She stood in a wooded area on a well worn path. She noticed immediately all of the trees all had faces, empty sockets and hollow stares. It was a disquieting forest. She inspected herself, seeing she was still massive in size, yet all but her head was blurry. She chalked up that her this was her true form; something to work towards. Eighteen inches complete and nearly eighteen feet to go. She felt a little foolish, forgetting about her quantum charge, most likely due to her final burst of solar cannon projected from every inch of her body. She would remember to keep that in mind. The burst itself took almost five thousand quantum charge to fire and was very inefficient. She felt herself as a massive cannon with a tiny ammo count.
She turned, her head striking a bundle of branches. They easily snapped as dried twigs and fell with a clatter.
“That is new. I can interact with the environment?” Soltana mused aloud.
She knelt down, trying to upturn a pebble, and her hand passed through, getting no grip. She reached out and touched a tree branch, gripping it fully. She felt numb, with only a slight feeling of pressure as she picked up the branch. She let it drop to the ground, watching it clatter along the road.
A flying sheet flew in front of her face, pausing to stare at her. Soltana stared at the newcomer, see that it was indeed a flying semi transparent sheet with tiny eyes and a pinprick mouth. its tiny sheet hands pulled at its mouth, stretching it large and wide. It let out a shriek to startle her.
It didn’t work.
The sheet let out a child’s giggle at that.
“Hello, who are you? You can see me?”
The sheet nodded quickly as its face returned to normal.
“As can I,” a baritone voice broke in off to her side.
Soltana stood and turned, seeing a nine and a half foot skeleton with bones of polished white ivory. He wore a simple ragged tan monk robe with a black sash around his waist. The robe hung off of his bones, the damage evident of a battle. Ectropy had not set in yet to reknit the damage robe, implying a recent battle. He held a gnarled staff of the same wood she had picked up. She loomed over him, yet felt a strong presence and an aged wisdom. The blue pits of fire in its eye sockets flickered.
Soltana was confused by all of this. She had little idea of what they were.
This is very a bizarre vision, She pondered.
She glanced at the skeleton’s forehead, seeing the Seal affixed upon his upper brow. The Seal of the Tetragrammaton, black as ink upon his white polished skull.
“You’re a Seal holder!” Soltana pointed out.
“As are you,” The skeleton responded with a deep bass.
“I am Soltana. Lambent and Guardian.”
“A Lambent? Very curious,” The skeleton pondered as he stroked his jawbone.
“I am Kheros, Bishop, Pale One, and the Shepherd of the Seal. And that mischievous one is Keres, a shade.” Kheros began, gesturing to the small sheet as it flew circles around Soltana.
“Tell me, Soltana, what is a Lambent?”
“A Lambent? Oh, we are a mixture of three beings, an angel, a human, and an anform.”
“I know of two of those beings, human and angel. What is an anform?”
The question caught Soltana off guard. Most should know what an anform is. She answered regardless, as any information shared between Seal holders was important.
“An anform is a being made of cybernetic, quantum, and bioneuronic parts. They are made of varying alloys of metal, plasticine, glass, or a mixture.”
“An automata. Fascinating.” Kheros replied.
“Exactly, except that we are sentient.”
Kheros strode to her, trying to feel her kneecap. His hand predictably passed through. He then tapped the kneecap with his staff, a dull ringing echoing out.
“Kheros, who are you?” Soltana asked.
“I question that myself. However what I do know is that I am undead.”
“Un… Dead?” Soltana asked, curious about the strange word.
“A type of being that was was once alive,” Kheros added, creating more questions.
“Alive? Undead? I do not understand,” Soltana replied as confused as ever.
“Ah, then that answers my question.”
“That this affliction is not universal. Which is an explanation to your confusion.”
“Where I am right now appears to be a prison of sorts,” Kheros explained.
Kheros gestured skyward.
Soltana looked, her eyes flashing at seeing the sky.
It was black. The grey clouds was mildly overcast but the sky was visible, she could see no stars, no sun, or evidence they were in space. Which then struck the question as to why there was any light on the planet at all.
“I awakened to this place in my current state, the Seal was always there. I have had some dreams, but they only provide more questions.”
“Did you meet Adonai?” Soltana asked, curious if he saw Him as she did.
Now was the time for questions before the dream ended.
“Yes. How did Adonai appear to you?”
“As a supergiant sun of white and black.”
“Masculine or feminine?”
The question caught her off guard again.
“Feminine for me. She was the Mother of Death. She was the caretaker and mother to her children of the dead.”
Soltana’s eyes flickered at that.
“I suspect I saw Adonai was in another form, before my curse. That form did help me to understand my situation. I suspect He will change with my expectations.”
“What is dead? Undead?” Soltana began, her mind was spinning at the new information.
Kheros adjusted his staff, resting into it with both hands.
“I have only recently discovered it was part of the old world. The surviving documents and Adonai detail it was a state of an enslaved existence. Time was an enemy that wore one down from life to death, a slow grinding wheel. Death was the description of the absence of life. A man who ‘died’ would become inert and decomposed. Their soul would shed the body and return to Adonai’s care. Adonai then returned, conquering death and decay, entropy and time.”
Soltana’s mind was trying to process what Kheros said. It was a difficult foreign concept to her. She understood depletion, but not death. It sounded a harsher.
“However in this prison, death has returned. Ectropy still exists, but it is weakened to minimal. Something trapped us here with this curse. They attack constantly, destroying many of my friends and comrades.”
Soltana felt for him. Lost and alone, cursed with an ancient state of being. It reminded her much of what she went through.
“Do you remember much?”
“Nothing but my wisdom,” Kheros replied, lowering his head.
Soltana knelt down to eye level, gathering his eyes back to her.
“Do not lose hope. We will find you,” Soltana promised.
“We?” He asked.
“Me and Ruth. She is another Seal holder.”
“Then they have begun to find each other…” Kheros murmured.
“Don’t give up, Kheros, we’re going to find you-”
Soltana was pulled away to a deep galactic space. The form of Adonai appeared, his sun giant form eclipsing her view.
“Soltana, I could never be more proud of you. You had trials and tribulations, which you overcame. You protected the others from the evil god Genius Loci. He who intends to defy reality, using Ruth as his surrogate birth mother.”
“My lord, what can we do?”
“Don’t be so formal!” Adonai replied with a laugh.
“Adonai, what can we do?” Soltana amended.
“Even this new creation has a purpose. You, Ruth and the others will be the one to shape her life, not him.”
“Yes. Make your way to Lo IX. There you will find the others.”
“Gideon and the other…” Soltana murmured.
Now that she had time, it clicked That he was Low-nine. And another unknown Seal holder would meet them there.
“And Kheros. You will eventually meet. However, his fate is to be found by another.”
“My love, continue with you calling. Continue chrysalizing and growing back to your original form, and you will discover him.”
“Discover who?” Soltana asked.
No answer followed as the dream ended.