The Javedan Crystal

The Javedan Crystal

image Born in the Jemmiraden mountains of Kappa Crucis in the late Age of Enlightenment, Haydn Antarius Jemmiraden Zenon was a top student in his class for young Guardians, and the soul mate of legendary natural scientist Chryseis Andromeda. Despite having been raised in the art of war, he had ultimately yielded to stronger impulses to follow in his father's footsteps, to explore the myths and legends of the universe, especially those related to worlds and events within the Aeradisphere, which he found particularly intriguing.

One such legend was the tale of Eridanus Fornax, the river furnace. It was said that this river was always alight, but that the flame could never be seen. It was also here, Haydn knew, that his father had last journeyed before disappearing without a trace. Tarmn had spent countless lyren searching for the legendary "river," and now here Haydn himself stood, overlooking the gorge through which that very anomaly flowed. It was a sight that he would never forget. A vast, dark chasm spread out before him like the gaping mouth of some horrible creature. This was the place that his father had fixated on so strongly during the last years of his life. And it was very, very real.

A thick tar-like substance filled the lower part of the rocky chasm. It was odd...he could see nothing reflecting from it, in spite of the texture suggesting that light, at the very least, should bounce off and cast a glare. Even Haydn's own bodily glow seem to be absorbed by the dark river, as if it were a liquid black hole from which nothing could ever return.

The forest on the other side of the chasm was barely visible through the mist, but he could make out lifeless husks of wood dotting the bank, dipping bony branches down into the gap. No light, no sound, nothing seemed to escape this lonely place. To Haydn's knowledge, his father had been the only Xilon to ever have rediscovered the legendary river. The journey had all but consumed him, and now Haydn felt that it was his place to finish what his predecessor had started. But he was deeply unsettled. The chasm seemed to have some sort of hold over him; he felt drawn to it, as if being called into the blackness. The closer he got, the stronger the hypnotic pull was. Barely resisting the urge to throw himself into the pit, he pulled back sharply, wondering if this was what his father had given in to. He could feel that this place was pure evil, pure darkness; it would take him somewhere from where there could be no return.

image Back at home, Haydn visited Chryseis, who, being on a personal quest of her own, understood better than most her partner's need to complete his father's work. Together, they pored through the elder's research for hours, looking for anything that might lend a clue as to what to do next. Legend held that the river could be "cleansed," but as of yet, Haydn had no leads as to how. All of his studies referred to the liquid of light (a loose translation, which was all he had yet managed). This mysterious liquid was unique in its properties as far as he could tell...something of a paradox. It was noted that the substance was solid, thick, icy to the touch and cold enough to freeze time itself. Yet it poured freely like water. Most notably, the stories said that no known vessel could hold it, as its cold temperature would shatter anything that it touched. Haydn knew that he himself could touch the substance safely; the physical makeup of the Xilon was such that they could feel neither extreme heat nor cold. But moving it from one point to another would be impossible without something to carry it in, and he had to return it to the chasm.

Nearly a millennia before, when his father had failed to come home from that final journey, Haydn had begun his tireless search for the mythic liquid and a vessel that might be impervious to its touch. After many years, he had discovered the ancient Adonis scripts, which claimed that such an element did in fact exist. Finding it, though, was another matter. The Javedan Crystal, as it was called, was purported to have characteristics similar to Xilon biology and, after years of research, Haydn determined that it might be found in one of three locations.

image The crystal cavern of Risus was one of the three most likely places to begin his search. Karadria Prime, a little known star far beyond the Aeradisphere, that had died out many centuries ago, was the second option. Both seemed like plausible candidates to Haydn, but the third suggestion had him completely lost, claiming that the crystal lay inside the heart of a Xilon warrior. If that truly was the case, he was in for a very long wait. After much deliberation, research and study, Haydn discounted the last theory as a possibility. He decided to concentrate his efforts on the other two locations instead, flitting backwards and forwards between different time periods for a number of years. But there was no sign of anything remotely resembling the elusive vessel. Determined not to give up, Haydn found and consulted with renowned scientist Mars Xidonis, who was always happy to offer guidance. After hearing Haydn's theories, he presented one of his own. Since the story of the crystal had stemmed from the writings on the mythic liquid, he surmised that the crystal itself would be close to the source of the myth, which meant that finding one should lead to the other.

Mars dove into his massive library of scripts. All of the ancient and future texts that had been and would ever be written were laid out in chronological order on shelves of diamond and nacre in his beautiful Aarnaxis home. With a bit of digging, Mars uncovered a small, unbound document called the Javedan Principle. In it was a description of the legendary crystal, its properties, history and creation. According to the text, the crystal had been built on different timelines; a tiny piece here and there from clashing eras and dimensions each contributed to its overall makeup. The construction was entirely unique and nearly impossible for even Mars to understand. It had been completed by the Javedan family in the ice forests of Risus centuries before, but the project had been abandoned when the clan became involved in more pressing work. At the time, the crystal had been hidden with the "liquid of light," which the text claimed to be at the heart of a star in the Karadria System.

image Encouraged by the find, Haydn thanked Mars and set off in search of the crystal. The ancient text had not named the exact star, but he knew what to look for based on his father's research. He finally had a specific timeline and era to focus his efforts on. Karadria Prime had been extinguished only 800 years before; it had threatened to wipe out entire galaxies thriving with life, so the Xilon had converted the star into a husk of cold rock. Knowing just where to go now, Haydn jumped 659 years into the past and stood upon the surface of the once-great sun. He scoured the barren terrain for months before discovering the entrance to a cave. Something about the tunnel seemed reminiscent of the crystal caverns and he felt himself drawn into its beautiful depths. Before long, he was wandering through what appeared to be an old sanctuary. Atop an altar stood a stunning, perfectly cut crystal, and just beneath it, scripted in Jzesan, were the words "to hold the liquid fire of the best of our forgotten suns." It was fitting, the Xilon thought, that the Javedan family had stored the crystal in a place much like the caves of their home world.

Haydn gently took the crystal and placed it into his pack. He left the caves and flew upwards into space, scanning the layout of the orbit system around the dead star. More research was required, but he knew that he was getting close. It was his persistent nature that had driven him for so long, and the thought of the dangerous black river being forever dried up pushed him to press on.

A dozen lyren flew by but Haydn barely noticed. He had made a great discovery on his last trip to the crystal caverns three hundred years before. It was there that he had found the lost scrolls of the Centauri. These writings were from the earliest days of an alien race and few knew how to read them, but in this strange tongue was the secret to the riddle. If he could decipher it, he might be able to determine once and for all which sun held the "liquid of light". After an endless series of futile attempts to translate the scrolls, he was advised by a former professor to visit the Ancient, from whom he might be able to obtain a translation.

He was not disappointed. The Ancient read the words like they were his native tongue: 15 sisters in the heavens fly; 15 lights in the dark night sky; 15 sisters and one will die; one sister will not cry; one sister cannot mourn, from her all joy is born; the light of life, from which darkness flees, makes evil forces sink to their knees; fallen from grace, Karadria sits, listening to the sisters mournful fits; the joyful sister holds the key - the light of life, our destiny.

image After much thought, the Ancient proposed a theory. "The crying may refer to the stars pulsing," he offered. Musing over this idea, Haydn thought back to the day that he had scanned the Karadrian system. He remembered that only the third star, Jadeite, had been still and not pulsing like the others. He thanked the Ancient for his wisdom and set out to complete the task that he had started so long before. One quick leap to the abandoned star system and Haydn was walking to the heart of the sea green sun. He reached the churning core and scooped a large handful of the burning liquid light into the Javedan crystal. A few minutes later, he was back on the edge of the lonely chasm, overlooking the darkness of the unseen river of flames.

Drawing the crystal from his pack, Haydn held it out over the darkness and was startled to see the light of the Karadrian sun reflecting from the surface of the tarry liquid. He turned the crystal upside down, pouring the starlight down into the void. There was an earsplitting hiss and the tar suddenly began to recede, drying up, the ground beneath it cracking open with a thunderous sound. And then life began to rise from the depths, creatures of all origins escaping and bolting past him into the wilderness. The mist cleared, the forest came back to life and the wilting trees regained their vigour and reached upwards towards the newly freed sunlight. With everything that was happening, it took Haydn a moment to notice a familiar figure walking unsteadily towards him.

Father and son embraced and although Haydn was full of questions, the elder was unable to answer. He had no memory of what that had transpired during his stay in the abyss. The black river had taken everything but life itself from its captives, feeding upon emotions and thoughts. But the nightmare was over now. Haydn took a long look around, watching as life rapidly returned to normal in the once dark and desolate place. Much to his surprise, he saw more Xilon - many, many more - flying out from the chasm and realised that he had been wrong. There had been scores of others throughout the ages who had tried to close the rift. And yet it had been he who had finally ended the cycle. Putting an arm around his father to help steady him, Haydn made his way down from the banks, leaping home to the Aeradisphere. His long journey over, he returned to his beloved Chryseis and settled down at last, leaving the chasm and his troubled memories of it far behind in time and space.

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