The Legend of Antonlans and How Light Came to the World
Long ago, when the world was still a rocky shell smothered under the blanket of perpetual darkness, man did not live for very long. In fact, a boy would mature at 13, get married at 15, start raising children at 17, and die by 30. Life was a constant struggle against the impenetrable veil that constricted the gazes of the inhabitants of the rocky land. Oblivious to the silent, terrifying perils of the landscape, it was not uncommon for people to disappear from time to time to time, so, afraid to stray far from home; everyone cowered in caves, gathering just enough food to keep them alive. This was true up until the birth of the hero, Antonlans, of whom fear itself was afraid.
During his infancy, Antonlans cried nearly constantly, for his hearing was so sharp that every sound was loud enough to startle him. As he grew, however, he recognized the value of this ability, stopped being startled, and then trained his ears to be more and more sensitive. However, he eventually reached a point where the sounds of the world overpowered him. The dripping of water inside the rocks roared like the largest waterfalls, and the buzzing of insects sounded like a drawn out horrifying screech. He shunned his family, for their speech was a dissonant mangling in his brain, echoing and reverberating sharply from all directions. It rang and buzzed like a terrifying symphony of broken magnets. This became too much for the young hero, and he fled from the home he could no longer stand.
The farther and farther he got from the cave, the more rapidly his hearing improved. On his first night, he lay atop a hill, now called The Tier of Appraisal, and slept against the rock floor. As he began to drift off towards the land of dreams, he recognized a mysterious sound. As he lay, he realized that what he heard was the deep, rumbling conversation of the stones. Violently grabbing his bone hunting knife, Antonlans carved ferociously into the ground beneath him: “l WILL RESCUE THE BREATH OF YOUR WHISPERS.”
His escape was not complete, though, and the young boy kept running, determined to flee until he found the mountain whose skill at hiding noise trumped his skill at detecting it. Scrabbling across rocks in a world without light it may not have been long before he found such a place, but it was after a frenzied sprint through punishingly sharp hills yet to be graced with the comfort or soil and grass. After three days of running, Antonlans stopped. Standing tail at the foot of a mountain, nothing moved in the still air, and for the first time in his life, he heard absolutely nothing. Content, he crossed his legs and sat, concentrating. He remained in that position for an entire week. Yet even after that time was up, he couldn’t detect a single sound around him.
He became frustrated, and turned his head to the sky and cried out. His voice flew out to every corner of the world and into the ears of each frightened man in his cave. Next he waited for an hour, and then for two hours. As he opened his mouth to shout again, he heard a sound. Soft and pure, it pierced him like a bolt of lightning. It was the voice of a woman singing a single note, from far across the land. Excited to have finally heard something, he called out a greeting as loud as he could, and after another lengthy pause, a response came to him. The musical voice spoke a few words introducing its owner. The voice belonged to Eleanor, the girl gifted with the most beautiful singing in the world. They continued talking in this way, time stretching out for many hours, until they had become acquainted. They set aside a time three days later to continue their conversation.
However, during the few words they had shared, Antonlans, the Hero, had fallen in love with the maiden, and now sought to spend the next 72 hours accomplishing incredible feats to impress her. He decided to begin by climbing the mountain that stood next to him. His first day was spent thus, scaling the crags and spikes of rock created at the birth of the young planet. This mountain is now named Karis Kingdi, the limit of heaven, and is deemed ‘insurmountable’ by mountaineers.
He began at dawn, taking off at his customary sprint up the side of the moderate slope that faced him. He ran for a time, his knife producing an awful racket as it swung from his belt and clinked around. Before long, though, the hill swerved upwards until it was too steep to run up safely. From then on, he had to carefully make his way with his hands feeling for safe places to put his feet. While traveling thus, he realized that if he was quiet enough, he could hear the sound of the rocks murmuring with enough clarity that it functioned as a form of sight. He had the first eyes of humanity.
Around when he began to hear the coming of the afternoon, he had reached a point where he had to physically climb. The rocky wall was very irregular in its shape, and sharp in places. As he rose, hand over hand, rocks sharp enough that he could not hear them tore holes in his simple clothes. The hero eventually became frustrated enough that he removed the offending stones from the wall and cast them down to the floor below. With his ears, not only could he hear them strike the ground, nearly minutes later, but he could hear their cries as they fell – calls of distress to a terrible root of the rocks within the mountain. A root that quickly grew to dislike Antonlans.
As he climbed. he felt this rootstone’s power thickening. The misty clouds that had brushed gently against his cheek as he climbed turned into thick spoonfuls of an awful black sludge that dragged at his skin. The dark clouds also muffled the sounds of the rocks, destroying his newly discovered ability. Also, the stones themselves changed shape. The roughness of the stones changed from an ordinary bumpy surface into a smooth, sharp, geometric texture. His fingers struggled to find a grip on the slick stones, and the points hurt the skin of his hands, but Antonlans would never back down. He climbed onward, for what felt like hours. He climbed onward, even when the sounds of the world faded away behind the clouds. He climbed onwards even when his muscles shriveled from the stress. He climbed onward, despite the strongest efforts of the malevolent rootstone within the colossal tower of rock.
Then he stopped.
With his feet resting on two widely spaced pyramidal needles of stone, crafted by that spirit of the dark that opposed him, and his hand gripping a small crystal of metal to his right, he reached up and didn’t understand the information his hand was giving him. He slid his hand across the perfectly smooth wall that stood above him. lt seemed like the root had flattened out the rest of the mountain and he faced a vertical climb on an entirely frictionless surface.
Antonlans was stumped. No man could scale a mountain like this. He held on to the tiny nubs of stone and rested, waiting for an idea to come to him.
The great hero reclined against murky clouds, far above the ground in a world of complete darkness. ln this darkness, though, something came to him – he recalled the Song of Eleanor; and the voices of the rocks and the earth. He pressed his ear to the smooth stone in front of him, and straining his hearing, could detect the deep whispering once again. This time, though, he spoke back. He whispered words to the stones – words that don’t have a meaning in any language on Earth. He spoke the language of the planets and the universe.
The stones heard, and recognized him. Slowly, the few pebbles he had spoken to listened to his command and released themselves from the smooth shape they had been forced into. They burst from the flat surface and made a bump for him to grip. Antonlans climbed one step. Then he leaned forward again, said some more phrases and another handhold emerged. Step by step, word by word, the Hero of Light climbed the unclimbable, until he reached a sharp right angles lip. Hoisting himself over the edge, he found himself on the summit and, after rolling a short way from the edge, he quickly fell into a black, dreamless sleep.
When he awoke, he could hear the ground yowling at him. Listening to its ancient words , he understood he had slept for far longer than he intended to and now only had one day left. Bewildered and disoriented he wobbled to his feet muttering words of thanks to the stones beneath him.
He was at the highest point in the world, and he could feel it breathe. The slow rhythmic pulsing of the heart of the planet. Walking further out across the top of the mountain, he collided with a stone surface. With its complete silence, it had taken him by surprise. He felt his way about the wall, and realized that it a had a strange patterned texture – blocks. Eventually, his fingers found a wide opening, which he stepped inside.
lnside, he saw something.
He saw something remarkable.
He saw a small sphere, glowing a dull amber, it floated in the air in the center of the room, which he now saw was made of grey stone bricks. He saw the yellow light from the ball illuminate the rocks and cast intricate shadows all around. Mesmerized, he stepped forward, and reached out to touch it.
“Antonlans,” said a voice that echoed around the chamber, “You have seen.” The words were spoken in a powerful tone, but not like the stones he had heard before. It was a tone like the collected parts of the tiny motes that surround the mountain. Antonlans heard the voice of the sky. “Will you help others to see? Help them out of this dark mire?”.
Antonlans replied affirmatively and took the glowing light in hand. Holding it out away from him, bright arcs of gold and white sparked around him, showing him details of the world he had never recognized before. He stepped out of the shrine, and holding the sphere in the air created an aura of light around himself that extended to the edge of the summit. He saw that the mountain had regained its original shape, the evil rootstone recognizing its defeat. He also discovered a blue tint in the air above him and white puffy clouds that replaced the dark ones.
“Will you rescue the breath of their whispers?” the sky asked Antonlans.
“l will.” he said, and leaped from the enormous stone spire. The golden light he held in his hands instantly caught his weight, and lifted him up into the sky. As he flew up, it became brighter, until he appeared as an incredible streak of white in the invisible world of the people below. As he streaked across the niqht, a trail of golden brilliance flowing behind him, they stepped out of their caves and looked up, amazed by this new experience – this new sense.
As Antonlans flew, he listened. He strained his ears to their utmost sensitivity, until he could hear every sound being produced across the entire planet. He heard the people stirring each other from their slumber and remarking upon the star that had flown through their world of black pitch. He heard the roaring of the mountains and the chattering of the oceans. And he heard Eleanor’s voice, far away. Recognizing it immediately, he flew to her. Burning across land and sea, he etched a path in that direction. Soaring with the power of the sky in his hands, he reached her in no time at all, and fell down to Earth in wide curve, the light dimming as he fell. Touching down, he landed next to a humble looking shelter made from piled boulders.
He raised the sky above him and cast a light all around, soon discoverinq that Eleanor whose appearance matched her voice, stood before him. “Eleanor, words of the wind,” he said, “lt is I, Antonlans.” The cheerful demeanor of youth had grown to the respectful attitude of the late teen years. His climb had changed him, and an adult stood before the younger girl, her face showing her innocence and ignorance. But Antonlans was Blind. “Do you see? I fought the right arm of the earth to win this trophy. Do you see?”
She shaded her eyes and spoke in melodic drifts, turning her head away from the glow that permeated Antonlans’ being. “Eleanor! Why do you cling to the darkness?” he asked, trying to lift her hand away from her eyes. “l qive you The Sun!” She cried out, squinting and looking away from the bright light. As she ran back to her cave, all Antonlans could think of was of the way her surprise broke the song in her speech. His face grew gray, and his skin gathered into hills, wrinkling up like a fruit in the sun. As he looked down into the light, his hair withdrew and discolored, and his eyesight faltered. The world of sounds he had inhabited for his long, long life faded away. With a tear falling from his eye, he leaped up to the heavens, flying until The Sun’s light filled the entire sky. Then, veering towards the horizon, he chose to circle the world, never giving up until the light in his palm did.
The people of Earth rejoiced the deeds of Antonlans, spilling out of their caves and discovering the new world that was growing before them. They carved out his deeds in stone and hallowed the landmarks of his plight. However, before long, man once again retreated to his caves, decided he did not want to remain in the light all of the time. After a longer period men appeared who avoided the light altogether. And it is only a matter of time before humanity finds itself another dark mire to inhabit without even the breath to whisper.