Sunday, September 13, 2015

39: The Bringer of Light

Will came back to himself, incarnate, sitting alone on the floor of the central chamber of the Skeinhall.  He did not want to open his eyes again.  He wanted to simply sit there and feel himself slowly expire, then to somehow anchor his soul within the STYX until it eroded away to nothing.
All of that time, every moment since Earth, spent seeking answers.  Trying to discover what I was.  Trying to recover memories of a life that, as it turned out, I’d never lived.  Wondering, all along, what made me special.
Well.  Now I know.  Nothing worthy in me was the product of my own effort.  Every single positive quality I possess, mental or physical, is the product of design.  I had no mother, no father.  I was not born, but built.  Not even my thoughts were my own. 
What sort of person must I have been?  No sort of person at all.
Every waking moment of my afterlife has been spent as…a puppet?  No not even as that…as a camera…for alien observers.  For the Rel Dega.  The memories came washing up, unbidden…the gory scene on Greta’s Bluff, and how he’d hated himself for needing to see it.  I imagined that I had a monster in my head.  I gave it an identity and a personality.  Or so I thought.  But I was wrong.  The monster in my head was real all along.  I didn’t create it.  It created me.
More memories.  His recall of them was perfect; how could it be otherwise, when he had been created to see and to record?  Emily, in the cave, revealing her secrets .  How he’d soaked up them up.  She feared she was sharing her secrets with a man, with an enemy.  But who was she ACTUALLY sharing them with? And what was it in me that wouldn’t let her stop?  That told me to lie to her?  That would tell her anything, just to keep her talking?
I betrayed her.  I betrayed them all.  Will wanted to die.  And that was the pure hell of it.  Because he knew that dying wouldn’t do him any good.  Dying would just start the whole cycle again.
There was a dull, thudding pop, a whiff of brimstone.  Will finally opened his eyes, and had to shut them again immediately to ward off the glare.  Before him stood a being composed entirely of fire.
Fear not, it said, his soul chiming to the sound of its voice.  I bring you tidings of comfort and great joy.  Your efforts have succeeded, Will.  You have redeemed my people, and restored your own.
Will squinted at the thing, but the sight of it was like a dagger in his brain.  “Refi:Sül,” he croaked.  “The Lightbringer.”
That is correct.  And it is because of your work, Will, that enlightenment may now be achieved.  The STYX is removed.  Even now, the Seraphim, the people of the ten directions, are en route to the open Earth.
But Will wasn’t really listening.  “It was you,” he said.  “It was you, among the Rel Dega.  In my memory.  It was Mich:Ael and Gabr:Iel who…who designed me, who made me.  But it was you who made me see the skein.  Their copy of it, the machine they used to make me…and this one, the true skein, the one in this chamber.  You gave me that ability.  You put that in my head.”  He sucked in a long, dry breath.  “And it was you that sent me to Earth.  They were going to…I don’t know…do more work on me.  But you jumped the gun.  You sent me to Earth before they were finished with me.”
Yes, Will.
“How did you even get access to me, though?  I thought you said you weren’t one of them? ”
The Rel Dega are a rogue element within the Seraphim.  For a time, I pretended to be one of them.  On behalf of the Grand Council of the people of the ten directions, I infiltrated their organization.  But I was never truly one of them, Will.  I worked not to promote their corrupt designs, but to subvert them.  And you were my greatest triumph, Will.  You were the crucial tool that I denied them, and turned to the greater benefit of our race.
“A traitor amongst the traitors,” Will mumbled.
If you like.
 “Who are the Rel Dega, Refi:Sül?”
I have told you.  Traitors.  The enemies of enlightenment.
“They told me not to go into The Light.”
That is unsurprising.  And in that respect, they were…not unwise.  You might heed that advice.  Have you not had enough enlightenment to last you a while?
“Why would they do that, though?  What was it you said?  The Light is ‘perfect union?  The end of all suffering?’  Why would they oppose that?  Why would ANYONE oppose that?  Why would they oppose it so strongly that they became outcasts from their entire species?”
There was a short pause.  It is…complicated.
Will gritted his teeth again.  “I know I’m an idiot, Refi:Sül.  A mere worm in your presence.  I know that I’m entirely incapable of understanding the vast mysteries that are so evident to the people of the ten directions.  There’s so, so much that I don’t know.  But you know who I am…or…what I was designed to be.  You know that I am incapable of leaving a question unanswered.  So all I can do is abase myself…”  He prostrated himself on the ground before Refi:Sül, “…and beg of you, the superior being, to grant me this boon of knowledge.  Why do the Rel Dega oppose enlightenment?  Why don’t they want me to go into The Light?”
There was a long pause.
You ask a great deal of me, WillYou ask for knowledge never yet granted to a human being.  And yet…there is justice in your claim.  You have demonstrated your independence from humanity, and your subservience to the Seraphim.  And if you are to serve us further, you must be made aware of the grand design.  Another pause.  But are you sure this is what you want?  Not all knowledge brings pleasure.
“Believe me, I’m well aware of that.  Please tell me anyway.  What is enlightenment, and why is it wrong for me?”
            The Seraph drifted towards Will, overwhelming his senses, an extradimensional inferno. 
It would be better, I think, if I showed you.  Prepare yourself.  An arm, or tendril, of some sort emerged from it, a pseudopod of smoke and flame, stretching out towards his face.
As Will’s awareness faded, he thought,  I can handle this.  I just discovered that my entire past was a lie, and that I’ve been a puppet dancing on the strings of alien masters for my entire existence.  No knowledge could be worse than that.
How little he knew. 

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