The Eagle

Once, the world was an eagle, whose back bore the presence of the world tree. All the world was given life in the shelter of it’s roots, and the shade of the great branches which bore the fruit of all life. The fruit would fall from the tree and would then decay, leaving behind seeds that then became the animals, the people, all life. Humans were simply one creature among many, but they were slightly different.
Humans were builders. They built their own caves, built their own claws and teeth, the tools with which to hunt. They built their own forests with which to forage for food. This was according to their nature, but it is what made them stand out from all other children of the great tree. Much as the cheetah has it’s speed, or the spider weaves it’s web, the drive to build is what made the humans what the humans were.
Unfortunately, in their building they forgot that all life was connected. They did not realize as they plucked the feathers, the great trees, from the eagle’s back, that they were destroying the homes of their siblings. They forgot that the eagle’s blood, which nurtured the land, was the home of so many, and the literal lifeblood of the world. They forgot that the rivers were not only useful tools, but more importantly an integral part of the web of life.
They forgot, for they continued to build. They carved great gashes into the eagle’s back, and piled the eagle’s flesh high, to build great cities that were marvelous to look upon in their way, but at great cost to the great bird which carried them through the never ending sky.
Humans, in their building, demolished the world to build their own. They toppled the world tree to clear the land for further building, and the world tree withdrew, hiding in places unknown.
The eagle is now forgotten. We live on but a skeleton, the a desert of humanity’s own creation. We have plucked it, bled it, and carved it, and now it is but ready for consumption.
Will you consume? Will you remember to give thanks to the eagle that was slain for your dinner?

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The Booth at the End

This video is the first in a series of six videos that I think are very good to watch. It has a lot of great insights into human nature that I find astounding.

This film is not for everyone, and people should be warned that the subject matter can get intense. There is no violence and no sexual actions that occur in the film, just serious topics discussed.

I hope you enjoy it, and more importantly, I hope you learn from it.

-Cynus

Shadhaven Chapter 3

A cold draft blew down the corridor, carrying with it an unidentifiable stench. It seemed almost like the smell of rotting fruit, though older, and with a hint of dust thrown in. None of the four paid much mind to it though, as it had not seemed to indicate anything particularly ominous. In fact, much to their surprise by the stories they had heard of the Valaeyn’s workings, they had not encountered anything particularly dangerous at all.

After leaving the light barrier, they had found themselves in a large chamber, barely lit by crystals similar to those in the glow pits, but much smaller. The walls were finely worked, and were constructed of some metal that none of them had seen before. It was dark, possibly black, though with color nearly disappearing in the dim light, it was hard to tell. They had followed the walls out until they found a selection of corridors heading off in different directions. Deciding which one to take had been fairly easy. They took the one with the draft. Air flow increased the chances of finding a way out.

Only one true enemy had found them. Hunger. They had been walking for nearly eight hours by In’s reckoning, and In was often right where his internal clock was involved. They had not encountered anything but metal walls, and though the draft had gotten stronger, the corridor seemed to only be leading them downward.

Dak had taken the lead, with In watching the rear as Joden followed closely behind Dak, leaving Daeni protected in the middle. They were still being cautious, despite the lack of seen danger, but their mood had relaxed some, and the group had gotten to know each other better. Neither In nor Dak let slip any of the details of their former life among the nobility, but they spoke candidly about their adventures on the streets, even about their lawlessness. To their great comfort, Joden, though of an order of very strict law-abiding monks, seemed to respect their survival capabilities, and never once gave them a judging remark. Daeni also seemed to have little problem with their lifestyle, simply mentioning often that they reminded her of her own boys, of which she had several, though she explained with sadness that she had not seen them in quite some time, as they had been separated when the Valaeyn had rounded them up.

Joden was the only one who remained silent about his past, though he did often interject with his feelings of concern about Daeni’s life or with some sage comment about what one of them had said. He had a strange sense of strength that the others admired as he glided through the corridor, and neither In nor Dak would have thought he was the same person they had seen in Shadhaven. Hope did strange things to a man.

At length the corridor finally began to widen, so that they could walk two abreast instead of single file. It continued in this manner until suddenly the corridor widened to a large chamber. The stench was stronger here, though a direct source could still not be established. They could make out little of what was in the chamber, but they could see faint glowing points in the distance that they assumed were the crystals embedded in the walls of the room, allowing them to gauge that the chamber was approximately the same size as the chamber Shadhaven had been in.

The thing that made this chamber truly different though, was that there were other people here, huddled around glowpits near the corridor’s entrance to the chamber. The nearest ones looked up as they saw the group and stood. Seven people, four men and three women, stood up and began walking toward them.

“Perhaps this is one of the other havens they spoke of? It seemed fairly easy to reach this point,” Dak remarked as he cautiously laid his hand on his dagger and stopped his advance to wait for the people to reach them.

“I don’t know, it’s not like the survivors like speaking about this place much. Most of them are half mad, if not all the way mad. We opened a makeshift hospital for survivors just a year ago in Noven City. None of them really spoke much of what the havens were like, only Shadhaven,” Joden replied, as he stopped at Dak’s right.

“I’s be thinkin’ that they be the friendly sort Dak, I thinkin’ you can’a rest yourself easy,” Daeni interjected as she popped up on Dak’s left and eyed his hand on his dagger.

“He’s always like that Daeni,” In said as he came up on her other side, “Don’t mind him, he’s only being cautious, not suspicious. If he wasn’t that way we would have died a long time ago. I certainly wouldn’t have kept us alive with that mentality. He always says I am too trusting.”

“You are too trusting, but don’t worry, I am sure we will find out out what they want soon enough,” Dak replied, a slight smile crossing his face as he eyed his younger friend. In smiled back and rolled his eyes.

The seven finally reached them and stopped fifteen feet away, where the man in the middle, and  older gentleman from what they could make out of his features in the low-light, spoke up almost as soon as they had stopped.

“Are you fresh here from the Valaeyn then?”

Dak nodded and replied, “Yes. We left Shadhaven a number of hours ago. I am Dak from Ivinsgard. Are you the leader here?”

The old man chuckled, though it was clearly without mirth as he replied, “I suppose I lead a few of us, though we haven’t much of a true organization here. We eat and we survive, and we drag the dead out into the tunnels to be devoured by Scavis. My name is Kobix, originally from Nathu.”

“Nathu? Wasn’t that one of the first nations to be invaded by the Valaeyn? How long have you been here?” In asked incredulously. Nathu had been invaded over fifty years prior.

Again the dry and mirthless chuckle passed the old man’s lips as he replied, “I have been here since the fall of Taer Nathu Magra. I was one of the last defenders captured. I was a young man then, not much older than you I’d bet. Then they brought us to this complex, and I have been here ever since. I have seen many people come here over the years, but most of us die.”

“But didn’t the Valaeyn say we could fight our way out of here and gain our freedom?” In replied,  not understanding what the man was getting at, but feeling like he was being treated as a child from how the older man was speaking.

“Are you always so willing to trust your captors that invaded your lands and stole your homes from you? This is a prison. You thought you left from Shadhaven? This is Shadhaven. This is the place the Valaeyn spoke of where you are fed, where you either rot, or venture into the dark. That place you left where the people sat huddled around their glowpits? Those people will all die. They will not be fed, and they will die the slow death of starvation, locked in that room with nothing but their fellow man. You think you have begun some sort of adventure, that you have escaped their tortures? No. You have simply walked to the outer boundaries of the prison. Only the Scavis have freedom, and they certainly seem to enjoy doing what they are good at, and that’s killing us.”

“But what about the survivors? The ones who escaped?” I have met dozens who have managed to escaped this place!” Joden exclaimed with a great deal more emotion than they had seen from him since he had joined them. Dak and In shared a worried glance as they noticed a definite change in his posture. He was slipping back into hopelessness.

“An’a what t’bout my sons? Are they here?” Daeni asked, finally bringing her voice into the conversation.

Kobix looked sadly between the two and shook his head, then began to explain, “I don’t know about your sons, many come here, of differing ages. They could be here, but they also may not be. They could have died in the antechamber for all I know, or they may have not even been brought here yet. They won’t start a new group off until they have made sure the last one is dead. As for the survivors. . . I don’t know. I don’t believe anyone could make it out of the tunnels with the Scavis in their way, but maybe their is a way that I haven’t seen. I do know that the Valaeyn occasionally abduct one of us from here, and they are never returned. Perhaps those are your survivors? All we know down here is that death awaits us, whether from sickness or Scavi. I know this probably won’t mean much,  but you are welcome to join us as we try to survive together. We always need more people who can help farm the fungus that grows down here. It’s what we survive off of. That’s how we are ‘fed’.”

“No! This can’t be the end! Why have you forsaken us Kalthos!” Joden screamed as he sank to his knees. Dak gave him his space and simply looked Kobix in the eye, hoping his determination would show through, and that his message would get across.

Again, like they knew each others thoughts, In spoke the words that Dak’s eyes could not as he said to the old man, “while we appreciate your offer, we are not quite ready to give up hope yet, however, I am willing to lend a hand when I can, and I am sure Dak is as well, if you are willing to share in your substance in exchange for that work.”

Kobix nodded slowly, though his gaze never left Dak’s face as he replied to In, “Yes. If you work, you will share in our subsistence, and for now we will simply feed you. We know that you have already worked today to get here. Though I find your hope foolish, I also find it expected, and I will not try to dissuade you further from your attempts, though do not expect any here to lend you a hand in attempting to escape either. Most of us have accepted our fate.”

“I thank you for that, and you have my word that we will earn our place among you. You have said something to brighten this conversation though, and I am feeling more hopeful now than before,” In said with a smile, a rare sight to Kobix’s eyes and one that finally brought his stare to In’s eyes instead.

“And what, what could I have possibly said to have given you that impression?”

“You said most of you have accepted your fate. That means that there are some that haven’t. That means that there are still some people here who remember what it is to be human.”

Song Lyrics Sunday #1

We don’t sleep very much
These triggers ache for the touch
Where’s the strength we relied on?
Fear alone, like a crutch
Maybe that’s what keeps us up
All night with the light on
Glowing screens simulate
Lives that no longer take place
Can this be what we’ve become?
Paper-thin, overweight
Pills to arouse or sedate
Still we don’t know what we wantWe can’t let go
Can’t you see?
To lose control
Is to be
Finally freeFirst a spark
Then a flame
Now a fire
We explode
Into the darkest of nightsDisconnect
Cut the cord
Lines are dead
Now they’ll know
With everything comes a price

And each day we are torn
Between the right and the wrong
Between life and convenience
Why lose sleep? Why complain?
There’s always channels to change
It’s like elective amnesia

As we grow older
In this place
Let’s just start over
Let’s erase what they made

First a spark
Then a flame
Now a fire
We explode
Into the darkest of nights

Disconnect
Cut the cord
Lines are dead
Now they’ll know
With everything comes a price

It could be minutes away
It could be hours or days
Before the bottom falls out
Before the ground gives way
Into this debt we are born
A debt we try to repay
And yet we blacken the sky
Smoke rising out of the flames

Now they’ll know

First a spark
Then a flame
Now a fire
We explode
Into the darkest of nights

Disconnect
Cut the cord
Lines are dead
Now they’ll know
With everything comes a price

We explode
We explode

With everything comes a price

We explode
We explode

I have loved this song since the first time I heard it several years ago. It brings a strange comfort to me that there are other people in the world who realize how messed up the world really is, and how far humanity has fallen from their potential.

My favorite line in the song is “And each day we are torn, between the right and the wrong, between life and convenience”. It reflects my moral code fairly well. To me, right and wrong are not the same thing as good and evil, though I suppose that is a debate I would rather not have right now. Instead I will simply explain that to me, right is anything that causes you to feel alive. This is a different thing to everyone, as, though working with clay allows me to feel connected to the Earth and gives me a sense of living, this is not true for most of my friends. One of my friends really likes to go camping, because getting away from the civilized world brings them that same sort of connection, while it only makes me cranky. What is right for one is not right for all.

“Wrong”, when used in the context of the song and in accordance with my moral code, corresponds to convenience. I certainly agree with this comparison. I find that convenience is death, for convenience is stagnant and lacks the struggle or the connectivity that life brings. Take for instance, going to a fast food restaurant versus cooking a good meal at home. In my experience, cooking a good meal has always been more satisfying, partially because of the struggle it takes to make something delicious, but for me it is because I am really able to get into what I am doing. I establish a connection to the food, and that makes is far more satisfying.

Going to a fast food restaurant on the other hand involves little to no struggle, except with other people on occasion, you are eating your food within a few minutes, and it is over and done with in about as short of time. The convenience of the food offers no connection to life, and also generally serves as a detriment. A) The food costs more. B) It is not often very healthy food. C) You don’t get the fulfillment of making the food yourself.

This is just an example of the life versus convenience principle, but it is one I try to follow. I admit that I certainly eat at Wendy’s from time to time, but I also try to cook when I can. I think that struggle is important for life, and convenience is the slow but sure road to death.

I hope you enjoyed the song. It is titled “Elective Amnesia” and is from the band Rise Against’s album “Appeal to Reason”. Please feel free to share your own thoughts on the lyrics below. I always like knowing what people think.

-Cynus