Light of the Genomorphs

Light of the Genomorphs

image A lifelong student of the arts, Astralaria Lyraenan Riflone Geminius was said to have been born with music in her soul and all of the universe imagined in her mind. Having come into the world towards the end of the Fusion Aeon, she was raised in Riflone Village on Kappa Crucis with her older brother, Khariton. Throughout her life, Astra had constantly gone to great lengths to learn about all forms of art from all across the stars. She had travelled the universe, through many planes of time and space, in search of artistic perfection. Although she deepy appreciated and enjoyed all forms of personal expression, she eventually realized that sculptures evoked the most emotion within her. She had spent most of her life focusing primarily on two-dimensional captures but had never felt fully, unquestionably satisfied with the results. So one day, she put aside her familiar tools and turned to the world of three-dimensional creations.

image Alone in her hand-built studio on the uninhabited border planet Delirion, the lights would adjust to suit her mood as she spent hours carving, modelling clay and materials unique to the Xilon worlds. Yet nothing came to her that left her truly satisfied. In her search for inspiration, Astra often visited the most beautiful - and sometimes the most dangerous - regions of space and time. One such journey took her to the early days of Risus, where she and Khariton, who was a hunter by trade but had insisted on accompanying her, found themselves navigating the natural labyrinth of the famous crystal caverns in the Javedan region. Khariton was not as excited as his sister, for he took the stories of the caves more seriously than she did. It was widely known that, while the crystal caverns were one of the most spectacular sights one could ever see, they were also very dangerous unless one knew exactly where to go. A single wrong turn might land one in the heart of Javedan's Mirror, a hypnotic force that captured the mind of anyone who dared to look into it. Of course, this was just a myth, but Khariton was not as anxious to put it to the test as his sister was.

image During their exploration of the caverns, the siblings lost track of each other and went in different directions. Before long, Astra discovered a beautiful room carved into the tunnel walls. In front of her, a smooth crystal surface reflected her image, yet something was not right. Taking a closer look, she saw that her reflection was different; too perfect, not quite "real." She couldn't move, hypnotized by the strange vision. Time seemed to stand still and she could not tell how long she had been there, whether years had passed or seconds.

Suddenly, Astra felt herself thrust forward and landed hard on the smooth surface of the caves. Looking up, she met the eyeless gaze of two creatures that had a similar form to her own, yet were made entirely of crystal, like the cavern itself. They were Genomorphs, ancient crystalline beings who had inhabited the underground region of Javedan's Mirror for millenia, myths to the outside world. They should not have existed yet there they were. The two introduced themselves to the stunned artist as Jacinth Heliodor and Topaz Aventurine. They explained that had they not broken the connection between her and the mirror, Astra would have been unable to move, standing there entranced until she wasted away as so many others had done throughout time.

Jacinth and Topaz invited the young Xilon to visit their living quarters, where they told her all about their complex history. She learned that they had allowed the Xilon to think of them merely as myths in order to protect themselves during the Early Days, when the species had been savage and still evolving. The Xilon tribal wars had threatened to consume the Genomorphs completely, and while the crystalline did not age, they could be killed and many had been shattered into millions of pieces during the barbaric conflicts of the olden days. So they withdrew from the outside world in order to survive.

image Astra spoke for a long time with her new friends about their people, their history and their long-removed world beneath her own. She was told that they had once lived above ground, scattered across the galaxy, and that remnants of their people could still be found here and there on the surface. The Genomorphs were bemused by the fact that some races would find these shards and revere them as precious, when they were only the remains of lost souls. Like the Xilon, the crystalline did not feel sadness when one of their own came to a natural end. They felt a sense of loss, but only for a short while before the joy of a million shards singing in the light returned them to peace and happiness. Possessing a communal consciousness, they were, as a species, connected to all of the crystals and gems throughout the universe.

This concept intrigued Astra. She pressed Jacinth to tell her more and was honored with a story of the crystal worlds, a remote region of space which existed in the heart of a nebula. The nebula's core was so dense that even the Xilon had to fly around it. It was impenetrable to all but the Genomorphs, who could change their shape and molecular structure at will. Jacinth told her of a glassy dome that had been built by their kind long ago, at the same time that Javedan's Mirror was constructed. Within the dome, seven semi-domes had also been fashioned and many of their kind had gone to live there, away from the trivial and destructive ways of other life forms. Some of the crystallines could not bring themselves to leave their place of origin, however, and instead constructed the infamous mirror to protect others from stumbling onto their world. Of course, this was all ancient history. The Genomorphs were perfectly safe as the Xilon had long since abandoned their warlike ways. Yet they were happy with their hidden culture and continued to live in secret, a myth to all but the few who had been lucky enough to find them.

Fascinated by the artistic possibilities of crystal light refraction, a technique used by the Genomorphs, Astra listened intently for hours as her new friends explained the unimaginable intricacies that were involved in the process. She learned that a Genomorph could refract light in any number of ways. For example, it was considered poor manners amongst their kind to refract cooler colors, and good manners to refract the warmer, brighter tones. Astra eagerly asked if there was any possible way to travel to their legendary Utopia in the nebula core, but was disappointed to hear that she would be unable to pass through the dense outer shell. She told them that she would love to see, feel and experience this fascinating place for herself and begged the Genomorphs to tell her more.

image By the end of their meeting, Astra's head was reeling from all of the information that she had been entrusted with, but it took her little time to wrap her head around the concepts. Armed with this new knowledge, she garnered permission from the Genomorphs to collect any shards of gems that she could find, and to build them into a fine exhibit of crystalline art. This way, her people could see the stunning beauty of the their kind without invading the privacy of their hidden world. After some deliberation, Jacinth and Topaz consented to help and led her through the labyrinth towards the exits of the cavern. On their way, they passed by Javedan's Mirror once again and Astra was not surprised to find that her brother had been caught in its grip. Pulling him sharply away and bidding her new friends farewell, Astra started out on a journey that would take her nearly one thousand years to complete.

image Working alone and in secret, Astra gathered as many shards as she could find and joined them together in such a fashion that they appeared to be a single, complete piece of gemstone. A true work of art worthy of her name at last. Over the years, she built the pieces in many different places so that nobody could stumble upon them during the long period of construction.

Once all of the individual pieces had been completed to her satisfaction, she moved them one by one into a single exhibit on Delirion and began the lengthy process of assembling and fitting them together. Using every artistic skill that she had learned over time, Astra fashioned the crystals into a unique and amazingly creative "city," with each of the pieces standing at different heights and capturing different colors...her own rendition of the crystalline Utopia that so few even knew was out there.

image Upon completion, the artist invited the public to see her work. Millions of her kind assembled on the small border planet for the grand unveiling, and at just the right moment, the Genomorphs allowed the lights within the crystals to appear, revealing the beautiful complexities of Astra's massive and unique sculpture. All those present were awestruck by its majesty and creativity, and spread the word throughout time and space. Over the next few centuries, countless Xilon visited Delirion to see the renowned masterpiece, which was quickly considered to be the highest form of art, unparalleled in the known universe.

Since part of her deal with the Genomorphs was to keep their secret hidden, Astra could not divulge the true source of her inspiration for the piece, and simply called it Worlds. She was to go down in history as the single greatest artist to ever exist, but claimed ceaselessly up until her bioreversal that her basis for the piece had been ancient mythology and nothing more. The truth of the exhibit's origins remained with her until her death. For this, Astra was both revered amongst the Xilon as a great creative mind and loved by the crystallines for finding a clever way to share their world and for keeping the story of their people alive.

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