The Columbia

Prologue

There is a place in the galaxy, where forces of nature and non-nature pose no threat; where gravity is not present yet it plummets all of the existing matter into submission. There is no life here, yet the living dwell in peace. There is no death here, yet ravaged souls suffer. It is a place of ashes, yet it is pure in every way. To some species, it exists in legend; others believe to be the pure and indestructible kingdom. Still others have beliefs that it is nothing but simple superstition.

Matter is fused here, changed, and then fused again in a pattern that could never exist. Things can be changed, re-changed, and then re-changed again. Nothing can match its awesome beauty. There is no ground, no sky, no land and no water unless your mind consents it. You cannot go left, and you cannot go right. No up and no down. Circles can be run and run again, and you would never run around the circumference. A line of people holding hands can be forged and live until the end of time without ever returning to the start. Weapons are and are not forbidden. There is no government, but a dictatorship that contains every dream in the universe. The weak and the strong are permitted to live, not separate or together, but as they alone wish. There are no boundaries or borders, rules or regulations. It is the place in which all souls, be they full of life or not, can live in peace.

The thoughts of everything and nothing make up all of matter and antimatter. However, when the first life began, they existed in what is known as the Neverending Death. The only way to ever survive in this diamond-lit blackness was to create sanctuaries in the Death that life could prosper on. It took many millennia and billions of years, but at last enough was created for life. In doing so, a home sanctuary was created by pure thought alone, with contributions from time, space, light, dark, and sound. On this sanctuary, the all-knowing clock ticks and freezes when it should. The sanctuary expands when required; no room can contain it. It absorbs and reflects all pigments, but the outside turns away the color of human greed. There is no sun that can cast a full shadow over it, however even the great powers of life cannot stop the shadow of death from covering half of life. The ears of the sanctuary are sensitive to all, but can take in every wave into its drums. Here, the holy keepers of everything and nothing, of life and death, not live, but exist, never to be destroyed or reborn, but to exist forever in harmony with all.

This home, this temple, in disguise as a regular life sanctuary, has an even deeper part of it that reflects the outside details. It goes better than any part of the sanctuary, holds the most life and the most death, the most ashes, and the most pure. Nothing of the outside ever disturbs this place. It remains secure for all time, even when no more seconds tick. It is the center of all existence, where souls are sorted into areas of bliss. No soul escapes from here. It is a paradox in a paradox.

And here in this paradox, the eldest of elders of the MatrĂ­, as they are known, stands in wait for new life and new death. He looks out into the galaxy, and the successes and the failures of life, and weeps for the universe. Through his tears, however, he watches and waits as the next death occurs.