Myrtu couldn’t understand how anyone could focus with all of the new and interesting mortals to see! Sure, they’d ended up sprinting across some grassy plains for years, before said plains suddenly erupted into a forest and of course, that was only after they’d frolicked at the slow pace of the cactus-like mules, which had made the desert their residence. All of that happened after a rousing year-long dive through the seas with the striped fish-ponies, which happened after their years-long visit with the snow-born Onagers, and all of this was just as exciting as what was happening now.
They’d accidentally stumbled upon an interestingly adapted type of Kiang, at the base of a mountain glacier, which carved its way down into a valley, which was surrounded by the New New forest. These Kiang had developed woolen fur that favored a tawny background for its white stripes- hinting toward some merging with Zebras in their ancestry, which was remarkable considering how much time had passed. Their backs were far more powerful, with legs and kicks that stunned even the most vicious flying shark, if well landed, and they had grown a charming set of swept back curved horns. What Myrtu found the most interesting about the Ziang, especially as they followed them through the rocky mountains and up nearly sheer cliff edges, was their ability to find places of fresh water or vegetation with ease. Even when the mountains became white with snow- even when the mountains became topped with weird buildings- the Ziang- the…? Building?
When Myrtu halted, members of the Ziang herd circled around them, as they stared up toward something odd sitting on a nearby mountain top. Silently they inquired of the herd if anyone had managed to travel that far. Of course, the eruption of questions and gossip and tall tales- which these particular Equines were fond of- bombarded Myrtu all at once.
These mortals really loved to make up stories about their great-uncles-cousins-friends-mother that knew a lady that knew a guy that knew a bird once that went somewhere. Ziangs seemed to hate not having an answer but they’d always joke about their ignorance to the point of absurdity on purpose.
Equines truly were fantastic.
And so Myrtu asked, spoke with, and eventually convinced the braver and more willing members of the herd to follow them to that distant mountain- with the assurance that something interesting was (maybe) there. Ten of them followed the lead of Myrtu, who let the slowest member lead, for she was also the one with the keenest sense for finding safe paths.
How none of them managed to starve or die on the year long trek and climb that followed, was nothing short of a miracle in itself. Between avalanches and the fact that Myrtu saw the building at a distance far greater than the perception of mortals, the journey turned out to be a trial and test of the group’s determination. Myrtu was so pleased and proud of these mortals that, when they finally made it to the front steps of the Library, they hardly noticed the presence of another divine being, for all their dancing and rejoicing with the herd; that day the howling winds of the mountain carried their collective sounds of jubilation.
Though the mountains were known for the thinness of their air and the intensity of their chill, the air around the Grand Library was not so much cold as it was focused. The variously assembled equines would notice it immediately: the water freezing in their fur melted away into nothingness, carried by gentle zephyrs and leaving them dry. As the air filled their lungs it filled their minds with a clarity of purpose that, until they’d reached this library, they’d had in spades: but just as curiosity could never allow one to truly savour their discovery, so too would it deny them the chance to rest and enjoy the fruits of their labour and instead spur them ever onwards.
As they crested the edge of the mountain and became able to see more of the landscape than the ascent to a solitary peak would allow, the sheer volume of the place became apparent immediately. Bridges of effulgent marble stretched out from the perfectly curated peaks, seeming to end abruptly in nothingness except for the clear glint of heavily focused currents of wind that seemed to add a gentle shimmer into the air. Great towers of pristinely cut gemstones stretched up into the heavens, their multifaceted surfaces now displaying equines in all of their variegated forms galloping across an endless and infinite sky. As the light of the perpetual dawn flowed through them the images seemed to come to life, and a very real-seeming herd of them could be seen to gallop across the bridge and off of its edge fearlessly, soaring through the skies towards the tallest peak of all.
Even from this lowly vantage point, however, there was much to discover: many of these wondrous towers seemed to exist, far more than could possibly exist in the physical space they seemed to occupy, and curled around them in various shapes and forms were buildings of every possible type of construction. Some were made of rainbow-tinted coral, growing naturally into beautiful whorls and spirals that made up a building of unknowable purpose climbing up the crystalline tower. Some were made of pure starlight, somehow kept in bondage with secrets of artifice far beyond the contrivances of this inchoate world–the gentle streaks and glimmers of their light seemed to stretch on towards an infinite and endless horizon, leading the way to yet more fantastical bits of architecture.
Though no voice beckoned them on, nor did anything that seemed out of place call out to them, their natural sense of curiosity would be heightened to its absolute extremes in this strange place, and though it would not immediately distract them from their revelry it was a flame in the mind that could not be ignored for long.
Those gathered Equines began first, as most animals do, with sniffing and looking about- testing the realm with motions meant to provoke potential predators- eyes and ears alert for changes that would threaten their time spent in this place. As the others began their evaluation of their surroundings, Myrtu stood still and waited. To their eyes, this was a place far more special than had been previously imagined. When Myrtu had expected a simple settlement, they’d found something grander- something godly- which ignited within them a curiosity beyond that which the others felt, for Myrtu was ever adventurous by nature. Here was where, for the first time during the long trek across the mountains, Myrtu finally ignited their wings of dazzling colorful light. To those gathered, Myrtu bade them explore as they felt the need to or to follow them- to do as they wished for that was what it meant to be free. Some few looked to Myrtu with trust, for they would follow as far as they could, even if the divinity was flying- their eyes would be fixed upon the path which would take the form of Myrtu’s guiding light.
With this settled Myrtu took flight slowly, ascending high above the area in which the others were gathered. A path that they others might follow- a path using those winds and currents- ah yes! That would be the flight that Myrtu took. How would the mortals respond to feeling flight? These were Equines without wings- those meant to be free upon every hoof length of the land itself- so Myrtu did not doubt some would be fearful.
And they were proven correct.
For in their flight above, so high along the path upon which the others galloped, Myrtu did observe some of the Ziangs could not overcome such a trial of spirit and determination, as to step into those wind currents. There was no condemnation in Myrtu’s eyes for those that turned away. In fact, there was not much praise for those who chose to follow either. What there was praise for was the freedom expressed in refusal- the freedom expressed in choosing to follow- and how each individual stood by their choice, no matter what emotions swirled within. Even when some changed their minds while following, Myrtu noted them as interesting, and applauded their expression of shamelessness.
Such a flight across the various platforms, to a tower here, and to a path there, ended up scattering more of the mortal Equines throughout the various peaks and paths. When they finally arrived at the tallest peak of them all, there were only two remaining with Myrtu. Hooves once more upon the ground, Myrtu danced about with apparently contagious mirth, as so too did the final two join in the revelry.
It was there that the god and their two companions found the Great Vault, the sleek obsidian repository in which the Kathetikon kept itself and the knowledge it thought too great for mortals to bear at the present time. The glass-smooth walls raised from the very stone of the mountain itself, seamlessly transitioning from pale alabaster to midnight black that crawled upwards into the very sky. Its very shape defied definition, at-once far too large to exist at the very top of a structure (even one as large as a mountain) and yet easily contained within even mundane vision. Its euclidean and non-euclidean geometry served to provide easy points of understanding that branched out into the infinite sprawling of madness, for from a structure one could easily recognise as a wall sprouted unnatural curves and shapes that seemed to exist completely out of alignment with the rest of the peculiar building around them. As they danced and their revelry took them ‘neath its lintel the crude projection of form it had clung to while they were without fell away, scattering from view like so much smoke.
The view that awaited them when the layers of colour, dimension, sound, and feeling had been reassembled was grand beyond imagining. Infinite nebulae and galaxies came into view from every possible direction, and all sense of earthly belonging was lost between the sheer vastness of the stars–all that remained for guidance before them was the sleek obsidian of the Vault. Its pitch-dark curvature chased away the brilliant effulgence of the constellations, offering shelter from the overwhelming radiance. Further along the path still awaited the Master of this place, the sentient tome known as the Kathetikon, and its watchful gaze had finally fallen upon its divine compatriot and the mortal companions who had made it thus far. It did not speak directly, but its pages began to rustle and shift and the skies around them became familiar and safe once more, the standard night sky of Galbar they were used to. It gathered them close and wove them anew, writing clearly in the sky for them to read: ”Welcome, divine sibling! Welcome, mortals! You find yourselves in my Grand Library, where curiosity itself springs from. What do you most want to know?”
There was little that held back the response of the lowly Ziang, for they were mortals and mere animals of a simply mundane nature. They had experienced awe, beheld sights incredible, yet it was almost as if it were no different than gazing upon Myrtu for them. In their minds, there were thoughts written in the language of compulsion, instinct, and the freedom which Myrtu planted within the hearts of all their creations.
"Where," coalesced the thoughts between the two Ziang; however the depths of the word sank deep. The meaning was held within their souls as deep as the roots of an ancient oak, powerful and strong in its yearning to venture into where- to discover that which was not known. Within their hooves these roots of meaning and heaviness were defined and gathered, as these were the tools to know- to discover and decrypt "where"- each and every-where.
”Always, could have been the secondary meaning held within this thought of where- occupying the definition of the former harmoniously- for it was with their hooves and bodies that where became possible- became here- then became there. To go, to find, to search, to desire that "where" and to always know it. No mention of the word "find" could have formed because, where was all there was for these humble animals, and all that mattered.
Myrtu bowed their head before the two Ziang, a gentle show of gratitude and respect, before they turned their attention to the Kathetikon. As they gazed toward the other divine with ambiguous Equine eyes, the silence stretched for longer.
Gently, almost quietly, Myrtu projected their voice forward without using their mouth to speak, and asked a single question of the Kathetikon- for this was the single most important bit of knowledge they needed now, more than anything else in the world.
"Where art thine hooves?"
“You are my hooves, dear sibling.” the Kathetikon wrote in the stars, and the great vastness of space around them vanished into indistinct and unfamiliar hazes of light deep in the background of the soothing and comfortable darkness. ”When one asks the question: ‘What are hooves?’, they do not search for me. I was the search–you are the answer.” it wrote again, addressing Myrtu with a response worthy of their profoundly upward gaze. On the earth below the Kathetikon wrote its next messages, to the two Ziang: ”You seek not the destination but the journey, oh curious ones. You drink deep from my well, never sated–what you seek is not ‘where’, but the search for ‘where’.”
Hoofprints of radiant starlight impressed themselves upon the inky blackness of the floor beneath them, and began to trail off towards the distant and wondrous light fading into the background of the anomalously large space within the building they’d entered. The hoofprints danced and cavorted their way off into the endlessness of the heavens, beckoning their earthbound kin with unmistakable equine curiosity. To Myrtu such enticements would be as dull as stillness and silence, however, and so the Kathetikon opened the gates to the innermost secrets of the Grand Library before Myrtu, held tantalisingly behind a veil of gossamer radiance just past the floating tome. It turned towards the refulgent aperture with a movement suggesting wistfulness and wonder, and awaited its divine sibling’s reaction.
Myrtu’s satisfaction with the response had been plain to see; it was in the proud tossing of their mane and the head bob of gratitude. Yes, the Kathetikon's answer was the best of all the answers to the question so far. As the Ziang began to follow the hoofprints, the two halted briefly and turned their heads, to give Myrtu a long and quiet gaze. This moment of quiet filled their eyes with longing; making known their desire to travel again with Myrtu in the future. Of course, Myrtu gave them a proud head bobbing and promised to journey again. Eagerly then, did Myrtu encourage them- through gesture and motion- to continue on their new journey, wherever it was that those celestial hoofprints lead them. With such encouragement the two waited no longer, then eagerly strode onward.
And so too did the Unicorn God stride as well.
Closer to the gates though not yet beyond them- hesitation becoming clear as they swayed in place before the threshold. As their eyes beheld the beauty beyond the veil, the details of the entirety of the journey coming to the forefront of their mind, Myrtu turned, and bowed their head to the Kathetikon, stretching one leg out before themselves.
“Twice now, have I intruded accidentally upon those places both intimate and sacred to the hearts of other divines. For this intrusion, I do beg forgiveness.” Myrtu raised their head once more, “Twould be boorish of me, were I not to offer an introduction at this juncture.” Perhaps because they could not help themselves, Myrtu then strutted about in a small circle, as if in a small parade as they declared, “I am Myrtu and, indeed, is it true that mine hooves are the answer to such a question!”
Halting, they continued, “To these mortals- to all the world- have I brought hooves! That they may explore all the freedoms of the world- that they may dash and prance about far and fast; theirs is the right to do so! For this world be for mortals- for them to seek, to experience, to grow and learn all it is to be; to understand what it means to be. Theirs is potential- raw and true- and it is by freedom shall they discover the power inherent in the limitlessness of being.” Dancing then in place, Myrtu’s tone became jovial as they concluded, “Though, one must observe, that such pristine and tidy surroundings, be hardly a suitable place for hooves.”
”Just a little to the left…” the Kathetikon wrote in response to Myrtu’s many declarations, awaiting the moment the god would dance in just the right position. As they continued to move and engage in the revelry of being it was not long before they happened upon that most opportune of spaces, and their wild gesticulations caused the very essence of the Vault to shudder and write in unseen ecstasy. As Myrtu’s mane was caressed by cosmic winds, strands of sparkling, prismatic light sheared off of them, coalescing gently into an echo of their majestic form. As their hooves clipped and clopped against the inky abyss they stood upon, the gentle ministrations of dance nudged the formless form to spring up into a magnificent imitation of the equine god. As their voice shook the very foundations of being laid in the sacred space, songs and dance conspired to marry themselves together and animated the crude copy of a deity into something resembling a living sculpture. It whinnied loudy and soared off into the heavens, quickly dissolving into a brand new constellation of stars that the Kathetikon eagerly began to write down within itself.
”I am the Kathetikon, dear sibling, god of Curiosity and Knowledge. ‘Tis me that you and yours follow upon your endless search, and ‘tis another of our siblings you meet at journey’s end. But you are the beginning of this journey, no? The impetus to begin the indulging of curiosity, to explore the freedom of existence–this is your gift and your calling. You cannot intrude upon this space, for it was created to be found. What is the search without a destination, after all? I am full-pleased to welcome you to my humble abode, and offer you free reign of the place while you are here–there are many things to be discovered, though not all of them are suitable for such young and eager minds. Pray watch your mortal companions lest they drink too deeply of this place and become unable to separate that which exists before them from that which exists in their minds.” the Kathetikon replied, manoeuvring itself over to Myrtu. As it did so the featureless hands of Anagnostis appeared as if from nothing and grasped it firmly, looking expectantly towards Myrtu as if longing for some sort of response.
Yet for the moment, it could see how Myrtu’s attention was quite fixed upon the stars and the new constellation galloping across the heavens. And Myrtu’s joy had swelled at the appearance of the living sculpture, such a thing having added more energy to their dance. Such an vigor had even grown by a measure as a bit of restraint upon their appearance had eased slightly. Their hide became black and white simultaneously, shimmering in every color that was and could be as the light caught it, for their black and their white was the forceful display of every color combination, unhindered by law of light. So when Anagnostis appeared, Myrtu shook themselves wholly, causing a glittering mist to fall from their body, as their colors restabalized to something easier on the eyes. Plain curiosity was in the manner that Myrtu nosed toward Anagnostis.
For a quiet stretch, they gave it a long moment of overwhelmingly ambiguous staring.
A very subtle shift in their observation toward its feet made the unspoken echo of their question, but a second question sprang forth before Myrtu could catch it, “What are you? Different and unique- to grasp firmly the whole of a god without dire consequence…” Their attention abruptly snapped toward the direction in which the two Ziang had wandered, the Kathetikon’s previous statements finally having breached the walls of their obtuse thoughts. A divinely beautiful tail swished almost worriedly behind Myrtu and they- very much before Anagnostis could answer- started off toward the Ziang at an easy walk, concerned yet not all at once.
“I am Anagnostis, a shard of the Master’s will. I exist to read from the Tome of All Things, for what use is a book without a reader?” the featureless figure replied, quickly penning a few notes within the opened Kathetikon that caused the still-galloping Ziang to stop dead in their tracks. The otherwordly air of the interior faded away into nothingness, leaving only more reasonable mundane dimensions for them to explore. Now, however, there were several opening out towards the crisp and bright mountain air once more, and many more bridges of ornately carved stone and wind to take them wherever they might desire to go.
”This Vault is where I keep my knowledge of my siblings, and it is an honour to have added you to it.” the Kathetikon wrote, its words easily visible to Myrtu amongst the angles and colours of the obsidian walls. Anagnostis simultaneously extended a hand out towards the statue of stars, now held fast in a single point in space so as to not inundate lesser beings with the full glory of the divine. “Is there aught we can do for you while you are here, Myrtu the God-Star, or shall we simply leave you to search to your hearts’ content? This is the seat of all knowledge, after all–there will be something here to pique your interest, if interests are indeed something you possess.” Anagnostis asked, keeping pace with Myrtu as they travelled towards their lesser mortal companions.
In the distance, many more equines could be seen for varying lengths of time: some had disappeared into the patchwork buildings surrounding the towers, while some had found themselves enjoying the ability to soar on currents of air so much that they merely travelled between the bridges back-and-forth, whinnying and laughing in equal measure as they glutted themselves on this new and interesting sensation. Such things were not visible to mortal eyes, but to the gods they were clear as day–and to the Master of this place, more obvious even than that. Anagnostis occasionally turned the pages of the Kathetikon as it observed those beings without, occasionally making a quick note in the marginalia or letting out a quick “Hm…” as it perused some information within the God-Book’s pages that was useful or interesting in some way.
For a time Myrtu was silent. They took in all that was available: the Kathetikon’s words and those of Anagnostis; the manner in which the equines were exploring and enjoying themselves; all the angles and paths and rooms. This caused them to come to a halt, as those dashing and curious Ziang had mere moments prior. Yet. As their eyes swirled with their myriad of colors, a visual representation for the tempest that were the god’s obtuse thoughts, Myrtu placed this gaze upon Anagnostis.
“God-Star? Tis a grand title, new to mine ears- from where does such a thing originate-” Myrtu galloped into another thought without pause “-how far and perilous the trek was, from whence we hail- this herd of small number. Be this a realm such mortals are meant to behold?” Their gaze shifted to the Ziang, who resumed their exploration, with no less eagerness than before. “For if we, strong of will and body, were dearly tested by the peaks and driven snow, then… In truth, such journeys are the reason why I, indeed, grant hooves to mortals! Their odd meat feet could not withstand such paths for long- they’ve not the stamina, most of them. And companionship too, they might find in the Equines. Without hooves, they’ve not the means to find such astonishing places or create their own. Without strong backs to carry their burdens, the freedoms they’d experience would be limited to journeys incomplete and perilous.”
All while they spoke, Myrtu’s eyes were focused upon the joy of those equines flying. Clearly, Myrtu was finding it quite captivating. With amusement in their projected voice, Myrtu concluded, “And even still, for some, hooves be not quite enough.” They tossed their mane and illuminated their wings as punctuation to such a statement.
“Most mortals do not find their way here physically, the Master admits. They find their way here when their minds wander, when the vessels of their intellect overflow with thoughts. It is the current of those thoughts that brings them here. Those of hoof and wing,” Anagnostis began, sweeping its hand out in a grand gesture towards Myrtu and all the other equines, “seem to have an easier time than the mortals, of whom we have precious few. Only those Umbra that the Lady of Trade and Shadow has invested here have made it thus far… perhaps there is a truth to your utterings! We know you by the name of the God-Star as that is what the residents of Logiopolis called you.” the avatar of the Kathetikon continued, before its form began to ripple and convulse as though dipped in a var of colour and texture. As the ripples began to settle its form began to settle with it, and soon it had taken on the appearance of the Kinnaras it had taken before. It let itself shift across all those forms the villagers of Logiopolis had taken, before returning to the familiar and comfortable shape of the Kinnaras.
“They called you this, for they knew not what you were. It will be a great honour to show them, and to have them craft a statue for you that their endless dance might bring you a spark of the joy it has brought us. We have recently founded an… agglomeration of like-minded individuals, though after seeing you I believe it is quite evident they lack an equine element that would bring them no end of joy and prosperity!” Anagnostis continued, chuckling good-naturedly to itself as it penned words with ever-increasing frequency in the Kathetikon.
Myrtu had nodded at the mention of another divine, “Ah, I’ve met her. Trade and... shadows?” The note of confusion was in that final word, for Myrtu had not seen Ashevelen for quite some time, apparently. They brushed it aside with a soft huff as the origin of their title was explained. “Logiopolis…” Myrtu repeated with admiration as they beheld the many forms that Anagnostis took. They danced then in joy upon hearing about how a group of those peoples Myrtu had scattered survived! That there was an entire settlement of them- living and apparently thriving! Yet. The dance did halt at the mention of a statue being carved for them. Ducking their head slightly, Myrtu seemed tense at the prospect yet curious still. Silence passed for a beat.
“Mine is a name and presence unnecessary,” Myrtu said at last, “For they need not mine guidance nor my influence to see to it that this world might, in its boundless possibility, be shaped in accordance with their freedom of choice and will.” They raised their head, setting their gaze upon those adventurous mortal equines, which now pranced and glided about the realm in glee. “The ways of these creatures- those of instinct and survival- theirs is a way different fundamentally, I do believe. And it is they who may, in their small part, act as mine presence by proxy. Mine influence beheld. Inspiration, of a kind.”
Then it was through some unspoken instinct, that the two most determined and curious among the Ziang, found their way back toward Anagnostis and Myrtu. “Do you two,” Myrtu asked of the animals, “Seek the journey still?” Silence passed between them. With a gleeful braying, the two Ziang began to prance around Myrtu. As the Unicorn tossed their head back, they asked Anagnostis, “Do you know how to care for Equines? ‘Tis a gift that I’ve in mind, for you and your master, and it would be quite irresponsible of me to leave such creatures without one that has the means of seeing for their wellbeing. Though I’ve no doubt they’d find a means to care for themselves, still. It doth concern me. They’ll be of a disposition unlike that of mine other creations.”
”It is for these reasons that they seek a statue of you. It is not an altar for them to offer supplication, but an icon for them to offer their revelry and gratitude. To drink deeply from the waters of curiosity and be grateful for the choice to have slaked their thirst.” the Kathetikon wrote, its words evident in the colours of the wind only a divine eye like Myrtu’s could perceive.
“The little that we do not know is something we are in a position to discover quickly; fortunately, the concept of equines is already quite familiar to us.” ”I wonder what drove our kin to take this form. Perhaps they do not remember it as clearly as we do, or perhaps the means of one’s ascension is more personal… Don’t ask, Anagnostis, we’ll have to research this one more ourselves… the Kathetikon wrote to Anagnostis, who had very little difficulty in suppressing a smile as they possessed no feature with which to smile to begin with.
“The Master would be most eager to have some specially crafted beings to help manage the Grand Library. They do not like to create themselves, fearing it would… muddy the waters–so assistance in this regard is most helpful.” Anagnostis spoke, cocking its head slightly to the side to suggest it was smiling. The Kathetikon began to write frantically, but Anagnostis seemed to simply close it and never once diverted its gaze from Myrtu.
Quietly Myrtu pawed the ground with their hoof, causing sparkles to shimmer and bounce about. Once again they were listening, thinking, considering- suddenly standing over the wreckage of their train of thought-
Myrtu leapt into the air abruptly, their horn glowing profoundly, as their wings shone with a bursting and fullness. Beneath them, the circling Ziang only seemed encouraged by such a display, and their joyous braying picked up once more. “Tis naught but the unlocking of potential,” Myrtu explained for the benefit of Anagnostis, “Within them is already that which your master hath approved of- curiosity! And further, within them is means to act upon such curiosity, for aye- it was they that, by their hearts and instinct, hath guided all the equines before you to this place- mine contribution were company and mere suggestion to see here- to make close this distant point. Eagerly did they choose such a journey, leaving behind those others which were free to choose their path as well.” Simultaneously the Ziang lifted into the air as a glow, not unlike that of Myrtu’s dazzling wings, encased the mortals wholly.
“Theirs are the minds which seek and find,” and gently Myrtu touched their horn each of the Ziang’s heads in turn, which caused the light of their horn to permeate the Ziangs deeply and to their very souls. Their striped hides danced with color- the stripes themselves becoming rainbow hues as the tawny backdrop became chaotic. A shifting gradient from black to white, with every shade in between, that came to dominate the formerly tawny space. A semblance of order slowly became apparent; when their ears perked forward to listen to Myrtu, their shades and hues of their hides shifted attentively; when one became distracted by its own flying instead, the colors of its fur became light and warm with glee.
“Theirs are the hearts which yearn for journey- the bonds formed through such endeavors- and the challenge presented along the path. To know these deeply, intimately, to remember such that it may be shared for the good of the whole,” and Myrtu did shake about their mane then, spilling onto the Ziang a crystalized hail of godly essence, which took the form of tiny sigils- words different from those the Kathetikon had displayed, yet they did shift in translation into Polyglos, as they hit the bodies of the Ziang.
Words blossomed, spelled out in crystalline formations, from the strong backs of the creatures. These crystal words and sigils, which appeared to draw their way through the air at their backs, linking concepts and ideas to form sentences and names, became the base structure for wings- acting as the “bones and muscle”t. From these structures there sprang clusters of words, created from light, to act as feathers, whose details shifted and changed as the individual tales these creatures experienced became written as their very wings. From a glance these words told the story of their path- which trails were taken, where fresh water was located, prime lands for grazing, and how many were in the herd of equines on the journey. Even as they floated in the air, their wings became written with observations further still- how cold it felt and how hard the wind blew beneath their sensitive feathers- purely and plainly stated, for that was the nature of instinct.
Such anatomical changes, so new to the creatures, caused the shining words to dissipate inadvertently, but it was no matter. Where once were the detailed writings, there were feathers of semi-opaque darkness that, as the wings were stretched for the first time, sparkled to life with dazzling points of light innumerable, an unconscious action caused by the Ziang’s wills. Those shimmering points in the darkness of their wings would be, to the eyes trained to recognize the patterns, an accurate replication of the stars which blazed in the heavens above.
“And to carry the burdens of such a task- that they might assist others that yearn as they do- Ah! Theirs is a role which requires strength and power both- for speed matters little when the path is unending and freely charted!” Myrtu whipped their head about as their horn glowed brightly- this motion having caused the Ziang to double in size, as was willed by their auras of godly light. Their limbs thickened with sturdy muscle and their backs became powerful, as their hooves gained the mass and toughness to endure travels of distances undefined. A moment was taken by Myrtu then to gaze into the eyes of the transformed Ziang, but they were Ziang no longer!
With a single beat of their wings of light, Myrtu ascended slightly above the two, then glowed with chromatically colorful radiance, declaring, “Odysseus Equis, thou’rt blessed! If it be a journey sought and means to take it, grasp with thy freedom at that which I offer now!” And in a flash of light, the blessing became available for all those Equines present in the mountain herd. This moment of light, lasting but a beat of the Equine heart, was filled with the profound choice to accept or deny the transformation. While they were the ones who’d chosen the path to travel here- had the will to see the task through- Myrtu knew that this was something they should choose, too. If they’d lost heart upon finding only this destination, then it would be of little use for the journeys ahead- for what the Odysseus Equis should represent.
Not one among those Equines present refused.
Once the moment passed, Myrtu released their will from the two, which had served as the template for the transformation. The sudden release caused the two to fall into a panicked glide- instinctually catching the wind beneath their newborn wings. Mischievously Myrtu laughed, as their divine hooves once again contacted the ground near Anagnostis.
Anagnostis clapped its hands together in delight, leaving the Kathetikon to float midair, having watched the transformation of the equines into this new, dazzling form. It then quickly came to its senses and grabbed the Kathetikon out of the air hastily, beginning to scribble down all sorts of details about the working of this new species that Myrtu had created. Anagnostis occasionally looked up to observe them as it wrote at a speed far outpacing any non-divine entity, and by the time it had finished writing a series of books about the creatures and their properties, Myrtu had just about finished their most recent bout of revelry and rumpus.
“They’re just as magnificent as I imagined… and so useful too! They can carry the goods and keep the records while the Umbra trade–together they’ll be able to journey anywhere and record anything! If there is aught you would ask of us in recompense, please!” Anagnostis spoke, and the Kathetikon wrote its words next in the ground that Myrtu’s hooves had been kneading.
”All knowledge exists within my library. If there is something you wish to know, then it will be our pleasure to direct you towards where it may be found. Unless you had another request I might be able to fulfill?”
While the Kathetikon and Myrtu spoke, the aforementioned Umbra flocked outside in droves to gaze upon their newest friends and allies, and it was only moments before the two began to soar together on the crystal-clear winds at the peaks of the Grand Library, charting its infinite eddies and currents for the first time and beginning to create the first map of the Kathetikon’s realm, that all those new wanderers who found their way here would at least have to wander slightly less.
With an air of contentedness, Myrtu replied, "A gift freely given- for it is for the world and its mortals, is such diversity truly added. Thine contributions were an inspiration and influence for, I admit, I am desperately wanting for creativity at times, and never would I have thought to create beings such as these, were it not for the sight of thy realm most glorious." As their eyes scanned the new equines, those testing their wings and already developing forms of aerial play, Myrtu released a sigh of admiration. "Would that I could but experience life as they- that I may walk amongst mortals and see their world, their desires and dreams, with mine own eyes, without their shuddering ‘neath mine presence Divine."
Turning their gaze back toward Anagnostis, Myrtu murmured rather hesitantly, "And if… it is with necessity that a statue be made in mine image in this... Logiopolis. Then I wish it to stand no taller than the heads of Centaur." A softness entered their tone, "Let not I, a symbol of freedom and striving toward realizing one's potential, tower unreasonably over their heads, as in a stature which inspires impossibility in proportions. And let not mine image recreated dominate a space which they call their own, created by their own hands, unless… they themselves wish it to be so."
Myrtu bowed their head and conceded, "Nonexistent is mine desire to impose restrictions upon their expression yet, I'd rather they stand at the side of such a symbol and know that what they seek presents itself with realism- that it stands at their shoulders in encouraging camaraderie, both challenging them to make push forward and joining them ever in stride." Raising their head proudly, Myrtu concluded, "If such a symbol must be, then may it be created in this manner." Their tail whipped about with sudden energy.
“Much like yourself, the Master rarely interferes with mortals in ways that they could not themselves–it is simply within the Master’s power to expedite these processes. But…” Anagnostis began, before looking down at the gently buzzing Kathetikon and beginning to read eagerly. ”I remember the process that endowed me with divinity. I see no reason I could not engineer a way to sever you from the wellspring of your divine power and dull your noetic profile down to the levels of a mortal–or perhaps I could simply create an avatar that you can cast your mind into in order to diminish your abilities without dulling your senses. There are many ways to proceed, and my mind races thinking about them! Should you want this, feel free to return to my library in the future. Anagnostis, you must gather the Umbra and the Odysseia and set them upon their great mission.”
“The Master has much for me to do, honoured guest, but you are welcome to stay here for as long as you like. As long as any shred of curiosity remains within you, you shall not want for discovery or adventure within this place… but there is much more to do out in the wider world. I hope we will meet again, and that it shall be as joyous a meeting as this has been.” Anagnostis spoke, bowing deeply as it did so, before suddenly disappearing from view as it located itself elsewhere in the Grand Library. The Kathetikon remained behind, floating in the centre of its great Vault, but it offered no more words to the Horse God as it contemplated how best to manoeuvre its forces across Galbar.
And so the silence went undisturbed as Myrtu began to process what the Kathetikon had proposed. An avatar? The way it was described sounded as if it would be precisely what they had in mind- a perfect means to see what the mortals were experiencing from their level. But how would it look? What would they do first? Where would they go first? Overwhelming possibilities were now presenting themselves to Myrtu- thoughts that would be better left for a run- Oh! A Run! With such a fantastic idea coming to the forefront, Myrtu rather excitedly turned about, then bowed slightly to the Kathetikon as a means of farewell, for the great distances of the world were now begging to pass beneath Myrtu's hooves once more, and they were compelled to answer the call.
While exploring, Myrtu spots a cool place in the mountains, then asks a herd of Ziang to make the journey to it with them. They arrive at the Kathetikon’s Grand Library. Myrtu, the Kathetikon, and Anagnostis speak before Myrtu gifts the two with the Odysseus Equis (Book Mules), created from the Ziang herd.
- 2AP/DC3 (Equines!) Create Odysseus Equis (Book Mule) from Ziangs.
- 2AP/DC3 (Equines!) Create Odysseus Equis (Book Mule) from Ziangs.