This/The song of Arling Tor
Part n+1 - Ending
Much like the beginning, in the end, there is nothing. And nothing goes on forever.
If all beginnings spring from nothing, then where does the something come from?
- This is the end.
- Perhaps the nothing is likewise something.
- Words have meanings.
- This is only the beginning.
Midnight - the end of Arling Tor
Out in the black, lingeringly, the Librarian puts on her mask. There is time to tell all. The void is full of our stories. But death is a great silencer.
The purring is too constant, too loud to make out.
In space, in emptiness, things come together. Disparate tribes form communities and nations. Dust forms planets and stars. Junk sticks up under the hull. Sphinxes ball around the storytellers.
In a small pocket in the middle of what is effectively a giant, moon-sized wad of winged cats, two lingerers sit and think. The sphinxes watch them from all sides. They are sitting on sphinxes. Bertram has a sphinx on his lap. Coraline has a sphinx on her head. Occasionally the walls roil as the sphinxes rearrange themselves, but mostly the interior is just a solid expanse of fur and eyes and wings and whiskers and cute little cat noses crinkling softly in their general direction, filled with the overwhelming sound of purring.
"Good job," Bertram says through the noise.
Coraline glowers at him from under her sphinx hat, but the effect is dulled by her mask, strange and silvery and eyeless.
"Really," he goes on. "I'm impressed. I did not expect that when we destroyed the entire universe, this would happen."
"And yet here we are," she says. "Shall we?"
A sphinx drops down, but this one is more lumpy than furry. It jiggles in the dark, like jelly, like porridge, boneless and agile.
Bertram starts, recoiling slightly.
"Rasputin," Coraline says, the smile spreading across her face. "Welcome. Will you tell your story?"
Rasputin jiggles further, purring with a rumbling strangeness, and the bones of the worlds unfolds before them.