The Scribe's Last Journey
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Following the paths that no longer exist, the scribe walks among the debris of a world that was. The world certainly was, yes, but it wasn’t anymore. No, not anymore. The scribe spent an inordinate amount of time mourning its passing.

Time, time was a concept of the old world. The world had moved away from it, endless space without day or night, without the passing of a single instance. The Earth has stopped, and everything else along with it.

The scribe continued, as they had always done. They had continued, because there was a story yet to tell. Yes, else they wouldn’t be here. There was purpose to be had amongst the desolate landscapes that stretched into infinity, a mix of ruins that treasured nothing but dust and sand, and the thousands upon thousands of bones that huddled in search of heat, waiting for a tomorrow that couldn’t feasibly exist.

Eventually, the scribe grew tired. They realized no story could be told here, as no being breathed, no being spoke, no being experienced any change in state. The scribe decided to rest.

The next time would be better, they prayed. They hoped at least a single God was left to hear them.

Seal



The scribe put down their book, the last piece of paper in the whole world, and collapsed on their knees. The abrasive heat of the world that wasn’t anymore had burned their back. It hadn’t been an immediate effect, but the outcome of thousands of thousands of days walking without a single thought but that of the completing of their mission.

They had a simple goal: To document all of humanity. They had done so for a million million years, such a long time that humanity as they had known it had evolved, then died, then reborn, then evolved, and so forth a great many times. So many that humanity had lost itself along the way. They had always been vainglorious, always had wanted more and more and more. This was human nature, and thus acceptable, because through its eventual dissolution, humanity would reach enlightenment, and reach the higher echelons, the upper Heavens of eternal peace, of the inexorable, unmistakable understanding of life, death, and all betwixt.

And yet, they were too vain. The Devas wouldn’t let them say this about humanity, but they had long since died off, collapsing like black holes, imploding like stars, disappearing into the once starry night of which only a single dimly lit light remained.

Humanity had found their own way into Avīci, and then they had dragged Avīci into their own plane, a singularity of misery and non-existence dressed as the right path, when it couldn’t be further away from it.

The scribe had documented this descent, this putrid transformation, because this was their purpose. It was still their purpose, because they were here, and their book still had pages left. There was still something left to chronicle. Perhaps the last semblance of humanity left in this world would be the awaited Maitreya. Dharma had all but been forgotten by all, if ‘all’ was even a concept still walking these lands.

Or perhaps their last breath would be taken away by the last bastion of man. The uncertainty existed, and because it existed, they remained here.

The scribe stared at the sky, straight into the Sun. It blinked at them, an illusion, like everything else they’d encountered so far. It burned still, for the world of Maya wouldn’t allow for their suffering to simply not be.

Resting their head on the book, as a pillow that offered no rest, the scribe rested amid the dust and the sand and the debris, and under the desolate light of the lamplight that burnt the layer of ozone away, they closed their eyes.

No dreams were dreamt that day.


The scribe encountered a bridge into the infinite, hidden behind the crushing weight of infinite corpses, all surrounding the construct, hugging each brick, each piece of the synthetic polyurethane-based pass that connected a world of suffering and a better one. But even that better one had died off, so humanity had moved onto another one. Then another. Ad infinitum.

But even the sky had limits. Eventually, the reality of the post-singularity would catch up to them, prayer to the new Gods would become despair and hatred, and no bridges would ever be built. The towers would remain unoccupied, inaccessible, reminding the scribe that even that without life dies.

And yet, it also gives life. Using the bones of the behemoth of indescriptible metals that linked all Lokas together, the scribe found respite. Escaping from the counterfeit gaze of the last aster in existence, they decided to stop their chronicle. Nothing had happened, and nothing would happen.

Furthermore, their hand refused to move with the same finesse of ages prior, a blighted coloration to their joints. They were running out of blood. They needed to recover.

Seal%202



The scribe licked their wounds, sealing the searing gash on their thumb, their new tool of trade ever since they’d lost their previous ones. The Devas used to bring them ink the color of a starless sky (Not too dissimilar to the one they’d grown accustomed to) and brushes from the hairs of the sacred horse that governed all cardinals.

It’s been so long since the last Deva had contacted them in any way. Somedays, the scribe wondered if their duty had any point anymore, when even their bosses were long gone. Days like these were the most dangerous for the scribe. One wrong step, and they could give up on their duty, and all of the history of humanity would be gone alongside.

The scribe held the book closer to their chest, leaving a bloody imprint on its backside. This book was everything. Their everything. Without a tale to tell, what was the point of the scribe?

This was the reminder that they needed to keep on writing. That they still needed to chronicle. That they would continue on walking.

As if listening to their words, the sun blinked once more, Surya’s eyes slowly but surely closing until the dunes the scribe had traversed turning into desolate pitch black, subsumed by the void like everything else. Even the bridges, magnificent in their stature, had disappeared, the few meters of rusted steel the only proof they were still there; the few words used to describe in their book, the only proof they existed.

The scribe stretched out their arm, and wondered why they had done so. They could not recall what the point of it was, a mere muscle spasm perhaps, but soon enough, from their palm a small flicker was willed. It danced like a man traversing a tightrope, a trance-like movement of the embers of a fire long gone. And yet, being the only light, it pierced through the dark veil for miles and miles, little photons escaping the scribe’s grasp, little by little.

”Ah.” The scribe jumped at the sound of their own voice. When was the last time they had spoken? They couldn’t know. They could not recall a single thought.

But thoughts mattered little now. The scribe needed no thought to move their left foot in front of the right, then the right in front of the left. They continued on their unsatisfying journey, tripping from time to time, as the ember did its best to guide, but it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough.

Hours and hours passed, and the ember was reduced to ashes, the scribe’s hand becoming charred and unusable, having used their own flesh to continue the ember’s short-lived life. It didn’t hurt, for the scribe had already forgotten how pain felt. An inconvenience nonetheless: One less thumb to sign their writings with. one less hand to write with.

Eventually, even the sand vanished, the scribe walking through dirt, then ground, then paste, then bone. Miles and miles of the remains of what might have been the King of Dragons, or the Endless Shesha, or the Yellow Dragon at the center of all Life. It barely mattered, really, for whichever deity of immense power it was, it was no more than a carcass.

“Awfully rude to call me a carcass, no?”

The scribe stopped, pulling out their book. They bit down on their remaining thumb, then opened it on the last page.

They couldn’t remember when was the last time a second being was there to speak to them.


Standing among the endless void of a world without light, the scribe encountered what they would later learn was the Endless Shesha, or what remained of it. The behemoth was responsible for the passage of time. It was no wonder that time refused to move then, as what was one a serpent of gold and silver scales was now reduced to the mere skeleton.

And yet, despite its clear cease in life, it refused to give in, just like the scribe standing atop its vertebrae.

“How are you still here, if you are not alive anymore?”

“Have you forgotten your manners, child of the Devas? I might be not but bone, yet I still am the King of all Naga, He who recoils and allows time to flow. He who coils and allows time to fold into itself, swallowing existence through His mouth, keeping all Universe under His godly hood given by the most gracious of all.”

The scribe blinked, unable to answer. They… They had forgotten their manners, had they not?

They fell on one knee, head bowing down. “I’m sorry, great Endless Shesha, it’s been too long since I’ve spoken to… To anything, really.”

The earth shook with the strength of the most powerful earthquake, a rambunctious laugh coming from beyond reality itself. The scribe could not see it, but they indeed could hear how each of the bridges into infinity collapsed like dominos, one after the other.

The Great Shesha stopped cackling. “Of course it’s been long for someone like you, scribe. Time has been unforgiving to those who refuse to die, and even more so to those who did not refuse.”

The few scales He still had shifted and clicked, still glistening with the divine light granted to by the Great Vishnu. They gave the place a solemn look, the last tranquil bastion amongst the eternal stillness of everywhere else.

“Why have you not refused, scribe? I find it quite curious that someone other than He who must die last is still standing, dancing over the corpse of all that once existed.”

The scribe wouldn’t have described their journey as a ‘dance’, but such whimsy words were befitting of someone who even past death, still clung to eternal life. “There are still tales to tell, O Great Shesha. As long as there is a single man with a story yet to be written, I will not rest. That is the mission given to me by the ones above.”

“Is that so?” The serpent chuckled again, mountains splitting and volcanoes roaring, spewing their entrails into the night sky, finally reaching their demise. “I find that quite hard to believe, scribe.”

“Why?”

“Did I not tell you to mind your manners?” Ananta Shesha complained. “… Bah, it doesn't matter. You ask why, yes? Why, that is simple. You and I, child of the Devas… We are the last two to still




The scribe dropped their book, the still fresh blood leaving marks on the otherwise pale surface of the Great Shesha. They looked towards the endless horizon, the direction they assumed the head of the serpent was. They guessed right, as soon enough they discerned two orbs the size of the Sun that had gone out not long ago, dancing in unison many miles away.

“What… What do you mean we’re the last that still walk this Earth?”

“It means no more than what you might get at face value, child of the Devas.” The great serpent spoke, moving closer. Each vertebra shifted, the scribe almost losing their balance. Long ago, they would have been able to fly and keep their own balance thanks to robes given to them by the Devas. Once again, and like everything else, these celestial robes had gone missing ages ago.

“That’s- That’s just not possible.” The scribe shook their head, refusing to believe. “There must be someone left, some kind of-”

“How could anyone still be drawing breath, when there is no air to breathe? How could anyone still be moving forward, when time is standing still? How could anyone still be amongst the living, when even Me, who cannot die, is at death’s door?”

The orbs got closer, and closer, and closer, until their brightness became overwhelming. They did not burn, however, as the scribe expected: Instead, they focused on them. The scribe felt harshly judged: Perhaps they were.

“There is no story to tell, scribe, but yours and Mine.”

Finally, resolution. The words the scribe feared the most were spoken to them by one of the greatest beings in existence — the greatest being still in existence, if His words were to be believed — and yet, the scribe felt at peace. The last story to ever be told was right in front of them now. At least, that’s what the Great Shesha told them, and why would He lie?

An eternity of silence passed — which may as well have been no time at all — before Shesha spoke again, realizing the scribe had moved not a single inch.

“Are you encumbered by the weight of what little Dharma there is left in this world, child of the Devas?”

The orbs couldn’t possibly be bigger, and now that Shesha had gotten even closer, the scribe could discern the shape of His head: It was not a single one but thousands and thousands and perhaps even millions of tiny snake heads that mimicked the shape of a much greater being, holding two Suns on their backs, with a rusted crown atop each star.

The scribe had never met such an entity (And if they had, they couldn’t remember) so they stared in awe for a while. Soon enough, they realized they needed to speak again, so they spoke. “… No, I don’t believe I am, O Great Shesha. I am at ease instead, because there is yet a story to tell. My mission hasn’t changed.”

The Great Shesha laughed again, the scribe noticing the jeer was in truth the snakes shaking, rattling their spines against each other, their movements echoing throughout the massive bone structure that comprised the demiurge.

“So is your last story to transcribe my own?” The great serpent asked.

“What other purpose to our meeting could there be?”

The Endless Shesha laughed again. How long had He spent without a single creature to humor Him? “I can think of a few, child of the Devas, but very well. I’ll grant you a story.”

The scribe moved their hand to their mouth, ready for the bite, but the Serpent stopped them.

“Your left hand is already broken beyond repair, even more so than the rest of your body. How can a scribe write with no limbs?”

“How can I write without ink and pen?”

“You can’t.” Shesha spoke, then a snake spat a bird’s quill, another spewing a black liquid into a small container. “So take these, and finish what has been started.”















The scribe was taken to the center of the Universe by the Endless Shesha, who despite His stillness, still could fly faster than all known figures, for there was no concept that would stop Him; they had all perished.

As the scribe looked back at Earth, they saw the sadness of a discarded item, a dusty pile of grime finally collapsing into ashes, doomed to oblivion. And yet, there was still hope. As the stars shrunk and collapsed, and the Milky Way dried, the scribe saw a primal concoction of all that existed floating in space; all dead, but having the potential of life. Building blocks waiting for the correct architect.

Would there ever be one?

At the center of the Universe, there was a palace. It wasn’t a palace in the traditional way, but rather a construct built on the corpses of all worlds that had been, all worlds that still were, all worlds that would never be. Billions and billions of whitened corpses composed the palace. As they got closer and closer, the scribe realized the corpses were those of snakes, and they were still moving. The palace was part, or rather the entirety of the Endless Shesha, what came for them merely His head.

The scribe stepped into the main room of the palace, where a single table for two was all that wasn’t the color of dread. Instead, it was made of wood, dark mahogany that gave high contrast with the rest of the palace; the rest of what was left.

“Familiar?” The Serpent asked.

“Not really… Why do you ask?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Worry not.” He responded. They seemed somewhat disappointed, the scribe wondering if they had been here before. They ran a hand on the one item still standing on the table, a kettle made of jade, many cracks along its surface. It was empty, of course. No tea would be served that day.

“Child of the Devas, I have no chronicle to give. One’s life is as simple as it looks: I sing praises to He who’s molded all life, and wait for time to reach its end, like it now has. However, I do have a story, so ink your pen, and listen well. This will be Our last.”

The Great, Endless Shesha thus began His story.


There was once a Serpent who was born from Asura parents, the eldest of ten thousand million children. All His siblings were snakes too, and like snakes they slithered on the ground and sunk their fangs into the ankles of passersby, like all snakes do.

The Serpent found this repulsive, and wanted nothing to do with it. Why would the Serpent live by grovelling into the ground, biting innocent men? Why should this be His life? He refused to accept that this is all He could be. His brothers and sisters made fun of Him, and why wouldn’t they? To fight the very essence of being is but a fool’s errand.

And yet, despite it, He swore never to bite another being, and slithered to all sacred sites, no matter how far away they were. He visited the Great Mount Gandhamadana and prayed to Hanuman, he met with the affable Ganesha in Gokarna, and even meditated alongside Garuda atop the Himalayas.

After these many trips, the Serpent had been reduced to flayed flesh and broken bone, and yet He continued on, because He was sure He could be so much more than what He was. And His pleas finally reached Lord Brahma Himself, and He granted the Serpent a boon.

“What is it that you strive for the most, child of the Asuras?” Asked the Creator.

“O Great Brahma, I ask only to be separated from the destiny that has befell me for being born in the shape of a snake. I don’t want to hurt and poison. I want a different life.”

“Very well. What is the life you desire then?”

And to this, the Serpent had no answer. How could He know, if He hadn’t lived any life but His own?

“I know not what life I want, Great Brahma, but I wish not for this one. The life of a snake is repulsive and pointless.”

“No life is repulsive, and no life is pointless.” Brahma retorted.

“How can I know for sure?”

Brahma smiled. “You live a life that lives all lives.”

And the Serpent became The First and the Last, and was tasked with keeping the universe inside His hood, protected from non-existence. He became Immortal and Endless, and was tasked with keeping the balance of it all on His back. He became Shesha, and was tasked with overseeing all life's end, to ensure that life would one day be back.

“And that’s how this story began,” finished the Endless Shesha. “You should know by now how it ends.”

The scribe looked at the page they were writing on, noticing they were nearing its end. They turned to Shesha for but one second before flipping to the next page. They were met with the book’s back cover, a sight they’d never seen before.

“So what happens now?” Was all the scribe thought to ask.

“Nothing, really. We merely wait.” The Endless Shesha spoke. “Our story will end once you put down your pen, once the ink runs out, and then… And then another story begins. Because such is the cyclic nature of Everything.”

“Will that story be like this one? Will it end in nothingness?”

“That is how all stories end, yes. But all life is born and dies, and that means not that everyone lives the same life. As a scribe, this is a lesson you’ve learnt and have made others learn, no?”

The scribe stood silent. Lord Shesha was right, this was their purpose. How had they forgotten?

“At the end of all time, everything is forgotten. And yet, all remains, all evolves, all returns, and the cycle continues.” The Serpent spoke again, and then the scribe felt it in their heart, a calm unlike any other.

“It’s time.” The scribe says.

“It’s time.” The Serpent confirms.

“… Will it hurt?” The scribe asks.

“I wouldn't know.” Shesha replies.

The scribe looks down, giving the book one last glance before writing the last sentence.


The scribe closes the book, and puts its back in its rightful place, the last empty space on the shelf he’d just found, the shelf right next to his. He turns to the side, and sees an immense amount of shelves just like this one — just like his, all filled with books, not a single space left for another one. He turns to the other side, past his shelf, and sees a similarly vast amount of shelves. They were all empty.

He ponders his findings, then pulls out a journal of his own, writing down what he had just discovered. This too was a story worth writing.

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