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Planar Ephiphany [Short Story]
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Dusk’s eyes drifted across the endless plain of existence dully. She didn't know what to think. She didn't really know why she had come so far. She watched with mild interest as the entire universe she had once called home drifted off before her. Entire clusters of galaxies wove around each other in a beautiful cascade of lights. She wondered if there was a pattern to it, if there was a design. Or perhaps it was sheer chance. Just like the way she had been created. She looked down at herself. Her pelt was as dark as night, as dark as the void around her. She had always wondered why people were afraid of it. Evil they called it… because they couldn't see in it? Mortals… She hadn't noticed though, that it had taken a slightly brighter sheen, just barely lit by the distant, brilliant lights. Why did it do that? Maybe it was how powerful her psyonics had become.
That thought gave her a pause, pause to laugh. She laughed a meek laugh, to no one. Who was she kidding? She was nothing. A chill went down her spine as she felt something observe her. Out past her universe, far past the universes that huddled around it, and far past the systems they orbited, she felt something. As far as she could feel, as far as she could know, there was movement. She didn't know the words for it, there were none. Mortals just simply couldn't think so deeply as what she was observing. It was far more than motion, it was an intent to exist in a way something had not but a moment ago. Something so massive, and so ancient she couldn’t even understand it herself. Far beyond anything that had ever touched azeroth, the old gods, whatever. It was good, for that she gathered, as she had not been consumed, mind, body, and soul; whatever body she had anyways. It moved onwards, beyond her scope.
She thought again; time. Her thoughts drifted to her past experiences. She had done far more than mortals could ever hope to. She remembered, upon one distant world she met a people so ancient they had seen the day their sun had been born. They saw the day it died, and the day it had been replaced. She stayed with them; she had pretended to be one of them. She matched their looks, and their behaviors. But they knew… She tried to learn from them, and they tried to teach her. But so far she was from them that in the end she fled. Part of her wanted to wipe the place clean of them, so she might forget. But she couldn’t. Ashamed, she wandered the void again. She roiled with rage and embarrassment, and she wandered again. She touched worlds she had been to before, worlds where magic was but dead, worlds where magic was so tightly wound with reality, it could not be distinguished from anything else, but they brought her no joy.
It was then she touched on a new world. It was a gentle world, a garden of sorts. It was beautiful; there was nothing quite as beautiful as what she beheld. And it was there that she met the very thing that put her where she was at now, as it occurred to her. It was a living being, so pure, as untainted by violence and fear it was but the essence of joy. She watched the thing, and she seethed with hatred and jealousy. She stalked it, and when she finally felt the time was right she moved to snuff out its innocent life. When it beheld her, it felt no fear. It merely offered her an expression of love, one untranslatable to a dialect recognizable. She held back, and she receded. She left that world and wandered for what felt like eternities. She wandered between the cracks of existence, until she reached the very point she was at now.
It was then she wept. She wept for a long time. Only at the end did it occur to her, that time was not important anymore. She could have wept for minutes, days, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia, eons, she could have wept until the stars had blackened and their children littered the skies in their place. She then realized the importance of the next thing: she had stopped. She understood the importance of it, surely, and she thought. And she thought for a long time, just as long as she had wept.
She had always looked down upon her world with disdain. Of the one her sister had chosen for a mate, she had seen countless different versions. Some were identical, in different circumstances; others were similar yet radically different. She felt no attachment to anyone she had met. There were always more. She could have torn him asunder, and replaced him instantly, and her sister would have known none the better. Yet… Her sister chose him. And she was happy. Why? She pondered this so. Her sister didn't know, or understand yet. Perhaps she didn't care to. Her sister had a purpose…
Dusk clicked her claws together. Purpose... She enjoyed being happy. She strove for it. What was her purpose? Why did she wander? What brought her joy? The longer she thought, the farther she thought. And it occurred to her, finally. She would have to go very far away. Farther than mortals could fathom. Farther than she could fathom even herself. She needed to find purpose. Yet, the lingering mortal concerns still bound her, just slightly. She couldn't leave her mother without a daughter. She couldn't leave her sisters without a big sister. So she thought longer. The length of time she thought was in the end irrelevant. The idea came to her.
Her form drifted, she surveyed countless samples, materials, thoughts, lives, until she decided what she wanted. From the corners of her being she drew forth her essence. She whisked a bit forth, her memories, her passions; the very base of her being. Upon a very primal essence of life, the little bits of a fledgling universe she imbued herself. Just a whisk… She felt for the void and she tugged a little bit free. Like a blanket around a newborn child she wove the cloth of nothingness, and gave definition to what she was, and was making. She felt the crystal around her neck. She had drained so much from it that it had become more like her than what it had been before. She undid the physical matter of it, and breathed thought into the life before her. She observed what she had made, and frowned. She thought more, and nodded. She steeled herself, knowing it was potentially dangerous what she did. She wandered, and from a moon drew some if it’s spirit. She didn't bother to observe if she was opposed or not, the strength of the light burned her badly. Nonetheless she added the spark to her plan. Satisfied, she started to shape it. She shaped it with her thoughts, her fears, and most importantly, her hope. In the end, it was almost finished. Her… In the likeness of what she had been, not long after she had been born. There were but a few more finishing touches to add. To the night of her pelt, she drew in the starlight. Just a little bit. Her claws fastened around the necklace her mother had given her. The pearls had turned black since, but she remembered the cherished memories. She plucked one from the strand, and placed it inside the pup. As her work condensed, it started to feel, to think, and dream. She thought some more, quickly this time, and sealed the pup away. She sealed herself away. With her work done, she drifted back to her universe. There were a few more things to take care of. And for once, she was tired.
-I've known for a while that people have issues with Dusk. Why is she so powerful, why is she such a harpy, why is she (X). I've always understood, in my head, the greater concept around her, but for the first time I've truly been able to express it. This is her problem. This is why she does the things she does.
-I've only entailed a couple of the things she's done off-screen. There's far more that's gone on.
-Sometimes you just have an existential crisis.
It was an interesting read. Very
2001 Space Odyssey
feel to it. You had some very interesting descriptions, and described what was happening to her very well. Even though it was quite alien and surreal we still had a clear understanding of what was happening, more or less, and what she was doing.
The bit near the end was particularly interesting, how she formed her clone/offspring from the universe's existence about her. You described it very well, and I particularly liked where she puts mostly her hope in there, and then the pearls which she cherishes. It was sweet to see how she thinks that's important to her, regardless of how powerful she has become.
But, I don't think I really understand her motivation any more than I did before. It was hard to picture the scale of what was happening here, because Dusk began her journey already powerful in scope and strength, and so far removed that I can't really relate to what she's doing. She understands it, but I don't really. It was difficult to ground the narrative emotionally, and as a result, I felt like I was trying to understand a creature from Lovecraft.
Dusk is one of those characters that's hard to relate to, because we don't really have a full story. And I don't think we ever really will. There's just so much of her. She's more a force of nature than person. She doesn't have a purpose, but isn't really looking for one on Azeroth either.
So, good story. Very descriptive and surreal. Brings a bit of perspective to Dusk as a being, but not quite as much to her as a person as I perhaps would have liked.
I would say I tried to humanize her, but that's not quite the word for it. In the end, she is not human, she is not mortal. She's always been bound to a mortal viewpoint, and mortal standards, and it's only really starting to dawn on her that she is eternal. Her mindset started limited simply because that's where she came from. And now that she needs to grow, she's looking for more now. But to say she doesn't have a heart, and that she doesn't feel would be wrong as well. Her needs are just different.
And; with hints of shameful remorse: I haven't seen a Space Odyssey in so long I can't remember it.
There's a book as well. Written by Arthur C. Clark at the same time he and Kubrick were making the movie as an alternative to writing a screenplay.
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