The fog clears as Premmy and Achyron finally make it to the forest’s edge. The sunlight meets their eyes at last, as they look up and see the next - hopefully final - destination.
There it is: the top of the summit. If they squint, they can almost see it. There, atop the mountain, it is said that the game is remembered, that the game lives.
Only one way to find out. Only one reason to do it.
A chill runs down Premytheus’ spine. His instincts lead his right hand to generate lightning, his feet to a defensive stance. Despite the darkness, he knows - he is not alone. He grips the bolt tighter, ready to strike at the first sign of danger.
Quickly however, her realizes: it’s not fear that is overwhelming him in this moment, danger is not what he should anticipate. It’s something else, something familiar. The fog clears and Premytheus sheaths back the weapon as he sees who is approaching.
Could it be? A friend?
Walking through this village is different from the many before it. There’s something he can detect. It’s a rhythm, a drumbeat that gets louder and louder with each step he takes.
As our hero approaches each hut, those who reside open their windows. Inside each home, young people. Isolated still, yes. Afraid still, yes. But the beat grows louder, faster fiercer. They’re…dribbling?! They cheer on the champion as he walks through, they scream in anticipation of what he can and will help restore.
It was then that Premytheus knew for certain what he always suspected: The game never died. The love holds true.
Co-presented by PREMYTHEUS.COM, the latest episode of the Call To Arms Podcast features an NBA Preview with Mo Twister and sneaker talk with the Unboxing King himself, Jacques Slade.
Click here to hear the full episode on Spotify.
It’s easy to miss it, if you’re not paying attention. But this desolate plateau in the middle of a quiet city - this was once the epicenter of it all. This is where battles were won and lost, where tears were shed in victory and defeat.
It was under this broken dome that everyone hoped and dreamed to prove their worth; or at the very least bear witness to their warriors and scream their supportive cries from the stands.
Premytheus stops, looks up at the spot where nets once swished. He can’t build it all back, not right now, not just him. But a goal is enough. One at a time, starting with this one.
Premytheus lays his eyes on what he has long been searching for: a sign of hope. A light in the sky, a whisper in the wind - an answer to his desperate attempt to find others who once bore the mark, who once shared the love.
Premytheus sends the signal, he transmits the call. The message is sent, to no one in particular, and to anyone who’ll answer.
Somewhere in the ether, someone must hear, someone must see. They must.
There it is. Way above the streets and far beyond reach, atop a mountain of storeys and stories, the lights shine bright for a chosen few. The squeaks and bounces call out below, a faint illusion of the senses or could this be real?
For a single moment, Premytheus considers an instinct to enter this battle that looms skyward. Could this be real?
If the game lives, can our champion find it? Will the journey ahead lead him to this place, perched on a level that may not be for all.
With a final glance, Premytheus returns to the path to where the game has perished.
The journey is endless and lonely, its crushing silence and desolation bearing down on our champion. With each empty, forgotten place along the way, hope fades.
But as the path collides with the cold breaths of defeat, a faintly familar trove unexpectly reveals itself.
Once revered and celebrated by the game’s truest guardians, it leans almost frozen in time.
Moments meant to be immortalized, to be carried from a generation to another, lie broken and shattered in the chaos.
Someone else must remember. Someone. Somewhere.
Off in the distance, a dark, foreboding shadow looms large - a hollow, empty shell of where greatness once stood. Its proud pillars are bent and broken, its giant steps empty. This majestic shrine now stands in the silence of its own rubble.
As Premytheus approaches, he immediately remembers its storied past, one that came to a sudden end without its rightful ending. The highest honors were to be presented here - fitting crowns to the legacies of the most prestigious of champions. The loudest force of nature, the steadiest beacon of excellence, and the immortal master of the game were to be enshrined here among history’s greatest legends.
As the game’s sacred flame flickers, Premytheus must protect it for all those who continue to believe - wherever they may be.
In a version of the future, our world faces a void seemingly impossible to fill. The glory, the joy, the love - fading memories of a not so distant past, haunting those who struggle to hold on to them.
Its weight falls heaviest on the shoulders of one: the fire stealer, the lightning king. Our champion embarks on a new journey to an uncertain destination, with only one thing painfully clear:
The Game Is Dead.