Chapter Two

by jaywcoombes

We could be great if we wanted. We could rise and stand upon the shoulders of those long dead giants, holding aloft the blazing torch of our people – but we do not. We dare not. Cowed and broken by fear, made docile by the promise of comfort, and weakened by a love for ignorance, we are failures. We are less than animals, lower than insects and all other crawling, gnawing, disgusting denizens that lie beneath the earth. To be laid so low, to be less than nothing in the eyes of our ancestors has shrivelled our hearts and minds. They look at us now, those dead and beautiful giants, with hatred and shame. Raging in the eternal night of the hallowed skies, they will strike at us with their wrath. We are a thrice damned people – subjugated by those who stole our lands, betrayed by those we called brother, and cursed by those who came before us. We are naught but the walking dead, withered and empty.

Yet, we can be redeemed. From the bottom of the abyss there is only one direction to go. Like the insects we have become, we will crawl and gnaw and climb and bite our way out of this darkness. Cloaked for so long in despair is itself a strength. As nothing, we can lose nothing, but we can take everything.

The weight of the ocean presses down on me, but I stride on. Slowly, inevitably, I will arrive. The call is strong, never fading or dimming, pulling and whispering at me to continue. In these black depths, I have gazed into the eyes of leviathans. They stare back with their dark intelligence and do nothing. At least these beings recognise what I am. Or do they pity me for what I have become?

The manacles of my enslavement still remain, a reminder of what I must do, what I must reclaim. The chains connecting them are broken, a few chipped links swaying in the water. Even though I broke the chains, the manacles still hold power enough. I am not yet whole. But the call promises to complete me.

I stride on, inevitable as the end.

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