The Rings of Power
By Jack Random
The voice of an ancient sorrow came to me in a feverish dream. His face was marked with worry, his eyes bore endless wisdom, his tears were my tears and I recognized his grief. I knew this man. He had come to me before. So long ago I had to summon his name from the hollowed chamber of things forgotten: Song of the Wind.
He wanted to tell me about the future but his words came hard, stuck in his throat, like a dolphin in a fisherman’s net. He offered me the pipe of dreams and I accepted.
We walked on a little traveled trail in a forest of tall trees. The wind was crisp and nourishing. The scent of pine and moss-covered stone was comforting. The sky was clear, then clouded, then dark, but it was not the moon that glowed behind this darkness; it was the burning sun.
I rose above the trees, above the clouds, the smoke and haze, and a vision was revealed to me.
I saw deep caverns and whole mountains of poisonous waste, humankind’s gift to the bowels of mother earth. I saw the poisons spread, like bulging rivers finding their way through canyons and crevices of dry land. I saw eruptions of fire, liquid stone and ash from the four corners of the earth. I saw wars in distant lands grow and spread until they found their way back home to their beginnings. I saw flames dancing in the sky and clouds of unspeakable terror. I saw monuments to human grandeur, the towers of ancient Babylon, crash to the earth.
I heard the searing cry of mothers as they cradled lifeless babes in their arms. I saw fathers that would never be, their blood filled eyes crying vengeance. I saw children in arms, joining the armies of their brethren.
I watched the glaciers collapse, the oceans rise, and the waters encroach upon the land. I saw pestilence and disease choking the forest, sickening the wildlife and all living things. I saw the madness of desperation rampaging through ghost towns and cities in chaos. I saw the voices of elders fall silent in despair. I saw old, withered white men in smoke filled chambers, plotting profits on the fall of human civilization, building walls, raising mercenary armies, and erecting fortresses to protect their wealth, to ensure their places at the table of almighty power.
I saw the end times and the earth reborn in the image of corruption. I saw the rebirth of slavery. I saw mass genocide to crush rebellions, to stamp out hope, and to erase the memories of those who still recalled a land of liberty.
I returned to my body covered in cold shivering sweat, tears fresh in my eyes, and I remembered the only words the wise one had spoken:
The lords of avarice have regained the rings of power.