The Crimson Crown
15h 16m 03.8205s–16h 25m 07.1526s / 39.7117195°–25.5380573°
It was like the card didn’t want to be drawn from the deck, and when I finally managed it the image was unclear: elusive, like someone lurking in a funhouse mirror, but the caginess seemed to last only an instant, then I was able to perceive the subject of the trump. He stood in an open doorway, hands thrust into the pockets of his overcoat, scarf hanging round his neck, a tie at his throat. Snow gleamed and swirled in the night behind him and I could see it blended cunningly into the arm of a spiral galaxy in the far distance. The face was clean shaven and pale, with mocking eyes and a brow accustomed to expressions of facetious concern or wry observation. The black hair was slicked back, but I knew it could appear wild when he was exercised or impassioned.
Another flicker of obscurity seemed to cross the card, hiding his hair and part of his face… beneath a… helmet? I couldn’t quite see before it returned to normal.
His name was Kether Savalion, and I didn’t know if I dared conjure with it.
—All That Makes Us Human Continues, page 103
Some stuff to be determined.
- What’s in a name?
- The surname means nothing; I just like the sound of it, and Amber characters so rarely have one I thought it would be a nice way to set myself apart. Also, I’ve used the name for a character before, so I’m only partly stealing.
- Kether isn’t the name his parents gave him.
- It doesn’t have anything to do with ether.
- Keter is a Hebrew word that means “crown” and is used to describe concepts that are above the mind’s ability to comprehend.
- Where the heck is Wall Drug?
- The number gibberish in the short description field is a right ascension and declination.
- The RA and dec describe an area on the celestial sphere in the northern hemisphere.
- If you google the coordinates, it’ll probably tell you what’s in that part of the sky.
- It’s a constellation called Corona Borealis, the northern crown.
- One Failed Uplift
- Feel free to read the full version of that story below. It’s a bit repetitive in places, but its scope is so epic (a term I do not to use ironically) that it doesn’t matter. It’s in the public domain, having been published in 1937. The link at the bottom is to a PDF version of the story on my Dropbox.
- Time is a folded dimension; any part of it can be reached depending on your access point.
- Have you considered that existence might confound even God?
- What if he were busy trying to understand things as eagerly as you, albeit on a different level entirely?
- The Star Maker is that which is above, beyond, and outside.
- His merest fragment of intellect, spirit, or creative impulse is greater than the sum-total of everything in shadow, Amber, or Chaos.
- Kether once “met” the Star Maker (if that’s the proper term)…
- …and was blinded, seared, and struck down.
- Unlike the group mind to which he had joined himself in cosmic communion, Kether was not wholly cowed into accepting his status as a mere created thing, meant solely for the minute enhancement of the Star Maker’s glory.
- Kether wants to be like the Star Maker: to command and initiate new cosmoses and use their outcomes for his own transcendence.
- To what? Possibly, the Star Maker could say.
- Possibly, he could not say.
Harking back in my blindness to the moment of my vision, I now conceived that the star which was the Star Maker, and the immanent center of all existence, had been perceived as looking down on me, his creature, from the height of his infinitude; and that when I saw him I immediately spread the poor wings of my spirit to soar up to him, only to be blinded and seared and struck down.
It was not only physical effulgence that struck me down in that supreme moment of my life. In that moment I guessed what mood it was of the infinite spirit that had in fact made the cosmos, and constantly supported it, watching its tortured growth. And it was that discovery which felled me.
For I had been confronted not by welcoming and kindly love, but by a very different spirit. And at once I knew that the Star Maker had made me not to be his bride, nor yet his treasured child, but for some other end.
It seemed to me that he gazed down on me from the height of his divinity with the aloof though passionate attention of an artist judging his finished work; calmly rejoicing in its achievement, but recognizing at last the irrevocable flaws in its initial conception, and already lusting for fresh creation.
His gaze anatomized me with calm skill, dismissing my imperfections, and absorbing for his own enrichment all the little excellence that I had won in the struggle of the ages.
In my agony I cried out against my ruthless maker. I cried out that, after all, the creature was nobler than the creator; for the creature loved and craved love, even from the star that was the Star Maker; but the creator, the Star Maker, neither loved nor had need of love.
But no sooner had I, in my blinded misery, cried out, than I was struck dumb with shame. For suddenly it was clear to me that virtue in the creator is not the same as virtue in the creature. For the creator, if he should love his creature, would be loving only a part of himself; but the creature, praising the creator, praises an infinity beyond himself. I saw that the virtue of the creature was to love and to worship, but the virtue of the creator was to create, and to be the infinite, the unrealizable and incomprehensible goal of worshiping creatures.
Once more, but in shame and adoration, I cried out to my maker. I said, “It is enough, and far more than enough, to be the creature of so dread and lovely a spirit, whose potency is infinite, whose nature passes the comprehension even of a minded cosmos. It is enough to have been created, to have embodied for a moment the infinite and tumultuously creative spirit. It is infinitely more than enough to have been used, to have been the rough sketch for some perfected creation.”
And so there came upon me a strange peace and a strange joy.
With apologies to Olaf Stapledon.