Love And Grief

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by Nikuchan Nikuchan

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Logo and div block code was taken from the Fovermore theme]

Love and grief


We were once again reunited in that place of mourning – both of us here for different purposes. Yet being by your side felt reassuring, and I hoped you also felt some sort of relief during that harsh task of yours.

The quiet and gloomy graveyard created no noise on its own as I listened to the sound of your shovel digging in the ground, a sound I grew to recognize as familiar. We were alone as usual, surrounded by peaceful nothing, with only the resting spots of millions keeping us company. You were struggling and I saw your expression shift – regretful, perhaps full of guilt. Sweat… or tears dripped from your face. I did not know, and I never shall know.

I hesitated to reach out, perhaps to offer help or reassurance. I did not desire to stop you from your task, so I simply muttered some soft words in hope they'd be of any meaning to you. Anything from a kind encouraging phrase, to something more heartfelt – something more close.

Somehow I felt like it helped, since you resumed digging with a less tired pace. Once again, you told me that I should close my eyes, perhaps to try and protect me still from the unstoppable force that is death. Yet I reassured you that I would be fine. I've seen many die already, for that is part of the course of Life and Love.

With your gentle but strong arms, you lift a small, elderly human from the cold floor, they are so small in comparison to the tree near the grave. So small and frail in death…

That man died alone—I've seen him. Those he loved were not there for him in death. He died thinking everyone forgot about him after so many years. Loneliness…loneliness is terrifying. Knowing that in death, nobody will be there at your grave, nobody will ever notice you're gone. You will just disappear like dust. The world will continue moving, and the people in it would not even know you exist. That is what loneliness is, and experiencing it in such a vulnerable moment is torture. I was not able to do anything to relieve that pain.

When you placed the human in the comfortable deathbed, you began quietly mourning out of respect. I sat close to you and softly muttered blessings, until I was ready to let go. It was time to let the dead return to the ground, to become one with it once more. That man was covered with dirt, now one with the soil.

We drifted our gaze to the graves of our old friends who have died millennia ago, while we are still here – but at what cost? The mortals have lost their trust in us. They see us as incapable, cruel beings who failed them…they despise us, and they have grown without needing us.

I ended up saying something out loud: “If one day you would eventually bury me in this place too, perhaps then I will vanish from being forgotten completely.”
You didn't reply at first, but I knew what your answer was: that one day, you and I will join the others in these graves. Not even immortality could stop that inevitable end, and it scared me.

I realized in that moment how badly I didn't want to die having been forgotten. I didn't want to die at all, not if I couldn't fulfill the reason I lived for. Yet there is nothing I could have done, not even now.

We stood there mourning for what felt like minutes. I gently caressed the statues that depicted our old friends – Augustus, Claudius, Gatekeeper… each and every one of them. I thought of how my statue would look, how large the hole in the ground would need to be to fit my cold corpse. You would need to carry me here, cover me with dirt….I could not handle all of that. I did not want you to bury those you once called companions any further.

You seemed ready to leave. I held you tightly in an embrace and we stayed quiet for a few minutes, both of us not saying a single word. I tried to say something, but the few words I could mutter were not audible enough.

You smelled like dirt – or as I like to describe it, dirt and nothing, but also many things. That smell was memorized in my mind like a familiar scent. Your black hair was slightly touching my face. I closed my eyes, and I embraced the warmth.

I did not remember how we grew so close. You were very isolated from us in the past. Your ideals were always so much different than mine, yet you always tried to do what you believed was best for mortals; even if it ended up not the way you expected, even if it caused pain. You've made your share of mistakes, like the rest of us, yet I've forgiven you. There is no point in drowning in anger and misery. In the end, something like this was inevitable, and it was just a matter of time before mortals outgrew us.

Despite your misdeeds, you were trying to make amends, and I was there for you – and I will always be there for you. In the end, we are in the same sinking boat together, and I promised I wouldn't leave you behind, even after knowing the truth.

The others did not take it so well. I remember you and Gudang were about to kill each other. I was terrified, and I had no choice but to unleash my weapon and put you both into a daze. I understood her, though. She loved mortals dearly. She depended on their attention and interest towards her – what could she even do without her purpose? What could we do to face that loss?

There was once a time where each of us were united, yes…when the pantheon that mortals revered was more than just a sad, distant and painful memory. I remember each one of you rather fondly… my friends.

Kushim – you were always a mystery to me, yet I always enjoyed your company. Back then, you were rather reserved, yet I found you fascinating. Perhaps it was that human part of you, alongside your godhood, that made me so curious about you. You belonged to two worlds, one of which I could never see from your perspective. Perhaps that is why in the end, you chose to do everything in your power to give them independence. Your motives were noble, but everything crumbled in the end. Now I see you in a different light. You are ridden with guilt, trying to atone for your sins, but you cannot do this alone – not with the knowledge you have. I desire to lead you to a better path. Of course, you'll be the one to walk through it in the end, and I will accompany you. If there is one thing that has never changed, it's my care for you, Kushim. I will always care about you, regardless of the past.

Then Gudang… my dear friend, you were strange in some ways to me, yet I've always admired your beauty and your creativity. In the end, you were as scared as I was, to lose everything that one exists for. I knew that fear all too well. I do not know where you are now. You never came back, just like Augustus and Claudius, and my heart aches each time it remembers all of you are gone in some way. Even if my heart knows, my mind pretends to be ignorant, to believe everything is as fine as it was eons ago. Otherwise I may break, and my body may collapse from this overwhelming grief, because I'll have to come to terms with the fact that most of you are dead, or…changed.

Gatekeeper – I still feel your aura, yet it is so different now. You too have changed. You no longer remember, and the pain that causes me is like a knife in my chest. All of our memories have become nothing more than fleeting dust. Perhaps this is a punishment, a retribution for all of our ignorance and sin. When will you return to me? I miss you, I miss all of you.

Y'liad… we never were friends. Your purpose made it impossible for us to be close, yet I always tried to be by your side when nobody was there for you. You have committed horrendous acts, because you were in despair caused by this painful purpose that controlled your life and tormented you so. Then you returned after so long, and now you wander without purpose all throughout this broken realm. What will you do, now that there is nothing left? But I do not wish for you to continue suffering. I myself cannot help you find the end of your endless self-torment, but I do know of a hope that may be able to fulfill this wish. It is only a matter of time…perhaps fate will arrange a meeting between you two soon. And when the day comes, I hope you will find happiness, and cleanse your heart of those sins you've committed with the help of someone else.

And you, Lady Blanche – you have achieved something I've lost. You are able to be close to mortals — even if you need to conceal your nature in the process. I could also do the same, but I do not wish to pretend to be something I'm not. I wish to be close to mortals as a God…yet that may never again be possible. At the very least, you are still here, my dear friend. Even if we cannot see each other often, your kind words are one of the few cherished things I have left.

As for me… mortals are the one thing I cherish the most, because I've seen the beauty in the Love they feel, that beautiful and incomprehensible emotion which is so special to them. From Love, life is born. Love creates warmth, kindness, and acceptance. I wished to be able to always protect this emotion, to observe the way humans perceived it always.

But now my presence is unneeded, and deep within me, there's the fear of even being hated because of my godhood. I have no role left in guarding and observing this beautiful phenomenon. It scares me, being unable to return to what I saw as familiarity, after years of being by their side, of watching many grow and some pass away, as if they were my closest friends.

Time marches on, and I have somewhat accepted how things are now. In the end, only a few of us are left here, and I have come to terms with the fact that I must continue, even with many uncertainties. To find peace within me, or perhaps even happiness, I must first find the strength to accept my fate once again. I will do everything in my power to prevent others from suffering the same way I did.

Perhaps, Olivia… that may be why on that fateful day, I made you part of me. Reawakening the power of Love within you, I saw myself. You have lost so much, and fought so hard. You dragged the pieces of your broken heart back into place, despite the grief you've experienced. I could not let everything you believed in fracture to pieces. It is not my place to decide what you must do now. To forge a new path, there will be many hardships you may need to face. You did not deserve to end in that miserable way. I am sorry I could not do anything more, but I will assist you however I can; that is a promise. There is a future where you and I will meet, and I will be waiting patiently for such a thing to happen. In the meantime…I too shall search for a new purpose, no matter how difficult it may seem. I will believe in a future for myself as well as for the others, where perhaps we can still live even without the one thing that we always existed for.

I made that promise to you, too, Kushim – and to all of you who have passed. Until the end, I will hope, as if I still was that young God back then that liked to make wishes, looking at the stars and thinking of the future.

Tonight, the stars seem bright again… don’t they, Kushim?

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