If the agent of Destruction was stunned by the actions of the agent of Creation in crafting a Rule which stated that neither of them could perform their functions, Creation’s agent was even more shocked. He could not imagine why he would have done something that seemed so counter to his own interests.
While he pondered what had just happened, the Light Messenger suddenly felt a strange sensation… it was a bit like falling sideways, and a bit like being torn in two. The Dark Messenger reeled with the same unaccountable feeling, and they both turn to see…
Imagine you are facing a pair of double doors that have been opened outwards away from you, and imagine that they suddenly swing closed as one. Imagine that the fronts of these doors are highly polished full-length mirrors, and that as they come together you briefly see the figure reflected in them coming into view in two places until the mirrors lock together and suddenly you’re looking at a single unified image.
Now imagine the reflection you’re looking at–the reflection looking back at you–is a complete and total stranger.
This exercise should give you an apt visual metaphor for the sudden appearance of the new figure between the messengers of Light and Darkness, as well as an approximation of their reactions.
“What trickery is this?” the Dark Messenger demanded, somehow scowling beneath his ever-wide smile.
“This is nothing that I’ve created,” the Light Messenger replied.
“It is not by you, but of you, that I have become,” the newcomer said. “I am formed of the part of you,” he said, addressing the Light Messenger, “that sees the Darkness, and the part of you,” said to the Dark Messenger, “that appreciates the Light. I have lain dormant within you for the uncountable eons of creation and destruction that have come before now. I have watched your endless petty struggles, I have felt your twin frustrations grow, and I have become… incredibly bored.”
“If our ‘petty struggles’ have wearied you, you needn’t worry anymore,” the Light Messenger said irritably, gesturing towards the stone table which represented the world of creation, and the Rule which was etched upon it. “I assume you are the one responsible for the dark impulse which birthed this debasement?”
“Assume anything you like,” the newly manifest entity said, bending low over the table to inspect his handiwork. “But wouldn’t you rather get on with the business of shaping the world that is to come?”
“I would like nothing better than to do just that,” the Light Messenger replied sharply.
“And I would like almost nothing better than for him to do just that,” the Dark Messenger agreed. “But you’ve well and truly fouled that up, haven’t you?”
“Have I?” the newcomer asked, raising an eyebrow. “I’ve prevented new pieces from being added to or removed from the board, but the game can still continue.”
“Speak sensibly!” the Light Messenger snapped. “Certainly nothing more can be added, but what ‘pieces’ are there to be removed?”
“‘What pieces’, he says… I’d expect the smiling sap to have no imagination, but you’ve really got no excuse,” the new messenger said. He gestured towards the space above the table. “Tell me, my brothers, is this space, this world, this… creation… of the Light, or is it of the Darkness?”
“Neither,” the Dark Messenger said.
“Both,” said the Light Messenger at the same time.
“Neither,” the newcomer agreed, reaching out with both hands and appearing to grasp at something in the mist. He pulled his hands away from each other, and in the space of creation, there sprung into existence a blazing orb of light and a cloud of impenetrable darkness. “And both.”
He released his grip and the two opposite entities snapped back together to vanish into the grayish nothingness without a trace.
“How did you do that?” both of the Messengers demanded at once, having apparently witnessed an act of Creation and one of Destruction.
“I simply moved the pieces around,” the being said. “This world of ours is, at the moment, equal parts light and dark… and any other pair of opposites we’d care to envision for it. All that is needed to bring them into view is to separate them.”
“And watch them collapse back into each other as soon as we turn our attention elsewhere,” the Light Messenger said. “This, to you, is a more interesting game than the one you have been watching?”
“Well, that is a bit of a problem, isn’t it?” the newcomer said. “We’ll just have to set up some more of these ‘rule’ things, to stop that from happening. For instance, if we wanted a rule that said that, broadly speaking, opposite-aligned elements of existence would attract each other while like-aligned ones would repulse each other, we just need to reach in…”
He stuck his hand into the grayish mist over the table, and it actually appeared to vanish up to the wrist as he groped about blindly for a few moments, then pulled something out.
“…and extract its opposite,” he said, holding up his fist. From the tiny rift in the mist that his hand had made, a set of symbols enumerating the rule he’d previously voiced fluttered down to settle upon the table some distance from the original Rule.
“And what, exactly, do we do with the opposite rule?” the Light Messenger asked, eyeing the newcomer’s clenched hand. The thing that he held was clearly struggling to escape and rejoin its mate.
“Simple!” the newcomer said. He looked at the table, and at the swirling void all around them. “We’ll just put it… we could set it over… hmm. This could get to be a bit of a problem, later on, but for now, I’ll just hold onto it.”
“Wouldn’t it be have been better to make opposites repel each other?” the Dark Messenger asked. “Then you could skip all this tedious reaching-in-and-mucking-around.”
“Oh, no,” the newcomer said. “That would just make everything fly apart indiscriminately. Impressive, but not very useful. This rule will allow for things to endure, to an extent, by making them composed of a mixture of like and unlike elements. See, I’ve given this a lot of thought. What we really need are an intricate set of rules that allow things to hang together under some circumstances, but also break apart. A microcosm of creation and destruction going on all the time, mirroring the forces of Creation and Destruction we collectively embody. We’ll get all the rules we need worked out, then set the whole thing into motion.”
“And then?” the Light Messenger asked.
“Then we watch how things unfold,” the newcomer said.
“We just watch?” the Light Messenger asked.
“At first,” the newcomer said. “I mean, we don’t have to sit back forever. Why shouldn’t we enjoy the fruits of our labor a bit?”
“I would enjoy being able to exercise the function of my office for real,” the Light Messenger said.
“As would I,” the Dark Messenger said.
“Funny, you didn’t seem to be enjoying that very much before,” the newcomer said. “If you two would just step back a moment, I’m sure you’d realize my game is so much more interesting than yours.”
“It’s a game that nobody wins,” the Dark Messenger said.
“So was yours,” the newcomer said. “And for now, it’s the only game in town. Now, if you want to stand there forever and sulk, I’ll be more than happy to do all the work myself…”
“I will not let a creature who is an equal part Darkness be the hand that guides the course of Creation!” the Light Messenger declared haughtily.
“And I will not let one who is half the essence of my enemy conspire with the Light against me,” the Dark Messenger said.
“Excellent,” the newcomer said. “Gentlemen, let’s begin.”« « MF: One-Eyed Jack 4.1: (So Much For The) Afterglow » »
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