Atlas [ Chapter 13d ]
Atlas clutched his chest as a sickening pain crept into it and made him retch over the railing of the Ísganz. It shouldn’t be the sea sickness since the strong and yet soft stream of the mighty Giranja didn’t fold in waves that much. Sure, there was some swaying every now and then, as one would expect in such large a body of water, but hardly enough to make one sick, and Atlas hadn’t noticed any proneness to become queasy in himself before. His vision blurred slightly, then everything changed.
It was a starry but otherwise dark night, and besides the rushing water around them and the creaking of the wooden boards, no noise disrupted the soothing silence. But suddenly there was light. At first flashes that painted cruel, hungering phantasms out of Atlas’s shadow, lit palely across the northern sky. He turned around slowly to make out the source, and the closer his field of vision came to what lay behind them the slower his head seemed to turn, until finally he could view the now distant city they had departed from merely hours past. In the sky above it there were strange, bright orbs, growing in number, randomly dispersed. As Atlas turned, he suddenly heard their sound too, maybe because the light had been faster than the sound, like it was during a thunderstorm with far-away lightning. It was a thunderous crackle, much reminiscent of the sounds he had heard when Miyako Fluxum had appeared underneath the very ground he had been standing on. Jets of white and blue flame sprouted from the orbs, connected some of them together, then the city lit up in grounded clouds of fire, pyroclastic, cataclysmic, an explosion with the magnitude of a thousand typhoons, incinerating and carbonizing every animal, every person, every last brick in one grand blaze that turned night into day and then day into black as the light burned Atlas’s retinas.
He felt the dying breath of hundreds of thousands of souls, snuffed out like candles, disembodied in the blink of an eye. And as he slowly toppled over, finally reached by a thundering boom, oddly removed from the grotesque picture of utter annihilation, his mind went black as well. He fell to the deck unconscious, struck down by the resonance of pain caused by the nature of his being, and the city of Arkatrash was gone and nevermore…