Khepri's Story

by Vega

Khepri the Black Númenórean. Muse of the Tavorus spring, Scarab of Adrezarach.

Be watchful, my son and daughters. Listen to the South Wind, for it speaketh of the future's tidings long ere their advent. Stoop ye to the ground, feel the earth tremble beneath the tread of many feet. Verily, is that not the sound of doom issuing from the Black Land? Our seasons of peace are waning.

Raise thy eyes, behold the horizon! a brooding Sun rises from the East. Veils of smoke hide the blood that stains her cheeks and lips as rouge; her eyes scour the land for the lover who will come to her crimson chambers at the fall of night, and bring her the fresh blood of his victims. His name is War. Girt thy loins for battle, my children: the sun shineth with no more kindness upon these days of strife.

—The vision of Uadrii Adrezarach, as told to his three children.

I have never left the ocean, for the land is passive and sedentary. Is there not the saying 'as old as the hills'? The earth changes not, and one wearies swiftly of this monotony. Nay, life on the static realm is not for me.

I have never left the ocean. See the waves, ever shifting and ruffling. Today they are calm, but they shall boil and foam tomorrow, and rise towering in mighty rollers. 'Tis Change, dark child. One feels it beneath one's feet, beneath the slender planks of the ship's frail hull; one sees it day after day, in these sullen waters and cruel deeps.

I have never left the ocean, even though she is a ruthless mistress; for she embodies change. And she is everlasting. Can one resist her heavy hand? Shall Akallabêth rise again from the abyss? Can you fight the tides of time? Dark child from distant lands, heed me: cling no more to the vestiges of the past, for they shall be swept away like flotsam in the surf. Change is eternal, as the ocean sea.

—Azrapûh the Old, Black Númenórean and boatswain of the Ulbâzathêl.

I had a strange dream.

In my dream I was standing on a green hill, overlooking a shining city. Men and women walked on wide avenues, majestic ships sailed into gleaming harbour. This city was glorious, its people proud and wise.

In the distance I saw a mountain, and upon the mountain was a white tower. This mountain reared majestically over the city, a lofty sentinel, benevolently watching over the riot of countless lives and livelihoods at its feet. From that exalted tower the scent of incense and sacrifices wafted on the wind.

As I looked, a darkness fell over this city, terrible clouds gathered overhead, and all the world was shrouded in blackness. The earth rolled and heaved beneath my feet, I heard a great noise that seemed most frightful and ruinous in my ears -- then the world was consumed in a maelstrom that words cannot describe, and in the blink of an eye the city was no more.

But the tower remained: it grew in height, terrible and black, until it whelmed the mountain and became a mighty bastion, seething with unspeakable evil, fearsome and terrifying to behold. And then fire erupted from the pinnacle of that tower with great force and became an awesome eye swathed in flames, yet utterly devoid of light.

As I fell prostrate, unable to bear the diabolic gaze, a voice boomed in my head: "Behold! this was the city of cities, the heart of all creation; you were once kings, supreme rulers over the entire world. How you have fallen from your puissant throne! Shall you be content to dwell in your squalor and destitution, diluting your lordly blood with the taint of inferior men?

"Wretch! Hear the words of the one who has seen the glories of your forefathers and still recalls them beyond the failing memories of mortals. Arise, you who wallow in the dust! Arise, for your time is nigh! A new empire is rising, the exiles are gathering at the tower. Come, join them, and ascend to your new dominion over the realms of Man."

Thus spake the awesome voice. Thus I awoke, and have been unable to sleep since.

—Sardov, a student of Asturasartes. I regarded the beetle, steadfastly trundling along the ground, it suddenly paused in stride and looked towards me. "Art thou so dull, child?" it said reproachfully. "Thou seest not, though the answer lie before thy very eyes. Verily: the beasts roam to and fro upon the earth, without concern or care for tomorrow. Do the seasons not fail to arrive at their appointed times? Watch the scarab! he is serene, for he is wise. Consider his ways, and thou shalt find wisdom, to which all the philosophies of Man are as folly." And it took its leave, industriously rolling its ball of dung.

I sat by the spring of Tavorus. I saw the sun in the expanse of sky reflected in the mirror-like water, and the roaming clouds of her entourage, and mine eyes beheld them as if for the first time. Indeed, the rains and the droughts come and go; they care not. Our Lord (may he live forever!) reclines in the darkness of the earth, as the lives of men pass like vapours exhaled from his nostrils; he cares not. What is Man, that his life and vainglory are of consequence? Kings squabble and war for dominance and treasure, and the Sun sneers in unforgiving heat. For when the blood of mortals seeps into the ground only she remains upon her zenithal throne, a queen indifferent to the lives of worms. She cares not.

...Thus I considered the scarab, and found wisdom in his ways.

19th Dareen of the Dragon's Year, forty-third cycle.

The black blood dominates within that one. It is a shame. I only hope that Our Lord (may he live forever!) shall regard her with golden gaze, despite such an ill taint.

—Zomots'nahdim, soothsayer.