Thursday, June 17, 2021

END: The ORKWORLD

I have no timeline. Not much I have written comes specifically before, or specifically after, anything else. However, there is something anchored at the start: the Dream Before Time, the Oneirean, where the fairies and the elves lived. A time when there were ideas instead of rules. Fathoms instead of fabric.

I've spoiled you with a beginning. Now in my hands turned to bones, and my bones turned to dust, and my dust turned to dark, and my dark turned to shine, I offer you an ending.

This is the Dream After Time, when all rules are destroyed, time is dead, and the world is made of nostalgia alone. This is the time when the trees have turned to earth and the seeds are still sleeping. 

This is the world that comes when the ORKUS has turned the universe to compost, and silvery wildflowers sprout from it in a dark night. This is the Dream Before Time, which is the Dream After Time, which is the Dream Before Time. The world of the lost. The world that cannot be found. A world made of the nostalgia of the dead, humous universe and thre dreams that grow on it.

This is the ORKWORLD []. The Oneirean. Spiritually, it is the last post on my blog. I'll make more, don't worry. But this is the last one. It's just ahead of schedule.

Art by Seb McKinnon

The ORKWORLD is not space. There are no planets or galaxies or anything like that. There is no strict sense of three-dimensional raum. There are things, and sometimes, there are other things. That is the best that can be said. Praying is as likely to get you somewhere as walking.

There is no sun. Sometimes there is light, but there is no sun. If there is light it is limited, local, making the sky a pearly, misty light-grey. It is very rare, and usually occurs when no one wants or needs it. Yet, the ORKWORLD is oddly verdant. Trees, grasses, wildflowers, swamps, algae, lichens, fungi. There is a strange luminescence to many things in the ORKWORLD. It keeps them defined in the dark, while some are completely hidden. There's water too. Dark lakes, frequent rain, rivers, ponds, marsh. It has a silent, mournful natural beauty.

The Fairies wander it, in their true forms, often tall as houses, as mountains. Robes of silver, morning and wind. Jewels of ice and the materials for which the sky cried. They have cities of unfathomable size, shimmering like ignis fatuus in the sky above the dark water moors. What they do there is unknown: even those few who keep fragmented memories of the dream have no clue. However, they bear themselves as though they have places to be. This dream-place is fuller to them than to anyone else. With what, is privy only to them.

The name of their capital is Aurora. This is the only knowledge ever succesfully transferred between faires and non-fairies. The elves are there too, like microscopic needles on the glimmering walls, bustling like ghost ants. They look free, and happy.

Somewhere in a cave, a large black bird with fur instead of feathers protects an egg. Death, and Life or the Red Queen, in their most diminuitive forms. They are powerless here, but will be carried like spores to the next world.

The souls stranded in the ORKWORLD are few and far between. They flock together in little groups, keeping each other warm. Or they walk alone through the everywhere, see the dream change, see the seeds of all things bud into pale flowers from the dark peat of billions of years of existence.

They will not remember this, even if they are born or die. They will return to the dark when a new everything is born, quietly. But as they are now, they are privy to see outside of existence. This is the dark between acts. The cosmic airfield bench at 4 AM, if there were grass growing from the concrete, and sleeping titans kneeled hunched in the coffee bars.

Art by Erin Vest

The Orkus is here too, but it's not what it was and will be. It's no longer the Ur-Ghast, or the Urkhast, or the Orkus, or the Orghs, or the RhhgshIts black substance has no meaning in the Dream, so it's embodied by dark lakes, on which lily pads grow and under the surface of which white corpses in fine clothing stare up with Ophelian wist.

Unbound by its usual endless chore of eating the world, it has nothing to do but sit and think, so it has a consciousness too. It can talk, here. In the real world, such a thing is impossible. It has a personality: slow and melancholic, distrusting but wise in a way. It will rise up out of itself in a human form to speak with lost souls that take the time to converse. It means no destruction on the souls that inhabit the dream, only to ponder itself while it cannot know its nature. It appears as...
  1. An androgynous princeling in lilypad robes
  2. A long-haired lady in slender armour
  3. An old man with a beard as long as he, in rags
  4. A figure hidden under a white or black shroud entirely
  5. A crowned skeleton in jewelery and flowing robes
  6. A helmeted knight wearing overgrown plate
When the world is born, it will be named again, calling it from its own depths. The world will bear a fossil deep in its crust and from its calcareous mouth will drip the Ur-Ghast, into the veins that span the world, to kill it. Slowly.

Art by Isaak Levitan, 1889

Only when all is dead, in that pristine quiet, can the sleep be deep enough to dream. However, it's hard to say what, then, makes the dream end and reality return. Perhaps...

...Time and Matter and Energy are plotting among the reeds somewhere, polishing a stone that will break and unleash the world. 

...the vegetation of the ORKWORLD eventually grows so tall that it weaves the world from its canopy. 

...the fairies are doomed to repeat some fatal mistake each cycle, creating reality by accident, erasing their world and birthing ours.

...there is something that wakes it with a gentle whisper, something that cannot be known at all with a voice that reality cannot sleep though.

5 comments:

  1. This is outrageously good. All of it, fantastic prose. A++++

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  2. "Spiritually, it is the last post on my blog. I'll make more, don't worry. But this is the last one. It's just ahead of schedule."

    I long to embody the confidence and style that oozes out of even this tiny scrap of your prose. Amazing work.

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  3. Thank you for the words, but also a music.

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  4. The idea of the Orkus removed from its job, contemplative and waiting, is strangely touching, especially since the original conceit of the Orkus is one of my favorite things you've done

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