By the Gods... this.. has to be one of the homes.. of ASHING. It's.. marvelous..
The Exploration of the Cave
"Hot" and "Cold," How does such powerful magic be contained in two little knobs?
The Meeting of the Mentor
You must have faced a great amount of pain..
John explores the God Tower he used to escape from the pack of wolves and finds himself into a room covered in "riches" and "magic" of all sorts.("Ah, what riches!...The great windows that looked over the city had not been broken at all though they were dusty and streaked with many years...There were pictures upon the walls, very strange, very wonderful.") John infers from all the oddities around him that, the God who once lived in this place must have been extremely powerful and a very wise being. ("Within, there was a place of great riches. The god who lived there must have been a powerful god...Everywhere there were books and writings, many in tongues that I could not read. The god who lived there must have been a wise god and full of knowledge.")
So, this is what became of the infamous "Gods." This where we started from..
John begins the exploration of the Room, learning slowly of the magic these Gods once had; Mechanical Ovens,("There was a cooking-place but no wood, and though there was a machine to cook food, there was no place to put fire in it.") Oil-less lamps, and two objects named, "Hot" and "Cold," Which didn't feel either or. ("a thing said "Hot" but it was not hot to the touch—another thing said "Cold" but it was not cold.") John feels and imagines that the Gods who once lived here, had once beautiful, and magical city that. ("I thought to myself "This is strong magic" and trembled...then my eyes grew used to the light and my ears to the sound. I knew that I was seeing the city as it had been when the gods were alive.")
The Long Road Back
My Son! I see you have re-
Dad, the Gods are men like you and me.
John encounters our climax of the story, the meeting of the mentor, when he discovers the body of one of the Gods that once lived in the apartment, He takes to notice that there is something in the God's face that replicates sadness and even wisdom, as he stares out the window to the fallen city. ("He was sitting looking out over the city...I could not tell his age. But there was wisdom in his face and great sadness.") It was then, John knew that these "Gods" were as a Man as he was, and this Man in particular, sat and watched as he saw the city he once loved, rise up in flames. ("You could see that he would not run away. He had sat at his window, watching his city die—then he himself had died. But it is better to lose one's life than one's spirit—and you could see from the face that his spirit had not been lost")
Return with the Elixir
They have fallen, and its now our turn to pick up the pieces. This is our time now, we MUST rebuild.
The awakening of a new truth in John as he begins to take one more look at the scenery around him, noticing that all that was told, was only from the imagination of the men from the village, only to protect the dark future. ("That is all of my story, for then I knew he was a man—I knew then that they had been men, neither gods nor demons. It is a great knowledge, hard to tell and believe. They were men—they went on a dark road, but they were men.") (" 'Father, they were men! I have been in the Place of the Gods and seen it! ' ")
John makes the perilous journey home, no longer afraid of the wolves or even the forest people, ("I had no fear after that—I had no fear going home, though twice I fought off the dogs and once I was hunted for two days by the Forest People.") and finally arrives home to his father, with his new knowledge from the [once] Place of the Gods. John then decides on telling the village on what his findings were, but his father tells him otherwise. ("I told and he listened...I wish to tell all the people but he showed me otherwise. He said, 'Truth is a hard deer to hunt. If you eat too much truth at once, you may die of the truth.' ...Perhaps, in the old days, they ate knowledge too fast.")
John realizes the Elixir that they've been looking for the whole time, has been them.("Perhaps, in the old days, they ate knowledge too fast...there are books and the writings. They are hard to learn. And the magic tools are broken—but we can look at them and wonder.") He realizes that his purpose besides being a priest is to lead and begin to rebuild what has fallen. To re-teach what was forgotten and to wonder and observe the mistakes they [Gods] had made and learn from them. It was John's turn to start the next chapter for Humanity. ("the gods Lincoln and Baltimore and Moses. But they were men who built the city, not gods or demons. They were men. I remember the dead man's face. They were men who were here before us. We must build again.")