The Enemy of the Good (eideteker) wrote,
The Enemy of the Good

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Flirting with Death

The continents looked different then. Life, as we know it, had not walked, crept, or even dreamt upon that surface yet. The land was still the territory of the forces that shaped the Earth, were shaping, still shape... and will some day fashion its destruction.

Rive walked from ocean to ocean, in his bare feet. His step was light and springy, and each time his foot lifted the ground burst with a violent bloom of green. His breath was pollen and his sweat, under the young Sun, was saltless. Rive was joyful; he could see the nascent world, one step at a time. He stopped to admire the view, his eyes carressing the azure skies, seeding the very clouds. He could certainly afford a moment's rest; he had almost all the time in the world.

From the other direction came one on a journey equivalent in scope, but little else. Crossing the barren dust as fast as his mount would carry him was Eddigan, the Rider. If we had seen him then, it would have appeared as if he rode a horse. Of course, there were no horses then, but then there were also no people, so we would have no perceptual reference. Let's call it a steed and be done with it; never mind what it later became.

Eddigan's steed bore down, kicking up clouds that roiled in the windless sky. The clods of dirt it kicked up flew for miles, themselves kicking up dust upon impact. It would have been a fearsome approach, had Fear been there to herald it. But there was nothing of the sort; indeed, it was rather unceremoniously that Rive was run down.

And then he saw her.

Even more suddenly than he had come, Death was there. Though Eddigan had not even known he had he had ridden down anyone or anything, he knew She was there. The Rider turned sharply, angling his neck so as not to lose sight of Her as he came about. And he watched Her silent grace as She bent down. And then, just as Eddigan came closest, Her lips touched those of the fallen spirit, collecting his essence. Then She stood calmly and turned, regarding Eddigan. And as spontaneously as She had come, She went.

For many following millenia, the world was cold and bare on the surface. Life still teemed and surged below the ice that capped the frozen oceans. Where there's life, there's Death, but where there was no life, Eddigan could only search in vain. He rode the length and breadth of the continent many times in that great season of ice, searching for the beauty he had lost. But She was nowhere to be found, to be seen, to be felt. She seemed to be all around him, to be sure, upon that deadened ice floe; but it was only what part of Her She had left behind. Death wears no perfume to linger after She's gone, only the coldness of life's absence.

But even among Ancients, there are lesser and greater. Time, by its very definition, is the most ancient of all. As it passes, the old can be forgotten. Very few things exist without some cycle of renewal. And so, soon the Earth began to warm again, and there was again green. Eddigan followed the first shoots he saw pierce the ice southward, where the frost thinned and the growth spread. And he knew then that he could know Death and that She could make him that much more powerful. The seed of his plan bloomed in his mind.

He sped down once again on the growth spirit; this time, reaching down to grab him around the waist. He roared across the vacant land, with his blissful captive in tow. He knew the land well from his ceaseless wanderings, and so he rode almost blindly through the storm of chipped ice and steam that his progress generated. His stallion bore him full-tilt through the mouth of a great cavern and down into the Earth. He rode timelessly in that dark abyss, with no heavens by which to reckon, and no light by which to see. He followed the warming of the earth toward its volcanic core, toward the awakening heart of the slumbering world.

The subterranean sunrise unfolded before him in bright yellow and angry red. He had found the core, the source of life and heat inside the fledgling globe. And, for the first time, the Rider dismounted. He bore the verdant spirit, now unconscious from lack of sunlight, under one arm. In his other hand, he held a simple dagger he had fashioned from raw things he found within the Earth itself. It was of an obeliscal shape, with impossibly sharp edges that seperated each of its four scintillating faces. And he held the green spirit up before the core and he drove the dagger through his very heart and into the fires below. The unconscious figure convulsed as the dagger was struck alight and the flames coursed through its Earthly emanation. At that moment, Death was summoned. Once again, She laid Her subtle lips upon the spirit of bloom and drew his essence to be renewed later. She stood, unconsumed by the fervent licks of the blaze, and faced Eddigan. It was at that moment that he had thought to drive the dagger through his own heart and earn Her kiss, but it was then that Death chose to speak.

Her eyes were pale as Her razor lips formed Her only words: "You shall never feel my kiss, Eddigan." For twice had Eddigan forestalled the seeding of the Earth above; postponing the coming of waking life upon the surface. For wherever life walked, the Empire of Death spread. Directly She spoke, She touched the dagger in Eddigan's still, unmoved hand. The flame went out and this time it was Eddigan who was gone.

He did not die, to experience renewal through a glorious rebirth upon the surface of the world. Instead, he was banished to the violent heart of the Earth from whence all life came, but where there was no life and therefore no Death. And there he stayed, until the next time that the stars were the same, and whispered tales told of his return and the return of his power. For even Death has Her limitations.

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