Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Song of the Day Eighteen, A Quiet Passing
From the skies the Hero descended, bearing a scepter of the ancients said to have been made to restore vitality to the world. He alighted at dusk, on a hilltop in his own village near Pandora. He saw light without substance coming from a dark gray square. There, a pallid throng was gathered in silence. A young girl turned and saw the hero, and tugged the dress of her mother, who turned. Her motion triggered others, and soon the entire village faced the hero. Rather than rejoice, or even greet him, the crowd simply parted. The hero walked forward to the lake side of the square. There, floating gently on the waters edge was bier tied with a hemp rope to a stake in the ground. Upon the bier, in the grave decorum of death, was the farmer; the man who had been more of a father to the hero than anyone. Tears ran silently down the hero's face as he remembered the toils shared in the sunlight. The spring planting, a long summer of weeding and watering, and the fall harvest where they gleaned the fruits of their labors. His body shook with silent, yet wracking sobs, and he fell to his knees. His hands knotted up in fists, driving the blood from his knuckles and drawing it from crescent-shaped fingernail cuts on his palms. He wept for the father he had lost, for the life that was stolen from him by the Darkness, for the lives of those in Pandora, for the destruction of the world. What possible reason could there be for this destruction? What reason could validate the loss of a single life? He drew a deep breath, then raised a hand to wipe away his tears. He ran it, open, across his face, streaking it with crimson. He took his sword, raised it above his head, and brought it down on the ropes which tethered the farmer to this world. The raft slowly sailed out into the water. The silence was oppressive. Not a leaf stirred in the wind, not a tear fell to the pavement with an audible splash for an eternity, then the hero took his scepter. He raised it up, with both hands, and a sudden light suffused it. He pointed it out, and it illuminated the body in the water. The farmer exploded into flames, that glowed a fierce, beautiful red in the colorless world. Light bloomed upwards, and solidified into crystalline motes that restored all that touched them into true life and color. The hero watched, his tears drying in the heat pouring from the lake, then fell back, the world growing black about him. A dozen friendly hands caught him before he hit the ground.