The kernel of madness
The tall beings stand in a circle around the altar. A wall of dark clouds whirls and whips around them. Thunderstorms flash in and out of being — there is no telling how many worlds, how many cosmos, are formed and vanquished in this play of fire, cloud, and brimstone.
The beings stand in silence. Nine of them.
It is hard to tell where one is and the other is not. Their form is ethereal and ephemeral, fashioned out of the blowing of the clouds and the wind.
Eyes peer out from deep within hoods of cosmic storm. There is no telling what lays behind — perchance, it is possible, there is nothing. Perchance, the beings are naught but the storm taking on the fashion of form for the briefest of flashes. There is no solidity, no certainty here — only the great tempest that envelops all.
Nine pearls of translucent light shine forth amidst the storm. They radiate from the chest, the very center, of each one of these beings.
The storm conjures all its power in an attempt to swallow this light whole — but try as it might, it can not succeed. The light always escapes it grasp — and so there is only the dance.
From a distance, these lights seem like pendants or crystals of great power — but ‘tis only an illusion, for these things possess no physicality, no tangible beingness. These are pure vortexes of light, sinkholes into some distant realm — a realm, perhaps, that lays a whole creation apart from that place.
Light pours through: pure information. It is the blueprint of form, the idea which has ideated these nine beings and their meeting. Why, where, and whence it all came from — there is no telling. The meeting has been mused in some distant realm of thought and blown forth. Now, here they are, flashed into being, in the blink of an eye. Neither this nor that, neither form nor storm — merely a dance of cloud, electricity, light.
And so from a distance, all that can be seen is nine pearls of light, spiraling and dancing ever upwards through the dense fiery storm. There is no telling where or when this all is. The meeting is shrouded in the most absolute and impenetrable secrecy, for this place can never be reached, never touched. It is both in and without the cosmos, lost in some far recess of all that is.
One of the nine steps forth. With a limb of cloud and thunder, it reaches into its chest and draws forth a kernel of light from within itself.
As it does so, the others begin to intone an old chant — primordial vowels of creation. The storm responds with a great increase in might and fury.
Ineffable geometries spiral out from the being’s chest before whipping unto themselves and condensing into a small bulb of intense light: a sun, perhaps — a thousand galaxies.
With delicacy, it reaches out and places the spark over the altar, where it hovers.
One by one each being does the same. Each one steps forth and rips a piece of light from its chest before stepping back into the circle.
Each spark adds a different tonality, a strain of luminous information — each flicker an indispensable part of the thing being created. And as each one adds its part, it is all subsumed into one ever growing unified light.
The last figure steps back, closing the circle once again. The chants and the storm intensifies.
Nine beings. Nine luminous pearls. One glowing light. A fiery storm.
The intonations grow in intensity now. The light at the center responds with a rise in power and sentience — with every passing second, it grows increasingly alive. It is a fluttering, winged, eye. An orb of pure intelligence, a thousand ideations within.
The chests of the beings intensify with light — the mind behind it all watches on with great attentiveness as its creation comes to be. The storm rages, pulled like a moth towards the increasing and ever flourishing light.
And the whole scene spirals perpetually upwards, rising now at ineffable speeds, towards untold heights. Epics, symphonies, testaments, howl and whip in the wind. Thunder crashes all around, fashioning and destroying worlds in the blink of an eye.
The intensity of the orb’s light grows to blinding proportions. Its rays cast out through the fog, travelling into far reaches of the immense and endless storm, touching unknown corners of the cosmos. It threatens to consume the nine, to swallow them whole — but they falter not, their chanting steady and unfazed.
The orb has gained life of its own at this point. It whirs and whizzes uncontrollably, beckoning to be set free — the breath of life has been whispered into it and it wants nothing now but to be breathed.
The intonation of the ancient vowels keep it bound and under constraint, however. The thing has not been finished yet — delicate etchings, the minutest of details, remain still to be engraved. There is no telling for how many ages, how many cycles of being, the mind has dreamt of this moment — and it will accept nothing less than perfection.
Tension grows. The climactic point is ever near. The thing can hold no longer. All the worlds, all the stories, that it could ever hold has been whispered into it. Now it is ready, ready to be set free.
The chants continue to increase in volume and power, however, unbelievably so. Every moment seems to break the barrier of what is possible, of intensity the cosmos is able to withhold.
Great fountains of light flow now from the chest of the nine and into the orb. The mind, the great being that watches on, blows the finishing touches into its treasured creation. It knows the thing is seconds away from slipping from its grasp — after that, it will no longer have control. It does what it can before it must bid farewell; for once birthed, the seed will grow as it will.
No longer. No longer. Truly, now it can withstand no longer.
The chants grow, grow.
And then —
The orb bursts from within. The explosion of a thousands suns.
All creation, all time, slows to a crawl in the radiance of this blast. Everything stops to watch.
A blink of an eye. Time jumps back. Light spreads throughout the storm in a great flash.
From within the very center of the orb, a small translucent crystal now shines forth. It floats above the altar in immense, unspeakable, radiance.
The nine bow their heads, in surrender. The deed has been done. The thing come to be. Their purpose complete.
The radiant crystal looks upon its creators for the briefest of moments — and then,
it begins to fall.
Through the storm. Through layer after layer of cloud, thunder and creation — through worlds and dimensions without end.
Ineffable alien landscapes. Mountains upon mountains. Pure rivers of milk and honey. Colors beyond the known.
Gods laying about in their endless play. Enlightened councils of beings of light. Feasts of a thousand flavors.
Countless wars. Fiery battles betwixt beast and man.
The mouth of a volcano, the belly of a whale.
A texture. A sound.
Through all these things, the small crystal rips through, falling and falling to its target. Some watch it go by as it flashes for an instant and then is gone — others notice it not; but the thing slows not even for a second. Its eyes are set only on where it has been sent to be seeded and to grow.
Worlds upon worlds, timelines without end;
and then, as if nothing, as if there has been no act of creation — snap. It is there.
The subway train rumbles in the background. Dirty hands caress a small crystal. The muck of the city streets rub off on the little kernel of light.
She has found the thing by chance, at the foot of one of the dumpsters she often peruses through. It caught her eye with a sparkle as she bent down to pick up some piece of trash.
She sits by the steps now, holding steadfast onto her treasure, passerby’s legs crowding her vision. Wrinkles from uncounted years at the behest of the wilderness of these streets mark her face. Righteous citizens make their way around her, scarcely casting a glance.
She scratches her scalp through matted, filthy, hair. A dry tongue licks half-missing teeth. Small jerks and spasms shoot throughout her body. Her neck twitches without stop.
A quarter rings on the floor as it is dropped at her feet — but she notices it not.
Her right hand caresses the small little crystal over and over again as she whispers and mumbles to herself stories without end.