This was something that came into my head this afternoon whilst staring out of the window in a pub at the cold, barren fields. Partly inspired by playing a LOT of Dark Souls 2 lately, and really feeling the empty, ruined world that the Souls universe inhabits. It might develop into something later, I dunno yet… I don’t tend to opt for Fantasy but who knows?!
I was six years old when I first really started to understand the Death of Seasons. I was playing tag with the neighbour’s boy, Thomas, in the rocky field that our family owned. It was absolutely no use for growing food in, but sheep and goats could graze on it just fine, and the rich green framed the cold grey mountains beautifully. Thomas had just tagged me as it and was running full pelt away from me, deftly stepping over sharp stones and around the uneven tufts of ground when he dropped dead on the spot, his momentum causing his newly lifeless body to pinwheel like a ragdoll, all directionless limbs. I ran over to him, but his eyes were glassy, reflecting the slate coloured sky, and shining none of their former life out of them.
“Why does the Death have to happen?” I’d asked my mother through wracking tears that night.
She’d done a little to console me, but she’d seen so much death in her years that one more little boy meant little to her anymore, “It’s the will of the Gods, little one.” She sighed wearily, “If they didn’t take people away at the beginning of each new year, where would all the new ones fit?”
“But Thomas was only little…” I sniffed, “Why don’t the Gods take the old people away?”
I could see the patience slipping out of mother’s face like sand through an hourglass running down the etched groves of a lifetime of grief, “It’s not our place to judge who deserves life, and who deserves death. Only the Gods may choose, and it is beyond human minds to understand why. They took your father, they took your sister, but I am still thankful for what we do have.”
I threw my soup to the floor, the clatter of shattering pottery on the hard stone floor cracking like lightning through the quiet of the kitchen, “I hate the Gods. I hate them and I won’t ever be thankful for their pointless cruelty!”
Mother had beaten me fiercely for my blasphemy, telling me that one day I would have sons and daughters of my own, and I should be willing to give them up to the Gods with song and praise in my heart. But I didn’t understand why. The world was empty and barren, there was plenty of space. And anyway, most babies were born without ever drawing a breath.
The Death of Seasons comes every year without fail. As the nights outweigh the days in length and the plants begin to turn ashen and grey, people die without a moments notice. The young, the old, men and women, even new-borns. There’s no pattern, no sense of a plan. Mother tells me that the chaos of it makes it more fair, but it seems bitterly unjust to me. The land is sick with the Season…
What few people you see travelling through have all been touched by it. Sometimes lone adventurers clad in shining armour pass by the rough collection of houses at the foot of the mountain, searching the vengeance on the Gods. Their faces are always set with grim determination, their eyes hollow and empty as they blindly travel the world, fighting and dying forgotten and unknown. Most know they’re on a hopeless quest, but they can’t allow themselves to accept the will of the Gods. I envy their fire, and I pity their lonely fate. At least they die by their own actions, not the hapless groping of cruel deities.
This world is filled with ruins of once great civilizations picked clean like carrion by The Death of Seasons. You could walk for weeks in any direction and never see another human being, just the littered remnants of their hopes and dreams. There’s melancholy and loss that spreads across the ground like the bright, unfeeling sunrise. You can see it in the eyes of every person you meet. A broken spirit lingers in their bones, waiting for their turn to die. Or worse, to never truly be allowed to go. For the Gods to leave them to age for centuries, cracked and so close to death, without ever reaching it.
I was sixteen years old when The Death of Seasons blessed my mother once more and stopped my heart from beating.
Thanks for reading.
Feedback/Encouragement always welcome. Would you read more?