Genesis Scrolls Round 3: {The Crystal Mirror: Scroll III (revised)}

Name/Pseudonym: {Diesel}
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{The Crystal Mirror: Scroll III (revised)}

When the First sent me,
I brought my heart to this place
Swearing to protect
and tend to this sacred garden
But now,
this damned silence persists
and there are no more songs here
My children…
By the will of some wicked fate
they are gone
They are all gone

- Koam, Wordtree Dreamscroll

Possessing the vessel was as cold and unsettling as one might expect of a void-dwelling inhabitant.

Tsami guided the vessel’s porcelain figure forward with her thoughts, all the while observing the boundary of separation between this body and her own left behind begin to blur. Lost to the growing numbness from each cumulative moment spent in a frozen realm.

What is your name? Tsami thought, provoking the vessel to answer.

The vessel drew in a sharp-chilled, airy breath. “Call me that which you are,” he said. “For it is by your being that I am so.”

I can’t call you Tsami though.That’s awfully confusing.

“Then name me from that space from which I was shaped…”

Tsami’s thoughts went to Koam. Poor Koam. She recalled what the Keeper had said to her. About the parts of a person that move beneath the surface of the self. Those parts she had needed to confront; to bind the shadow, to pass through the Crystal Mirror, to arrive here now, in this place where they could seemingly be expressed in their infinitude.

Sapath, thought Tsami.

“While I am of her domain…” replied the vessel, “I am not the moon.”

Right, well…

Tsami discarded her offer and searched for another. Thoughts of her brother, Moth, came to mind, of that day he had seen the vessel in the forest cave, and that evening when they had discussed the matter in private.

He said the vessel looked just like father…

“Anim,” said the vessel for her.

Yes, thought Tsami. That was his name.

“The ancestor…” said the vessel, accepting his name and in doing so changing, becoming more personable, more expressive in his face. Dark hair like Tsami’s sprouted from his head. The reflected, coiled markings around his dead arms faded, and the colour of his flesh warmed across his body, taking on the subtle likeness of Tsami’s primitive memory. “How fitting.”

A vertical corridor of ethereal white light pulsed softly in the distance. Tsami led Anim forward through the black, eyes fixated on its alluring image, until the light revealed the specific shape and details of the structure from which it emanated, and she forgot how long exactly it was that she had wandered.

It was just as Tsami had seen in her vision. Ageless.

An octahedron of shifting stone floating in the abyss. In constant motion fortifying the ascending and descending terraces of its twin ziggurat exterior with huge, tomb-worthy blocks, inscribed with hieroglyphs of glowing spelltongue. Its open, central doorway stretched far above and below the imperceptible floor Anim stood upon, where, beneath his feet, newly inscribed stone blocks exited from the temple’s interior, guided by an invisible hand towards their respective destinations.

Anim looked to the pyramidal height of the temple and Tsami saw that now she had brought him closer to its source she could follow the trail of light out from its centre, making out the distant, euhedral border-panes of crystal above converging into a high ceiling. They held up the realm’s own sky, alive with that violet hue she had so intimately come to know.

It occurred to Tsami that she had come into this place from out along one of these borders, and as she noticed the swarms of dark clouds circling around the temple like restless spirits, she was reminded once more of what Koam had told her.

“There are many doorways beneath the Ethereal Isle,” said Anim.

These… are shadows?

Anim made a sound indicating Tsami was correct. "They wait to be confronted. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they are not. And sometimes, if they are to be confronted, they may return again with an offering.”

For who?

Anim looked out toward the edge of the crystal realm on the horizon and Tsami watched as several of the shadows were summoned out, disappearing beyond doorways just like that which she had passed through, painted all across each of the colossal, triangular panes framing the space. Other shadows flew back from the doorways carrying orbs of faint, icy flame in their barely sculpted hands, passing overhead through the grand doorway of light, into the heart of the temple.

“You wish to follow them?” said Anim.

I do, thought Tsami.

She led Anim into the doorway’s central corridor. Looking between the walls on either side, Tsami observed the waterfall pulses of trickling light down the countless, neatly etched rows of cryptic spelltongue.

The corridor ended, expanding out into the main temple chamber; a rising steeple of zig-zagging stone and a cascading labyrinth of ever-darkening steps beneath the invisible floor. Tsami guided Anim forward towards the chamber centrepiece, to stand before the source.

A gigantic, celestial orb of pure energy, suspended in the air like a small sun, yet radiating the cold dullness of a long forgotten moon. In a constant dance rotating on its axis in a predictable rhythm, though bearing no discernible pattern to its movements. Each time its sphere rolled over, locking the eye of its maelstrom upon a new direction, a beaconous, ghostly figure of energy emerged, leaping forth into action, along a preordained path. When each being came to the end of their respective roads, they conjured, seemingly out of the collective imagination of the space, blank blocks of stone with their white hands.

The flame-bearing shadows who had entered the temple chamber floated over to meet their contrasting counterparts, handing their offerings over to the ethereal ones before fading into the empty backdrop. The scions of the sphere, left holding the icy flames, began to draw out from them the necessary substance to inscribe upon the stone blocks, like ink to parchment or ochre to an Initiate’s Scroll, before sending them floating away at their command to join the exit procession below.

Though Tsami couldn’t tell what was written, or why it was, she sensed each spelltongue symbol was worthy.

And then Tsami heard it.

In the backdrop of such a dazzling scene, the nameless song of her childhood.

The one her brother had sung for her when they had first been brought to the monastery.

The one he had learnt from their father, the real Anim, that he had learnt from his father before him, whoever their grandfather had been.

Beneath the celestial sphere, three figures, three aeons cloaked in twilight like the birds Tsami had transformed back within the Garden of Songs, knelt upon a triad of facing altars, arms chained to the floor and an object laid in front of each of them. Their faces were locked, staring up into the sphere-light. Their voices engaged in a cyclic ritual of harmonious song…

The one with the mace threaded the bass line, a descending, cosmic unravelling.
The one with the short sword wove the melody, born of ancient memory.
The one with the chronicle finished the tapestry, guiding each refrain toward ascension.

It was the third, the aeon with the chronicle like Koam’s Sacred Grimoire that caught Tsami’s attention, and as soon as she honed in upon their presence, she felt compelled to lead Anim forward.

"Here is your moon,” said Anim, with a touch of jest reminiscent of Moth.

Though the aeon was chained, their captivating voice made Tsami their prisoner because her curiosity made her impressionable.

Perhaps they can help me?

She came up the steps of its altar and stood at the aeon’s side.

The triad stopped singing.

In all the world there had never been such silence.

The aeon turned their head to face Anim’s and their bright eyes of spiralling starlight saw straight through him, bearing witness to the secret presence of Tsami’s soul.

“Free me,” they said, in a chord emboldened by the voice of the other aeons.

“I will not,” said Anim, speaking for that small part of Tsami wanting to resist.

The aeon tilted their head like an owl. “I can help your friend,” they said, “your Lightweaver.

Can you? Thought Tsami. But how?

The aeon heard her questions.

“The Ghost Wand…” they said. “Reach for it.”

Tsami was reminded of her own body, of one thawing into two; of duality. That she sat, occupying this deep state of meditation within the bowels of the forest cave, housed in a protective cloak of her own shadow. That there was a wand in her hand. That she could extend her arm and her vessel’s too in unison. The Ghost Wand appeared in Anim’s hand, like a hazy mirage reaching beyond the physical plane for the first time.

She held the meldable quality of this space, of its potential in her mind and pointed the wand at the source of it all; the celestial sphere. Then she linked the strength of the sphere to the chains binding the aeon and watched as they dissolved, parting into fine mist.

The aeon brought their hands together and bowed. “Thank you,” they said, on their own this time.

They reached for Anim’s left hand, holding his palm outstretched. Then, with an icy glow illuminating their index fingertip, the aeon began to etch a symbol, their touch both freezing upon Anim’s palm and faraway burning upon Tsami’s.

Two triangles, their points meeting , reflecting each other like an hourglass laid on its side. With a vertical line straight down through the middle.

The celestial sphere stopped turning on its axis.

It began to rumble.

The cold permeating the temple chamber turned to intensifying heat as the sphere shook, spitting out violent, energetic bursts of red flame. The ethereal workers stopped inscribing, fleeing back into their source, causing the sphere’s heat to swelter further.

Then, like breaking free from an egg of molten iron, a majestic bird of feathered fire screeched as it drew its plumed head out from the inferno. Clawing itself out desperately, it rose high into the air above the sphere, flapping its huge, tasseled wings, lined with precious gemstones, glistening with a rainbow sheen.

Tsami turned Anim to face the aeon.

They were gone.


The bird shrieked as Tsami led Anim sprinting out of the temple chamber, back through the entrance hall, past the spelltongue walls. As she tossed Anim out the temple doorway back into the void the great bird swooped past, twirling up into the air above before letting out a cry so shrill, so deafening, it reverberated off each of the far border-panes of crystal.

Anim collapsed to his knees, overwhelmed by the echo’s power. Tsami forced him to stand again and as he stumbled forward from side to side she realised the sound had distorted her connection to him.

“There is no need to run,” said Anim.

What are you talking about?

Anim laughed with a lightness unfitting for the situation at hand. “You cannot kill an Unseen.”

Tsami picked Anim up, forcing him forward with what little focus she had left.

That’s great, but I bet I’ll still feel it.

The bird cried out again, and Anim keeled over once more as it dove down from the height of the sky.

Tsami looked ahead towards the doorway, towards home.

We’re so close…

“Let go, Tsami.”

Like an arrow of lightning the bird passed through Anim, leaving a blazing trail in its wake. Columns of flame burst up, engulfing his figure, and as Tsami released her attachment to the memory she had conjured, the mask of Anim’s persona melted away. What was left of the empty vessel’s figure collapsed into a burning pile of embers.

But Tsami couldn’t detach completely, and a part of the agony of perishing travelled with her severed connection as it flew back across the Crystal Mirror, smashing her physical body over like a fireball, shattering her protective spell and boiling her blood toward fever.

Remnant ashes of broken shadow floated about the forest cave ceiling. The Ghost Wand slipped from Tsami’s fingers. The weight of insurmountable hunger descended upon her like a millstone, and when she rolled over to observe the aeon’s symbol etched on her left palm, she noticed the boney frailty of her arms, the healed scars of the burns coiled around them, the several silver streaks of excessively long hair laid at her side.

A young man with a familiar, pale face rose from his makeshift, spell-lit desk, brushing back his own shoulder of fine hair.

As he gathered the skirt of his opulent robes and rushed to Tsami, kneeling over her, she observed Koam’s Sacred Grimoire belted at his side. In the background behind him, two plainly made beds and an ornate, open chest were set against the cave wall, with a leviathan’s jaw crown sat atop an assortment of treasures.

“Ensun,” he yelled. “She’s returned. Come quickly, Ensun.”

The young man jumped to his feet, unclasped the grimoire, flung it open, and with prodigal speed skipped around Tsami, scrawling forth a resplendent stream of light to form a circle. At its conclusion he brought his hand and breath high up above her at its centre and exhaled softly, adding dimensionality, drawing the walls of the circle up to meet his hand, forming a cone of rejuvenation.

A sun-weathered, sagely old man with a bald head and morning mist, cobweb beard entered the lightfield, joining the young man at his side. He took the time to lower himself with great care to the dusty cave floor before revealing his elegant hand from the loose sleeve of his worn, earthly robe, placing it over Tsami’s heart.

“Sleep now, child” he said. “Your Moth keeps close.”

The last thing Tsami remembered was the gentle wind in the old man’s words, in his exhale, and the mischievous twinkling of the most remarkable, bronze ring on his finger.

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