Chapter 1 - Voice Like Light

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The universe, freed from its liminal state, expanded into fruition. What was once chaos -- the uncertain void, began to organize itself with structure and order.  Within the chaos rose primal beings; humanity. The men and women stretched their legs in search of food and shelter all across their newly formed planet. They thrived with the four-legged forest dwellers, surviving together through the planet’s harsh environments. Together, man, woman and beast wandered the earth; existence, the one thought within their mind.

Above the dwelling sat a figure, a formless eye; a figure pulled from the primordial ooze. As the black encompasses all color, so too does the primordial. With all presence being one, there is no separation. The figure began searching and wandering through the newly formed structures, arriving before a bright, burning, white sphere. It spread its light across a dance of dark spheres that encircled it. The burning sphere and the figure flourished with their new connection. The figure looked down on the sphere, realizing that within themself burned a similar flame. They asked themselves, “What has this gift brought?” A sense now glowed within The Figure, just as the burning sphere’s light spread across the others that surrounded it.

Though they were buried within the Earth’s darkness, humanity heard the figure’s voice echo across the planet. Many fell to their knees in terror, while others looked to the sky, unsure of such noise and vibration. Their communication limited, they did their best to call out to the voice, to reach for its presence. Humanity’s cries rang out across the dark forest until their throats grew harsh.

As The Figure basked in the burning sphere’s presence, humanity’s cries broke the silence. “A response?” they thought, “Are there others?” They went in search of the cry and found humanity hidden in the shadows of Earth. The figure was both amazed and perplexed at the sight of humans. Though they communed and communicated with the animals, they stood upright, bearing hands and feet in place of hooves or paws. But within them the figure saw a void; just as the universe was once a mass of unknowns.

The figure sat in contemplation as they watched humanity shiver in the night. The men and women wandering aimlessly across the forest landscape. The ignorance of humanity weighed heavily on their shoulders. How could they help them? Was this The Figure’s purpose? Looking within humanity’s void, The Figure saw what was needed; the flame. A gift given to them by the void and its offspring; the burning sphere. With the weight of their ignorance intensifying, so did the responsibility of the flame. The scales of the universe sat uneven.  On one side sat the flame and order, while the other was unhinged existence.

Still unaware to the figure’s presence, humanity’s suffering grew. The nights had become more desolate, and the animals no longer sustained. In their turmoil, the figure decided it was time to manifest themselves to the humans. As they stood among the sleeping men and women, they found the humans’ innocence beautiful.  But with the universe’s uncertainty and unevenness, they knew this innocence could not last.

A single human emerged to the figure, a man they named Taka. Taka woke in a cold sweat, terrified at this being’s sight. Taka quickly shuffled to his knees and bowed; as if in servitude.  “Be still,” said the figure, as they extended their hand to Taka, standing him up slowly.

Hand in hand, the figure led Taka away from the others. They wandered to a wooded grove where the figure began to pile sticks and shrubs. The two companions took a seat across from one another surrounding the pile the figure had placed there. Waving their hand across the pile between them, a small light formed in a burst of smoke beneath The Figure’s palm. Taka was taken back by the spark, the dance of the flame mesmerized him; the smell of the smoldering sticks and leaves was intoxicating.  Taka had never felt such a warmth and peace as he did in the presence of the flame.

“This gift, was born within me,” the figure began, “until now, you have only known existence. A thought so abstract, even you have barely begun to grasp its levity. I sat at the edge of your world, only discovering existence with you. But the weight of this began to show itself as something that could not be ignored. For within you lies a great void of unknowns, a black mass of all. Everything still undefined.”

The fire between them grew larger, and consumed more of the sticks the figure had laid out. Taka shuddered at each crackle of the burning sticks, his heart weighing heavy with contrasting emotions.

“So I have come, to show you some of what I know. This, the flame, comes with a responsibility that you may one day fully understand. Purpose and intelligence will now become one with your existence; illuminating the darkness that is truth. The weight of this new gift has yet to be defined. But be weary, for along with this gift comes many dangers, things I can not explain, things that you must explore and define. I am asking too much of a creature such as yourself; such responsibility may weigh too heavy. But the universe has begun its organization and definition, so you must follow suit.”

Taka could hear the pain in The Figure’s words; an uncertainty it had not shown until now.

“But the scales of the universe are precise,” they continued. “This is the only way to balance them. Do not take too much, or they shall once again lean unfavorably.”

The figure arose from their seat and stared down at Taka. The figure’s uncertainty, still obvious to Taka, weighed now where the flame once did. Growing larger, the warmth from the flame began to pain Taka’s face. He stood, quickly taking a step back, until the warmth once again felt pleasurable. His eyes met with the figure and the gravity of the situation now moved to Taka’s shoulders.

“Mind the scales,” said the figure, disappearing from Taka’s view.

Taka stood motionless, paralyzed; The flame, the figure, what he was now beginning to understand. The fire in front of him was now full ablaze, calling to him, “Feed me. Feed me.”

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