To the Survivors
A History of Sadness
We fought the invaders, with rocks and sticks, from our homes. The Thousand Years War had come to our very doorstep, as our offspring began to question the validity and the righteousness of our struggle. The insidious traits of the enemy lead to this confrontation – an unending internal strife bled out by those borne from our shared mothers and fathers. The violence was cruelest then, with parents turning children away and children betraying the very memory of their own blood.
There was never a stalemate. The cease-fire of the mind is a dangerous fantasy, for it leads one to desire an impossible outcome. The invaders had always hated our kind. They despised our way of living, ridiculed our culture. They were envious of our prosperity. In turn, we grew ever more spiteful as countless generations lived under fear of invasion and occupation and the inhuman byproducts that accompanied such tyranny.
We accepted with great trepidation that they owned the skies. Our people, crafty and vivacious, grew resentful with each coming decade; old traditions were replaced with newer ones, carefree behaviors became rigid routines; even architecture evolved that provided shadow and obscurification. In time we learned not to fear attack from the heavens, the amends made by earlier generations allowed us to adapt to that reality.
In the former world, lands rife with sprawl and networks, our tribes coexisted uneasily. Obvious differences were accepted begrudgingly, neighborly hostilities were common. In these times a shared identity under a unified banner posed the ideal; under its example we struggled for commonality. But the ideals of this union were artifice. The histories of that unification, both archived and unshared, revealed cycles fraught with confrontation, separation, and degradation. The banner was woven from deceit.
The invasions, when they began, were initially small. Skirmishes were fought on shores, battlefields scorched the coastal villages of our land. We were idealists then, negotiating for peace while fighting for independence. Over time the encroachment spread, as capitols came under siege. This was the era of guerilla engagements, as a new generation of citizen rose from the rubble of the streets under blackened skies. We held their presence at bay like medicine holds disease. These were years of constant bombardment.
But the enemy is resolute and stalwart. Born under similar misnomer and raised in the shadow of our ideals, they twisted and bled and adapted to all but the grandest mercy. An unflagging determination drove them further inland, some unknown desperation fueling their hunger for our land and their hatred for our existence. Soon, the scope of the war had widened, its unforgiving arms reached through our fields and claimed the heart of our nurture: the farmlands set ablaze with all-consuming fire, the factories broken brick by brick to gritty rubble. Centers of commerce ruined, once mighty towers fell or were left abandoned, their ambitions laid to waste. The darkness of the struggle began here.
Forced from the strata of our lives, the struggle was taken underground. Disappearing into the landscape of our homelands, we attack the foreigners with bloody precision, like ghosts from pasts disowned. Although their populations swell to an innumerable mass, we kill and maim them in vast numbers, never counting prisoners nor offering parlay.
We wait now, here. We are the whispers in hallowed streets, the shadows moving through torn cathedrals. We are everywhere at once and nowhere to be traced, our children’s children have intermingled and assimilated, our ambitions subvert their achievements. As they inhabit the lands that were once ours, and dominate forgotten nations with their chosen forms, we have become them.
We are immortal.