Song of Arayia – The Sweet Smell of Meat

Arayia had used the last of her strength to sedated Ut into a sleep. She wanted him to rest so he could recover from the wound to his chest, but he was unruly because of his desire to stay wake to watch over the goddess. Thus, he fought against the effects of her magic. Whenever he felt he could not resist the sleep, he pressed his shoulder against the ground to excite the pain. The pulsing sensation in his chest would then cause him to grit his teeth and keep his eyes wide open, but the sharp pulse only kept him awake episodically. He did on occasions succumbed to the effects of her magic. He would sleep for ten to fifteen minutes at the most before becoming self-aware of his sleep and awaking himself once again.

“He isn’t allowing himself to rest,” Alessia said.

“He has a strong will, but he cannot combat the effects of my magic altogether. Some rest will do him better than none,” Arayia said.

The sweet smell of the goat’s meat brushed against Alessia’s nose cavity, prompting her salivate s it simmered in the heat. She watched as the flames danced around the charred flesh. Her dilated when the smelled reach her brain. It smells exquisite. She swallowed the saliva in her mouth and closed her eyes.

Sulyvan stared unto a hot-blooded ember as he dwelled on the eventuality of his death, poking the ember when he felt it was dying. If resuscitation is possible, is my death inevitable? She can keep a man from dying as long as C’oel does not take hold of the soul? If he were to take my soul, can I be brought back? He imagined his life was like the hot wood he tossed in the fire. He burned brightly as he lived, but the weathered world around him constantly fought to extinguish his flame.

“It looked inviting to eat,” Alessia said, cutting a fatty piece of meat for herself. She smiled as she savored at the look of the tanned, glistening surface of her food. When she set it in her mouth and sucked the flavor on the flavor, her heart fluttered from the excitement.

Sulyvan watched as Alessia devoured her food. She’s hungry. I’ve known starvation. I can see the effects of its desperation when a person eats. I never thought the princess would know starvation. Thankfully, she is a strong woman. I’ve known men who cry for less.

“Eat.” Alessia said to Sulyvan as she cut a chunk of meat to hand to Arayia.

Sulyvan gently smiled before retreating back into himself. “Can you resuscitate a soul once it has been taken by C’oel to the afterlife?”

“No,” Arayia said. “Unfortunately, I cannot.” She took the meat from Alessias hands.

Alessia listened to the conversation.

“Can you reincarnate the soul?”

“The soul has no memories, no consciousness. It is merely a flame that burns inside men. Once it returns to the nothingness, it has no cognizance, no uniqueness of any sorts. It assimilates with the nothingness and becomes undistinguishable,” Arayia said to Sulyvan. “My soul is not different than yours. I am merely a shard of coal burning to fuel the flame within my core.”

Sulyvan tossed the log of ember once again. “Then our experiences are insignificant. Is there a reason for our existence?”

Ut’s snoring stopped.

Arayia dropped her head in shame. “It is shameful for me to admit, but I cannot answer your question, for despite being the mother of life, I do not understand the meaning of it. I simple gave life and took it when the necessary. The divine Progenitor does not speak to me.”

“If a god cannot answer the question, life is rudimentary inexplicable,” Sulyvan said. “Yet we for the survival without understanding why. Life is meaningless.”

“Perhaps, it has no meaning, or perhaps there is an answer somewhere,” Arayia said.

Ut slight open his right eyes and groaned as he stood to his feet. “Why do you dwell on difficult questions that only make your existence empty? There is no definite answer to your question. Perchance, life may have a purpose or perhaps it has no purpose. The answer is unclear, yet I am certain a simple man has more purpose a gods.” He slowly limped towards the fire, eyeing the roasted goat.

“How do men have more purpose than the gods?” Sulyvan asked.

Ut reach out and ripped the limbs off the goat and handed each of them a leg. He then devoured the torso the goat and smiled in delight as the goat feed his appetite. “The gods are children who exists without a hand to guide them or explained to them their purpose. We exists to give them meaning. We exist to give them solace in their loneliness.”

“Perhaps, you are correct,” Arayia said. “Without the people, I would not have a purpose.”

There was a brief silence as they ate.

Sulyvan cleared his throat. “What happens now?”

“We continue our journey north,” Ut said. “The goddess needs to return to her mountain.”

“And the enemy?” Sulyvan asked. “Are you certain he is dead? I can ride out to the mountain to confirm it?”

Ut cleaned the meat caught in between his teeth with a claw. “If the machine is still alive, you cannot face it alone. We need to focus on our mission.”

“What about your injury?” Sulyvan said. “Should we continue without you?”

Ut stared at Sulyvan. “It is my duty to protect the goddess, regardless of my injuries.”

Alessia reluctantly lower her head. She was hesitant to speak, yet she spoke softly spoke, “Perhaps, you should rest to regain your strength. Have faith in us. Arayia called out to me for a reason. I promised I will protect her with my life.”

Ut snarled. “A warrior does not rest. He is bound to his honor, his duty, before his life. I stand behind her until my death. This conservation is done with. Rest, because we depart at sunrise.” He glanced at Arayia. “Come,” he ordered her as he walked off.

“Rest well,” Arayia said.

Ut and Arayia walked forward the hypostyle hall and disappeared into the dark corridors.

“He is stubborn,” Sulyvan said.

“We should rest,” Alessia said, slightly nodding in agreement. “Good night, Sulyvan.”


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