Ruin

There once was a great city filled with a prosperous people. They lived in peace tilling their lands and reaping great harvests. No one was left hungry and the people were happy.

Then, one day, everything went wrong.

Their wells ran dry and their crops began to decay from disease. The people cried to the gods. But nothing happened. They lost many of their fields, and they asked for help from nearby cities. They thought surely their own kind would help. But help never came. The rest of the fields died and starvation began to set in. Many of the elderly and the sick began to die. Then the young children who still fed from their mother's breast, now gone dry, began to die. The people cried to their gods for salvation.
One man amongst them all told them that they will be saved. But as time went on and disaster struck the land, bringing forth fires, and floods, the people began to lose faith. They felt that the gods had abandoned them. But the man knew that the gods were listening. He set out to find the gods. He told his people he would find them and he would prove to them that they existed and that they still cared.

He traveled very far and was gone for many months. His search led him to the mountain peak of Harrow. He climbed all the way to the top. And at the top of the mountain lived a frightening creature with huge wings that spit fire. It told him to go to the Land of Inare to the place where glowing crystals grew up from the ground. The man had never heard of such a land, but was told that it was west. So he went and asked a good many people. They each gave directions but they never matched up. He became lost. And eventually, he ran out of supplies for himself. He still continued forward for he knew that his people would be waiting. His steed eventually died, and so he walked and walked and walked.

Eventually, he collapsed to the ground, where he laid until he felt sunlight baring down on his back. Light hit his face so brightly, it forced him to move. And when he did, he shielded his eyes as he looked around. He saw before him a land filled with crystals that erupted from the ground. They glowed so brightly all around him. The man leapt up and cheered, instantly filled with hope that he had finally reached the land that he was so told to go to. He searched and searched for any people that could possibly be here until he caught sight of a mountain in the distance. He traveled to it and realized that it seemed to shift if he stared too long. It was as if it were a mirage, but when he placed his hand on its rock, he found that it was solid. The man began to climb. Eventually, after nightfall, he reached to the top of the mountain where he found a wondrous palace carved into the face of the mountain. Many people rushed out to meet him. They were all glowing faintly and they had wings extending from their backs. They greeted him and held him as he stumbled into them. 'Please,' he begged, 'are you gods?'

'Yes,' they said. 'Yes.'

And they took him into their home and fed him golden fruit and red juice. He slept for quite some time until he regained his strength. He told the gods of his people and his land, and they all listened to him. He said that they needed help, and the gods smiled. One of them told him not to worry, that help had already been sent. The man cried happily. He told them how his people did not believe in them, and the gods asked of him where his city was so that they might present themselves. The man happily told them and thanked them and left. He traveled back home and told his people that the gods were coming. And the man saw that the fields had already started to grow back, and the wells were beginning to bring forth water. So the people happily agreed to meet the gods.
And so they waited.

I was happy to be riding in the carriage alongside my father. It was time I learned his trade and traveled with him to meet the villagers of the city in which we do business. I had been waiting years and years until I was big enough to come along. I had never made the travel before. We had gone for quite some time before I saw on my left side that there were pillars of stone emerging from plants. They looked old and torn. I asked my dad what happened to that place. And my dad told me that it had been destroyed long ago by demons with wings and shining skin. My father told me that this is why we do not lose faith in the gods.