Space Beyond Time
It was here, in the vastness of space outside the reaches of his kin that the foolish youth settled… Beyond the great expanse of eternities where his people could no longer reach him that he rested, and closed his eyes for but a moment.
So far away from his home, he bravely stepped foot into the empty darkness that fills the space beyond our sun and stars. He saw it fit for his passions and dreams. It was as if it had been carved for him, a space large enough that his imagination and desire could run boundless but so small compared to the worlds his predecessors had overwhelmed. It was comfortable, to this young god.
He stretched his arms upon his first new day in this vacant place and set out to fill it with the wonders of his imagination. Powerful indeed, he knew he was. Yet no amount of secrecy or paranoia could stop this youth from making the same mistake so many before him. As he spanned his great arms across the nothingness before him, he felt anguish and pain rend at his heart. One day there felt like light-years in his mind, and though he knew not why he felt it, he realized he wanted to go home.
Still, he refused to let his sorrow fracture him as it had so many before him. He battled the feeling until one day it left him. He awoke after endless centuries in the vast expanse and felt no sorrow for leaving his home. He felt nothing at all, but the desire to create wonder.
So he did. In the vast black ocean before him, he burst forth his dreams and his ideas, never thinking again of those who spurned him away from his home and out to this foreign space beyond time. Yet, he flourished knowing that before him there stood more possibility than ever he had known.
His children would come to know that possibility one day as well, but with it, they would know pain. What Syzal made, he was proud of. Despite that pride in his children, as he called them, he still had lied to them. He was not endless, nor was he limitless. He was barely but a child in the eyes of his betters, a lesson he refused until he was given no other choice… but before the first man was made to draw breath and commune with the god, he would first create the air his children needed to breathe.
Air: The Essence of Freewill
Syzal stepped through the infinite shroud and felt the lash of darkness bite at his flesh. The black devouring maw of the Void rushed to meet him, starving for a morsel of his power… but he held this unknown rage at bay. With a wave of his hand, he brushed it to the side and saw beyond the veil that had cloaked it all. His new everything was so dense and full of possibility. The very space around him with nothing to fill it made him gasp for breath.
It was exactly what he wanted. He had found for himself the perfect canvas, something that was devoid of error, devoid of the remains of another’s whim. Like a great container, he would fit his mind within and let the eternities wonder how he managed to do so.
As he returned his waved hand to his side, the crawling Void receded, suddenly terrified of the illuminated being that had infested their home. Syzal looked upon it, breathing into his lungs and exhaling a torrent from within. As the breath escaped him, the Void recoiled from this new power that filled their home.
This was the first breath, that Essence of Freewill which Syzal refused to forgo. This was Air.
It began to infest the world in which the Void had long ago consumed. Their newfound hunger for this element proved to be ravenous. In their place, the air began to take shape, forming pockets of safety. It expelled the Void as quickly as it arrived as if the air had a mind of its own, protecting these places in which nothing else would live.
Water: The Essence of Logic
Syzal looked upon the air that he’d created and saw the Void as it danced between the space, its snarled form licked at the element, and tasted the glory of choice. Sickened by the sight of the thing, the young god cleaved the air around him in two, dividing what was there as the Void surged forth eager to replace the sudden disappearance of the foreign substance.
Just as the air was divided, Syzal stole half into his hand and pulled from a deep sorrow he had long since hidden away and let it fall into the depths below him. In the lowest valleys, he filled the space with this new energy and it multiplied. As the sorrow coursed from Syzal’s heart, it filled the space below him and tremendous energy erupted from the darkness.
He watched the ripples cross the surface of the new element, and pleased with himself, submerged to think.
This was the Essence of Logic, the element of Water.
Beneath the crushing weight of the new wellspring, the Void was pushed down to the depths of its own home, fleeing from any crack or crag it could have occupied as the water rushed to meet its sibling, and together the two elements danced around the god with carefree ease.
Within Syzal’s new home, life could begin anew. A life that would threaten the Void itself. So the Void searched for an entrance above and slithered its way in. They were first curious but quickly came to know that Syzal was no mere artisan. He was an enemy of grand design… So they stretched across the remaining expanse, under tremendous pressure from the elements as it slipped beneath the waves, and once it had returned to the very bottom it reached upward, their yawning mouths closed as they reached up to find Syzal where he laid back, floating on the sea…
And the Void crashed into him from beneath it.
Ether: The Essence of Emotion
The outstretched tendrils of the Void clamped around his wrists and dragged him below the sea. Their vicious teeth puncturing the flesh of the foolish boy, and they tasted something they had never felt before.
Tremendous power surged through the Void as it pulled Syzal into the depths. They bit down on the god as he thrashed and kicked, but his struggle was in vain as he slowly sank, unable to emerge from the cold grip of his coming death. He fell limp with the sight of the beings many eyes focused on him, whispering in a foreign tongue.
The Void, pleased with itself, released Syzal in the dark depths of his precious sea and touted an early victory. It turned to face the elements above and felt a sudden force upon its back as Syzal woke and with fury, and pulled the creature upwards. The pair rocketed out of the sea as Syzal shouted with rage and stripped his flesh from his bones as they sailed to unknown corners of the vast expanse and Syzal locked it away, bound with his own flesh. The creature, contained and trapped in his endless dream cried out that it would return one day when Syzal was without power, that it would wait and take from the youth everything it had ever known.
Syzal, in turn, left it to its designs. His body warped and malformed, he returned to the place he’d made for himself and laid back upon to seas, never knowing that the Void had tasted his power…
A magic from within the flesh of the God, which they opened their mouths to devour, slowly, carefully. They waited as they had for millennia before, ever thinking of a plan to escape their prison.
Fire: The Essence of Creativity
Syzal slept then, for an untold time. The threat of the Void sealed away, he rested upon the calm seas of his creation.
When he awoke, he was filled with a new vile well of rage, born of his new knowledge of the Void. He looked to the sky and saw it hanging far beyond him, a single cluster of tongues and teeth and hungry eyes that watched his every move. His fury unbridled at the beast above and manifested itself from the shadows of the seas. The heat grew from within Syzal as he dove to the bottom of the waters and channeled his anger into the base of his creation. He burned the water until it began to boil, and what was left of the air within began to rise in bubbles to the surface where the Void watched this new thing as it glowed in the deep space, curious.
The Essence of Creativity, the Element of Fire.
When Syzal eventually emerged from the depths of the sea with flames in his hands, the manifestation of his rage, he looked toward the Void above and vowed that it would never be free as long as he lived. He burned that promise into his bones that none of his children would fall prey to the vile will of the hideous things that nestled in the edges of the space like cowards.
When he had finished issuing his decree to the Void, he tossed the flames back to the sea where they burned without cease. He sat in thought, contemplating the purpose of his passion until the sea had boiled away a third of what he’d made. As the steam rose with the lowering of the water he pulled the flames from beneath back into his hands and finally quieted the rage that burned within him.
Earth: The Essence of Order
Syzal stood above the waters and calmed them with his hand, stilling them so that they began to manifest and collect as solid matter. A matter which he shaped with the fire of his secret fury, and gave birth to his final primordial creation.
The Essence of Order, the Element of Earth.
He filled this earth with water and air and molded it with fire as he spun it around his hands. It warped and twisted as he planned his next creation. Water that had stilled, he pulled from the deep and pushed the air into. He blasted each with flames from his skinless throat and he molded them into spherical jewels.
Each one he inspected and scrutinized, carefully selecting those who passed his test. He flung them into space as power erupted from his pleasure as the planets began to rotate, and spin around their axis. He tried and tried to perfect them as his precious toys exploded in bursts of light and power with each new failure which illuminated the space beyond, and each concussive burst of light made its way to the Void locked away high above him. They hissed, and spat, and barked threats down to the god but he paid them no mind.
He was hard at work, and he would not stop until his work was finished. He tossed another handful of carefully molded pearls into space and waited for the detonation, when none came he stood and turned up to the Void above, cursing it for distracting him. As his words escaped his mouth, this too burst and ruptured light into the worlds beyond, and in a bitter chance at success, the Void opened its mouths and consumed what light stretched towards it.
Millions of times Syzal repeated this practice until… he threw a new collection of beads into the dark and they hung suspended where they fell, carefully balanced around one another and peacefully in the air. Millions of times he attempted to perfect his ritual, and he had managed finally to do so. In honor of the Element which allowed him to birth such a magnificent creation, he named it the Earth. It rested beside his eight nearest successes, a hall of fame displaying his creation that spun around a blazing star constructed from his frustration.
Syzal then replicated his best idea and threw more stars and planets into the Void than he cared to count. They sailed through the black infinity beyond the reaches of the air itself and when they slowed to a crawl, he found a perfect spot in the center where he hung his first system.
There, he allowed them to dance together, united in his masterful use of the elements, Syzal took the form of a boy and traveled down to the Earth and danced there alone as the Void watched silently from above.
Black venom from its fangs dripped slowly down from the great expanse and fell between his planets, crashing into the elements themselves. With each new drop that fell against the Ether, the Void watched as its own power fused and transformed against the power of the youthful god. Its venom turned and changed by the nurturing power of Syzal’s Ether until it became something so devoid of light and reason that it was masked from Syzal’s joy entirely… and it waited for him.
When his dance came to its end, this Perfect Darkness seemed to vanish, but it was still there in Syzal’s world. Hidden in the black spaces between his sight, it waited for the moment which it could undo everything the young god had built for himself, out of greed, out of passion, out of pride.
The Darkness hungered for it all.