This is neither myth nor fantasy, though I understand why none, upon their first hearing of this, would believe it so. For even I would doubt, had I not seen these and other great and terrible events, with my own eyes. For human blood once flowed in these immortal veins.
The sun baked down on the white hot sand of the dessert sprawling for miles before me, yet not a bead of sweat formed on my forehead. A battalion of men stood behind me, as we watched and waited on the wall of the sacred city, staring into the horizon, waiting for a hint of the approaching enemy.
The world - what was left of it - had seen an age of peace for the first time since the Soul Wars had begun. Until now.
The last time these weary eyes saw war was forever etched in my mind. I had been in the Judean highlands with my men, as we hid like cowards in the ancient caves, from the massive armies that surrounded the sacred city - a city which the enemy had already left in desolation and ruin. But the Dark lord had gathered every nation together, had united them under one banner, and declared war not only on the sacred city, but on Heaven itself.
We fled as warned, though as cowards afraid of death. At long last, I could take no more. I mustered my remaining men together, and with what courage we still possessed, we left the caves with one last battle cry.
The moon overhead cast crimson light on the rocky crags as we ran down the steep mountainside. Our shouts of righteous anger, against those who would defile the sacred city yet again, pierced through the silent air. I knew what it must of felt like to be Judah Maccabeus, so outnumbered, yet filled with such zest for his people and his city.
The blast of a trumpet cut through the darkness. My feet left the ground and I felt a cool rush of wind against my skin as the ground fell away. The sky rolled back like a scroll and I saw Him - the King of the sacred city had returned.
That was the day I became one of the immortals.
But it was with a heavy heart that I salvaged through the wreckage. The scattered remains of the dead were too numerous to count. The rancid odor of decay; the dessert littered with limbs, charred bones, and fragments of flesh; blood that seeped through every crevice of rock - images that were forever burned behind my eyes.
I noticed a half burned book, crumpled under the carcass of a horse, its tattered pages crackling in the wind. I recognized it immediately. It was my brotherís journal. With shaking hands I flipped to the last entry.
All is in place. We go to war tomorrow. The Luminous One assures us of victory. Our armies are massive. Soon we will be rid of religion and its quest for power that has destroyed the lives of so many. At last, the earth will finally see peace. The Luminous One says we can not fail.
Hot tears stung my eyes. How I had hoped, how I had prayed. I never did find my brotherís body. He was just one more casualty of the Soul Wars. One more soul that died in the bondage of which it was born.
The Dark lord, or the Luminous One as my brother called him, had been chained these last several years and, though not the way my brother had expected, the world had seen peace. But now the Dark lord was free once again, and had already rallied the forces of Gog and Magog against the sacred city.
Any moment he and his armies would arrive. And then it would be over. The final battle. And the memories of my brother and the haunting images of death and decay would forever be wiped from my memory. No longer would I have to taste the bitter reality of death and evil.
My mind returned to the present as a black cloud formed on the horizon. It would soon be over. The end had finally come. It was time for the beginning of forever.
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