Sage of Raw Honey
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Inside your television!
Rep Power: 8
Re: Tomorrow Forever.
007 – Gift
As we walked with our squid, we slowly left Khule and the shopping district behind. The streets that were once lined with beautiful shops selling an untold variety of products slowly gave way to a relaxing cobblestone path, with rolling hills and grass on either side. The foliage flanking the pathways was luscious, twittering with the sounds of a thousand birds. Crystal clear ponds shimmered as the fading sunlight reflected off their pristine liquid surfaces. Children ran laughing past us, not caring for the axe over Gareth's back or the sword sheathed behind mine. Gareth sighed, and we turned a corner, turning onto a side street littered with falling cherry blossoms. The trees lining the pathway shed their blossoms, which instantly reformed, falling to the ground seconds later.
"How do they do that?" I asked.
"It was all because of the gift of the planter. She was, as the legend had it, the possessor of the gift of life, and instilled this gift into all her creations. Trees and plants planted by her can never die. Her last work was the Grand Tree Network in Helvete. She lived long ago, but her work lives on today," murmured Gareth, in awe.
"What do you mean she had the gift of life?" I asked.
"In all the questions you have asked me, you have failed to ask about gifts? How I can tear the earth asunder in such a way?"
"Well to be honest, you weren’t very chatty these last few days."
"Touche my friend. Well, where to begin. Gifts are...well. They are tough to explain," began Gareth. We continued walking, and slowly, the beautiful parks I had never thought of before began to turn into the parks Gareth described. Dead trees began to appear more frequently than live ones, and the bilge filth of the city crowded around burning trashcans, slinking away into the shadows at the mere sight of Gareth.
"Well, to begin. Upon entry into Erebus, all people are given a gift that makes the majority of people universally unique. These gifts all stem from the same place, but take mostly different forms. Gifts that are given to every human are things that are normally taken for granted. For instance, for lack of a better example, the reasons the Knights of Fate were chose, my strength, Lord Gawain's intelligence, is a gift. Some people are given something as simple as kindness, while others are given more advanced things like advanced strategic planning or a super-acute emotion receptor, also known as being able to read people exceptionally well. Oftentimes, people are never truly aware that their gifts are functioning. The gifts are more subconscious, like my strength. I do not have to executively decide to be strong. It happens naturally."
"And all gifts are like this?" I questioned. "What about your Terra, or whatever you called it."
"I was just getting to that," said Gareth, "but first you must learn something else. See that man over there?" he said, pointing to a man standing over a fallen woman. The man was ruthlessly kicking the woman, screaming profanities, uncaring towards the surrounding crowd. Gareth sighed, and began again, saying, "It is sad to say that his gift is most likely the gift of anger, or hotheadedness."
"But how is that a gift?" I asked.
"Not all gifts are pleasant," he said. "Suppose during a celebration you are given a box wrapped in paper. The box is massive, and you are awfully excited to open it. However, suppose upon opening this box that the contents consist of maggots and flies, all crawling and flying over a rotting cow carcass. Is it not still a gift?"
"Well I guess...Jeez you didn't have to be so gruesome," I said, shuddering.
"It was the only way to convey the proper gravity of their plight. Imagine having something as simple as a bump in the street setting you into a rage, consistently every time. Imagine the gift of paranoia, losing sleep every single night simply because you can not sleep due to fear. Imagine the hell of the gift of psychopathy, never feeling guilt or remorse for anything you do, a life without human connection. It would be a horrible life, would it not?"
"More horrible than anything I can imagine."
"I agree," said Gareth, "but enough with the horrid tales of life. You asked about Terra, did you not?"
"Yes, seeing as not everyone can split the earth in two. And then sew it back together," I said, remembering the screams of the falling men.
As we continued to talk, the vagrancy dropped, until we entered the industrial district. The industrial district was a long single street, lined with factories, mass producing products to be sold in the shopping district. The street was long, dark, desolate, and devoid of life. Flickering fluorescent lights illuminated graffiti that covered the walls of the ungainly factories.
"My gift is more special than most special gifts. I shall explain the more common special gifts first, seeing as only five people on the plant own the supreme specials. Special Gifts are infinitely vaguer than normal gifts. They can literally take any form they want, and occur only in about thirteen percent of all humans. However, there are specific trends. About fifty percent of Specials are body mutations. For example, look at that upstanding gentleman," he said, pointing to a graffiti artist. This man was hanging, by his incredibly elongated tongue, from an outstretched I-Beam on an factory that was being refurbished. He hung from his tongue, bracing himself with his legs, and when he finished his art, he jumped from the wall, extending his tongue, latching on to another I-Beam, and swinging away into the darkness.
"That was...pleasant," I said.
Gareth chuckled. "Body mutations are not always so odd. Something as simple as being able to grow your hair at will, or skin pigmentation change is also common. However, here is where special gifts differ from normal gifts. In the case of our friend Mr. Tongue, it is an aspect of his body, and therefore must willfully tell it to occur. This goes for all specials. You enter the world with this gift implanted in you, by Lady Fate, the one who bestows all gifts. When the power first awakens, you immediately know how to use it at will, and it becomes as easy as moving your arms and legs."
"So what about the other fifty percent?" I asked.
"Hmmm. While I may be off on the actual numbers, I believe it went as follows. Spatial manipulation took twelve percent, which is the ability to manipulate matter on a small scale, and usually, only with a select type of matter. Telepathy-based powers, or powers consulting the mind and soul of humans, took another twelve percent. Nine percent are sensory based, affecting the senses of oneself or the senses of others. Nine more percent are formed in physical override, or abilities that defy the laws of physics. The final six percent are possession, which are rumored to be the most dangerous, or gifts that allow the user to effect and control the movements, actions, and appearances of third parties."
"You said final," I said, "but by my math you’re two percent short."
"That I am. One percent goes towards the Supreme Gifts, like the one I have myself. I do not think I need to explain it."
"What do you mean you don't need to explain it? I'm totally in the dark here!" I exclaimed.
"Come now. If I control the very earth we walk on, take a guess at what the rest of us supreme people do."
"I honestly have no idea what you're getting at."
"Then you are certainly not graced with the gift of intelligence," he said, laughing.
"Not funny. That still leaves one percent though," I said.
Gareth failed to answer, and as I turned away, knowing that this was yet another subject he failed to walk on, we arrived at the foot of the mountain.
The same heavenly light was now waiting for us at the foot of the mountain, taking the form of a muscular, blonde haired man. He smiled, and walked towards Gareth with open arms.
"Gareth, my brother, it's truly wonderful to see your face again," said the man.
"Nonsense, Sir Michael, the pleasure is all mine," said Gareth, with a mixture of familiarity and reverence.
"And you must be Sir Lavernius Poloro, am I correct?" said the man.
"Yes, sir. It's nice to meet you. Forgive my boldness, but who are you exactly?" I asked. Gareth was taken aback by my rudeness, but the blonde haired man laughed boisterously.
"Hahahahah, you have spunk! Always good to hear. I am the First Knight of Fate, Michael."
"Oh! I apologize, I was unaware I was in the presence of greatness."
"Nonsense Lavernius, I am not nearly as great as the God I serve. Now, I hate to be a rush, but this is an awfully long set of stairs, and we have quite an extensive walk ahead of us, don't we, Gareth.”
"Ah, Lavernius, if you ever tire, just inform me, and I shall carry you. There is well over seven thousand steps ascending to the temple, and it is quite alright if you can not handle it," said Gareth.
"Thanks Gareth, but I'll be fine."
Michael turned, and a gust of wind buffeted me, as his massive wings that I had somehow failed to notice swung about. "Sorry for these," he said. "I'd fly ahead, but that'd be rude, so I ask that you simply walk ten to fifteen feet behind me for your own safety."
"So are those your gifts?" I asked. "A body mutation or whatever it's called?"
"Hahahahah, no silly boy. I'm an angel. Isn't it obvious?"
I stood and stared at him in wonderment. An actual angel? I asked myself. How is that even possible? Wait! Michael...an angel...could it be? "Saint Michael the Archangel?!" I exclaimed?
"Hahahahah!" he laughed once again, louder and more happy than before. "My reputation does precede me, I suppose. Well, no time to gawk! Pip pip cheerio! Come along now!" As he said this, Michael pointed into the sky, and a ray of light shot out, parting the clouds.
"Lord Michael sent the signal. It appears Gareth and the lad have arrived," said Gawain.
“Good father. It means the time is almost upon us! I am excited, are you?" asked Gingalain.
"Not in the slightest. It bears no significance to me. The actual implications of this event are purely ceremonial, not affecting me in the slightest. Gaheris has the right idea by being asleep already."
"Father! Do not say such disrespectful things! Sir Michael was deeply anticipating this event, and he left you in charge here!"
"Gingalain, my son, you will learn fast that Michael truly is the smartest person here, not me. You could take a thing or two from Michael’s book and relax as often as he does. He left me in charge knowing full well that I am the most capable, but also that I would not put the fate of this one boy before that of this nation. As the honorable Second Knight, it is my duty to put the people first, something you should do the same."
"Yes father. Words of beautiful wisdom as usual!"
We continued to ascend the stairs. The stairs went at odd angles, and were relatively steep, making it quite the workout climbing up them. However, I was determined to make it to the top, and tried to match my pace to that of Gareth's. Horrible idea.
Within minutes, Gareth was carrying my out of breath body. He ascended the stairs chuckling, as we gained altitude, drawing closer and closer to the temple. At random intervals, Michael launched more beams of light into the air, oftentimes eliminating clouds that formed in our path. We were in the clouds, until coming to a final stop at the foot of a massive brass door.
"It appears we have reached our destination!' exclaimed Michael joyfully.
"It appears we have. Do we open the door ourselves, or do we let the gatekeeper let us in?" asked Gareth.
"Oh I think I will call him. Oh Hugh!" Michael bellowed. "It's me, Michael! Let me in will ya?"
A booming voice resounded deeply in reply. "Terribly sorry, Master Michael, sir, I'll let you right in."
And so, the massive bronze doors swung open, revealing Hugh the gatekeeper.
The gates swung open to reveal a giant floating hand.
Teddie isn't here anymore. Goodbye.