Fall of Our Man-Made Gods
I had the most horrible dream…
Two seemingly peaceful city-states kept growing and growing, their interest in the arts vanishing as the thought of war dominated all. Both city-states appeared equal in strength and in the appetite for battle; a master-at-arms and his armies need only wait for the proper utterance, that command so powerful as to change the face of the earth. Unbeknownst to those chanting the return of The Hated One to their home, their enemy to the west had hired a renowned strategist for the unenviable and the inevitable.
The Hated One had been gone from the world for too long; he did not recognize the obvious signs of danger, and thus his own plans went afoul.
A clash of gods!
A cry for blood!
Curses screamed toward the Heavens…
The victorious strategist, now leader of the city-state, once more became The Despised One. The Hated One and The Despised One—rivals and enemies—once lived as humans lived. They were humans with human names. They had transcended their bitter chains and became more than human. They went by titles rather than names, in essence became symbols, and it consumed them in the end.
Symbols can be destroyed.
The Despised One was too into the game of power that he failed to recognize the true plans of The Hated One. Though a slight was intended, The Hated One was not looking for a fight with this rival. No, his true target was the upstart leader in the lands to the south…
Though The Hated One’s cities fell and his temple razed, his civilization did not quite dissolve. Though spread thin, it did spread out into the Middle Lands. If possible, The Despised One would have crushed this remaining vestige of his enemy, but it was not to be.
He grew callous and self-important. The rot spread out, and he grew weak. His empire was no match for the machinations of the new commander in the south, the rival he had not realized even had the strength to challenge his authority.
The temple fell and The Despised One’s lands were taken from him. What was left to him was a desolate wasteland. By the time the temple was reclaimed, it was the only remnant of his once powerful empire. He was lucky if it even could be classified as a kingdom, for besides the temple there remained only death and plague. When one grows complacent, there can be no amazement in such a great downfall except in the mind of the self-important.
Of course, that new empire would not last, and it gave way to another. Blood was spilled and will continue to be spilled while the Heavens continue to be cursed…
The dream ended but its haunting images remained.