The Dreamscape Chronicles Chapter 3 by @justabloodygame

Horse-drawn_buggy_on_the_sand_dunes_of_the_Colorado_Desert,_ca.1900_(CHS-1975)

 

This is part of an ongoing story, we recommend you start at the beginning.

Read the prologue here 

Read chapter one here

Read Chapter two here

            As Jev and Bereshit, Warrior God and trusted disciple, appeared atop a dune lost deep in the Vinyasa Desert, Androgiin’s Eye crested over the horizon. The sands under their feet bleached white by years under its burning gaze. A wasteland, its features constantly reborn with the whims of the wind. Heat and a whistling silence bore down upon them. Bereshit squinted at his surroundings, momentarily dazed. Moments ago he had been head of the table at his eldest’s wedding, proud patriarch overseeing the binding of his child to another’s. He was contemplating a quiet future of grandchildren and the dotage of his wife, anticipating now that responsibility for leading his tribe into the warfare — a constant fixture of life on the Jevran steppes — had passed to another. Then, all of a sudden, Jev, God of the West and Patron of Combat entered the proceedings without warning, stealing him away through the Dreamscape with a gesture. Now he was here lost in an arid simulacrum of death.

            They stood in silence a long while. Eventually, Bereshit could bear it no longer. “My Lord,” his tone was steady, but the sweat worrying his brow was not from the heat, “Why are we here?”

            Destruction’s Avatar regarded the wastes a few more moments, before turning to regard Bereshit, a man who had dedicated his life to Jev’s will and bloodthirst like none other before him. “Indeed,” He replied, in a voice quieter, higher than one might expect from a God, “Why indeed?”

            Bereshit didn’t respond, instead shrugging nervously.

            Jev continued. “I’ve asked myself that many times, over ‘Giin knows how many years. Why any of this?”

            “Isn’t it your brother, Angaama, who said ‘What can be, must be’?”

            At that Jev turned quickly, and his countenance was no longer contemplative, but violent. Not even the Gods can escape their name. “Do not presume to quote The Judge to me!” The God did not raise his voice, but Bereshit could feel the deep wells of anger rising within him. Could almost see the light drain from the landscape around him.

            He quickly took a deferential knee. “Forgive me Lord, I did not mean to offend.“

            The anger left Jev’s face as quickly as it rose. “No, no, I suppose you did not.”

            Again the silence, Bereshit could not say how much time past with him blinking at the wind and sand, Jev remaining unperturbed by the heat and debris, until finally the God spoke again. This time he looked right at Bereshit, gazing boring in and through him. His eyes, blood red, seemed to expand in the old warrior’s vision until they encompassed all of the horizon. His voice began no higher than a whisper that Bereshit strained to here over the roaring wind and the shushing shift of dunes.

            “You’ve always been a faithful servant of mine Bereshit. Faithful, forthright and honest in your convictions. Ruthless in your service.”

            “Thank you, Lord.”

            Another pause. Bereshit could not ignore the clangor of his coming doom

            “I have watched a thousand generations of men rise and fall, countless dying with my name on their lips, or Wysheid’s, or Alur’s, or Eleazar’s, but mostly mine. I’ve watched thousands of battles, tens maybe hundreds of thousands, reveling in the chaos and violence. I’ve seen men drowning in blood, in gore, choked by their own sweat and hatred. I’ve watched millions of you die in the battlefield, millions more in bed. I’ve propped up Kings and toppled empires. I’ve granted the prayers of devils and ignored the pleas of angels, all to satisfy my capricious whims. I have been a steward, a guide, a father, a jailor, a general. Do you know what I’ve learned in all that time?”

            “No, my Lord.”

            “Your lives are violent and cruel, short in length and even less in importance. You are vain. You are driven by lust and by greed. You are deceitful, pernicious. I have seen rich men walked past the blind, the ill and homeless. I’ve seen the very same wealthy insist these downtrodden expend their lives to line their pockets, expand their lands and their power.”

            Bershit strove to tamp down his own anger, though he quailed under his God’s igneous gaze. “I must protest!”

            Jev spoke on like he’d been uninterrupted. “I’ve also seen you love, and love deeply. Fight and die for those you care about, those too vulnerable to care for themselves. I’ve seen men and women pulled out from the depths of despair by children, made to smile by their husbands or wives. I’ve seen you hope, despite the filth that mires you. You are… wondrously complex creatures.”

            Jev turned back to regard the desert, speaking more loudly now to be heard over the high-pitched howl of the desert. “We Gods. We are powerful yes, and perhaps we are just and wise. Together we approach the omniscience of our Maker, but apart… apart we are immortal, but stagnant, standing alone on the ivory towers of our deification.

            We were not your creators, just your guides. You are a constant font of surprise for us. We must learn. We all must learn.”

            “Learn what, O Savage One?”

            “To be alone.”

            Bereshit waited a moment for the God of Death to elaborate. “I… I don’t understand.” Despite his growing trepidation, he knew the historic nature of this moment. Never had a God, any God, been so revealing of his weaknesses and doubts.

            “’Giin’s last words before its dissipation. Told us to ‘guide, learn and listen’. Giin called us stewards. I’ve wondered at what this meant for centuries now, and I think I finally know what ‘Giin wanted to us learn.”

            A gust of wind kicked up sand into Bereshit’s eyes, forcing him to close them at the irritation.

            “Life is a cycle of innocence, maturity and death. Each of us, man and God alike, must learn what it means to be abandoned.”

            The wind died down, the sand with it and Bereshit opened his eyes to discover he was alone in the desert with no idea where he was and no way to return home. The indifferent heat of Giin’s eye weighing down on him. The sand shifting dangerously beneath his feet. Jev’s last words echoed to him as if shouted from a great many miles away.

            “…each of us, man and God alike, must learn what it means to abandon…”

            And at that – armed with the knowledge that he was well and truly alone, that the God he and his people had worshipped and trusted for centuries had left him with naught but a creed of violence and a legacy of blood – Bereshit looked out at what he now feared would be his vast, sabulous tomb and, weeping, knew true despair.

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