A city, once puissant and luminous, now sunk into decay and obscurity.
The guttering sun hovers on the horizon, a massive red eye, casting navy and violet shadows over a glowering sky. The stars circle overhead, like birds of prey, their cold light piercing the glow of the dying day.
Great obelisks rise up spiralling, massive intricate arcologies lofty and regal, and gargantuan constructs of alloys and woven polymers stand at attention. Once they rose toward the sky like a defiant gesture, but now they bow beneath the weight of time, eroded by the constant wave of the years. At their feet lie shedded chrysalides, but only of their own corroded bodies. No life will emerge, the only metamorphosis is in the face of decay. Buried in their own detritus, they lie forgotten.
Like glory, forgetfulness is everlasting.
Only the stars remain witness to the dying world.
And the Wanderer, who walks amidst the rust and verdigris, tall and erect despite time’s heavy hand. For like the stars, he is immortal. Like the stars, he remembers forever. Unlike them, he is not cold.
He remembers this crushed world, when it was still an empire of light. Long ago, in ages now forgotten, he was their downfall.
So he walks and remembers, this world that he destroyed.
I have seen the rise and fall of manifold empires, witnessed the creation and destruction of universes. How can I not feel sorrow? How can I not remember?
(written 18 May 2005)