The Death of DeathPart I
Those who dwell in darkness assert the absence of light as the cause of their shame. The warmth of his grace is distant—but within sight—as such, when darkness elude bewilderment will strike. Here follows the long path, which from darkness leads up to light, trod by the being unfamiliar with Yggdrasil and Paradise. A reversal of wonder even the Muse cannot comprehend; nonetheless, I invoke her aid to my adventurous song. Suspecting trickery and deception, the craft of the most unclean—nemesis of all—the being, named Death, traversed the ascent to light, from the Underworld, with caution and vigilance. For all his obligations had been revoked, his sentence heard and judged by the most bright, Gabriel, of all the transcendent who in Heaven reside, as faulty. The former burden of attending to the fallen, now lifted, to song in his voice had inspired, as he ventured forward on his journey. Alas, not a minute passed, a creature near the river Styx, near the edge of Hell, vast in size, halted his pace; this was Ukobach—Engineer of Hell—a conspirator who Paradise lost before the dawn of man, and to the edge of the Underworld was assigned to guard, the borders of Hell, in jealousy and disdain. He spoke:—“Stop! Ye who goes there! I know you, who of the Underworld forever owe service to provide freshly departed souls of mortals; you, who carry the only armament worthy to end the lives of his children, who traverse fire and ice unscathed, who defy space and time, who saw the rebellion, who saw the Fall of Man, who has lived as long as the Father himself; Where are you going?!” Death, confused and muddled, at the creature of horrid posture gazed, readied his scythe to violence and blood convey if he were to be attacked; thus he replied:—“Be gone horrid creature! You of impious shame! Traitor! I have not the slightest idea of what you speak! I am but a simple farmer, condemned to the end of my days in the grace of light! Stand aside; for I do not belong here, my life is no longer at the whims of the morning star!” Unconvinced by farmer’s meek attempt at deceit, Ukobach, the creature—the daemon—darted at Death like the stupendous monster of nightmare that he was; screeching and hissing, cursed words out of his mouth emanated, to frighten the poor farmer. The battle, long in duration, and vast, dried the river Styx of its corrupted waters, and exterminated all lesser daemons, the size of tiny animals and insects, in its vicinity. By its uncanny destruction and ruckus, the battle had caught the attention of Moloch, a daemon Prince—Lord of Hell—and enticed him to seek it out. Surprised and awed, the Prince, at the fallen comrade, Ukobach, gazed; this could not be—that a simple farmer had struck down a mighty daemon of hell with such force; thus Moloch spoke:—“I recognize you, lost one; you are the great shadow, the one who surpasses us all in cosmic grandness and purpose; why did you, who do not bow before God or Satan, deem Ukobach worthy to fall beneath your blade? To what manner of twisted realm have you sent his soul? Speak!” To the reason of this intimidating inquisition, Death did not know; trembling before the Lord of Hell he thus replied:—“Mercy, Oh great one! I am but a simple farmer, and granted to me the passage to light has been, by the grace of our Father, who in Heaven reside among the brightest of creatures! The name you give to me—the great shadow—is not the name given to me by my birthright! I am John, harvester of crops, and provider of nourishment for the weak!” Unlike his subordinate conspirator, Ukobach, Moloch did not see past Death’s deception, if it by any means was so, that, in fact, deceit was eminent; however, such intention was not imposed by John, the harvester. The rite of passage, grand—to say the least—on all accounts that matters, rewarded Death with safe passage beyond the borders of Hell, into the vast unknown, to pursue the calling of light which lingered at the top of the ascent.
For nine times the space that measures day and night, Death traversed the vast unknown. Across endless plains of tar, brightly ablaze, he trod in agony, no longer immune to harm as the creatures of Hell had believed him be; over jagged mountains, beneath black oceans, through chaotic storms, and chilling winds he struggled with only the faint hope of light at the end of the ascent as his guide. Day and night he cursed, the Father and the Traitor alike, as to why he had to suffer this immeasurable pain to reach the end of something he did not understand. Every other hour, a creature of the vast unknown—one more bizarre than the other—emerged from the depths to bite a chuck of his flesh, as they had starved since the dawn of all that exist. Fatigued and with sorrow he thus cried:—“Father! Thou who art in Heaven! Why have you abandoned me? Why must I stride across grassy plains of needles and ascend mountains without end? Why must I drink tar and converse with bizarre creatures that eat at my flesh? I do not deserve to be cast out of darkness only to forever dwell in Purgatory with hope of distant light in my heart! Cruse you! Curse you!” His words were unheeded by the powers that be, howbeit, not unheard; from the depths of the murky waters rose, a creature no greater in magnitude than a man, with slender tentacles and a thousand eyes; it spoke:—“Crave for ardency, from the creator of all, will you, young one; foolish, but admirable, considering your predicament which vacillate your faith. Why have you come here, tiny one? To what manner of end can possibly entice you to venture these empty lands? You are lost, young one; tiny one; I can show you the path which from this darkness leads up to light; Yes! Yes! I can show you; If! If I can taste your flesh—yes! —I must taste your flesh before you can know the path which from darkness leads up to light.” The farmer, sickened and revolted, at the horrid creature gazed in awe, unable to fathom its gruesome posture, protected all his limbs and flesh; weary and doubtful; thus he replied:—“You are horrid! Never have I gazed upon such a monstrosity! To what twisted end, what warped magic, what cursed means do you intend my flesh? Your ungracious servants have done nothing but nibble at my skin for days! I will not allow you the same pleasure!” The creature thus replied:—“Then you shall not know the path, tiny one. Never shall you leave this place of neither darkness nor light; never shall you see another soul of your kind; never shall you know the end of your journey, and it shall drive you mad.” The farmer, the being—Death—refused to heed the creature’s demand. Vexed and exasperated by the farmer’s decision, the creature, the one of alien posture, of outer Gods from distant realms, commanded his servants to nag at Death, every minute of his journey until driven mad. For a thousand days, and a thousand nights, the farmer traversed the vast unknown with creatures robbing him of tiny pieces of flesh every minute. When all hope seemed lost, when day and night was molded by dull shades of Grey, and when distant stars no longer held their sway, the farmer reached the end of his ascent. Overwhelmed with relief, and joy, he laughed at the creature that had followed him all this way; thus he spoke:—“I did not succumb to your vile intentions, daemon! I am impervious to Sloth! I am impervious to Wrath! Tremble, as I stand before you, daemon! I am the epitome of Diligence! I am the epitome of Patience!” The creature, albeit defeated in his scheme, did not succumb to the farmer’s taunting; thus he replied:—“Fool; a nibble of your flesh, for a thousand days, and a thousand nights, has granted me your entire body and soul; you are the epitome of Pride, young one. However, through your folly you have granted me relief, passage from this cursed place, this place of nowhere, and thus I thank you. Sacrifice is the height of humility, tiny one.”
Death basked in the Light, as in Heaven bright and ardent, as he trod along the shores of smooth sand and stone. His flesh, now mended, now the shape of one who is most loved by the creator of all, stirred sensation of which he had never experienced; the caressing touch of the Wind, the warmth of Earth, and the suave of Water. He had traversed to the Garden of Eden; the place in the cosmos of which no daemon, or creature of disgust, could tread, except for the one who corrupted all of Mankind. This was the reversal of wonder incomprehensible to the Muse, and all who roam between Heaven, Earth, and Hell; a Paradise for the most unwanted of all, yet unknowingly; thus he spoke in awe:—“Never have I gazed upon such beauty, indescribable by Homer, Virgil—all the ancient poets—that I may to this day assert that I no longer tread in darkness nor in shame of the light; yet, I do not understand! I do not comprehend, how this has been granted to me by means of which I do not knowingly deserve! Is this the grand scheme of the morning star? Is this a punishment by the Father? What new devilry is this?” By the sound of thunder, and flash of light, the most bright and transcendent of them all appeared, Gabriel, the one who had set Death forth on his journey to begin with; he spoke:—“John; for that is your name; a name bestowed upon you as a mortal, by the grace of the Father, and by the love of the Son. Do not fear, for I am Gabriel, messenger of our Lord, the Father—creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Ukobach and Moloch did not deceive you, nor did they impose lies about your identity; you are Death, but no more; your journey was your transformation to humanity, your death, and the road to Paradise. Do not dwell in bewilderment, for darkness cannot touch you here. But heed my words; Heaven lies far above, and shall not embrace you until the day you die once again; Death is the road to awe, one of which you have conquered; do not spoil this tremendous gift granted to you by the Father.” John, now known to him as such, by that name, for he did not remember his former life of death, stood in awe at the gaze of Gabriel; his story, surreal to the height of comprehensible imagination, escaped John’s grasp, yet he chose to believe the winged creature before him. Not a minute passed before another man appeared before John—Gabriel now gone—they stood alone to converse; thus the stranger spoke:—“Greetings! Friend! I must ask of you, your aid; for I, being poor, have only my dreams, of life and prosperity, yet I have been robbed, of both! I will die an agonizing death; unless I can acquire of you, your flesh and blood to sustain me; please, help me!” John, embarrassed and awkward, at the stranger gazed; thus he replied:—“I have no obligation to help you! I have suffered more pain than you can imagine stranger; I deserve to bask in the light unharmed, and to live the life of a mortal, so that I may transcend to Heaven upon my death!” The stranger gazed at John with pity, forthwith he unsheathed a blade, and with it, penetrated John’s heart; thus the stranger replied:—“You truly are foolish, tiny one; how can you be bestowed humanity if you have no interest in being humane; without compassion for your fellow man. You are a creature; you are Death; and you deserve no more, no less.” And thus, John, the being, the farmer—Death—was cast from the Garden of Eden, down to the depths of Hell, past Purgatory, and all the realms of evil, forever to dwell as the creature he was destined to be.