Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 29 – Enlil’s Answer[2181 words]
The scene of when Nietzsche flew into the sky and defied Enlil was floating around in Golier’s mind. He had a strong feeling that Nietzsche had known that he would show up, and that he waited under the flood till he had arrived, wanting him to witness something, something Golier knew was a message, but it’s content eluded him.
Nietzsche was confirming something important, looking for an answer, but he couldn’t say anything. So he needed a witness, one who was wise enough to figure out what he had found. Why had Nietzsche chosen Golier? Because he was the only choice. He was the only supreme mage that was capable to be at that place at that time.
Was it really Enlil who had created this huge flood? Why did the god want to do this? Golier reached the empty hall in the shrine of Enlil with lingering questions. He kneeled down and prayed to the huge statue of Enlil, “Enlil the great, my god, please tell Your Majesty’s believer, why is there such a flood? Why has the town of Duc disappeared?”
Suddenly, he got a strange feeling, a pressure on his shoulders. The huge statue in the middle of the shrine seemed to come to life, watching him from above. Before today, Golier would have only had feelings of peace and happiness, along with honor. But now, a creeping fear filled his heart. He grasped his staff tightly, ready to fight with full power.
Golier’s staff was made of a century-old walnut core. Nice and neatly grained, its surface was tarnished by time. A Terroculus was inlaid at the top of it, elaborately enclosed by the grain, making it looked like an exquisite cane for a senior.
“Why are you using your power when you pray, my priest and pious believer? From where comes this hostility?”
A thunder-like voice abruptly rang in Golier’s head. It was Enlil! Golier lowered his head, putting his hands on the ground to show his respect, but still gripping the staff. He said in his mind, “Enlil! The god of the gods! Did Your Majesty destroy Duc? Did Your Majesty bring the flood to Syah? I just want an answer.”
“Duc was destroyed by the flood. The flood was brought by the rain. The rain was caused by warm winds from the ocean which collided with the winds from above the plateau. My power directed the winds, my rage guided the lightning.” answered the deity solemnly and emotionlessly.
The answer was profound. Golier thought silently and painfully. At last he sighed, “The flood has come to Syah City. My dear god, I have taken out all the parangons and formed a big Defense. But if you can draw back the flood and save this city, I will present all of them to you as a sacrifice.”
A sneer was heard in Enlil’s answer, “Sacrifice? You built this shrine for me. Have I ever seized any wealth from you? Who has been receiving people’s tribute in the name of sacrifices to the gods, and yet enjoy it themselves? It’s you! How ridiculous it is that you want to give me a sacrifice now. Do you think you can buy me with the parangons?”
Golier answered respectfully, “Enlil the great, it is not a bribe but an appeal. If the flood is going to destroy the city at the end, then this Defense will be the last protection. It is not against you, but to protect the people who pay their tribute. No matter where and why this flood comes from, it’s their will. ”
In fact, nobody in Syah City knew why Golier had taken out all the parangons and established a gigantic Defense on the walls. A formation of this size could not be fully activated by any mage alone, not even by the entirety of the mages of Syah City. But what Golier needed was that the formation was completed and all the parangons were activated and interconnected with their inside power.
He was betting that even Enlil couldn’t take away the whole formation!
When the fight between Nietzsche and Enlil ended, Golier saw a cloud of parangons being seized into the clouds. He made a conjecture, that the god was performing magic so enormous that he needed a huge amount of parangons as supplement.
The Syah state was the most important production area of parangons in Hittite. The parangon inventory in the shrine of Syah was remarkable. There was also a considerable amount of parangons in the State Treasury. Golier brought them all out, trying to bargain with his god. If the god could draw away the flood, then he would let him take all the parangons.
If he couldn’t, the formed parangons could not only protect the ramparts from the flood, but also protect themselves from being taken by Enlil. Activated parangons joined their power together, making it impossible to be moved. Even deities couldn’t possibly do it. It was just like how a mage couldn’t seize the parangon on the staff of another mage when the latter was using it to perform a magic. The parangon was linked to the caster.
Enlil didn’t respond. Golier waited on hands and knees. After some little time, he heard the god’s voice rising with laughter, “Poor priest. How are you going to face your belief? You don’t understand the deities at all. People here admire me, they worship me. I won’t take the parangons. They are the property of the whole city. People will hate me if I take them, they will reject me. You want me to destroy their faith in me by my own hand?”
“How about the Ducians?” Golier cried in his soul, “Nobody survived in the flood!”
“The flood, is my blessing to the state! I will hear cheers from a multitude of people. My believers will pour into my shrines like this flood did, thanking me for my kindness! You will know it in the future… As for the Ducians, you want to know why I didn’t save them in the flood? Why should I?…It’s ridiculous that I explain this kind of senseless question to a mortal!”
With his voice, images and sounds flooded in Golier’s head. It was all the tragedies that had happened in Duc.
“Do you see, priest? They disobeyed their patron’s oracle. Mourrin had no reason to stay there. So I will give my own blessing to the land: the flood. But mortals shouldn’t only enjoy the gods’ blessing while giving nothing. I have no duty to save the sinners in the flood.” Enlil’s cold voice echoed in his head, like a judge reading the verdict.
Golier was speechless for a long time. He struggled to ask, “But all of them died. Some of them must have been innocent.”
Enlil replied scornfully, “When the sin has spread to every corner, so must the flood. It didn’t need to tell the innocent from the sinners, nor did I. In my eyes, they are all Ducians, who have abandoned the oracle that protected them.”
“Mortals’ lives have to end, one way or another. They chose their way. They were in the same boat so each of them had to bear the responsibility. They should blame their peers and themselves who had done nothing to stop it. If no one takes care of the boat, then no one deserves to be saved when the boat wrecks.”
Golier found it hard to understand. Enlil said that the flood was his blessing, and the Ducians did not deserve to be saved! Golier turned to the statue and asked, “My dear god, did Your Majesty bring us the flood?”
“I won’t answer these kinds of stupid questions!” answered Enlil coldly.
“Then what would be the fate of Syah City?”
The voice stopped, Golier felt the pressure disappear — the god had left the shrine.
Golier stood lonely in the silence, thinking over and over of what his god had told him, and of the scenes he had seen in the flood. What had Nietzsche tried to tell him? What did Enlil mean? He meditated all night at the footsteps in front of the gate of the shrine.
Enlil had generated a rainstorm. As Golier could have seen, he might have just performed some of the basic air magic. But with enormous power, he managed to change the airflow all over the Syah Plateau, driving it to confront the warm wind from the ocean, triggering the long lasting tempest.
The god above the clouds had controlled the wind and the water. When the huge cyclone had formed, the rest could only be left to nature. The rain would last till the cyclone quieted down. It would need even greater power to stop the cyclone that had formed. Enlil had helped to develop the cyclone, he didn’t have any intention to stop it.
The empty shrine was quiet. Golier trembled as if he felt cold and sick, with a flushed face. As the chief priest of the shrine of Syah, the supreme mage that had made his oath before his god, he now had three choices —
The first choice was to tell the people that it was God Enlil’s miracle, believing that the flood was a blessing to Syah, washing off the sin from Duc, as what Enlil had said. Golier could already see the clues why Enlil called this disaster a blessing. If he did so, he would be the same Golier as before. But he couldn’t forget watching Nietzsche flying into the sky. Those memories had branded him for life.
The second choice was to betray Enlil, which was against his oaths and faith. When the faith broke down, his achievement in magic would be severely impaired. He might even risk losing his power.
The last choice was the most difficult one. He had to try to look at all this in an absolute objective way, looking back into his whole life and his experiences, even the experiences of all the people he knew of, reconstructing his belief without being lost in mind, in order to achieve a higher status of soul. Golier reminded himself of the old records he had read in the Archive, about the final test for a mage to achieve the ninth level. He had been incapable to understand them. Now he thought he understood, but it was too difficult! He would almost certainly be lost in this labyrinth of thought!
No one knew how Golier had passed this night in the shrine. Was he praying all night to the god? When Golier stepped out the shrine and saw the first light of dawn from the horizon, some new ideas had formed in his mind. People found the oracle of the state coming to them, haggard, with deep resignation in his eyes.
“The god has sent me the oracle. It’s a test that we are going to face. Greater goodness will come after the disaster, but whether we can last until its coming will depend on ourselves. Don’t ask what the god has given us. Follow me to the walls to fight against the flood. It’s our war!“ Golier went towards the ramparts with his staff.
When Golier came onto the ramparts, the water was about ten feet high, and it was still rising. Outside the city was nothing but water. Syah City was like a huge ship in the ocean. The walls appeared to be firm and solid, but the water had pressure. The deeper the water, the higher the pressure. The lateral pressure on the walls would eventually surpass its limit. After all, the walls were not a dam. Moreover, the parts submerged in the water might soften or even dissolve, leading to leakage or a collapse. The formation was now glueing the walls together while reinforcing it. The walls would either collapse with the formation, or sustain until the end.
Golier walked slowly around the city on the walls, performing earth magic with the Terroculus in his staff, consolidating the weak parts of the walls. He cleared all thoughts out of his mind except for two things: where would the water rise over the shortest part of the walls, and whether the formation would hold till the flood’s peak was over.
It had been days and nights yet he still had not taken a rest, but kept walking slowly, solemnly and devoutly. Eyes glistening, he watched the eastern horizon from time to time.
In the direction Golier was watching, in a caveman’s tribe on the high mountains near the canyon of the Euphrate River, a “god” was wailing. He was not a true deity like Enlil, but a “gods’ emissary” in the cavemen eyes. Some even regarded him as “God Amon”.
Hearing the wail coming out from the big cave of fire, Lynk and his clansmen looked at each other in dismay and were at a loss of words. No one dared to disturb the one in the cave. Schrodinger stood at the entrance, gazing at Amon with unusual sympathy.