Journal Entry 1: Memories
As I watched the light fade from my mother’s eyes a rough calloused hand gripped my shoulder.
“Let her go my friend,” said a voice I’d known all my life, but one that had never spoken to me. I looked up into an ancient face, one that had seen the world before Limbo, the world of our long past.
“Come,” said Vyasa. I nodded, stood up and followed him through the door of our dwelling; a broken ruin of wood and stone patched together by four generations of my family. “When you rejected us, I believed it would not be the end of the story,” he added. “You were destined to return, eventually.”
We passed through the catacombs towards the great tower. Vyasa led, his long staff clicking as he walked, thin white robes a contrast to his leathery dark skin. As I followed, I could feel the stares from the darkness all around us, grudging respect, jealousy, murderous intent, all of these and more from the clans that survived in the remains of the old city. All they understood was selection, favouritism for our family. None of them believed I was the last.
The last of my line.
I knew what he was, what he is. Others saw only what he represented; a wizard trained in the arts of magic descending from on high to bestow its blessing on those left behind. They didn’t understand how these things worked. How the gift chose its hosts, how it chose me.
We climbed higher, away from the remnants of humanity, towards its masters and mistresses; the wizards. Vyasa moved over the broken rocks like water, his movements showing no sign of his age or weakness. “When you were branded, we claimed you,” he said as he forged away. “Yours is not the fate of the weak. The caduceus claims you as one of us.”
“What will happen now?” I asked.
Vyasa stopped, turned towards me and smiled, displaying gums and ruined teeth. “You will be tested,” he said, “if you pass, you will be trained, then you will truly be one of us and ready to serve humanity.”
I frowned. The words did not sound like they were for me. “How can we help those we leave behind?” I asked.
“By granting them a better future,” Vyasa said.
I glanced back at where we’d walked from; the wreckage of the old world strewn across the land under the dark and seething broken sky of the vortex. Thousands of people existed down there, struggling to live moment to moment. “They deserve a better future,” I said softly.
“Yes,” said Vyasa, “and together, we will help them.”
---by Allen Stroud