Chapter 65: Lullabies of the lost.
“What do you mean? He seems pretty composed,” I say, seeing Monad calmly evading black-eyed corpses possessed by Th’Rut. Red light traces his hand; he devours dozens of men, women and children in seconds. Monad’s eyes are cold. “How could that guy be crazy? He looks like a badass.”
Monad walks through the desert, unaffected by the extreme weather, in a torn, sinister black cloak. His hood gently waves in the breeze, under his long, coarse black hair. Enlil and two ethereal beings walk ahead of him. The way he walks makes Monad look like he’s incapable of fear, much less going insane. Even in Kanti’s memories, I feel Monad’s larger than life aura. It’s a tidal wave crashing as thunder roars and lightning flashes, while thousands of people chant in unison.
“Monad’s insanity manifested from his obsession to destroy Th’Rut. He loathed that Th’Rut played with human souls, devouring them whole after several weeks of feasting on their negative emotions, making puppet kingdoms out of their corpses. Monad believed the cloak was destined to belong to him; thus, his will alone kept the cloak from separating. Not even the divines are capable of a self-delusion and grandeur so grand that it keeps us from escaping death.”
When the memories stop flashing in my head, I stare at Kanti. “Th’Rut and Monad were both insane. So Th’Rut pretended to be everyone he ruled, while their tormented souls lived inside of him, watching him play with their bodies? That’s terrifying. So when did the other Nothing start becoming a threat? With Th’Rut eating them like hot cakes because he was cray-cray, I know they probably avoided Earth.”
Kanti’s colorless eyes stare back at me. “I cannot speak for the other three cloaks, but the thousands of Nothing who roamed your vector of the universe had no concept of the cloak. By time they began coming to Earth, well after Th’Rut, they were ignored. Th’Rut and the three of us were dedicated to each other’s demise. The Nothing, who were substantially weaker than even most of the Earthen ethereal beings, were merely red herrings.
Th’Rut’s inner circle had already been devoured, so the new Nothing knew nothing about Th’Rut’s insanity and Aemon’s true intent; however, upon seeing the destruction caused by Th’Rut and Monad, many realized Aemon’s revival could only mean more harm. Unable to return to the Void, some settled: either avoiding humans entirely or ‘becoming humans’ themselves.
The remaining exiled, Aemon-worshipping Nothing harvested humans alongside Th’Rut, provided they acknowledged Th’Rut’s royalty. Being that he was now truly a king again, Th’Rut tried to be more benevolent while maintaining power. To make his followers fear reviving Aemon, he told them about the cloak bearer, and how they must conceal themselves by only feasting on negativity until the human died naturally. Naturally, many fell prey to the addiction of consuming corrupted souls, but that substantially stunted the search for Aemon and his potential awakening.”
“Damn. That is really… convenient.” I could definitely see Th’Rut doing that. “Wait a minute, Kanti, but you guys were incapable of resonating at certain levels, so how do you know that Aemon wasn’t resonating so low, you just thought he hadn’t been found?”
Kanti smiles. “Quite astute, Young Emery. You see, eventually, Monad’s madness had led him to devour human souls out of fear that they were his nemesis in disguise. We could, at best, identify in which direction the Nothing hid. Learning to conceal themselves put them at a tactical advantage; we never even imagined that concealment was possible.
Ironically, however, Monad devoured enough souls to spread rumors of a “demon” who claims the souls of those who are evil. People strove to be more enlightened and positive, which, except for a few who spread their negative perceptions to their offspring, led man to keep the Nothing from implanting themselves within most societies. Unfortunately, however, over the centuries, man had begun resonating within a mortal range. They lost the ability to see the Nothing, the cloak, the ethereal beings living among them, and the divines.”
“Ok, but what happened to Monad?”
“By this time, Monad’s cloak had become darker than black. It radiated a red aura; he had eaten millions by simply devouring Th’Rut’s essence beforehand.”
“Why didn’t you and Enlil do anything!?” I shout. I don’t know why, but I feel a strange connection with Monad. Maybe it’s a cloak bearer thing.
“Remember, Young Emery, we understood it as the mark of an adept cloak bearer. We praised his power. Despite the evil, or negativity, growing within him, Monad’s behavior never changed. He was always serious, melancholy, yet capable of gratitude. Unfortunately, the depths of good or evil, the truths of both are universal and unconditionally a priori within the cloak, despite our comprehension. Mon—”
“Meaning they are not tethered to an experience or the gain of knowledge; unconditionally a priori truths exist inherently, such as: there are two genders, there divine entities, or all creatures have resonance. That said, Monad was resonating below Nothing. During his final years, Monad lost the ability to see Enlil and me. He was truly alone.
At first, we thought he was ignoring us due to madness, since we, and many of the gods, did not comprehend resonance, or humans very well at the time. We forgave him, and followed in silence; we had no concept of time, so it was of little consequence.
Monad finally found Thr’ut, and was able to rip Th’Rut from the corpse he wore: the king of kings, Mithridates VI of the Pontus Empire. Th’Rut had long since given up devouring human souls whole, and did not recover from their last skirmish. Th’Rut shamelessly pleaded to Enlil and me, prompting Monad to let his guard down; revealing that he believed we abandoned him centuries ago. Alas, Th’Rut begged even harder for his life, but it was a ruse.”
“Ruse?” I sniffle and clear my throat. Swallowing doesn’t help suppress my tears; I see Monad weeping as he huddles in front an invisible Enlil and Kanti.
Th’Rut lies on the ground, defeated, “Have mercy, as I have revealed the benevolent gods you have longed to see. I hear them, they beg for your restraint!”
“A ruse,” Kanti nods.
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