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a short quest for liberation

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“We need food to survive! We must work cohesively as a group!” demanded Lesley of Jack. “If we don’t then environment will take us!”. With a show of indifference Jack mumbled a reply of admission and continued with his small game. He didn’t care- after all it was his mother’s job to look after him, and her fault for having him. Lesley did make difficult demands of him. Her cleanliness just bordered on annoying and was unnecessary. The neighbours child was a couple of years younger , but she studiously engaged with her parents activities. Actively going with them everyday. Jack just felt awesome- he was having a childhood, while Luna’s friends where her parent’s friends. Sometimes Jack would deliberately antagonise his mother bounding out of the door while she cried about his lack of community spirit and that he would just waste his life away. Naturally Jack thought he was an undiscovered genius, but not yet sure what a genius at. “Please don’t leave your shit for me to clean up! My life does not revolve around you!” cried his mother as Jack was bounding out of the door. “Bye!” he said with a broad smile. Jack’s friends were Cyrus and Roshan. Cyrus thought mostly everything was pointless. Roshan was imprudent and didn’t care much for Cyrus’ self wallowing. “Haha, you’re a fucked guy Cyrus! :D Go and cut your wrists!” Roshan would jest at Cyrus. The group had a good dynamic. Jack spent most of his days with them, seeking fun things to do. For the last few days Roshan has been talking about arranging a competition of some sorts among the community. “Roshan, when will you ever have the competition? You’ve been talking for many days about it.” Jack was sceptical about it ever happening, and Cyrus was indifferent. Jack did have another fear though, one he didn’t want to admit to himself. He didn’t want to lose, and lose face. His carefully constructed image could be shattered in front of the community. Jack felt that he is awesome and untouchable, yet insecure in a small way. The competition did run though. Roshan with her exuberance was excited. Even Luna was doing the foot race. Cyrus did some wrestling. Jack sat alone. Jack pretended to be busy and engaged away from the competition. He pretended not to care or be bothered. “They’re probably not having fun” mumbled Jack to himself. “Jack, you didn’t participate in the competition because you can’t?” Roshan later teased. Jack felt it hit him more than he bothered to comment. For several days it played on his mind. He didn't bother to see anyone, pretending to being occupied with something. Once Cyrus came for him but not again after and this lack of persistence from his friends cut at Jack. Days grew dryer and hotter. The river had stopped flowing and life became harder. Even Jack saw that everyone was toiling harder and felt sympathy, suppressing his questioning of his involvement by reasoning that it wasn't in his persona. He felt betrayed by his friends and community. Jack didn't want to involve himself in it's troubles at all anyway. A regional paladin came in to the commune. He told a tale of a frightening giant holding the river waters hostage. That a travelling fighter and an outspoken reasoner would bring its head to the ground. Everyone gathered around- his presence being a community event. Jack was there with all people watching the decorated paladin with his spear resting on the ground as women delivered him 'honourable gifts'. A few hours later he left announcing his travel to a nearby village as part of his quest to slay the mokele embeme. Jack wondered the area after. This paladin... he'd got all the respect and women. Jack went to one of the lesser used shelters. Soul searching he wandered in the dark space. A blue glimmer streaked across his eyes. Unbelieving his eyes he cautiously reached forwards. The blue spear was entangled against the wall in various roots and creeper plants. Before others would take the spear he rapidly worked to untangle it from the wall. Pulling and pushing it started to come lose. A small root held the base of the spear and after breaking that he rushed to the outside finding a place to hide the spear. An idea formed in his head. Following after the Paladin, he could become the fighter from the Paladin's tales! He would go alone- fuck his stupid friends. They'd miss out for their betrayal. Jack made plans to quietly announce to them his plans for his 'sacrifice'. Jack fastened makeshift boots. Later he quietly cornered Roshan and Cyrus. "My life is now your life" proclaimed Roshan. "... And I take up my weapon with you" said Cyrus. Rather than indifference they pledged their loyalty to Jack. Jack thought to himself "I'm feeling a strange mixture of anger and at the same time relief! It's hard to...", and they crept off into the forest during the night. The first night was cold but morale was high. The second night was high spirited as they tried to keep warm. The fourth night had a warm feel to it. The eighth night was uncomfortable. After ten days of trekking through a forest they came onto open grass land. "How do you know where to go? Do you actually have any travel itinerary?", Roshan had begun to being into question the trip. "I think you have no idea what you're doing". Jack still tried to hold sway "We're travelling the way of the paladin. He went in this general direction!". Cyrus harboured his thoughts only speaking of the rising sun. As the sun crossed the ridge Jack saw a glow on the blue spear. Faint lines etched from the edges and he noticed these pulled out the more the sun shone. As the travelling group broke into a sunny area Jack brought the spear up above his head where faint lines stretched towards the horizon. Tilting the spear edge and re orientating his body, he was able to get a clear line pointing ahead to a point in the horizon. Roshan spoke quickly "Astounding... This paladin possesses powerful items!". "I wonder what he'll do if he finds we have it" commented Cyrus. Jack still secretly held private thoughts about attaining fame and famosity, but now the whole thing was growing beyond his control into a noble quest. Why was Roshan and even Cyrus willing to risk their lives? The journey was still long, but at least the nights were getting warmer. It'd been many days and now they started to make a faint outline in the distance of ruins. Blocking their way was a huge valley and they'd have to descend onto the plateau before pressing forwards. In his head now Jack started to question about the groups role. Whether that tale could have been a prophesy. Roshan shouted "Hey come down! I've found a fresh water source! It has fishes!". Cyrus asked how to cross the dangerous torrent "What's the best way there? I can't see any stable rocks". Jack was lagging behind but saw Roshan look around and then call back above the loud sound of the river "Hold on! I'll get a log to throw across!". Roshan climbed through and up a rock face. Jack just saw Roshan standing looking across when a spear dropped down from the sky into her back and the paladin landed on the rock behind him. He draw out his spear and held his hands up to the heavens. Jack stood fixated and Cyrus, evidently horrified hurried across the rocks grabbing Roshan's body cushioning it's fall to the ground. "Roshan... This can't be real!" spoke Cyrus softly. "Do not worry. The dead life rejuvenates the planet and soon she will rejoin the cycle. Life is pointless and death is liberation" said the paladin before Cyrus interjected, "... Shut up. The cycle of nature and your fucking plan mean nothing. Roshan is gone." The paladin continued speaking of the planet and cycle of life while Cyrus continued "What about my pain?... What about US?... My eyes are burning." The paladin laughed and spoke, "What're you saying? You mean to tell me you have feelings?". Cyrus shouted "Of course! What do you think I am!". At that point the paladin again laughed, "Ha ha ha... Stop acting as though you're sad. There's no need to act angry either." The paladin spoke a last sentence "... Because, Cyrus. You are..." at which point he ascended upwards into the sky. Jack had saw something strange. The paladin had his spear and Jack also had his spear. He began to feel scared and all the sounds of the environment closed up around him. Jack was pondering the "death is liberation" as it felt like a hidden truth. Cyrus was evidently distraught and tended to a dead Roshan. Slowly Jack rose him up and then Cyrus gathered up his body and walked to the edge of the river. The body was lowered into the water. The spear indicated the location was near, up above the ridge. Jack left, sayint to Cyrus "I'm going... up to the end." After the top when at last the blue spear indicated a small distance of a few hundred metre's ahead, they entered a grassland area with slightly uneven ground. Littered ruins of a great dead city lay as a reminder to a great race now since gone. The whole city had grown up beside a river, with structures that curved around river trees and river banks, arching and twisting around it. They walked a path through the city and the spear had now stopped shining. They stopped. In the river a huge titan was wading around. He turned and looked fixated straight towards the partially hiding pair. With a majestic voice, the titan spoke "Come out from hiding tired travellers." Apprehensively Jack and Cyrus edged out. Jack was going to slaughter the creature as he had come here to do. Again the titan spoke "Why have you come here?". Jack was deeply suspicious of trickery and told a lie "We're resource explorers looking to build a strong socialist society." The beast laughed and brought its long head very close to Jack by raising and out stretching its neck. "I know why you've come here. You came to kill me." It smiled in a warm way but Jack brought his spear to his side ready. The titan started to speak even more slowly "You were told lies. Killing me will not rescue your people. Your people are doomed to failure by outside corruption. The world has already started to decline." "You tell lies!" screamed Cyrus as he lept out. The titan raised up high showing his full height and strength compared to Cyrus and Jack. Jack thought that one foot is challenge enough for them both. "Do not bother to challenge me. I'm not trying to defeat you, I'm trying to help you" said the titan. He pulled himself back down to their level "Don't be saddened by your friend. His character lives on now in you." "Death is the eventual end of everything. It is a final liberation. Death is a freedom that should be longed for," the titan staring at Jack, "you should know..." Jack felt a confusion and uttered the words "Am I?..." The titan gave an affirmative gesture with his head. The titan continued explaining about the demise of the society, "Yes, the world is doomed to failure. This is not the fault of some outside event." Jack tried futile reasoning "But what about the river?... Maybe..." "Ah, a temporary solution" smiled the titan and climbed up out of the river. A swell of water broke out from under his body and the entire area was swept away. As Jack saw Cyrus engulfed and struggling with the waters drowning him, Jack stood unaffected. He realised he'd died long ago. [Edited by - Genjix on March 17, 2008 5:17:57 PM]

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