The shaman sighed, setting down her staff, adjusting the knife she wore on a belt around her waist and sitting on the dirt floor of the fire-warmed thatch hut, ready to tell her story to the little children seated around her. It was her favorite story about the past.
“Once beyond our time, there lived gods. More than eight billion of them.” A murmuring arose through the gaggle, wondering how that could possibly be. “It was a world that had grown poisoned, detached, depraved. For in that time, animals just like us built massive metal and glass and stone masses that they called cities.” Her voice was melodic, smooth as a prowling leopard in the night. “Those grand places are gone now, but their ruins remain. Ngele, Ranci, Eijin, Rusale, Anber. Their palatial cities were centers of commerce and trade, constructed of the finest materials and each of them housing more of us than there are in the entire world today. They lived in massive towers that scraped the