1. The Day All of Creation Shuddered

December 31, 2006

The day all of Creation shuddered…

Like countless generations over millennia the ritual repeated almost daily and that day it replayed itself no differently. Pilgrims descended the worn narrow staircase of stone and rock to the Well of Souls. Approaching the fissure where the cavern walls arched into a vast open chamber, a heavenly awesome choir rose from the depths and enveloped them.

The pilgrims crowded onto the observation platform and marveled at the spectacle. In the hollow of the cavern ten massive metallic drums slowly turned, powered by an invisible kinetic energy whose acoustic vibrations produced a sound best described as angelic. Many pilgrims fell to their knees in exaltation, others succumb to fitful possession. For each, the chorus of song seemed to be singing just to them.

The Faithful who tended the shrine took little notice of the pilgrim swarm, except to ensure order and that the crowd did not exceed capacity. Their priestly duties required almost constant vigil over the delicate electronics used to monitor, record and analyze the otherworldly acoustics and the streams of computerized data they produced.

For centuries, the Faithful attempted to understand the electro-harmonic forces at work in the Well and how the drums rotated without mechanical apparatus and generated and/or amplified the chorus of song which had no nature source. Ever since the harmonics was first discovered by the remote region’s ancient peoples, who mined the cavern’s unique metals, the song had never varied, paused, or failed to inspire in the listener the sense that he or she was in the presence of the Divine.

Common belief held that the chorus was the voice of an angel of the Celestial Collective, mysterious heavenly spirits who acted in the service of The Goddess. As long as the angel sang Creation endured and humankind could know the will of The Goddess.

However, the Faithful’s research revealed no evidence of conventional speech or language. Advanced computing algorithms collected over decades isolated more than three hundred distinct persistent patterns neuro-harmonic in origin. Brainwaves, the resonance of vast minds from some unknown place, filled the Wells of Souls.

Whatever the physical phenomenology, the shrine’s spiritual appeal attracted pilgrims unabated. They come to commune with their ancestors or to confess to The Goddess or revel in the life-secrets that the choir may bestow on the worthy listener.

Immersed in the sweet symphony of a heavenly siren, the pilgrims prayed and made their offerings. The Faithful watched over, while their technology ciphered. That was until the metallic drums, one by one, ground to a standstill.

Then, the Well of Souls, for the first time in human memory, fell silent.

The day all of Creation shuttered…

Rachel Angela heard her name called and could not move. Somehow she found the will to rise, step from behind the partition and walk along the prayer hall’s red carpet to the mimbar. Astride the platform ceremoniously beckoned the six elder women and six elder men who together governed the Faith Apostolic. Her heart pounding in her chest, Angela could not focus on their espresso- and porcelain-flesh toned faces. Her vision would only hold the warm assuring smile of her silver-haired Reverend Cardinal Mother, the elder’s gentle eyes sparkling with pride and pleasure amid the ebony features of her sex.

Angela lowered before Reverend Cardinal Mother zeta Petriss and kissed the hem of her saree. The Reverend Cardinal Mother offered her hand and Rachel Angela kissed her bejewel ring. The Reverend Cardinal Mother then recited the Words before welcoming Angela to her feet again.

“It is my tremendous pleasure to confirm our sister, and my best student. She honors her ancestors and all Faith in graduating First-in-Class this cycle,” beamed zeta Petriss. “Before The Goddess and Creation, in the name of Faith, I convey upon our sister, psi Sadewa Rachel Angela, the Order of the Oracle. May her Inner Eye see only truth and bring us all good fortune.”

Rachel Angela turned and faced the prayer hall. Hundreds of eyes all fixed on her took her breath away. Instead of feeling overcome, she felt transcended and empowered. When presented with a chalice of ambrosiadyne, she took the holy vessel, lifted it confidently to the assembly and drank the sweet nectar, letting its psychochemical properties wash over her freely.

And, suddenly, the great temple trembled.

Rachel Angela felt a presence unlike any other she had experienced—something vast and awesome. She heard screams and the clamor of people panicked, but she was paralyzed and blind.

Then, a light erupted from within her breast. The light had wings; magnificent radiating translucent feathered wings.

“Hear us! We transcend the corporeal. Prepare for our coming,” some other voice heralded through Angela. “We expel to your linear plane that part of ourselves we cannot tolerate. We seek to restore the balance lost to us by imprisonment among you. Take no violence against us and no action that may offend. Prepare, we come, en corporeal and impotent.”

The day all of Creation shuttered…

The Well of Souls fell silent. The great temple trembled.

The sky over Court-at-Columbia grew dark and stormy, blotting out the mother planet Gaia. The clouds frenzied into a fearsome hurricane angered with thunderous lightening. From the eye of the storm, Heaven vomited.

Transformed and torpid, He tumbled earthward.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Bloodlines

December 21, 2006

Bloodlines adhere to a hierarchy.

Each of the Twelve Great Houses of Aideena are comprised of smaller units within smaller units, connected by genealogy. Marriage, familial obligation, wealth, and social standing are all strictly defined by which clan one’s family belongs to and which House that clan is bound to by blood.

Several thousand households comprise several hundred family-lines. These families in turn form the several dozen clan-groups that make up each of The Twelve Great Houses.

Bladesport

December 20, 2006

The most popular entertainment on Aideena, the gladiatorial Bladesport Games glorify individual and team expertise with blunted swords and sword-like weapon.

In ancient times, competitions were played to the death. Such games are outlawed but practiced illegally in underground gambling tournaments.

The sport is officially organized under the sponsorship of Houses or families in Houses. Such sponsorships maintain stables of players who compete for the honor of a Matron or Matriarch. Bladesport developed from a form of swordsplay-martial arts originated by the Knights Templar.

Houses or families may chose to settle contractual disputes using Bladesport competition rather than the Faith courts system.

Aircycle

December 12, 2006

The generic term aircycle refers to any make and model of high-speed vehicles utilizing magnetic-static technology. Such vehicles are capable of vertical lift-off and descent, hovering, and low altitude maneuvering.

Privately owned aircycles are a status symbol. Most models are exclusively designed and manufactured for industry and government authorities. The Gryphon TE-7 Predator utility model is one such aircycle manufactured exclusively for The Order of the Knights Templar.

Court-at-Columbia

December 12, 2006

The commercial and economic center of Aideena, the mega-metropolis covers a series of mountainous limestone islands in the Acropolitan Bay.

It is peppered with giant stone pinnacles, natural formations that have been industrially developed over three thousand. Modern urban habitats mesh with the ruins of several older fortifications build into and around monstrous caves and spectacular cliffs.

Many competing architectural approachs over the centuries have sought to leave their mark on Court-at-Columbia. The current city layout consists of multiple levels. A network of bridges, roadways, rail, trolleys, and garages comprise Traffic, or Transit, Level. A series of promenades, parks, public squares and pavilions comprise the Pedestrian Level. And Community Level is made up of residential and commercial structures.

The city shelters 35 million people, the central government of Aideena, and most major industries. Numerous distinct neighborhoods, districts, and mini-cities within Court-at-Columbia, from the upscale to ghettos, make for a melting pot of the varied cultures and traditions representative of Aideena.

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