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Just as humans grow and change with time, interests change as well. I wish I had the urge to roleplay like I used to...

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In the ethereal expanse where the Astral and Material Realms converge, there existed a Luminary of unparalleled grace – an astral entity shaped like a rhino, but one that bore the resplendence of sunfire. It roamed the celestial pathways, a guardian of its corner of the cosmos. Though nothing but a relatively medium sized star back in the Material Realm, the form of its astral consciousness wore a hide shimmering like a sun-drenched ocean; with eyes that held the depth of galaxies, it was the first to witness the anomaly. Deep in the Astral Realm, a stick of light, thin as a reed but radiant as a star, emerged, piercing the fabric of existence. This stick of light, unknown and unheralded, was a harbinger of chaos yet unseen.

The Luminary approached the phenomenon with a blend of curiosity and caution. Its massive form, usually so imposing, seemed to tread lightly, as if aware of the delicate balance it was about to disrupt. As it neared the stick of light, the air around it shimmered with an unnatural frequency, and a sense of foreboding washed over the astral guardian. Suddenly and without warning, the stick started vibrating, sending out waves that the Luminary discovered to be disrupting space - a split second later, the cosmos ruptured. From the fissures around the stick of light, a horde of outer beings, akin to a swarm of locusts, burst forth. These creatures, neither fully astral nor material, were like shadows given form – insatiable, relentless, and utterly destructive. They descended upon the Luminary in a frenzied storm, overwhelming it with their sheer number and ferocity. The Luminary, though mighty in its power, was nevertheless taken by surprise, with the relentless onslaught of the horde being unlike anything it had ever encountered before.

It fought valiantly, its astral horn goring through the shadowy masses and, occasionally, firing rays of searing light that pierced through the dark tide, leaving disintegrating ashes in their wake. All the while, Its sunfire hide torched those that came too close, protecting it in the process. But it was like trying to hold back a flood with a single hand. The outer beings were relentless, relying on quantity over quality as they tore away at the Luminary’s form, shredding its astral essence piece by piece. Very quickly, the battered, screaming and fragmented consciousness of the Luminary was dragged through the portals created by the stick of light, pulling it out of the universe it had sworn to protect.

From afar, other Luminaries watched in horror. They had sensed the disturbance, but none could have foreseen the ferocity and speed of the attack. These celestial guardians, each a master of their domain, now faced an enemy that defied their understanding. With urgency born of desperation, they united, forming a coalition unlike any before. Luminaries of all shapes and forms – Lyrissa, a leopard whose starry spots flickered with ancient wisdom; Cygnor, a celestial hawk with wings spanning the width of nebulae; and Serpegor, a serpent that slithered through the voids of space – came together. Their collective light, usually a beacon of hope and guidance, now shone as a warning signal.

They clashed with the invading hordes, their astral powers crashing against the dark tide. Through this maelstrom of light and shadow, each Luminary rose as a beacon of resistance against the encroaching darkness. Lyrissa, agile and fierce, leapt into the heart of the fray, using her claws, imbued with the essence of starlight, to slice through whole platoons of dark entities. "We must hold them back!" she roared, her voice a rallying cry amidst the chaos. Cygnor, soaring above, dived through the swarms with a majestic grace; each beat of his cosmic wings harnessed the surrounding Lumen to send out ripples across the battlefield, disintegrating outer beings by the masses. "They are endless," he called out, his keen eyes surveying the onslaught. "We need a strategy, or we shall be overwhelmed!"

Serpegor, weaving between the astral currents, struck with precision. His ethereal fangs sank into the very essence of the invaders, sapping their strength and life-force. "Our might alone is not enough," he hissed, his voice resonating with an ancient power. "We mussst reach beyond ourssselvesss…”

As they fought, their emotions ebbed and flowed like the tides of the universe. Anger at the violation of their realms, fear for the fate of all they protected, and a deep-seated determination to stand against this strange and unknown foe. Yet, beneath it all, there was a growing sense of desperation – with each passing moment, the Luminaries found themselves pushed back, their efforts seeming more like a delay of the inevitable rather than a path to victory. The outer beings were not just numerous; they were unyielding, a tide of darkness that sought to engulf everything in its path.

Amidst the tumult of battle, a silent communion unfolded between the three Luminaries, their minds intertwining across the astral expanse. Lyrissa, her spirit a beacon of resilience even as her form battled tirelessly, reached out with a thought tinged with urgency. "I agree, our valor alone cannot hold back this relentless tide. We must beseech Him. It is only through the creator's intervention that this assault may be quelled." Cygnor, gliding through the cosmic maelstrom, his essence dimming with each exertion, resonated with her sentiment in the shared mental space. "Our entreaty must be both immediate and unequivocal. The very fabric of the cosmos is fraying, and without divine intervention, we edge ever closer to oblivion." Serpegor, his serpentine form weaving through the chaos, his scales less luminous yet still defiant, added his voice to their collective plea. "Our call must resonate as one, a singular cry for deliverance. In His wisdom lies our sole refuge from this engulfing darkness."

United in their resolve, the three Luminaries focused their energies, sending a plea across the astral plane. Their message, borne of desperation and hope, traversed the cosmos, seeking the attention of the very deity whose hands had sculpted their home. As they awaited a response, the Luminaries steeled themselves, ready to defend their own realms to the last, against the encroaching darkness that threatened to consume all.

"To Ull'yang, creator and custodian, we send our plea," they roared, their voices echoing through the cosmos. "The fringes of our universe are torn, and we falter against this unknown foe. Grant us your wisdom, your strength, or we shall be no more."
Somewhere in the Material Realm, there stood a castle atop a nondescript volcano. One particular spire, overlooking the mouth of said volcano, housed two individuals currently engaged in a strategic staring contest. Of relatively short stature and bipedal in nature, with spherical torsos made of rock, these beings sat on a table facing each other. On the table in-front of them, a grid-like stone board laid, with various pieces akin to mini sculptures placed in seemingly random positions on the grid. The two used their stubby fingers to move said pieces around with thoughtful precision and surprising dexterity. The game - should it be called one - they played involved the tactical movement of various uniquely powered pieces across the board, each move a silent battle of wits and foresight. The aim was to corner the primary piece of the opponent, rendering it unable to escape without being captured.

Amidst their game, the beings conversed in deep, philosophical tones. One argued fervently for autocratic rule, a singular, unchallenged authority to guide and decide. "In the hands of one, decisions are swift and absolute," it proclaimed, moving a piece forward with a clack. The other being, advocating for egalitarianism, countered with a serene voice, "True strength lies in the many. A ruler must listen, and power must be shared for a kingdom to truly thrive." It advanced its piece, setting a subtle trap.

As the game progressed, the egalitarian being skillfully maneuvered its pieces, eventually declaring a decisive victory. It opened its mouth, perhaps to jest about its triumph, but suddenly its expression shifted. Its eyes glazed over, staring into a distance unseen, its body going rigid with a sense of profound realization. The autocratic being, initially irked by another loss, began a dismissive retort, but it stopped short, noticing its companion's distant gaze. It waved its arms frantically, trying to snap the winner out of the trance. "What now? You've won, no need for dramatics," it grumbled.

Abruptly returning to the moment, the winner stood, its demeanor solemn. "My apologies, I must attend to something of great urgency," it said, its voice carrying a weight that belied its small form. It walked away, leaving the room, and as the door closed behind it, the being vanished from the hallway, as if it had never been.

Meanwhile, in the Astral Realm, the scene was one of chaos and desperation. Suddenly, the being made of rock materialized amidst the turmoil. It stood still for a moment, an aura of contained power surrounding it. Then, with a burst of divine energy, the rocky exterior shattered, revealing the immense and awe-inspiring form of Ull'yang. Surveying the battlefield with a divine gaze, the deity quickly assessed the situation, recognizing three main important points: The erratic stick of light, ripping through reality; the, worrying, absence of the Luminaries that had collectively informed him of the events that were transpiring; and the sheer number of invaders that had managed to claw their way into his realm, challenging his, evidently unfounded, belief that the Astral Realm would be of lesser interest to a potential invading force.

Without hesitation, Ull'yang sprang into action. Raising a hand, he harnessed the power of Lumen from his surroundings and, enhanced by his own divine essence, created imprisoning bubbles around each portal and tear in reality. The invading armies, emerging from these portals, found themselves trapped, crashing against the unyielding barriers. Wasting no time, the deity then swiftly teleported next to the stick of light. Erratically as it had been moving, it was beyond the capacity and reach of a Luminary. Ull'yang, however, faced no such issues; the deity brought both his hands around it, clasping it firmly in between, his divine power conjuring ropes to bind the bizarre object. “What do we have here…” he mused, bringing the struggling stick of light closer in order to take a look.

An action that soon proved to have been quite the mistake, as a rip in space appeared right in front of the deity’s ethereal visage. Immediately a chilling sensation like no other suffused Ull’yang’s whole being, a feeling of utter dread and despair unlike anything he had ever felt. “What… is… this?” He thought, perplexed and somewhat caught by surprise at the sudden surge of emotions. In fact, he had been so absorbed, once again, that he’d failed to notice the subtle flecks of divine power breaking off from his form and being sucked straight into the portal. By the time he’d snapped out of it, numerous small black holes had been torn open across the length of both his arms. More akin to gaps than wounds, neither divine ichor flowed from the holes, nor flesh showed through.

Ull’yang quickly teleported backwards, away from the portal and, with a flash of his eyes, willed another bubble around the new addition. “Ugh, things are moving quite quickly. Surprising that my power failed to stop a new one from popping up…” Despite its unknown and, seemingly, powerful origin, Ull'yang found himself wanting to experiment with the bound stick of light. However, he would not exactly be able to do so with it creating portals to who knows where without any warning. So, in the end - and much to his displeasure - decided to use brute force. “Hmm… if you won’t cooperate willingly, maybe you will after a few… modifications.”

The deity clutched the bound object within his hands more tightly, eventually covering it completely. And then he went a step further and pushed with all his might, pushed until an audible crack was heard. His hands, akin to celestial grindstones, crushed the stick, its power merging with the divine essence in its bonds, taming it.

Ull’yang put more bubbles around the stick itself, protecting his hands from any potential new portals, inadvertently causing the essence in those barrier bubbles to also leak into the crushed object. No further vibrating sensation coming from between his hands was the sign Ull’yang sought, and very soon after the cracking sound had reverberated outwards, he got what he wanted.

“Oof, there we go,” the deity sighed. “Half the work is done. Now to get rid of these peeping holes…” Ull’yang thought, turning his attention towards all the bubbled-up portals brimming with outer beasts. It was the first time his realm had invaders barging in, however he witnessed their destructiveness first-hand - and his creations had probably felt it too, even more intimately. “How about you atone for your deeds, little spark?” He mused at his - still clasped together - hands.

Slowly, the deity made a small opening, right where his thumbs joined together, took a huge breath in - an action that sucked in an enormous amount of Lumen - and then blew right into the small opening, releasing all the Lumen he’d inhaled back out. In the moment between exiting Ull’yang’s mouth and entering the opening between his thumbs, the exhaled Lumen-divine essence mix immediately lit up the surrounding Astral Realm in white, hot radiance, akin to a solar flare given liquid form and jettisoned right out of a geothermal vent.

“Whew, that was something alright. You better turn out as I hoped…”

Just as he thought that, he opened his hands and a small, rectangular object emerged from within, spinning around slowly but seemingly in a deliberate manner. Sometimes it spun faster, sometimes slower, and sometimes it reversed its rotation.

Ull’yang watched it spin around for a few moments - almost as if it was trying to get the hang of moving in this manner, something which it very quickly succeeded in - and then followed it with his gaze as it whizzed towards the various bubbled up portals. Upon reaching one such portal, the object stopped and started spinning on its axis, a new type of spin. Ull’yang moved closer and waited for a few seconds, yet nothing happened, apart from the object spinning, of course. “Hmm…”

With a wave of his hand, the Lumen within the bubble imploded, immediately crunching up every outer beast inside into gorey paste. Upon this happening, something clicked within the object; detecting the absence of nuisances, the object moved closer to the bubble, touched it and was immediately sucked into it.

As if having finally found its purpose, the object moved in a straight line towards the rip in the fabric of the Astral Realm, coming to a stop right in front of it. The object had neither thoughts nor emotions, nothing but the singular purpose of mending. Fixing that which had been broken, patching up that which had been torn. Returning something, in this case the Astral boundary, back to its original form.

Eight small appendages emerged from the perimeter of the object, four from its corners and another four from the centers of its sides. Atop said appendages, and depending on which appendage it was, were located specific tools. For the ones sprouting from the corners of the object: a thin, fine needle - made from sheer divine essence given form - capable of omnidirectional movement as well as piercing through the astral barrier.

As for the appendages emerging from the sides of the object: small pincers, equally capable of omnidirectional movement, and sporting a spout right in the middle. Said spout had the, much needed, ability to expel strands of light capable of withholding the fabric of the Astral Realm together - Ull’yang had turned that very same power, previously ripping holes in the Astral, into a tool through which said holes would be mended back together.

Moving methodically, he eradicated the outer beings trapped in the bubbles, then waited for the object to do its job, weaving reality back into place and closing the portals one by one. As he approached the final portal, however, the chilling sensation from before washed over him once again. There, on the other side, was a giant, bloodshot, golden eye, staring straight at Ull'yang, freezing him and the rectangle in place momentarily.

A decidedly feminine voice whispered from beyond the portal, its tone laced with cryptic intent. "Congratulations on solving your little problem," it cooed, the voice echoing in the vastness of the Astral Realm. "And thank you for the gift of divine essence. It was... most nourishing."

Ull'yang, taken aback, focused intently on the eye. "Who are you?" he demanded after a while, his voice resonating with the authority of a deity, yet laced with a hint of curiosity.

The voice chuckled softly, a sound that seemed to reverberate through the fabric of reality. "We are many, and yet, we are one. You have managed to close these gateways, but do not fool yourself into complacency, starry one. There will be more incursions. You would do well to fortify your realm for the next time."

The eye then slowly closed, its golden hue dimming into the darkness, and the presence of the stranger faded away as the portal closed on its own, leaving no trace of the encounter, just an echoing silence in the Astral Realm.

Ull'yang floated there for a moment, contemplating the cryptic message and the fleeting presence of the outsider. He realized the gravity of the situation; the invasion was not just a random occurrence but a prelude to something far greater. He knew he needed to prepare, to strengthen his realm against future threats. The rectangle floated along with him as well. Now having lost its final target, it moved its little appendages around randomly in a futile attempt to close a portal that didn’t exist anymore.

The deity could do nothing but chuckle at his little creation, before willing it to shut down, then storing it away. With the immediate danger averted and the portals sealed, Ull'yang's form began to fade, his task in the Astral Realm completed for now. As he disappeared, his thoughts lingered on the mysterious warning, the implications of which would require careful consideration.

Among a myriad of twinkling stars, a deity drifted, his silhouette framed against the vast, inky expanse of the Material Realm. His gaze was fixed upon a far-off solar system where a star, its life extinguished in a brilliant burst of supernova, sprinkled stardust across the void.

"Ah… beautiful, yet bittersweet…” The deity murmured soft words, a blend of reverence and remembrance, as he witnessed the celestial dance of destruction and creation—the very essence of existence. The explosion echoed through the vast silence, a lonely yet magnificent spectacle; it was the divine paradox of endings paving the way for beginnings. The deity’s heart trembled with a sweet melancholy that resonated with the rhythm of the cosmos.

As the remnants of the star dispersed, his focus gently swiveled, drawn towards the core of another, yet equally fascinating, solar system—the very same realm where the other deities had chosen to cast their essence first. Among them, the sun god Itzala, whose brilliance lit the marbled spheres above, reigned luminous over one particular planet. Itzala’s presence within the host star of this system had not gone unnoticed by the deity, yet the radiance of The Sun failed to capture his attention at that very moment; the deity’s eyes narrowed as he beheld the peculiar desert planet the gods had chosen to seed with life, its orbit a slow dance between itself and Itzala’s radiant star.

With a thought, his vision tunneled through the cold void, descending through the veil of atmosphere that cloaked the nascent world. His sight pierced through swirling sands and rocky bedrock as though they were but mist, plunging into the depths to observe a peculiar mycelium lifeform extending its tendrils through the underworld in a quest for sustenance. At the sight, a slight smile of satisfaction softly etched itself across his ethereal features. “It is coming along nicely now.”

Then, with a slow exhale, his focus widened once again, soaring upwards through the crust and over the stark landscape. His gaze was drawn to a massive crater nestled at the planet’s equator, its heart filled with the crystal-clear essence of life—water. Amidst the serene liquid mirror, an island held dominion, crowned by a majestic tree of apparent divine origin. Its leaves whispered divine truths to the winds that caressed its boughs, its roots delved deep, merging with the very soul of the previously barren world. This same tree was something his gaze could not pierce through, yet the deity could feel a familiar resonance coming from deep within its bowels—the Khodex of Creation was hiding somewhere inside.

“I should take a closer look at this at some point,” he thought, making a mental note to visit Allianthe’s grove later. “However it is good to see others prioritizing the safety of the Khodex.” As the deity’s eyes traced the land, they followed a divine river that encircled the equator with purposeful grace; the flow of life-giving waters embraced the cradle of life in the middle with a tender caress, splitting to circle around the serene pool before reuniting in harmony on the other side. Two peculiar statues helped with this separation, undoubtedly an intervention of one of the other deities. “I wonder where this river originates from,” the deity thought, before promptly acting on said thought, sizing down and teleporting right on the planet’s surface.

As the deity materialized upon the arid lands, a swirl of dust heralded his arrival. The sky overhead was a tapestry of daylight, the Sun's rays casting long shadows over the dusty terrain. It was a quiet realm, the stillness only interrupted by the occasional whisper of the wind carrying the scent of a bountiful future. This place, though barren, bore a silent promise of vitality and potential—a canvas awaiting the divine stroke of creation.

With a gentle levitation, he ascended from the gritty sand, his form gliding smoothly over the calm, reflective surface of the river stretching out from the crater. The deity allowed himself to be drawn towards the river’s origin, his form casting a long, slender shadow over the water as he moved effortlessly against the wind, tracing the river's course as it meandered through the desolate landscape. The riverbanks were like veins of hope in an otherwise lifeless body, hosting a modest array of plant life that clung to the essence of existence the waters provided. The stark contrast of barren desert and the verdant banks was a testament to the transformative touch of divine essence.

The deity’s voyage led him across the face of the barren world, the sun god’s light diminishing as he approached the other hemisphere. The sight that awaited him was a stark contrast to the desolate landscape he had traversed. Here, upon the horizon, seven magnificent waterfalls cascaded from ethereal wounds in the atmosphere, their waters plunging into the world with a grace that seemed to defy the laws of the Material Realm. Above, sky islands floated with a gentle serenity, cradling rivers of their own that connected one fall to another. Below, whimsical blooms adorned the entirety of the riverland, banks and wetland alike, dancing flowers swaying to the divine rhythm of creation. Their petals seemed to narrate the lore of the land, a symphony of colors in a stark desert.

He descended amidst the blooms, their gentle swaying a silent greeting to the deity. The flowers, sentient in their divine essence, fluttered with a soft giggle, their whispers a playful melody.

"O traveler of the stars, bearer of ancient scars~" one began, its voice a tender ripple across the water.

"Our birth from celestial showers, in Tuuni’s tender hours~” another chimed in, its voice a melodious echo.

Amused and intrigued, the deity inquired, "Tell me, blooms of wonder, what name bears this land, where rivers from heaven meander?”

In a playful cadence, they sang, “Shangshi La, a realm so grand, where rivers by Tuuni’s hand, carve through desert’s golden sand~”

“And of these rivers, numbered seven, what names bear the breaths of heaven?”

With a graceful sway, they narrated the names, each flower taking a turn in a playful game, “Hermes, Xiaoli, Shangshi, they flow, K'nell, Apostate, with Lorelei in tow, and Benea’s gentle whisper, a celestial glow~"

It was then that the deity, aglow in the subtle, ethereal light his divine aura emitted, began to notice a fading color in the blooms around him. His presence held an, undoubtedly, corrosive effect, wilting the effervescent souls of the blossoms. Yet their song of Shangshi La carried on, their voices braiding through the air with a mystical charm.

Observing the withering petals, the deity spoke with a voice tinged with melancholy, "Oh blooms of innocence, my essence seems to corrode your tender being. Why don't you retreat to a safer haven?”

The flowers, in a symphony of harmonies, continued their lyrical tale, each note a blend of joy and eerie acceptance, “Shangshi La, a kingdom where dreams take flight, amidst the cosmic night~”

Intrigued yet troubled, the deity pressed further, "I see your sacrifice, yet why do you linger in my poisonous wake? Flee, and save our essence for the morrow.”

A blossom, its color almost drained yet voice clear as the heavenly river, replied, “O divine entity, we were birthed by Tuuni’s decree, to narrate the grace of Shangshi La to thee. Our existence is but a fleeting whisper, a ripple in the world river’s gleam~”

“And fear not,” another added, its petals drooping in humble submission, “For we are but few of the myriad blooms that line the banks of the world river, our voices will carry forth in a boundless quiver~”

“And though we wither in your midst,” a third chimed, its voice a ghostly mist, “Our duty we have not dismissed. The tale of Shangshi La, through ages will persist~”

With a soft hum of gratitude, the deity whispered to the blooms, “Your tale is a gentle stroke on the vast canvas of existence, yet your sacrifice makes your lives a poignant note in the symphony of the cosmos.” With those final words, he vanished from the face of Shangshi La, a faint trail of cosmic dust marking his departure.

Once more amidst the cosmos, the deity found himself drifting in the silent expanse, the desert planet a distant gleam against the backdrop of the stars. In his mind, the fleetingness of the blooms’ existence, their ephemeral dance with destiny, mirrored the fragile yet resilient spirit of mortality. The deity mused upon the grand tapestry of existence, where each thread of life, however frail, contributed to the cosmic narrative. He found a strange kinship with the fleeting blossoms, their essence a brief, beautiful note in the timeless melody of the Universe.

As the deity’s thoughts entwined with the stars’ distant glow, a profound realization blossomed within his ethereal heart. Each life held a spark of the divine, a soft glimmer in the endless night, and yet, the vastness of creation often left them adrift in the cosmic seas. It was then that his heart swayed with a newfound resolve; a guiding light was essential, a shepherd amidst the stars to lead the way in a potential divine absence. And what better luminous entities to assume this role than the stars themselves—the suns that illuminated the realms of existence.

It was perfect, really; a network of guardians to watch over said realms, to nurture, guide, teach, and maybe even punish. The stars, the suns of myriad solar systems, appeared as the perfect sentinels. They were the constant companions of planets, the silent witnesses to the unfolding array of life. He stood still and silent for a few moments, his mind racing through a myriad calculations, making sure every aspect of this vision, slowly crystallizing within his divine mind, could be brought into reality without any mistakes. Then, with a breath imbued with divine intent, the deity extended his essence into the Astral Realm, his will weaving through the celestial veil. As his thoughts resonated through the boundless expanse, the astral fabric quivered, ready to embrace change.

His will flowed like a silken thread, weaving through the very foundation of the Astral, embroidering the laws of—what he would eventually come to call—the Luminary System into the cosmic expanse. The deity meticulously crafted the pathways of awakening; each stroke of intent detailed the process through which a star, with its passive interaction with the Astral Realm’s own energy, could transcend its physical existence, birthing a consciousness that resonated with the lives it nurtured. Painting the astral with delicate strokes, he went on to establish the symbiotic bond that would exist between the so-called Luminary and the beings of its domain. He envisioned a grand network, an astral web through which Luminaries could share wisdom, experiences, and perhaps even the whispers of love that bloomed on the planets they safeguarded. This network would echo with the collective aspirations, hopes, and fears of the Universe, a grand narrative shared amongst the stars.

The deity did not forget to include ways through which Luminaries could communicate with the beings of their domains, such as dreams, visions, or perhaps the gentle caress of a breeze carrying whispers of guidance. He saw Luminaries altering planetary conditions, orchestrating favorable environments for life to flourish, their consciousness a gentle tide that could sway the destinies of worlds. He also intricately wove the mechanism of a Luminary’s rebirth. As he threaded this rule into the astral fabric, he envisioned the Luminary's consciousness, upon the physical star’s demise, ascending within the Astral Realm, embarking on a cosmic voyage to infuse its essence into a dormant seed—that of a star hosting life within its system—and thus birthing a fresh cycle of guardianship.

With a flourish of cosmic intent, the deity laid down the final strokes of this new edict into the astral weave. Each rule, each amendment, had been meticulously crafted, a testament to his divine foresight. As the last filaments of his new design intertwined with the astral fabric, a profound stillness enveloped the Astral Realm—a moment of silent anticipation, as if the cosmos held its breath, awaiting the dawn of a new order. Then, like the gentle beat of a cosmic heart, a powerful ripple emanated from the core of his being, cascading through the boundless expanse of the Astral Realm. It was a pulse of divine essence, a herald of change that reverberated through the very core of the Astral. As the ripple coursed through the astral fabric, a profound transformation unfolded.

Amidst the shadowy veils of the Astral Realm, nascent stars began to manifest, appearing like tender buds in a celestial garden awaiting the dawn. Each star was but an echo, a silent promise of the luminous guardians that would one day emerge. Yet, for now, they remained dormant, their light a soft whisper in the parallel void. These astral echoes were the silent testament to the deity's vision—a network of guardians ready to awaken with the stir of consciousness.

The deity gazed upon the ethereal stars, a soft glow of satisfaction radiating from his visage. The Luminary System was now sewn into the fabric of existence, its potential a silent hum in the cosmic harmony. As the deity beheld the slowly forming astral constellations before him, he knew that a grand chapter in the cosmic narrative had been forever etched.

In the expansive blackness of the Astral Realm, the deity floated gracefully. The ebon curtain of Ir-Vaeri’s domain, which usually seemed like a boundless night sky, was now punctuated with streaks of luminous Astralis Lumen. One of his additions to the Khodex of Creation, Lumen moved in harmonious waves, painting the vast expanse with a soft, stary luminescent glow. Everywhere he looked, the deity could sense the undulating, rhythmic ebb and flow of Lumen—vibrant and ethereal, it was a living testament to the connection it held to both himself and the realm.

With a thought, the deity vanished, only to reappear moments later at another location within the Astral Realm. His movements were fluid, a series of rapid blinks through the vastness. One moment he would be in deep space, with nothing in his immediate surroundings, then the next he would be somewhere deep underground—the layer upon layer of rock making up the majority of the unknown planetoid posed no inherent difficulty to his immaterial form. At each stop, he would mark locations with a special, glowing sigil—a tracking mark, shimmering with divine energy. These locations were places of heightened Lumen concentration, areas where the astral energy was most potent. Taking note of these locations could prove to be useful in the long run.

As he moved, a particular location caught his attention, making him pause. Before him stood one of Mae-Alari's unique creations: a Vein of the Cosmos. This Vein had somehow pierced through the protective barrier separating the two realms, creating a true spectacle to behold. Its rich prismatic hue throbbed, the arcane energies cascading outwards, reaching into the Astral Realm, with tendrils of Lumen attempting to breach into the Material.

What intrigued him more, however, was the surrounding area. The deity's astute eyes observed an unusual crystalline ore structure having taken shape around the Vein. He had noticed a different but similar phenomenon elsewhere as well, but never to this extent. Much like dewdrops forming on the tip of a leaf during the cool early morning hours, Lumen, when amassed in significant quantities, naturally began to converge and condense. This transformation, evidently, was particularly strong—and so much more intricate—near the Veins.

Lumen, after having normally condensed into liquid form, intertwined, stitching together glowing patterns that danced with light and energy. Then a shift had seemingly taken place—from a liquid-like state to a solid. Additionally, this solid didn't just sprout as isolated, sporadic crystalline structures. Instead, it bore a striking resemblance to mineral "vines." These vines, resembling root structures, traversed outwards from the Vein, growing and branching organically. As they spread, they integrated seamlessly into the fabric of the Astral Realm, the natural currents of Lumen dictating their growth direction and patterns.

As the deity’s eyes followed one of the branches, he noted special nodes on the vine—places where the concentration of Lumen peaked. These nodes, much larger than their surrounding structures, stored vast quantities of Lumen, acting as reservoirs of this mystical energy. The entirety of the vine was sturdy, withstanding the constant fluctuations of the Lumen currents. Nevertheless, when he approached, touching one of them in the process, the node shattered into pieces, scattering and merging back into the astral currents. It seemed that, as resilient as they were, they weren't immune to strong disturbances, whether from the natural disruptions of the realm or deliberate interventions by powerful entities.

The deity, lost in contemplation, realized that these structures held potential far beyond what met the eye. To tap into one of these vines was to tap into raw power, and to meditate near a node was to embark on profound spiritual journeys. As the Vein of the Cosmos pulsed before him, he could do nothing but guess as to how many more of Mae-Alari’s veins would someday find their way into the Astral Realm—poking holes where they didn’t belong—interacting with Lumen and creating more crystalline structures like the one in front of him.

He knew how power could both help as well as corrupt, mortals and deities alike, and was under no illusions that this material, should it fall in the wrong hands, had the potential to break the careful balance between the Material and Astral Realms. But then, he was reminded of his encounter with one of the first ever astral consciousnesses; allowing the mycelium to remain as it had, had proved to be quite a fruitful decision on his part.

“I should not be hasty, they might prove to be use—”

As he made to fix the hole in the barrier around the Vein, he noticed the structure reacting to his divine essence; absorbing the foreign energy at a rapid pace, the crystal vine very quickly filled in the empty space on its own, forming a faux bush that effectively plugged the hole shut.

“Well, I’ll be damned.”

“How curious…”

The deity had been navigating the vast expanse of the Astral Realm for quite a while; initially he hadn’t considered his addition into the Khodex to have been important in the grand scheme of things, as there were quite a number of other deities that seemed eager to prove themselves in that regard. This, along with the fact that he seemed to—unlike his previous home—be freed of any severe limitations within this Universe, gave him enough leeway to experiment with his gifts this time around. This, unfortunately, had caused him to be somewhat careless instead…

Granted, he had not been at the best of states upon his arrival—even now he was still getting adjusted to existence within a different Universe. Nevertheless, tapping into his instinctual creation—a stroke of brilliance, one might even say—and feeling the sheer magnitude of myriad potentialities lying dormant within the Astral, had made him question his ability to ever top this first creation of his.

“How very curious…”

This was not the void known to many. This was a void that throbbed, that teetered on the edge of becoming, a space not just of emptiness but of expectancy. It was as if this vast expanse was holding in a secret, a whisper of what was to come, encased in an embryonic quietude of a world yet to awaken.

During his initial venture within this parallel dimension, each step, each movement had been an echo of profound stillness. With no stars to grace his path and no entities to guide him, it had been up to him to map out the sea of potential he’d so carelessly put forth into existence. Of course, a nascent deity is still a deity in the end, and the Astral was technically his domain—until potential usurpers rallied up against him—and so he had quickly toured the other side of the veil ‘from one end to the other’ with relative ease.

“How very, very curious…”

At a time before Time and Creation, it would be logical for there to be neither brilliance nor darkness, neither form nor the absence of it. Even more so for a realm such as the Astral which was beyond simple descriptors, an expanse where the conventional binaries of existence didn't—and wouldn’t, if he had done his job as well as he thought he had—quite apply. Of course, it would also be logical for there to be a palpable sense of something magnificent waiting to burst forth. Such was, as far as he was concerned, the nature of Universe creation.

And although there were no named energies or known forces yet, the deity had an inkling, a vague awareness of a magnificent power that would soon flood this space. He felt its impending arrival, sensed the ripples it would create, the luminosity it would bring, and the dance it would instigate between realms yet to be defined. This force would be a beacon of potentiality, the cornerstone of all creation, nay, the nexus where dreams and reality would intertwine.

Those had been his thoughts before coming across the peculiarity that floated before him at that very moment.

“How very, very, very curious…”

He faintly recalled the existence of such a thing; one of his siblings had had quite a… thematic resonance with them, and the selection of memories from said sibling, although fuzzy, had been quite strange—so much so that they caused him to be quite hesitant as to how he would have to act going forward.

He floated around the unannounced visitor. The faint point of light in the sea of nothingness, before creation, had been—as one might expect—an unexpected surprise for the deity. He had been equally surprised to discover, upon probing it with his senses, of the fragile link it held with… something beyond the barrier separating the Astral and the Material. It was only after probing for a second time, even more carefully than before, that he had discovered faint traces of another deity’s essence reinforcing the connection.

“Hmm, this is an unfamiliar essence…” The deity pondered upon the origin of this divine interference, before letting out a proverbial sigh. “I should, at the very least, become familiar with the others’ divine traces…”

With that thought in mind, he glanced back at the divine parasite one of his, oh so unaware, colleagues must have inadvertently infected his realm with, and was of half a mind to wipe it out of existence then and there. However, just like how the parasite had linked itself to the Astral Realm, a small intrusive thought clung at the back of his magnificent, divine skull—what if?

Immediately, countless thoughts swirled around his head, reasons as to why letting it remain as it was would be a bad idea, both in the short as well as the long run. How allowing it to exist as something half-way between the Astral and the Material would somehow break the delicate balance between the Realms.

“Yes, but what if?”

Like a gong going off inside the deity’s mind, this single thought washed over all other cautionary bells and whistles; on the spur of the moment and without much further thought, he put two fingers together and snapped. Immediately, the Astral Realm rippled, his power reverberating across his domain and back before concentrating around the tiny connection fostered by the intruder. His divine essence melded within, infusing it and reinforcing the link between the Material body and whatever Astral counterpart this… tuber of sorts had managed to cobble up with the help of another deity.

“Monitoring this fledgling experiment ought to be a somewhat interesting pastime, I suppose,” he thought and tapped the top of the fungus one time, marking it so as to know of its location within the Astral Realm at all times. He then glanced at it one last time, before vanishing.

Amidst the boundless expanse of the Universe, a shimmering distortion began to unfold; slowly and steadily, an ethereal figure materialized, its grandeur unparalleled and awe-inspiring. Towering in stature, the deity's form was a captivating interplay between two realms; its upper torso - chest, broad shoulders, and a dignified head - was firmly anchored in the Material Realm, emanating an otherworldly radiance, while its lower half seamlessly merged with the backdrop, tethering it to the enigmatic Astral Realm.

His gaze settled upon the Khodex of Creation, floating majestically in the void, as memories of bygone eras flooded his mind; a sigh escaped his lips. Reflecting, he thought, "Once again, I find myself at the cusp of creation, helping shape the destiny of a new Universe." His thoughts wandered back to his original realm, the place of his true origin, and the siblings he once knew; suddenly, a melancholic yearning took hold, with the weight of eons pressing upon his ethereal shoulders.

He then surveyed the vastness around him, acknowledging the grand arrivals of the other deities; each one unique in their splendor, they brought with them a distinct essence and energy. One of them shined brilliantly in an inferno of passion, giving her all to the Universe from the get-go. Others were veiled in mystery as they cycled around the Khodex; an aura of stabization emanated from the trio as they seemingly enchanted the scroll with their essence - he could feel the changes taking root in the nascent Universe, particularly within the stars.

When a particularly... unique creature broke through the fabric of space, barreling into the Universe with a surprising determination, he questioned what exactly it would contribute to the Khodex. Even back in his original home, he had never managed to unveil the mysteries of the powers that be, the ones that had the ability to call forth beings such as themselves. Yet, the moment he felt the concequences of the creature's additions into the Khodex - it was as if his mind had been caged within a fog cloud, unable to pierce through and swim along the currents of knowledge that was previously available to him - a slight frown marred his otherwise emotionless face. Maybe the powers that be were not as considerate after all.

He made a mental note of this deity as he watched its retreat from the vicinity of the scroll, for he would have to be wary of its actions further down the road. As he was thinking that, another deity had made her appearance; he watched as the newcomer was overcome by a frenzied, almost zealous expression as she ravaged one of the strange, sprawling veins that covered the expanse of creation, emanating a faint, otherwordly glow - undoubtedly an addition into the Khodex that happened before his emergence into this Universe.

The duality of her form, after she completed her addition, intrigued him; coupled with the faint humming from the Khodex, it made him eager to see how her gift would blend with the future inhabitants of this world.

Just like that, he floated in space, surveying the coming and going of deities as they continued making their own little contributions towards creation. Yet something inside of him hesitated... calling these ones kin and putting them in the same pedestal as the ones from his original universe did not sit well with him. He could already foresee his interactions with them, and though he would hope for them to be cordial, it seemed more fitting to think of them as colleagues sharing a common purpose, but not a shared history. Not yet, atleast.

Shaking off the weight of the past and the uncertainties of the present, determination flashed in his eyes. "I shall aid this Universe to the best of my abilities," he resolved, "and then, I must seek a way back to where I truly belong." With a final glance at the vast expanse and the deities present, he turned gracefully. The ethereal form that had graced the Material Realm began to fade, fully merging into the Astral Realm, leaving behind an echoing silence and a trace of his magnificent presence.

There was work to be done; his fellows would undoubtedly become busy with populating reality with their creations, and exerting their influence upon the fabric of the Universe. He ought to do the same, for no one would achieve his goals in his stead.

Emptiness. Silence. Suddenly space trembled as a whisper of motion overtook the fabric of space and time, and a crack began to form; seemingly as though the Universe itself was tearing at its seams, a rift slowly materialized, emanating an aura of timelessness. Then, with force just as powerfull as it was silent, an unassuming boulder was expelled from within. This wasn’t just any rock, no, for it hailed from a realm where time danced to a different rhythm, a place beyond the very boundaries of this Universe, a time before Time.

As the boulder settled into its new reality, the difference in the flow of time began to take its toll. The once solid rock quickly began to crumble into dust, each grain breaking down further into finer and finer particles until there was nothing left, vanishing into nothingness and leaving behind only a single spherical stone. Its surface was dull, resembling the color of rusted iron and giving off an ancient, almost indescribable aura.

Just a few moments after being freed from its encasing, this solitary relic began a dance of its own. Slowly at first, it spun, gaining momentum with each passing moment. As its speed increased, a mesmerizing display unfolded: the stone's color shifted, a rapid kaleidoscope of hues, growing brighter and more radiant. Very quickly, the speed of its rotation became almost blinding, and its once dull appearance now emanated an iridescent light so bright, it would appear white to any and all onlookers.

But the dance was not over.

As the stone vibrated intensely, ripples began to spread, disturbing the very fabric of the Universe. And then, with a suddenness that was almost jarring, the stone cracked, coming to a dead stop. It transformed, its hue deepening into a rich gold, and then began to disintegrate just as the boulder had. Yet, this time, the shimmering particles remained. They seemed drawn, as if by a magnetic force, to a certain point in space within the Universe. And so they flowed, forming a river of radiant, liquid gold that wormed its way through the emptiness of the void-in-between. The river sought its caller - just like how water will always find its way onto the sea - and indeed soon enough, it had found it: the Khodex of Creation.

The moment the river of gold made contact with it, the particles within began to weave themselves into the fabric of the mysterious scroll. Text, deep gold in color and unintelligible in meaning, began to form onto divine parchment; clauses, laws, and edicts that would dictate the inner workings of the new Universe were being indelibly set. Decorations, flourishes, and mystical symbols adorned the newly formed section, and once the final particle was absorbed, the Universe shuddered, and the words "Astral Realm" appeared boldly above the mysterious text.

The Khodex quivered, the sheer potential of this addition causing it to phase in and out of existence for a split second before settling back into its previous, static position. Simultaneously, a new, parallel dimension came to being - not as a reflection, but a shadowy echo of reality. At that moment, it was equally as empty, however that would not be the case for much longer.

@Nanaya Honestly your worldbuilding is very cool, I read all of it. However, I too have been busy, September coming in means a lot of things to prepare. I'll try to get a sheet up and honor my reservation, but It's ok if I don't make it in the end.
Reserved for my CS.
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