It took many generations before they saw their effort rewarded. The people of the Algenian race had suffered through great hardship. Their god had given them a land that was harsh and merciless.
Yet they had managed to survive.
Despite infertile crops, wave after wave of unexplained plagues and severe weather, their people had managed to prevail. Each time their race was near extinction, the Algenian people would make sacrifices to their god and pray not for good fortune or happiness, but merely for survival.
Time after time it had been granted.
Never had the Algenians questioned their god. Never had they wondered why they were not blessed with more or why they were made to worry that their children may be the last of their kind. They simply worked and thanked their god for the mercy he had decided to show them.They worked long days and nights to prepare for the days when their god may not be so merciful.
And so, with The Great Flourishing came much rejoicing. The Algenians were certain that their hard work and their tireless faith had finally paid off.
They multiplied. Their population rose steadily for many an era. Although they sometimes feared their numbers were increasing too quickly, the food was rich and plentiful. They had all they could desire. No Algenian was left hungry.
Their domain spread. As they pushed out past their previous boundaries, they discovered land they had never known existed. The countryside turned a lush green as they cultivated it. It seemed as if the worst was behind them. Every one of their kind believed that this was a golden age with which they had been blessed. It seemed that it would never end.
But that which takes generations to achieve can be lost in an instant.
The plagues which had come before in their history had decimated their population, but had always left them with enough to rebuild. This time, something was different.
When it began, the greatest Algenian minds met to try and face the threat. Their race’s success had resulted in advances in science and medicine. They were sure a cure or at least an answer to the plague’s origin could be determined.
“Knowledge will guide us to a solution,” they said.
But their research and their calculations made no difference. The plagues raged on. They swept swiftly across the land and took many lives. More lives than ever, perhaps because there were now so many to take.
Meanwhile, the clerics rallied in their temples. Prayer, they claimed, had delivered them to their current level of success and it shall see them through yet another challenge.
“Our god is a loving and merciful god,” they insisted. “Our fruitfulness has led him to think us spoiled. He demands greater sacrifice from we, his children.”
And sacrifice, they did. Livestock was slaughtered. Possessions were burned and destroyed.Eldest children were sent out into the wastelands alone, mothers knowing they would never return.
But this, too, changed nothing.
For a long time, the Algenia watched their people suffer. The multitudes that had once occupied their sprawling nation had been eradicated. The few that were left in the end knew the end was inescapable.
On one fateful day, the final living member of the Algenia race lay down on the barren, sterile ground where great fields of green had once been. He looked skyward and saw in the clear, burning bright sky, the blurred silhouette of a great being. He cared not if he truly saw it or not.With his last breath, he shouted toward the being in the heavens.
And then he passed. His question left unanswered. His people were no more.
“Did you say something?” Harriet asked Keith.
"Just saying how I never thought I’d get it clear again," Keith replied as he leaned over the side of the pool and peered into the water. “Remember how green it was last week? I suppose that algaecide stuff really was better than the bleach.”
Keith then began to unscrew the plastic cap over the drain. “Guess it’s time to drain her ‘til next year,” he said.