Author : Justin Permenter
The Earth was silent upon the Last Day.
The Great Mother, once resplendent in the verdure of youth, now wretched and barren in Her twilight, shuddered and trembled as tectonic forces slowly rent Her to pieces from within. She had outlived Her children by eons, the last of whom abandoned their matriarch more than seven billion years before Her demise. These wayward sons and daughters of Earth were destined to inhabit more than a hundred worlds across dozens of systems, expanding ever outward until, at last, they perished, the summation of all their dreams and fears and ambitions consigned to a mere footnote in the incalculable history of the cosmos.
And yet for a time, the Earth remained, keeping Her stoic vigil over ancient battlefields and forgotten graves. Entombed within the heat-scorched shell of their former dominion, the conquerors and vassals, executioners and martyrs of bygone epochs found in death the kinship which had so tragically eluded them in life. Inside this ossuary the bones of mankind now mingled with the dust of empires and oceans boiled away into nothingness beneath the relentless expansion of the Red Giant.
So it was upon the Last Day when, for the first time since the age of the pre-solar nebula, the Earth and Her patron star, the former progenitor and sustainer of all life upon the planet’s ruined surface, were drawn together once more into fatal contact by the adamantine power of gravity. A searing burst of light heralded their violent reunion. Geysers of white flame washed across the glassy exterior of the planet, a tidal wave of heat so intense that even ghosts fled before its mighty and terrible fury. The brittle crust, withered and decimated by millennia of crushing temperatures, dissolved almost at once, exposing the viscous mantle beneath.
From this moment onward the Earth would be forever conjoined with the dying star which had already devoured two of Her sister worlds. Almost two hundred more years, a measure of terrestrial time whose meaning had long since been lost, would pass before the last molten elements of the planet’s core yielded to the weight of Her own mortal destiny. Then, having expended every last measure of resistance, She succumbed to the inferno with the groan of a great wounded beast, resigning the orphaned spirits of Her progeny to wander the vast and pitiless emptiness of space until the coming of the Cataclysm which would bring an end to all things.
Thus was another verse added to the elegy of the ages, the ghostsong which echoes throughout the chasm of the universe, the lamentation of races and civilizations displaced by the ravages of celestial time, and of the worlds which they once called Home.
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