The Celestial Court is a dimension beyond the conventions – devoid of all length, width, and breadth. Symbolism and metaphors abound here, for lack of a measuring stick. No portrait can be drawn of the strange creatures that dwell in this place but they can, if you have the ability, be imagined.
So, dear reader, use your imagination to visualise a strange place lined with marble pillars, where there dwell the human faces to human concepts, and a single second can last a thousand years.
The woman was ancient. She was ancient in such a way that it seem that she had not been ancient for long at all, yet would continue to be ancient for the rest of eternity. In the tilt of her head, there was a dignity that spoke of eons of existence. Eons of joy, eons of sorrow, eons of life and eons of death.
The woman was ancient.
No human tongue could say what the woman truly was. Indeed, there were many who did not even believe she existed. But they still named her, for the sake of argument. Names such as 'The Goddess', the 'Reason', the 'Non-Existent'. But the name that she was usually known by was the truest name of all... Fate.
Fate sat upon her gilded throne, her husband Time by her side. Together they sat at the head of the Celestial Court, seeing their children's faces contort in argument and reason.
They were sorting out their toys.
Fate smiled at Time and gave him a reassuring hand. He took it and squeezed it, and together they sat in silence to see what the result would be.
"It shall be mine!" declared War. He grabbed out at the tiny red ball, snatching it out of his silver sister's hands. She looked at him calmly and held out her hand.
"Give it back to me." Peace requested, her voice cool and mellow like the song of a bird. "Please."
"Never, it is only right I should have the planet named after me." War's fine red mouth curved up in a succulent smile. "Mars." He said, the very word curling in the air like smoke. The red planet glowed in his hands, blending in with the scarlet skin. War looked up at his sister with a sardonic grin, his handsome black eyes lightning up. "It comes to me." He said smoothly.
Peace took her hand back. "You may take it then." She relented. War smiled in triumph. He was the very embodiment of evil, a crimson figure in a cloak the colour of darkness. The cloak did nothing to hide the obvious horns in his head, nor the tail, nor his cloven hooves. It was true. War brought out the devil in most people.
By comparison, Peace was an angel, all soft glowing colours and gentle melody in her movement. War was flame; Peace was water. Neither associating unless they had to and each invariably repulsed by each other. Yet they were together now, for the claiming of the planets.
Peace looked at the remaining choice. "I shall take Saturn." She said. War made no argument as she closed an ethereal hand about it. The planet seemed to nestle into her palm, wanting to be as close to her as possible. Peace smiled and reached down a finger to stroke it. Saturn cooed.
War screwed up his face in disgust. "Jupiter." He snarled. The large planet floated toward him and he seized it with triumph. "The king of the planets!"
A serene smile crossed Peace's face. Her brother. Obsessed with taking what he claimed was rightfully his. She did not approve of this, but could see no way to fight him. They had been locked in rivalry since their birth. Twins. Neither could survive without the other, yet how preferable it would be! Nor War or Peace had ever fully claimed the upper hand, ever. That was why this concept had been devised. They would claim the planets as theirs and theirs alone, and neither would be allowed to interfere.
"Uranus." She directed.
"Pluto – lord of the underworld." War snickered. He knew his Greek Gods.
Peace allowed herself to smile and considered the remaining two planets. "Neptune."
"Ah, that leaves me with Venus. The Goddess of beauty, but anything but." He called the planet to him and it came. The twins stared at each other.
"Pleasure doing business with you, sis." War snickered, certain he had claimed the best deal.
"As always, brother."
Fate stood up and her children turned and bowed respectfully. "You have forgotten one, children." She rasped. The twins looked at each other. Which planet?
"Earth." Fate held out a skeletal hand and the small blue and green planet took shape. "Surely you wish to claim this one as well?"
"It is MINE!" War roared, leaping forward.
"No mother!" Peace gasped. "Not to War! There are sentient creatures upon that planet?"
"So? They are a nuisance. I shall deal with them." War rubbed his hands eagerly, his eyes glowing with sadistic pleasure.
"You will NOT!" Peace swept forward. "I will allow him his other planets, but not the lives of the humans." She declared to her mother. Fate looked amused.
"Why ever not, daughter?"
"Because, mother, War will surely destroy them. Much better for I to watch them, they will be cared for with I as their owner." She shot a look toward War, who was seething in ruby rage.
"They are creatures of war by nature!" he spat. "To let Peace have them is to go against their very countenance! You would not allow such a travesty!"
"Who is to say what I will allow?" Fate smiled.
War stamped his foot on the ground. "I claim them as rightfully mine!"
"And as do I!" Peace yelled.
Fate seemed to consider her children's arguments. They had both chosen an equal amount of planets. Only the one who could convince her would be able to claim it. "Peace, what is your reason for wanting this planet? What is the influence you have had upon it?"
Peace thought desperately. "I brought... joy." She ran a hand through hair the colour of moonlight. "Joy and happiness and... laughter." Peace closed her eyes, lost in memory of the joyful days of human existence. "Whenever I visited, there was joy without pain and culture and song. The human race learned to love me, for I brought the good things to them. They would live in abundance, and although perhaps not rich, they would be content. Every day the humans would awaken and praise their good fortune-"
"You are lying to mother and you are lying to yourself!" War shouted. Peace opened her eyes and glared at War.
"They did not praise you for good fortune." He snarled. "They took their joy for granted. It was only when I was there that they praised you. The rest of the time you were forgotten, to be trampled underfoot as they trampled each other. It was I who has had the most influence! In a million years of human history there has barely been 150 of their years lived in total peace. Even now I continue to hold my effect upon it. They cannot escape me, for I am part of them and I will always be part of them. It is I that judge the standard, it is I who create heroes and denounce liars, it is I who should hold Earth within my grasp!" War punched his fist in the air in a passionate rage. "Mother, listen to me, it is mine!"
"It is quality, not quantity." Peace argued back. "I brought out the goodness in these humans-"
"Considering how much I run rampant amongst them-"
"Which is why they need me!"
"And how shall they know they need you without me to define the limit?!"
"I am not asking for thanks-
"And I get no thanks."
"I bring joy!"
"I define it!"
Brother and Sister glared at each other before turning and beseeching in one voice. "Mother!"
"You both make wise arguments." Fate judged thoughtfully, the small planet still revolving slowly in her outstretched palm. "I am afraid I cannot decide. We shall have to leave it to... Chance."
Fate stepped down from the podium and glided toward the Celestial doors. There, she told a messenger, "Bring my brother to the Chambers."
The messenger bowed low and scurried away.
Fate turned around. "Not long now, children."
Centuries on Earth passed, but only seconds in the Celestial court before Chance walked into the Chambers. His chequered suit clashed with the marble décor as he turned to greet his sister.
"Fate." He said fondly.
"Chance." Fate outlined the situation. Chance turned to look at the twins. He hemmed.
"There is only one way to resolve this."
They looked on expectantly. Chance hemmed a little more and his hand delved into his pocket. A coin appeared.
"Heads-" he shot a look at War. "Is War. And Tails, it shall belong to Peace."
Chance threw the coin.
It takes only a few seconds for a coin to fall. In the Celestial Courts, a second lasts a thousand years.
That coin is still falling.