Chapter 8: Nick
I find the logic of my reality is growing consistently murkier. I have no concept of what is real any more. Sense is a luxury that I cannot afford. Yet, it somehow does not matter that my world is made of contradictions. Events happen, and fall into an order, and time progresses as if in a dream. Perhaps this is what the end of the world is like. Perhaps, as time comes to its ultimate cessation, the woven fabric of reality unravels and we are left afloat in a sea of paradox and impossibilities as our minds are slowly sapped away and we are left to fade out of existence without even realizing we are to disappear.
We were afloat in the sea. The fight between Leviathan, Behemoth, and Ziz had shattered the land and somehow Katie found herself drifting across an empty blue abyss, vaguely towards Greece as far as we could tell. I did not question her buoyancy, nor did I question how she survived the fall. I accepted long ago that these things I see are not real, they are fabrications.
It's been almost a day since the death of the great beasts. We watched them fight as we slowly drifted away from the sifting Sahara as it sank into the sea. Behemoth was the first to fall. As Ziz constantly strafed the beast, dug his talons into his brother's flesh, but Behemoth could do nothing to retaliate. Ziz simply flew out of Behemoth's reach. Leviathan ultimately scored the killing blow, however. As Behemoth stood on its rear legs in an attempt to reach Ziz, Leviathan dove at the beast, catching his neck in its million fangs and bringing the beast of the earth to its knees. The land shattered, we had to retreat inside of Katie for a time, as sea became turbulent from the beast's death.
When we emerged again, perhaps three or four hours later, the sea had still not calmed. However it was stable enough that we could continue to watch the fray. Leviathan was bleeding into the sea, and the water around us was a crimson unlike anything I had seen before. Dead fauna drifted across the top of the water; Leviathan's brethren drowned in his own blood. Ziz, however, seemed to be in even worse shape. He was grounded, his right wing dangling twisted and broken at his side. The creature was lurking inland, out of the reach of Leviathan, however the battle was clearly lost. Leviathan had won, Behemoth had already fallen and Ziz was no longer the master of his domain. However, the great serpent was mortally wounded, a series of long, gaping talon marks along the length of his body confirmed that. Even if he killed Ziz, the Leviathan would bleed out.
The Sahara was slowly sinking into the ocean, and into the split Earth. Behemoth's death had shattered the plate the Sahara sat on, and now the sand was slipping away into the molten core of the Earth. The sight was horrifying on a level that shook the base animal inside of me. Our home had been split asunder. The Earth, our planet, an entity of such totality, such immensity, and such immortality, had been cleaved. True, on the scale of the Earth, it was only a scratch, but it was like seeing the blood of a god. None of us actually emerged from Katie's trunk, it was too turbulent. Every once and a while, we would have to duck back inside to avoid a wave as it crashed on us.
I asked Natasha why Katie was buoyant, and she replied that all bodies are, dead or alive. A cryptic answer from the weaver of lies. She glared at me, as though she could read my thoughts. I wouldn't be surprised even if she could, I'm incapable of feeling shock anymore. In fact, there are only a few emotions I can still feel, among them terror and crushing loneliness.
Leviathan was becoming quite obviously drained of strength, his lunges at Ziz were becoming less and less frequent. The beast wavered slightly above the surface of the red sea, as though merely keeping itself upright was a struggle. The beast seemed tired; not just from the fight, not just from its wounds, but tired like some old shaman or warrior. This confused me, this was a beast that had slept since the beginning of time, and only recently been awakened, how could it be tired? I asked Matthias.
"Leviathan is not a creature unto itself, none of the three are. They are a trinity, they feel what the others feel, they know what the others know, but beyond that, they are beings that are more in tune with nature than we humans can understand. The drowsiness Leviathan feels is not his own, it is the weariness of the sea itself. It is the tire of a million old sailors, it is the sleep of every dead man that lays in the depths, it is the slumber of a world that is tired of blood and war and suffering. We aren't watching three beasts fight, understand that Nick. We are watching a weary world end itself," Matthias replied.
We will feast on the meat of the great beasts. I wonder what it tastes like. I hope the meat is sweet, I want to experience tenderness before the world ends.
The Leviathan lunged one last time, and collapsed. It couldn't fight any more, and now it lay, broken, half-beached across the Sahara. Ziz rushed the serpent, clawing its eyes out with its talons. Leviathan let out a shriek, and reared it's head. Ziz, his claws still firmly latched in the Leviathan's face, was flung into the air, but his broken wings meant this was no longer the advantage it used to be for him. He suddenly found himself plummeting, straight into the Leviathan's maw. So ended the beast of the air, and as Leviathan saw his final brother fall, he accepted his own death, and sunk back into the sea.
With nothing left to do, we watched the raging, bloodied ocean for a few minutes in silence, then retreated into the Trunk World, where we waited for the dead ocean to send us where it would, accepting our fate was to be decided by the sea.