The First of the Weavers
Kunai un-Nefer watched the Gold Mask Man step through the gaping hole in the fabric of reality. The die had been cast; the seed had been planted. It had been easy, too easy, to send the Dominus on his path. He patiently waited until the hem of Ashlar’s cape was swallowed by shadow; until the rapid swirls of crumpled space-time had dissolved in the wind.
He was alone now; just him and the slave.
There was a fulmination of orange light, and Kunai leaned backwards and fell asleep on the sand. His sleeping form gave a series of jolts – they were fitful, spasmodic, like the movements of puppets whose brass joints rusted shut. From Kunai’s brown flesh detached a thin, crooked shape. It had a mop of white hair and a great, matted beard, yet it was more, so much more than a bearded man. Upon the frame of his body sprouted long, gnarly limbs.
‘Ah, to breathe the free air once more,’ the old man yawned noisily, stretching his pasty arms and legs across the warm desert sand. ‘Here, let me take this off your hands now. You wouldn’t want to get hurt now, would you?’ he gave the sea of sliced corpses a naughty little grin. ‘Hope it wasn’t anyone you loved.’
With the sun in his face, the old man allowed for colour to return to his ancient cheeks. With sluggish motions, he lay down beside the sleeping Kunai un-Nefer. As he did, the young sleeper let out a loud snore.
‘Yeah, I don’t like him either, but he’s the right man for it,’ he said, watching the sleeper through a pair of mismatched eyes. ‘When a man seeks his end with such rancorous passion, he’ll stop at nothing to see it come true.’
Kunai responded with a yet-louder snore.
‘He’s one of mine, you know. Suffered through pain and more than enough sorrow. Came to me, suicidal. Bitterly turned against being,’ the old man sniggered, cracking his knuckles. ‘Naturally I put him in charge of Creation. Nifty little business, this Ashlar affair.’
Kunai snorted, thrashing about in his sleep. From his white kalasiris fell a small, golden object. The old man gave the ankh the once-over, before folding it onto Kunai’s stirring chest.
‘Hate to go all prophet of doom and gloom on you, kid, but you should probably get ready. It’s really coming, you know—’ said the crooked old man, getting up from the sand, ‘—the end of all things.’
And with that warning in mind, Karura reached into the lad’s chest and ripped out his heart. Kunai released one last suspire, before slumping backwards, unmistakably dead.
The First of the Weavers lifted the heart. It was still warm; still beating.
With stately movements, he wiped his hands of Kunai’s blood and turned around on his heel. Underfoot squelched wet sand, still imbibed with the blood of all of those he had slain.
Primitive souls, nothing more. Neither lesser nor higher, but in the grey cosmic middle.
If history was to be meddled with, might as well leave no meddlers alive. It was neater this way. Cleaner. No loose ends, no observers, just a sandpit of bodies, wasting away in the desert. Tethered middlings, dangling from their Masters’ strings, rotting and festering in the indifferent shadow of their accomplishment.
Karura glanced at the towering monuments. Although built in less than a couple of long restings, they looked like they could stand the test of time. And yes, the bloodbath was necessary. The Rule of Equal Punishment demanded a penance. It had been essential to show him; essential Ashlar learned how.
With Kunai’s still-beating heart tucked in his hand, Karura made his way through the ocean of bodies. Every now and again, he gave the squishy organ a toss, watching it cartwheel through the dry midday air, just to recapture it between his clawed fingers. At his bare feet lay the lifeless remains of Serq Neb-er-Tcher. Karura stepped over his body, a gentle song on his breath:
When the red snowflakes start falling
<>My dark memories come calling
<>Bringing dreams of our Blue Slaughter
<>Death by water, water, water…