The Third Cycle: Prelude is the foreword that marks the beginning of the Third Cycle of Life.
The Prelude Edit
Imperius...the sickness of the Cosmos.
That was the day it all changed.
Entire star systems and civilisations had been wiped out by the will of a horrific creature. This was apparently the third time the beast had threatened to wipe out the whole Universe, but luckily, its plans were thwarted and life prevailed...at a cost. It is estimated that 98% of all life in the Universe had been wiped out. Planets were ravaged by the sickness to pave way for Imperius' rule. It seemed like the end.
Many refused to die. So, life took to the heavens, leaving their planet behind by taking refuge in huge spheres, constructed by the Titans in the Central Expanse segment of the Universe. It shielded them from the plague, and gave them sustainable living conditions. It was their only hope.
A device was fashioned to end Imperius once and for all. It was successful, but it fried all of the magick stones in the Universe. Individuals who had been heavily augmented with the Stones' power were killed, and most technologies died out. We had to start again, without the power of magicks to assist us. It wasn't easy, from what I've heard. People had to search for alternative means of power...but they had nothing to go on. All they ever knew were the Stones. They could never recreate something as grand as the spheres and use that knowledge to live with ease. The spheres were merely Arks, constructed by a race from a distant star system. We could not know what they knew to create these things.
Humanity lived in these giant spheres for millions of years. They weren't perfect, but they allowed us to survive. We managed to create our own food by growing plants, and bred several species of animal that we took on board with us. The spheres allowed us to do this, much like we did on the old world. It wasn't the same though, and we all yearned for something new. We yearned for home. But, there was a thought that kept us going: that one day, we could repopulate our planet again. But not in the lifetimes of those who survived the plague. Not even close. It was a waiting game to be finally united with our planet again.
Generation after generation, life prospered, and highly efficient means of technology were created without the use of magick stones. We eventually fostered successful methods of living with ease, and it would cause little damage to us or the environment we lived in. We couldn't create anything like we could with the Stones, but that wasn't the point. It was whatever helped us survive the best that we favoured. Everything became cleaner, and simpler, even if we lacked relative flexibility with our technology.
Humanity divulged into five different races, each depending on which sphere you lived in. There was no discrimination nor hate, minus the odd squabble, because we all had to work together to ensure our survival. That was our common goal--survival. Out of the ten spheres that were constructed, only three lasted the full six million years. That was the time it would take for our planet to become habitable again. The other seven were destroyed by asteroid impacts, and by individuals leaving the spheres too soon to try and inhabit the planet again. The plague took them. And when six million years had elapsed, the three remaining civilisations left their spheres and took to the land again. The plague couldn't take them this time, because there was no plague. Imperius' reign was finally over.
They transported their new technology to the new world by moving them off the spheres. It took several weeks to transport everything to "New Eternos", even with a collective humanoid species now twenty seven million strong. That's what some started calling it..."New Eternos". But others settled for a new name: Home. Eternos didn't mean anything to these people, only to a civilisation millions of years that preceded it. No, Home they called it...as good the spheres were, they weren't "home". They helped us survive, but none of us felt mentally perfect. It felt very artificial, like we weren't truly at nature. Thus, we craved to live on terra firma again. When this need was satisfied after exiting these spheres...it was like we were finally at home. It was our Home.
Home was beautiful. The grass was greener than any grass that ever grew in the spheres, we felt the breeze against our skin, and the sun beamed down on us. It was divine. We could look up to the skies at night and actually see other worlds out there, further away than we'll ever reach. We could also see the birth of new worlds, for nebulae engulfed a good portion of the night sky. The Universe was finally recovering from Imperius, and was rejoicing in being free from its grip for the first time in billions of years. It was beginning to take its first steps. And so were we, rejoicing in being at one with nature again.
We lived off the land. We successfully grew crops in ways better than we did on the spheres, and built wind-powered, solar-powered, and water-powered machines to assist us. No one was a slave to the pressures of work, for we all did our bit for the good of the community. We directly benefited from our work. We didn't mind it.
Four hundred years have passed since we left the spheres. Everything was perfect. But we must never forget our roots. Our ancestors lived using magick stones, and we all wonder what it would've been like to live in their era. Even the spheres seemed like a long time ago to us, let alone the last civilisation. All we know is that they were much like us. They did what they had to do to survive, much as we did. What would we have done if we had the Stones in our grasp? Would we have used them for survival, power, and to conquer nations? What would they have done without the Stones? Would they have accepted death or soldiered on? It's easy to write off a whole civilisation without walking in their shoes. Survival is what we do best. Costs are sometimes necessary, even if we want to avoid them. The will to live is something that's kept us going as long as we have.
We knew little of the people who lived in that time. But we did know of one individual...and his friends...who are the reason we are still living here today. A story has been passed down for millions of years about a man who lived in a world who despised him, but still fought and fought to rise up and battle impossible odds. They shunned him for being different, but in reality, how different was he to us? He loved, laughed, cried...got angry...and wanted to be accepted for who he was. He wanted the best for us. If that isn't human then I don't know what is.
Perhaps this world could've offered to him what he could never have truly received: acceptance. I think that's the true curse of being imbued with the power of the Stones, not necessarily the deformities that come with it. He could never have survived into our lifetime. If the civilisation at the time didn't appreciate him then, he can certainly be appreciated now. He's been immortalised in our culture as the man who saved us all.
Why am I writing about all of this? Well, my grandson found a strange box on the way to school this morning. The box was made from a material that could never have been constructed by us, and looks like no technology we'd ever use. He found it by the stream in the northern part of our community. I have no idea how it got there, and nor does anyone else. After school, my grandson bought the box to me, and we tried to open it. It took a little while to open the box, but once we finally figured out how to open it, we found a note inside. The writing was fairly incomprehensible, but we all recognised the name at the bottom. It read:
"To whomever may find this,
I will probably be long gone before anyone ever reads this. But I want to give closure for my actions, and why I did them, even if the people I love and cherish never see this note. I want it to be clear why I will die for you today.
Part of me doesn't want to die. In fact, a large part of me is averse to the idea. I'm terrified. I'm the last of my species, and I've felt afraid my whole life. I've felt like an outcast, hated by so many for no rational reason. But now...I finally feel alive.
I can finally be at peace now, like my Mother and Father were. I don't remember them very well, but I yearn to be in a world where we can finally live together without hindrance.
Thank you, Hellblade. Thank you so much.