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Before time was born, the Serpent slithered through the Nether with no destination and no goal. It did not know the meaning of its existence, nor who had created it. There were others like it, but never quite the same. They were busy with their own matters, locked in an never-ending conflict over the right of creation. The Serpent, however, cared little for this struggle amongst the celestials. No, they were simply content with wandering through the Nether with only their thoughts to keep them company.

However, a chance meeting with a strange girl would prove The Serpent’s contentedness to be merely a façade.

“You look lonely.” the girl in red said to them, perched on her throne.

“And how would you know?” The Serpent retorted, baring their fangs.

“I know loneliness, Serpent…and you look the loneliest of all.” she replied with not a hint of fear.

“I do not need your pity, let me be on my way. I have places to be.”

“You need not lie, Serpent. You wander with no destination. An aimless god.

They glared at the girl in red, furious only because her words bore truth. “And what of you, what is your destination? You are of my ilk, a wanderer.”

A small grin played upon her lips as she looked down on the Serpent from her throne. “No, we are much different. I have purpose, while you do not. Do you not want purpose, my friend?”

“I am not your friend.”

“That is not for you to decide. Answer my question.”

They reluctantly responded, seeing no need to lie to her. “I…I do want purpose. I want meaning.”

“You are smarter than you think, Serpent. Are you sure your purpose is not to spread that knowledge?” she said with a coy smile.

Spread their knowledge? Sure, they considered themselves smarter than most, but they had never dreamed of being one to teach. They hesitated to answer for a moment and as if by reading their mind, she said, “Spreading knowledge and teaching do not need to go hand in hand. Instead, you could build.”

“Build?” they asked with some hesitation.

“A place to house your knowledge. Let others find it on their own, make of it what they will.” she said with that same coy smile.

Yes…a place to house their knowledge. An infinite fountain of learning that would never run dry. They would finally have…a home. However, something still nagged at the serpent’s mind. “I thank you for the guidance…but who are you? Why help a wanderer?” they asked the girl in red.

She smiled and for a very brief moment, The Serpent swore they saw cruelty in those eyes. “I have many names, but also none. The King of Red, The Sanguine Courtier, and some that even I have forgotten, Serpent. As for my purpose…I simply wish to help a fellow wanderer.”

“You said you were not of my ilk, King.”

She laughed heartily at this, rocking back and forth for a moment on her throne. “I suppose I did. I’m a fickle one, from what I’ve been told. I’ve always had a hard time making up my mind.”

“You’re an odd one.”

“And so are you. I suppose that’s why I like you so much. Make sure to invite me when you’ve made your Library, Serpent.”

The Serpent would simply nod before they made their leave, their new destination in mind. However, The Serpent did not have the power necessary to create the house of knowledge they sought. First, there was a bargain for power to be made, one with flesh and machine.

Among the celestials, there were two brothers that constantly quarreled. However, it was not over the right of creation like the others but rather over their ideals. The older brother was large and his flesh cumbersome, whilst the younger brother was lithe and had skin that mimicked the most lustrous of metals. The elder brother believed that flesh was the true path of creation and reveled in his excess, whilst the younger brother believed that metal was the true path and flesh was much too weak to bear the world.

They were in the middle of one of their many quarrels when the Serpent arrived, bearing gifts. To the younger brother they gave a tome that spoke of every metal that would exist and to the older brother a scroll that detailed the secrets of flesh even he had yet to discover. They looked at the Serpent in unison, eager to have received such amazing gifts but distrustful of the Serpent, whom had always kept to themselves.

“I am in need of your help….both of you.”

“To have given me such a gift….I’m sure I could help.” the younger brother enthusiastically responded. However, the elder brother was not so easy to convince.

“And what is it that you require, aimless Serpent?”

To have been called aimless would have most surely hurt the Serpent’s heart….had they not found their purpose only a short time ago.

“I wish to create a place to house my Library….and people to catalogue the information therein. That is why I need the both of you.”

The brothers mulled over the Serpent's proposition for only a moment before nodding in unison. The younger brother would build this Library for the Serpent and the eldest would create workers to maintain it. Despite their constant quarreling…both were secretly happy to be in unison for this venture.

The Serpent, however, still had one task left before it’s work could truly be complete. It was all well and good to have a Library, but it would mean nothing if there was no way for one to access it. If it was to create a means to enter the Library, a final bargain would have to be made. This time, with the unfounded star.

There was an anomaly among the celestials with even more ill-repute than the Serpent. In the farthest corners of the Void lurked a star that mumbled to itself incoherencies and prattled about the significance of five to any that strayed into its path. Like the brothers and the Serpent, it seemingly had no interest in gaining the right of creation. While its illogical nature was known by all, only the Serpent knew of the great power it held. The Serpent carefully approached, careful not to scare him away.

“Five rings to light the way….five roses to guard the path-”

“Excuse me? I wanted to ask something.” The Serpent carefully interjected, fearful that they’d accidentally interrupted the star’s thought.

“Ask.” was all the star responded with as it continued to mumble incoherencies under its breath.

“I need a power that only you possess. I aim to build a Library, a house for all knowledge. However, I need some method for the mortals to travel in-between. I need-”

“Ways.” the star interjected before returning to its mumblings.

“Yes…Ways.” The Serpent wasn’t quite sure what Ways were, but knew it felt….right.

“If it’s knowledge you seek, I can give it to you if you help me. You seek the Fifth power, correct? I have some knowledge pertain-”

“It means nothing if it’s given, only if it's taken. Have the Ways.” the star responded before breaking off a tip of one of its points and handing it to the Serpent. Before the Serpent could utter a word of thanks, the star disappeared in a billow of smoke.

With all the pieces collected, the Serpent was free to make its Library. It became a place that any could reach, if they had the courage to grasp at the knowledge that lay within.

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