Part 1 - Chapter 1: Celestial Lights

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All around her was darkness and coldness. She was floating. A small pinpoint of tawny light riding the ethereal winds that whipped around her in the vastness of space. She was searching, seeking.

It was like a dream, but it wasn't. She knew on some level it must be real, though this was not her reality. Somehow, she stepped into another realm, and it was completely foreign to her own. Yet, it also felt natural to her. She wondered who she became when she came here. What she became.

Even though she rode with purpose, she was content. Here, of all places, she was at rest, not ruled by her turbulent emotions. She soared freely and vivaciously, molding the ethereal wind to her will. It responded to her command like an extension of her borrowed form.

She was one with the universe.

Suddenly, space was not completely dark anymore. It was not cold anymore. Other pinpoints of light danced around her. As she floated, some passed by her, and some grew larger than suns. Others shook in violent spasms. With each passing, she felt something from them. Emotions. Sentience.

They danced around her in a myriad of colors – blues and oranges and yellows, reds and greens and violets, even a few that appeared utterly black against space, darker than the void itself, and some white as pure, whole light in stark contrast to the emptiness around them. The black and white ones dominated all the others and let off the strongest feelings.

When two of the lights collided with each other, an explosion of light and sensations threatened to overwhelm her. She would not be moved by them. She pushed those feelings back as well. When the outbursts were reconciled, it often left one of them diminished or consumed, and the other brimming with intensified strength.

When a colored light was engulfed within a sphere of pure white or deep blackness, they were consumed utterly, but it seemed to taint the pure nature of the devourer, casting a tint upon it. She felt emotions surge anew from those spirits. She knew them, Life and Death.

She weaved through the swarm of lights until, finally, she found what she was seeking. A light of deep amber radiance. This one was like her, perhaps, though their colors contrasted. Such was her hope. The two lights danced around each other, and the energy arcing between them drove off even the fiercest of onlookers.

They swelled with each other's energies and with each other's wisdom, yet true understanding eluded them. Though she was more radiant than the amber light, the other was wiser and more enlightened with the way of the Astral Plane and the way of the other world – her world. Earth.

This was her connection to this light among all others here. This one was not foreign. She tried to commune with the other lights in her past trips to the Astral Plane, but they were too alien for her to comprehend. More so, many tried to consume her or rule her. This amber light was like her, so she hoped. A being filled with brilliant energy and conflicting primal emotions, but also human somehow. There was something there she could comprehend. Something from Earth.

She spent her time with the mysterious entity, gleaning what knowledge she could, until her will began to fade. Her time in the Astral Plane was growing short. She was awakening on Earth.


*****


The energies flooded into him, filling him with their power and with their influence. Donald Calvin closed his eyes in fierce concentration, trying to maintain his awareness under the intense sensation. The world felt more alive during those moments than any others, but all was not well. There was discord in the stream of tawny light flowing from the young girl – her face screwed up in concentration for a task which should be effortless – and into his body. At one moment it swelled with the giving, benevolent ambiance of orange mana, and in the next it filled him with the intense craving of green mana. The conflict of emotions would counter each other perfectly if all was in balance, yet there was no equilibrium in the flow.

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