Before the Calamity there was nothing.
There was nothing that could tell you it was needed for the Calamity... The Calamity had a way of putting everything into perspective. It started slowly, the decay of our world, but as more and more fell into oblivion more was lost at a greater pace. I lived through it all but still can’t remember how it felt to live in a world that wasn’t broken to bits.
The earth and sky fell.
It felt as though your entire being was being consumed by something light and airy but in reality only light and air was left untouched. How I survived I don’t know. I only know I need to keep on going, I need to fix it. I feel it in my bones, that is my purpose, I will fix it.
I met a woman. She showed me a safe haven. A place left untouched by the devastation, a place that wasn’t finished so there was nothing to destroy. She gave me tools and told me to fix it and it’s all I’ve done since. I leave for other places left relatively unscathed but they are unstable. I find material to build with, I find water and food to feed us with, I find demons unleashed by the Calamity.
Fighting and building is all I have left now. If there is anyone else left I will leave them a piece of the old world, I will leave them a place where they can be. I will leave them a piece of me too. The demons were scarce in the beginning but as the destruction wore us down it only let them breed. I take a breath and go to the next place. Traveling isn’t hard, we have our ways. I collect things and I kill others. I dream of times past.
She tells me she found a name. I briefly wonder for what but know she will tell me. She told me patience is overrated but necessary. She tells me lots of things, most of them I understand, others I don’t. Most of the time she doesn’t tell me anything at all. But she found a name.
I think. Reflect. The word seems to mean the opposite of what we have here. This is no stronghold, the only fortifications we have here are... Us. Then I get it. We are the Bastion. She nods in confirmation as she sees the realization in my eyes. I’m off again. This time I have an antithesis to the Calamity in the Bastion and it takes my mind of the tedious task ahead. Find things, bring them back. Don’t die, don’t fall, don’t scream, don’t falter.
I wake up.
The light trickling through the clouds tells me I have slept enough. Time to get to work. She hugs me and I find comfort in knowing the Calamity hasn’t destroyed everything in the world yet. She has never done it before and I don’t get my hopes up for more. I gave up hope a long time ago. I run on pure despair. It feels like home because it is home. No, the Bastion is home now. My internal struggle battles on unbeknownst to her. I leave. Days pass, we don’t sleep outside anymore. Enough scraps, bits and bobs for an actual roof over our heads provide with shelter. Shelter I didn’t know I’d missed for so long. Damn, how long has it been? She keeps hugging me on my way out. Everyday the despair shrinks in size but never quits gnawing at me.
One night she tells me a story of how the Green Lands were formed. There was a giant, in the time of giants, who got sick of living in the mountains. The snow, the wind, the cold, the rock didn’t suit the giant who dreamed of softness and color. The more the giant dreamed of fields of green, the more the mountains began to shrink and the closed they go to the ground the more they flourished. The giant thought it was strange change of weather but cherished each and every moment it felt the grass between its toes and felt the light breeze sweep through what now was a valley. A dream had changed the world.
I began to believe.
I began to believe in a better world where the Calamity never struck, where all was as before. But that couldn’t be, the Calamity did happen, there is nothing to change there. So I changed my belief. I changed it to the now, to make the now better and for our world to heal. She began telling me more stories but the Green Lands giant was the one that always came back to me.
I have gotten stronger. I believe the fighting and building has something to do with it but it is not just the physical aspect of it. I have started to feel stronger in my mind. Never reflecting on who I was before this ordeal, I have begun reflecting on who I am because this ordeal. It’s intimidating and daunting. I don’t like it. We’re sitting by the fire and she looks at me. I can see her between the dancing flames. I feel her eyes on me as I’m sure she’s feeling my eyes on her and I nod. It’s a barely noticeable nod but she picks up on it. So she tells me another story. I fall asleep by the fire and dream of better times ahead.
When I wake up she’s still looking at me.
In all of the time since she found me I haven’t said a word to her. She calls me Kid and I just nod. Or shake my head. Or shrug my shoulders in indifference. I never speak. I don’t think I know how to anymore. The water is cold in my throat. She’s still looking at me.