Spreading Fire

He hears the song tossed by the desert wind up the craggy peak, coyotes in their maddening refrains. Above it all, he resides immune. The cold in the whipping breeze meets his skin in vicious tearing waves. Long ago, around his immutable body, his clothes had shrunk and withered, rotting away: not an inch of his skin was safe from the onslaught of the night air.

To the mountain the ageless Titan was bound with adamantium chains for his noble theft, and left a dinner to ravenous carrion birds sent daily at the rising sun. Alone in the cold, he listens to the howls, searching through the night for the warm glow of fire. He sighs, as one earthly star—like those of mighty heaven, their humbler kin residing in the dust, the work of men not gods—fights back the darkness. Here, O man, thy benefactor waits.

Overlooking the earth this night, his liver renews upon the sight: man still his fires burn. Over ages he sees his flame growing, at times he’s seen it flicker, evolving as man in imitation grasps what gods dare hide.

He foresaw it all, knowing the price he’d pay to see his creation thrive under heaven, to watch his children defeat the cold and dark. No longer living or dying upon the changing whims of Olympus, were they now as gods, masters of chaos and order. So they were free, as they were meant to be, to do good or evil not by the behest of tyrants, but each enlightened—each able to see in the night—by that democratic light.

Far away, the Titan shivers, rattling the segmented bands. Alone, Prometheus watches the fire he started, the flames blazing through history. He sees the ill and noble use, and knows freedom was worth this sacrifice.

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