Chapter 1:

1

At the End of Extinction


I always question the human condition. From the very moment I was born to where I am now, I question it. I question the needs of humanity beyond the basics, why we must think, why we must feel. Our wants and desires, all of which vary wildly. I was always curious about knowledge, I thirst for it. Some may say, but the fact that I am born as a Terras, who vehemently refuses to learn knowledge bewilders me.Bookmark here

What is it about knowledge that wants people to avoid it? Why do they so rely on ignorance to live their lives? It bewilders me. Do they not want to learn about our lives, our Gods? Do they not want to know how the river flows, how the sun shines, why it does. Where we are in the universe we live in. What even is the universe? Iask them that, yet my answer is silence, screams of anger and disappointment. My answer is beatings.Bookmark here

I made a boat from my limited knowledge of seeing the Aguan fleets passing through. A boat out of reeds, out of wood, a boat which barely floated with me on it. Yet I made one, I pushed the boat to the Forelai river. I can never forget the splash of water that went upon my feet as It fell upon the river. Floating, my hope of freedom.Bookmark here

I was born Terras, I was raised Terras certainly. From the time I was born I was raised with the idea of being a Terras. A man of the ground, from our controlled hunting zones, to our frequent inter-village skirmishes. I have done nothing but tarnish the blood of the people and animals that reside upon this city. I question if they are tired of it, yet I see some of them vehemently enjoying it. I was born Terras, yet I find my calling with the Moths.Bookmark here

I jumped into the river, swimming just barely enough to float as I dragged myself into the boat. Pulling myself up onto it, laughing at the miracle that It didn’t sink into the bottom already. I gauged my surroundings. On the other side of the river was an Aguan carrier, anchored upon a Moth dock. I realized now that I have no way at all to maneuver myself towards the other side of the river.Bookmark here

I dipped my hands into the river, paddling manually towards the carrier. With each paddle, a taste of freedom. I remember my friends, or lack thereof up north. The beatings I experienced, the fights we fought. And now, I’m almost free. Within my reach. Then, panic! An explosion at the tail end of my boat. Well, an explosion but it was just a hole. A hole which allowed water to flow through, within seconds my boat was down.Bookmark here

I floated in the middle of the river. Seeing my boat sink into the bottom of the clear river. I was still far from the Aguan carrier but I won’t back out now. I never looked back, yet I swam, I swam through the treacherous river, wide enough to fit a Carrier, and hostile enough to subtly drown me within its grasp.Bookmark here

I swam, I swam until my body gave in. Even then I swam further, my body was sore, red all over. Pushing myself, rather drowning than going back. I can’t go back now, they must already know that I left. If I go back I’d be murdered, executed in front of the entire village, they’d see me as a treacherous traitor who would leave the faction for their own personal needs.Bookmark here

I won’t allow myself to be a part of a war machine..Bookmark here

Even when my body tires out, when the waves pick me up and throw me under. I won’t be a part of it.Bookmark here

Even when I drown.Bookmark here

Even when I die.Bookmark here

I felt my eyes be rushed by water, as is my entire body, as it pulls me down to the ground. And perhaps bring me back up, I’ve seen that far too many times, it’s a miracle that our water isn’t infected… What's an infection? That’s a funny sounding word.Bookmark here

Maybe this is how I’ll always end up as. For my story to end before it even truly began. Or did it now, I don’t remember. I remember only the beatings I went through, all for the sake of knowledge, all because of my curiosity. I felt their fist reverberate through my entire body. Their solid punches destroyed my face, in that single instant I felt it all.Bookmark here

And let go.Bookmark here

My last sight, a hand from the blue heavens. What lovely blue nails.Bookmark here

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I floated across time and space, through the endless cosmos. Seeking the truth from the myriad of creatures that inhabit within. Yet not a single one of them knew. Is it because I do not as well? Is truth merely an amalgamation of understandings that we failed to understand? I do not know, the creatures do not know.Bookmark here

I looked up to the heavens above the heavens. If there was any, and asked the God above for an answer. There was no reply. Angered, I went up there myself. I flew high into the heavens, ascending far beyond what humanity could achieve, into the gas clouds past the universe and met God himself.Bookmark here

He towered over me, over the galaxy, over everything, His eye was the universe. And it was indifferent to me, never even checking the intruder of His home. Like a speck of dust amidst a carpet on the floor. I was nothing and everything at the same time, looking at something bigger than everything. More than everything.Bookmark here

And even then, I yelled at Him. I yelled at God to give me an answer to the human condition, why we do what we do, why we are conscious, why I think, why we exist. Yet He didn’t hear me. Or perhaps He turned a blind eye to me. Disrupting my calls, my yells, my cries, never giving an answer. The answer I and many others, many more so desperately desire. I want to know, I want to learn.Bookmark here

Why we do what we do, why we think, why we eat, why we must see, why we must hear. Why we must be aware of our own self, our own ego. Why we must kill, why we must destroy the things others hold dear. Yet I never got an answer, I was pulled back into His eye, back into the universe. And once more, I felt like I was within His reach, yet distant, at the same time.Bookmark here

I awoke on a bed more comfortable than mine at home. In a room made out of steel and grass. Like the buildings that surround my village, gray, green. There was a person beside me, they wore orange and their head was clear, bald, shiny. And their face was full of wrinkles, roughed all around the edges. Their eyes were closed, yet it seemed like they felt my presence. “You’re finally awake.” It was a woman’s voice.Bookmark here

“Who are you? Where am I?” I asked, trying to sit up. She opens her eyes with a smile. I notice from her outfit, and the limited exposure I have of the world outside of our own territory, that she’s an Aguan.Bookmark here

“Please do not attempt to stand up, you’re still tired.” She said, as I followed through with her instruction.Bookmark here

“You still haven’t answered my question…” I told her.Bookmark here

“I see… I’m Priscilla, the head of this carrier. We found you sinking during one of our patrols. Are you a Terran deserter?”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

She sighs, “The third this month. Had we not stayed in this port, then more people would’ve died.”Bookmark here

“Where are the others?” I asked, hoping that I’d know some of them. I never really went to competitions away from our village, except for one time, of course. When I was a kid, before my parents went and died.Bookmark here

“Hm, maybe you know them. Please rest here, I will call them here.” She stands up and promptly and walks over to a metallic door, pushing it with all her might, before exiting and closing it with a loud ‘THUD!’Bookmark here

I tried to stand up despite my weakened state. Feeling the cold chill of the steel ground, contrasted by the tingly warmth of the grass next to it. A ray of sunshine shone through the windows in front of me. Shining upon the various machinations of steel boxes interlinked all across the side of the wall, perhaps they were used to control the ship?Bookmark here

I approached the boxes. Seeing the various… things upon it. Of various shapes and sizes behind glass. Numbers, letters, of a language I can’t discern. Technology from the old world. They seemed relatively clean, not a dust as I slid my finger through the glass. I looked up, out of the window, a hundred small houses littered throughout the Carrier’s deck as numerous people walked through it, living their own life.Bookmark here

I saw a man hug his child, carrying him and buying whatever the child desires in the market. I saw children laughing as they played over the far end of the deck. There was no violence, no killings, no murder, no stealing. This… this was different from my home, from my village, from where I was. The fire that was used to burn down villages and the dead is used to light up dark areas. It was as If I was in a new world.Bookmark here

I heard the metallic door open once more, as I turned around to see two familiar faces. Two very familiar faces of people that I thought were dead. Sera and Claude.”I’m dead, ain’t I, ma’am?” I asked the bald woman who was with them. She smiled warmly towards me, pushing the two towards me as their faces were also in a shock.Bookmark here

They rushed over to me and tackled me into a hug. It felt tightly, and warm amidst the cold steel room. It felt tight, yet not chokingly tight. I hugged back, I felt their tears flowing down their faces. “I’m sorry we left you.” They weep. But it’s better now, isn’t it? I left Terras and have reached an Aguas carrier.Bookmark here

Truth be told I thought they were also dead. I remember the time back then above a hill, the three of us looked up on the stars. The stars seemed to converge upon the bright lights of the Mothish villages. They told me they wanted to leave the village, to leave Terras altogether. But we knew we couldn’t, the river was far too wide, the currents were far too strong. But after that night, I never saw them again.Bookmark here

The people around me convinced me that they were killed outside of the village, their bodies mutilated and made as a trophy, or an effigy for all to see. I never wanted to look at it, but the thought always lingered in my mind. We were thought to be safe in groups, to not stray too far. Our aggressiveness was fueled by hatred over other villages.Bookmark here

But I don’t want to harbor hate anymore. They let go of me, I let go of them. And we left ourselves standing in the middle of the room. “Let’s get out of here.” Said Claude, grabbing the both of us as we opened the door, and left.Bookmark here

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