The true identity of the Old One comes out; an attack of the Elders leaves some dead
Chapter 9 - Awareness
"What did you just ask?" The Old One inquired?
"Did I ask the wrong question or not ask how I should have?" Jax questioned
Speaking in her mind, What do you mean? The Supreme High One is dead. He perished over 900 cycles ago.
No, I saw it in a dream I just had. You are the Supreme High One and the Old One. You must have forgotten.
The Old One must not have put any barriers up when he was in Jax's mind. His memories must have contaminated Jax's inner thoughts. He could just erase what she knows, but that would endanger all the work he just completed. He made the only decision he could.
Jax, I am both. I used to be the Supreme High One until a force greater than my own took half of the Hydranousians away. There was nothing I could do to stop it from happening as I was injured in an explosion. When I gathered my senses, the remaining population was being mind swept; their minds were altered to forget the disappearance of the Hydranousians who vanished as well as their very existence
My mind alone was left unscathed. I remember everything. Including the emptiness. I took it upon myself to find out what happened and see if I could reverse it. I have been searching for over 900 cycles. No one knows I am the Supreme High One, except for you. I ask you to keep this secret to yourself. I will help you build a barrier to hide the information. No one will be able to see if they look into your thoughts. I will also help keep the barrier up until you can achieve that yourself.
Are you upset with me for finding out? I didn't mean to, it just popped into my head, honest.
I know it did. It is my fault and I am sorry to have burdened you with the information. You are to call me Old One. Did you see anything else?
I did see something, but it has to be a mistake.
What else did you see?
I saw you holding up a crystal and it hitting two Hydranousians and sending them to be One with the Planet. You wouldn't do that, would you?
I did. Being the Supreme High One comes with all kinds of responsibilities. One of them is to protect all other Hydranousians. The two I sent to be One with the Planet were evil. They were plotting to overthrow the other Elders and me. That was breaking a High Law, punishable by termination. I did not enjoy doing that. All life is to be honored. Many times, I have had to be tough on people for the better good of our society. Do you understand?
I think I do. I hope I never get you angry.
"Do not worry about that, Young One. I saw you are honorable. Now, let us move along. We must explore the city of Lewr and the Glok-Glok Sands.
With the knowledge of the attack on the Elders and no leads, the Supreme High One was troubled. There has never been a blatant sign of an uprising as in the recent past. First, two Elders are found guilty of wanting to overthrow the Elders and the Supreme High One. Now, it appears someone is assassinating Elders with a superior weapon.
There were many possibilities as to who, or what, could be behind these events. The most plausible would be Elders who have mastered masking and barriers. This would explain how no alarm was given or received. If this is what happened, more Elders are in danger, especially the ones who are loyal to the Supreme High One.
Another possibility could be a group of individuals who banded together and combined their blocking skills to pose a threat to all Elders and the Supreme High One. It would have to be more than 100 of them to tear down the barriers set in place by a single Elder, let alone two of them.
A third possibility that can't be possible must be looked into. The unknown source that erased half of the population and erased the memories could be influencing other Hydranousians.
It is best to start with the impossible. The Supreme High One was going to the cave he had been before to contact the place the color of One with the Planet. After walking for a third of a cycle, he found the retreat. It looked exactly as it did when he last left.
Once situated, the Supreme High One erected his barriers, making sure as to increase their strength, and felt for his Emptiness, the Place of Quiet. He began tapping into his essence and opened the connection with the Collective. When he was ready and all barriers were much more enforced than the last time, he opened the Place of Quiet.
Nothing had changed. He saw the small colored dots as he did before. He opened his essence a little more and saw some of the dots get larger and more dots appeared. He was in awe of the number of dots. He knew they were there before but to witness these again gave him the sense of being quite small and insignificant.
He looked around and found the space the color of One with the Planet. This time, he would not open a window or go any farther. The emptiness seemed smaller. He was struck with terror and curiosity. Has the emptiness shrunk? What causes such a thing to decrease in size? Has another attack happened to his planet without him being aware?
Without extending his essence, he tried to see more clearly. Without increasing his essence, however, he was unable to reach further. Disappointed, he began to withdraw his essence and ready himself to pull away from the place the color of One with the Planet. He would need to go back and see if the place the color of One with the Planet got bigger or gotten smaller.
As he became aware of his surroundings, he noticed no time had elapsed like before. He felt weariness and needed to replenish his essence in liquid eterinite.
While recharging his essence, he began to process what he saw. The place the color of One with the Planet seemed to have shrunk. Why? Was it his probing of the emptiness? Did it use all of its energy and was becoming One with the Planet? Or it was recharging.
After thinking of all the possibilities, he didn't know. He based his ideas on the lives of all Hydranousians and Hydranous. Could he be wrong in doing so? He had the feeling whatever is happening will affect his planet and all Hydranousians. He fervently hoped it would not.
The Old One asked Jax a question regarding the man who he was looking for, "There is an Old One I am seeking. He has different colored eyes. I was told he is currently Out of Phase in a retreat. I was also advised he is at the retreat past the second bridge. Do you know of a retreat in that direction?"
"Oh, yes, I do know the place you are asking about. I can show you," answered Jax.
As they walked, Jax asked the Old One questions about her training and how often she will learn new things.
"Let me answer your questions. Your training will occur all the time. As we will be traveling, you will have many opportunities to observe and learn. I will be telling many stories, each with a moral. These morals will help develop your mind and what you believe. They will also shape how you treat everyone, to analyze every problem for its worth and understanding, and most importantly, who to trust."
Jax felt overwhelmed. How would she learn all that in a cycle? What if she didn't learn everything? Would the Old One abandon her? What would she do if he did? She then set her to resolve to learn everything she could, and more.
The Old One was watching her thoughts. He was pleased the Young One had made this decision on her own. It should him she would make an excellent pupil.
"Here is the second bridge. We need to go in that direction," as the Young One pointed left. "It isn't very far to the retreat."
"Let me share a short story as we walk," began the Old One.
"There was once an Elder who thought highly of himself. He would look down on the population and even other Elders. He had no friends because he felt all were beneath him. One day, as he was walking in the forest, he stumbled and was hurt. The pain was excruciating and he couldn't focus well. He knew he couldn't focus well enough to fix the wound or even call for help. As he lay there feeling sorry for himself, a small Young One passed by. She remembered his cruelty and hatred toward all Young Ones. The Elder asked for help. The Young One remembered her tutor and the stories she had told her. She knew it would be the right thing to do, even if she felt distaste for the Elder."
"She helped the Elder free his foot from the roots he was tangled in and propped the injured foot upon a rock. She then advised the Elder she would go get help."
Jax inquired, "If she didn't like him, and he didn't like her, why would she help him?"
"Good question, Young One. You are seeing the truth of how others may think and act. Let me continue."
"When the Young One reached her village, she went to the Healer and told him of what had happened. Upon hearing it was the Elder who has treated everyone with anger and resentfulness, he was hesitant to help. However, being a Healer meant to him that all beings who are injured or sick deserve to be healed. He asked the Young One to show him the way. After he gathered his supplies, they left.
When they arrived, the Healer saw the Elder was in pain and uncomfortable. He first made the Elder as comfortable as possible and then addressed the injury. The Elder had broken his foot in three places. The Healer knew what to do. He asked the Elder to lower his barriers so he could heal the foot from within. This angered the Elder because he did not trust anyone in his mind or thoughts and told the Healer this.
The Healer expected this and advised the Elder he had a broth that would heal the foot. He removed the crystal bottle out and offered it to the Elder. The Elder, who still was unable to focus, looked at the broth and then the Healer. Drinking a broth was more acceptable than having lesser beings in his mind.
After the broth had been drunk, the Elder felt more calm and relaxed. His pain was subsiding. He thought he could then fix the breakage on his own. When he began to focus on his foot, he didn't feel it was mending. He attempted to focus harder; however, the same result happened. He knew he could do it on his own, without the Healer helping. When he attempted to focus again, he suddenly felt very tired. He needed to refresh his essence right away. But first, he would rest.
After the Elder went unconscious, the Healer began his work. He had no trouble linking his mind with the Elders. He quickly found the Elder's essence and barriers. As the Elder was not focusing, the Healer went to work healing the broken foot. He made short work of the healing and dissipated the pain. As he was about to exit his thoughts, the Healer saw into the thoughts of the Elder. He saw the pain which has made the Elder so biter toward everyone. The Healer did nothing more. He left the thoughts and allowed the Elder to wake on his own.
As the Elder began to wake up, he was relieved his pain was gone and he could focus his thoughts once more. He knew he had been awake during the whole process as nothing within his mind had been tampered with. He was smug he could withstand the pain and heal the breakage on his own. The Elder then got up and left."
Jax was upset, "Why didn't he say thank you or at least acknowledge they helped him?"
The Old One replied, "The Elder could not do either for he considered himself doing the healing. In his mind, he was right and the others did nothing. The Healer knew this would happen, but took solace knowing the truth."
"I still think he should have thanked them," Jax stated.
"There is a moral to this story. Can you tell me what it is? Think hard because your perceptions of what happened may cloud your thoughts."
Jax thought about this as they were walking. After a period of silence, Jax offered her idea. "I think the moral is to accept everyone as they are because we do not know where they are coming from and what has happened along the way."
"Very good, Young One. You are opening your thoughts regarding others. You can disagree with them; however, you need to understand they are right in their mind. As the Healer found out, the Elder had something in his past to shape the way he was. It is not our place to judge their experiences, only to accept they are different. Do you understand?"
"I think so," paused the Young One, "That is like your decision to send those two Elders to be One with the Planet. You had your reason to punish them the way you did. You knew something about them to cause you to act the way you did. I need to accept your judgment, but do not have to agree to it."
"That is correct. You are learning."
"We are here at the retreat for the Out of Phase ones," Jax stated.
"Good. I will go in alone to see what I can find out from the Old One."
After entering the retreat, the Old One placed his strongest barriers up and proceeded to find the Old One with different colored eyes. It was not complicated aa there were only two Old Ones there. He easily contacted the Old One he was searching for.
"Old One, I have been searching for you. I have been advised distressing news. One of your former students, named Tay, advised me you were there when the Supreme High One vanished. She also states you remember what happened. How is that possible when no other can remember?"
The Old One with the colored eyes responded, "Yes, I remember Tay. She was full of questions, but barely able to remember the reason why I told her the stories. She was always plotting to use the information I provided for her own gain. Poor Young One. I, of course, was not there. I wasn't even one with the Collective as I was here tutoring. I did hear the Supreme Old One had died but left nobody to place in the liquid eterinite. She probably also talked about the three-headed monster."
"What of the explosion you spoke of? Was there an explosion?"
"No one can remember what happened. Only they woke up. In my thinking, something terrible happened and the Supreme High One placed a very strong barrier up to protect all the citizens and Elders. He must have drained all his essence to do this and became One with the Planet and evaporated."
The Supreme High One had been looking at the Old Ones' memory and thoughts. He saw the deceit he told Tay, his Young One at the time. He also saw the Old One was speaking the truth regarding what he knew about the time of the Supreme High Ones' disappearance. He knew nothing of what actually happened. While the Supreme High One was relieved he knew nothing of the event, he was greatly disappointed he was no closer to the end of his search.
As the Supreme High One recharged his essence, he thought about what had happened when the two Elders and two guards were sent to be One with the Planet. How could anyone mask their presence so completely it was untraceable? Was he dealing with an advanced race of Hydranousians? He did not know where they would be except in the North Quadrant.
He had been there once as he wondered about Hydranous to gather information regarding the planet. He did not meet any sentient beings only a colony of furry knee-high creatures. He did not know what they were called, so he gave them the name of Nata. He noticed their colony seemed to have guards looking to the sky and ground for predators, and outlying burrows surrounding a central, larger burrow.
While he was watching, he saw a flying Rere the size of an older Young One circling the colony. He then heard strange noises coming from the colony and saw all the inhabitants who were outside suddenly rush to the burrows. Unfortunately, he saw one of the Natas still outside and scurrying toward a burrow. The flying creature. dove down and grabbed the Nata with its feet. The Nata screeched as it was being carried away.
The Supreme High One felt sorry for the creatures. He wanted to help but knew if he went any further toward the colony, the Natas would remain in hiding. The Supreme High One then placed his barriers up, increased the connection to the Collective, and reached out to see if he could make contact with the Natas. At first, he met resistance. Not because of any barriers on their part, but because their intelligence and minds were so foreign to him. He started sorting through their collective minds to search for keys to understanding them.
It took a while, but the Supreme High One did discover their rudimentary communication abilities. As he began to explore this new found information, he became aware the Natas were more intelligent than he previously thought. He recognized that Natas had a more complex language as well. He also saw there was a hierarchy of individuals, much the same as Hydranousians have. He also felt, rather than saw, the Natas mourn the lost member of their tribe.
The Supreme High One decided to push the Natas a little closer to being sentient beings. Through his searching, the Old One discovered the most advanced Nata in the colony. He entered the mind of the Nata and began to alter his essence to become more adaptive and cunning. This way, they would be able to avoid the flying, and ground, threats. Because they have foreign minds, it took the Supreme High One longer than he expected.
Once done, he left knowing it would take seven to eight generations before the full effect of what he did to mature to fruition.
As he was walking the way he came, he thought this colony, and others like it, should not be disturbed by others. How would he prevent others from coming? He needed to create a story about the North Quadrant to keep others away. He thought about the distance this was from where his people lived. It took him 2 cycles to get here and he had been at the northern point of his land.
Walking back, he saw more of the flying Reres, more hardships with other colonies of Natas, and more Reres hunting them.
This gave him an idea. To keep others away, he would declare this territory off-limits to all because of it being so hostile to the Hydranousians. He then thought of something else. He would enforce this land as being hostile by making this area a prison for Hydranousians criminals. He would need to silence their touch with the Collective, making them silent and unable to use any of their mental powers.
Those who were sent would be unable to come back.