Chapter 46: The March
Kadmon appeared with a dramatic and sudden exit from his tent. Seeming larger than the previous evening, he loomed over the crowd and stood nearly as tall at his large tent. He wore an exultant smile and a sacred peacefulness leaked from his eyes like tears. His body was painted with various symbols. These resembled red bear claws, black cat prints, blue streaks of rivers and even a deep green tree that spread across his back. He wore a fringed pair of leather pants, which were brilliant in their austerity. From the bottom of his cloven feet to the top of his polished antlers he looked the part of a pristine demigod.
He held up his hands, seeming to exalt the ever rotating solar disk, and the clouds slowly parted above him. Sunlight washed over him in a show of his divine might. It truly seemed he was one chosen for the upcoming task. The crowd murmured its approval of this show of force and they grew silent in expectation of oncoming sermon.
“Greetings, my brothers and sisters.” His voice erupted over the crowd with the crack and boom of thunder. His words flowed over our heads and minds like water flowed across the land. “Lend me your ears, so that we may finally finish preparations for the rite that shall preserve us all!”
Silence reigned on high for a long moment, as Kadmon waited with controlled patience as the final mumblings of conversation guttered out. When true silence settled over the crowd, he spoke once more. “Today, we shall speak the unspeakable. We shall think the unthinkable. We shall do the impossible. Today, we, a mere two score individuals shall dare to do that which none would think we could.” He paused for dramatic effect. “We shall reach into the spiritual heart of this world. We shall find the Wound which marks the source of the Chaos which has ruined the world for all who would dwell upon it. We shall grasp the sides of the wound and pull it closed.”
As he spoke, he pantomimed these actions. Reaching out and grasping an imaginary gap, and pulling his hands together with mock difficulty. He held a hand high in triumph.
“We shall be the ones, the small gods that shall succeed where God himself has failed. The Wound will close and the chaos shall end. Nature shall return to its essential cycle, forever restored to the basic balance that life requires, and we will be the ones to do it.”
“We do this not for glory. We do not do this for fame. We do none of this for such simple recognition. We do this, because we must. Life must be preserved, both our own lives and the lives of those who share this world. We do this because we wish to save everything, before this world tumbles into the abyss of Uncreation. We do this because we must. We do this because we can. We do this because we will. All we must do is work together, united in thought and purpose towards a single goal. If you follow me, I will lead you to our place of redemption!”
The crowd roared in excitement, swept away by the purity and promise of Kadmon’s speech. I admit that even I was moved and inspired by those words. I heard Rick cheer disappearing into the din, adding his voice to the throng.
Riding the excitement, Kadmon turned and walked off. His direction pointed him to the north, following the ridge as his enormous strides brought him to its pinnacle. With each step, he seemed to grow larger as if he were feeding off the energy of the crowd. Soon he almost seemed to straddle the world with his immensity, reaching the height of a tree. He waved an arm, drawing the crowd to rush to his side. He marched away without another word, trusting his followers to keep stride with his immense steps. I could swear that his steps shook the earth below, booming with the force of an earthquake. It was not hard to imagine that his antlers stirred the very heavens and pierced the never-setting sun.
I stopped for a moment, already winded from the attempt to keep up with someone so large, and glanced to my companions. Rick was breathing heavily, his eyes only slowly returning to their focus. In the moment of respite, he shook his head with force and tried to clear his thoughts. “Damn. I can see how he might pull off becoming a God. I… I kind of got swept away.”
Before I could respond, I heard Bobbi’s bluntly comment from beside me. “Don’t worry about it, mate. We all did. He’s a powerful wordsmith, he is.” She pounded her fist into her open palm. “All the more reason we need to make sure he never pulls it off. Wouldn’t end well for any of us.”
I nodded and watched the immense form of Kadmon as he and those who kept up moved on ahead. “We need to get going, we’re falling behind.” Only the slowest to respond were left. All were joining the procession of the aspiring Godhead, and if we did not join them soon, we would find no place waiting for us amongst the ritual grounds.
As we joined the procession, we found a pattern already beginning to form. The steps of the crowd were in near perfect harmony, pounding out a steady and constant beat across the land. A faint hum buzzed above the crowd, the murmurs of dozens of voices all speaking with a single voice. The drone sounded like the hum of insects or a forceful rainfall as the myriad voices melded into the natural world. It made me wonder if thoughts of the truly faithful were synchronized as well, focused as they were on the task to come.
My thoughts turned to our own goals, only two thoughts still rattled loose in my head. The first was where we were headed. Kadmon, Claude and even the three sisters had all spoken of a Nexus, but none had ever defined its meaning. I guessed that there was some place where the weakness of reality had become more pronounced, thus making this place ideal for the repairing of the world itself. What such a place would look like however, was completely beyond me.
The second was doubt I could be able to do as I had promised. I had said that I was willing to do anything to prevent a despotic and possibly insane individual from rising to rule over the entirety of the planet, but now I was beginning to have doubts. I could see, it being plain as the sun which circled above, that Kadmon had both ego and the hubris to consider such an act. The doubt I had was more complex than simple capability. Was it something he was actually planning, and if so how would he do so without informing his followers? Or was that not the point? Despite not having mentioned such a course of action to me and mine The second was a simple matter of practicality. It seemed to me, the effort of ascending to such a plane of existence did not correspond with an actual payout. If he did remake the world in his image, what would be the benefit? Would it be enough for him? If he were the “God” of this new world, that would open up many responsibilities and requirements to keep it from collapsing worse than our world already had. This sin’t even mentioning the risks of not only his own destruction but the rest of the world besides. It was a fool’s goal and Kadmon seemed to be many things, but a fool was not one of them.
With a sigh, I resigned myself to my previous plan of action. I couldn’t be sure of anything but the risk the ritual and its true purpose might be malicious. I had no other choice but to disrupt the ritual at its final stage. It would prevent any possibility of Kadmon ascending, whether such was truly his goal or not. I could only hope that my trust was not misplaced when I chose to listen to Claude.