Chapter 40: Kadmon
The large man walked away. He seemed to lose interest in the three of us and walked back to his place beside the fire. He sat casually, sitting on a blanket which was only barely large enough to accommodate his large form. The large man made the fire seem smaller in comparison. He pointed to blankets across from the fire and beckoned me to sit. After taking a moment to collect the dumbfounded Rick, we walked towards the blanket. I glanced around to the gathered individuals, while also trying to seem discreet.
I saw a large variety of individuals which were equally strange as the giant of a man, though none compared to the sheer size of our host. There was a small and blocky man whose skin seemed to be made of a dark pink stone, with numerous pictographs and symbols etched across every corner of his skin. There was a little girl whose skin was made of sod, who danced around beneath one of the large tents and tossed dirt and grass everywhere in her exuberance. I saw a woman with white hair and dressed all in white, who seemed to have the head of a buffalo and sat peacefully in a small tipi. Another man stood apart from the others; he was tall and thin with broad wings which spread out over dozens of feet and whose eyes seemed to crackle and pop with electricity. There was even a young woman who I almost didn’t notice due to her uncanny resemblance to the grasses upon which she laid and only after moment did I realize she simply was the grasses upon which she laid, a woman seemingly woven from the very grasses of the land.
All these people and more surrounded us. Each was unique and different. Each practically glowed with power barely contained within their frames. Each watched us closely. It was enough to unnerve anyone but since we were already unsettled by our strange welcome, it was enough to put each of us on edge. Rick especially seemed concerned by being watched by so many strange individuals.
When we were seated and semi-comfortable, the large man spoke once more. His voice now carried a warmer tone, more like a harmless spring thunderstorm than the distant booming he had released earlier. “Welcome, children. The message went out upon the winds and this convocation is the result of that call. I welcome you.”
He pointed to the sky, a reverent expression his face. “The sun’s disc is the bringer of life and is part of the natural cycle of the world. But this world has been wounded. The sun never sets upon the plains. Instead it wanders through the heavens in sympathy for the pin of the world below. No harm is meant by never setting, but the sun brings death to all of nature and the people beneath its light to suffer.” He spread his arms wide, indicating the assembled people in the camp. “We have come from across the land, called together to close the wound which stretches across the very fabric of our world. You too have been called to aid us in this quest. We welcome you.”
With each word, I could see Bobbi and Rick’s eyebrows rise. They were equally incredulous, shocked and confused at the flowery language and lofty ideas which flowed from our host. For the first time since Paradise, the two seemed to have reached an accord, unintended as it may be. I needed to say something before one of them opened their mouths and said something which might annoy the crowd.
“I think I received the message, yes. I don’t remember being contacted directly though, and I have no idea who it was that contacted me.” Both true. My information was second hand and I never did learn the name of the store’s prophetic old man.
“None were reached so directly, Susan Tan. We were each called to this place in our own time and our own manner.” His smile seemed honestly amused by my response. “I am Kadmon and I was the first. When this world’s wound was first opened, the world was torn open to create a large hole not far from here. Chaos bleeds from it, even now. The world cried out in pain and called for succor and I came.” He paused, looking off into the distance for moment in thought. “I stood upon the bleeding wound and absorbed the world’s power into myself, becoming what you see before you.”
“Nature is a demanding mistress however, and I alone could not do what was needed. So Nature reached out for other to be her antibodies and keep disease from festering in the wounds of life. The spirits called to us and Touched us each in kind, transforming us into new forms to serve Life itself. It was I that sent out the summons, made to reach each of us in the way best suited to their disposition, to those who were fated to save the land from infection. You are the last to heed that call, Susan Tan. The World welcomes you.”
I was shocked. This mountainous man seemed benevolent and well-intentioned, but I found it off-putting how he seemed so self-assured in his power. Not to mention the arrogance to claim he summoned us to repair the world, especially when it was already so far gone. I was beginning to better understand how this world worked. There were common threads I was seeing, how survivors could influence and were influenced in kind byt the world around them. There was a strange kind of order to this new world, but I had my doubts restoring the old order was as simple as this man believed.
I glanced to my companions. Bobbi no longer looked confused. In fact, she seemed to be barely restraining laughter. I reminded her where we were with a sharp elbow jab to her ribs. Rick looked as confused and speechless as I felt, but I doubted he had put together half of what I suspected.
I cleared my throat, trying to draw the attention of Kadmon long enough to ask a question. To his credit, he looked immediately to me and bowed his head to accept my question. “Excuse me. I don’t mean to diminish what you’re doing here, but I have to ask: What exactly are you planning?” I glanced around the camp, trying not to be overwhelmed by the dozens of strange beings. “I want to help, sure, but if this is really worldwide how can a few dozen people sitting around a fire in the middle of nowhere hope to save much of anything?”
“So, you do not know? Have you not realized?” Kadmon seemed shocked, naked astonishment in his eyes. After a moment, he nodded deeply. “I suppose it should not come as a surprise. The Untouched are a rare breed compared to all others. It takes a unique individual, rare and precious, to master the ways of the world around them while maintaining themselves within. I should have known there would be at least one of your kind who would not be know about themselves. I will spare our congregation a lengthy dissertation what is already known, but I will ensure that one of my master shaman visit you shortly. But now, I must attend to other matters.” He stood, towering over all that he saw and let out a low and guttural roar, which was quickly matched by the same from somewhere else in the camp.
“Soon, my brothers and sisters. This is a time for celebration and joy. Enjoy yourselves and look deeply tonight for precious thoughts and memories that you treasure. In a few hours we will change the course of history and restore this world to greatness. The world shall be healed and all other things must follow in time. Of this, I promise.” He paused, letting the cheering surround and exalt him. “For now, relax and prepare yourselves, because there is no way of knowing what we will face at the nexus!”
Before the cheering and could complete, Kadmon walked away and disappeared into the largest tent of the camp. Across the way, another large tent was thrown open, its flaps tied open and revealing a large table with numerous crude serving bowls and trays.