Book of Trillillial
I awoke to another perfectly beautiful day among many such perfect days. Had I known it would be the last such perfect day I would ever know, perhaps I would have cherished it more, imprinted it harder upon my memory, savoured each sweet breath and each happy laugh more deeply. Such was not the case, of course; it never is.
The day started gloriously. I soared on a strong current of air, enjoying the feel of its brisk chill under my wings, listening to the infant Spirit of the Sun, just newly awakened by the Sixth Circle, sing out joyously as the day dawned. I laughed out loud as the older Spirits of Night and Moon teased the newborn spirit as they ran away from the break of day.
Bold reds and bright oranges flared across the horizon, which I immediately recognised as the work of my sister Isune. I reached out with my power and sent clouds rolling across the jagged mountain range, painting the sunrise with soft magenta and streaks of yellow. The Spirit of the Sun cried out merrily at the colours that swirled around him, and I tickled him with shafts of pink rays.
Then, there was Isune before me, her shimmering wings spread behind her and her eyes sparkling with many colours. We clasped hands and spun around in the air, letting our wings whip around behind us. Who would have thought these days would ever end?
“Pink!” laughed Isune. “Oh, sister, that was grand! Let us paint the mountains pink!”
“Or pink and purple!” I said as we drifted lazily in the air. “But let us wait until the setting of Sun.”
“Are you off to see Xyl?” she asked me.
“Of course I am! Today we build another spire.”
“You love him, yes? What an odd match you two make! He seems so cold to me.”
“It is our weakness, sister, to love those who are silent and wise!” I laughed. “Do you not still pine for Lacostian?”
She pushed me away and we both giggled like newborn spirits ourselves. Then, after promising to meet to paint the sunrise, Isune flew off and I made my way to the House of Xyl. Yes, I loved him dearly, though it is true he showed little of his emotions. Indeed, his skin is crystal itself, unable to smile or frown, laugh or cry, only the ever changing lambent colours revealing his emotional state. But he has a sense of harmonic beauty and aesthetics that is beyond any I have ever known. What I had always wondered is - what does he see in me? I know my thoughts are not as deep as his, nor my curiosity as intense. So why does he love one who spends her days painting dawns and dusks with her sister, while he ponders the unfathomable? I thought then that I would ask him, to add that mystery to his list of multiversal mysteries!
So it was with that pleasing thought that I drifted down to the House of Xyl, which was perched atop the highest mountain peak within the Basin. Admiring the play of light and colour upon the crystal dome, surrounded by crystal spires arranged symmetrically around it, I landed near the entrance and paused to enjoy its beauty. Xyl had once told me that this mountain held a fulcrux of the concordant energies within Lusternia itself.
I sang out Xyl’s name, letting my voice vibrate through the crystal spires. When Xyl didn’t answer me, I wasn’t alarmed, knowing that he often lost himself deep within his contemplation. Humming to myself, I went in search of Xyl, finally finding him in the observatory studying the images of the cosmos that flickered upon the dome above.
“Did you see my sunrise, Xyl?” I asked, walking up behind him and running the feathers of my wings across his back and shoulders. “I used pink! Isune thought it was very funny.”
“I apologise, beautiful Trillillial,” he said, finally turning around and putting a cool hand against my cheek. “I missed your sunrise. There is something I have found, which must be studied more.”
“But we were going to build another crystal spire! I have picked out a lovely rainbow quartz...”
“No,” said Xyl, cutting me off. “No. This cannot wait. I may even need to call a conclave of the Fifth Circle. I apologise.”
Normally, I would insist that he take a break from his workings, but there was something about him that made me pull back. His crystal eyes were a dull malachite rather than their normal clear emerald. I had never seen him in such a mood.
“Ah, my sparkling hero!” I said, trying to lighten his mood somewhat. “You want to simply gather the Fifth Circle to spend your time solving equations and debating the meaning of the colour red!”
“Perhaps,” he said, his cheek glowing like rose quartz. “But, my Trillillial, you must trust that this is important. Truly, I need to study this some more.”
I followed Xyl’s gaze up to the swirling stars upon the dome. He was gazing up at one section among the dimensional rifts, which was darker than the rest. Not knowing why, my feathers bristled with a premonitory chill and a foreboding pressure built up behind my eyes.
Shivering, I turned away and told Xyl I’d wait for him in his library. I’m not sure if he answered me or not, for I flew hastily out of the observatory, suddenly not wanting to be there.
The Library of Xyl was located atop the northernmost amethyst spire, and the room itself cut in a hexagonal shape. Knowledge crystals floated in pleasing helical patterns that Xyl devised to categorise the crystals. I wandered along the glittering columns of spinning gems, touching several that I passed, feeling the slight warmth as they flared at my touch and released a summary of what knowledge they contained. Browsing through subjects that held little interest to me, like treatises on universal cosmic laws, I finally settled on the knowledge gems that contained the histories of the forming of the Circles.
Plucking a floating gem out from the helix of early histories, I let it rest in my palm and closed my eyes, willing its knowledge to unfold in my mind’s eye. It revealed the history of the forming of the Circles.
* * *
THE FIRST CIRCLE
The gods first manifested within a bubble of cosmic reality (also known as crèches and later sometimes referred to as the cosmic planes). It is common knowledge that Dynara first produced lesser beings within these crèches, which she sometimes referred to as divine templates. Once perfected, she set to incubating the nascent beings who would evolve into the gods. For reasons known only to Dynara, the beings within a crèche often developed in similar patterns, with one god being the dominant or leader of his or her siblings.
Following the disappearance of Dynara and the Great Silence that followed, some gods were driven mad, so used were they to hear her cosmic song. Some returned to their crèches, the dimensional pockets where they were born. Some spun out into the Void, searching for something that could never be found. But, finally, most made our way to the First World.
Gathering in Lusternia, there was great conflict among the Elder Gods. It was immediately recognised that a hierarchy must be established in order to avoid clashes and power struggles between the dominant ones among us. Thus, the First Circle was formed, which was a council of the natural born leaders (occasionally referred to as the alpha gods). They, in turn, orchestrated the formation of the other circles.
The First Circle mediated conflicts and were the diplomats that transversed to the outer spheres to investigate the crèches that contained divine not fully manifested. It was apparent that without Dynara to finish their creation, these nascent beings would never be complete, never be fulfilled, at least insofar as the gods were complete. They were often referred to as the half-formed, and it was the half-formed who first began calling the gods who came to them as the Elders, and later the Elder Gods.
THE SECOND CIRCLE
Another common manifestation among crèche siblings was that one or two in each group often rose to become natural warriors. More aggressive than his or her siblings, the warrior divine were usually extremely close to the leaders of their crèches and felt themselves to be the protectors of their siblings.
These warriors formed the Second Circle, which perhaps held the largest number of Elder Gods, as many were drawn to adventure, conflict and battle. And there were many battles in the early days. Those half-formed who broke out from their crèches, and outside of their natural environment, they would almost invariably become insane, ravaging everything in their path. Thus, the Second Circle protected Lusternia from their incursion, driving them off or hunting them down in the outskirts of space and dimension. Crazed half-formed were not the only threat the Second Circle fought. Sometimes, destructive creatures or forces were found wandering the Void, and sometimes even some of our own number who were driven insane by the Great Silence.
THE THIRD CIRCLE
Before the coming of the Son of Yudhe, the divine that Dynara first created were referred to as the Primal Gods. Very few of these divine were permitted to live, but those that did were the ancient ones among the gods. The Primal Gods referred to the rest of the divine as “Star Gods” because we were ‘star-shaped’ (a head, two arms and two legs). It is curious that this “Law of Five” can be seen in many of Dynara’s later creations, and it was the favourite form in which she herself took.
In any event, those few Primal Gods left had little interest in interacting with the ‘Star Gods’, and spent most of their time in deep contemplation and meditation, sinking down into a deep sleep, letting their consciousness ride the eddies and currents of wherever their thoughts carried them, sometimes for centuries at a time. They were called the Third Circle, also known as the Meditators.
Several younger gods also chose the path of the Third Circle. Notably, Lacostian went into a deep meditation, merging his consciousness with the logosphere of Lusternia, the flickering sentience of the First World itself, gathering what he called the Akashic Records.
THE FOURTH CIRCLE
The Fourth Circle were the artists, the muses, and makers of songs. Again, many crèches had several natural artists, and a very few crèches seemed to have been borne entirely of artists. Using the First World as their canvas, the divine artists pleasured themselves by creating riverbeds and sunsets, playing with shape and form, light and shadow. They gave flowers their colours, painting their essence deep and true, pinks and blues, yellows and reds, soft shades and bright. Many of the Fourth Circle lost themselves among the tulips, zinnias, snapdragons, daisies and honeysuckle rose. Some swept the beaches with white sand, which sparkled in the sunlight or the starshine. The birds that were later created by the Seventh Circle were often favourites of the artist gods, who designed feathered plumes and painted eggs from speckled brown and blue to bright pinks and yellows.
Some of the Fourth Circle spent their time changing the geography of Lusternia itself, smoothing hills until they rolled like green waves, raising islands along the coasts, and scattering ponds and lakes and lagoons throughout the land. Still more of the artist gods did not, but instead created music, which was carried upon the winds, sweet chimes and sounds from exotic instruments echoing out from their bright crystal caverns.
These were the Fourth Circle, the artists, who were truly the most carefree and happy of the gods.
THE FIFTH CIRCLE
The Fifth Circle focused upon sharpening their minds to razor keenness in order to study the mysteries around them. They spent many days and seasons and years simply contemplating the layers of reality, studying universal laws that bound and bent even the gods. There was no mystery they did not study, and their minds became mazes of cognition, enigmas unto themselves. Nothing brought those in the Fifth Circle greater joy than stripping away the veils of reality, layered like an onion, discovering dimensions hidden in the sheaths of probabilities. Often, these intellectual gods would create complex games of thought and strategy, luck and will, that they would play among themselves, reflecting the puzzles of reality they thought to understand.
The Fifth Circle were the Truthseekers. They hunted with no less vigour than the warriors of the Second Circle - only their weapons were thought and logic, and their prey were the mysteries and paradoxes left in the wake of the Great Silence.
THE SIXTH CIRCLE
It was said that the gods who were most touched by the Son of Yudhe had a deep desire to create life. These gods followed one of two paths. The first path was that of the Sixth Circle, called the Awakeners. Within each majestic creation of Dynara, from the Sun and Moon, to the Trees and Lakes, to the Night itself, these paradigms of Dynara’s very essence were latent with pure spirit. Those of the Sixth Circle sang to those potential, sleeping spirits within these creations. Through the aeons, presences began to awaken, and these were called the Great Spirits.
Thus, the Sixth Circle created the Great Spirits of Lusternia, though they were not like themselves, not like the gods and goddesses that were created by Dynara. In this the Sixth Circle failed, for they could not create kindred beings to themselves. Still, the Sixth Circle loved them and guided them, and they would forever be their greatest creations.
THE SEVENTH CIRCLE
The Seventh Circle were the true Creators. Instead of awakening the potential of the paradigms, the Seventh Circle created life itself from the aethers. They populated the oceans with fish, the skies with birds, and the lands with creatures. But no matter what they created, no matter how much they laboured, there was no soul within the bodies of their creations.
However, as the aeons passed, certain of their creatures who survived and thrived and multiplied, developed what the Fifth Circle called a “hive soul”, wherein the sum of all the sparks of life within a particular group was greater than the individual creatures. A sentience arose within these species, also called Great Spirits, which were able to physically manifest and think and communicate with their creators.
Though the collective spirits that rose from certain animals created by the Seventh Circle were their highest and greatest triumphs, still they fell far short of the souls of the gods themselves.
Thus, the Sixth Circle and the Seventh Circle shared jointly the manifestation of the two types of Great Spirits - the Awakeners guiding the ephemeral spirits to sentience and the Creators creating the animals who formed collective spirits. Because of this, these two circles were closer than that found among the other circles.
* * *
I clasped the remembrance crystal to my breast and smiled to recall how the Divine Circles were formed. What a time it was when the First Circle hadn’t been formed, when we thought they’d fight each other for position. Who was it that formed the first alliance that would grow to be the First Circle? Was it Fain? Meridian? Allinvia?
As I placed the remembrance crystal back in its swirling helix, I felt Xyl’s cool hand upon my shoulder. I turned to him and placed my hand upon his chest, making his throat glow softly amber. But his eyes were still darkly malachite. He gently caressed the tips of my wings with a finger.
“I must call the Fifth Circle together,” he said.
“What is it you have found?” I asked.
“Something is coming to us, something disturbing...” he began but then paused, shaking his head. “It may be nothing, but I want...I need the opinions of the entire Fifth Circle.”
“It will be some time before they gather. Let us start building another crystal spire. Did I tell you I have some lovely rainbow quartz?”
“You know I cannot. Not now,” said Xyl. “Go to Isune and paint your sunset.”
Another dark premonition made me shiver, and I wrapped my wings around both of us. I begged him to put aside calling the Fifth Circle for just one day. I told him that I feared if we didn’t have this final time together, we would never have another. But he gently disentangled himself from my wings and pushed me away.
“We shall create a spire another day, my Trillillial,” Xyl said. “I promise you. And then we shall build another and another until the end of time.”
“And I promise that each spire will be more harmonious and beautiful than the last,” I said. “Together our spires will become a crystal city that will shine like a beacon of our love!”
Alas, neither promise would be kept.