Twilight of the Gods

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The gods and goddesses are dying, due to the disbelief of people. In their last days, they must face their deaths stoically.

Submitted: July 28, 2016

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Submitted: July 28, 2016

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Twilight was steadily encroaching upon the tall stone fortress that sat upon the grey cliffs and snow topped peaks of Mount Monun. Upon the balcony of the stronghold slouched what was once the imposing figure of Gyshtak, greatest of the gods. At one time he was a slayer of serpents, three-headed wolves, dragons, and giants, but now he leaned tiredly upon the railing, his body worn out, rather than proud. The gold-jeweled winged helmet that he wore upon his head, which once felt light, now felt heavy. The setting sun bathed the chain of stony mountains in a faint gold, and turned the clouds red like wine. He looked straight down into the canyon, much of it obscured by clouds, and thought of throwing himself into the abyss. It would certainly be a quicker way to die than to wait for the inevitable.

His kind were slowly dying.

In bygone days, bards sang praises to Gyshtak and the other gods in taverns, and poets in the forums recounted their tales in a poetry of words woven together in a brilliant tapestry coming to life. Children once prayed to the gods for their protection, and men and women sacrificed their cattle at the altars in which the smoke rose up as a sweet savor into the heavens. But those days were slowly vanishing. Seldom did people call on Gyshtak the Good, the god who molded men out of clay and breathed life into their souls, while giving them wisdom. Nor did people anymore appreciate his son Torgis, who spread his light among the world by riding a chariot pulling the sun. The lesser gods feared even worse, many of them sick, some already deceased due to unbelief.

“My Lord, my Lord,” cried a voice behind Gyshtak. It was Rubloh, the messenger.

Gyshtak looked wearily at the messenger god. “Why is it you disturb me? Cannot the Father of the Gods have this evening to himself?”

“My Lord, I pray forgiveness, but it’s important.”

The Father of the Gods addressed the messenger’s concern by averting his gaze into the sky. The remaining sunlight was now a faint sliver stretching across the horizon. Above the clouds the stars were peeking out, the jewels of Mydona’s tiara flung into the sky to give a little light for mankind.

“Tell me, Rubloh,” the old god slowly said to the messenger, “when was the last time you beheld the sky goddess’s jewelry?”

“I can’t remember,” the messenger god said at a loss.

“Of course you can’t,” Gyshtak sighed looking at him. “You’ve always been on your feet, delivering messages to and fro, never giving yourself a moments rest.”

“What else could I do, my Lord? It’s my calling.”

“But it won’t be much longer, and you know this to be true. Our days are dying. Science and reason have brought so-called enlightenment to the people below.”

Rubloh cocked an eyebrow. “What do you mean by so-called enlightenment? Forgive me for being perplexed, my Lord, but are they enlightened or are they not?”

“They are enlightened in the sense that they now know how to cure most diseases. They are enlightened because they have made advances in science, finding out ways in which the world works. Yet they think worship is archaic, being the cause of past wars.”

“Has it not?” asked the messenger god.

“Aye, lad, it has,” Gyshtak god nodded gravely. “Yet in their arrogance they have assumed that just because they stop believing in us that war and hatred will cease. Many of the people have ceased to believe in us, and yet they still kill using some vain philosophy, or by a term called eugenics, and more often than naught in the names of greed and politics.”

Rubloh cleared his throat, eager to run again, though he couldn’t run as fast as he used to. It wasn’t long ago, in which he could run fast as twice as a cheetah, without tiring. Now he only ran half as fast as one. “My Lord, I hate to cut your ruminations short, but we have been called by Galdis to help fight off an encroaching group of giants. These beasts are enclosing in on the town of Hearthfire.”

“Galdis needs our help, does he?” said Gyshtak walking away from the balcony and into the throne room. The pillars, the floors, the walls, the ceiling, and the throne, were all carved and polished out of marble, etched in different designs and symbols. White curtains cascaded down, like wispy waterfalls, from the ceiling. Wearily he sat down on his throne, his arms resting upon the lion carved out of the right arm of the chair, a wolf to the left.

“That’s what he has told me,” reiterated Rubloh.

“Cannot the people in their infinite wisdom help themselves?” Gyshtak pondered aloud. 

“Shall I tell Galdis that he won’t have the honor of your presence?”

The Father of the Gods thought for a moment. “No,” he finally said. “I shall answer the call.”

True to his word, Gyshtak readied his chariot, hitching it to his best steed, the gold and silver stallion Jerot. With a crack of the whip, he flew over the mountains into the night towards Hearthfire. It took Gyshtak very little time to reach his destination. There were six giants surrounding the town, and yet everyone was oblivious as they rode their horseless carts, polished their store windows, and went about their business. On an overlook to the valley below, Galdis was standing vigilant, spear in in his right hand, and battle-axe on his left hip. From head to toe in armor he gleamed under the starlight.

Gyshtak brought his steed Jerot to a stop not far from the God of Battle.

“Hail, Father of the Gods,” Galdis saluted him, as Gyshtak dismounted off of his chariot.

“Hail, God of Battle,” said Gyshtak solemnly, for Galdis, like himself, was not in prime form anymore. The old god of battle was just that; old.  His once tawny-copper beard was now white, and wrinkles creased his battle worn face. Years past, Galdis had been rejuvenated after each battle. But now it looked as though his days of rejuvenation were over. He was growing worn out, not from battle itself, but from disbelief.

“What’s the situation thus far?” asked the Father of the Gods.

“The giants have been stomping in a circle on the outskirts of the town, getting ready to pounce,” Galdis scratched his beard.

“Have not the tremors alerted the people to their awful plight?”

“In a way it has, my Lord. But they don’t chalk it up to giants. No, rather they see it is caused by earthquakes.”

“Earthquakes!” exclaimed Gyshtak incredulously.

“Yes,” nodded Galdis. “Right now they say they are just experiencing some light tremors, but they are worried that the quakes will grow in intensity.”

“They will if we don’t put a stop to these giants,” cried Gyshtak, withdrawing his huge broadsword from its sheath. He had won the sword in a battle of wits against a giant, and what a prize it was with its engraved hilt of golden leaves, its jewel encrusted pommel, and its silver blade that could cut through rock and stone.

He paused a moment. The blade was much heavier than he remembered it. In fear, Gyshtak didn’t know how many swings he’d be able to take until he lost all strength. “Tell me, Galdis, do we alone have the power to stem the onslaught?”

“Nay, my Lord,” said the God of Battle. “Yeroon and Cuawalyn have said they plan to enter the fray.”

“Why are they not yet here?”

“I am unsure,” Galdis shook his head.

But the question didn’t need to be asked. Both knew what caused their delay. Yeroon the God of Waters had aged even greater than many of the others had. It wasn’t any wonder why. The people had built steam-powered vessels that could dive like whales underwater, in hopes that they’d find Yeroon’s kingdom. But such was not the case, so they disavowed him as a false god. It was much harder now for Yeroon to ride his chariot pulled by sea serpents, as even the serpents were aging. But that wasn’t all that wore on the God of Waters. For he was also the husband of Femelda, the sea goddess who sent out dolphins to save sailors, and who cared for the life of the sea. Yeroon spent many days and nights tending to his sickly queen. Though both felt dismayed by the lack of belief, Femelda took it even harder than her husband, to the point that she just stayed in her bed of seaweed. As for Cuawalyn, the Goddess of storms and steel, they always thought Yeroon sent his water up to her so that she could rain it upon the earth, but since they couldn’t find him, they figured she was a false goddess as well. Cuawalyn, who once used her cloak to fly through the air, bringing rain, had slowed down considerably. This was of no consequence to the people, though, as the storm clouds travelled without her regardless. What did they need a goddess for when clouds could make rain on their own? Cuawalyn was now primarily worshipped for teaching the people how to make steel weaponry.

“Father of All Gods,” spoke up Galdis. “We can’t delay. The giants are already shaking the city.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” Gyshtak sighed. “Let’s put an end to these demons of the abyss.”

With weapons drawn, they entered the fray, catching the giants unaware. Still, a hard fight lay ahead, as the giants were gargantuan in stature, towering above the gods.  Gyshtak cut the legs out from under two of them before they could advance any closer to the city. Galdis threw a spear through the heart of another. But they weren’t able to halt the other two giants from inching closer to the settlement. The giant’s footfalls caused the city to crack, its streets opening up into big fissures, and its old buildings to crumble. The gods could hear the screams of people dying, crushed beneath the rubble. Galdis felled two more of them, causing the earth to shake and more buildings to crumble, but his kill wasn’t without a steep cost. Not being nearly as agile as he used to be, one of the falling giant’s hands slammed against him, causing him to fly through the air. He landed, breaking every bone in his body. In rage and anguish, Gyshtak took down the last giant by slicing off the giant's head.

The Father of the Gods rushed to the broken form of Galdis.

Blood was trickling down the God of Battle’s mouth, his body contorted in different angles. Even in death the god had a strength to him, before the wind blew his body to ashes which were scattered to the winds. 

“When the people die, they all go the Hall of the Gods,” whispered Gyshtak. “Now where will they go when they leave their mortal frames? As for Galdis, where will you go, God of Battle?”

The cries from the city were audible. The people were cursing the gods.

“Where are the gods to protect us?”

“There are no gods, you idiot.”

“But we have been taught” –

“Forget what you’ve been taught. They were all fables. If there were truly gods they would have spared us from destruction.”

“We tried,” Gyshtak said sadly. “But we failed.”

Yeroon and Cuawalyn found Gyshtak sitting forlorn upon his knees against the cold earth, his white hair hanging down like tears frozen in time.

“We arrived as quickly as we could,” Yeroon said quietly.

“We received the summons,” interjected Cuawalyn. “Where’s Galdis?”

“Gone, but I know not where,” bemoaned Gyshtak.

“My Lord, I my condolences,” wept Cuawalyn.

“Mine as well,” sighed Gyshtak. “Neither of you are to blame. We are getting old, and passing away, as the peoples’ beliefs in us subside.”

“It’s true” sighed Yeroon. “Perhaps the people will still return their hearts to us in the near future.”

“Perhaps,” Gyshtak was thoughtful, “but more than likely not.”

“Fellow brave warriors,” cried Cuawalyn. “Let our hearts not be troubled. Forever we will miss, Galdis, but the God of Battle has died a hero. Let us return to your halls on Mount Monun, Gyshtak, and feast, while telling stories of old.”

Despite her words of affirmation, it couldn’t drown out the cries in the distance. “There are no gods.” “I curse Gyshtak and whoever fabricated him and the other gods from their fertile imaginations.” Galdis a hero? Who was the slain god a hero to?

 

Back at the castle of Gyshtak, under the golden banners unfurled in the banquet hall, the four of them, Gyshtak, Rubloh, Yeroon and Cuawalyn feasted, as Shavalda the Goddess of Music and Poetry, strummed music on her harp, while singing with a gentle voice that rushed out like a rippling stream through a forest at dawn. Out of all the gods and goddesses, she was the only one who wasn’t aging. She was as young and spry now as she was a thousand years ago. Her hairs were like strands of hammered gold, curled and twisted into beautiful locks. Her face was still white like snow, and her eyes a pale blue of the sky. No one could say why she didn’t age, but none of the gods and goddesses cared. It only made her an anchor in the tides of a changing world. She preserved the sweet nectar of the past in the songs she sang, the stories she told, and in her never aging body. Because of this, the gods and goddesses felt safe around Shavalda, for she was a living memory that would never depart.

That night the gods forgot the woes of the day just for a bit as Shavalda sang, recited poetry, and told tales of bygone days that each of the gods had lived. They all laughed at the tale when Norgulun, the God of the Harvest, five-hundred years ago, had to disguise himself as a maiden to woo a giant into giving him his magic sickle back, which the great oaf had stolen. They cried at the story of the two forlorn lovers, who disobeyed Rubloh’s message, ruining their chances of being together forever. The Goddess of Poetry and Music’s voice enraptured their hearts, as they listened intently to the stories of when they overthrew dragon-lords and defeated wolves. They relived the wedding, as Shavalda spoke of the marriage between Derug, the God of the Dead, to Fleres, the Goddess of Spring and Flowers, after he had taken her to abide in the underworld. There she had cried in his abode, in which her tears, trying to escape the confines of the earth, sprang up into trees, flowers, and other shrubbery onto the surface. But the story that both filled their hearts with joy and stabbed their hearts with pain was the creation of the world. The Goddess of Music sang the words sweetly and sadly, about how Gyshtak, the Father of the God’s, had saved the other gods from the prison of his father, the Demon Gymir, and how upon saving them he created a world out of stardust and clay for their existence. In the beginning there was peace and harmony, and there would have remained such, had it not been for Goru the Trickster.

Created from the stars of the firmament, he was to be a shining light. But his light had grown dim from all the mischief he had played upon the gods, causing them to feud with one another. But the greatest trick he had played was not upon the gods, but upon what Gyshtak had created and blessed. By convincing all of them that they all possessed superior intellect, and that they could figure any problem out on their own, and that there was no longer any reason for people to believe in gods and magic. Ironically, though, Goru was the first to grow old and die, as he was the first the people stopped believing in. Many thought that the death of the Trickster would put an end to the death of the gods, but it didn’t. Other gods and goddesses slowly passed on, until there were few left.

“Curse the trickster,” Yeroon slammed his goblet of wine upon the table.  “May Hell never release him!”

“If there’s still a hell,” sighed Rubloh sadly.

“What do you mean?” Yeroon looked cross.

“I think I know what he means,” Cuawalyn spoke up.  “Soon we will cease to exist. Why, even these castle walls will eventually tumble, turning into dust. If neither we, nor this fortress exists, then why should a place of punishment?”

If there sorrow was great before, their sorrow increased tenfold, as the gods lost the very little appetite they had to begin with. The boar and ram meat, pefectly spiced upon their plates, had lost there savor. The red wine was no longer sweet, having become bitter like the blood of their fallen comrades.

“And it’s our fault,” sighed Gyshtak. “Shavalda, while your stories give some perspective, perhaps we are in need of even more. You left out the stories of the squabbles between Yeroon and Mydona, when she accused him of stealing her jewels, or the stories of the clashes between Helba the sister and Zelbu the brother, the twin gods of chastity, because of Zelbu breaking his vow for a virgin on earth. Nor have you related the story about how Vyalla, in her anger, cast a magic spell to wipe out a whole city. And of course you’ve forgotten me, I Gyshtak, the Father of the Gods, the creator of man, Gyshtak the Good, who, in my anger, has turned civilizations, who have refused to worship me, against each other, causing many a war.”

“Maybe she chooses to focus on the good and less than the sordid,” protested Yeroon. “Must you bring up my sins?”

“I must because we are all guilty except for Shavalda,” said Gyshtake. “The sordid is why we are partly in this situation. We might as well face every aspect of our lives before we stoically face death.”  

“Let not your hearts be troubled,” Shavalda’s voice came in the form of music. “For though the sun sets, it must also rise again. For when darkness descends, the moon gives a faint glow.” She clasped Gyshtak gently by the hand. “My Lord, with your permission, I beg of you, let me follow you and the others into danger. Let me lay down my life, as you have all been willing to lay down yours.”

Gyshtak looked at the Goddess of Poetry and Music thoughtfully, and his eyes could discern many things that she, nor the others, could not. He knew that she would outlive all of them, continually growing in her beauty. That beauty she would spread to others, but it would also be a burden that she must always carry, a remembrance of the camaraderie that she had once shared with all of the other gods. Perhaps out of all the divinities who were cursed, she was inflicted with the sorest curse of all, while being simultaneously given the greatest of blessings.

“Shavalda,” sighed Gyshtak, “there is more glory in the written word than the blood of the battlefield. Old bones must be laid to rest, but the word can endure through time and eternity.” He took her by the shoulders, his weary grey eyes peering into her strong, blue ones. “Keep us alive, Shavalda, when we are gone.”

 

That night, after all the guests had left, The Father of the Gods retired to his bedchamber up in the tallest tower of his fortress. The very spire of it almost touched the moon. This was a comfort to him, as this was where his daughter Pylena had been spirited away many hundreds of years ago. It had happened when she married the man on the moon. Now she drove his chariot with him, pulling the moon behind them. Was she even still alive? Or was the moon pulling itself? Humanity more than likely came up with some scientific reason of why the moon encircled the earth. It was more than likely his daughter, and her husband, were dead. But they were not the only ones on his mind. His thoughts turned to Torgis his first born. Shavalda had said that the sun must rise again, and that the moon would give a faint glow, but what use was it all without his children? The rising of the sun would be less glorious, and the moon less beautiful. Gyshtak felt alone. Death would certainly be a boon.

From his tower he received messages from his pet golden eagle Airous. The eagle was able to exercise a stealth that Rubloh never could. Yet, why now did it matter? Unlike the old days, the messenger god couldn’t be seen by those who disbelieved. Of course, Rubloh wasn’t as fast as he once was, so Airous was still, ironically, valuable, though even the eagle's value was waning. The eagle had once been a youth of extraordinary talent, who had scaled the mountain to earn an audience with the gods. They had all been so impressed by such audacity that Vyalla, the Goddess of Magic and Enchantment, – who was sadly one of the first to die – had given him an enchanted cloak of wings to wear, which slowly, according to the youth’s desire, turned him into the bird of his choice, while retaining the gift of human speech. Tonight was no different. Airous was perched on his bed-stand.

“What news do you bring, bird of omens?” Gyshtak sat wearily on his bed.

“The nation of Gilburish has developed what they call a chemical gas of some kind to wipe out the less desirables,” Airous was solemn. “They feel it’s quicker than lining up and shooting them.”

Gyshtak put his head in his hands. “Do we not deserve this fate?”

“Pray tell, my Lord, what do you mean?”

“I mean this, we judge them for killing each other, but did they not kill in our names long ago? And what did we do to put a stop to it? How many people killed each other? How many kingdoms went to war, just because they interpreted our teachings differently? Perhaps the world would be better off without gods. All people do is use the teachings to murder.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, do you blame them? One of their greatest philosophers asked how we can be worshipped when we are so immoral ourselves. What did they do to him for asking such a sincere question? They sentenced him to death. He was right, you know. We have all been guilty of philandering, jealously, and murder. We ruminated about it tonight in the halls.”

“That may be so, my Lord,” the eagle nodded. “But it seems to me the people are doing their fair share of slaughtering each other without the help of you or any other god. It’s the hypocrisy that ruffles my feathers. They think they can be more righteous without you, but from what I’ve observed, they are failing to measure up to their lofty ideals.”

“Still, I can’t help but wonder,” mused the old god, “is it not better to kill and rape and war without our names involved? Despite our flaws, I can’t help but think that killing in our names is the worst form of blasphemy. But again, what right do I have to harp on it, being as flawed as we all are?”

“It’s the peoples’ hypocrisy that I find intolerable.”

“And as I said before, are we not hypocritical gods ourselves? Giving them ethics that we ourselves couldn’t follow?”

“I don’t know what to say,” said Airous. “All I know is this. When they did follow your teachings, they had some hope and meaning in their lives. Now they are lost without that magic. Worst of all, they still kill. Despite them saying the end of the gods would usher in a whole new world of enlightenment, they still war, they still enslave. Now instead of using old wooden chariots, steel swords, and bow and arrows, they are using sticks that can fire powder to blow holes through each other, and armored catapults that can take down buildings more effectively than any wooden catapult could.”

“Forgive me,” said Gyshtak,” but this is too much for my already heavy heart to bear, and it is what I already know. Besides, it is what I have already said earlier to Rubloh. Say no more of war, but rather I implore you to bring me tidings regarding my son and my daughter. Do Torgis and Pylena still yet live?”

“If I were to see for myself, only to behold sorrowful tidings, would the Father of the Gods wish to further burden his heart?”

“If such burdens bring me the truth, then it is one I shall accept.”

So, as the eagle flew to bring tidings of Gyshtak's two children, the eldest of the gods brooded in his tower, trying to fall asleep in his bed. He gladly let dreams overtake him. For such were doorways to his past, in which he was with his children again. He could have happily slept oblivious in such dreams had it not been for Rubloh loudly knocking on the door.

“My Lord, my Lord,” he cried out. “Dragons are making their way to the castle.”

Gyshtak awoke with a start. Quickly, he girded his loins in his best breastplate and his head in his battle helmet. Instead of taking his sword, he took his spear.

“How many are there?” he asked Rubloh, flinging open the door.

“I’d say about fifteen in all,” proclaimed the messenger. “My legs, as you know, aren’t as fast as they used to be, so I sent Airous out to deliver word to the other gods.”

“Airous!” exclaimed Gyshtak. “He’s supposed to be finding out what has become of my children.”

“And I’m sure he still will, my Lord, but for the time being we need to defend this fortress.”

Gyshtak nodded. He rushed out of the warm confines of his chamber into a never ending winter. The snow burned cold, a magnification of the cold burning in his heart. Let the dragons come! It would be a glorious battle!

In the distance he could see the dragons faintly, sixteen of them. He knew the other gods wouldn’t get here in time. Then again, maybe he was wrong. He noticed the dragons weren’t moving as fast as they used to. Due to the peoples’ unbelief the dragons were dying off as well. Within their powerfully framed serpentine bodies were bones growing as old and as decrepit as the bones of the gods.

Yeroon and Cuawalyn, neither of whom had left the castle, stood by Gyshtak's side. But this time another goddess descended upon the castle only a few minutes before the dragon’s arrived. Serithiny, the archer, the Goddess of the Hunt, was by their side. She had a quiver full of arrows, notched and thirsty for blood.

“Hail, Father of the Gods,” she greeted. “My condolences to Galdis. He was perhaps the bravest man I knew. I apologize that word didn’t reach me regarding the giants attack on Hearthfire.”

“Child, I feel tonight we will have to be just as brave as he,” said Gyshtak solemnly.

He didn’t need to tell the others why. There would be no dawn for many of them. This was the night many would die. He could feel it. Already two nations down below were getting ready to go to war, reveling in their own strength. Mankind was rapidly becoming their own gods. Bracing themselves, the gods stood like mountains before the oncoming storm.

With his spear of thunder which he fondly called Chaos Bringer, that same spear hammered by the dwarves of the deep, and blessed and enchanted by the three fates on the island of Shelios for his reward in returning their oracle from a witch, Gyshtak was able to strike down two of the dragons before they got to the castle.

“Your aim is still true,” Serithiny told him, as she filled another dragon with arrows.

“Not as true as it used to be.”

The old god was right, for before he or the others could strike another dragon down, the thirteen remaning creatures were already upon them. Cuawalyn was given a deep teeth wound by one on the side of her torso, but not before slicing the dragon down horizontally. Yeroon was able to deflect some dragon fire, by engulfing himself in a shield of water. But his shield had lost much power since he had had aged. A chink in the water, allowed a bit of fire to pass through, scorching him on his right shoulder causing him to bellow in pain.

For the wounds of both Yeroon and Cuawalyn the Goddess of Healing, Ershia, was needed, but she was nowhere to be found, having died long ago when people started to believe in modern medicine instead. Gyshtak didn’t have long to dwell on this, as another dragon speedily came. He could feel the heat of the flames, but with lightning the Father of all the Gods struck the beast down. Yeroon was able to muster up enough water, to drench the flames of two dragons, which Serithiny then finished off with two arrows to the hearts. Cuawalyn, despite her wound, was able to cleave the head off another. With only eight left, the gods had some hope. But then tragedy struck.

It had happened so fast, a smell of hell ash – something the people called powder – rang through the air, entering between the breasts of Cuawalyn, piercing her heart, out through her back. The Goddess of Steel and of Storms fell to her death below.

In a rage, Yeroon forgot all about the dragons, too angry that some mere mortal was near, or on the mountain slopes, that had killed a goddess. Ironically, she, who had taught people how to make weaponry, had been felled by them. He would not stand for it.

“Yeroon, desist!” ordered Gyshtak, but there was no stopping the God of the Waters. He careened down the slopes, and Gyshtak could hear the screams of people being slaughtered as Yeroon in his wrath dealt judgment upon the unbelievers. Then another shot rang out, and Gyshtak could hear the God of the Waters wail in pain, forever leaving the earth.

“Yeroon,” sobbed Serithiny, “he’s he’s”….

“He’s dead,” bellowed Gyshtak, “and we will be, too, if we don’t take care of these dragons, and for that matter, the people down below will be dead, too, if we don’t protect them.”

“Why do you care for these mortals so?” screamed the Goddess of the Hunt in a rage.

“Because they are the workmanship of our hands,” retorted Gyshtak.

This silenced the opposition, and the two fought on. They were down to four dragons, when Serithiny finally fell to dragon fire. In anger, his heart burning with a fire greater than that of all the dragons combined, Gyshtak slew the remaining lot of them.

Worn and bloodied, with a part of his fortress destroyed, the old god felt his heart crumble. It was terrible to think, out of the three that fought by his side, two had been felled by the gunpowder of people, the people who had once worshipped them. Would the people murder him next? It was a pointless question. The people had slowly been murdering the gods ever since they started to lose their faith in them. But there seemed something tragically poetic about mankind physically killing two of them.

A fire burning within him, Gyshtak toyed with the notion of wiping out all of humanity. If they wanted to hate them, he would hate them back. They would know the wrath of a god. Reality dawned on him. He was too weak to wipe them out. He might have a chance if Yeroon was alive, in which he could send a flood, but he was not. Besides, even if he could, who was he to make that call? As he recalled during an earlier conversation with the eagle, the gods had been terrible deities. It was only five hundred years ago that he and Galdis had gone to war with each other, and for what? A maiden upon the earth. Not only had Gyshtak amassed some of the gods to his side, and Galdis some of the gods to his own, but the pair of them had also caused neighboring kingdoms to war over it, causing much destruction. No. The Father of the Gods didn’t have any right to punish civilization.

That night Gyshtak tried to drink himself into oblivion with bottles of wine from the cellar. He sat in the great hall of his fortress, under a wide gaping hole in the roof left over from the battle. Though Cuawalyn had died this evening, her rain still came, crying for him, trying to wash away the pain and sorrow of the loss of three more of them. Making him even more despondent was the news that Airous had recently delivered him regarding his son and daughter. They were nowhere to be found. Not only did it appear that the moon and the sun were moving without Torgis and Pylena, but the very sun itself was now stationary, the world that the gods had created now traveling around it. After recieving these words, Airous began to caw like a normal eagle, loosing his ability to speak human speech. 

The sound of soft footsteps could be heard gently splashing through the puddles. Shavalda stood before him, harp cradled to her breasts. Tears, intermingled with the rain, streamed down her face.

“My Lord, shall I play for you?”

“Yes, Shavalda, play for me.”

Her fingers gently strummed across the strings, causing the notes of the music to blow like a breeze of delicate flower petals in the wind. The Goddess of Poetry and Music withheld any music of sorrow, instead focusing on the beautiful. For a long time she played. For how long, Gyshtak couldn’t say. But her music and her songs reunited him with the fallen gods and goddesses, into happier days in which they were worshipped.

The years passed away and so did the rest of the gods, as the people no longer believed in them anymore. Soon Gyshtak even succumbed to disbelief. Yet, Shavalda remained.

The Goddess of Music and Poetry could not be silenced. She lived on in peoples’ hearts, giving the gift of the muse that she had so often given chosen people throughout all time. Through these people she kept mythology alive. Though the gods and the monsters all died, the lightning and earthquakes still waged war upon the earth, floods still encroached, rain still came, and the sun still shone. But there was less order to it all, and just a bit more chaos. People no longer killed in the name of the gods, but they certainly killed by their own desires. Still, Shavalda with her poetry and music gave hope to peoples’ souls, helping them escape from a world being smothered in technology into a simpler one of myth and magic. She alone the people worshipped, she the Muse. Through her the dust of the gods spoke from the earth, and magic found life. 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Jonathan Scott Griffin. All rights reserved.

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