The Party

No Time — Truespace

“But what do we really do?” the prince asks his friends and neighbors.

“Oh ho!” Bright Star laughs. “Must we endure your existential doubts again? We live! We manage our realms. We create beauty. Is it not enough? Has it not always been?”

The prince nods and smiles, sips his drink, and looks up into the cosmos.

The leaves of his roof have been pulled back to admit a clear view of the whirling galaxies. Subtle energies contain the air of this topmost chamber. In the sky above, the galaxies wheel.

“It has always been,” the prince says. “And it will always be. And nothing changes.”

Even through the shields some hint of the chill of the night sky leaks. But the great fireplace blazes.

“And where is the problem in that?” Bright Star asks.

“Where?” the prince turns upon him. “Exactly in the lack of change. What meaning can there be in an existence that does not change?”

Bright Star smiles at him. Yet we create beauty. You with your parties,” he gestures to include the guests and the room in which they sit. “And your princess with her music, which we enjoy. Is it not beautiful? Is it not enough?”

The princess’s music wafts up from the ball room. The prince nods, but turns his back on his guests, to look up into the galaxy-studded firmament.

“It is beautiful,” he says. “But no. It is not enough.”

“Then what might be?” Bright Star asks, sipping his drink.

“What indeed?” the prince smiles.

He turns his back again, to look upon the firmament. The view changes, moving into the depths between the wheeling galaxies, accelerating.

“I have asked this question, and I have studied long and deeply.”

The view of the sky above the room moves, speeding until the galaxies become blurring streaks, until great filaments become visible and themselves blur and dissolve into the all-encompassing light.

“And I believe I have at last found an answer,” the prince say, as the view at last slows, looking upon a great wall of illumination.

“It is the Great Work.”

“Ah!” says Bright Star, lifting his glass. “So this is the part of the evening in which we descend into mythology.”

The prince turns to face his guests, and the dome above the castle’s room fades back to a display of the true nighttime sky.

“It is not mythology,” the prince says, “as you should know, had you ever studied true history.” He walks to a side-table and pours himself another drink. “Can you tell us, with all your wisdom, Bright Star,” he asks, “whence we come? Can any of you?” he looks at all his guests, “tell me your own origins? Tell me how we came to be in this place?”

None of them meet his gaze. None except Bright Star, who looks up after an embarrassed moment.

“Of course we cannot,” he says. “Nor can you, for there is nothing to tell. We have always been here, my prince. And always will be.”

The prince smiles, and nods.

“That is indeed the common wisdom. But I can no longer accept it. I have studied too deeply.”

“No,” he says, “I now believe that we have come from this thing of legend, this thing of mythology,” he nods to Bright Star. “We ourselves, I now believe,” he looks around at his guests, “are its products.”

A bell tolls deep in the castle just as a servitor enters the room.

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