rules of inheritance

28 May

“And history repeats itself, with emergence of a single world leader. The world at the grand finale, point of destruction, unless one arises to the challenge and becomes the savior.”

The Canon, Book of Reckoning, p. XII

30xx

The vast hallway seemed to stretch on forever. Many minutes had passed now, and for that much time her feet had taken her nowhere. All around her were walls, made of cold steel. There was nothing else of interest there, only more paths branching off to more places. Not even a door. Not a sound. Nothing, except her feet tap-tapping on the floor, and its sound echoing throughout the hallway. It was indeed vast.

“Raarrgghhh…!” Voices from the battlefield echoed in her head. There were bodies everywhere, strewn across the land. The stench of blood was in the air, driving her into frenzy. It was pointless. This had gone far too long. Even the sun was weary of this; she could feel its mournful gaze. All because of that accursed God! There was nothing good to come from listening to His words.

Soon, she arrived at what seemed to be a dead end, but close enough and she could spot a path branching off to the left. So far she had encountered nothing but small traps and few guards. That could be a good omen, but it might also mean she wasn’t getting anywhere. Picking up her pace, she went on, raven tresses flowing behind her. Her breaths were long and ragged, and came out in mists. The air was cold, humid, and heavy.

“What? You mean to say that His teachings are false? Do you mean to say that we are just pawns?” She had discovered, one day. “No, Raven. As you can see, we’ve long since discovered remnants like these. These texts and scripts… They came from before the Erasure. He based off his rule from this. He might have the notion that we lack knowledge and enlightenment. That’s why he could abuse his power.”

A change in scenery slowly materialized. The narrow path she took gradually became wider, the ceiling higher. And before long, she arrived at a large dome, the first she had encountered, empty save a speck of black at the far end. Skidding to a stop, she attempted to calm her beating heart and slow her breathing. Had she finally arrived at her destination? Could it possibly be this easy? The thought crossed her mind, but before she could prove anything, a thunderous roar interrupted her.

“Wha- Aaaaah!” A shrill cry escaped her lips. The ground shook, and while she was trying to regain balance, she realized that parts of the floor was falling in, leaving gasping holes in its wake.

“A trap?!” Leaping from one place to another, she made for the opposite side of the room. Adrenaline rushed through her, and with it also came fear. Once she nearly lost her foothold, twice she narrowly escaped falling. She had encountered many traps while inside and she’d learned to trust her instincts to get her past this one.

“I discovered another, Raven,” the old man had said one day. “It seems things like this happen in every age known to men.” His voice was firm, as opposed to his frail body. The old man was old and wise, and she respected him very much. “There had always been wars for abstract things they call religion and beliefs, fights over territories, but there had always been a savior to end the sufferings too.” He had told her, “Soon, our last fight will come, to attempt a stop to the pain he forced upon us.”

Finding a sudden burst of strength, she traversed the remaining few hundred meters, and landed just in front of the black speck, a door. Left gasping for breath, she looked back to find the tiles that had fallen in the opposite direction had begun to rearrange themselves to look like a perfectly normal floor. Looking back again, the door loomed in front of her, menacing in its way.

All their work had amounted to this. This was the last hurdle to overcome. She, Raven Strohm, had given up everything for this, but that did not help the fact that now she was feeling scared, terrified even. What if what they had been looking far wasn’t here anymore? What if she failed in this last mission? What if another trap killed her? What if the door won’t open? “I’ll break it open!”

“This is it. This is the last straw. You’ll have to give it your all, Raven. Everything lies on your shoulders. Men like this were the reason the Erasure happened. Greedy, power and knowledge-hungry men. Their so-called nuclear weapons destroyed this world once. Don’t let it happen another time.”

She stood up, and braced herself. Her eyes shone with determination, her mind without hesitation. Her fists clenched, and stepping backwards, rammed head-on into the door! Expecting to be met with cold wall, she blasted through with full force, the door swinging open, and flew into the room, her body crashing into the floor a few feet beyond.

“Welcome, commoner, to the Lord’s chamber. What business have you here?” A smooth, tenor voice issued unexpectedly from in front of her.

“Huh?!” Looking up, a sole man sat lazily on an ornately decorated chair on the far dais. His visage was a handsome one, although one could mistake him as her father. He was dressed in richly clothes, and as she looked around her, her wonder turned into revulsion.

The chamber was bigger even compared to the previous room. It was decorated lavishly, and not a single space was left bare. Remnants of the previous age, as the old man had said, was strewn everywhere in addition to the beautiful tapestries and paintings.

“I said, what business have you here, Raven Strohm?” his voice took on a metal edge. He seemed to be satisfied at the surprised expression which had flitted across the young girl’s face. “Yes, I know your name. I know of your family. Your cause. Your goals.” A sinister smile appeared.

“Then you must know what I’m here for!” She spat.

“And you know that is futile?” came the reply, colder than the heart of winter.

“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing! Now surrender, and I will spare you a painful death!”

Angry, she started for  the man in front of her, who merely stood, and as she leaped towards him, dodged it as easily one would a playful eat.

“Manners, commoner. Why do you seek to dethrone me?” His tone was musing, a hateful sneer on his face.

“You said you know what I came here for! I will end your tyranny once and for all! People like you are why the world never gets a moment’s peace.” She narrowed her eyes at him. He had waged war with peaceful factions, all to sate his hunger for everything.

“Greed? No! I am merely a shepherd who came to save your – no, our land. And I plan to guide all stray sheep to their right path.” Smugly, he focused his piercing gaze upon her again.

“And playing God… He who establishes his argument by noise and commands shows that his reason is weak. Too bad you kept all these away piled in your room, huh? Don’t want us to know that all this belief-religion business is just a joke? That it’s just a pretense to wage war and get everything you want?” Again, she leaped at him, a knife directed to his throat, but yet again, he dodged it amidst the cluster of the room.

“That is because commoners like you won’t understand us Chosen Ones. See, you even got it all mixed up.” Lifting a shabby old book, he went on, “I do not lead blindly. I am merely following in our ancestors’ footsteps. You should be pleased that someone sill cares for your lowly, insignificant lives. You see, I kept these stashed away to prevent another Erasure. It is this knowledge that led them down the path of darkness. All my actions are motivated by boundless love.” Instead of only dodging her attacks, now he retaliated, his feet sending her flying through the air.

“Agh-!” The hit knocked the air out of her lungs. Before hitting the door, she managed to land on her feet just barely. She was trained in the arts of assassination, but not direct fighting. It did not help that she was severely outsized. Her blows would be but a breeze to him.

“You’re mad! A control freak and a lunatic. It’s not the knowledge that leads men astray, but selfish desires such as yours! That book… The Canon. That’s crazy, you don’t even know Man’s history! What do you know if some madman wrote that book?”

You think I am a fool, but you are a greater fool than I am. I use what necessary to rule. You lowlifes will never understand the purpose of life. Isn’t this better, giving them something to play with, to spend the time? That way they will never need to worry about anything. There is only a single faction and single world leader needed. Many factions caused war, caused strife for territory.”

“Rrrgh! First, you had it all backwards; second, you’re a filthy hypocrite! And I’m sending you to the depths of hell.” She weaved to the right, and at the last moment, swerved to his left, aiming for his left chest. He saw through her trick, and leaned to the right, and her knife failed to lodge itself deep in his body.

“The winners pave history. Whether it is right or wrong, good or bad. Everything else is inconsequential.” He calmly intoned, and feinting a fall, he caught her off-guard, again landing a blow to her chest.

“Oof!” Standing up, she scanned the vicinity, took something from the heap nearest to her, and hurled it quickly to her foe. He managed to block the missile, but she had already planted herself firm behind him, and brought down her small knife to his back. Blood spurted, and her vision was red, her senses maddened by the stench.

Leaping backwards, she took a small metal rod from where it lay on the floor, but this time he was on the offensive. Despite his unlikely appearance, he was fast. TWANG! His fist landed down on her rod, which she used to deflect the blow. It sent tremors down her whole frame. As he pulled his fist back for another blow, she nimbly made for the opposite side, looking to avoid the brunt of the blow.

The fight was imbalanced. The two figures clashed every now and then, but with every impact, one overwhelmed the other. The difference in power was inherent. Defeat was imminent.

“Urgh…” Coughing up blood, Raven wiped the sweat off her brow. She trembled with every breath, pain overwhelming her senses. “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” The old man had said. She had promised to go home, but what else could she do but that? She was doomed anyway. Forgive me… Smiling, she prepared herself, took a small object from under her clothes, lit it, and white light erased the world.

20xx

Two girls were walking home from school. “Dude, I was wondering, you know the fossils discovered here yesterday?” the short-haired one inquired suddenly.

“Yeah, why?” The other asked.

“Well, they came from ancient people, didn’t they? Have you ever thought… If I wrote a book and make it look all spiffy and important, people in the future’d think I was a scholar or something.”

“You’re frikkin’ mad.” Her friend answered curtly.

“Well, my name would be written in the pages of history. Won’t that be fun?” She answered, laughing.

The glorious sunset gave the sky a beautiful golden-red hue, as the two girls walked home that day, unaware of the impact their actions would have upon tomorrow.

The End

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