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Early draft of the Story of B'nel Lion, incomplete - 06/17/2022

‘I was born among the reeds of the Jebain delta shortly after their formation, and was raised for many years like any other cub of the pride.

One warm morning shrouded in mist, I awoke before anyone else. I was awakened by the rustles of a nearby bush, and being curious, wandered off to explore.

Something dark and shiny caught my eyes. Quiet and stealthy, I crawled closer and closer, before pouncing upon my unsuspecting quarry.

At that moment, I was strung through the space between corporeality, grasping the tail of a bone serpent. The wispy trails of countless ego-melds breezed into my body, casting the wisdom and conscience of Parg into my mind.

The rushing ceased suddenly, and I found myself thrown into a grassy garden. With a sudden glance, I watched the rear of the mystical snake slither into the ground. With no rest, however, I was pursued.

Yelling ensued, and a troupe of troops ran to apprehend me in great shock and terror. Tired, confused, and still of inferior age, I was an easy catch.

I was a rare specimen to the distant kingdom of Pey, and was brought, encaged, to the court of King Wid. The king was delighted and perplexed by this discovery.

The ruler was a cruel and sadistic man, who took pleasure in killing his subjects for fun and wallowing in hideous boasts of privilege and superiority.

I became King Wid’s greatest display of wealth and power. He costumed me in gold and jewels, and I was made to perform tricks for guests and subjects.

This was my state for years, until I had matured and strengthened.

One evening, I was led into the King’s arena. We were amidst an arduous war; having been starved for days, I was ordered by the king to kill and consume a group of enemy prisoners.

While I adhered myself to certain social graces then as I do now, I was a very hungry carnivore. I gazed at the crew of foreigners. Tired soldiers, an old woman, a young child… fresh meat. The King yelled in encouragement, and the audience cheered.

I was afraid. I prowled around the pit, glancing to and fro between the prisoners and my master. The king was cruel, but he had given me a stately home and much leisure, even with my difficult service. At the time, this made me more hesitant than I should have ever been. Nonetheless, he was evil, and in moral standing, there was only one choice.

Suddenly, in a furious flurry of speed and ferocity, I charged at King Wid. The tyrant monarch’s rule ended in one strong bite, and my hunger was quickly quenched.

The audience panicked in fear and horror, but I had no ill-will, and needed to make that known. Full of the gilded gout and thinking fast, I had other goals in mind.

The People were now without a ruler, and knew not what to do. They were not used to such anarchy. But, with the wisdom gained from All That IS, I had an idea.

In my tumultuous feast, I’d swallowed a gemstone of great attributes from Wid’s brooch. A voice spoke within my mind. It was my own, and it told me the gem was now a part of my being, and had granted me the gift of immortality.

The voice in my mind I had known as my own, but only in my head had it existed before. Now, with the power of the stone, it was present to the ears of all. I spoke to the crowd, and commanded great surprise to myself and the humans.

They bowed towards me, but I bid them to rise and walk alongside me. Out of the arena we trekked, and paraded down the streets of their city. I spoke as we walked, teaching the wonders of my journey thus far, and of my insights into the nature of the universe.

I advised with wisdom they need not be ruled by any king, teaching the ways of freedom for all and by all. As I have seen here in Ibrake, so was done in Pey. With that done, my goals were accomplished, and I bid the good People farewell. As I set off down the forest lane, something rustled in the shrubbery. The obsidian-black skeleton of a serpent slithered onto the dirt before me, and I knew what was to be done.

As I tread onto its back, I was transported as once I had years before, and found myself home at the very place I’d disappeared so many decades ago. I wandered around the familiar marsh for days, searching for the family I’d lost, but my pride was nowhere to be found. I lay under the bright light of the moon and wept into the estuarine waters and my tears danced with the tide.

I went across to an old egret, and asked if she knew where I’d find the lions who’d lived here before. She only shook her head low with a sigh, lamenting at their departure many years ago. I begged of her to betray where they’d gone, and why; lo, my absence had caused great pain in their hearts, and they couldn’t bear to remain. They’d gone off West, and the story of their travel was not known to the bird.

Alas, my only task was to head towards evening’s ritual sunset in search of my loved ones, asking the friends of all places further if they knew of any help. And so I journeyed for many moons, hearing only slight recollections of a group who’d gone by in the past. I was restless and determined, and I shunned my body’s pleas for slumber.

In the vesper whispers of one warm twilight, my heart leapt from my chest as I saw in the distance a pride of sleeping lions. I roared like a mighty chieftain and dashed with a falcon’s haste towards the standing figures of my parents who rejoiced at my return. As I slowed to meet with them at last, the sandy ground beneath my feet gave way, and the shimmering feline forms faded into air as I fell a great height from a beachside cliff.

My body was wrecked upon the wet sands below, and I lay bleeding upon the threshold of death. A golden beam rose beneath my legs, and the rest of a door formed from starlight up around me. Ahead through the portal I witnessed the writhing masses of ideas threshed from the minds of all upon the floor of the bright room. Above, a speck of light grew into a miniature star which blazened itself into a diminutive spirit-form.

This being appeared as a small tower of light-stone discs spinning atop each other, narrowing in size as they rose. On the left from my view was a limb that appeared as a grain of rice, and above still shone a featureless face of pure light, which was nestled in a smooth and flat helmet. Speckles of glowing gold glimmered throughout the stone of its body.

The grace of the spirit beamed into my torn limbs, and the wounds wove themselves anew at the mercy of an awesome feeling of ecstasy. I rose and stared into the light of my healer, and a divine voice emanated into my heart, unheard in air but known to me innately. And I learned that which follows:

They were Scho’te, messenger avatar of the Ever-Being that was the direct mind and soul of the geometry of Parg. This was the Guide-Spirit’s primary form, and that most commonly known in the mortal realm. They had come to me in recognition of my accomplishments, having sent an intercosmic bone-serpent to strengthen my curious spirit beyond the realm of Parg ages ago. So was explained why I had never heard of a place known as Pey - I had been outside of Parg

Watching over my tribulation from behind the veil of the corporeal, they had taken great pity upon my fatal fall of psychosis, and could not bear to see unlit a soul they regarded so highly. They had come to me now to grant invincibility from the toll and toil of the natural world, and so a beautiful stone of breathtaking sight was produced from the star-face of Scho’te.

The Ever-Being taught this was Parg, the generative singularity of All That IS, and with its seamless light I would be bestowed with these wonders. I gazed into the star-stone's grace and felt at peace and understanding with all that is wrong and disgraceful. The stone sank into the fire again, and Scho’te bid me farewell with a fair wind upon my back.

Before disappearing into void once more, the avatar suggested I wade in the waters to restore my rest, and upon that advice, shrank into a white speckle that spiraled and burst into golden cacophony.

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