499, Part 2

You will be the last to go out.

One by one, the candles in the circle around you flicker, dim, and die in they were lit. With precise craftsmanship, you made them with your own hands to be identical in every way. Each one represents a week’s labor. You feel a dash of pride as the sequence, once again, continues on its clockwork course around the circle.

As each flame goes out, its energy passes to you. You feel the surge in your heart, like a brief spike of adrenaline. You cultivate that energy. It purifies you and heals you.

Each candle is another year. As the last one’s death casts the room into darkness, you feel the weight and the ecstasy of five more centuries before you. As you have before, and as you will again in another five hundred years.

You have lost count of the number of times you have conducted this ritual. It is as much a part of you as food and sleep. You sometimes feel that you have more in common with these candles, constructed identically from age to age, than you have with the people of this new time. But, in the end, they will pass on and you will remain.

You will be the last to go out.