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J Hart F

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 5)

"So it comes to this." Antoni stated. His eyes would not meet Ethan's, shoulders relaxed below normal, hands hidden in his pockets.

"It's not you he's truly angry with, Antoni. Charles has always been short tempered, irrational... dark." Ethan reached his hand out to Antoni. He noticed, seemingly for the first time, how frail the fingers looked; skinny, delicate, weathered with swollen joints. His wrist, though he knew the true strength it possessed, appeared as firm as a sunflower stalk.

This compared to Antoni Eytinge: a force even without the gifts of Gaia. He stood six foot four with wide shoulders bulging with firm muscles. Though he obtained a slender figure, Antoni clearly was built for some physical sport or other. All of his clothes fit tight enough to reveal the subtle curves of his strength. Ethan felt a pang of jealousy as he realized how old his own body was becoming.

Antoni spoke after a few seconds "Do you think there will be a confrontation from Elder Sadhin?"

"That is what I will try to prevent, but I know Charles well enough to understand his motivations. I should be able to persuade him to a peaceful resolution."

"How do you know him?"

Ethan smiled. "A little secret, though i don't know why secrecy surrounds this tidbit of fact; he is my brother. Our father trained us both in the ways of Gaia's wisdom. Me first, since I was firstborn." Shrugging, Ethan removed his hand from Antoni's shoulder.

Antoni's eyes widened ever so slightly, though his composure remained relaxed and slightly dejected. "Then you are our best hope... and possibly our worst hope."

"Yes. This is very true."

"When are you due to meet?"

"Tomorrow at high noon, on the Hawaii Islands. Alone, of course." Ethan saw the worry which spanwed in his colleague. "Don't worry, my friend. Charles has never been stronger than me. Not in mind, not in body, or in power. And though our childhood bickering truly ended a few centuries ago, I don't pretend to think our thickheadednesses won't resurface in this argument." Ethan chuckled.

A memory surfaced, happy and warm. The Balkans, rich with greens, browns and the blue skies, came into focus. Ethan and his brother had been racing to the peak of one of the mountains. Starting early in the morning, having taken a walk off their land with their father, it came to a simple race. Charles wanted to beat his older brother Ethan and posed the race. Neither one could make it to the top and had resolved to walking together up the slope until they nearly reached it to restart their race. Their father was far behind, watching in his special way to make sure they were safe. Ethan knew he could appear if he needed to, and thus felt perfectly safe being so far away from him.

Let him win, a voice whispered, barely loud enough to stimulate Ethan's senses, but obviously present. Ethan knew, even then, to allow the voices of the Earth to guide him, though he knew not who might be speaking to him.

Charles won the race, however narrowly, and continued to taunt his older brother through his winded, bent over state. Ethan stood proud and smiling at his brother, breathing hard enough to show Charle's a possible weakness.

"May I ask a question, Elder Adair?" Antoni's voice cut through his reverie.

Ethan nodded, turning slightly to look toward the human's little town. "You may indeed."

Hesitation parted Anotni's lips. "How... old are you, Elder?"

"A question many people have been fearful to pose. I have forgotten the exact date of my birth, as time has changed throughout Earth's history. However, I know significant dates and peoples as a guide to determining my age when I must remember." Ethan turned back to Antoni and saw the worry which seemed to plague him. "Don't worry, I am not offended by the question. I am three thousand and approximately two hundred years old."

A gapping maw with eyes wider than tea-cup saucers greeted Ethan's words.

"You have to be... the... eldest of us. All of us..."

"Yes. On the Keeling Islands, I am the oldest. Possibly in the world, unless the few of my Elders made it to Antarctica, but I hold little hope."

Ethan slowly straightened his back and shoulders, closing his mouth and bringing his head to a more sensible posture, though his eyes still betrayed the sudden shock he received. "May I ask one more thing of you, Elder Adair?"

"Yes, Antoni."

"Will you mentor me?" He hastily tried to rephrase his question. "I mean... Give me advice and help to expand my abilities? Take me under your wing to really master my potential? I feel there is so much to learn from you now; about the world, about humanity, about myself and the abilities that I harbor."

A warmth filled Ethan's face. "Certainly, I will be here for you in any way I can." The smile which radiated was joyful, even with the upcoming events that loomed like the darkness which follows twilight.

Antoni broke through his speechless barrier. "Thank you!" and bowed.

Night fell quickly.

Meditating to conserve energy, allowing the sanctuary built so skillfully by Alexis and Gaia Herself to penetrate his being and provide more insight and liveliness, Ethan searched. It was hard to know exactly what he sought for his mind seemed to wander even when a path opened before him.

At first, his brother Charles filled his mind. Their history together was full until there paths separated them indefinitely during the early nineteenth century. But these thoughts didn't keep Ethan's mind clear and soon the images of the Church filled his mind. Realizations of what was lost became extraordinarily clear once more. The beauty of religious institutions worldwide as art, gifts to man in their aspirations of faith; one seemingly vital aspect of human culture given back to the earth from which it was harvested. This brought Ethan's mind around to the growth of the six hundred humans he now rested with, wondering if they were headed to a new religion. Voices had spoken out against the trust they still had in one supreme being. After all, where there experiences not similar to the last chapter of their holy book? And if so, where were the chariots and horsemen so promised through prophecy?

Ethan's vigilance did not enlighten their thoughts to the actual outcome still ahead of them. The mystical writings, for which he had influence so many ages ago, had long lost their symbolic references to the grand scheme of the universe as human culture developed. And now, even his physical references were lost to sand, to dust blowing around his haven on the small island in the middle of a vast ocean. An ocean which may still harbor the stirrings of primordial life despite the havoc which demolished all land based life, save the fortunate few that now camped in two pockets of the Earth.

Blue wings fluttered in his mind's eye. Flashing open, bright as the deepest blue in the sky after a summer rain in the afternoon. Closing to blackness which surrounded the hope of being. Open to the depths of the ocean, capturing the beauty of Helios' light. Close to the darkness of underground tunnels traveling below the frozen north-lands of Svalbard. Flash of life regrowing in fertile soil. Dark of the seed germinating in soil.

The answer I have erased from his mind, for he will not see the precision of the necessary course laid before survival.

"Thank you, Mother."

It is time. Be wary of your steps on soil seemingly untouched.

And the world dropped out from beneath Ethan, the familiar tugging sensation pulling through him as he traveled through the Earth, merging temporarily with Gaia as the heat of the core surrounded his fragile being.

Sunlight greeted him as he arrived, still seated, on the small Hawaiian island of Ni'ihau. The eerie calls of tropical birds echoed between the thick fauna which grew in an otherwise quiet paradise. Droplets fell in syncopated cadences, evidence of a recent rain shower that must now be over the Pacific. Opening his eyes, Ethan saw the flawless morsel of flourishing paradise that seemed unscathed by way, despite his knowledge of a nearby bombing which should have destroyed this vision barely a week prior.

He was not fooled.

"It's nice to know this is possible, isn't?" a voice came from somewhere behind Ethan.

Standing, Ethan's response came in a carefully measured voice, not wanting to provoke any hostility from the start. "This is beautiful, and a dream meant to inspire even the most war battered heart."

"Paradise, as the humans see it." Charles stepped up next to Ethan, still looking out through the trees and shrubbery which filled their vision. They were both silent as they appreciated the vision Charles had provided his older brother as a sort of reunion gift.

Once he was able to regard his younger brother again, Ethan realized how similar they had looked. Both were skinny and slightly stooped in the shoulders, though still owning their stature or authority which time had provided them. The grey hair was long enough to flow around their faces and wisp in the gentle breezes. Noses slightly round at the end, eyes greying with the remnants of azure glinting when the sun hit properly. The difference came in subtle lines around their eyes: Charles' creases furrowing above his brow as Ethan's stretched from his eyes along his cheek bones, Ethan's thinning lips slightly curved upwards as Charles' stretched downward.

Charles spoke again first. "Ah, but it seems my gift is short lived, and business has come to a head, has it not Diodoros?"

The use of Ethan's birthname came as a surprise. The mantle of their society was being thrown off forcefully, and a new set of rules was quickly taking its place. Ethan would have to be careful. "Yes, indeed it has Akakios."

"Then I shall get straight to the ultimate goal," Charles stated as he turned to face his older brother directly. "I want Antoni Eytinge to pay for his betrayal of Gaia."

"And to the point you are." Ethan began to walk, knowing his brother would follow an ancient custom of their people. "But I fear we have two different opinions of the events which have transpired."

Feeling, more than hearing, Ethan knew Charles shook his head. "It is quite simple. Antoni was vested with the trust of our people to ensure humanity would not destroy its self."

"Are we not all entrusted with this task? And therefore who is truly to blame?"

"Diodoros, please." He matched Ethan's pace, trying to take a step ahead as they walked through the greenery. "We both know Antoni was given his task to create a treaty of sorts before things got out of hand. He failed, and I believe the intention to fail was present in his actions. We have gifts beyond human reckoning at our desposal, and he had every opportunity to manipulate the circumstances and choose to neglect them."

"It is not our place to manipulate the actions of humans." Ethan would not let him lead, and took a turn to the right around a slightly thicker collection of trees.

Charles couldn't argue directly with a law clearly specified in they code of ethics. "Someone must be held accountable. Rule must be set into Law, written and known with clear penalties for the criminal."

"Is that how you have set up your civilization, Akakios?" Ethan asked before he could filter himself. The nerve was hit.

Charles voice seethed. "It is my right to govern as I see fit now. Gaia has no say in our actions. And I am answering to a more powerful force."

This could mean only one thing. "There has always been danger in that, you know. Father was specific about the circumstances which can come from working with Helios' energies."

"It was done by those before us, and I shall resurrect its calling." Charles had stopped walking, standing with his feet firmly planted, hands reaching at acute angles from his sides, indicating the scenery. "This is His work, his power, and it will reign indefinitely upon Gaia when we have quieted the earth and put humanity in its place." His smirk seemed sunburnt. "Superiority ruling and defending the inferior."

"History does not favor dictatorships when the oppressed become numerous and gilted."

You will not win this. The skies brightness is fortitude to Helios.

Charles lowered his hands and glared at Ethan. "It seems determined we shall not agree today, brother."

"But we must come to some understanding."

"Oh there is understanding. You understand more than any of your Council could ever. You know me, Diodoros, and have known me for three mellennia." He turned, and as his eyes fell upon the distances beyond the foliage, the illusion began to dispurse, revealing a blackened island surrounded by grey waters lapping on the ash laden beach. "You know I will stop at nothing to reclaim this planet and bring it to perfection, with a new law of nature governing over the ones who destroyed it. Technology will go as far as I allow it. Information will be dispersed as I see fit. Knowledge will be conditional, and only the worthy shall wear our mantle." Turning back to look into Ethan's eyes, attempting to appear compassionate, Charles said, "And I do not want to lose my brother in this new world.

"I am willing to welcome any among your survivors who wish to follow my lead to Eden. But reprimand must be made."

Ethan stayed calm, even with panic constricting his chest. There was only one option left to him, and he dared not take the first move to its end. "I cannot follow this vision of yours. It goes against the code. You know it."

Charles did not speak. Their eyes remained locked, but a different sense formed between them: hot, bright, fiery.

Without thinking, Ethan constructed a protection around him, unwilling to make a more aggressive defense against his brother just yet. A fire formed in the air, expanding towards Ethan.

"Don't do this, Akakios," he shouted above the sound of the growing flames.

"It is done. Nearly done." And then Charles whispered, "It must be done."

As the fire exploded and raced toward Ethan, rock protruded up from the blacked ground.

The face of the Earth is changing.

Gaia's hand surrounded Ethan in a clumpy mass of dirt, and the tug pulled him through Her body, her spirit, her hurt. Arriving in the sanctuary once more, Ethan allowed himself to finally feel the pain of his brother's turn. Tears poured down his face, blinding him to the familiar faces which suddenly swam to support his body as he sagged to the soft grass.


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  2. First of all - evil brother or not - I totally want to go to Hawaii now. (So cold tonight!) But this is the next best thing. Ethan is pretty much my hero at this point too. I'm thinking of naming something after him. Maybe his birthname - but I'm gonna need you to spell it out phonetically for me. I'm REALLY bad with that. Hermione from Harry Potter? Before I saw the movie I thought her name was pronounced "Hermie-won"
    I don't know why I went into science and away from literature . . .

    Anyway - yes. A namesake. But what should it be?

    Who are we kidding - it will be a spider. I'll find a nameless one at work tomorrow! Hey! I should find a blue morpho and mount it for you! Yes?

    Well, Josheleh - I love it. I'm not exaggerating when I say I love it a billion times more than the love Jesus felt for humanity when he died on the cross. (haha - you know he just did it to get attention anyway)


    Write more soon, okie?