9000 BC by Benyan Ali Sinjin
Floating above an expanse of depth, slow with ease; soaring lightly over immense darkness. Body flowing free from the hold of gravity. Where every cold touches - touches cold everywhere. Skin brushing; slick and smooth rushing flicks of body; arms churn, and hands clutch. Muscles pull rapid strokes - as the surface above glistens with reflections: refracted in black, white, gold and aquamarine.
Gliding forward, hands puncture the mirrored light of playful shade, then break through into the brightness of day. Cascade-laughter erupts in all head-shaking directions.Fiery sparks of sunlight and water explode the air: Scattering with a bejewelled shattering. Erupting iridescent in a tree of light that slowly falls. . . glitters. . . shivers. . . into illusions of summer-rain.“Praethos! Praethos! Come and look!” sings a voice, shrill with thrills. A dark head of wet hair turns to see who calls him from his comfortably suspended position; cold in the ripples and gently swirling sounds. A boy, dressed in a simple white robe and sandals, waves his arms furiously and calls out again “Praethos! Praethos! Its Them! They have arrived!” before turning, and clambering up the dark grey rocks; and finally vanishing over the top. His voice leaving a trail of “Praethos!” fading away behind him in the sunlight.
A deep breath fills his lungs.Quick, a burst of kicking erupts at his feet, and Praethos arcs his body beneath the dark surface. His limbs work decisively, cutting the sensual biting of the icier inversion layers lower down. Further into the abyss he descends in purposeful sweeps from strong shoulders.Then his body slows and arights itself; eyes squinting through the bubbles and the shadows, and the hints of sunlight.He notices a familiar hole in the rocks, from where a dim wavering glow of light emanates - and his arms move him powerfully towards it. Body, bending and arcing with every timed stroke and kick, until he is through the hole, along the faintly lit tunnel, to its end.
He surfaces inside a chamber carved out of black rock; inhales the cool air with desperate relief; and finds his way to a set of carved steps, in calm even breast-strokes; hardly rippling the encompassing surface of blackness.His naked body rises out of the water - feels the slippery moss between his toes on the uneven stone floor, then walks through a wide clear-lit corridor. Up a long flight of well-spaced stairs he moves, into a room which is warmed by the natural light of the Sun shining its way through a large open walkway. Following the allure of its honeyed warmth, Praethos walks out onto the stone balcony which is suspended high over a dark and lush valley. With the sound of a soft-roaring waterfall, echoing its thunderous chorus in the background, he notices the large oval shape of the Airship with its six curved and ribbed sail-wings, some distance away.
It makes its way up the valley, skimming the tops of the taller trees. Black and silver colours flicker on its surface, playing games of deception with his vision in the reflecting sunlight.A large ship this one: about three-hundred foot long; and its broadest pair of sail-wings give it about a four-hundred foot wingspan. It bares the gold and red emblem of the Sun on it's sails.These are certainly the Sun-Priests from Tillawanda arriving two days ahead of schedule. They must have had favourable winds; and certainly good sunlight as well, for the single large propeller that helps drive the ship forward, is spinning fast, powered by the energy of the Sun; which is absorbed into the strangely ever-moving black and silver surface.
The rapid ‘thwap-thwap’ of its blade cuts the air, reverberating through the valley, and slicing the wind with an approaching rhythm. Buoyant in the turquoise sky, the great propeller slows, then comes to an abrupt halt, as the ship lazily loses speed.For a moment it hovers silently, suspended only by its lighter-than-air hull. Then its glittering wings turn to opaque black, as they begin folding back with a high-pitched whining sound.By the time the floating vessel is tethered, and its crew cabins winched to the ground, Praethos has found his way to join the smallish greeting party gathered amongst the shadows beneath its glittering hull. Being this close to such an Airship is a truly remarkable sight to behold, as the light becomes bent and scattered by the strange surface of the ship. As the passenger cabin opens, the shimmering light from above has an uncanny effect on the faces of the Priests.
Their features seem to light upin angelic smiles one moment, and then flicker dark and demonic the next. An illusionary play on light and dark which leaves Praethos feeling more than a little uncertain. Wandering slowly through the outskirts of Galgary Vellen, he looks up at the familiar buildings: High and narrow, roundly curved in yellow cones, intertwined with orange-dusty streets of cobblestone.Galgary Vellen - his home-town, had evolved around the natural Lake Tigroz, which collects and then empties the raging Black Horse River over the Falls of Vellen, more than a thousand feet to a large plunge-pool below.Praethos stands up high on the rocks that make up the natural dam wall.
He absorbs the expansive view over the green valley way below, notices how, when the Sun is very near to setting, the Black Horse River flickers elusively between the trees far below and into the distance. A shadow moves to his left. . .Praethos' green eyes dart out from behind the darkness of his thick longish hair - and his face breaks out into a grin: “hello sister - how goes it? What news?”Her hair is straight and black, her eyes pale blue - and she is momentarily startled by being discovered half-way through her stalk. She recovers herself: “Good news for you - the Priests seek an acolyte, or some such thing - but the offer is most likely beneath you, for your heart is at the bottom of that muddy old lake, I'm sure.” Her sharply defined features cut open the space between them, which her eyes fill with an intense gaze of turquoise.
His voice resonates amidst the silence: “I'll miss you too when I'm gone - I intend to make it back as well - and when I come back I'll own this muddy lake, and whatever lies at the bottom of it. But as for my heart, sweet Hilaris, even I know not where that lies. . .”“As to the honesty of your heart, I'm sure it is doubtful - but those Priests are more doubtful too: Since that ship has been here my mushroom crop has failed almost every morning.” Black hair falls across her face, and her eyes drop to his feet.She fiddles with her fingers, speaking with barely audible tones. “Do not go brother, they are a dangerous fearful cult. Many who have joined them have never even been heard of again. And, those that have returned seem changed, and soon move off elsewhere as they cannot bare to be around people that knew them as they were before.” She looks up again and opens her eyes wide, the ice, the azure, freezing his lips before a word escapes them.
Knowing that he will not be persuaded, no more is said. Instead they peer within each other. In still agreement the mood changes and their hearts lighten into coy smiles.Running through the empty streets, leaping the walls; and clambering over rocks. Their outer shells are shed, and they are children in the water, frozen immortal in the blackness of the nearing night; lit on the one side by the last rays of the Sun, and on the other by moonlight.Their shadows, hidden in the soft lapping of the Lake; their breathing, drowned by the rumbling sound of waterfall pound.Chimes of softened bubbles. Bodies are silhouettes of shade and flesh; darkness enmeshed in watery-light. Quick flicks of feet and teeth move ‘midst the slow shadows beneath the Lake's flashing surface.
The weightless motion of their complementary forms enthral the interplay of eyes and glistening thighs, down into a wintry tomb of night and cool drifts. Upon the bottom of the rocks where the crabs scuttle; here secrets keep their own subtle gloom. Night tries to hide away the moon in its half-seen realm. And; there are no deep secrets that are not in darkness revealed.Above what the blue-black mysteries conceal, starlight illuminates the fluidity of truth that denies its very being therein. And sheds its own light in the gloom of brilliance, and perfect tone of moonlit skin.“Do not go. . .”“I'm touched. . . by your concern Hilaris. . . but I do think you're being a bit superstitious. I'm only going to Tillawanda - not the edge of The World.”
As the clouds are thick, the large propeller of the Airship turns lazily; yet the wind is strong, and so the sail-wings are angled to favour its steady blowing. In this light the ship is mostly black, except for flashes of silver, which make it flicker like a gigantic star.The cabin of the Airship is surprisingly roomy, being able to seat more than the twelve that are in it. Praethos being the only one not wearing the pale-yellow robes of the Priests with their characteristic emblem of a large gold and red Sun emblazoned on its front and back.“So you are the new acolyte,” nods one of the Priests in his direction, “have you been told yet of your first duty?”“I’m to find my way to someone called Boletus in Tillawanda.”
The Priest looks startled for a moment, “So you're going to join the Vinolentia?”“That was the place I was told. . . I think. . . what exactly are the Vinolentia?”The Priest looks taken aback for a moment, then bursts out laughing; many of the others joining in. Praethos laughs red-faced with them, not exactly sure what the joke is, but not wanting to offend the Priests. Yet, they seem friendly enough.As the laughter rains down warmly on his cheeks he looks around at their faces, their laughs are hollow-eyed and distant, yet with a knowing look. He notices that there is only one woman amongst the lot. Pity. He had heard that there were Priestesses aplenty in Tillawanda.
A bothered looking middle-aged man with a scruffy beard, and a maniacal nervous chuckle approaches him on his entry to the Order of the Vinolentia. “My name is Boletus, and you are...?”“Praethos... uh - sir”“Well, 'Praethos-uh-sir' welcome to Vinolentia - you are to complete one week’s training. If you do it successfully you will be given your Robe. However, the nature of the training is nothing easy. You may die. You may go insane. In truth, anything may happen if you fail the Testing. Nothing is certain. If you undertake to continue, it will be without any guarantee, promise, or responsibility on our part. Are you still interested?”Up until then, Praethos had been humbly expecting to do a few rituals, gain a bit of status, learn a few well crafted Priestly phrases, and enjoy the life of a Sun-priest.
But at this unexpected attitude from Boletus, he feels more than a little bit startled, and begins to doubt his choice in coming to Tillawanda entirely. Yet, something pricks up his interest: “What makes it so dangerous?”“You will have to look into the eye of God. If you cannot bare your own true reflection, and instead try and hide in your shadows; your spirit will be melted, even though your body will live on.It will feel like your head has been removed and your insides torn out, your flesh has been shredded and your brain has been mashed, your blood boiled and evaporated. And then, even your bones will feel like they have been turned to dust. But because your body will still be alive, you will feel this agony over and over, for the rest of your life.”“And if I can bare the eye of God upon me?”
“No-one can bare the eye of God upon them. You will go to the Great Pyramid, and the filters in the stone will shield you from all but a sliver of His gaze. The effect is never the same, so if you can withstand just that sliver, then the grace you may win, will be by the grace of the Great Sun God. None of us can tell the result. The choice, and the consequences of that choice, rest entirely upon yourself. May you walk in the light.”Praethos lay on his back, paralysed with fear - sweat oozing thick and sticky from every pore in his body; the heat unbearable; the concentration intensely bulging from his eyes - their green waters surrounded by blood-red-vessels.He watches as the Priest pours some golden liquid from a clay goblet into his mouth. It is. . . honey. . . yet, it has a pungent aroma which triggers an ancient instinct to expel it.
Yet Praethos is aware that it is too late - any such action could be dangerous. He has to relinquish his will. . . and so swallows the vile, yet seductive concoction.Its effects are almost immediate as his central sense of being collapses into an inward fall, which screams silently within, as he plunges into the depths of his core. Images of his birth and youth, his life, his love, his decay and sadness wash over his mind like a cool stream of awareness.He feels the agony of the birth canal, the blind fury of a wailing child. The wonder of first love. The cynicism of first death. The first-time awareness of how passion is the bond that unites love and death as a singularity that can never be divided.Then a brief hidden vision of his own death avoids the full circle of his mind's awareness . . . and darkness . . .
He lies stretched out upon the warm grey stone. Four Priests arrive, and lifting his body up, carry it up a mountain, and over to the entrance of a pyramid, which is carved in a single block out of the dusty top of a rocky-yellow-outcrop.About a hundred foot at its highest point, the perfect triangular shape of the pyramid casts no shadow as the Sun climbs near to midday. The Priests carry his limp form through the pyramid’s entrance.The stone doors of the pyramid groan and then close with a thuDD behind them. Praethos is placed in the centre on a large intricately carved spherical platform, from which an aura of rays, neatly cut into the stone, emanates in all various asymmetric directions. On the rim of platform are the engravings of pictograms and all manner of mysterious symbols.
Non-being is still some form of being. Death is change. Life is eternal. Stagnation is disaster. Life can only love through death. Love is Aquamarine.Praethos slowly breathes, paralysed with anticipation; skin curiously tight and dry - the heat somehow cooling its way through his unmoving body. Eyes blink an emerald moment. A twinkle-drop of light at the top-most point of the pyramid appears directly above him, as midday reaches its towering climax. Sharp. A silver-tipped gold light penetrates his sight, skin, skull, his head; and fills his body with lightness, and a warm tingling sound; like air yet lighter; like water, but far smoother; and like laughter, yet loftier.
Who am I? What name can call Me Truly? I am a disk of Gold in Heaven - a place in one sense, yet My rays - My touch of light that fades to starlight - it reaches everywhere.I am a speck in a distant galaxy in the skies of innumerable worlds; most of these worlds do not even exist yet. And still, I am an infinite multitude of such specks. Be not troubled. . . Feel the touching of your body, as my finger-tips tickle it to warmth a bit; yet body is permeable. Feel the shape of the air beyond it, , , with touch, , , hear the wind breathe - miles up.See the Galaxy and myriads of scattered stars, , , beings, , , and life-forms beyond your mere imagination.
Smell yesterday. . . and then taste the salt of all your ancient yester-years. Loosen your mind free from who and what it is - or not what it is not - be everything, everywhere. Feel the essence that binds us all together - our common core of being, our sacred root.Time is what holds your mind closed.Observe your many lives - our many lifetimes. See your own personal essence when you are dead - know the feeling of dying. Ultimate loss of all that you are and have become.Feel the void of annihilation, and feel not comforted by the immortality of your soul. Know that it survives only as long as time does. For when time runs down to die, then all immortal souls must give up the common thread of their very founding feature.
Time does not however have to run in a line; the linear-temporal-perspective is common to human intelligence. It is not wrong to note the linear quality of time, merely that such an observation is only a single one of the numinous facets of time.Through transcending linear time, even the human mind can project beyond its immediate bodily existence - joining into the group mind, the all-pervading-consciousness - the Divine Witness, and finally the ALL which is Being and Void, Ultimate substantial existence and non-being at once.Time is like a river where we can choose which courses to follow, yet we are not completely free to swim anywhen we want. And like a river, it has an end which is no-end because My rays draw the water at its mouth up into clouds and then rain it back to the river. The ever changing cycle is born within its own death.
There is no beginning to it, and also no end. We can go up it and down it, though it certainly seems to go in one direction. Each drop never travels the same path twice; each moment is reborn anew for each individual being of moisture.As the source and the destination both make up the river, so our lives are whole. We exist eternally in the past and present, as well as in all the possible courses of our futures.Because the past is the future, all our life is a singularity, though we may choose to live it elsehow. We are united to the world as our bodily space fits the contours of the earth; our being engrains itself like a scar on the surface, leaving its perfect trace of immortal memory, as an eternal part of the Universe. As our body is bound in space and mass - so our minds are bound in time and energy.
As the river exists not only at each part of its cycle, so time is united as a whole and cannot be separated into individual lives. Even entire civilisations that live and die are but one bend in the great river of time, all playing their part in achieving the great infinite cycle of life. Because time is more than linear, it does not run completely causally through the ages. The future can cause effects in the present too. Our minds are not confined to the present and thus can cause future probabilities to effect us now.Causality can thus happen backwards.How often has the possibility of future events that may or may not happen, affected our actions in the present?
In the life of a temporally conscious being, causality often happens in this backward manner, rather than the simple linear forward causation of inanimate matter. We constantly project into the future, even extracting information from the future’s potential. We also conversely recreate our understanding and experience of the past, during meditative moments.The laws of nature that we use to harness the forces of nature, involve making predictions about the outcome of how natural energy behaves. We can only control that energy if we can predict how it will behave in the future. Our mind is our time-site. Our intelligence is the clarity of that perception.Praethos' mind swirls with the vastness of consciousness that seeps into his being. The perspective of a Deity is truly enormously expansive from the vantage point of a living, dying, body. His own life seems insignificant by comparison.
The insides of his being fall apart - his perspective of himself changing. His petty desires and complaints seem so trivial beside the flowing multitudinous enormities of the cosmic river of time.All sense of self as an isolated individual is swept aside before the sudden rush of realisation - of his connectedness to all things, of his being an essential part of the Divine Order. Then the last remnants of his self collect together, and blend into the infinite consciousness, in a place of non-places, a timeless core of being. Where even God is left mortal.
All at once,all being is one.Awareness.Perfection.
In this place that I am. . .Universe I Span,more than infinity?My see, , , I-self, , , now:Praethos art I,a speck more than everythingdefined in essence by my own Divine unique limitations.Yet after transcending, all that I am and have experienced, I still remain.And I perceive:At the centre of all: The Absolutes:
God and ChaosCreation:Essence and Quantity:Deities, Souls and spirits.Form, substance and change.Life, birth and death,space, time, matter,energycircles,spirals, matrixes,dimensions,extremity.
Good and Eviland the pure emotions:AngerLoveFreedomSadnessJoy
Praethos feels his sense of self returning, at the tin-pan of chimed laughter in the belly of his being. And so he looks back, to the centre of the Universe. And further. . . beyond even God/chaos. . . and sees:
and a Dragon!
Circling them all, and uniting all existence, is the Universal Narrative.
For everything is contained therein.
Even God is but an element of his own narrative destiny.
God is the Dragon, the Knyghte, or the princess. . .
but then is so named the Father, son and Holy Ghost.
God the Powerful, God the Man, and god the unattainable.
Praethos turns from the centre of all things, to his own life’s story. All the while seeing it from a meta-temporal perspective. An enormous shade stretches before him, a time-line that winds its way into the future, obscured by clouds, shadows and blackness:The Epic Destiny of his Entire SOUL.His being becomes stretched and distorted as the full impact of pain and horror of his future lives impacts into his awareness. For the first time Praethos discovers pure agony, cutting in its hardened spite. Overwhelmed before even part of his fate is revealed, he withdraws his being into himself; and his mind retreats to the calm dark waters of seductive sleep; and her supple dreams.It is a week before he can sit up and open his eyes, which then become frozen by a realisation that leaves him staring blackly into the eyes of others, as he wonders their role in his fate.
He ponders too the destiny of this world as the memory of the distant future laps at the back of his mind. The vision of immense agony, war, spiritual decay, mechanised destruction; brutal annihilation of whole nations. Suffering and loss. Spiritless hard cities of millions. Living in a myopic darkness of mind. Bodies without Souls; unforgiving, unmoving. Unkind.Praethos leaps, then stumbles from the horse-drawn cart that had just brought him back from Tillawanda. This part of the journey had been long and bumpy, and in contrast with the flighted departure in the Airship, very uncomfortable. His yellow robe and crest of the Sun is soiled by a week's travel in the unforgiving wastelands that stretch between Tillawanda and Galgary Vellen.His home town seems drab and small after his journey to seek his fortune. His steps are slow and deliberate as he makes his way up the thousand foot high stone stairway that ascends the Great cliffs which lead to Lake Tigroz at the top.
The waterfall tumbles its immortal way down past him, collects in a perpetual roar at the bottom, and disappears into the forest valley. Praethos stands atop the cliffs at last, his breath rising and falling heavily beneath his robe. He looks out into the distance, wondering at all the paths that the Black Horse River might take on its perpetual journey to the sea, and beyond. The Lake is curiously suspended in a neat natural gorge up in the mountains.The waterfall that slides over the cliff-wall, falls below in a perpetual tide. Pondering the all-consciousness of all-being, Praethos wonders if the water that falls over the cliff ever feels the trepidation of the fall - the fear of the plunge into the death of the dark unknown - the thrill of transcending it; the final trepidation. And then, falling anyway.
Being the master of one's own fate by choosing to face darkness. Is this the way to freedom? To be able to make a dark decision, knowing it for what it is, yet choosing to do it anyway - purely to prove to oneself the absolute freedom of choice. And our darkest decisions are then made when we feel least free.Is this why the Sun-god has done this? Is this why one can see the mistakes people make before they make them? The frustration of seeing other people's futures, being unable to convince them of the choices they can make. Seeing into the future; even when one does not want to. Like a burdenous vision that cannot be cut off - blinding - deafening - lucidly lunatic in its vivid immanence.“Praethos! Look at you! That look in your eyes - what have they done to you?”. Hilaris's face pierces his vision; her icy pair of luminescent turquoise darting from one part of his sunken form to another; noting his stoop and the dark shadow on his features.
Where was the spirited look of youth? The joyous leap of his voice? His smile-eye greeting? “You look an hundred years old!”He smiles slowly: “Hilaris sweet sister of the stars, do not be troubled, they said I have recovered well, I should be fine in a month or two. I need more rest now though.” Then he slept for the first few days; yet it seemed to Hilaris that after three months even, his well-being had not improved. So she consulted with Ranul; an aged woman who had made her living by diving to the depths of the Tigroz in search of the crabs which were a well sort-after delicacy to the inhabitants of Galgary Vellen.It was Ranul who had trained both of them in diving; showing them how to minimise the movements of the body underwater, and therefore conserving energy and oxygen, allowing one to dive for longer periods. How long ago that now seemed.
Hilaris tells Ranul that Praethos broods and is uncannily quiet at times - his mind elsewhere. He has become clumsy, his concentration unable to focus on the simplest of tasks.He is often distracted in mid-conversation . . . leaving sentences incomplete as his mind drifts to somewhere else . . . something inside troubles him deeply.Ranul's advice: “Take him to the bottom of the Lake; there he may recover some of his past refreshedness. It seems the Priests have underestimated what their ritual has opened in your brother's mind. I'd be curious to speak to him once he is feeling more talkative. Damn those Priests! They play with life and energy like children - experimenting with power they do not understand. Your brother is time-struck. It seems his mind is no longer localised to this singular life.
This is a tactic they use to collect more people to their Priesthood. By letting their minds transcend their singular individuality - their consciousness spreads out to others, allowing immense co-operative action that lets them act as a singular being. Their thoughts are rumoured to be shared by all. Each person acting as a cell in a tightly bound unity - that is only of course if they survive the change to the way their minds become restructured.But something else has happened to your brother - I cannot tell exactly what - but it is very unusual that he has returned here, and stayed so long. It seems a part of his singular identity has survived the transition. This is most unusual - as hanging on to the fundamental sense of an individual self in such a situation normally results in death or madness. Some powerful source within him has allowed him to resist. Yet although Praethos seems deathly - and mad at times - he is still Praethos - is he not? Look at the other Priests, all of them take on new names, or new identities after the transformation. Your brother is indeed transformed - yet into what? I suppose only time will tell.”
Hilaris dropped her loose and simple dress on the rocks by the side of the lake and slipped fluidly into the indigo mysteries. Cool caresses ripple the length of her skin, awakening her body with a sudden penetrating chill.Dipping beneath the icy surface, her mind is sharply woken by a numbing freeze, so she surfaces quickly. Winter looms in the foreboding depths as Hilaris looks up. Her eyes of sky adorned by black lashes; sparkling her vision with perfect droplets, lit up by the life of the Sun.Praethos stands high up the natural cliff, about fifty feet up from the Lake; its churning waters stirring slightly and invitingly below him. He remembers the countless times past that he has leapt and penetrated the Lake from here, often perfecting the dive so as to leave only the faintest trace of a splash. Yet he had not so much as touched the surface of its hidden abyss since his return.
Hilaris had coaxed and teased to her utmost possible to get him here; and now he stands unmoving. Below him, she dare not say a word in case he backs off - even though she has lost the feeling in her toes from the cold.She dives below once more, kicking furiously to get the blood circulating, burning energy up to lift her body-temperature, as Ranul had taught them.From where he stands, Praethos can feel the cold in his bones, and (the sharp stinging snap of ice) in anticipation of hitting the Lake at the height he must jump. At the sound of water he turns to where Hilaris surfaces again, erupting out high above the surface.Hands lift up a shower of sunlit water-drops; falling back to the Lake in a show of diamond stars - bright with gold and silver trails of cold.
She slicks back her dark hair; spread wet across her shoulders, and laughs, looking up to where he stands on rock. His Sun-robe falls to his feet - his body a sharp contrast of white skin, black hair, and dark shadows. The Sun glowers behind him. She moves to a position where his head obscures the blinding gold disk, so that she is no longer sightless in its incessant luminosity. This has the curious effect of giving Praethos's silhouette a golden-white aura. His hair emitting that curious quality of silver and black, reminiscent of the surface of the Airship.Her heart lifts and races, as she sees the shape of his mouth drop open and smile for the first time since his return. Gratuitous stars of laughter escape from his heart as his head rolls back, and the Sun's halo erupts gold and yellow; full in Hilaris's face for a brief blinding moment. She averts her eyes from the sudden flood of sharp light; and when she looks again, he is gone. “Praethos!?...?”