The Dark Empire, Page 62-66 by Wolfenshire ()
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
The Dark Empire, Page 62-66
He hadn’t tried to escape, or bluster, or feigned anger. Instead, he had issued his cryptic remark about making Jasai his heir and giving her the Crystal Universe and sending the room into a tailspin of shouting.
Jasai was shouting at Roael to stop trying to tell her what to do, and Roael was yelling at Jasai to stop acting like a child. Raen was yelling at Boae for no particular reason Moeth could think of other then they wanted to shout. Maseth was shouting at Sern that the Sherata had more rights to claim the Crystal Universe then the Darai. Tarabeth was shouting at the cubs to leave the room. Koael was shouting at his raven to stop pecking him on the side of the head. Grath was shouting at Little Seth, something about Little Seth had accidently stepped on his paw. Big Seth was shouting at the room in general that nobody here had the right to rule his planet. Zil was shouting at something that looked like a filing cabinet; Moeth just shrugged over that one, nobody could ever tell why Zil did the things he did.
Moeth frowned, all this arguing wasn’t getting them anywhere. She looked back at Aestar, he was still sitting in the chair with his eyes closed. She tipped her head, something seemed off, but what? He was up to something, she was sure of it. She studied the ancient man’s face, he looked no more than thirty-five or forty years old, but she knew he was a little over three and a half billion years old; the same as the Raven Goddess and the Ocean God.
She considered that for a moment. Why hadn’t he set himself up as a God as Corvus and Carina had done – or had he? Three billion years ago most of the species of the Universe hadn’t even existed yet. He would have seen the first of them to arrive here in the Land of the Ancestors. Those species just arriving would have been pre-language, and later nomadic tribes with the first verbal languages. He would have watched them progress through the Stone Age, and still been watching as every first civilizations rose. He would have been here during their early periods when they worshipped everything from rocks to the sun in the sky. Perhaps he had pretended to be a god at one point, but unlike Corvus and Carina, had discarded the pretense as the multitude of species arriving had begun casting aside false gods.
Farmer Seth had called him the Aiden Emperor God, but what did the word Aiden mean? Moeth moved over to where Farmer Seth was and held a hand up for him to stop shouting.
“You called him the Aiden God,” said Moeth. “What does the word ‘Aiden’ mean?”
Seth looked to his wife.
“It means dead, or death,” said the woman.
“So, you’re saying your people think he’s the God of the Dead?” asked Moeth.
“Yes, that’s right.” The woman nodded. “You can see why we reject him and any he would choose to rule over us.”
“And who is the God of Life, who created the Universe?” asked Moeth.
The woman touched a hand to her heart. “The One Star is the Creator of the Universe.”
Moeth put her fingers to her lips and blew a shrill whistle. Everyone stopped talking. “Sern, do you know what the name Aestar means?”
Sern, confused by the strange question, nodded. “Yeah, he told me once it was a real common name on his planet for first born males. He said it means ‘One Star’ or ‘First Star’.”
Moeth turned back to Farmer Seth. “Do you understand yet?” asked Moeth. “He was here at the beginning when it was necessary to pretend to be a god. He is the God of Death, the God of Life, the Aiden, and just as the word Mekan is derived from the MKA-N world builder robot, the word Jinn is derived from Geneticist.”
Seth’s brows furrowed in confusion. “He is the Jinn?”
“Yes, and wasn’t the Jinn your allies?” said Moeth. “When it was necessary to pretend to be a god, he was probably the Jinn as well as dozens of other gods, but now most species are technological advanced and no longer worship false gods. So, he allows everyone to know him by his real name, Aestar, the last survivor of the species that built the Crystal Universe.”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘Crystal Universe’,” said Farmer Seth.
“I’ll explain it later,” said Moeth, with a small dismissive wave of her hand. “You’ve been isolated here on this world and don’t know the true nature of this Universe.” Moeth turned to Boae next. “Boae, could you check Aestar, he doesn’t appear to be breathing.”
Jasai didn’t give Boae time to check. She ran to Aestar and knelt beside him. “No, please, don’t be dead.”
Boae stepped up next to Jasai and tried to lay a hand on Aestar’s neck to check for a pulse. His hand passed through the body as if passing through a shadow. “I’ll be darned,” said Boae. “He’s a Senior Shadow Master, only they can pull off an illusion this real.”
“I thought it would be something like that,” said Moeth, then turned to Sern. “The Post Riders come from the Shadow Realm, isn’t that true?”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Sern.
“How many Realms are there in the Crystal Universe?” asked Moeth.
Sern hesitated, his eyes flicking to Jasai.
“Do I need to ask you where your loyalties lie, Raven Apprentice Sern?” asked Moeth.
Sern snarled and shifted to his black tiger form without realizing it. “Withdraw that statement or I’ll claim insult,” said Sern.
“I withdraw the statement, and apologize,” said Moeth, not apologetic for anything. “How many Realms are there?”
“I think there are five Realms in the Crystal Universe, I’m not sure, it isn’t like he talked with me about any of it,” growled Sern. “When he was away on business I used to sneak into his office and poke around. I saw something once that mentioned five Realms; the Crystal Realm, the Shadow Realm, the Shade Realm, the Mortal Realm, and the Dream Realm.”
“I know Aestar’s plans now,” said Moeth. “There are five Realms, he intends Jasai and the Raven brothers to rule the five Realms.”
“With him as the Shadow King pulling our strings, no doubt,” said Roael.
“He ran circles around us again,” said Raen. “We never actually had him, did we?”
Moeth shook her head. “For the briefest moment we did, but he’s quick and turned our victory into his own. I’m not sure we can beat him.”
Sern shifted back to his Darai form. “Why are you even trying to beat him, it’s stupid. None of us really want to go back the Raven Temple, not even Boae. Master Aestar is offering all his technology so we can give it to Darai and in four thousand years Raen will be able to fight the Destroyers when they come. In exchange, he wants the five of us to return here after we finish giving Darai the technology. You know, to come back to the place we want to be anyway. How is that a bad thing?” Sern was shouting.
“He should have talked with us first,” said Roael.
“Do you talk with children about stuff they can’t understand yet?” said Sern. “No, you tell them to do it and hope in time they begin to understand why they have to do it.”
“We’re not children,” said Roael.
“Damn brother, you are the most stubborn pig headed person I know,” shouted Sern. “You’re twenty-three years old, Master Aestar is three and a half billion years old. Guess what, you are a child.”
“Okay, so who gets which Realms?” asked Koael.
Sern glanced at Koael. “Oh grow up, you’re as bad as Roael. I told you, I only read a piece of paper on his desk that had some scribbles on it.”
Raen held his hands out to calm everyone down. “This isn’t getting us anywhere, let’s find Aestar and we’ll take it from there.”
“He’s next door,” said a voice.
Everyone turned to look at Casath sitting in the doorway.
“He told me to tell you where he was when everyone stopped shouting,” said Casath. “He said it was giving him a headache.”
Roael and Moeth stormed past Casath. There was a pause while everyone else looked at each other, then everyone tried to get out the door at the same time. Farmer Seth waited until the room had cleared a bit and went to Sern, still fuming over everything that was happening.
Seth looked down at Sern and the tiger leaning against the boy. “Did you truly not see Aestar get up and leave the room?”
Sern gave the man a grin. “I didn’t see him leave.”
“I did see him leave,” said Seth. “He got up, left his shadow behind, then went to the lizard girl and dropped something in her pocket. He then went to you and each of your brothers and dropped something in your pockets also. That small tiger that was complaining someone stepped on his tail – it was Aestar that stepped on his tail as he left the room.”
Sern nodded. “You have to be a telepathic species to do what he did. My species is telepathic, but most of us are not very strong telepaths. Master Aestar never told me if he’s telepathic, but I can guarantee now that he is, and stronger than the Darai. Let me try something, tell me if you see anything.”
Sern stared hard at the man.
“My brothers used to try that on me when we were little,” said Seth. “You’re trying to show me an image of dice in my mind.” The man narrowed his eyes and stared back at Sern.
Sern yelped. “Ouch, that hurts. Your species are a different kind of telepath than us. Let me put my defenses up…okay, try it now.”
The man stared at Sern again.
“Okay, I know you’re trying, but you can’t get through,” said Sern. “Are there people of your species stronger at doing that?”
“No, it’s a child’s game,” said Seth. “Once you learn the trick it doesn’t work anymore.”
“Half the Universe are very distant descendants of the Creators, you probably share a little bit of the same genetics we inherited when our world was seeded.”
“I do not know what that means,” said Seth.
“It just means we have more in common than you think,” said Sern. “You don’t still think I’m a demon, do you?”
Seth slowly shook his head. “No, I think all of you are confused and lost children very far from home.”
“You nailed that one right,” said Sern. “We couldn’t get any more lost if we tried.”