Meditations on the Origins of Life
The Primordial Chaos: a roiling mass of the elements of life in their rawest form. Each competes for supremacy, for command, for control over the wasted lands and seas and vast and open skies of that realm of chaotic form.
How anything could live in such a domain said a great deal about its makeup, its very essence. Auden, Servant of the Aether, looked down from the Great Balcony in the City of Argent with a questioning mind.
How could anything live in that tumultuous realm? From Takara, he learned that an entire race of elves, the People, the Rhem, had been forced into the great chaos along with their master, the Chaos Dragon Ashardalon. Those elves that survived their two century imprisonment – a mere drop in the bucket in the lifespans of such creatures – were twisted. Malformed. Forever after their progeny, of which Takara was one, grew in pained process.
Creatures originating in that realm…must be far, far worse. Titans and Giant races, Salamanders and Djinns, enslaved dwarves and other beings of raw, elemental form. Each was the expression of the Primordial Chaos into the Material worlds of the consciousness of that realm. Each creature represented the Chaos itself trying to understand why all else was not as it is, not as it could be. Why did life require order when elemental disorder served so well?
Auden closed his eyes in meditation and sighed, breathing in the horrific scents from that tragic realm. Burning ash, boiled ice, upturned and salted earth – combinations of the Chaos’ expression of pain.
Auden’s mind drifted, then, towards the greater realm.
“It is beautiful, brother.” A voice, Kacper, logical, rational, controlled – the opposite of the Chaos incarnate. Auden could feel him elsewhere on the wall, observing the same infinite act of creation and destruction and their minds had linked.
Yes. It was beautiful. But not in the way that Kacper felt.
Auden felt the Aether as clearly as he saw the Chaos and he knew it was changing. He was changing. Inside, he could feel the logical progression from one stage to the other.
“It is beautiful, yes. The Aether is changing, my brother Kacper. Each twist of your artifact. Each turn. Interacts with the portal you carry, interacts with the world and the multiverse and everything, even I, shifts.” Auden spoke in a voice full of life. He felt his brother’s confusion, felt the transcendent knowledge enter the other’s mind and he knew…
…it did not seem to make a difference.
“Yes, my brother Auden. The Equation is immaculate. I understand now that it shifts and turns at my command. The feeling of power is uplifting, overwhelming. Transcendent.” Kacper stared with empty eyes into the future of all life. Auden felt his need. His desire.
HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND HIS POWER. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT IT AFFECTS…ALL.
Auden’s eyes slammed shut and his brain felt as if it would explode. Each time the Aether spoke to him he felt his physical form pushing out, testing the boundaries of reality, aching to erupt in carnal pain and pleasure.
YOU UNDERSTAND. YOU FEEL. YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE OPTIONS. YOU, MY AVATAR UPON THE JEWEL OF ALL PLANETS, YOU UNDERSTAND.
Was it truly the Aether’s voice? Was the sound within his mind the real power of all life and death? Auden was skeptical, but the power…the power was beyond all understanding and he felt it in his very blood.
If it was false, it was so close as to nearly be true. Auden knew that the decision to trust must be his own.
His mind had touched that of Kacper’s and he understood the future that could unfold.
Auden had two choices. Two clear, defined futures – paths on which to walk.
Ally with Vigho, the man they believed to be their Enemy. Convince the Company to serve his cause and bring order, control, and deliverance to Rh’Tea and all life in the Multiverse. Become the Aetheric God of Rh’Tea – the physical Aetheric form upon the world. Master of all.
Or destroy the Archlich. Join with the Multiverse itself, possibly at the cost of his own life, memories, and existence. That path suggested disorder, chaos, and pain. That path ended in a blinding light that Auden could not pierce. That path ended with everyone he ever knew, ever would know, dead, in the end.
What was the ultimate goal?
What did that power beyond all gods at the center of …everything; what did it want with him, such a meager vessel? What must he do?
Where did the Aether wish him to go…?