by Grant Smuts
Been on a bit of a hiatus lately, one I mean to end as we draw closer to the sequel of Where The Gods Lie Dreaming. The following is a reflection by a character mentioned in passing in the first book, who will increase in prominence as the trilogy nears its conclusion.
We will disappear.
I understood this a long time ago, when my father was still trying to instill in me the idealism that always fails in this world. We will disappear; others will come in our stead and disappear in turn. The sky will seem a fragile thing, pierced here and there by the light of stars that have already died. All that we are, all that we do is as free of sense and purpose as the motion of motes of dust in a stream of light.
For what does any of it mean? Good, evil, dreams, reality, morality, feelings? I have looked at the world around me, and all I’ve seen evidence of is the egotism of humanity. We will disappear. I’ve seen it as inevitable for some time; life is simply the metastasis of the universe. Worlds grow cold, stars implode. And we carry on, forever heedless, forever fools.
I sit in my father’s solar, meditating before the crystal that he pulled from the maw of earth decades ago. In it, he claimed, he witnessed the truth of the world, saw the dark titans of prehistory pulled from the void and forced to walk the nascent earth, shaping it in its immaturity into their own image.
The world we know is an accumulation of their power, what they have shaped it to be. Perhaps they wished to return to their original forms, forever wandering the chasms of space and time as astral entities. And then, for some reason, they simply vanished. With them gone, the free civilizations were able to rise through the millenia, unimpeded save for themselves. But the dark titans of the past remain as figures that haunt the mythologies and nightmares of men. The sages of the past crafted heroes powerful enough to stand up to them, to defeat them and cast them down, and they, according to them, are why humanity rose as powerfully as it did. But I knew the truth. We rose because there was nothing to stop us anymore. The emperors of the past had faded with the dawn of time and reason.
I have yet to determine what it is they sought, or what became of them, though I greatly suspect that the answer to both questions lies with my father, who went in search of them, seeking truth, or perhaps, seeking misery. I don’t know why my father left. Perhaps he saw what I see reflected in the crystal:
That we will disappear, and that the only hope for wisdom is to seek out the truth.