"Many have come before you." The great beast told him in its rumbling voice that shook the ground beneath his feet. "And all have failed. But, come, brave fool; come and take your turn."
Alejandro steadied himself from the tremors and tightened his grip on the hilt of his sword. He had ventured long and far into the dark
Forest of the North, searching for the Beast of Legend; a
creature the elders of his village had told tales of since times gone by, so
ancient and massive that it was said to have existed since the dawn of time,
possibly even before that.
Like all the children of the village, he had grown up listening to these tales, filling his head with ambitions of adventure and glory. And once he had grown up strong and skilled, he had set forth on his quest to hunt down and kill the Beast.
It had been an arduous journey, filled with much peril that tested him to his very limits. Through poisonous swamps that robbed him of his strength, an expansive river which caused him to forget who he was and where he was heading, even a crystal cavern where he had come face to face with his own dark reflection.
Yet he had triumphed over all these trials and tribulations to reach the edge of the
Forest; to finally
arrive at the very and of the world.
The Beast spoke true enough though, on his voyage Alejandro had come across the remains of the many warriors that had come before and not made it as far as he had. This had filled his heart with pride and renewed strength, for he had come further than any had before; he had found the Beast and would triumph over it as well.
The Beast's massive head swung around atop its great, scaled neck and looked down upon the tiny man standing ready to strike on the ground so far below with its grotesquely huge eye.
It laughed and the world shook.
"I can hear your thoughts, boy." It rumbled amusedly. "And you are mistaken. It is not as if the others had not made it this far. It is that they came to realize what you shortly will. And, like them, the knowledge will drive you screaming in madness."
Alejandro's nerve wavered slightly; what did the great creature mean?
No, he thought, steeling himself once more, it was toying with him, trying to make him lose his resolve; but he would not break, he would not fail.
Before the Beast could muddle his mettle further, Alejandra leapt into action and charged toward where the huge creature's neck had erupted from the edge of the cliff that dropped abruptly at the forest's end.
With a fierce shout, Alejandro took a mighty leap and jumped onto the Beast's thick neck and ran up its long, curving slope, brandishing his sword and baring his teeth.
As he neared the humongous head, he hefted his sword above his own head, readying to rein deadly blows upon the old monster.
He then caught sight of the view beyond the Beast's massive form; beyond the cliff's edge, and it froze his heart and stopped him dead in his tracks.
For below where he stood upon the reptilian-like neck of the ancient creature he had come to slay, was nothingness.
No land far below, no rushing river being fed from a high waterfall, not even clouds or sky; only the nothingness of space that hung all around them, the stars and the sphere of the sun shining far off in the distance.
Alejandro looked back at the cliff's edge and saw that it was made up of the enormous form of the Beast; everything was. The land itself was riding on the back of the Beast's scaly back.
The truth flooded his mind and everything began to swirl as he lost his balance and slipped backwards, hitting the hard surface of the Beast's neck and bouncing off to fall, screaming out into the void of space.
His final vision, before his mind fell into the madness that was the abyss below, was of the entirety of his world floating above him in space as he plunged further and further away from it, into the darkness, and the Beast laughed its gravely laugh.