Chapter 67: Who’s to say what really happened?
From the outskirts of a small village, Th’Rut points at a man resembling Monad: he’s bronze, long brown coarse hair and brown beard. He resonates at an extremely high level. “He is called Joshua by his people. I have observed him from afar as Mel— eh, that is of little importance. But, what is of importance is that he is pure of soul and has a resilience like him. He will be able to see both of you. He resonates too high to see me.”
Kanti and Enlil nod. They walk past awestruck villagers, who despite not resonating as high as Joshua, can see them and the cloak. Images of their deeds flash before my eyes. Th’Rut possesses the body of a man named Sa’Jud, making random appearances to keep Joshua on the path of righteousness.
Several years pass. Kanti and Enlil walk beside a mature Joshua who is nearly identical to Monad, despite never consuming a soul. Th’Rut walks with them, invisible to Joshua. I can tell by the way they’re walking, Joshua knows Th’Rut’s there.
“Your highness?” A Nothing-controlled, female soldier clad in bronze calls out from a distance. “Lord Th’Rut! It really is you!”
Th’Rut looks at Kanti. “I do not wish to make things worse,” Th’Rut says. He stares regretfully at the ground. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me over the past decade, Kanti, Enlil. If—If he returns, maybe we’ll see each other again.” Th’Rut takes a knee. “I’ll help you the only way I know how.” He waves at the soldier. “One moment, Iris.”
Enlil smiles and nods placing a hand over Th’Rut’s head.
“We thank you for your assistance, Th’Rut. Something, call it divine intuition, but something tells me Monad will return,” Kanti says. Enlil turns and smiles, caressing my—Kanti’s hand. “We know what must be done, Th’Rut. We harbor no ill-will.” I nod at Th’Rut.
“You know half of the empire is looking for people dressed like you. You don’t know what a cloak bearer is, do you?” Iris asks Joshua through the soldier’s body. She slightly steps out of the human shell and stares at Th’Rut. “I gather he cannot see you, or these divine ones. But, still—”
“He is not the one,” Th’Rut says. “The divine ones had just informed me that the cloak bearer died long ago. We of the Abyss are all kin, after all.” Th’Rut stands confidently: his chest is out and his fists are at his waist. “Iris, you do not suspect your king of deceit, do you?”
“Absurd!” Iris respectfully curtseys outside of the soldier’s body. “Lord Th’Rut!— My liege! The king of kings, I—No—I—Never! Not even with these deplorable human lips, and frail mind can I call you a Li—”
“Let’s go,” Th’Rut says interrupting Iris.
Iris slides back into the soldier’s body. “I apologize for the insult, my good man. Be wary of false prophets, and the like. Be especially weary of the cloak bearer.”
Joshua nods. He glances at Kanti. “What was that all about?” he asks ignorant of the Nothing who just passed him.
Kanti and Enlil shrug.
“How did he know of the cloak?”
“Tis, irrelevant,” Enlil responds. “Humans are incapable of comprehending that their gods are false. If the situation arises where the cloak comes into question again, you will need to think on your feet.” She crosses her arms and sighs. “The religions of man are so foolish. Tell them you are the son of god—”
Kanti erupts with laughter. “Enlil, surely you jest. Mortal man is too foolish to comprehend that the gods they worship were crafted from our myths to keep their resonance high and prevent evil from consuming their souls. Look at the circumstances surrounding hi—”
“Whoa, man,” Joshua says. “I don’t want to think of my fellow man as ignorant. I am them and they are me—I mean, through no fault of his own my father thou—”
Kanti laughs so hard, he collapses. My physical body struggles to contain itself and I start laughing too.
“Enough, my love,” Enlil says sternly in the memory. “It will be our only option. We cannot have you devour humans. Perhaps, that was what attracted Aemon in the first place. We have seen time and time again that we cannot consume life, Kanti.” Enlil glistens in the sunlight. “We would rather bind man with religion than—”
“Absurd. Enlil, that will begin an entire age of religious war.” I—Kanti stands up. “Imagine man bound together in animosity simply to take the lives of others who live the same way, and worship the same conceptual being under a different name! Many of these cretins overlook the identical values in the fables taught to their ancestors and place value on the trivialities of the myths, like who told story!” Kanti shouts. He looks at Joshua. “Your physical body will be nailed to a plank by these imbeciles. Ignore Enlil.”
The flashback ends, and I stare at Kanti again. “That guy seemed familiar in a weird way, Kanti.”
Kanti sighs. “The ignorance of man is astounding. There are men who believe they were made in his specific image. Only his. Absurd.” He sighs again, and lets out a chuckle. “Oh, Young Emery—unfortunately, what I suggested came to pass. And man, due to an even more convoluted religion, that mirrored the other two of the time, created the Anno Domini. This religioned hailed Joshua as three entities.”
“What?!” I bury my face in my palm and shake my head.
“I cannot make this ignorance up, Young Emery. The human mind is so simple that Joshua’s lie garnered followers who believed Enlil, Joshua and I were one being! We spoke of the cloak, which they called the shroud. Mind you, the other prominent religions only had a problem with Joshua claiming to be more than a prophet despite being nearly identical. But, of course, as time passed man, and man-possessed by Nothing created more distinctions among the religions to promote war.”
I laugh. “You guys really fu—”
“I digress,” Kanti interrupts. “Monad’s tale continues.”
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