10,000 Years of Hope

May 4, 2006

They brought him in chains before the lady of the castle. It was a distant age of the earth, an age of war and magic – and he was a man of war, and she, a woman of magic.

His eyes were flinty steel, his limbs held the strength that had butchered hundreds on the battlefield. But he had fallen in the end, and now was bound before her and her fairie gods.

Despite her gender, despite her skills, her eyes were as hard as his. “For your crimes, I cast you out. I perform a binding on you, monster, and lay claim to your true name. You sought to rise above the world of man – so be it. I cast you out. I cast you out.”

———

Many ages of the earth passed. Men rose, and fell, and rose again. And through it all he drifted, nameless and alone.

He walked upon the earth, without need for breath or sustenance. He knew the scent of flowers and the feel of the wind. Yet he lived it all as a ghost – he could not catch a falling rose petal. He could not grab brances swaying in the breeze.

The world was bound from him, and he wandered, invisible to life and all its offerings.

———

The years, as may be expected, changed him. His was a brutal curse, with no hope of salvation – the very forces which had cursed him had vanished ages hence.

But when one lives in an endless eternity, alone, one learns to cope. He had spent a hundred years in screaming rage before his voice fell silent. He had passed through a thousand years in silence, simply walking and observing the changing ways of man. He had sought redemption for a mere twenty years before railing at an uncaring god.

But every insanity came to an end. Every rage, every plea, every sorrow. Time marched on, and in the end… so did he.

———

The ages have passed. He walks among steel carriages and glass buildings. He remains observer still, learning what he can as he goes, watching the race of man with disdain and envy.

He catches, upon a speeding yellow bus, a small child’s gaze. Peering, intently, at him.

The child vanishes from sight. He runs a moment before he knows he will not catch it. He looks down at himself, still identical to the moment of his binding, and then stares off at the distance once again.

He will look, but he will never find that child, nor know how or why he caught its sight.

But it matters not. He knows, with certainty, that for a moment, however brief, something acknowledged his existence.

If nothing else, that will provide another 10,000 years of hope.

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