A's N: It should probably be noted that the Prologue is not the main vein of the story. If you dislike meaningful poetry, and hinting devoid of context, feel free to skip straight to Chapter 1, which begins the proper story. I won't be upset. Really.
Aeon Entelechy Evangelion
A Rewrite of Aeon Natum Engel
Prologue: The Words That Began the End of Everything
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic
Orders? And even if one were to suddenly
take me to its heart, I would vanish into its
stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but
the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear,
and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terror.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the cry
of a darkened sobbing. Ah, who then can
we make use of? Not Angels: not men,
and the resourceful creatures see clearly
that we are not really at home
in the interpreted world. Perhaps there remains
some tree on a slope, that we can see
again each day: there remains to us yesterday's street,
and the thinned-out loyalty of a habit
that liked us, and so stayed, and never departed.
Oh, and the night, the night, when the wind full of space
wears out our faces – whom would she not stay for,
the longed-for, gentle, disappointing one, whom the solitary heart
with difficulty stands before. Is she less heavy for lovers?
Ah, they only hide their fate between themselves.
Do you not know yet? Throw the emptiness out of your arms
to add to the spaces we breathe; maybe the birds
will feel the expansion of air, in more intimate flight.
Yes, the Spring-times needed you deeply. Many a star
must have been there for you so you might feel it. A wave
lifted towards you out of the past, or, as you walked
past an open window, a violin
gave of itself. All this was their mission.
But could you handle it? Were you not always,
still, distracted by expectation, as if all you experienced,
like a Beloved, came near to you? (Where could you contain her,
with all the vast strange thoughts in you
going in and out, and often staying the night.)
But if you are yearning, then sing the lovers: for long
their notorious feelings have not been immortal enough.
Those, you almost envied them, the forsaken, that you
found as loving as those who were satisfied. Begin,
always as new, the unattainable praising:
think: the hero prolongs himself, even his falling
was only a pretext for being, his latest rebirth.
But lovers are taken back by exhausted Nature
into herself, as if there were not the power
to make them again. Have you remembered
Gastara Stampa sufficiently yet, that any girl,
whose lover has gone, might feel from that
intenser example of love: 'Could I only become like her?'
Should not these ancient sufferings be finally
fruitful for us? Isn't it time that, loving,
we freed ourselves from the beloved, and, trembling, endured
as the arrow endures the bow, so as to be, in its flight,
something more than itself? For staying is nowhere.
Voices, voices. Hear then, my heart, as only
saints have heard: so that the mighty call
raised them from the earth: they, though, knelt on
impossibly and paid no attention:
such was their listening. Not that you could withstand
God's voice: far from it. But listen to the breath,
the unbroken message that creates itself from the silence.
It rushes towards you now, from those youthfully dead.
Whenever you entered, didn't their fate speak to you,
quietly, in churches in Naples or Rome?
Or else an inscription exaltedly impressed itself on you,
as lately the tablet in Santa Maria Formosa.
What do they will of me? That I should gently remove
the semblance of injustice, that slightly, at times,
hinders their spirits from a pure moving-on.
It is truly strange to no longer inhabit the earth,
to no longer practice customs barely acquired,
not to give a meaning of human futurity
to roses, and other expressly promising things:
no longer to be what one was in endlessly anxious hands,
and to set aside even one's own
proper name like a broken plaything.
Strange: not to go on wishing one's wishes. Strange
to see all that was once in place, floating
so loosely in space. And it's hard being dead,
and full of retrieval, before one gradually feels
a little eternity. Though the living
all make the error of drawing too sharp a distinction.
Angels (they say) would often not know whether
they moved among living or dead. The eternal current
sweeps all the ages, within it, through both the spheres,
forever, and resounds above them in both.
Finally they have no more need of us, the early-departed,
weaned gently from earthly things, as one outgrows
the mother's mild breast. But we, needing
such great secrets, for whom sadness is often
the source of a blessed progress, could we exist without them?
Is it a meaningless story how once, in the grieving for Linos,
first music ventured to penetrate arid rigidity,
so that, in startled space, which an almost godlike youth
suddenly left forever, the emptiness first felt
the quivering that now enraptures us, and comforts, and helps.
The First Duino Elegy
Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated from the German by A. S. Kline.
A single red drop fell from the once snow-white ceiling, falling down, down, though an empty void, only to splat into the crimson ocean that lay below. The concentric circles ran outwards, a wave through the clotting ocean, only to hit the shores of this sea of death, and rebound off; an endlessly intricate pattern of interference. Destruction and creation in one.
The pale girl kneeling by the scarlet pool reached down, and with a pair of fingers, gently closed the eyelids, letting no emotions reach her face. Whatever she felt about this, to the outside world, she was a blank book. If there were words there, they could not be read. She adjusted the arglasses that perched precariously on her nose, perhaps a size too large, reading the data overlays that were still active in this pace, and tucked a dark brown lock of hair back behind an ear.
She took a step forwards, an echoing retort in the near silence of the hollow space. What else was audible; the swish of her clothing? The inconstant rain down from the profaned ceiling? Her breathing?
No. Not that.
The second footstep was muted; a wet splat. Further steps would leave an asymmetric trail on those bits of the ground which remained untouched by the massacre which had occurred.
Slowly, uncaring of the blood-drenched floor, but stepping around the drips that fell from the rounded ceiling, she made her way to the desk. Just as the droplets that rained down from the dome above left their own patterns of ripples, so did the sounds of her steps reverberate and echo in the chamber, setting up odd harmonics. The staccato pulses of the falls, the flowing beat of the interference of the footstep; they set up a rhythm that filled the empty space. All too soon, though, there was silence again; the silence not of the grave, for that is one of both decay and new beginnings, but of the void; hollow, empty, and meaningless in its immensity.
With a few simple hand gestures on the surface, the desk shifted; carefully applied pressure breaking unnoticeable seals, the memoform underneath flowing upwards like liquid mercury to form a shelf-like structure. A flash of light; a triggered ward, simply ignored by the pale girl. Not even the dignity of acknowledgement was given to the ineffectual wards that should have fried her; mind and soul. The second layer, of activated orbs, in shifting yellow, purple, and a strange hint that burned at the eye awoke. The semi-autonomous constructs were programmed to attack anything that activated their trigger condition.
They too were destroyed; their radiant light extinguished in her grasp.
The bound extranormal entities did not even get the chance to be destroyed. The pale girl, dark hair not even displaced, stuck one hand straight through the surface of the desk; a brief, unnatural radiance flaring before immediately being extinguished, as she withdrew the untouched limb. The arglasses flared red, lighting up her eyes, as the augmented reality systems warned off a collapse of the waveforms of the sorcerous binding procedures. The things that had been anchored here fled; taking their new found freedom, and leaving. They could feel her, and it scared them to depths that their alien minds had never before experienced.
It would have been better if she had smiled in satisfaction. She did not. There was not even the normal easing of tension from a job well done. She merely scanned her eyes to the contents of the desk revealed by her actions.
Books in neat plastic wraps, every page individually sealed, to allow them to still be read while preventing damage to the antiquated tomes. Media storage devices, both modern isolated units and more ancient ones. An old combat knife, dating back to the 2060s, the black paint intended to reduce its shine peeling off. An picture, neatly framed, of a man and a woman together, standing by a beach, the sky red with the setting sun. An album, sealed with a DNA lock. The artefacts of a life; the anatomy of a relationship.
Irrelevancies. The thing that should have been here was not here.
She reached out, and lifted the knife, straightening as she did. "I know that you're there," she said, her voice soft. "I knew that you would come here for it."
Another voice spoke, echoing in the empty room. "Naturally." The voice was similar, but not identical; the intonations and speech patterns were subtly different.
"It is not yours, you know. You should not be allowed to possess it."
The other voice let a hint of amusement creep into it. "Define possession."
"I had changed subjects."
The dark-haired girl turned to stare at the ghost-like figure behind her, taking note of the bare feet that emerged from the bottom of the long garment, the blood smeared across the ground pooling around them. Two grey eyes stared from under a veil of white hair, crudely hacked to jaw length without much care or attention.
She was covered in blood. Drenched in it. Her hands were red up to the elbow, caked in gore, rivulets still dripping from the hands.
The dark-haired girl spoke. "That was tasteless." She paused. "There are more efficient ways to kill."
There was a one-shouldered shrug from the ghost-like girl. "It was not inefficient. Inelegant, perhaps. But aesthetic preferences are nothing to the universe, while efficiency is a well-defined term." A faint smile passed her lips. "Can you not say that you have not done the same?"
There was a pause. Then; "Perhaps."
"I do know, you know." A pair of hands were wiped against the overly-long garment, leaving the white hands somewhat cleaner, although still caked in dry blood. "They were not all human, you know."
A deep rumbling could be heard from outside.
"That phrase has two meanings. Were not all of the individuals in the group human, or were they, individually not fully human? Actually," she continued, without letting the other girl say anything, "both are applicable. And you knew that. How could you not have?"
The corners of the white-haired girl's mouth twisted up. "That was nicely done," she remarked. "It is astonishing," she added, "the similarities."
This was also given due thought. "I would not say it is astonishing."
"No, you would not. So." The girl brushed a stained lock of white hair behind an ear. "What will you do now? Try to kill me, perhaps?"
There was a shake of the head. "No," the other girl replied, face held impassive. "I would succeed in doing so, should I make the attempt. But I will not. Even though you deserve to die. You, of all people, deserve to die."
A subtle tension left the air. "I did not think that would be what you would do," the blood-drenched girl admitted. "Last time we were this close... that was not what you believed at the time."
"Do not consider that representative," said the other one, her face mask-like. "There were reasons for that; good ones."
"Was it necessary?" Something glittered in the back of the eyes of the white-haired girl, like a nova.
"No. Necessity is false." There was perhaps a hint of bitterness in the voice. "Nothing is necessary; everything is permitted."
"That is not what Hassan-i Sabbah said." She matched the bitterness of her counterpart equally with her own amusement.
"That is because he was incorrect. I have seen outside what others would call reality, out to the limits of what I could comprehend, and the statement "Nothing is true" is a counter-factual statement. If nothing, it is an absolute statement which includes itself in the list of impossible concepts."
"You attack it on the grounds of the fact that it is inherently self-contradictory?"
The blood-drenched girl turned, and began to pace up and down, the slap of bare feet in coagulating blood echoing. "It is a valid target." She paused, one foot aloof, and pushed some unidentifiable scrap of flesh out the way. "But you speak of reality, and self-contradiction? Have you ever thought..."
"There is no need to explain that to me, especially not in such a transparent manner," the other girl answered tersely. "You have no idea of how many times we have had this conversation. I already know what you plan."
Grey eyes locked with greenish-yellow ones. "Really." It was not a question.
"Well, you are..." she paused. "What would you have me call you now?"
"Do not call me 'you', for one," was the answer. "That is not who I am. Nor am I nothingness, some real part of an imaginary thing. But I am not unity; the imaginary part of an imaginary thing, either. Yes," she continued, "I do understand it. Perhaps no-one else did. But you were not aware of her, the second one. That was not what you would have wished for. And you have taken the third one, opposition, for yourself." She gave an identical one-shouldered shrug to that which the other girl had given not much earlier. "Call me Gilgamesh, then."
"Unusual name," remarked the other one.
"A name is an identifying tag, nothing more; an attempt to abbreviate an understanding of another person into a source for reference, which conveys impressions, rather than true knowledge."
A grin. "What would you say that the qualia of "Gilgamesh" is, then?"
"Quite. Even though it is not precise."
"Oh. Why so?"
"The proportions are wrong."
"And the gender."
The dark-haired girl stared back. "That is a lesser concern, as you know quite well," she chided.
"It does break the naming conventions," the other girl pointed out, making her way over to one of the other bodies, evidently searching for something to dry off her hands. "The obvious one would have been degenerate with the last, of course. If we are changing things, should I call him Pallas Athena, then, wise one?" There was a certain trace of sarcasm in the words.
"No. That is also deliberate. I am not who he was. And, anyway, it was not him who you should have called Pallas Athena."
Something could be heard from outside the cavernous office; some kind of voice, booming down from the heavens above. The noise was warped by its passage through the immense volume, channelled and funnelled in ways that made it hard to understand.
"You know what that is," said one of the two girls, their nearly identical voices indistinguishable in the noise.
"Yes," replied the other. "How could I not? I have been counting on it."
"It is time."
"Yes. It is time for Entelechy to begin."