you’re shaking and trembling in his arms and you feel your body going—it’s a strange, indescribable feeling, dying. you’re crumbling. you’re turning to dust in his grasp, he won’t be able to hold on for much longer—you worry for him on his own, in the moment of your dying, when all you can taste in your mouth is a reflection of what you truly are, mud, clay, you worry for him. tears flood in your eyes, your vision becomes blurry and you reach up to run your fingers down your best friend's cheek.
"who would understand you after i die?"
you weep for him. you've told him time before, you are simply a tool for him to use when he pleases, and yet he calls you friend. friend, something so foreign to both of you, two individuals who had felt nothing but emptiness in much of their lives--and on your deathbed you still don't know how to process it. on your deathbed, as you felt yourself fading, you knew that you were maybe just one of gilgamesh's many treasures, surely he'd find something better. he'd move on. you hoped for it, because you couldn't bare to think of the person you loved the most to feel alone and abandoned.
you defied your orders for him. you stood up against gods for him. and you'd do it again.
besides, you weren't meant to last forever. you knew this to be true the second you came to understand the world around you. it was only a matter of time, but you were sculpted by the gods out of clay and mud and you thought you’d have more time. no amount of time would be enough, though, you’ve fallen ill to the greediness of humankind, you feel that ache of desire to not fade away like the dust you are becoming, i wish we had more time.
it shouldn’t hurt. and maybe it doesn’t really. death is inescapable, and you think maybe it hurts more because your mind tells you it’s supposed to hurt. humans die every day, by sword or knife, by sickness or disease, death is not pleasant. disintegrating is not pleasant either, but it’s the pain that tells you that your best friend will be alone that makes your heart stutter in your chest, it makes your limbs feel weak, boneless as you look up at that familiar face.
your best friend, who is a king of kings, you were made to destroy him, once.
but nothing lasts in this world.
he is like the fall of empires, magnificent and ferocious, he is like honey and sweet milk, he is a force that can either create or demolish, and he would grow more powerful by the day. so you were crafted, drawn from the earth by the god of gods and the god of creation, your parents, making you to stop gilgamesh in his path. at first, they created you without a soul. you were a being with only one purpose and yet you came to be in a world of nature, animals and silence. how could something as soft as you be a weapon?
you didn't know much of the world when you were created. you knew your surroundings, just barely, the spring leaves budding and flowering around you, the scent of the night's rainfall lingering in your nose, you were left to your own devices in the heart of the forest.
you didn't know much of the world in the sense that you had no idea the minds of humans, their violence, rage, their motivation and determination to gain power--you were wholly unaware of cruelty that plagued the world, slavery, murder, torture are all foreign concepts to you. what you know is the earth. what you know is how the ground feels when something is approaching, be it small or large, what you know is the songs of birds, their melodies echoing through the high treetops, what you know is serenity in all of its forms.
but you are naive, in your way.
built to eventually take down gilgamesh, you don't know how you're capable of doing such a thing. every so often, you find your feet lead you to the edge of the forest, overlooking a city--it's sumarian, uruk--you hear in the echo of the trees, a breeze through their leaves, and you find yourself backing away. a voice calls to you, you know not who it belongs to, but you have been gifted with amazing powers, the sea and the sky and everything in-between and yet you still felt so lost.
it's loneliness you feel. you don't know it at the time, you are unlike the other creatures of the forest, you can change your shape, shift to look more like them, more like the animals that surround you--you try to speak to them. conversations you have with them are limited, but it offers you some solace. for a brief moment, you don't feel so alone.
you were wild, untamed, you were at peace with the animals that you'd spent all your years so far with, but you had no rationality that led you to completing your duty of opposing gilgamesh.
you don't know how she came to you that first day, though, enchanting and delicate, shamhat--she whispered her name to you and you were captivated by her beauty. soft, long hair that flowed down her back, the way she brushed her hair back behind her ear and smiled at you, you were in awe. as the first and only human you'd seen, you found you wanted to be like her, she was your only example, and unbeknownst to you, your father, anu--god of gods, had sent her to you in attempt to have you learn of humans and impart on you a soul.
seven days and nights you spent with her, learning of humans, morphing yourself into a likeness of her, giving up your raw, unbound freedom for wisdom, knowledge of heaven and hell and the earth in-between--her unimaginable beauty was absorbed into your own, you remember the second she vanished, you remembered how the animals looked at you then, they were fearful, even as you stood before them, unclothed and wobbly on new legs like a young fawn. brushing long hair, green as the leaves around you, behind your ear, you could understand now.
you were never like these animals, not truly. and now? you were an image of a creature that would--could harm them, and they no longer felt a peaceful presence around you. loneliness. it's the first time the feeling has a word attached to it, and you pull on the clothing left by shamhat for you, plain and simple, and you wept.
it was then that you spoke your name aloud, for the first time ever, and it sounded like a whisper on your lips, enkidu--
you have never had so much clarity before. you no longer fear the city that for so long seemed like an unreachable destination, and uruk is home to gilgamesh, however when you find him for the first time, he is nothing but a child. there is no honor in fighting a child who can not defend themselves, you can not bring yourself to go after him. instead, you watch him as he grows, shifting in the darkness, you come and go and when he gets older, you are not surprised by his behavior. he was a kind child, bright and energetic and full of aspirations--and while that hasn't left him, gilgamesh is arrogant, he is ruthless, no one can get close to him and you understand. why would he act any different when brought up the way he was?
when he is older, you feel that connection with him strengthen. it's loneliness, again. he is lonely. he drives everyone away, he is powerful and commands respect where he goes, but people fear him, and he's given them no reason to think otherwise. you understand him, but you also understand why the gods want you to return him to them.
when the two of you meet for the first time, you are thrown into a fight together. epic, unyielding, the two of you are matched in every way, gilgamesh throws all he has at you, his vault of "treasures" emptying as the hours drag on, and you shift and dodge around him, any hit against you is healed back like clay being reformed, but you are weakened slowly but surely. at first gilgamesh is sharp, his tone aggressive as he calls you a "clod of mud"--the fight itself lasts what feels like days, and maybe it was. all you know is that the two of you come to an impasse, you both fall to the ground, and when you hear laughter coming from the blonde king, you can only echo the sentiment with a smile, your own soft chuckle soon to follow.
you held him above all others. above other kings and queens, above gods, and he treated you with the utmost respect. you wanted for nothing, you fought by his side and the two of you did whatever you could to make uruk a good and well resourced city, you fought humbaba, beast of the gods in order to protect the city from it--and you remember being impressed by gilgamesh's devotion to his city. these people, these humans who were deemed to be mongrels by the very same king, were being protected by him. he was so much more than people made him out to be, thousands of times more complex and you remembered the first time you told him you were his tool. like his other treasures in his vault, you were to be used accordingly, this would be your purpose, and it was the first time you'd heard the word friend leave gilgamesh's mouth.
it felt strange. friend. a creature like you, someone sent to carry out biddings by gods and kings, someone who surely meant very little in the grand scheme of things, had been deemed friend.
people who live together, talk together, fight together, are neither just people nor tools. they are friends.
you don't blame him. he didn't mean this. he chose wisely, and it is only fitting that you fall instead of him.
it still makes you cry, though. for you know that he will suffer more than you ever have. he will be lonelier in his life than you've ever been, will anyone else get close enough to understand him? to see him be vulnerable and kind and gentle and capable of affection? how can someone last so long being so alone?
ishtar had proposed herself to gilgamesh, and when she was denied, in a fury of rage she sought out anu, your own creator, your father, to release the bull of heaven to punish gilgamesh. your friend. and you? capable of only being killed by a god, fell. and it hurts. physically, mentally, it hurts to feel yourself being held in his arms and know that you could've served him better. longer, years into the future.
you helped to defeat the bull of heaven, but you were never supposed to last forever. you remember weeping that first night you came to understand your place in the world around you. you remember knowing you'd only get to see the beauty and wonderment of this world for so long.
you wanted to see the world with gilgamesh at your side.
and tears flow freely now, you don't want to leave him and yet you've never had a choice to begin with. and so like everything returns to the earth, you know you must do the same. you try to hold onto him for as long as you can. strength weakening, withering under you, you hold his hand and gasp your last breath of air, an echo of your loyalty still on your lips as you suddenly see nothing but darkness.
you only wish you had more time.