Nib rubbed his eyes. The wood smoke always seemed to blow into his face when he tended the fire. His grandfather watched with amusement. His grandfather never had difficulties keeping the fire fed. Grandfather always knew what to do.
“Tell me again about the old gods?”
“Finish your chores, young one, and fetch me some water. Then I will tell you the story.”
The old man took a pull from his pipe and blew a smoke ring. It floated towards the fire and then sailed upward through the opening in the long house. Outside the night had fallen. Winter had taken a hold on the land and was reluctant to relinquish its icy grip.
The old man mused for awhile. It was an appropriate moment to tell the boy of things long past, gods and men, realms and empires long dead. The old man leaned forward and began to spin his tale. Was it sooth or fable, who can say? Nib listened with rapt attention, the smoke that burned his eyes was now a distant memory.
“Olympus! Home of the gods! Mighty Zeus looked down from his heavenly palace and watched as mortal man toiled in the soil, built cities, and worshipped the immortals. All was as it should be. The world was a many splendored treasure and Zeus ruled over all.”
“For all of his power, mighty Zeus had made a grave error. For in the time spent lingering over the earthly delights below, he failed to look outward to the very edge of the heavens. It was there, beyond the last burning orb, beyond the veil of the heavens, that a great void waited.”
“The light of no sun would penetrate the infinite depths of its nothingness. Through this vast blackness sped an entity equally as black. It flew on, through the great void, past the threshold and into the firmament.”
“Had mighty Zeus trained his immortal eye on the heavens, he would have seen the silhouette of an immense being, propelled through the starry veil on bat wings leaving a myriad of stars flicker and roll in its wake.”
“The halcyon days of the gods were at a close. Just as Zeus had overseen the pursuits of mortals, the great void had turned its eye on the gods. The Great Old Ones had come.”
“The heavens and earth waged war against those profane creatures. Gods and man set spear against the crushing tide of abyssal foe. Hades himself was unable to tally the dead. Mortal and immortal died as the heavens shattered and fell onto the earth. All hope fled the field of battle. Zeus lie slain. His brothers and sisters met the same fate. Only a handful of gods huddled together behind their shield wall, preparing for the final charge.”
“Then it all changed. Out of the east, the sun broke through the darkness and a warm breeze flowed over the battlefield. The Great Old Ones turned towards the shining rays and ere they could utter a foul curse, their bodies turned to dust. Zephyrs carried the dust into the air and swept it away, back into the nothingness from which it came.”
“As the sun cast away the darkness, the world began again, scarred by war but rising with the hope of a new day.”