The story of the first deity to discover Eneana, and what she did when she got there.
First, there is the nahja field. Everywhere, everything. Infinite nahjans, each so different. There are patterns if you look long enough. Streams of nahjans that are the same… the same what? I have no word for that.
Then I notice: me. I thought “I” just then. Interesting.
I drift. Made of nahjans, but separate from the field. I wonder how. I wonder why. I wonder what it means that I wonder.
I observe. No way to tell for how long. For a while.
A while later, I see something new. A thing of nahjan, but not the field. Like me. An other-me. More other-me’s. Whatever we are. Is that how I look to them?
I watch the other-me’s float by. Some are… big. Bigger. Yes, that is a word. Others are not-big. Small. Some so small that I observe them once and they are gone, dissolved.
I decide to call it color. The nahjans are different colors. Or flavors. Is that the same thing? I wonder.
So, this is always. Hm.
* * *
One of the other-me’s makes a space. Bunched together empty bubble space. A place. This is new.
Inside the space is more new. Up and down, and side and back, and far and near. All this incredible new.
More other-me’s make more spaces. Small ones that collapse. Big ones that have much far, which makes more near.
I try to go into a space. The space does not let me. I am too… big? No, that is not right. I need new words, I say.
An other-me says: Yes.
So, we can communicate. That helps.
In the nahja field, there is no far or near. Everything is where you imagine it to be. Yet I feel very far. I try to feel more near to the other-me’s. I want to have my nahjans up against theirs.
I get closer. Being closer makes a sharp, scorching, loud feeling. So bright. I want more.
I try to touch the other-me. It will not let me. It says: No.
I am… sad. Yes, sad is a thing.
* * *
I see two other-me’s touch each other. Wait! That was my idea! I wanted to touch you. Why would you not let me touch you? I am… what is sad, but harder? I am that.
We watch. They touch each other all over. They merge into one. They change colors. Scratchy, streaky colors. Very loud. The new thing wobbles, stretches. It is near and far at the same time. Then it is not. They are not. They are no longer other-me’s. They are back in the field.
So, it is dangerous to touch. Now that they know, no other-me will ever let me try.
* * *
New other-me’s arrive. Old other-me’s fade. Some float away.
They make spaces. They abandon spaces. They make more.
One of them invents solid. It creates solid things to go inside its space. The other-me’s are fascinated. They invent words to describe all the exciting new solids.
They make, and make, and make. They look, and look, and look. They talk, and talk, and talk.
I refuse. I am sad. And hard-sad too.
I go away. I am alone, surrounded by only nahja.
I make a space. I can go inside my own space. That is something.
In my space, I create solids. I make them into shapes. And sizes. And… is that what colors are? Hm. Solids are weird.
I touch the solids. It is fine. It does not fascinate me. I am still alone.
* * *
I find something. A space. I assume it is abandoned. I touch it. I think that if I touch it hard enough, it will destroy me. Then I will not be alone.
But no, I can go inside. How is that?
I am not all the way inside, I think. Or I am smaller inside the space. Compressed, somehow. Weaker. Still, I am inside. Good.
Inside is big with many, many solids. Bigger than even the biggest other-me space. Not the same solids. I have never seen these solids.
Most are round. Small hot spheres. Smaller hard spheres. Soft flowing spheres too, and mist, and wet. All moving. I go inside a hot sphere. It churns and wobbles and gushes. It does not fall apart, even with me inside it.
I watch. The space gets bigger. The spheres hit each other, explode, make other spheres.
There is a place in the center where new solids come swirling out. I try to talk to it. It says nothing. I cannot sense its nahjans. I decide it is not an other-me.
* * *
I know about time now. It was always there, I think. Watching the spheres move, I can see time, measure it.
Now that I measure it, time is long. Time is so long that I wish I did not know about time.
In all the long time that I have been here, inside, I have not seen another me. They have not found this space.
I have been alone for… eternity. That is my new word. Eternity.
* * *
I find something new. In this whole huge space, this sphere is unique. Other spheres have the curves and colors and wet, and the soft things that grow and the tiny live things. But this one throbs with nahja. Not just the little nahjans of the creatures. Something more.
I make myself smaller to get close to it. To get close to something. To be not alone.
If I try to touch it, will it let me? If it is an other-me, it will not. Or it will, and we will both be destroyed.
Fine. Destroy me.
I get closer. It is warm. Not like the hot spheres. Warm happy soft warm. I get even closer. It does not stop me. I try to touch it.
I touch it.
I am touching it.
Oh, I am touching it. It is so, so much. So everything. I think I might explode from being filled with all the warm happy soft warm. That would be fine. I could explode now.
I stretch out to touch it with as much of me as I can. I glide around it, caressing the surface, soaring through the air, diving into the wet. It is the most delicious thing I have ever felt.
I cannot get far into the hard part. Too dense. It pulses in there, deep down. I lay myself long and wide, as close as I can, and I pulse with it.
I want to never leave.
* * *
I am learning to sense it. I think. It is buried under layers, but I am sure it is there. I can feel it, in waves.
It likes the creatures. And the plants. Those are the soft growing things. I try to help them, to please it. Pleasing it is good.
I especially like the tiny ones that fly. Bugs. And the ones with feathers. Birds. I make feathers for myself. Interesting. Later I forget them and they disappear.
The birds call me something. I have never been called anything. I did not know that there were words for me’s.
They call me Kakika. They say it in bird. But it sounds like Kakika.
I ask my sphere what it is called. It still does not talk. I wait.
* * *
I now have many names for the sphere. It is so many things to me. It needs many names.
I teach one of the names to the small brown and gray creatures on two legs. Eneana. I tell them it means: everything.
Eneana is everything to me.
* * *
They are coming! The other-me’s. They have found the space. I must not panic. They are over there, looking at the suns and planets and the mists.
They have found the thing in the center that makes the solids. They are getting closer.
They cannot come to Eneana. I will not let them. It is mine. Mine!
I make myself bigger again. I stretch. I expand around Eneana, and its moon, and the other planets, and the sun. It has been a long time since I have been this size.
My barrier is strong. It will hide us. And if they find us, it will hold.
I will make it hold.
* * *
The creatures change. Every time I look, there are new types and colors. The plants change too. Even the formations of hard and wet and cold change. Every new form is more beautiful than the last.
I cannot see how Eneana does this. I lay silent and watch for a thousand revolutions and still I cannot see it act. But the changes are there.
* * *
Eneana seems to like the two-legged creatures best. The wingless ones. The people.
I want to make Eneana happy. I will make Eneana more people. Eneana might talk to me then.
* * *
It is hard to make people. They are weird. Even weirder than other solids.
My people are not right. I make many different kinds, but none are like the people Eneana made. They have the same two arms and two legs and the one head and the eggs. But their colors and shapes and sizes are all wrong. Also, wings, like bugs. I like the wings. But they are not right.
I try again. These are better. Too small, but more like the Eneanan people. No wings. Eneana will like these.
But no. When my people die, their tiny nahjans float away and dissipate into the nahja field. They are not absorbed into Eneana like the nahjans of his people. They do not strengthen Eneana.
I have failed.
* * *
I am missing something. I look closer. It is hard to focus on things this small. Ah. Birds and bugs and fish have eggs. People do something else. There is a female and a male, and they merge for many moments. I watch. It is amazing. They touch so closely, all over, but they are not destroyed. Then a tiny person comes out of the female and grows, like a seed becoming a tree.
I did not understand that, about the female and the male and the merging.
Now I want that. I want to merge.
I want to merge with Eneana. I can be the female and Eneana can be the male. We will merge and make… I do not know what that would make. A tiny me?
I do not care if it makes nothing. As long as we merge.
Once he is strengthened enough. Once he wakes up. He has to wake up.
* * *
The violent tremor happens again. It is not the mountain-rock shaking that pushes the underneath up and shifts the rivers. That, I have seen many times.
This is a shiver from deep within Eneana himself. The nahja fluctuates. Everything the wave touches fluctuates. Shimmers. There and not-there, at the same time.
I am afraid. I worry that Eneana is hurt. I wonder if he is dying. I feel helpless.
This time I am looking at the right spot. I see the fluctuations—the flux—wash over creatures and change them. Not over many generations, like they usually change, but all at once. Right now. They become bigger, rougher. Like the creatures used to look tens of thousands of revolutions ago.
I wonder why the change goes backwards. That does not seem good.
Now I watch carefully for the flux. I must know what it means, what it is doing to Eneana. It happens frequently, every one hundred revolutions or so. In different places, all over. I learn to anticipate it. I get closer to it.
I take a chance and let the flux wash over me.
I brace for the pain but no, it is not painful. It is like stretching. Yawning.
Relief fills me, expands me. I realize: this is not Eneana hurting. This is Eneana growing. In savage bursts.
I call out to Eneana. I cheer on his growth. I tell him I am waiting for him. I cry for him to come to me.
He remains silent. He is not yet awake.
* * *
The other-me’s have found me! Only one. I do not see any others. I reinforce the barrier but it is not enough. It pushes and twists and now it is in. If I was outside the space, oh, I could do so much more!
My barrier still restricts it. And however this space muffles my power, it does the same to this newcomer. It cannot come all the way in. It cannot fully touch Eneana. Not the way I can. But it can see me and talk to me and make things and move things. I cannot keep it from contaminating us.
It talks to the birds. They are curious. They talk back.
I have made a word for hard-sad. Anger.
I anger at it.
* * *
The birds name the other-me Zahenalan. Zahenalan is respectful of Eneana. It shows interest in the people and the birds and the trees. It asks good questions. I mean to resist it, to make it go away. I find myself pointing out all the wonderful, beautiful things about Eneana. There are so many. I never had anyone to show before.
It likes what I like. Hm.
Zahenalan thinks this is my space. It thinks Eneana is like any other planet. It does not see what I see. It cannot sense Eneana’s power.
I stay quiet. This is my secret.
I explain about males and females. Zahenalan is amused. It suggests that we take on genders. If I want to be a female, it will be a male. We agree, and do it. I think. I do not know how it is supposed to feel, to be a female. Maybe if we had bodies it would be more noticeable.
The birds call Zahenalan my brother. This is not an insult. It means we are from the same nest. Yes, I will allow that. Zahenalan can be from my nest.
I invent a new thing: a vow. I tell Zahenalan to vow that he will not tell any other-me’s about this space. I say he cannot stay unless he vows. I will fight him.
Here, I am stronger than him. He knows this.
Now it is the two of us here, with Eneana. Good.
* * *
Having another me here is anger-making. Zahenalan has decided to make his own people. Better than mine, he says. More like Eneana’s people, he says.
They are. No wings. No eggs. They are not quite the same. Their ears are pointed, like my people’s, and their eyes are wrong. And too green. Eneana’s people are never green.
But closer. I can see that. I will not say it, though.
I learn that Zahenalan used material from Eneana to make his people. I am furious.
Now Zahenalan’s people are stuck there, in the part of the world where they were made. If they wander too far, they get sick. Sick is what creatures get before they die. It is true that creatures on Eneana all die. They are constantly dying. It is the one thing every creature does. It is very interesting to me. But I have learned that to the people, it is a bad thing.
I laugh at my brother. Stupid other-me with his broken people.
Then I remember that I did the same thing with some of my people. I check. Yes, those ones are stuck too, here and there. Most of my people are not—I made them with material from all over, so they can go anywhere. But oh, my poor dryads. I apologize to them. They are not angry. They make little kisses all over me.
Then they die. They are always dying.
* * *
Zahenalan’s people are not right either. When they die, their nahjans dissipate. They are not absorbed into Eneana.
I explain it all to Zahenalan, to tell him that he failed. Ha!
He disputes me. He is not convinced that Eneana is alive.
I have told him my secret and he does not believe me. I will never tell him anything again.
* * *
A flux happens, right next to us. Zahenalan is startled. I am glad. It is hard to startle him.
Zahenalan finds the creatures affected by the flux. He pokes them. They snarl. They do not understand enough to fear him. Here in my space he is weak for a me, yes, but he is still a me.
He pokes them harder and they turn to dust, dead. This makes him angry. Now he cannot study them.
He does not realize that the fluxed forms are older forms of the same creatures. I tell him. He asks why. I say it is a mystery.
I tell Zahenalan something else he does not know. The flux does not affect my people. Or his.
He did not realize this. I am not surprised. Zahenalan no longer pays much attention to his people. I can see why. They rarely do anything worth watching. They stay the same. They mostly talk to each other and make pretty sounds, like birds. They do not even die that often.
I tell him, you have made a predicable people. Not like mine. Not better than mine. Not more interesting.
He insists that they are more like Eneanan people. This is what he always says.
Now Zahenalan spends most of his time outside. He can be bigger there. Stronger. More comfortable. He has his own space, with his own solids in it. He still visits.
I do not care. I have Eneana to keep me company. And all his creatures and people. And my people. And Zahenalan’s people, if I want.
I do not need him.
* * *
The other-me’s have found us. They invade, one by one. I cannot keep them all out. I can only keep them small and weak.
I improve my barrier. It restricts them more. They can barely touch the surface. I think Eneana is helping me. Or being so enmeshed with him makes me stronger. Zahenalan is the most frustrated, able to do so much less than before.
The other-me’s make more people. They bring creatures. They take creatures away. Always causing trouble. Disrupting my plan.
I try to stop them, but even I am limited here. So many things happening in every revolution. All these tiny lives starting and ending so fast. I cannot see the whole world and each creature at the same time. I pick my battles.
One of the other-me’s teaches people to farm. I am angry at the other-me. Farming is an abomination against the plants. Then I see that more farming means more people in more places. More people means more nahjans for Eneana. So I allow the farming. I do not have to like it.
The other-me’s teach Eneana’s people to worship them. This, I hate. These people no longer follow the ways of Eneana. When they die, their nahjans are not absorbed into Eneana. They are taken by the other-me’s, off to their spaces. Or the nahjans float away, uselessly, into the nahja field. The other-me’s cannot even absorb the nahjans themselves. They are completely wasted!
Some people stay true to the old ways. Their nahjans strengthen Eneana. Only a minority, but there are so many more people now. We are still making progress.
The other-me’s are easily bored. They play with the people. Say things that make no sense. Start wars just to watch.
They stay long enough to start a new religion, or take over a dead one, then they wander off. Being small and weak irritates them. They prefer to have control, in their own spaces.
The people cannot even keep track of who they are worshiping. I do not bother to correct them.
* * *
The other-me’s will not leave. There are too many of them to fight. I spread out and protect what I can.
I am patient.
They cannot hurt Eneana. Here, in this special space, with my barrier, Eneana is stronger than all of them put together. He is growing. He is expanding.
This is my secret. Soon, he will wake. Soon, we will merge. We will become a new thing. A joined-together thing. Touching in all places, for all eternity.
I will never be alone again.