GRAZYNTH, GUARDIAN OF THE FAR END (II)
It was a beyond gory and bloody sight to behold, one which made even Lino wince and cringe for a moment. Corpses splattered the valley, pieces of minced meat strewn across the gray grass, disemboweled guts and organs piling into the small mounds across, sauced with crimson, glistening red blood. Standing solemnly at the center of it all was a single man, panting and raving like a maddened beast, smoke puffing out of his mouth.
Lino had just observed a complete massacre; tens of thousands of people were slaughtered like the chicken, left to slither namelessly in the corrupt hymn of the world. He’d begun wondering why the Writ showed him this Record; if anything, it only further encapsulated everything he hated not just about the Writs, but the world of cultivation itself.
“... I told ye, nay?” Grazynth suddenly spoke, taking a deep breath as he withdrew his great-ax - nicked even further after the battle - and turned around. “None ran away. Not ‘cause they didn’t wanna, the saddest part of all. Do ye feel pity for ‘em? Do ye thinks I’m a beast for mauling them so? Ay... how could ye not? Ye most-likely comes from a world very different from my own. I envy... envy greatly, human boy. How grand a spectacle would it be for me to live in a world where my reality ain’t this? Hah... I can’t even imagine.”
Grazynth hunched over for a moment as he gathered Qi into his legs before propelling himself into the air like a cannonball, quickly surmounting the hundreds of meters tall tower and landing on the platform from which he leapt off before the battle. He then sat down with a grunt and took out another gourd of ale, downing half its contents immediately after.
“... I wish ye could tell me your own tales, successor,” Grazynth said. “Of whether maybe... just maybe... these sacrifices were not in vain. That we didn’t bleed for nothin’. Does ye know of Elana? She’s the Elysium Bearer of my time. A grand woman, a spectacle to behold. A beauty stacked with muscles that puts even the crazed men to shame. I’ve fought her hundred times over... never won, but also never lost. Was it not for her... I’d have stood a chance, little Empyrean. A chance to end the deplorable cycle before it stretched into infinity. Alas, it cannot be done. Most of the world deems Writs dangerous... immoral... bloodthirsty... vicious... cunning... they are, after all, beings predating us, predating life itself. How can they understand us, ay?”
“All Seven of Us were cast aside like the broken poultry... can ye believe it? Nay... yer time’s probably different. Better. Ay, better. That I choose to believe. All the while... they never bothered to learn about the Writs. Even them others, who have surrendered to that whore,” Grazynth’s voice grew colder and fiercer for a moment. “I respect ‘em more than I’ll ever respect these morons of war. Come tomorrow, they will be back again. And again. And again. Little Empyrean... see the sun set and enjoy the nightly gale. The Moon is my mistress, for only in her cradle have I ever felt safe in this world.”
Though quite sympathetic of Grazynth’s circumstances, Lino still failed to understand the point of it all. What, indeed, was Writ’s point of showing Grazynth’s story to him? Lino couldn’t tell. Though Grazynth clearly lacked the same hostility Lino felt toward the Writs, it wasn’t as though he was remarkably respectful of them either. Lino felt more anger toward the world’s misunderstanding of Writs rather than actual defense and awe for the Writs themselves. As though, by extension, his own existence is being marred through the misrepresented Writs.
Night soon fell upon the valley and a full moon rose in the place of the sun, surrounded by a swath of glistening stars, some larger, some smaller. It was a beautiful cascade of night, unblemished by a mortal hand in any kind. Grazynth, seemingly, didn’t have a habit of sleeping as he remained sitting cross-legged and staring into the sky.
“I oft’ wonder of what lies up there,” Grazynth spoke, beginning his drinking binge yet again. “Are those stars truly there... or are they just dots brushed onto the nightly canvas? Does the moon truly shine? Is there a Goddess truly watchin’ over us all from up there? Even when I ask Ataxia, though... he never answers me,” Grazynth said, smiling faintly. “He only ever tells me it’s not within my scope to understand. And I believe him, at the end of the day. What do I truly know? What do any of us truly know? Nothin’. We know what surrounds us. I’ve never left this continent, same as all others. What lies beyond that oceanic gulf? Perhaps... an entirely different world. If that’s the case here, then what of stars so far away?”
“I think I’ve figured out why Ataxia chose me of all Bearers, now,” Grazynth said, glancing down at the valley. “Just as those before me... there’s no doubt there would be those after me who would have inhibitions about him. His way of ‘thinking’, of ‘understanding’ and perhaps most-importantly, of putting it all into reality.” Lino finally shook for a moment, perking his ears to listen carefully. “Little Empyrean... I can’t say if you have doubts of him, and I can’t say if you should or shouldn’t. We’re all our own people. However, I can tell you... I’ve never held doubts. Not because he’s always right, not because he made my life into something far greater than I could ever imagine... nay, not at all. Perhaps, to others, it may be a foolish reason...” Grazynth paused for a moment as he took out a small, copper bracelet from his void storage and held it gently in his hand. “But, I listen to him... simply because I respect him. How many... dead, alive, or those yet to be born... will ever be able to claim they held onto their convictions for eons past? How many will be able to stake the claim to being indomitable, unbreakable, unbendable, unbroken for all eternity? For the sake of those who suffer the most... and for the sake of those who hate him the most?”
“...” Lino frowned inwardly. He was no longer an uneducated, narrow-minded teenage boy that he was before. To him, Grazynth sounded... simply naive, more so than anything else.
“I shall show ye, little Empyrean,” Grazynth said. “I shall show ye when dawn comes. And I shall show ye when it is all felled by the hand too greedy to ever understand what it is doing. When Seven Writs first came to be, they were united with a single goal: preservation of this world. They nurtured it with all their might... till that whore spawned and turned it all into hell. Ye will come to see... to know... just how hollowly broken our world truly is.”
Dawn soon arrived and just as Grazynth said they were there again, at the gates, mounting another offense. His wounds were still bleeding from the last night, tiredness no doubt seeped into every one of his muscles, yet he still arose to his feet and leapt off the tower and into the valley. He welcomed another swarm with arms wide open and a grin plastered on his ever-aging, ever-scarred face. He killed and killed, facing one fallen soul after another, yet it seemed to not impact his heart or his will at all.
Lino simply observed it all, remarking just how can someone do all of this for thousands of years without losing their sanity entirely. Save for bitterness and large amount of regret, Grazynth seemed perfectly fine. It’s as though he wasn’t spending his days cleaving men and women apart like wheat, and nights scowling inwardly over scars and wounds piling on top of each other. Lino still couldn’t figure it out, the purpose of this Record. Though Grazynth spoke of Writ’s convictions, Lino was already aware of them and even he himself had to admit it was remarkable.
The rest, though, seemed more like ramblings of an aged, senile man who had turned befuddled with the years of bloodshed under his feet. No matter how pure the intentions are, Lino felt, means of achieving one’s goal has to be accounted for. Especially so when the entire world gets tangled into the mess that has nothing to do with them.
How many would ever truly come to know about the Writs beyond some shallow knowledge were it not for the fact that Seven of them decided to duke it out through their Bearers? How many would care who they were, or even who Gaia was, if they hadn’t forcibly involved the rest of the world to do their bidding and fight their wars? None of it ever seemed truly necessary, at least as far as he was aware of the history.
From little bits and pieces he’d collected over the years, he was fairly confident in his knowledge over how all of this transpired. At the very start of it all, Seven Writs lived in unison alongside the First Scripture while trying to sow life upon the world. First Scripture would then suddenly disappear and shortly after Gaia would gain sentience. It was also then that the Scripture’s Army of Angels would begin being corrupted, which was then marked by the complete Fall of the Angelic Order.
It was on the brink of two different eras that the first rifts between the Writs began occurring, and it was only after Gaia fashioned new forms of life -- inherently superior to anything Writs made as far as Lino was aware -- that there truly began the division into two sides. The Writs, then, would ‘convert’ themselves over to Gaia over the course of years, with only the Empyrean Writ remaining in the end, defending their ‘original purpose’. The problem was that Lino had no clue what that ‘original purpose’ was. Or even how Gaia was able to tempt other Writs to join her side.
Nothing Lino ever learned pointed to the Empyrean Writ being in any way superior to the rest of the Writs - be it in regards of power or intellect. One small snippet, however, that he considered as that breaking point was the short conversation he had with Nthla, where she alluded to Gaia and the other Writs pursuing the ‘Truth’, which Lino figured to be the First Scripture that disappeared, while the Empyrean Writ - and Devils, now at least - tried fighting against it.
However, in the end, he didn’t know enough; rather, he knew so little he felt a banging headache overcome him every time he tried coming up with the answers to the holes present in that understanding of the events. Not only did he not know why the First Scripture disappeared, he had no clue what it even was in the first place. He also had no idea as to how Gaia and other Writs were attempting to find it, or at least break past that elusive ‘barrier’ that’s holding them back, or how lack of the Empyrean Writ played a role in that, or even why it seemed as though Gaia, through eons of time, purposefully antagonized the Bearers of Empyrean Writ despite also seeming to need them at the same time.
In the end, though, all of this doesn’t matter to the inhabitants of the world itself, those tightly wound in the conflicts that spawned from it. Even Lino, who at least in a way figures into that story himself, doesn’t know much about the break-up and how things came to be as they are today. He would have much rather Grazynth talk about that, the story behind it all, rather than some vague nonsense that Lino couldn’t really care about. This very scene unfolding before his eyes is a slaughter of tens of thousands of people that spawned directly as the result of the Writs, Gaia and who-else bickering like a married couple a long time ago, hence creating billions of years of conflicts that remain relevant till this very day.