The dreams of tomorrow
Washed up on a lonely shore
A thousand years of regret
Followed by a thousand more..
Oz woke up with a jerk. He was sweating profusely and his clothes stuck closely to his drenched body like a second skin. Tangled up to his neck was a sheet, which creased and coiled around him in the manner of a serpent. He felt a massive banging in his head and his throat felt dry. Kicking off the sheet, Oz got up from his bed and walked towards the water pitcher. His steps shuddered a little, he leaned against a wall to regain his composure. The night was cold but not so much; he did not understand why he had covered himself up in the first place.
Pouring out some water into a cup, he took a long drink. The cold water rushed through his neck; cooling off his innards. He felt a little better. The heat and humidity in the room were agonizing so Oz decided to take a stroll outside. As soon as he stepped out, a chilly waft hit him, spreading all over his body similar to an icy mountain stream and refreshing him in the process.
He again took a sip from the cup he had carried out with him. That dream again huh, Oz thought. A sudden urge to vomit came over him and he felt his stomach tied in a knot. Taking another sip, he tried to keep the bile from escaping his mouth. There was a spontaneous impulse of wanting to forget the things he dreamed about, even though he could not remember the dream to begin with. A repulsive sting attacked him just from thinking about it.
Oz looked up. The night sky was clear without any trace of clouds and the stars sailed on it identical to numerous skiffs fishing on a great dark lake with a lantern hanging from their masts. A number of these grouped together in a cluster as if working in a team to get hold of the best catch. The ancients named these groups of stars Constellations, labelling them according to their shapes and assigning each with alluring legends. The stories were plentiful as were the stars they were based on. The sky was akin to a canvas to those of the past, their own form of theatre, with scenes unfolding every night as they gazed at its massive form. They would weave tales of love, faith and deceit, casting the stars as the actors, amusing themselves as they sat around a fire on a long wintery night. The constellations and the stars would reanimate themselves as heroes, villains, farmers, kings, monsters and princesses. After all the sky has no limit, as long as one can imagine.
Oz turned his sight towards the south-west part of the sky. "Dialga" could be seen high above the horizon. Its counterpart and eternal foe "Palkia" had set moments ago in the northeast. Somewhere in the deep dark corners of the infinite, "Giratina" observed them both, hiding its hideous form in the obscurity.
Oz drank from the cup again, exhaling white mist into the cold dank night air. Granny used to tell them stories about these constellations when they were kids. In those days, Oz used to spend most of his evenings at Raito's place. He wouldn't sleep there, but he would hang around till dinner time, helping Granny with household chores. Frequently they pestered him to dine with them and at times he did not have a choice but to succumb to their continuous nagging. It was not as if he hated those silly warm familial harassments. He just couldn't intrude too much upon their affections and hospitality. Yet that was maybe an excuse he concocted to conceal his own introversion.
The gloom in his face soon turned into a smile as he remembered that period of his childhood. During the day, Oz and Raito would scavenge the nearby forests for firewood and herbs. Often these quests as they were dubbed by Raito would end up in him straying from the original objective and playing pranks on the villagers, at times even pulling Oz into it. He would get beaten up frequently, but that could by no means dampen Raito's spirit; he was quite a bouncy fellow, full of life. Never stopping to think for a moment and yet directionless. Just like a Hoppip in the wind.
The evenings were more peaceful. Granny would apply a small amount of herbal remedy on the numerous cuts and bruises on Raito's body; time and again, a sarcastic remark would escape her lips. Raito would jeer at this and Oz would simply grin. As soon as this ordeal was over, she would light up the fireplace and set up some gruel on it to boil. Then she would bring out her loom and start weaving and soon a melody would float through the dainty little room of that small house. For a moment, that room would drift into another dimension, free from all the mishaps in the world.
Almost every night Granny would tell the children stories of the past. Her narrative style was very enchanting, she knew where to stutter and where to pause for effect. Listening to her telling all those fables, one would certainly get captivated and temporarily lose themselves in her words.
One of them was the myth of Dialga, Palkia and Giratina. It is said that long before the beginning of time, there was no earth, no sky and no seas. The world was a muddle of order and chaos, spreading for endless distances. Amidst this confusion, the Creator placed three eggs, one white, one black and the last one blue in colour. The eggs stayed in that state for millions and millions of years, until a tiny crack appeared on the black egg and Giratina was born. The baby Giratina as soon as he came out of the shell let out a tremendous roar which woke up his brothers sleeping inside the remaining two eggs. Soon they came out breaking their own shells and the three saw each other for the first time. The brothers stayed in that form for immeasurable periods of time, wondering and talking about why they existed and what was their purpose.
In the end, they could no longer bear the silence and decided to take a voyage across the forlorn space, in hopes of finding answers. Innumerable epochs of time passed by as they travelled but they still couldn't find anything except for the chaotic blend of space and time.
Suddenly at a particular juncture of time, Giratina had a realization. The universe had no ends, devoid of any matter. It was just similar to the inside of their eggs where they formed from nothingness. Maybe the Creator had placed them there to create life from that void, comparable to how he had created them. Upon having this realization, Giratina beckoned his brothers to come to him and told them his notion when they arrived. Dialga and Palkia immediately understood what he was trying to say and agreed to help in this regard.
At first, Dialga distorted the space around them and created the earth. Palkia then made it rain for millennia and the nooks and crannies on the earth's surface were filled with water, forming the oceans. Giratina then blanketed the world with the sky and painted it with the sun, moon and the stars. He further went on to set the rules of nature, the changing of seasons and the transition from day to night. From the land thus formed, they sculpted the creatures and the trees which were henceforth to live on it, inhabiting the surface, the skies and the seas. Each was infused with a fire that burned inside their hearts, an immortal soul. In the very end, Giratina shed his own blood to fall on the earth and thus arose the Guardians, who were tasked with protecting the world and all those who dwelled upon it. When everything was completed, the three made abodes for themselves, from whence forth they could oversee and rule the matters of the world. Dialga made his palace on the peaks of a grand mountain, with steel spires and fiery volcanoes surrounding it. Palkia's dwelling was amid the raging seas, a castle made of ice and barricades of icicles, its tips sharper than the summer sun. Giratina left the world for his brothers to govern and decided to look after the souls of the departed, in a nether realm separated from the world by a dimensional wall.
Peace and prosperity ruled supreme for a long period of time as the world grew in its cradle, nurtured by the Guardians and the Gods. Songs of harmony flowed through the heart of every individual who was alive; an ambience of concord enveloped them reminiscent of the fine chilly mist that rises on cold winter mornings. Greed, strife, avarice, malice was just but mere words yet to be discovered; for sins arose from the need of material possessions and in that world, need was staggered by satisfaction. Satisfaction of the soul.
But destiny had something else planned. After eons of serenity, somehow a seed of discord was planted amongst the brothers. They were Gods no doubt, but they were still bound by the rules of that universe and emotions were a part of those rules.
Soon the earth was enveloped in the scorching flames of war. The devastation and destruction that happened could never be gauged. For this was not a battle between mere mortals. It was a war of Gods.
Palkia rose from his castle in the sea and encased the bodies of the living with armours of sheer cold, irrespective of their wishes; turning them into mindless beasts, forever ready to do his bidding. Dialga did the same, but his were armours of steel, constricting the bodies of the beings and making them involuntary slaves of his desire. When their armies clashed, it is said that the very fabrics of time and space were warped, sending out huge pulses of radiation all over the universe.
Giratina merely waited and observed his two brothers fight it out, exhausting their army. When he saw that they were quite depleted, he summoned his denizens from the nether realm, his shadow force and attacked them both. The earth cried in extreme agony as the war of the gods continued, the existence of universe was in danger.
In the end, the Creator couldn't bear to let the insanity to continue anymore. He appeared out of the blue, in his glorious form, extending his thousand arms in a regal manner and hurling meteors at the three brothers. The bombardment stopped them in their paths and sheathed their bodies in a molten lava prison from which they couldn't escape. The Creator decided that what they had done was beyond any sin and called upon the judgement on them. It destroyed their forms, scattering their bodies into millions of tiny pieces which drifted in the wind towards the sky. These particles then formed the constellations of Dialga, Palkia and Giratina, devoid of everything and only retaining the shapes from their past lives. In time, the earth healed herself from the wounds of the war; but deep within her bosom, she still carried the scars she received, a dark souvenir of the terrifying past.
At the end of her narrative, Granny would always say that War begets pain and nothing more, even the stories of the past reminded us of that. In his heart Oz always felt that it was the ultimate truth. But the truth has many faces.
Diverting his eyes, he turned them towards the shadow of the village below him. Most of it were covered in darkness apart from two or three tiny flickering lights which looked like a group of Volbeat performing their grand dance rituals.
"So someone is having a late night celebration", He chuckled. "Well good for them."
He guessed it was the Chief's house; they were going for a few rounds of ale after stuffing their tummies full with the exquisite meal. His own belly gurgled thinking of the fishes.
"I should have accepted their invitation I guess," He whispered as if not to disturb the silence of the night.
After declining the offer to dine with Chief's family, he had trotted quickly to his home atop the hill. His mood was low and not wanting to prepare any dinner, he found a bit of stale leftover bread. After eating that, he carried himself off to bed. He was tired, physically and mentally; although mental fatigue was a bit more emphasized than the physical one.
It was not like he did not enjoy get-togethers, social gatherings etc. Who wouldn't? Everyone loves to eat and drink with their friends and colleagues, each morsel made sweeter by the smiles and laughs one could see on the faces of their companions. They said that one may drink from the bosoms of rivers flowing with Godly manna and still not quench his thirst if he had none to share it with.
But it was not so easy for him. Not easy to look at families talking and sharing. Not easy to look at fathers swooning over their daughters, mothers boasting about their sons. Not easy to look at the hand of a parent feeding their children, a hand he could never obtain no matter how much he wished. He knew he was in a state of denial except he had no one who could pull him out of that bottomless pit he had thrown himself in.
All of a sudden, Oz's sight got drawn towards the flickers of light again; an unnatural event was starting over there. The flickers which he had assumed to be lamplights, were starting to multiply. Now they could be seen all over the village outline as if the stars had fallen from the sky onto that particular region. Moreover, they were growing in size as well. Oz realized something was truly wrong with this whole scenario and after equipping his Bokken ran towards the village as fast as he could. Not sticking to the direct road, he slid down the hillside and jumped over ledges, tumbling and falling countless times. But he dared not stop for a nervous feeling in his gut was telling him to make his way without delay.
The silhouette of the village was soon visible and he hastened his steps. Suddenly, he was thrown back by a deafening explosion, followed by a hot gush of wind. It became so blindingly bright that his eyes couldn't withstand the strain and the eyelids were closed by reflex. He tried to shield himself from the searing gusts by raising his hands in front of his body but they were so intense that at one time he fell down on his knees.
Moments passed before the light from the explosion faded. Oz was crouching on the ground on his knees, holding both his hands above his ears. There was an unbearable ringing in them, his mind also shaken to the core. Slowly, he opened his eyes to look at his village. But he could not see anything. Everything was smouldered to the ground by the terrible explosion.
All that he could see were the flames.