Antediluvian
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I walk. The Elder had always spoken so greatly of this day to me. He said that on the day on which a boy sets out, alone, to the top of the island, he begins his journey into manhood. I can feel the warm grass crushing underneath my feet, stinging and burning if I step out from under the cool of the tall shade-trees. I have been walking for so long now, without food or water or rest, seeking the sharp peak and the cool spring that will show to me my fortune, my destiny. As I traipse along the path that all men of my village must walk but once in their lives, I wonder what sort of man I will be.

The sun is so bright in this place, and yet the wind blows so harshly. I cannot remember the absence of pain in my legs and my feet, but it does not matter to me or to this place. All that has ever been done seems lost in this vast desert of noise and sand. I dreamed in my youth of the beasts and wonders dangerous and miraculous that I would meet upon my great journey, challenging me at every turn and pass. But no. Here there is only the sand and wind. All that is life is extinguished in this place, removed from all history and experience. Here is the place of silence, of reflection and trial. I travel through its wastes of sand and heat, striving to remain. To exist.


I can almost see the peak now, but the gales worsen still. The desert lies behind my path, its sand and empty things kicked about by Angineo, the angry God of the Wind. I walk through this dead scrub-land, the occasional rain splattering my face with mud and leaving me thirstier still. I can hear the beasts when the night comes, hungry and angry at the sky, slinking out of their dens only for long enough to hunt easy prey. I have fear of the long shadows in the night, and what they might make of me. But I am so close now, so close to my destination and my destiny. I carry on, through the fear and the pain and the thirst, eyes held ever skyward to the pinnacle of the earth. Even in the barrenest of wastes it still stands in the distance, tall and proud. Waiting to laugh in the face of the conqueror. Waiting for me.


So close to the peak now, but it can not be reached by me or by any other. Not the mightiest of men of my village would dare face Angineo in his fury, battering the side of the pinnacle of the entire land with his might. I have waited here in my cave for many nights, a tiny divot in the mountainside, waiting without a fire for the storm to cease. But still, it has not stopped. I ache and I thirst, so close to the spring that its scent beckons me, so close that I can nearly hear the song of its water, calling me towards the rest of my life. Towards greatness.


I will press on. This is what the gods want. They test me, sending the eldest and most powerful of their number out against me, battering me with wind and rain in this tiny cave where I rest, alone and hungry. I will not forfeit before the gods of the land and of the people. I will press on.


I have become a man. I have conquered the land and the desert and the mountains and the gods themselves. Now I stand here, before the spring of life for my people, drinking and praying and relishing in the ecstasy of my accomplishment, of my securing of my life and my destiny. Though the water does not taste as sweet as I had thought it might, still it brings strength to me. Everything around this place smells odd, stained with sulfur and the heat of many voices. Perhaps it is a message from the gods, some great showing of their favor for me. I drink, covered in rain and mud and sand and pain. I drink the sweet victory of my journey. I drink to the gods. I drink to the people. I drink to myself.


There is something wrong here, at the pinnacle of the world. The winds do not cease and the rain does not relent in its striking of the earth. I fear that I have angered the gods, brought their wrath down upon me and upon the very land itself. I pray now, in my little cave, for my life and the lives of the people of my village. I pray that the God of Wind does not reach his wrath out unto them. But yet the storm does not end, the howling of the god's breathe does not waver in the vast reaches of the sky, scattered before me in this highest of places. I sit in this cave, huddled away from the wind and the coldness of the rain, and I pray.


I kneel now at the top of the world, shouting as though mad at the gods and at the state of existence. The storm rages, battering my ears with sound and my eyes with light. I remember back to the days in my village, to when I had hope for this time of change in my life. I did not know then what I know now. I did not know that it was my destiny to be the last to pass into manhood before the end of time, when the Gods of Wind and of Lightning and of Death would bring destruction to the world. I shout from the top of the world, begging that they wait in their bringing of the end. Wait until I have lived my life of glory. Begging that my destiny be changed by the pity of the gods.


I hear it, the greatest of thunder-cracks as the gods answer my pleas, their divine wrath echoing in the sky above me. The wind howls past, sending the rain smashing into my face and my eyes. But still I see it. The answer of the gods. It bursts through the clouds and the sky itself, a great mass of grey and brown and blood, coated in plates of rocky flesh and with a thousand limbs, crashing towards the earth covered in fire and rage. As it falls and pulls itself towards the great ocean that holds the world, it stretches across the sky, beyond all imagination of size. It is the greatest god of all, and all others pale before it. Old Angineo did not call out this storm. No. The God of Wind is dead, vanquished by this greatest god of all. The God of the End. Of the Sky and of Fury. It crushes into the water, the shock of it rippling the surface of what is real. With its landing comes the echo of thunder, long dead in the savage beauty of this infinite god, its great form stretching from the bottom of the dark depths of the sea and into the heavens themselves. It falls still, bringing with it the destroyed remnants of the homes of the gods, flickering and shimmering as they fall to this earth. The sea stretches and swells as it takes in the great beastly God, blocking out the entirety of the world before it. I watch, terrified by its divinity and hopelessness, as a great mass of boiling, frothing water bears down upon the world. All will be consumed by its mighty waves, trees ripped asunder and beaches swallowed by the unremitting waves, a signal of the great thing. I think of how my world shall end, at the hands of a god unimaginable in scope and power, sweeping the entirety of creation clean in a single terrible motion. A god my world did not even know.


I stand now at the peak of the world, alone and hungry and hurt and afraid. The ocean has not swallowed me, has left me alone in this empty place, upon a ledge of rock above the spring at the top of the world. All around me there is the water, sandy and filled with mud, clouded over by the washed-away land. The Great God from the sky is not here. It has cast itself into the very depths of the earth, taking with it my home and my people. I stand here now at the end of the ruined world and wonder if I could ever be forgiven for my horrible destiny. I wonder if there is anyone still in the sacked place of the gods and the dead left to forgive me.

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