Axis Mundi

Stories and mythology tasted artificial and stale when written down. One people's gods were another's fiction.

The sheer concept of mythology alluded to the decaying corpse of a rejected faith, removed from its living dimension and carefully disected.

Seeing the mythology live, however, did not make it mythology. It made in mentality, and it was alive through its presence in people's minds, which is exactely the enviornment faith survives in.

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Tempest was a forgotten planet in a forgotten corner of the universe. Ravaged by storms, the only thing attractive about the planet was probably the immense wealth underneath its surface: enough metal and minerals to supply an interstelar empire. If the risk was considered well worth the reward, that is.

Underneath its desolate dead fields, Tempest hid mines and outposts, as well as interminable access tunnels.

Sometimes, if you were deep enough underground, you could even catch a few minutes of silence from the storms topside. But most often not. The sound was always there, the painful moan of the planet as it was savagely tortured by its own atmosphere. The winds battered everything in their wake, the magnetic storms fried anything with a power source. The only thing living on Tempest's surface was, quite frankly, a species of fungi which produced the atmosphere in the first place.

Life had a different meaning in this place. It was never attributed to animals or plants, seeing as there were none. It belonged to the winds, the tornadoes, the storms, the thundercracks, the metals, the sounds, the terror that seeped every grain of earth on the planet.

On stelar maps, it probably had a tag with a string of characters instead of a name. But anybody that visited it knew it was called Tempest. Sitting late at night in your bed, trying to sleep, hearing the haunting howls of the winds, you could feel the concentrated hostility the planet had against you, as if it were a living being you had caused grief to. Perhaps the sheer presence of the mines, digging and eating into its flesh was what angered the planet. It screamed and shrieked at the little parasites slowly killing it...

People had an almost religious respect for the planet. Superstition abounded. The Tempestian mines became known throughout society as a cesspool of insanity. It permeated the walls, it clung to every person, digging deeper into their psyche like the miners were digging deeper into the planet.

"All things are equally real," one inscription said, scribbled deep into the door to one of the mines. Superstition quickly turned into ardent belief, and even the most farfetched ideology found its supporters. If the winds exist so persistently, who is to say they don't live? Did they not act as living beings?

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"The Manifesto of Mixandra" started from that very premise, that all things are equally real, and sought to logically prove the planet was alive. It was written on old-fashioned paper, the kind that was extremely expensive these days because of its sheer novelty: nobody made paper anymore.

It was written in clear handwriting, giving it an antiquarian feel as opposed to the carefully arranged standard lettering. The Manifesto had been copied and was usually displayed everywhere as a screensaver, while the original had been carefully preserved in plastic. It was commonly called "the only work of art ever written on Tempest".

Mixandra wasn't even the author's name. He or she had only dedicated their work to this person, a beautiful redheaded girl whose picture he'd used as a bookmark and later attached to the Manifesto. It was even unclear if Mixandra had any idea of the Manifesto's existence or even knew its writer's infatuation with her.

In any case, "The Manifesto of Mixandra" was a sordid acid trip into a psychopath's imagination and delved deeper into illogicality and insanity with every word.

Forty-nine pages long, beginning with "Everything is equally real" and ending with "...reality is a web of overimposed perspectives."

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Tempest had its own system of mythology; the altar of bitterness built in the deepest ravines of the mind through the sharpened edges of fear, holding its own rigid rule through superstition.