Even if it has been a couple of weeks, I’d like to present chapter 2 of my serial which I have yet to name. Enjoy!
April / 19 / 2025
I remember that the sun was still just about halfway up the sky when we arrived. By that, I mean when we reached the edge of the city proper, the outermost point on which one of its streets was named. The place was quite large, and had entered our sights about ten minutes before we actually got there. When I stood at its edge, I could appreciate what Galven had meant each time he had said to me how lucky his ‘friends’ had been to find a place of that caliber in which to base themselves. And yet, as we approached I couldn’t help but to notice that the streets, at least as far as the eye could meet from that point, were absolutely empty.
“The place seems a bit…”
“Lonely, is it?” Galven said. “Don’t worry, I knew you’d say that. It’s all for a reason. Trust me, they’re around.”
“Are you sure? The… peace is a bit unnerving.”
“Why? Nearly everywhere we’ve been to before now has been about this peaceful.”
“Yes, but unlike those places, you said there were actually supposed to be people here. So, where are they?”
“Like I said, around.”
I had my doubts, but I knew better than to press the matter too much. I was very well aware that ever since Galven had met me, he’d been itching to get me to join him and his friends– the Keepers, he said they were called– and I was sure that he’d keep up what he was doing until that question inevitably came up.
“I see,” was all I offered.
“Wouldn’t you like to meet them?” he said. My prediction had been accurate.
“Look, Galven, I know you mean well, but you must remember that I have you of all people to thank for the decision I’ve made.”
“Are you absolutely sure you’re making the right choice, Idonia? You know, the Keepers are always willing to welcome someone with a righteous heart.”
“As sure as I could be, Galven. Don’t worry, you’ve taught me what I need to maintain that righteousness on my own.”
“Very well, then. I don’t suppose you’ll want to come in even for a minute, then?”
“If there is a possibility of others trying to persuade me to stay…”
“Very much so, I’m afraid.” Galven paused with a sigh. “Well, unless you’re planning on staying out here much longer, I’m afraid this is goodbye.”
“I suppose it is.”
“Where will you go now, Idonia? If you don’t mind me asking, that is.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ll stay safe, that much I can promise.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” Galven turned towards the empty-looking city, then towards me for the last time. “But where will you be?”
Having understood what my attitude implicated, Galven adopted a look of resignation and sighed to himself.
“Don’t go about breaking that promise, all right?”
Then he turned and moved towards and into the streets, quickly getting lost between the buildings.
In truth, I had very little idea of what I wanted to do. I knew there was a Chaotic outpost near the city, but I also knew where it was and how to avoid it. Even then, I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay around that area; though I knew that staying near the Keepers would give me at least some safety, I was not excited by the prospect of them consistently nagging me, but I also knew it was a much better alternative than being in constant fear of being assaulted by Chaotic forces.
It would hardly be the first time, of course. Had it not been for the appearance of the Noisemakers in my humble place of residence, I would have probably had no reason to start moving around. That, and I knew I definitely owed the Keepers, even if indirectly, since everything had started to change for the better from the moment I ran into Galven, or rather, when he ran into me.
The lands of Debara, independently of any form of esteem they might have had in the time before the plague, were very unwelcoming to anyone who dared to venture into their midst without a very good idea of where they were going. The countryside, to the eyes of an inexperienced traveller (such as I had been) was immeasurably vast, and any attempt to conserve a sense of direction while traversing it would be futile unless one kept to a small, specific area. This had been impossible to me from the start, since I had had an entourage of hostile Noisemakers right behind me ever since I first fled from that small, doomed town. Had it not been for Galven, I would probably not have retained my mind for more than a day or two, falling prey either to my pursuers or to my own impulse for madness (for I knew there was no point in hoping for death when it had quite clearly made itself absent to all since the start of the incident).
That had been my first formal encounter with the ones who I would quickly discover, made up whatever extent of ‘law’ could be introduced into the newly estranged land, and ever since then, I’d made an effort to distance myself from this ‘law’ as much as possible, thinking it quite ridiculous to allow oneself to be ruled by a collective principle, at least when said principle entitled people to such a quarrel as had come forth between the Keepers and the Chaotics. Besides, by then I was very well aware that there was a sizable amount of the population who thought as I did and had chosen to represent nobody but themselves in the wilderness the lands had become since the incident.
However, even though all of this was clear as crystal in my head, what was not was what I was trying to achieve from such a mindset; I was all too willing to keep myself away from any of those concrete causes, but I had no idea what my own personal cause was. Even in the turmoil that had ensued ever since the valiant Keeper and the accursed Chaotics crashed their way into my existence, I had allowed this question to haunt me, and I had pondered it without end. I thought, I thought to myself, and I determined that whatever it was I wanted, it must involve people who thought like I did in at least some small way. I knew, I said to myself, that this was the only thing that would really console me in the situation enveloping what had become of the world, and that it would be the first step into building something that would have a true meaning for me. But even if that much was clear, I had not the faintest idea of how I would accomplish it.
Even if I am making this log now, it’s only because I think of it as a way to remind myself of what I’m after, and to stave of the phantom of madness. I have seen, I’m afraid, many a person from the place I came from fall to this sad fate, and even though I knew they would invariably be physically safe, I dreaded to think what this would mean when combined with a psyche that was very much cracked.
Even now, as I write this down, I think: Why? What could bring about such a world, where people cannot be destroyed, but their minds can? What is the purpose of such torment? What greater power allows this to exist, and for what reason? And even though I toss these questions around in a practically leisurely manner, I must confess that I am not overly certain of whether or not I truly desire to know the answers.
Indeed, thoughts like these often leave me with a certain degree of mental unease. To think, that all I have is hope, and absolutely no guarantees of what the immediate future holds for my humble self… I have always been disgusted by this particular breed of fear, and to face it even now fills me with dread.
But even if I do allow these fears to assault the depths of my mind, it would be quite inappropriate to say that they do so at every moment of the day. As I had said before, Galven, while a Keeper, had considerable experience in the lifestlye of the land-roaming Nomads I had chosen to join, and had instructed me in a number of ways in how I could maintain my integrity in this wasteland.
From this knowledge, I determined that the obvious course of action was to head north, where I knew very well that the density of populations rarely decreased, and that keeping up such a pace would entitle me to at least some semblance of safety (at least as much as one could have with such brutes as the Chaotics wandering around so much of the lands).
Who knows? Perhaps I may be able to figure out what I am truly looking for if I follow this path. At this point, there is practically nothing for me to lose, so I must assure myself to proceed without fear.
I will continue to carry this log with me, in the hopes that I will be able to leave it behind in the event that I become captured by the Chaotics or fall victim to some other unfortunate fate. But even with this on my mind, I must confess I would much prefer if things transpired so that it were to have some form of concrete conclusion.