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X. Saviour

by Imagination's End

I already have...

I look to the sky,
    I see a man,
And he will soon die,
    Along my plan,
I dominate all,
    Upon this land,
Animate but none,
    I wave my hand.

A star falls from the northwest,
brazing a path through treetops,
melting a runway in the snow,
scarring the land without care,
guiding my way to the promised land.

Treading over the ice that blocks,
My way that has already been charted,
Over pits, within deserts, here,
Land mines, in forests, there,
All sullied with angst and despair.

Please guide me my way,
     Don't let go,
I stand here astray,
     But will you show,
Can I be certain,
     That you are here,
Or are you within,
     But one thing I fear.

It's freezing and the rain soaks me,
Frostbitten and cold I cannot continue,
This bitter world has beaten us again,
And the land in front of us,
Must wait for yet another day.

I can lie down and help the others,
To sleep in the snow and winter rain,
May their bodies die quickly,
Before a thought of success comes to cross,
And before the shimmering glimmer of hope.

Tears drip from my eyes,
     I stare away,
From this, his disguise,
     For which I pay,
An untimely price,
     Maybe disgrace,
Will they entice me,
     Diminished race?

A simple white ghost rises from my corpse,
That has long since frozen in the cold,
Merely a block of ice remains there now,
I can look down at my body and wonder,
If that's me, what and where am I now.

Looking around I notice all are but dead,
Not another single soul rises from them,
They are are still, dormant, and asleep,
Never to be carried away from this,
This land to which I led them to.

I remember the priests in robes and cloaks,
I can see their eyes, staring back at me,
They preach forever, claim to understand...

I remember the promises that were given,
An eternal life of happiness to follow,
This one now, only if we are to learn...

I remember the ways of their teachings,
Knowing exactly how to treat the ill,
To give life, and to take it away...

It had become my goal in life to seek out what had been told to me. I couldn't help but feel what I had been tought was the truth, and that there is something out there. Something grander than ourselves, something of which we should all strive for. It was then I learned of a new secret.

The great ones had told me many things, but not until I finally came to understand their word was I told a final secret. In the distant wastelands of the north, those covered with ice and snow, there is an obelisk.

Maybe not an obelisk, but this is the agreed upon term that was describing the physical manifestation of the world that was to come upon our deaths. It was believed this was a gateway to the other world.

I questioned whether anybody had ever visited the distant lands before. A hush would always come unto the crowds, as though they were always scared I would attempt the voyage. I had to assure them that this was not the case, and it was merely to gain a final understanding that I needed to know. A single nod came from the men, but no names were given. Maybe none were known, but something irked me otherwise.

And so my quest began...

My quest begins by setting out on foot from the large city in which I live. Many people curiously look on, but as though told by somebody, they shift their gaze and walk away when I glance at them.

I begin to feel all alone. These are the people that I lived with my entire life. This city is where I thought I could always reflect to in my travels. But as I approach the edge of this monument of civilization, it's apparent that this will never be the case. The edge of the city is now upon me, and I for real now, can feel my quest.

I stare at the open, wide, fields,
Tears of despair and joy fill my eyes,
My hearts pounds with anticipation,
Yet my lungs sigh with grief,
My hands dance with excitement,
And my legs tremble with fear!

I look back, to take a final look,
at what I am leaving behind,
With that glance, I catch a glimpse,
of a man living under a tree,
His clothes dirty, his flesh scarred,
He looks worn like leather,
And older than the hills.

Excuse me, but sir, how long have you,
Have you lived here?

"Aye, but it's been a thousand fortnight,
and my future don't look so bright!"

He said it with a smile,
His happiness I assume,
Is what gets him through,
And it makes me think,
that maybe a change,
for him, for me,
for us, and I ask:

Homeless one, can I warm you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are forgotten,
And it's uncertain whether you will be remembered,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since nobody will forget,
Will you join me on my journey?

"I thank you for the offer,
and it sounds appeasing,
I must think, and I will see,
if I'm gone, who will guard my tree?"

Again I laugh with the homeless one, aghast, I should no longer say. For the man has a home, now with me. The two of us choose not to look back on what we are leaving, for fear of seeing what horrible thing it is that kept us both there.

My journey is now looking up. With my new companion I can for the first time truly understand what it is that I am looking for.

Three days and a half out of the city we come upon a small house on the side of the road. Actually, it's about a five minute walk away from the path, but we decide it is worth investigating. The door is unlocked so I step inside.

Cobwebs serve as drapes,
To the South where there is Sun,
And to the North to contrast the dark,
The floorboards creak,
And the beams are in disrepair,
Admist my looking around,
I almost don't notice somebody is there.

A single man sits behind an oak desk,
Singing, and playing as though it were a piano,
His words are unintelligable,
But his tears shine through all,
And I cannot help but to ask:

Stranded one, can I join you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are separated,
And it's uncertain whether you will rejoin them,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since nobody will miss you,
Will you join me on my journey?

Within an immeasurable period of time the man twirls around on his chair and stares straight at me. He looks me up and down, and straight in the eyes. He rises froms his position and takes a step towards me. He pokes and prods at me with his fingers. I don't move, hoping as to not offend him. The he speaks, or laughs I should say,

"Quite amusing I must say,
That always works and always will,
You gullable visitors I can't resist,
And maybe that's why,
Why I sit alone here,
All these years, alone,
No friends, no wife, no children,
Just me, me, and me again,
And you're a sight for sorry eyes,
Or my swolen eyes in this case,
And to be asked to go somewhere,
Now I must question,
But not for long,
For as you mention,
Nobody will miss me."

"But before we go,
I need to do,
But one last thing,
Take this paper,
And this ink,
Please write as I sing,
And paste it on the door:

For those that come here,
Those that don't fear,
Feast your eyes upon,
The no longer green lawn,
And stare inside,
I haven't died,
And only this house can tell,
My entire story, very well."

I place the note upon door as he instructed. I can't help but wonder what his story is. But as with the first I cannot ask, as I am returning the favor for them not asking of my own.

The three of us head back towards the road. This new man there stops, he has the urge to turn around. I beg him not to, but he says he must. He looks back at the house where he must have lived alone for many many years. He cries and laughs at the same time. One can just know that something dreadful has just dawned on him.

In the distance we notice the outline of the next city along this road. We are glad that we are finally closing in on the city. For not having anticipated acquiring guests on my journey, my supplies were all but out for the last day. So we greet the city with open arms and kiss the dirt that surrounds it.

We notice a guard at the city gates. He doesn't look too happy to see us. I think he knows that we are not members of this city, and the grip on his pike indicates that we are not welcome.

The guard starts approaching us. Before he can reach us we duck into a small shanty, one of many on the outskirts of the seemingly massive city. Peering through the tiny holes in the mud walls of this shelter I can see that the guard has stopped his pursuit. He has possibly presumed that we are peasants and live in this sorry excuse for a house.

"Excuse me sir," I can hear the voice of a young girl behind me, "what are you doing in my house. My parents will be back soon and they won't appreciate you being here."

I twist my head to see as I suspected, a young girl. She is very beautiful, and I am guessing she is about the age of 15. She sits extremely still in a chair. Her body looks extremely fragile, as though it were withering away.

Young girl, if I may question,
I notice that you are small,
And inadequate to survive,
Yet you sit there still,
Awaiting the return of your parents,
So as I mentioned,
May I ask,
How long ago did they leave?

"It's been about 15 days now, and they should be back any moment." The girl continues to speak with an air of seriousness. It is apparent that the parents will never return, but I'm uncertain as to whether she actually understands this. And I struggle to understand why parents would leave such a girl behind.

She puts out her hand,
Reaching for a fruit,
Across the table,
Might as well be across the land,
Her body moves,
Her legs do not,
As though molded to the chair,
Her lower body destroyed,
Left to sit here and die,
And it comes again to me, to ask:

Crippled one, can I heal you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are helpless,
And it's uncertain whether you will walk again,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you are already pushed aside,
Will you join me on my journey.

She lets her head fall onto the table, and I comfort her. I let her cry in my arms. I now realize that she must know that she was left here. Only by a small play of coincidence was she found here. I pick her up, and I can't help but cry myself.

Standing tall, and stronger than I have ever before, I walk out the doorway and straight at the guard.

"You think you can step in my way,
Do you value your life,
You realize I don't care for you,
I don't care for anything on this side,
It is all garbage, and nobody cares,
I stand here to keep that garbage out,
Out from these, the city walls,
So please take your sorry selves,
And turn, and walk back the other way."

I can't help but notice your voice,
It sounds as though you're lost,
As though the system has left you out,
To guard over that which they,
Would rather have destroyed,
And I am left to ask:

Disgruntled one, can I assure you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are angry,
And it's uncertain whether you will ever come to grips,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you don't care for this life,
Will you join me on my journey?

With a sudden change of attitude, the guard takes the girl from my arms and proceeds to walk into the city. We take this to be an acknowledgement of him joining us on our journey.

We follow him into the city. He walks straight towards what look to be stables. Kicking open the doors, girl still in hand, he reveals a reasonably sized cart, stocked with food and various supplies. One can't help but question if the man was just waiting for somebody to ask him to go somewhere?

But our group has already been secured as one that does not question good luck when it happens to us. We simply accept our positive fate, jump on the cart and continue through this, now positively, large city.

Without question of his authority, the disgruntled one has taken the reins of the horses and is guiding our path within the city. He halts in front of what appears to be a hospital. He motions me to enter the hospital, and simply says, "My brother."

Up the marble, yet cracked steps, I walk,
Into this magnificent building,
Or at least it was at one time,
The white walls are covered with grime,
The ceiling drips something brown,
The floor covered with insects,
And the foul stench of urine is about.

Three women in white do attend,
Those that are lying in bed,
Destitute and sick they are,
Which one is the one I seek,
And I spot in the corner,
Hanging sheets, flies circling above,
A vulture staring through the window,
And I am positive,
that is the one I must ask:

Diseased one, can I cure you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are dying,
And it's uncertain whether you will come around,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you're life is as good as gone,
Will you join me on my journey?

His body is so badly damaged by his affliction that he has no way of even acknowledging what I have asked him. I must only assume that he would choose to come with me, and with the initiation of this request by his brother, I'm certain it is for the best.

I pick up his body and carry it out of the hospital. The nurses do nothing to stop me. It's as though they are glad to get rid of this person. One can even be heard whispering, "good riddance, it's about time somebody cleaned up the dead."

I'm not certain as to whether her remark was a figurative one, or whether she actually thought the man I was carrying was actually dead. To be honest, if I was not carrying this man, and could not feel his heart beat, then I would as well assume that he has long since passed away.

I place him on the back of the cart and we continue to go through the city. We pass a temple and I urge the guard to stop. He refuses and gives no explanation as to why he won't stop. And I still can't help but think whether that temple held some answer that could have saved me from my journey.

And there are six,
To call us one,
Would be incorrect,
Yet correct the same,
Split us, join us,
We are an entity,
Come, you will see!

Play our journey,
It's not a game,
Yet we joke,
And indeed we play,
Roll them, count them,
Take a breath,
Fly, close to death!

Thundering hooves pull our cart,
From the city, to the dark,
Lightning speed and agility run,
Take us from here, to where we come from!

But the horses tire, and we cannot continue forever without stopping. This is as good a time as any. It appears that the disgruntled one is now fine with taking a break, and more importantly, letting the horses take a break.

We manage to find a small meadow in this vast wasteland. There is already somebody at the small body of water. She dances naked inside of it, splashing and gleefully singing mindless words:

"Take me, take me, take me over,
watch me, watch me, take me over,
hurt me, watch me, take me over,
I am prodding at my mind,
What is left of it,
Can't you see, In your mortality,
That I'm here, and you are not,
The chair sits under the tree,
The note long since gone,
Have they returned,
I think they have,
And conditions gotten better,
Maybe a cure was found?"

"Take me, take me, take me over,
watch me, watch me, take me over,
hurt me, watch me, take me over..."

Maybe it's not that I don't understand her words, but maybe it's that I choose not to. I can only think of so much at any given time, and at this moment I can only think to ask:

Mindless one, can I calm you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are insane,
And it's uncertain whether you will regain thought,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you have no decision to make,
Will you join me on my journey?

"Take me, take me, take me over,
watch me, watch me, take me over,
hurt me, watch me, take me over..."

"The trees, the trees, the trees,
chirp, chirp, tweet, tweet,
gobble, gobble, swish swish,
stomp, stomp, laugh, laugh,
path, path, bad, bad,
the trees, the trees, the trees,
they're good, not bad bad bad."

I'm going to take this as a yes. I heed her words of the path, but can't help but think that since she is insane that her words are completely meaningless, or worse yet, are that of a demon and will lead us in to our death.

Assuring that either path is valid the guard strengthens his grip on his pike and looks at me with a solid stare. He smiles and winks, as though to say, "Don't worry, I can handle anything that is in those forests".

We all go to sleep for the night, making sure we all have blankets, especially the mindless one, for she is naked. Either we forgot, or we didn't care, but when we wake up in the morning we realize we never had anybody stand guard.

We set out once again, this time, away from the wastelands, and into the foreboding forest that we saw before we slept, the night before.

The forest is not very dense, and the cart and horses have no problem traversing the trees. We eventually come upon a cleaing, in the middle of which is a house. Inside we can hear a commotion:

"One more time,
And I strap forever,
You are vulgar and unworthy,
Not to follow my words,
Is to directly oppose me,
To directly oppose me,
Insults me,
And I care not to be insulted."

Loud sounds of banging,
Slapping, hitting, falling,
Can a bruise be heard,
It sure can, I hear it now,
Can flowing blood be felt,
from a distance,
Can an aggressive word,
Scar those around, not involed,
Can I care enough,
To intervene...

We are aghast at what we hear, yet we fear not enter the house. It could be for our own safety, it could be for the one getting beaten, we just don't know. And as if to save us from finding a solution to our dilemna, a young woman, somewhere in her twenties, is thrown from the front door of the house. She hits the ground with a thud and lies there without moving.

I approach her broken body, keeping a keen eye on the house as to not get myself injured. I grasp her hand. Her pulse still races through her, yet she does not respond in any manner. Despite doubting that I will get any more response, I still have to ask:

Abused one, can I comfort you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are broken,
And it's uncertain whether you will feel secure,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you feel ashamed and abashed,
Will you join me on my journey?

I am there crouched beside her, waiting to see if whe will respond. Blood flows from various wounds on her body. I stare back at the others, who chose to remain at the cart. Their eyes show doubt as great as my own.

But just before I give up, I feel something. Her bloodied hand squeezes my own. I can only take that as a recognition of what I have asked, and as an answer of yes.

I motion the others over. We carefully pick up her body and place it on the back of the cart. The mindless one pushes us all aside and attends the wounds of the abused one. With our limited supplies she is able to stitch and bandage. I must control my urge to ask of her story.

The forest begins to grow thicker. We decide to stop and make plans for what to do next. It is agreed that whichever way we choose to continue it should not be done until the morning.

I stare at the expanse of trees before us, never looking back at the path we have travelled, never once relfecting on my experiences of the previous days. Nobody speaks, nor does anybody make a motion against my intense gaze. It is done, without a word being said it's agreed that in the morning we will continue North through the dense forest.

We must now prepare though. We remove all the supplies from the cart and unhook the cart from the horses. We strike the horses and allow them to run away, to be free once again.

There were several bags in our collection of supplies. These we fill with food and other supplies. Salvaging parts of the cart wheels we manage to make several back racks onto which we can affix many bags. The eight of us should easily be able to carry everything in this manner, with of course the crippled, diseased, and abused temporarily, being pulled on stretchers.

For now we sleep.

The twighlight arises as the sun falls,
The trees come alive with music,
The ground tremors with passing deer,
And we rest, in what appears perfect shelter.

And that it is, for when morning comes,
No harm has followed,
We are all the same,
No better than a good nights sleep,
No worse than a day older.

Without contemplation we pack up and head into the dense trees.

It's a very long day. The humid forest is really beginning to bother us and we feel we may have to stop soon. But we can't stop, for it is too early.

I wonder if some have to continue for they fear that somebody is following us. If that were the case stopping now could be disasterous, as the pursuants could easily be able to catch up. Using this as an excuse I question not our continued trek through the forest.

The trees get closer and closer together, and it's getting difficult to pull the stretchers through. But then, as though done by man, the trees stop.

I can look both left, and right,
A wall of trees behind me,
Prevent any looking back,
A scarred beaten crew,
Prevent any going back,
And now here I stand,
Upon this ground,
More of a wasteland than before.

It's cold, and windy,
I feel the rock beneath my feet,
It extends in all directions,
except for the one behind,
All is empty, but for one,
One single large structure,
Extending to the sky,
Is an immense castle.

We approach the castle slowly, as we don't want to frighten anybody inside, or worse yet cause a disturbance. It would be greatly unfortunate if we were turned away, for it doesn't look like there is much else in this frozen wasteland.

At the entrace to the castle is a small booth. Inside there sits a young man, no older than 18. He looks at me but does not say a word. I ask him about the castle, but he just shrugs and says nothing.

I choose to ignore him and continue to the castle. I run into something, blocking the entrace is some kind of invisible barrier. I go back to the booth and look at the young man again. He smiles contently at me and extends his hand.

We have no money on us, this is disasterous, without appeasing this young man there is no way we can get into this castle. Then I wonder, and end up asking:

Silent one, can I listen to you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are muzzled,
And it's uncertain whether you will speak your mind,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you cannot make yourself known,
Will you join me on my journey?

With that we hear a light fizzle. The young man exits his booth and enters the castle, motioning us to follow him.

His walk is guided, there is something he is bringing us towards. I can't help but notice this place is deserted. And so odd, since it is massive. Columns of windows are on either side of the network of streets inside the castle. I would guess that over 10,000 people could easily live within the castle, and that would not be counting anything underground, or homes that could exist around the castle.

The young man leads us into what appears to be a palace. He walks up a small set of stairs and shows us into a throne room. And of course, at the far end of this room is a throne. A man sits in the throne.

"I don't see anything,
I will not claim to,
My mind's eye is as weak,
I don't know you,
Yet I feel compelled to,
I've been here a long time,
Once this city was prosperous,
Once I looked over this land,
Now all is gone,
Never to return."

Without question he is the easiest to ask:

Blind one, can I guide you,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are darkened,
And it's uncertained whether you will form images again,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you cannot see anything here,
Will you join me on my journey?

He literally jumps from his chair and extends his hand. We shake hands and the ten of us continue with our journey.

The abused one is able to walk now, so the duty of pulling the crippled one and the diseased one can be interchanged, as so that none of us get tired.

We leave North from the castle into a land covered with snow, but there is still rock beneath that. We are able to travel a for a good while before we stop. That night we sleep well.

All sleep well but me,
I am stirring,
Something begs at me,
I must awake,
And so I do.

Off a short distance,
A rock rose for me,
On top of it,
Lies a frozen body,
Without thought I ask:

Distant one, can I call your name,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are asleep,
And it's uncertain whether you will ever awaken,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you aren't really here,
Will you join me on my journey?

But this one does not respond. Unlike the others I don't get that feeling inside that makes me certain he would join us. The face seems vaguely familiar, yet so unknown. He is so close, yet so distant from me.

I look back at the others, they are all lying peacefully, sleeping comfortably under warm blankets and beside a fire that burns that last of our wood.

Now to this frozen body,
I extend my hand to it,
It shimmers and fades,
My hand goes right through.

Back I jump, and far,
For this I feared,
Would happen one day,
Have something that,
Is beyond even spiritual understanding,
For this body is here,
Yet it is not.

I stick my hand back at the body. The body actually appears to be just an illusion. I lift my hand and swing it down. It strikes the ice body and I hurt my hand. The body is definitely here, but...

I slowly extend my hand into the body, and it's motion is not blocked in any way. I am really intrigued by this phenomenum.

I feel something at my hand. I can't resist grabbing it and pulling back. I have pulled a book out of the frozen body. This book has been waiting here for many years I guess, possibly even centuries, just waiting for somebody like me to grab it.

Knowing that I again ask:

Distant one, can I call your name,
Do you care to travel with me,
I know you are asleep,
And it's uncertain whether you will ever awaken,
So I ask unto you this one question,
That since you aren't really here,
Will you join me on my journey?

This time it replies, and with an answer I will never forget. It shocks me. I stumble backwards, turn and run from the frozen body. I pull my blankets over me and fall back asleep.

My ghost floats above the bodies,
Seeing them frozen in ice scares me,
But seeing my own body frozen,
Brings the largest fear into my heart.

As if an oman though,
The book lies in the snow,
Still warm to the touch,
And I'm amazed,
As a ghost I can still touch it,
And I read it.

Contained within in the book are the answers to the questions I've always wanted to ask, as the chapters are titled:

1) Homeland
2) Family and Community
3) Able
4) Content
5) Health
6) Intellect
7) Love and Protection
8) Outspoken
9) Visionaire

I read each one very carefully, they are extremely long and detailed. With each page I turn I'm sure another five are added to the book. I have read for over a year now, no interruptions, and I feel no time at all has passed.

I flip yet another page and see another chapter heading. The book falls from my grasp, into the snow. The wind blows over it and freezes the book open to the page, with a title visible for all to see.

I laugh hysterically...

I see an obelisk,
It shines in my mind,
Standing tall, great, grand, forever,
To the sky,
Breaking the clouds,
Shattering the light,
From to the heavens,
Breaking out hell.

I wipe away some snow from the ground,
I continue the pattern the for awhile,
I can see a different body frozen,
Frozen in a block of ice.

I wipe away snow,
     I see a man,
And he is now dead,
     Against my plan,
I ruined all,
     Upon this land,
Animate but none,
     I wave my hand.

I fall to the snow,
     Spread legs and arms,
Waving back and forth,
     Stand up again,
Looking down at my feet,
     What I've created,
Is the finale,
     A dead angel.

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