Barzai the Wise, a high priest and prophet greatly learned in the lore of the "gods of earth", or Great Ones, attempts to scale the mountain of Hatheg-Kla in order to look upon their faces, accompanied by his young disciple Atal. Upon reaching the peak, Barzai at first seems overjoyed until he finds that the "gods of the earth" are not there alone, but rather are overseen by the "other gods, the gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth!" Atal flees and Barzai is never seen again.
The story begins with the woman feeling outside of society and then Hermes appears and tells her that she has, though her reading of poetry learned something that only a few others have, that the gods are not dead but only asleep. They meet a series of the different gods and then artists from the past but it is time for a new poet to arrive and become a great messenger for the gods. The woman will not be that poet though but she will know it.