The light was absolutely blinding. After dwelling so long in my painfully cramped, utterly lightless cell, even the dim light of dawn forced my eyes tightly shut. Shielding them from the sun with my hands, I manage to open my eyes just enough to make out the barren landscape.
The floodwaters were gone, leaving behind vast plains of dark, rich mud. The mountainside was nothing but bare stone and wet clay as far as I could see, any traces of soil having been washed away by the rains. The lush forests and grain-brimmed fields I remembered from the days before the storms began-- Barely a moon ago, though it felt like millennia-- were gone without a trace, and the sprawling cities my brothers and I had built for our kin had vanished far beneath the silt. Everything and everyone I had ever known... All swept mercilessly away by the waters.
As I solemnly gazed upon the empty lands where I had dwelt a thousand years, I heard footsteps on the planks behind me. It wasn't hard to guess who it was. "Do you remember your oath, Ogias?"
The man was tall and ancient, far older than any human I had known in centuries. His long beard was somehow still filled with color, the rich brown only tinged and flecked with white. He held a rod in his hand, and his robe was intricately patterned. Although he was nearly half my stature, still, this man exuded a kind of power that filled me with equal parts fear and awe. I nodded slowly. "I remember." Glancing at the sky, then back at the man, "I don't think He would let me forget, now would He Noah?"
Noah nodded, and stayed silent for a moment. We both stared out at the vast emptiness that lay before us. He sighed. "There's a lot of it, isn't there?"
I blinked, turning my head to look at him. "A lot of what?"
He spread his arms, gesturing widely. "A lot of world, Ogias. And not a lot of men." He glanced back at me. "There's room for you, too."
I shrugged. "With your kind, this place will be filled to the brim in barely any time at all. A mere thousand years from now, there'll be barely any land to tread, not a drop of air left unbreathed. There won't be one stone your children won't overturn. There's room for me now, but there won't be for long."
Noah shook his head, looking again to the sea of soil that stretched across our vision. "There are always places for you, my friend." He glanced back at me. "You're not like your kin, Ogias. You haven't extinguished your light yet. If you abandon your ancient ways, we would welcome you with open arms. Why won't you dwell with my people?"
I dropped my gaze. "You know I can't. I'm not of your blood. I'm not of your ways." I looked again to the sky, which I suddenly noticed was far clearer than the last time I saw it. "I'm not of His ways either. I'm not supposed to exist, Noah. I shall serve you and your favored sons as I swore, but no more than that. It's best for you as well as for me if I dwell alone."
Noah sighed, reluctantly resigning to my case. "As you wish it, then. If you won't live on my children's land, there's still the far corners, the high peaks... the deep places. If it is solitude you wish, the dark and the obscure is your wisest choice."
I nodded, my eyes locked upon the distant Mount Hermon, the home of my forefathers when they first came to this world. I knew every inch of that land from my younger days, every peak, every crevice, every secret. I could fade away there. I wanted to vanish, to be forgotten. The deepest cracks of Hermon would give me a chance for that.
I looked back to Noah. "I know of a place. Now tell me, what do you require before I leave you?"
Noah handed me his staff and removed his outer robe, looking out at the empty fields of mud with a strange gleam of promise in his eyes. He returned his gaze to me and took back his staff, the trace of a smile on his face.
"Let us sow seeds."