All Things Are One
Summary: Lyrienne seeks the deeper truths behind recent dreams.
Date: 28/December/2013
Related: None

April 26, 3014 — The Ring - Observatory

It was late night on the Ring - or what passed for it - and Lyrienne couldn't sleep. There was nothing strange about that, of course. Pushing eight months pregnant with twins, sleep had become a luxury only rarely indulged. The children were asleep, though, Julian's crib now set up in Marus' room, Lysandra's nightlight spraying blue and pink-tinted stars across her ceiling. Cedric had a night watch on the Intent. Which meant that there was nothing to distract Lyrienne from her sleeplessness.

Moments free of distraction being as rare as they were, she drew a shawl around her shoulders, pulled a brush through her hair, and slipped out into the gardens outside the tower. The walk to the observatory was a short one, and relatively free of people. This close to the Orelle seat, this late at night, it was mostly only guards and scientists roaming the halls.

The Observatory was all but empty. A scientist and a young soldier manned twinned telescopes, sleepily peering out through the vista provided by the windows. Here at the apex of the Ring, the universe beyond the Haven system was on full display. Stars sparkled against the velvet backdrop of empty space, their light and the light of the smaller ships and satellites moving around the station standing out all the brighter for the night time dimness of the room. Guards and scientists alike had grown accustomed to seeing Lyrienne here in the last few weeks, which didn't mean that she'd forgotten to bring them the customary offering of cookies, left silently on a table between them with a conspiratorial smile.

Offering thus made, Lyrienne padded quietly over to an open space near the windows, at a spot that looked out not on the planet below them, but on the empty space beyond. Settling into a cross-legged stance had become more difficult than usual of late, but she managed after a few moments of shifting, slowing her breath as she did.

Growing up in Arboren, the druids had always taught her that all things were one. As Awakened, she could sense the connections between them, play upon the energies of the universe. So long as she did so with the proper respect for all things. With the understanding of her own place in the world. As a girl, she'd sometimes struggled to find stillness. As a young woman, after weathering so many storms, the stillness was the easiest part. One deep breath, then two, and three, and Lyrienne's hands relaxed on her knees, eyes drifting half-closed.

To the Druids who had trained her, the Ring was an empty place, full of artificial, man-made constructs. When she had first come here, in her self-imposed banishment, Lyrienne had struggled to find her center. To find the life in all of it. Now, after so many years, she knew better.

All things are one, they had taught her. All things.

She started with herself, letting her awareness settle into her body. The breath that entered and left her lungs, recycling elements as oxygen transferred into her arteries and carbon dioxide was exhaled, there to be taken in by the environmental systems of the station. The slow, steady thump of her heart within her chest. She could feel where the flow of blood was restricted in her ankles, the swelling and slowness as her body compensated for the new life within her. New lives. As she sank deeper into the trance, Lyrienne could feel the swifter beat of two more hearts - one sleepy, the other shifting restlessly within her. Soon.

When she could feel the lives within her, Lyrienne let her awareness pool further out around her, breath slowing further. The night sky beyond the Ring was little more than a blur of glittering light beyond the veil of her lashes now, as she let her mind fall into the patterns of the metal beneath her. Titanium, gold, steel. Carbon plastics. Elements neatly ordered, stacked and chained with mathematical precision into enduring patterns of logical order. Beyond them, she could feel the sleepy thoughts of the soldier and the scientist beyond her, the ripples their lives cast into the fabric of the universe.

Normally, she would have let her awareness continue to spiral down, seeking out the levels of the Ring. Counting the leaves of the plants grown hydroponically, the bushes that offered an illusion of planetary life. The men, women, and companion animals who lived out their lives here above Haven, between it and the darkness. Tonight, though, she sought something deeper.

All things are one. Elements. Energy. Time.


This time, Lyrienne extended her awareness outward, beyond the windows. Toward the stars. She could feel the slow dance, the pressure that pulled the stars apart from each other. The stately march of time even more ancient than the stone of the planet. Time so ancient, so patient, that it need not move in a linear fashion. Back in the Observatory, her breath slowed, body almost perfectly still, while her mind roamed the stars. Roamed the stars, and sought the truth.

When she could feel herself drifting, feel the void and the potential it contained - for all Things had come from the Nothing - Lyrienne let her thoughts drift to the dreams.

Ice. Blood. Ships.

Slowly, she combed through her memories of the dreams. A world ship, like Cedric's prized model that stood on the shelf in his office, a memento of the trip that had brought the settlers to Haven. A great galleon that towered above the waves. A sea of ships that swarmed like a flight of sparrows, blocking out the sun until frost rimed the surface of the planet. She felt again the persistent chill of one dream, the ice crystals that formed on her lashes and the tint of blue in her fingers. Again, she tasted the blood. Oceans and rivers of it, hot enough that they melted the ice as they washed over it. The coppery scent so thick in the air that the tongue insisted it had tasted it as well. There had to be a link. There had to be a purpose.

Step by step, she pressed her mind into the void, trying to push back the curtains between what was and what would be. There were flickers, meaning before her like footsteps around a corner, like a glimpse of a skirt before the steps receded again. A bank of blood bags. A field of ice shards. A ship made of frozen blood, hurtling toward her.

Lyrienne's aura burned, the usually gentle aurora of gold, pink, and teal splashing against the walls of the observatory like an arctic sky, an eldritch fire.

Just a moment further…

And then it was gone.

The psychic noise receded, the sense of strain in her mind, and Lyrienne let out a slow breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. She was still aware, still connected. She could sense the soldier who stirred behind her, his relief when the glare of her aura eased once more. But the feeling of being at the edge, the attenuated sense of the space where time became relative, was gone. Again.

Slowly, Lyrienne reeled in her awareness once more, easing it back from the empty night beyond her. Stepping elegantly through the crystal structures of the Ring. Brushing a soothing touch against the minds of the children within her. A few moments settled her breath once more, slowed her heart. And when she opened her eyes, the lights in the room were slowly rising. Dawn, or what passed for it on the Ring, was approaching.

Lyrienne carefully unfolded herself, wincing as her knees popped in the silence, and gratefully took the hand of the young soldier who came to help her up with a murmured word of thanks. Weariness weighed in her mind, and her body protested the hours of stillness. She stayed long enough to share a cookie before the duty shifts changed, leaving the platter behind for the next shift, then padded back to the apartment she shared with her family as the people of the Ring started to stir.

It wasn't sleep. But perhaps it was one step closer to the truth.

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