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J Hart F

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 14)

"It's strange. This place doesn't feel normal yet everything about it speaks of home."

"As it should. She has helped us give this place our hearts."

"How long will we stay here?"

"As long as we need to. Hopefully long enough."

Nick hesitated.

"Don't be shy about your questions. I'm here to answer any and all that come across your mind."

Nick looked away, across the landscape they now called home. It was secluded in a vastly different way. Where once the view of oceans greeted the eyes, now a mountainous range covered in black and grey welcomed the small collective of humans. They were lucky to have found the natural protection which offered a long valley to start a civilization again. Home, they called it. Tall, full trees rose to magnificent heights, lush bushes and vibrant flowers grew abundantly in the verdant forests, and life renewed itself once more between the peaks. Nick understood the luck of finding such a place. He also knew the power it took in restoring this nature to the Earth, marveling in the speed to which Ethan had pushed their efforts.

After taking in the view again, feeling the almost magical sense of homecoming fill his heart and throat as always, he turned back to Ethan and slowly asked, "Why have you not spoken about what happened?"

Ethan took his turn to look away.

"Elder Adair I don't mean to pry or anything, but we're all confused. Well, that isn't necessarily true. Your council must know what happened and why we so hastily moved, but us commoners are ill informed. I've come to know many of them... perhaps if I knew I could tell them something..."

"Your training is coming along well and I certainly have no secrets from you." Ethan had been weighing the matter for a while. The council understood enough to move forward with ensuring their survival after the battle which nearly tore the planet apart, but only Alexis knew everything. She experienced most of it herself, but was slowly told of Ethan's internal struggles later. Now Nick wanted to know more, and he carried the ambition to lead the rest of their civilization, lead in a way a President couldn't. Ethan needed such a resource. After all, Gaia had plans for Nick, which meant Ethan had plans for him as well.

Ethan continued, "My brother has a different vision for humanity's survival, which everyone already knows. This vision has taken him on a potentially destructive path." Everyone already knew this as well. When Charles manifested the powers of the Sun in himself, fissures split the mantle of the Earth everywhere. The Cocos Islands were only saved because of the Council's quick responses to Alexis. "Now he embodies the Sun. He is infused with the power of Sol, as I am one with Gaia at all times.

"As we have always been, Charles and I are different and equal. We both want peace and survival. He is unwilling to risk history repeating itself. He sees democracy as a failed institution and wants the purity of his rule to guide consciousness back to supremacy. We are thus seen as a threat to his stability in the future..."

"He wants us out of the picture entirely?" Nick asked. The amazement wasn't hidden.

"Unfortunately he does. He's willing to make negotiations for the survival of a few as long as those who long for democracy are either converted to his thinking or gone. The Council and President aren't willing to negotiate."

"We're hiding then?"

Ethan chuckled. "In a way, yes. We're biding out time, and if that means hiding then that's what we'll do." He could almost feel Nick's mind churning over information, much the same way Ethan did. He saw so much of himself in Nick as their training progressed. However, Ethan also saw much of his brother there as well. Quick to learn, faster to advance, and the inkling of hunger behind it all. Once upon a time, Ethan felt a hunger for more. His father's death put an end to that hunger. Somehow Charles never recovered, which only fueled the ambition more. Oh Gaia, Mother, please help me keep Nick away from that abyss.

"So... Where were you last week?" Nick

"Building a system of distractions for Charles to deal with." Both Ethan and his pupil smiled. "He will certainly have discovered by now that we are no longer on the Cocos Islands. And perhaps he has moved some of his collective there to inhabit and maintain the nature that has been restored to balance. Given this assumption, I have set a series of... distractions... for him to come across in due time. There are about fifty fake habitats around the Earth that simulate our civilizations progressing. Some of these habitats are actually starting to thrive and survive without my nurturing. Others are simply mirages which will dissipate once the shields are destroyed. None of these are truly strong enough to sustain an onslaught from Charles' new abilities, but it will certainly give us enough time to figure things out."

Nick shook his head. "You are amazing!"

"I appreciate the sentiment, but I am merely doing what I can to protect us." Ethan looked away once more, uncomfortable by the sudden praise and admiration which poured from Nick's entire presence. "Hopefully my efforts will actually regenerate the natural cycles of ecosystems that have been lost. With enough time they should be able to survive without the protective bubbles currently shielding them from the worst of the weather, as it were. None of this would have been possible without Gaia. Her power is what allows me to be so effective." With that, Ethan brought the somber tone which always filled his voice when training was at hand. "Enough talk about what cannot be solved. We must complete your training soon." Soon, however, was still far off.


The wind coursed across the pinkish purple dome overlooking the valley. Soot, ash, and fine debris floated in the currents rushing in violent eddies. Darkness still encrusted the air. It was a darkness which shadowed the heart and mind, distilling ambitions and forgoing change; however ironically permanence disappeared in seconds. No particle dancing in the veiled days rested for more than a moment, dragging its death around the burdened skeletons of woodlands and cracked skins of prairies. Dried beds warped the canyons where hollowed echos reverberated through the muffled clouds. Not even the waves of dreams escaped the desolation of extinction. A blackened mud blanketed the seas in calmer waters, caking the wounds and mingling with the gills of primordial habitats deep within the womb of evolution.

Suddenly, the wind found another bubble to which it was not permitted entrance. The same eerie radiance of berated hope, of difficult love, of tragic misunderstanding surfacing from the heart brushed the blackened clouds. Over time, the wind discovered several of these solitary fortresses of life. The blackness within its dismal fortitude born of microscopic destructive powers began to ebb in its endlessly chaotic journey.

A ray of brightness pierced the canopy.

The besmirched land rustled in its sudden heat: dust unsettled at its touch in a gentle billow where the light landed, the wind circled idly around the elegant filigree descending from the heavens, and a silent uproarious gaiety sparked within the essence of the Earth spirits.

Two individuals felt the shift, and a voice spoke to both. Its notes soothed with the gentle warmth of love. Its tonality spoke of anticipated hope and tenuous joy. Where once it spoke in horror, in wisdom, in pain, it now cherished a moment of reprieve and relaxation. It said:

The face of the Earth is changing.

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