The setting sun shot a blazing path through the barren plains, bathing it in a bloody light. This had been an ocean once. There were tentacled creatures and murky depths. I had been there in that time. This had been a forest once, lush and verdant. There had been wet vines, canopies, the drone of insects flying through the air. I had been there, too. Now it was an inferno. Tongues of translucent, silver-blue flames rolled over the cracked dirt, consuming everything indifferently. The conflagration rose thousands of feet in the air, rose above everything in sight, even the fringe of mountains on the horizon. Stone, weeds, even water. All were destroyed by the ghostly fire.
I stood next to a figure cloaked in blood red, silhouetted on a rocky cliff the flames hadn’t reached yet and watching the scene unfold.
“And so it ends,” I said, a hint of cold amusement touching my voice. I watched a touch of ash float gently through the air before landing on my alabaster robes.
“No, no, this is just the beginning, my old friend.” The red figure spoke quietly, but his words carried across worlds.
“The Game has reached a turning point, my ancient enemy, but it began long ago,” I calmly replied, headless of the roaring flames drifting in our direction. “It isn’t beginning. It’s changing.”
For a moment, neither of us spoke; we just watched the ethereal blaze lick at the landscape, taking gouges out of it.
The blaze flooded into a canyon, incinerating it immediately. It had taken over sixteen million years to form; I’d watched it happen. All that history was gone in an instant. “We’re getting old, Parallax,” I murmured, not with sadness or joy or even resignation.
At this, Parallax actually laughed, a cold sound devoid of any real pleasure. I hadn’t heard it in several millennium. “Some would consider us ancient. Others eternal. We're long past old.”
I almost smiled at that, but still, I shook my head gently. “Nothing is eternal. Nothing lasts forever. Everything has an end. Everything dies.”
“The next era promises to be interesting,” Parallax observed. An icy smile brushed his face. “I can’t wait to see how it plays out.”
“The age of the Maelstrom,” I agreed quietly. “The Eternal Game is going to be very interesting after this.”
“Your pieces are in play, Phyrza?”
“You know the answer to that.”
We stood in silence and watched the world end.