no suitable riding beasts from which to fight.

The Los Angeles Times says, "... redwood fossils discovered in Pit 91 [of the La Brea Tar Pits] indicate that the big trees, now generally seen only in the mountain forests of Northern California, grew along what is now Wilshire Boulevard" (July 28, 1999).

When the redwoods were gone, the truce of the forest died too. California chaparral has lost much of its malevolence, but some plants still maintain their blades, needles, and poisons. Hemp still soothes, distracts, then strangles its victims at any opportunity.

The killer bees of Tep's Town ultimately armed every hive on Earth with poisoned weapons. Bees no longer negotiate worth a damn.

Foxglove-digitalis-has lost much of its power. The pretty little flower is still a euphoric and a poison.

The madness that comes of touching river gold is still remembered in Germany, in Die Nibelungen, and in the United States, in such movies as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

The legend of a madman's lost gold remains current.

Parents continued to tell the tale of a charismatic man who contracted to resolve a town's infestation of vermin. When the Lords refused to pay him, he led away not just the vermin but all the youth of the town. Ultimately his tale became that of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The story of Jispomnos's murders, which spread with the tellers from Tep's Town to Condigeo and then returned to Tep's Town as an opera, spread farther yet. Ultimately it fell into the hands of the playwright William Shakespeare, to become Othello.

Yangin-Atep lay mythical for nearly fourteen thousand years, entombed in petroleum tar, until two men came to dig for oil in the La Brea Tar Pits.

Their names were Canfield and Doheny. Yangin-Atep's call and the lust for precious metal played a resonance with the gold fever in their brains. At the La Brea Tar Pits they tried to dig an oil well with shovels! They didn't stop until they were one hundred and sixty-five feet down, a few inches above death by asphyxiation. Bubbles of unbreathable gas crackled under their shovels. Fumes made them dizzy and sick. At last they went to find a partner who knew about pipes; and then they woke the fire god and built an empire on petroleum.

In 1997 the authors found Pinnacles National Park to be exactly as described. Sage, rosemary, thyme, and pallid dragon nip still grow there, and the giants' fingers and dragons' rib cages are still in place.

Yangin-Atep feeds the fires that move a billion automobiles and a million airplanes everywhere in the world.

Not cook fires alone but also automobile and diesel motors are each a nerve ending for Yangin-Atep. The god's nerve trunks reach along freeways, paths that once ran through forest, then and still Yangin-Atep's tail. From time to time the fire god's attention shifts, and then the Burning comes again.

Some people like to play with fire.

Chapter 81 | The Burning City |