He would soon find that there were others, those who had foreseen the cataclysm and taken steps to ensure their safety. Tragedies. More tragedies. They were anchored to this world, thus they too must be unbound. Nog-Nandh of the Flame, Yanotuk of the Cups, Ma’krt of the Rock, KriXiang of the Glass, Shiggoth of the Spire, Neirkalatia of the Cross, Danu of the Beast, Gom’Jorbol of the Rod, Kari of the Cube, and a handful of others.
And himself, Merlin of the Line. He too must be unbound, this he knew. It was a sacrifice he would be proud to make when the time came: one life for infinite lives. It was a sacrifice that all of his kind should be proud to make, twelve lives for infinite lives. It was a sacrifice the entire world should be proud to make, billions of lives for infinite lives.
Over the eons, he met with them, when this new Earth was still young and wild. Some had woken, and wandered the world. Some appointed avatars to be their proxies. Others still lay slumbering. Most, however, clung desperately to their lives, and waged mean and petty wars against each other for dominance over a child’s playground. He left these sad creatures to their own punishment, for he knew they would either end each other, or be ended by the new masters of this new world.
Shiggoth was the first to fall. He left behind, (as the others would as well), his point of anchoring to this world. The Spires of Shiggoth were fearsome, powerful, and dangerous. But they were useful. Such things do not last long in this world or any world before they are discovered, abused, and eventually destroyed. He would let the universe take its natural toll.
The others, however, were more problematic. Merlin was powerful, but not omnipotent. He was knowledgable but not omniscient. He devoted much of his early days to searching, gathering lore and knowledge and power and puissance in the process. After a time, he came into a plan. He needed their powers, and once he claimed them, he would set to his work of saving the world. And he need not waste one more minute.
After Shiggoth, Danu was the next to fall. He was anchored to his people and his creatures of the land. He always was a man of the people, even in that distant past. His people and his creatures, both fair and foul alike, had settled upon a little island, and lived their small lives, content among themselves. When Man arrived, they were intrigued. Some waged war. Some made mischief. Some made love.
But they all knew that Man was the true master of this new world. So when the mysterious stranger arrived and offered them a world over which they could truly be sovereign, they agreed in their entirety. When the transmigration began, Danu felt himself diminish. When it had ended, his anchoring to this world had departed, he felt himself no more.
Danu ceased to endure.
Nog-Nandh slept. Nog-Nandh dreamed. It dreamed of death, of horror, of bodies and teeth and limbs, in their countless trillions. It dreamed of the death it felt responsible for. This horror, this oblivion, was preferable to waking to face what it had wrought.
So Nog-Nandh slept. It slept for countless eons, dreaming the same dreams. Of course, had it so chosen, it could have dreamed joy, hope, and love. But it did not want peace. It wanted absolution. That absolution would be born in pain and loss.
When Nog-Nandh dreamed of something different, it knew its day of reckoning had come. It dreamed of a man, so unfamiliar. It dreamed of a man, an old friend. It dreamed of lined faces and green eyes and strange robes and strange hair strange eyes strange face strange teeth the teeth the teeth the teeth–
On the shores of the lake of teeth, where the black hills end.
–the teeth. The landscape of Nog-Nandh’s nightmares had coalesced into distinct geography. In the sky was rain, for it always rained from eternity into eternity. Today, the rain took the form of mist. A light fog of milk wafted through, collecting dew upon the jagged frozen rocks at an outcropping of the lake.
This world, this living nightmare, stared into the eyes of the strange man who existed as nothing but fractal shadows. And undefined period of silence followed. Nog-Nandh’s nightmare-world finally spoke.
At that, the new lords of this land arrived: the people of Danu. When the last of them came, Merlin wove all of Nog-Nandh’s will into the fabric of permanency, ensuring that as long as Nog-Nandh endured, so too would this new land. And as long as this new land endured, so too would Nog-Nandh. It was not absolution. It was Purgatory.
Tírr i’nna n-Óc endured.