WRATH

By Marcus Sun

I remember so little. It's as if a fog has settled over my memory. Vague shapes and sounds. By the stars, everything hurts.

Let's see now... recall, I must recall. It's difficult. Difficult with all this medicine running through my veins. It clouds my mind, numbs everything. Start from the beginning, Marduk, start from the beginning.

Mnya. My beloved Mnya.

Mnya, city of life and wonder. Where stone meets forest and man meets earth. Where the great skyways intertwine with the limbs of ancient trees and the morning scatters through the jungle canopy in a medley of living light. Rain falls in life-giving splendour over leaves and stone alike, streaming over our aqueducts and waterways like fountains from the heavens.

It's gone now, all of it. The rain falls upon the ashes of its ruin and all that was glorious now gray and broken.

They came again from the skies. The Celestials. Their massive War Pyramids parting the clouds over Mnya. There must have been thousands, each of them a fortress; they cast a great shadow over the city in their descent. We barely overcame our surprise before their attack commenced.

We had thought our city hidden; the great tendrils of jungle leaves covered even the highest of our towers. The lightning from their weapons descended upon us regardless, seeking to burn all that was precious to me. Stone melted and fountains vaporized even as the alarm bells sounded. My people fled and died.

You cannot imagine the anger that besieged me, Great Mother, the confusion or the pain. They vaporized my sentries, rendering my watchtowers dust with the weapons even as we drew back the canopy and sought to defend ourselves.

I exposed my city to the full light of Ra's star, I sought to unleash all of our might at these butchers from the sky. Oh what a fool I was. The horde of their warriors swept down from the heavens with great constructed wings protruding from their backs. In their hands they held Thunderbolt lances with which they hurled down spears of lightning. Perhaps one or two were brought down through fortune or happenstance, but for the large part they circled my men in the air and rained destruction where they pleased. My legions stood no chance.

The cruelty of these creatures, it haunts me still. I saw them snatch men up from the skyways and fling them into the chasms between our towers. I saw them pour lightning onto writhing masses of my warriors until every last one was a charred, smoking husk. How can men fight against demons such as these?

So they fled. They fled even as I awakened the Colossi from their deep resting places. They fled and they died.

The Colossi, the weapons our ancestors used to cast off the reign of the Celestials. In my foolishness I had waited too long to call upon them. Or perhaps cruel time had simply taken its toll. Mud caked their joints and moss clung to their limbs. It took what seemed to me an age for them to emerge into the daylight once more.

Burn the skies, I commanded them.

They were too feeble with age, too few to face the thunderous onslaught of the invaders. Even as they turned their fiery gaze to the heavens, the stone beneath their feet crumbled from the Celestial storm. Even as they raised their gargantuan hands toward their foes, a thousand crackling veins of thunder struck them down. I could only watch as these giants of antiquity fell, the stone of their backs smouldering and splitting. The unearthly moans of their demise sounded in my ears long after they had been erased from existence.

My city burned and crumbled around me. The ancient jungle withered and died from the heat. As I stood helpless among the melting ruins and the fleeing mob, he came.

He came down with the second wave. He was wingless, his skin bare of the blue tattoos of his butchers. His robe was inpossibly white, grotesquely untouched by the ashes of death around him. In his hand he clutched a long golden staff topped by a globe and tipped with a jagged semblance of lightning. His eyes were a cold, merciless blue.

He called himself "the Metatron", the sword of Celeste. He proclaimed victory and justice upon the city. Justice. Justice by way of slaughter? Justice by way of fire? How I longed to spit on the face of this blue-eyed heartless fiend from the heavens! How I yearned to smear the blood and ashes of my murdered city upon his spotless robe! How dare he speak so callously, so insolently of the million wrongly dead of Mnya?

This crime, this sin upon the face of Terra, this gaping wound in the flesh of the earth. Why?

Why? I asked him, did we not make peace? What insult did we inflict upon his people that they would descend upon us so?

He turned his eyes upon me and my blood ran cold. There was no mercy, no remorse, no life in those pale eyes. Only steel, tinged by bloodlust. Lightning was his answer to me, Great Mother. Volts upon volts of lightning that coursed through every nerve and every muscle in my body. Lightning upon me even as he ordered to "purge" what remained of my city. When I awoke, I was here.

Why did he not kill me, Great Mother? Did he intend to? Or was I a message? A challenge to you?

I have so many questions, and the Celestials... they have much to answer for. We shall make them answer, shall we not, Great Mother? We must awaken the Colossi and prepare for war! They are still here, or else they shall return, I know it. Mnya was just the first and they seek to do the same to all our cities! Lemuria, Asgard, even Atlantis! We must ready ourselves, Great Mother, we must not let what happened to my city happen again! Mnya... my beautiful Mnya... would that I could see her again...

We must... we... must...