More photographic tricksy and writsy.
After the rumbling noise, I heard a great shifting noise, and it was quiet. I hung there beneath the cliffs edge, listening to the river below, until I eventually fell asleep despite my precarious, and painful, position.
When morning came I felt myself being lifted. Startled, I woke up and glanced around frantically. My savior was hard to miss, as he was taller and broader than even the great Vermillion.
You are both brave and foolish, little creature. Im sorry that you had to sleep the night there, but we were debating what had to be done to you. There have been many strange beasts around of late, and you cant be too careful, the creature, who appeared to be a giant snowman, said. Then, it set me down gently on the ground in front of it.
I have come to seek your aid, great one. I was sent by the ancient Vermillion, who said you would have answers. He said you were from the waterfall at the far end of the world.
The creature laughed, the ground shaking so tremendously that it felt as if it would rend apart. Little creature, Im sorry to disappoint you, but I am neither great, nor am I from the waterfall. I lack even a name in this world. To me, even you are old. I was brought here just recently, and my master, the one you seek, was kind enough to take me in and make me her guardian. Without her, I would be nothing. It is her that you must speak to.
Pray, can I see her then? I asked. It was impolite of me to be so forward, but I had been on my journey for many days, and Im afraid my manners had quite left me.
She has said that I was to bring you to her, but I must warn you not to pester her with questions. She will speak when you arrive, and you will wait for her to finish before you ask her anything. I will not see her treated with disrespect.
I will obey her every wish and command, if she can grant me the answers I seek, I said.
Then I shall take you to her.
Having said that, the giant snowman reached over and lifted me again, only this time he continued to raise me until I was perilously high in the air. I realized that my destination was not the island, but the mountain upon it, and on its pinnacle the snowman placed me, facing another feminine creature made of snow, and a giant block of ice with a strange design in it. This must be who I was sent to see. Heeding the warning of her guardian, I waited patiently for her to begin.
For a few minutes she did nothing but stare at me. Then she began to speak.
From my perch on this mountain, I can see much thats involved in this new world. I can see the top of the tree that is your home. I saw you leave that tree, and enter the island of Vermillion the Old, she said. I heard what was said between you, and I saw your journey across the island to visit me. I have waited for you here to see if you were strong enough. Were you unable to reach me, you would also be unable to continue your journey beyond what we will say here.
I too saw your home destroyed and built anew upon this new world. I too have been here from the beginning, brought in at the same time as Vermillion. From the opposite ends of the world we watched all. This, you know. Vermillion told you all that he could of the storm that resurrected you, and the tree people like you.
I know that, inside, your quest has become a search for a creator. You want someone to be behind everything involved in these creations. Im not sure that it is so. I will tell you what I know.
The storms originate at the heights of the waterfall, beyond even my vision. From my former home I saw many like you brought back from beyond. What lies at the top, I do not know. It is one force, perhaps you should think of it as a God, that moves the mountains and the peoples of the land. I have felt, and seen, this force move the continents themselves. If it is this force you seek, you shall surely find it at the top of the waterfall, and I will help you reach it, should that be what you seek.
However, if you seek your creator, the single entity responsible for your existence, then I cannot help you. For there is not one singular entity responsible for all that exists in this land. I can remember the hands that shaped me, the force that creased these lines in my flesh and put the head on my body. It was a beautiful thing, and powerful, but different in many ways from that which is responsible for what occurs in this land. Vermillion does not like to speak of it, but he remembers his creator as well. He remembers him as the force that forced the air back in his body. This force is markedly different from the one that crafted me.
Look inside this block of ice that I found during my travels on this mountain. Do you see? There is a tree inside, formed of tiny air bubbles. A tree just like yours. Do you suppose its possible that this tree was created by the same entity that created your home? I do. But I do not feel anything about this strange artifact that suggests it was touched by the same hands that crafted me.
So, which is it you seek?
I pondered the question. I didnt know. In a way, I was seeking both. I wanted the answers to what was behind the strangeness of this world, and my rebirth, quite badly. Did that also involve my creator? Could it? Was it possible that the force that now had control of my destiny had no hand in my creation, but rather merely took charge of me after the fact?
No matter what it was, I had to find out what was at the top of the waterfall. I missed my tree badly, but I would never be happy there again unless I could find out more about this world. My questions had to be answered, or they would torment me forever. For all I knew, there would be nothing but a piece of toast waiting at the top of the falls, mocking me. But if it was so, I would have to find out before I could rest.
I will go on, great one. Tell me what I must do, I said.
Once beyond this point, it will not be easy to return to your home. You do realize that after you leave this island, it may be the end of your life that waits for you atop the falls. Are you prepared for this? She asked.
Very well. My guardian will take you to the far end of this island. There, you will find another cliff, much like the one that you were trapped on when you arrived. Across this gap, in the middle of the sea, is a tiny island suspended on a great tall tower of metal. One of our kind was brought to this far outpost, at the very far end of the entry to this world. He is a snowman, as am I. You will have to call to him to bring him down from his perch, and because it will be late when you reach the cliff, I suggest you wait until morning to attempt this.
Whatever the power is that shapes this world, ripples of it reach this tiny island daily. Although it lies in the opposite direction of where you wish to travel, should you manage to catch one of these waves of the current, you will arrive at the far edge of the world far sooner than you could by taking the journey any other way. The creatures that live on the islands in that half of the world are older than even Vermillion; they are older than anyone other than them can ever know. It might be wise of you to see what they have to say about your quest, before you attempt to scale the waterfall.
The earth shook, and I again felt myself lifted. I was in the arms of he
r guardian, which I took to mean that our meeting was over. My journey would continue.
Was this really the last thing I would ever do? Was death really waiting for me at the end of this?
I didnt know.