The Converging Timelines

The Converging Timelines

image Over the years, the people of Earth have had plenty of higher beings to thank for their existence, but one young student, Caelum Lyricae Rydn Zenon, is arguably the single most important Xilon to have affected the human timeline. The Guardian Xhef set Earth's evolutionary path in motion, but without Caelum, the humans themselves would not have lasted for as long as they did.

Born in a small Kappa Crucian village in Rydn Forest, during the early Expansion Era, Caelum was a devoted student, always interested in learning and exploring, intent on becoming someone of universal importance who could make a difference to creation as a whole. He attended the renowned Fresian Learning Center for his primary studies and then a range of specialized secondary institutes for aspiring travelers. He found himself particularly focused on history and evolution, interested in knowing about and understanding the complex developments of other species across the stars, getting to know everything that he could about the many cultures and civilizations that had and would exist.

image For as long as he could remember, Caelum had suffered from terrible nightmares. In these horrific dreams, he found himself trapped and burning in a cave of fire. He could feel the heat and excruciating pain, as well as the fear and anxiety of knowing that there was no way out. He always awoke in a sweat, feeling distressed and disoriented. The vivid nature of these dreams and the fact that they were recurring was unusual enough, but the strangest aspect was that the Xilon are unaffected by temperature. They feel neither extreme heat nor cold, so Caelum experiencing such sensations, even in his sleep, should have been physically impossible. For this reason, his graphic and painful nightmares were a particular mystery. No one knew what to make of the affliction or how to stop it from happening, and he was plagued by it for much of his early life.

During his youth, Caelum was one of the four students to visit Nazareth, inadvertently giving rise to humanity's Christian faith (see Jesus and the Angels). Such experiences were merely part of the learning process for primary students. Caelum's friend, Aeten, seemed unaffected by the news while the other two students took it upon themselves to return to Earth to find the carpenter's body. Caelum, not wanting to tamper with the timeline further but feeling responsible for the young human's fate, went back to Nazareth as well, to witness the crucifixion for himself. Although it pained him deeply - the horrors that these humans were capable of was inconceivable to him - he knew that accepting responsibility for his actions would make him a better individual. So he suffered the terrible sight and stayed masked amongst the crowd until Jesus had drawn his last breath.

image Troubled by what he had witnesed, Caelum found his way home and resolved to be far more careful in the future. At the very least, he needed to remain aware of the results that his actions might have instead of blindly settings things into motion. But in spite of his resolution, similar occurrences continued to happen. All throughout his school years, the youth regularly found himself inadvertently causing one major event after another, all completely by accident, all of universal importance, and all somehow related to Earth and the human race. Over the years, he became a highly experienced universal traveler, knowledgeable in far more fields than most others his age and one of the top students of his time. But his friends and teachers couldn't help noticing that he seemed to cause significantly more high-impact changes than anyone else, try as he might to remain a casual observer.

After finishing his primary studies, Caelum took a well-earned vacation with Aeten and a few of their friends. They decided to go on a walkabout, literally hopping from one planet and time period to another over the course of a month, spending one day in each location. They chose their destinations at random, in the moment, not knowing anything about where they might be headed, following each other's warp paths to reach the same destinations. Halfway through the month, the boys found themselves on a particularly hostile world that happened to be under attack. None of the four were training to be warriors and were relatively young and inexperienced when it came to even basic combat skills, so they panicked and ran. Caelum quickly found himself separated from his friends and, after failing to locate them, was on the verge of warping home when a howler jumped out from behind a nearby rock formation, lunging straight for his chest. In a reflex reaction, Caelum felt himself leap backwards and into an unplanned warp.

image When the world reappeared, the youth realized that he was falling through the air. Before he could process the information and extract his wings, he had smashed into the ground. When he was finally able to sit up, he found himself in a place that seemed disturbingly familiar. He was deep inside a cave, on the edge of a cliff, and at the bottom was the pit of fire that he had dreamed about for so long. He thought of his regional geography studies...what was this? A volcano? He had seen a few over the course of his travels, but never from the inside.

Caelum wanted nothing more than to get far away but he knew that this was no accident. It was important. He reminded himself of that over and over as he shuffled slowly along the rocky path down towards the chasm below. He was lost in a trance, drawn into the depths of the raging fires by no will of his own. His feet moved forward despite his mind insisting that he leave. But unlike in the dreams, he experienced no smothering levels of fear, nor could he feel the heat from the flames. And, after all, he was desperately curious to understand why this was happening. He would not have turned back even if he had been able to.

Reaching the bottom, Caelum could suddenly make out a sound above the roaring fire. Stepping through the wall of flames, he saw something crouched against the wall, hiding in a niche in the rocks. It looked liked a child, but was not quite like any boy he had ever seen. The creature was a quorec life form, but his face was broader than most. His skull, too, was elongated in the back and he was covered with a soft, nearly invisible down of fur. Or hair. Caelum couldn't really tell. What he did realize is that whatever this little thing was, it was trapped and crying. Perhaps it had stumbled into the cave by accident or had come looking for adventure only to have an earthquake shift the volcanic rock and send up flames to block his way out. Either way, the child was minutes from being burned to a crisp.

image Caelum ran forward and picked the boy up. Concentrating hard, he pulled him through space in a short jump that landed them just outside of the cave. He tried to communicate but aside from a few incoherent grunts, the child didn't seem to be able to speak any language at all. Even without words, Caelum could tell that his companion was somewhat traumatized and felt that he should at least try to calm him down before going home. Being from a society that considered knowledge to be the ultimate power, he thought it might help to reassure the boy that he was now safe. Grabbing a small rock and a few thin branches, Caelum struck a tiny fire for the boy to see. Although he initially jumped back, the creature soon grew curious and stepped closer for a better look. Caelum blew out the flame and helped him to try it on his own. He felt that showing the child that they were in control of the fire might help him to realize that he didn't need to be scared.

Once he felt that the boy had recovered from the experience, Caelum communicated as best as he could that he should go home. The youngster seemed to understand and, after gathering up some of the spare rocks and brush, went on his way. As he turned to leave, Caelum felt a pang of concern and decided to make sure that the child got home safely. He kept close behind, just out of sight, following the creature for over a mile until they came upon what seemed to be his tribe's home. From a distance, he watched as the boy ran up to one of the older figures and tossed down the rocks and branches. A group gathered as he knelt down and struck up a match. The crowd cried out in awe and then began to clamor for a closer look. Caelum's hearts sank when he realized that they had never before created fire with their own hands. Exactly what planet was he on? A quick jump into space allowed him a clear view of the globe and surrounding orbit system, and he realized with a sigh that he had once again ended up on Earth.

image A few years down the line, an enlightening conversation with a veteran Watcher would help the young Xilon to at last make sense of the questions that had troubled his mind for so long. He came to realize that it was always his place, his destiny, to set the different stages of the development of the human race in motion. The nightmares were the result of that destiny converging from its ultimate place in the universe onto the source of it all: him. The haunting dreams that he had suffered were, in fact, merely part of a ripple effect, flashes of the future, caused by always having one foot in another time.

Having spent most of his life believing that the nightmares were a warning, Caelum finally understood that they were the exact opposite - signs of what was to come and the incredible things that he was meant to do. After his final encounter with prehistoric Earth, Caelum's timeline seemed to smooth itself out once and for all. He never again had the nightmares that had tormented him throughout his youth and his accidental involvement with Earth ceased for good. But it had sparked a lifelong interest that he simply couldn't let go of, and over the years, he studied and became a master of middleground civilizations. He lived amongst the humans and similar life forms on and off for millions of years, returning home now and then to teach others their languages, histories, cultures and any other aspect of their lives that his fellow Xilon might care to know and to use in their ongoing understanding and protection of such societies.

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