The Swan Song and the End of the Archangels
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Darkness stretched through all existence.

A small existence, kept in a small box of silk and oak; buried.

Buried under wooden planks and iron beams, under concrete and dirt, under the world and under your feet.

But most of all, buried in memory.

Their closed eyes would see nothing but darkness even if they were opened. They had long ago been extinguished, extinguished, extinguished, and extinguished still the reflections in the dreams that still existed.

The long, cold fingers of a skeleton in a long robe held its small box, vulnerable but still closed. Lost, lost in the clutches of strident oblivion.

The mechanical noise of its life was all it had, with no more memories to devour and nibble at in search of something else that eluded it.

No more memories, except for one. A memory that still existed, existed, existed, existed, existed, existed. Light in the nothingness flashing wildly between long-nailed, infinite-edged fingers. A name, a living name that bloomed in the earth, its roots spreading inside the box. A name to remember, a name written without being erased, forever removed from the damnatio memoriae.

That name, born under a new and dark earth without stars. That name, eternal designation for itself. Its meaning lost to it. A circle of fire in the nothingness with nothing, without even the relief of the silhouette beyond, without the taste of the ether behind the infinite stars and the rabbits that hid within.



The drops fall



are they my tears

or the rain?

The three angels then gathered together, for they saw the black menace spread with White dead, and decided that they had failed in their duty.

Orthosie wept blue tears, for the memory of centuries and centuries would be lost. Lutiya's song was barely a whisper, for its lung had been pierced by a dagger of silence. And Zafur broke the silence itself, growling perhaps in anger, perhaps in despair.

Where there was once anger in their eyes, there was now compassion. The failure of the three brought them to a common ground: the holy and sacred ground beneath the mausoleums.

When at last the weeping died down, the three angels decided.

One last call to the Descendants, that they would embrace once so alone.

Is this working?

Yes, I hear you just fine.

Oh boy. These are quite the circumstances to get to know one another.

It's true. It would be a happy moment on any other day. O5-7, you too, right?

Seven. Only our mutual friend has a different number. Twelve, if I remember correctly.

You've heard it too, I imagine?

Heard what?

The singing! God, it's beautiful, but it's so terrible. I remember it still.

We didn't hear anything. It's just… Weightlessness. Memories no longer weigh anything.

Oh. Well… We made a somewhat hasty decision.

What have you done? It's hard to think of worse things than silence, but now it sounds so beautiful… Ehm, I mean. It can't be that bad.

It doesn't seem so, now that it's over. We just… We let go. Of everything. Of miracles and tragedies. It's like a song we let go to silence. It seems so peaceful now.

… Have they given up? They can't have. They can't just give up like that.

There's not much more to give up, is there? It's not up to us anymore either. It was up to the Angels, and we know how that went.

Pero… The three of us are the Foundation, and we're not going to do anything?

There's nothing left to do, my friend. I'm glad I met you, but you reall should enjoy your last bit of time. With your family, or your kids… Or come on, just with the silence. I'll go enjoy the music for a few more minutes. How about you?

I will rest. For some time now, the weight of memory has kept me awake. They were not even memories of me, but of an extinct race.

I have no one. There is nothing but silence…

Don't worry, Jonas. There is nothing more to fear.

One by one, the three accepted death creeping toward them, and they gave up at last, and hope was extinguished.

But in the final misery, the angels also knew the bitter pleasure of the unknown.

The Foundation heard the hitherto silent song of Zafur, and silenced tragedies and miracles spread throughout the world. The misery of Thailand, the joy of ghosts, and all the deafened memories sprang from nowhere. Installation-57 heard the song, and its entrails opened, and the music spread, the rival and ignorant peoples admiring the beauty of the strange.

The last Annunaki wept a black tear, and knew the destruction of oblivion; freed at last from the burden of remembrance, it fell apart, and the Nine Saints danced to the sound of the new sensation. Orthosie of delight, and every Vidnepa of the three races felt it, and the pain of forgetfulness turned to joy for a past that no longer hung over them.

The Coalition shivered its last throes, and Kayros screamed in terror, but a last call from Lutiya calmed them — and they accepted the fate. The world knew the deafening silence and the delicious agony that accompanied it. Fascinated by the new pleasure, people watched as the sky opened, and the wonders of dying space shone so brightly once more.

And the three worlds saw each other, stupefied, but calm. Those of the gray world knew the marvelous song of the strange. Those of the blue world knew the marvelous silence, and the three worlds felt at once the beauty of memory as it disappeared for the last time.

And the angels embraced each other, weeping for joy, as the rust devoured them. The darkness extinguished the stars, but they had robbed the Enemy of their last pleasure: victory.

And the lights went out, and the eyes closed, and the final smiles disappeared.

And songs and silences became one, and oblivion and memory one with them.

And darkness closed its maw on all that remained, but the plate remained small, and the people of all worlds disappeared without fear.

And night reigned over nothing; if there is no one to see it, does it really exist?

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