Come Forth from the Garden of Beginnings
rating: +12+x

In the Garden of Beginnings that existed over the First Universe, there lived four gods, each representing a concept that bound reality together. Two sets of twins made by Mother Creation.

The Elder Twins were Xyias and the Naught (who is nameless of their own volition). Xyias represents all that is, for he is the Omniverse Given Form. As a result, he does not interact often, for fear that by entering his own true body, he will collapse on himself. His knowledge is limitless, yet he is not very wise. On the other hand, his sister is the opposite. They do not know nearly as much as him, yet her wisdom knows no bounds. Among the Four, she is the voice of reason— or, at the very least, she attempts to be. The Naught is all that is not, and they are the void that does not exist, yet at the same time, does. A paradox.

The Younger Twins are Memoria and Locus. Youthful beings, them, for they were found by the Elder Twins when the universe had just been coined by Mother Creation's hand. Memoria is Time. He is the hand that spins the Wheel, the threads into a fabric, the fabric into History. He is the composer of the Clockworker's Song. Locus was space itself, the physicality of Xyias' existence. The stars were her playground, her canvas, her everything. She loved her siblings dearly, and so she wrote the stars in their names, in languages long forgotten.

And in the Garden of Beginnings over that First Universe, they lived in peace.

The garden itself wasn’t what we as humans would call a garden. It was an abstract land, half-formed and constantly shifting in some areas. The plant life hardly seemed to be foliage at all— almost plastic or metallic in some respects. Yet they sprung in all colors and shapes, some far from what we are used to today. There was the soft sound of birds chirping, and of leaves being swayed by a gentle breeze, but none of these things could actually be seen.

In the center of the Garden stood a massive fountain, with the likenesses of all four of the gods carved into it. They held chalices, pouring the fountain's water from them. Locus traced the details of her own depiction with a star-speckled hand. Such detail, carved from the hands of mortals, was something to be admired. Although capturing their exact appearances was near impossible, the mortals of their universe— of the Terra and humanity that had existed then— managed to almost perfect it.

"The mortals sleep," said a voice from behind. A melodic, gentle voice, hardly above a whisper. It was a rare sound. He was usually the quiet of the four, and when he did speak, it was typically to change the course of all history. To hear him speak so casually was… unheard of. He lifted his head — if one could describe it as such — to look at the carvings. His ‘face’ was obscured by a veil, and his body language betrayed no emotion. “How are you?”

Even if Memoria showed no emotion, Locus was elated to see her brother. She stood up, practically running to his side. “I’m well! I’ve missed you!” Locus had to glance up to see her brother’s 'face,' as he was somehow taller than her. Despite her importance, she always seemed a bit 'younger' than her siblings. She smiled, as we would call it. A hand reached out to grab onto Memoria's arm. To her dismay, he uncharacteristically pulled away. Her brow furrowed slightly, but she brushed it off.

"Sorry." The apology would sound empty to most, though Memoria never said that unless he meant it. In truth, he was gone for much longer than he should have been. A mortal man had caught his attention in a way that he did not fully comprehend yet. There was no word for it that he knew of. “… Things are well, there,” he noted. “They advance slowly, but…”

"Slowly, but we have eternity," Locus finished, a smile still idle on her face. “It’s not like we’re thinking of making changes soon.” The Painter of the Stars was like a little songbird, the way her voice sounded like chirping. In stark contrast to her cheeriness, however, Memoria remained unfazed. The Painter of Time turned back to the fountain, lowering his head as if to gaze upon his reflection. The silence, for Locus, was response enough.

“…Brother? You’re not planning to… end things, are you? That would be wrong…” Locus leaned to the side, against a metallic tree, starry pigtails swaying in an invisible breeze. She never understood Memoria’s ways. He seldom worked in anyone's favor, even his own. One had to wonder if he was working towards some goal that the other three were unaware of, or if he was truly unbiased as to how he wove events.

"Endings do not exist," was his response. "Only beginnings." He turned back to Locus. She felt uneasy all of a sudden. “I feel that there will be a change. However big, however small, the Song has not yet revealed."

The Song.

Locus fell silent at that. Memoria always spoke of the Song as if it dictated time, not him. A tiny frustration sparked in the back of her mind. What if she didn’t want it to change? What if he didn’t want it to change? Why did he act like there were things out of their control when they made up everything? But, of course, she didn’t say that out loud, lying with a nod. “I understand.”

For what seemed to be an eternity— though to them a mere blink— Memoria did not speak. Perhaps he had nothing to say; he seldom did, after all. But then, the fragile silence was shattered once more. It was shattered as he turned away, speaking his final piece. “I will leave, and you won’t see me again. I will leave, and when we meet again, I will have changed.”

“Wait— what? Broth— Memoria!” Locus turned to face him as he began to walk away, though it quickly fell into a dead sprint, kicking up stardust as she chased him. Even if he was walking at a steady pace, Locus couldn’t seem to keep up with him, the garden fading off into the darkness, and her brother fading with it. “…Me— Memoria!”

“Do not change the flow of time. The wheel will spin as it wills, we must accept it. Time drags along, we must push on.” The voice came from everywhere, and nowhere. However, as the garden returned to its usual state, seeming to suddenly speed up around her, it silenced.

Only for a mere second.

Like a great tremor, she felt it. Like a crushing presence, he suddenly loomed. Xyias was not a god to be disturbed— grabbing his attention so quickly and violently was anything but good.

“What happened?!” he demanded. “Locus…?” His tone shifted to worry upon seeing her. Eyes that blazed like a thousand suns softened to moonlight. Starry hands reached out toward his Sister. The two were most alike in appearance compared to all their siblings.

Too violent, too fast, the world grew and shrank and tore and shifted all at once. Locus screamed, crashing to the floor and digging her fingers into the void. They felt as if they were coming undone, her body unwrapping like fragile paper. “I— Memoria, he— he did something, I could not— stop him!” She choked out, words trembling with each breath.

"Where is— Where is he?" Xyias seemed to grow, his presence becoming more and more crushing. None felt it more than the Nameless Void, who desperately reached out. They could feel Everything growing, pushing them away. They couldn't, however, feel Memoria.

"Dead, I think! He's gone!" they called from nowhere. Xyias let out a hiss.

"Damn it all!" He turned on his heel. “What is he thinking?!”

The Garden of Beginnings was far from the only fixture in the domain of the Four Gods. There were areas that they kept to themselves, where they could manage their respective spheres. The Garden happened to be the center of the realm. To the East was the Clocktower. It loomed over the garden like an ever-watchful eye. In that Tower, at the top, was where Memoria dictated the flow of time by spinning the wheel. Xyias, however, knew of another key factor of time that was in that tower.

While Memoria represented the Wheel, the turning of time, and the way it moved forward, there was also another piece: Prophecy. Embodying that was another, though it was not a god. It was a Song, one that rang in Memoria’s ears alone. Xyias, however, felt it was possible for the others— especially himself— to hear it, assuming they went to the Clocktower, which Memoria forbade them from.

“I’m going there,” he told his Sisters. “I am going there, and I am going to find out what he saw.”

While Xyias might have felt fine— empowered, even— his siblings were clearly struggling. The consistent link between him and his sibling— the string of reality that tied them together— seemed to fray, weakening until only a small, worn thread remained. They had no time to warn him of this, before they felt themself grow smaller, their power dim to an ember they desperately grasped with their misty hands and shielded from the world. The Naught's consciousness blurred as all their energy went into struggling to exist.

And Locus, poor Locus, fared no better, the starry glimmer that adorned her form fizzling away from her, slipping between her desperately grabbing, hastily unraveling fingers. The world grew, and her power with it— spreading out, out, past what she could reasonably give. It burnt like fire, and she had no choice but to futilely stop it, her pained cries drowning in space dust.

Horrified at what he was witnessing, the God of All that Is pushed forward, sprinting up the stairs of the Clocktower. He could feel his entire being crumbling— everything that existed suddenly halting, folding in on itself, then suddenly bursting outward. It was painful; however, he knew he had to push on. In addition to this newborn chaos, he felt a presence. Similar to their own, but diluted— weaker. Not mortal, no, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Finally, he reached the top of the Clocktower. He could feel his Sisters struggling, clinging onto their lives. He had to push on, however. If existence didn't survive, not even nothing could be saved. He pushed open the door that led into the Wheel's chamber. Inside, it was spinning wildly, infinite threads spurring out of it. It spun on its own, producing infinite futures and pasts. He grabbed onto the wheel itself, forcing it to stop. It struggled against his hand. Xyias squeezed, trying to keep his grip on it, but it only seemed to act against him. His grip kept tightening until, suddenly, the wheel stopped. His arms were trembling, and slowly, he let go.

He looked outside. He couldn't see his siblings from here. The great clock sounded, a bell chiming loudly to signify that the wheel had stopped. Xyias found himself panting.

He had to get to the first universe.

"Locus… Locus, can you hear me?" he called.

“Faintly!” She cried back, choking out something akin to a gasp. The pain had not stopped, nor increased— simply paused, a torturous moment forever dragging onward like a broken note. “What do you— need me to do?” Locus struggled, a half disassembled hand reaching for her pained throat. “I have… strength for one more thing, I believe— but it will… most likely be my last act.” She did not attempt to process the idea of her own death. She did not— quite literally— have time for such a task.

"I managed to freeze time. The Wheel— it just started spitting out more threads than what should be possible…" He walked towards the Clock. "We need to get to the First Universe. Quickly. We need to save what mortals we can and take care of this madness."

“Is there a way to turn it back?” Locus asked, but quickly spoke again, almost as if she could scream back her previous words. “Do not try!” With another pained, staggered breath, she stood up, the loose starlit strands of her body breaking off fragilely, scattering to the wind. The god of space was half formed, the rest of her sacrificed in the sake of her brother’s recklessness.

"I am not the god of Time. Affecting it any further would be unwise." He let out a shaky sigh. "I will meet you. We need to go now."

“…Understood.” It took more effort, more concentration, to bring what little was left of her to the world of the mortals, but she did so, concentrating for what felt like ages.

It was frozen in time. Though that wasn't speaking for much, considering it was empty. They stood on what looked to be some deep, black lake, showing their reflections. It was different from the Naught. He had no idea how to describe it, but it was different.

Ahead of them was a tree. It was a massive tree, miles high, its branches extending even farther overhead. Its roots presumably plunged deep into the water beneath their feet. Xyias looked up. The leaves of the tree were like stars, twinkling softly. They did nothing to illuminate the area around them, but the Gods could still see.

At the base of the tree was a body, unmoving. As Xyias approached, he recognized it. His non-existent breath hitched as he stared down at the body of his brother. He was still veiled, leaving his face obscured even in death, but he knew.

“Me— Memoria?” Locus’s voice fell hollow, shock and pain leaving her where she manifested, frozen. The young god couldn’t understand what had just transpired— and though she tried, the scene before her simply blurred into a mess of inaudible sounds and unrecognizable shapes.

"Wait—" He looked up. Something else was there, watching them. He extended an arm out, pulling his sister back behind him.

A massive blue eye, like larimar, glowed, unblinking. A low hiss could be heard throughout the void. Even without a heart, Xyias felt a pounding in his chest. The eye lifted. Its glowing light reflected on scales that would otherwise be black with golden patterns, like those of an anaconda, running down its body. The being was massive. Xyias could make out the vague outline of its body, and following it, he realized that the being was wrapped around the gargantuan tree, several times over. Each branch had part of the serpentine creature draped slightly from it. If there was an end to it, Xyias couldn't see.

"We're not alone."

The sight startled Locus, forcing her half formed body to move. With a silent gasp, she slid to the side, electing to hide behind Xyias. She’d never visited the mortal realm, and thus never met anyone outside of the celestial family.

“…Will it… hurt us?” She whispered, the question so ridiculous in her mind that she would never consider it just a few moments ago, before the pain began.

The Serpent slithered forward, lowering her massive head before the two. A third eye was situated at the center of her forehead, staring at them. "No," she said simply. "I will not."

"… What— What happened here?" Xyias searched the fledgeling multiverse for an answer. While he could find answers for everything else, however, there wasn't anything that answered that single question.

The Serpent let out another low hiss. "A union," they said. Their voice was like distant thunder, low enough to feel it in one's bones, yet in a way, gentle. "One that should have never occurred. It birthed a creature that threw the balance of this fragile universe into shambles, destroying it. Memoria had come to witness the creature's birth, but…" they looked at the body. "The destruction of this place… it created more like it. He became overwhelmed. Unable to withstand it, his physical form gave out."

This creature had clearly just been created, and yet it seemed well versed in the workings of existence. Upon seeing that, the vanishing god stepped out from her older brother’s shadow, looking up at the being with nervous eyes. “…Just his physical form? He— does not need that, surely, so… is he alright?”

"In his death, he panicked, forcing the creation of another like the one he made in the union. He intended to use it as a new host, however, he made a drastic mistake by giving me a will— a spirit— of my own." The Serpent pulled back slightly. "I am the Ouroboros. I am Praesens. I can see all that is, was, and will be. The God of Time's spirit sleeps in me."

"Are you… his replacement, for the time being, then?" The God of All questioned the Serpent. He was skeptical of her. His omniscience, for the time being, had suddenly been stripped away, and only now was he starting to regain it, and yet… this Serpent evaded his quest of knowledge, as if intentionally hiding itself from Existence Himself.

"I suppose…" She eyed Xyias, as if she knew what he sought. "I cannot reach the Realm Beyond Reality, however. I cannot reach the Wheel."

"Then… how…" Xyias started, voice quivering.

"That is for you to dictate," the Serpent answered. “You are the God of All. You can do as you please. Bring the Wheel here, if you must. Surely it can be moved.”

“…What will we do, brother? I—“ Locus’s eyes welled up with tears, little glimmering droplets of silver that fell into the void below her uselessly. They lingered, like stars in the darkness, before being consumed in the next moment. “I suppose… it is up to you. I’ll… fade soon, anyhow.”

"No, you will not. You may fall dormant, but you will not die." The Serpent's attention turned to Locus. "I can see all that will be. I see something, for you. Your time is not up, not yet."

"What of Memoria? What can you tell us?"

"He won't take kindly to not being in control when his spirit awakens. He will seek a new host, leaving me… but…" The Serpent lifted his head again to look at the body. "He will remember nothing of who he is. The danger in that is… unspeakable."

Dormancy was… just about as scary as death, however there was always the hope of revival. She took a slight bit of comfort in that. Addressing the serpent again, Locus spoke, “Will someone be there to guide him?”

She did not answer, this time. Whether out of simply not wishing to answer, having no answer, or if that answer was something that Locus didn't want to hear was unknown. Instead, she turned back, returning to the tree.

"This is Yggdrasil," she explained. "I will be here, with it, for as long as I exist. It holds doors to the newborn worlds, which are being built by fledgling gods that were once mortals as we speak."

"I'd take their silence as a no, Locus," Xyias muttered.

Locus also fell silent, looking at her hands, still paused in their half unraveled state. She didn’t say anything for a while, almost frozen there. Then, she spoke, almost monotone compared to her normal inflection. “…Nothing will ever be well again, will it?”

"I wouldn't say that." He turned to the Serpent again. "Praesens… what of— is… you know what I speak of, yes?"

"I do. The Wheel is alright. It will continue turning as normal, and I will listen to it until the time comes." The rustle of branches could be heard high above— she's moving.

"… And this place?"

"A shame to let it go to waste, isn't it?" She turned back to the Tree. Silence hung in the void between them. "I suppose I can turn this into something. Gateways to all worlds…" She moved back, turning her head towards the tree, slithering over her own body. The golden scales, tinted blue by the glowing light of her eyes, shimmered slightly. "I can see them. The survivors. There is hope."

Xyias reached out. He felt some souls, no more than a hundred. Some were distant, others felt as though they stood right next to him. "I feel them— they're scattered. I can sense their confusion." He turned to Locus. "We should—"

"There's more.” Praesens turned his head. “Something's… awoken."

“Something dangerous?” Locus asked, taking a cautious step back. “…What’s awoken? What are you saying?”

"Dangerous, perhaps. I'm not sure. they're distant. But I can feel them. Gaps in reality, two of them wanting to tear it apart."

“…What? A— already there’s a threat to existence? Would Memoria’s actions not count as such a thing?!”

"I know what he speaks of…" Xyias said. He turned away for a moment. He could still feel the Serpent’s gaze. He could recall Esylian. He could feel the Naught trying to hold it back.

It was a horrid feeling. It made him shudder.

The Multiverse is not infinite.

At the edge, as all know, is the Naught. The energy of the multiverse extends out into it, yet other than that, there is nothing there. This emptiness that isn't truly emptiness extends for a while before abruptly stopping. There, one may encounter an edge. Below it and beyond it, light cannot reach. Nothing can. Any matter that steps through would slowly wither into nothing, the simplest quarks of its being ground into non-existence. Here is the Abyss Beyond, the Edge of Reality, the Void of Esylian.

Long ago, before Time and Space were a thought, Xyias and the Naught had a third sibling that embodied what lie beyond. With the creation of the First Universe, and therefore Locus and Memoria and reality itself, the third sibling was pushed out. Trying to prevent this, he made counters to Memoria and Locus, similar to how Memoria made Praesens. These antitheses to the younger twins began to unravel the space-time continuum, however. As a result, all three were banished into the Abyss, and the Naught placed their void between it and Reality.

Now, in this new and unstable multiverse, the wall between the Abyss and reality was weakened. The Antitheses stirred from their slumber.

Wading through the Abyss, as if trying to walk through a murky swamp, Azatrimitoth, the Devourer of Space, looked "up," or, at least, where we'd think up would be. "Esylian! My brother!" he called. No answer. Laughing, Azatrimitoth continued: "Brother! They are weakened! Scrambling like ants whose hill was just stomped on by an apathetic child! Can you believe this?" He looked back down. Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. Turning, he saw a woman standing there. Her skin was grey, her hair a wine red. Her eyes were like the void around them, the skin around them more like scales than anything else. She wore a long dress, black, accompanied by an ornate silver sash. Seven horns protruded from around the back of her head, arranged like a crown. Azatrimitoth gave a confused look at this visitor— something the Abyss never saw.

"Hello?" he called, though it was more of a question.

"Hello," she responded. Her voice was low. Azatrimitoth would be lying if he said he didn't find her pretty. "Apologies. What is this place? It seems I have… awoken here."

Azatrimitoth circled her before settling. No, something was wrong with the aura around her. It felt vile. It didn't deter him too much, only told him advances would likely be unwise. Even with that in mind, however, there was still a chance he could get something out of her.

"Is that so?" he ended up asking. "I'd say you just appeared here, Miss…" he trailed off, expecting her to fill in the blank with her name. She didn't. Instead, she simply stared at him, her gaze feeling as if it were festering away in his soul. "Right," he concluded. "No name. What about… Esys, yeah? You look like an Esys." He derived the name from Esylian, of course. Then again, what else could describe something… like that? "I'll call you Esys."

"That works," she said. "And you—"

With a sweeping bow, he introduced himself. "Azatrimitoth, my dear! Devourer of Space! The place you are standing in currently is my prison. I'm planning on leaving it quite soon." He looked up again. It could hardly be seen, but there was an opening. A small gap in the darkness, a jarring white beam of light. It illuminated only a small area before being cut off abruptly. "Perhaps you would care to join?"

He will admit. In order to remain undetected, he needed a host— at the very least, a temporary one. Her arrival was extremely convenient for him. She, however, seemed quite clever, perhaps more than he originally anticipated.

"What's in it for me?" she questioned, giving him a side eye. Azatrimitoth was rather taken aback, but he recovered quickly.

"Power, of course! My power! For a time, at least."

“…Will you live?” Locus questioned Xyias.

"Will you live, is the question," he answered. "I will be fine. Now, though, we should check in on the fledgeling universes." Looking back at Praesens, Xyias's brow furrowed.

“…I… believe I am dying even now…” Locus spent a moment in silence, desperately trying to wrap her hands back around themselves. This failed, to her dismay.

"No!" Part of it was denial. Locus was but a child in his eyes. "We… We need to push forward— Praesens-?"

"I know not what you expect of me. She is not dying, though. Dormancy, as I said. She will be fine. Her being, at least."

“Perhaps I don’t want to go dorment, either! I—“ Locus scoffed, almost in disbelief over how upset this whole situation was making her. “Why should I have to suffer for my brother’s mistake?!”

"Locus…" Xyias's tone hinted at exhaustion. "We have no choice here. I doubt Memoria knew what would happen."

"He did," Praesens corrected. "At least, he knew the risks. This was an abuse of power, and now we all bear its weight. Such is what happens with those affected by tyranny." She slithered back to them, her head at eye-level with the two gods. "But he is dead now, and we are the ones who must pick up after him. For the sake of the newborn Multiverse."

“Well, I cannot exactly do that if I’m dormant, now, can I?” Locus crossed her arms sort of awkwardly as she tried to manage her half woven form.

"You aren't dormant yet, now, are you?" Praesens questioned. Her tone shifted, an annoyed twinge to her voice.

“As if it won’t happen the moment time restarts!” Locus snapped before covering her mouth with her hand. Her gaze fell downcast. This serpent clearly cared not for her own plight— such must be the ways of the new multiverse. In this horrible land Memoria had created, no one would have time to be selfless or kind. The balance had been broken, shattered and disgraced, living a world where only cruelty could survive. A cruel act to birth a cruel land. How fittingly harsh…

"Locus… we- we need to go. Come on, surely we can find something." Xyias tugged on her arm. He could sense her unease– her anxiety.

“…Understood, brother.” She slowly lowered her hand. It took everything in her not to cry. Xyias placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

The Serpent retreated, coiling back around the Tree. She rested her head near its roots. Xyias watched her for a moment, then looked up at Yggdrasil, remembering what she had said.

"She said that Yggdrasil holds doors to the new Universes." He followed the Serpent, Locus nervously trailing behind him, and approached the tree. As of now, there was only one Way. It was like a doorway, framed in woven branches. The other side couldn’t be viewed. "…That… is odd."

Locus looked up. Yggdrasil was beautiful, she had to admit. She just wished she would actually be able to observe it grow. Who knew how long she would be dormant for? She got lost in admiring it before reverting her attention to her brother, just in time to see him disappear into the other side of the Way.

“Wha— Xyias, please don’t leave me here…” Her voice cracked slightly. He hadn’t even looked at her before stepping through. Locus approached the Way, but stopped herself. What if the other side was somehow dangerous? What if there were other beings there that tried to harm her?

After all, in her weakened state, that was quite a possibility…

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