Chapter IV: God.
Slowly came the day. The sun was rising, though none would witness it. Only the artificial Sun outside the temple gate would signal the morning and stir the city from sleep. He awoke early, before the rest, as was His custom, to watch the Sunbeam climbing to the clouds and piercing the sky. It fizzed and cracked as it went, exploding the air around it with its energy. The pinnacle of His power, shining forth from the pinnacle of His temple.
He was old, yet strong and dense. His skin, rough, textured and like oil, black and thick covered his tall figure and framed his four, deep, yellow eyes, which burned with the intensity of young suns. Within the black of His skin, a translucence was discernible and as He moved something within the structure of His cells shimmered and shone, reflecting light and reducing it to its primary state.
As the light from the temple hit Him, His aides paused in wonder, savouring this, most holy of emanations, before returning to their work of dressing Him for the day.
He wore a magnificent headdress, made from the feathers of the peacocks that were kept at His temple. It rose from his brow and fanned upwards and outwards, cascading down his back in green and blue shimmering filaments. This feathered crown was held in place by two strips of turquoise cloth that ran across his eyes and mouth and a small bird bone pierced his nose through the septum. His torso was bare save for a large, golden collar, which fringed his neck and upon which was etched the history of His war. The great temple flowing with the blood of His sacrifices. His dogs feasting upon the altar of the dead. The old masters burnt from existence. And there, in the centre, the Sun, eternal overseer, which by His hand was reborn, bathing the scene in its light.
As His help finished the task of dressing Him, He turned to the room and reached for His staff of iron, without ornamentation save for a single solisphere set on top, clapsed from all sides by imagined rays of light. This solisphere, however, was not the deep dark of all others but a magnificent blend of reds, purples and yellows. A gem from His world that surpassed all others in its beauty and power. It was with this stone that He had journeyed here and saved the sun. With this stone that He had lit the Sunbeam and sacrificed so many from the pinnacle of His temple. It was with this stone that He had enslaved a planet and it never left His right hand. It was said to contain the corpse of His sun, which though dim beyond sight, still held some of its power such that its echo lingered in the emanations and shone above the scorched clouds of the sky. His people’s entire history. Every emotion and experience that that world ever knew glimmering inside this most precious of jewels.
His work for the day begun at the Temple with the varying bureaucracies of His rule. It was well known that its repetitive mundanity made him prone to anger and fits of caprice. One such fit of pique had even resulted in the summary execution of the Council’s head. His skull crushed between the incandescent black hands of his saviour, the blood running off the dark skin like oil across water. The High Council had therefore reduced as much of this administrative load as possible and only troubled Him with the most important news from the City.
One council member began.
“The department for extractions reports that a significant seam of coal has been detected in the mountains in sector 5 of the southern quadrant.
If proven to be of the size and scope anticipated, we should be looking at 4 to 5 more years of Solispherical activity, beyond that predicted in the current models. Brother Phelps himself was the one to make the discovery, though, with his usual modesty, he states that he is most pleased with the entire fifteen who continue to do you honour”.
“We have had reports of an increase in arrests at the Spires and that the production of Water continues unabated despite the recent crackdowns.”
“Although disappointing, reoffending rates are down and evidence continues to confirm that Solispherical treatment of the city’s vices is the most successful method for redirecting individuals to your light”.
“How so?” the Sun Lord asked. The room falling still as his great voice resonated in the chamber.
“My Lord?” came the nervous reply from the room.
“How could arrests be rising whilst reoffending rates fall?”
His voice was almost polyphonic and sang with a multitude of unknown harmony, a vocal emanation, almost, but not quite, as rich as the Immersion itself. The bass dominated but behind it, lost in the room and seemingly provoked in the echoes from the reverb itself came limitless intervals in an unfamiliar harmonic system. It was beautiful but strange and certainly unnerving in its depth and complexity.
“My Lord, if I may?” began the Justice officer.
“We have noticed an increased draw to the Spires from amongst the older generations. Those citizens who inhabited this Earth before your Grace was upon them”.
“And why is that do you think? Does that not sound like a troubling fact?”
“Indeed my Lord. We have noted the trend and are formulating a proposal for its subversion”, he continued.
The room paused, pregnant with doubt as their God sat and stared, glaring in the direction of His council and His Justice chief.
“Here is my proposal.” He simmered.
“Remove yourself from this room and on your way to a reconditioning cell give notice of this new order. From hence forth all and any citizens caught engaging in degenerate activity at the Spires are to be sacrificed at my altar.
All and any future prisoners held for crimes involving Water are to be sacrificed at my altar.
All establishments proved to be or suspected of providing nocturnal activities of a hypnagogic variety are to be razed and the proprietors and the proprietors’ family are to be sacrificed at my altar.
Any place suspected of production of Water should equally suffer this fate however you will torture each individual before their sacrifice and extract all and any pertinent information as to the means of production before their glorious demise.
This perversion has continued for too long and your weakness and apathy have allowed this trend, which you present to me casually and without blame, to flourish and undermine my power. People are base and weak-minded and follow only strength. Fear is our weapon. These sinners will fear us once more and nourish the Sun with their tainted lifeblood.”
The Sun Lord stood and turned to leave, His dark skin shimmering as if mimicking the anger of His words. Within His mind His pride raged. He hated this place. The smell. The touch and taste. The sight. His world had been ravishing and his people divine. Living among the collective peoples of his conquest, though necessary, appalled him and these humans were particularly rotten. The immersive life, spent in contemplation of Him and turned to the light was simple and pure but entirely fulfilling for a great many people. The Solisphere was addictive, hypnotic and able to calm many of the most primitive impulses of this world. People could be grown in His light and their efforts harvested so long as belief in Him and a fear of the world remained. Indeed, many on this planet had fallen swiftly in love with their saviour, saved as they were from the certain doom that their dying sun had promised and awed by His seemingly limitless power. Some remained untamed, however, unable to relinquish some primal urge that He did not understand. Humans, it seemed, were stubborn and rebellious. These were not traits borne from choice, rather something genetic, some exercise in evolution had imprinted this behaviour in their DNA for the apparent benefit it brought in terms of survival. Perhaps not for the individual as, in His new world, neither stubbornness nor rebellion were traits, which were of any benefit to a person, but rather for the species. Humans were capable of fighting, rebelling and even dying if their genes required them to. They could willingly go to their deaths with gritted teeth and a sense of righteousness if this mechanism was set in motion and nothing seemed capable of changing that fact.
Despite the almost universal acceptance of His rule and the gorgeous efficacy of the Immersion, these people were drawn to escape back to a time before His coming and had an excessive drive to Nocturnal pursuits. Their DNA required an explanation. The organism, at a chemical level was crying out, screaming at them to rebel, to not accept this new world because it was not the world that had built the very structure of their beings. He had attempted to alter this, through the use of the capsualised nutrition with which He fed His people. An agent within this food acted as a catalyst for the Immersion, one that intensified the emanations, hastening and concentrating the manner of each submission to His light. He had thought perhaps that the seditious element within the population were primarily Growers given that they consumed less of His food and for a time the eating of home-grown produce had been banned. The evidence, however, had shown no dip in offending rates and indeed dissidence had spiked among the most ardent supporters of the Grower movement who seemed to love that pass time very much.
And so it was that He had come to theorise that this stubbornness responded only to more stubbornness. That though the very smallest minority would react differently, authority and punishment served best in the quenching of this most human of traits.
As His council left Him, He walked out in to the pallor of the day, spread His arms wide and, standing on His balcony, lifted His face to the sky, and closed His eyes, smiling at the Sun as His black skin projected a rainbow over the city.