At the base of the mountain sat a temple, covered in moss from solitude. A solitude so lonely that even the rocks and the trees around it do not understand it. This temple sat for many seconds of eternity, alone and uninhabited, until one day it was discovered by an immortal man. The man had walked through the dense trees and vines until he stumbled upon it by what he thought to be chance (though any knower of things realizes that there was no chance about it). For a time, the man sat too, contemplating the world around him. He would walk through the empty hallways, and observe how the walls would echo back to him.
And for a time, the temple felt happy, until the time came for the man to leave. He built a great fire from moss and leaves and tinder that were scattered about the temple. The fire heaved and burned hot, and spread wildly like an unchained animal, searching out every crevice of the temple until it finally subsided into a deep sleep. For the first time in ages, the temple was clean. But the temple was also sad, because it was once again empty. And long after the dust had settled, after the wind had taken the ashes far away, after the vines had come to reclaim their territory, The Purifier came. He came like a demon, with all his disciples. They harnessed the temple, and it became the center of their world.
The temple felt happy, at least, it thought it did. It had been cleansed again, and the people gave it detailed attention. They built pillars and statues just for it. They broke down old walls and rebuilt it brick by brick, so that it was bigger and stronger than before. They remade it so much that the temple could scarcely remember the man from long ago who had come into the hallways and made them like a home. Until one day he returned.
The temple saw the man step through the trees in amazement. The smile across his face was more of surprise than of joy, and he walked slowly up to the temple. Up it’s numerous golden stairs until he reached the main entryway, which had been had been redesigned larger and more grand than he remembered it. He saw the new tiling, and could almost hear the roar of the statues on either side as he walked past. The people looked at him in both awe and in fear as he walked through the halls—really much more like corridors now. Eventually, he came before the main room, which too had been made more lavish, and looked upon where he had sat and meditated. Instead, before him sat The Purifier, demonic and powerful, in a throne constructed of a gold so vibrant that the man had to shield his eyes to speak.
The man and The Purifier spoke for hours, sometimes shouting, sometimes so quietly the temple could hardly hear them. Of course, the temple did not understand what they said, but she could tell that they were at odds with each other. For days upon days they spoke, the man standing, and The Purifier in his throne, until finally there was a heated silence, and The Purifier rose slowly to his full height, with a grim anger on his face. He pointed at the man, and from him burst forth a flame deep blue and hot, and it engulfed the man. There was a single tear that rolled from his eye as he was burned black to ash, and he looked at the temple with a sad smile, until finally the flames subsided and there was nothing left of him.
The temple became enraged, and shook violently, and implored the mountain above her to help bring her freedom. She realized now she had not been brought kinship, but instead had been conquered; that she had been brought from ruin to ruin. That it was not for her that these people cared, but only for themselves. And the mountain granted her wish, and erupted in smoke and molten lava. The mountain choked the people, and burned them to ash, like The Purifier had done to her friend. The Purifier ran to the top of the temple, as if to escape the ocean of death around him. But the tide was rising now, and it chased him up the stairs.
The Purifier turned to the mountain amazed, but not frightened, and he said something that was passed along by the birds, to the lions, and all the way through the world to me. This he said:
“In fire I was born, and in fire I will die. But it will not be at your hands, it will be at my own. One last, beautiful purification.” And then it is told, that as the lava reached the last steps, The Purifier put a hand to his chest, his fingers tensed against his heart, and closed his eyes for a moment. Then, he ignited, and exploded into a spectacle of red and white, before being carried off with the wind. The temple screamed, enraged and pained with sadness. That it would be known that the last victory could not be hers. She sat there again, for years to come, as the mosses came back and the ashes gave way to new growth, and waited, in solemn silence, until inevitably another would come to take her again.
– The end
*A quick note, I don’t own this image, it appears to belong to the wiki.guildwars site, but I cannot find an artist to credit the work to.