Echoes of Our Paradise
Be such a man, and live such a life, that if every man were such as you, and every life a life like yours, this earth would be God's Paradise.
Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.
An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell!
"Paradise is open to all kinds of hearts."
Many years ago...
Now fall and let yourself go, now sublimate
Now live and slip into bliss, now hibernate
In my hands I hold the seeds of hope
Great joy fills our hearts as our salvation breathes life once more
The fate of this fading world has fallen on my shoulders
A priest of El Elyon was the one who gave me this task
A priest of the one true "God" as he would say
My fate is the fate of this world, my death is the death of this world
"Enoch! Enoch, where are you!?" the angelic boy called his friend's name through the harsh, dry, winds. He could taste the sand in his mouth, but it mattered not at this point. This town... Lyushar, was ruined. All around him were still breathing bodies however the people lay. Almost as if they were dead. The angel feared for his friend, and could only hope that his friend wasn't like the others in the town. Was he too late? Or did Enoch escape?... No, Enoch would have stayed for the seeds he planted. The angel swallowed hard; his throat parched, yearning for water. As he turned to head into the temple he and Enoch stayed in, distant singing reached his ears. At that moment it felt almost as though his soul wanted to pull itself away from his flesh.
A bird of brilliant colours stands before me
Remarkable plumes drift to my feet
And that signaled the coming dusk
Everyday I water these seeds and pour my prayers into them
With each day I greet it with happiness
And with each night dismiss it with fatigue
But even so I will keep nourishing these seeds
Because it was me who was given this quest
A bird of brilliant colours hops towards me
An unfamiliar scent hangs in the air faintly
And that signaled the coming dawn
Now breathe and surrender it- your precious life
Now choke and give into it- the wish of death
"Enoch?..." the angel stopped in his tracks, now looking around to see if there was any hint for the source of the haunting song. It definitely wasn't coming from inside the temple... Perhaps the hilltop where...
Many moons have passed since I began this task
Many of these seeds have perished from harsh weather
Or from the inhumanity of others
Yet I continue to work towards my goal
To take care of what seeds remain
A bird of brilliant colours caws harshly at me
The musky scent of death hangs high in the air
And that signaled the coming dusk
As the moon's cycles changed people changed
They are losing their hope and are falling into despair
They are losing their humanity; robbing and murdering others
Yet there is nothing I can do myself about this
Besides taking care of what seeds remain
The angel slowly began to walk towards the center of the dead town, crushing a few shards of fallen pottery beneath his sandals but paying no heed to anything at all besides to the song. Soon enough that walk became a jog, and then a sprint. He tripped a few times along the way, even skidding a tad on the dead earth as he make turns here and there.
A bird of brilliant colours pecked at me
It then devoured one of the seeds of hope
And that signaled the unending night
Now come on and be renewed- Resurrection
Now stand up and cheer- Eternal eden
Soon enough, those negative emotions
Began to flow into my heart in turn
But I will endure and fight off the corruption
And take care of these seeds that remain
I believe in the tales my mother told me
And the hope my father gave to me
My heart only grows stronger now
Yet even that couldn't block off my despair
This forbidden lust in my heart rages on
This horrendous anger is shaking my thoughts
The happiness of the eternal world...
One without life and death
The bird of corruption escaped from me
Taking with it one of the seeds of hope
The neverending night is freezing my bones
Demons of corruption...
Wrapping around me...
The bird of corruption returned to these seeds
Scrambling to steal even more seeds from me
The neverending night is mortifying me
Partaking in pleasures of the flesh
Everyone has lost hope and only wait on destruction
Drowning themselves in alcoholic drinks
And many other unspeakable things...
The bird of corruption devours all these seeds
Laughing in my face as I beg it to stop
The neverending night is strangling me
Desperately I reach out for my fading dreams
Yet I feel even my own hope is escaping from my grasp
Demons and evil spirits becon and shake the world
The world is ripped asunder, the waters fade entirely from this world
Soon they will turn to the people once they exhaust this land
And start to devour their flesh and bones
The bird of corruption is long gone now
It had devoured all the seeds I had planted in the sand
The neverending night is destroying me...
Cries of pain and roars of hatred sound through the land
The people are helpless as the demons come forth
And rip their flesh from their bones and shred them to pieces
They have all come back to me now, begging for peace
The raging waves of lust and hate shake in my heart
I've been distorted from what I had been long ago
After these one thousand days and nights the moon
Hangs in the sky for eternity
Oh, the heart wishing for Paradise is tainted with grudges...
My hope is long gone now, all that's left is hatred
Finally after what felt to be an eternity the angel had made it to a tall hill that stood in the middle of town. Bodies of mercenaries and ruffians surrounded the bloodied up child who sat on the ground, battered hands deep in the soil of the hill. Dried tears lay set on the boy's cheeks, his clothing torn, dirtied, and bloody. Bruises and cuts ran up his arms and legs... It broke the angel's heart to see his dear friend in such a state.
The lyrics of this song turn to coils and resound like the midnight's warcry
The voice of darkness echoes throughout the land
A flock of men wage war without reason, crawling with lust
Ravaging what is left of this dying world
Oh, hundreds of crazed demons, destroy everything!
Oh evil spirits and gods whose hearts overflow with hatred
Tear these wretched fools to pieces, let their blood spill!
Give no mercy and bring down your wrath on these pathetic beasts
The blade of baptism was swung; each and every person was beheaded
As the song progressed more and more, the angel felt himself becoming light-headed. This is song magic... So the elderly man was not lying when he said that this child had been born with the powers of the angels... But for a human vessel to withstand the cosmos energy demand for this... The angel thought to himself as he brought himself a few more steps forwards to the boy singing out of his despair. If he didn't do something now, then he himself would become sublimated just as the inhabitants of the village.
The bird of corruption now sleeps, plump from it's feast
The daybreak will never come, the bird will never wake
The one thousandth night is eternal
I have no desire to sow these seeds anymore
What will happen to this world? It matters not
A paradise where life nor death exist...
Yes, that is what I shall create to silence you all.
Be led to divinity and leave your flesh
You don't have to hesitate, surely paradise exists
So sublimate yourselves and take flight
Turn to dust and ascend...
The child stopped midway in his song and slowly turned his head over to the angel. Upon closer inspection black strands of hair clung to the boy's face from blood and tears. The child forced a weak smile, but the sorrow and pain was all too apparent in his sunset eyes... Fresh tears began to roll down the boy's cheeks as the smile faded... The angel rushed to the boy's side, the child saying one last thing before grabbing the child by his shoulders, "I'm sorry, Ferre."
A few years later...
Life was sort of good in the city of Azzarea compared to the rest of the land.
"Come get your animals here! I got goat, oxen, doves... Lots of doves! Cheap cheap cheap!"
"I have fine fabrics and jewels from distant lands! I'm sure they'd look simply lovely on you, Miss!"
Shiri, with her pot underneath her arm, walked through the marketplace of Azzarea. She was free to do whatever she pleased now, at least until the sun was at it's highest point in the sky. All around her people were looking for consumers to buy their wares, even if it meant conning someone of their gold or whatever it is they trade. Shiri could only scoff when she saw some unfortunate woman fall for the ploys of the man selling the so-called 'fine fabrics and jewels from distant lands'. To the trained eye of someone who's been around, they could easily tell they were fake. With a fit of annoyance, Shiri huffed and hurriedly made her way to where the river ran through the city. Hopefully it hasn't shrunk much more from the last time her caravan had come here, what with the drought...
Her life was a simple one that involved travelling, but they always returned to this one city at least three times a year. The river was a valuable resource to everyone in the land even more-so with the drought however it was only a matter of time before the river dried up like the many, smaller river branches that used to grace the once rich land. Now the land was drying up into vast desert-like regions and it was becoming harder to not only find water, but also food. Travelling was becoming much more harsh on those who travelled in the caravan with her due to food becoming more scarce; animals moving to areas with resources and water bodies drying up. Some of the older members claim it is the end of their world as they know it, but there had to be some way to escape from this. To rewrite the fate of death for all those who lived in the worlds... It reminded her of the folktales of the boy who tried to grow a seed that would nourish the dying land.
Two strange characters were sitting around the general area of the nameless river. They both wore white robes, like those of Egypt, yet besides that looked like they were native to the area. The taller of the two had short cut black hair and dark brown eyes... Perhaps even crimson? It was hard to tell under the shadow of his hood. Judging from the circles under his eyes, he most likely was sleep deprived. Over his shoulder he carried a simple bag; at his hip, a sword was strapped to his side. His calloused hands were garbed in worn leather gloves. The shorter of the pair had somewhat longer hair, but it was cropped at his chin. His eyes were wrapped in bandages much like the material of their robes, and a few scars are hinted at at the edge from the bandage... Perhaps he was blind? They were both male, but adolescents at most.
The taller of the two grunted as he kicked at the sand with his right foot in slight annoyance. "The river's shrunk even more from the last month..."
"Oh, really?" the shorter of the two tilted his head slightly, "I failed to notice."
The taller of the pair gave his friend a incredulous look before muttering, "... I... see..."
"Says the blind man to the deaf man," his friend said simply.
The taller, older looking boy of the pair gave his friend a strange stare before bringing his palm to his face and shaking his head, "... Any ways, you remember what business we have here, correct?"
"Um..." The blind one of the two stopped to think for a moment before snapping his fingers, "Oh right! We were going to get food and water! Right?... Right!?"
"... I... Suppose so. We were actually going to look for an angel who is said to be moving through this area and a seer who travels with a caravan, but I suppose food and water is also an important thing to get..."
The short of the duo pouted a bit, "Well... Of course! You don't really need food or water because of what you are... But without it, I'm dead. I am human, after all!"
Nazli woke with a jolt, taking a deep gasp of breath as if emerging from water. She immediately regulated her breathing back to normal and looked around her, around the abandoned and empty house she laid in the middle of.
Nothing. Nothing. Nazli thought as she sighed to herself. The house was the same in her mind as when she had went to sleep. Aside from the now-extinguished fire, the crumbling walls, the rotting bedding, the scattered weapons on the table, the scorched entrance all remained.
The angel got off the bed and slipped her normal robe on. She walked slowly towards the entrance, shielding her eyes from the bright late morning sun. Looking down, three bodies laid on the ground, cuts accompanied by burns.
Self-defense. Nazli reassured to herself. I passed by and was attacked and decided to use their hideout as a resting spot.
The girl turned around and walked back into the house. She examined the table. It was littered with blades and axes and pieces of cloth. On top of it all was a pouch holding a jar of water. Without thinking, Nazli picked it up and took a drink.
She stopped. Testing. Nazli justified to herself again. I will use it to hold water for other purposes.
Nazli walked out of the house, past the bodies of the bandits on the ground, towards the river. She filled the jar with water and placed it within her robes. Nazli then down the river. Azzarea is near. I will gather information there and move on.
With that said, Nazli traveled along the river.
What had brought her here? Was it on a whim? Perhaps, but her conscious mind failed to produce the same feeling that was welling up within her chest. Whether it was by instinct, by some wonderful coincidence, or by a hidden decree of fate, she did not know. But wherever she went, she seemed to be there for a reason...
The apparition, staunch in a cream white over-cloak, gripped her feet to the therapeutic sands underneath, heaved in a ghastly breath, and continued into the town before her, her yellow orbs peering through the thin slits of her weathered bronze mask, shaped in the regal form of the Egyptian vulture.
Her steps were slow, but with a confidence in herself as she went through town, being led on by an invisible guide to what destination awaited her. Her staff jingled with six loose rings hanging from decorative holes in its design, as if the holes were dots that laid out what it could of a blueprint for a perfect circle. She eyed her surroundings warily, taking in the scenery of the bustling, clockwork life of the town.
Her presence in the town was unsettling to some in the know of the rumors about her: Some feared what lay under those two layers of clothing: perhaps she had the worst, unimaginable case of leprosy. Perhaps she was so misshapen that she dared not show her grotesque form. The latter, however, was only partly true. Others state that she's here to collect her due of souls from this town to guide into the next life or oblivion, if such a thing exists. Whatever the case, the people in town tried secretly to defrag and understand her current state of being, but no one could ever be sure...
The gold trim of her gear gleamed feverishly in the sunlight as she made her way to the market place. Her butterfly necklace dangled freely below her chest, moving in the likeness of it creeping below her bosom.
That same bosom suddenly felt a tug from within, in the likeness of the event just outside of town. A slow sigh came out of her hidden mouth, and her eyes started to scan the marketplace. She was looking for her new and hidden objective. Who or what was here that perhaps was the next step to her goal? She gave herself a faster pace as she looked over the raggedy stands and the gear people of this clock town.
But one such gear seemed to stand out to her; in fact, she was not part of the grand design of this town at all, but an intruding insect passing through. And not just any insect. She was a golden winged butterfly that seemed to flit around in avoidance of these grinding gears. That golden butterfly was in the form of a young girl that seemed to do as she pleased among the busybodies. The girl with a pot under her arm seemed to scoff at a gullible woman buying from a merchant of false wares. It mattered not if the ghost intervened in this encounter; she merely passed by this act of cruelty. The merchant would meet his demise soon enough for his duplicity.
The butterfly girl was ahead of the ghost now, heading to the river. Not trying to even conceal her presence, she followed silently behind...
The sun was barely making its way through the cracks in the storeroom door when Sauda found her self being roused from her sleep. She had been sleeping on a pile of rags in the corner of the granary, curled up in between the clay pots. She sat up stifly, blinking away the sleep from her eyes and pushing back some dark locks that fell into her face.
After a yawn she looked around taking in her surroundings. Being in the granary told her one thing; she was currently working in the fields of Sekel. That was a good thing, working for him meant she was sure she would be paid for her toiling. Sekel was a generous man even to a foreigner like herself.
Raising her self up she fixed her robes and pulled out a tiny quarter of bread that was a stashed in pouch, nibbling on it a bit. In the silence of the room she found solace and comfort but it wouldn't last. She could hear the shouts of the other field workers from just outside as they gathered the various beasts from their place in the neighboring stables. She knew she had to join them lest she be scolded.
As soon as she was exiting the granary she was spotted by one of the men.
"Good morning," he stopped pushing at his donkey, looking at the young girl square on.
Sauda acknowledged the man with a look but ran off as best as she could towards the mill house where she knew she was working that day. She was making her way down along the path and admiring the beauty of the day a slight smile playing upon her lips. She didn't even notice the other girl coming up beside her.
"Good morning, Sauda," the girl greeted.
Sauda turned and acknowledged the girl with a smile that reached her eyes.
"Today you're in the mill as well?" she asked but didn't wait for the other to reply. "What a relief. I was sure old Efrat would be with me. I love her to death but she's as deaf as a stone!"
Sauda only smiled softly back as the girl rambled. Yiskah was young and she felt a sense of camaraderie with her. She felt that she was someone she could call a friend. Sauda reached out and touched the back of the other girl's hand with her fingers and eagerly Yiskah laced them together.
"There is a heap ton of work today so let's be quick with it, ok!"
Sauda nodded and Yiskah pulled her forward. With a giggle Yiskah took off running, letting go of Sauda's hand in the process and running uphill towards the mill. Sauda followed wordlessly, taking large leaping steps up the hill. She passed Yiskah just at the crest of the hill and looked back at her friend in victory. But Yiskah slowed as she approached, a look of awe in her eyes as she noticed something behind.
"Look! On the roof!"
Sauda turned and looked up at the mill and sure enough there was a large bird, a hawk perched on the top. It was strange to see such a large bird of prey and Sauda looke dup at it in awe as well, that is until it spread its wings. In that moment, something vague flashed between her eyes. The glorious wingspan called to mind a memory that left her reeling.
The hawk let out a screech before taking off and flying up into the air. With a strangled cry Sauda fell to her knees, but when she closed her eyes to escape the image of the hawk the image of black and white wings were in its place.
She heard a voice and hands on her shoulders. Another cry came issued from her lips as she jerked forward at the touch.
"It's me! Sauda it's me!"
She was jerked back again and she and her assailant fell against the dirt. She opened her eyes again to see the blue sky and then Yiskah's concerned face came into view.
"It was just a bird," she said.
Sauda sat up, and Yiskah leaned forward to wipe tears from her face she didn't even know she shed with the sleeve of her robe.
A man sat on a rug at the bazaar. It seemed quite apparent that he was running a shop, but there was a bit of a discrepancy: he didn't have any wares on display! Not only that, he seemed to be wearing a number of strange things. What stood out the most though definitely had to be his hat. To onlookers, it seemed as though he had placed a basket on top of his head, but as a matter of fact this hat was quite normal in the region he had been staying in for quite some time.
He seemed to be half-asleep... Rephrase that, he definitely was half-asleep, when he saw a young girl walk by, with a pot under her arm. Taking no note of her appearance, Rune examined the pot, and found that it didn't meet up to his high standards. Without a thought, he called out to the girl, "Hey! That pot isn't worth the shit it looks like it was made out of. Come 'ere, take a gander at the real deal."
As usual, Maya’s bright eyes were lit with the faux excitement of a merchant’s daughter. It was her turn to sell something, and until she filled her quota or until the makeshift shop stopped selling, she was trapped behind that makeshift counter. She begged her father to go relax with Shiri, maybe even learn a dance or two, but any talk of that just earned a stern talking to about how she would never find a husband by acting like a gypsy. Those girls were just selling a pleasure-filled dream. Maya wasn’t completely sure what he meant, but it didn’t sound bad, almost fun. Unfortunately, her interest was only sparked from curiosity, not advocacy. It was also possible that she was interested out of pure instinct to rebel against her overprotective father.
Just then, another buyer came up, and just then, Maya’s worn out expression once again transformed into a smile, hiding any wishes to escape the space, but maybe, this person had already unconsciously answered her small prayer. Just as he asked to see a fabric for his wife, his cool, calloused hands met with Maya’s soft, sweaty skin, the skin of a child just reaching puberty. The man’s pupils seemed to dilate as he paused, staring deeply into the bright colored fabric, as if he couldn’t possibly believe that such people could own a thing. He almost jumped over the space, begging for Maya to sell him the “rare” garment. Was he intoxicated? The girl couldn’t smell anything on his breath. She was overwhelmed as he tried to haggle for a price higher than what she priced the item before, but eventually, they came to a compromise that Maya almost couldn’t believe. The money was placed in her hands, and happily, the man walked away with the ragged dress as if he just found gold.
Before Maya could fully comprehend the recent events, her mother came out, her hair disheveled, her clothes covered in flour. Maya shared the good news with her, adding the request to take a long deserved break afterward. Her mother couldn’t say no, watching the young girl disappear into the bazaar. She knew her husband, however, wouldn’t let this news fall away without a few choice words before begrudgingly taking his post back. After all, a promise was a promise, but he wasn’t expecting her to actually sell anything, especially not for that much money.
When Maya realized that Shiri wasn’t at her normal area, she frowned. She enjoyed being around the older girl, watching her float around with her vivid colors and shining jewelry. In her own way, she was like a goddess, something untouchable and ethereal that Maya couldn’t fully comprehend. She wanted to tell her about what happened, even laugh a little. She never felt like she could laugh around her parents; everything was stiff and rigid. When Maya was around Shiri, it was like a release. Oh well, that would have to wait now. Instead, Maya headed back the other way. She had secretly kept a small amount of the profit, so maybe she could buy something nice, maybe even food. She hadn’t eaten in a while, after all.
Slowly, she made her way through the market, managing to buy an apple here, a piece of bread there, and even a bit of water. She still had a bit left. She held on to it, happy enough with her snacks. As she wiped her brow, she moved out of the crowd towards the river. It would be more peaceful there than in the midst of the masses of bodies buying and selling their wares.
OOC: okay sorry for being such a lazy ass
"Hey! That pot isn't worth the shit it looks like it was made out of. Come 'ere, take a gander at the real deal."
Shiri stopped in her tracks and looked to the odd merchant selling pottery. She merely glanced at the display of fine pottery at his shop with a raised brow and replied, "In this day and age most with fair dispositions tend to be the most deceiving. I would much prefer to stay humble with this old pot which is apparently 'not worth the shit it was made off." She spoke in a deadpan manner, obviously not falling for the merchants antics. Shiri was not here to spend money, she was here to collect water from the river.
The two strange boys turned to walk towards the market, speaking of various things that seemed more or less mundane. "What do you think the next town will be like?" "Can we get new robes? This thing's itchy." "I want some honeyed dates," and so forth. The taller of the two seemed mildly amused at his blind friend's antics, replying to each inquiry with a calm voice. As they treaded through the market place, the shorter of the duo stopped and sniffed at the air.
"Hey, hey, I smell bread. Fresh bread at that! Let's go buy some," the blind boy happily chimed as he turned on his heel and walked in a random direction.
"N-no! Asher, get back here! What if you crash into some..." the taller of the two let the words trail off his tongue as he saw his blinder than blind companion bump into a young girl (( Maya)) and effectively sent them both crashing to the ground. "... one..." With a sigh the taller boy let out a sigh and shook his head from side to side before walking over to them, offering his hand to the fallen girl, "I'm sorry, my comrade has quite the wanderlust. Are you hurt?"
Asher groaned from where he lay, "Owww..."
Rune took immediate note of the youth's expression, which led him to look her up and down. He noticed how attractive she was, which almost made him hesitant to continue with his spiel. Almost. "Listen, girl," he spoke sternly while standing up, before reaching down and picking up a miniscule pebble, "At no point did I say I was going to sell you a damn thing. I said your pot was shit, and I aim to prove it."
It was at this point that he lightly flicked the pebble at the girl's pot, shattering it into hundreds of tiny pieces. He then grabbed one of his own similar-sized pots and placed it in the girl's hands, and then patted her on the head and calmly said, "Now, go ahead and go get your water."
He then turned and started packing up his shop, and continued to speak to the girl, "I'm gonna tag along, actually. I suspect your whole family is using shitty pots like that old one, right?"
By the time he finished that sentence, he had already strapped the enormous pot, carrying all of his merchandise and God knows what else, to his back.
When Tamar sighted another individual approaching the golden butterfly girl, she stopped her advance and hid herself behind a wall of another building.
"...A Cthulhi...?" The sand ghost said to herself. What on earth was that creature doing here? She eyed her staff, which was fastly placed against her front, wondering if this spawn had hidden hostility toward the girl. And what vulgar speech he had! Well, it didn't matter to Tamar. In fact, she admired its spirit, not caring what others thought of him or how he composed himself. There was a smile under that bronze Egyptian vulture; perhaps the progress of this world had value of a mind like his.
Still, the apparition's teeth gritted as she watched and listened intently and stealthily: apparently, this Cthulhi was considerably powerful. Not that his kind was weak to begin with. He flicked a pebble at the rather aged pot the girl had carried, and it shattered as if a boulder dropped from on high intent to destroy the pot. Tamar was impressed.
She also did not expect his generosity. With a personality like that, who would? What surprised and caught her attention the most is his readiness to go with the girl on a whim, just because he wanted to replace all of her 'old' pots with his 'newer' ones.
Instead of compromising the situation, the desert lich thought to herself, this Cthulhi just made it all the more interesting. Perhaps fate had put him also into play, and he may be a valuable comrade in the future. There was a sudden excitement within Tamar's soul, but she did not move herself from her position. She stayed put, watching as the Cthulhi packed up his wares.
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