Lines and Symbols
A ring of buildings surrounds me, miles high.
Sunlight flows down the edges of the buildings, through light pipes, and brighten the walkways far below.
This is my city, the largest in the world.
Today,it seems tiny, as I imagine the endless world that the Gen live in.
When I get home, my rooms feel too small to hold me for the long hours until day’s end, and my meeting with Vala.
After a short rest, and a light meal, I wander the city until I reach the streets and parkland near the school.
Day’s end finally comes, and I stand by the great archway at the school’s entrance.
The hard crystal windows of the school are dark, the entryway a wall, sealed until tomorrow.
The communicator is off.
If I wait here, will Vala come?
This is a challenge.
She expects me to find a way in.
The arch is beautiful, as it glows with a gentle light.
No one knows its age, but it’s older than the school and the city.
This is the oldest of all the Gen places.
The left side of the arch is filled with shapes and symbols, colorful images embedded within the stone.
I run my hands along the arch.
Each image is warm, and my touch ignites a cool silver fire that rises from the stone.
Soon the whole side of the arch is full of fire and light, brighter than the sun at mid-day.
The light is blinding, like the sunstorms that come to our world, every few years.
I close my inner and outer eyelids to protect my eyes from the light of the arch.
Every shape still dances before me, but now, with only a gentle fire.
I pull my hands away from the arch, eyes still closed.
For a moment, the shapes are still bright, but then, they begin to dim, and the silver fire goes out.
My inner sight is dark, except for a single new shape that shows itself and shines, at the top of the arch.
The more I gaze at the shape, the weaker my body grows.
Waves of nausea assault me, and I can barely stand.
My heart fights to escape my body.
I open my eyes and struggle to reach a nearby bench to sit.
My inner sight fades, and with it, the symbol at the top of the arch.
My body regains its strength, and the heart finds its normal rhythm.
I look at the palm of my left hand, and the symbol that covers it.
Five circles on top of a black star.
It has a name, whisheeku, a well-known Gen symbol, the same shape that appeared at the top of the arch.
My hand pulses with cool energy that radiates from the whisheeku.
It’s been with me since I woke from today’s nap.
Why do I have it?
I’ve never seen another student with this mark.
I quiet my thoughts and listen to my feelings.
The whisheeku is important, but it’s not the way into the school.
My eyes move to the simple green line around my wrist.
Vala calls it esku.
Anyone who completes the first course gets it.
Vala gave me the line after only one lesson, because of my vision of the towers.
I move back to the arch, and rub my wrist and the esku along the stone.
The ground trembles and a soft green light rises along the left half of the arch.
The light stops halfway around the arch, then falls below the arch, along the wall.
As the light falls, the wall crumbles, and then dissolves into air.
I run through the open arch, and it seals itself behind me.
The First Gen
The school is dark and quiet, but the lights come on as I enter.
I remember the way to the small meeting room.
Vala appears a moment later, with the sparkling smile that I remember.
We sit together at a round, stone table.
“Good, Neebol,” she says.
“You used the esku to open the arch.”
“Every student has an esku,” I respond.
“Why is it important?”
“The esku is more than a green line,” she says.
“It’s the first test you must pass before you can become a Gen.”
“The thread of metal that I wrapped around your wrist was filled with Gen energy.”
“When the metal dissolves, all you see is the green mark, but the Gen energy stays in you.”
“It comes to rest in a place that we call the heart center, or heart well.”
“How is that a test?”
“The energy takes a shape when it comes to rest, as different in each person as a fingerprint.”
“To pass the test, the energy from your esku must take the shape of a double helix.”
“Over time, as the student gains skill, the helix changes, and tells me the progress he’s made.”
“We watch the colors in the helix, the way it vibrates, and other details.”
“Then, we adjust the training, based on what we see.”
“What do you see in me, master?”
“This morning Neebol, your helix showed me a student with great potential.”
“Now, the helix is different.”
“It changes shape and color, every few seconds.”
“I can’t read it, and I can’t use it to guide your training.”
“Is my strange helix related to this?”
I turn over my hand to show her the symbol on my palm.
Her face is frozen as she stares intently at my hand.
Then she raises her eyes to meet mine.
She looks dazed, as though she’s just woken from a dream.
“When did this appear?” she asks quietly.
“After a nap.”
“The esku has a side effect in a few people.”
“A physical mark, always unique, appears within a day, when the person first sleeps, and is touched by dreams.”
“How can this be unique to me, master?”
“It’s a common Gen symbol.”
“It’s an important Gen symbol Neebol, which is widely used, but it’s never appeared before with the esku.”
“Is it dangerous, master?”
“It almost killed me when I saw it on the arch, after the fire.”
I tell her about the silver fire, and the symbol that I saw with closed eyes.
“The fire burns for you alone, Neebol, and it opened your energy eyes.”
“That symbol carries strong energy, but your inner sight can’t digest it yet.”
“What does the symbol mean?”
“There are two questions to answer, Neebol.”
“What does the symbol represent?” and
“Why has the symbol chosen to live in your body?”
“I can answer the first question, but not the second.”
“The symbol appears in ancient tales of the Gen.”
“Legend says that the first Gen was called Weyku.”
“She lived long ago, before this city was built, on the land that the arch now rests on.”
“Weyku had a strange birthing.”
“She awoke one day to find herself floating in the air, her physical body gone.”
“Is this death?” she wondered.
“For a few minutes, her energy body hovered near the ground, outside of her house.”
“Her glowing eyes revealed a hidden world.”
“She also saw an image of her own new body that floated in that world, but she felt weak, and couldn’t move.”
“A strange fountain of energy streamed out of the ground and held her in place.”
“Then, her awareness faded, and she was filled with a vision.”
The sun grows brighter and brighter in the sky until it turns black.
The blackness twists and struggles with itself, until it takes the shape and size of a man.
It falls to the ocean, and is carried to the shore by wild waves.
When the black star touches land, it becomes flesh, a naked man.
His body is so hot that it turns the sand beneath him to golden glass.
He rises and finds his way to Weyku’s house and her spirit.
He touches her spirit with his hand of flesh, and her physical body returns.
“I’m here to teach you,” he says.
“What’s your name?” she asks.
“Call me Whisheeku (black star),” he says.
He speaks of the seven energy wells within every energy body.
He teaches her how to dissolve and build a physical body, how to use the wells to melt a shape, how to teach the melting, and how to carry a person through the birthing, and make them Gen.
When he is done, he leaps into the sky, and disappears into the sun.
“A whole day passes in her teaching vision.”
“When she wakes up, she can move again, and the fountain is gone, along with her weakness.”
“The ground beneath her, the place of the fountain, is marked with the symbol of the black star.”
“Her palm carried a visible mark, and her energy body was marked with the symbol, just like you.”
“Weyku was already a Gen when the whisheeku marked her.”
“The question is, why are you marked with it?”
“Has the mark appeared on other Gen?”
“Weyku was the only one.”
“Your next challenge, Neebol, is to find the lesson that I’ve hidden for you.”
I examine the table, and see a small green circle in the center.
I touch my esku to the circle.
A sphere of green light rises from the table and grows until it surrounds us.
It’s beautiful, yet it fills me with fear.
I’m sure it will crush us.
A door opens in the sphere, and I get up to escape.
Vala doesn’t move.
I stop and let my fear drain away.
Then I reach out and take hold of the sphere, and pull the energy into the center of the black star.
An image fills me.
Thousands of bright spheres move away from our world, and speed toward the sun.
They glow brighter and brighter as they rest near the sun.
Finally they disappear, and the image ends.
“What are the spheres, master Vala?”
“Your physical body is a mixture of energy and matter,” she tells me, “like the physical world around us.”
“You have two other bodies made of pure energy.”
“The first one is like an energy twin of your physical body.”
“We call it ayncha, which once meant shape or shadow.”
“Your second energy body is called entsu, an old word for center or sphere.”
“The shadow is a bridge between your physical body and the sphere.”
“A great web of energy surrounds all worlds.”
“We call it the singing cloud.”
“While you live, the shadow draws energy from the cloud.”
“This energy helps maintain the physical body, and feeds the sphere.”
“When you die, the shadow dissolves, and the sphere survives.”
“However, the sphere is repelled by the thick matter of this world, and drifts into space, toward the sun.”
“The sphere must move quickly to the sun in order to survive.”
“It can draw energy from the sun, but not from the cloud.”
“Does the sphere stay with the sun forever?”
“The sun is not the final destination of the sphere.”
“The spheres grow strong from the sun, and use their strength to pass through the sun to a place of pure energy.”
“Groups of the dead travel through the sun, every few years, and never return.”
“The sun marks their journey with a burst of energy that you call a sunstorm.”
“What’s it like in the other world?”
“No one knows for sure.”
“Many Gen choose to go there, eventually, but none have ever returned.”
Tales of the Birthing
“The Gen have only one energy body, similar to your center.”
“Our sphere does not need the sun to survive.”
“We draw energy directly from the cloud.”
“We can live in a physical world or in worlds of pure energy.”
“To become Gen, people of flesh transform their sphere, and let go of the physical body and the shape.”
“We call this, the birthing.”
“When you pass through the birthing, the new energy body is too weak to survive without help, just like a newborn baby.”
“You need a Gen to guide you through the birthing.”
“Then, at the right moment, she gives you part of herself as a precious gift.”
“Without it, your energy body dissolves, and you are gone forever.”
“How did the first Gen survive alone through the birthing, master Vala?”
“A good question, Neebol.”
“Some say Weyku was never a creature of flesh, or that her sphere was always a Gen sphere.”
“I believe other legends.”
“Energy beings from another world transformed her while she slept, and created the fountain to help her complete the birthing.”
“Energy beings from the world of seven towers?”
“What are the seven towers?”
“I can only guess,” she says.
“There are seven energy wheels in each of our energy bodies.”
“We call them gateways, or wells.”
“You’ll learn about the wells in your training.”
“Control the energy within the wells, and you control your shape, and the shape of the world around you.”
“The seven towers must be related to the seven wells.”
Hands of Power, Wells of Light
“Time to stop talking Neebol, and start doing.”
“First, I’ll teach you to free the power in your hands.”
“Then you can use that power to free the wells.”
“Your hands are the key to freeing your mind.”
“They represent all your power to bind and change the world, but they are much more than a symbol.”
“Your hands channel all the different types of energy that flow through you.”
“Close your eyes.”
“Imagine and feel all that I say.”
You are in the middle of a forest clearing.
Lying on a soft mat in front of a comfortable fire.
Your eyes are closed.
A vibration passes through your body.
Then a river of energy appears, spinning, faster and faster around your body.
Your flesh turns thiner and thiner until it is pure light.
Only your hands and wrists remain, and they rise a few feet away from the light.
A powerful river of energy spins around your wrists, and frees your hands from every force that holds them back, or tells them what to do.
The hands rise straight up into the air a thousand feet, at incredible speed.
Seven new rivers of energy spin in circles around seven crystal bowls in your light body on the ground.
Each bowl has a thick liquid of a different color: red through violet.
The spinning energy frees the bowls from every force that would hold back the energies within.
Feel the energy spinning, faster and faster, around the bowls of light.
Feel every tension, every force slipping away from the bowls.
Feel the energy within each bowl, growing brighter and brighter,
becoming more and more sensitive, more intelligent to the world around it.
Look into each bowl, and see that it’s a window into a great well, that continues forever.
The bowls rise into the air, form a circle, and stop moving, just underneath your hands.
Your hands bathe in each bowl of colored energy, beginning with red.
As the hands rest in each bowl, the hands are cleansed of all weight.
See your hands rise from the first bowl, glowing a blinding red.
The red color covers your hands for only a few seconds, before it slips away.
Your hands bathe in each bowl until finally, your hands rise from the violet bowl, glowing a blinding violet light.
When the violet color fades from your hands, they are pure light, brighter than the sun, and more powerful.
These hands return to your body, but stay just beyond it.
Whenever you need to act, think of these powerful hands, always near, always waiting to move.
“Keep your eyes closed, Neebol.”
“Can you see your energy hands here, in this room?”
“Yes, master, I see them.”
“Are your hands faster and more powerful than your thoughts?”
“Are you sure?”
“Are you sure?”
“Crush the table.”
There is no sound, but there is a tremendous flash of light that I see through closed eyes.
I hesitate to open my eyes, afraid that I’ve failed.
“Open your eyes, Neebol.”
The table is gone, replaced by thousands of tiny pieces that lie quietly on the ground.
The fragments call to me with a voice too soft to hear.
I reach out with my energy hands, and pull the pieces up toward the ceiling.
The pieces reshape themselves into a glowing, wooden staff, that stands four and a half feet tall.
I take the staff with physical hands, and strike the floor.
The staff melts before my eyes, and reforms the table that was.
I feel weak.
“Where did you learn to do that Neebol?”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“No, but it’s not the usual way that we melt one object into another.”
I show her the whisheeku.
It’s warm and glowing.
“I just knew what to do, master.”
“Today’s lesson is finished, Neebol.”
“You need to rest.”
“Melting saps your strength at first.”
“Tomorrow I’ll teach you how to melt the regular way.”
Fear and Legends
“Are you mad at me, master?”
“Not at all, but we need to hide that symbol.”
“Has anyone seen it?”
“No. I was embarrassed by it, so I covered it with gloves.”
“The symbol is a sign of great power, nothing to be embarrassed about, but possessing it may be dangerous.”
“There are Gen who will harm you if they see this.”
“A legend says that when a student carries the whisheeku, the first Gen will return.”
“Gen law says that no Gen may live among the flesh for more than 1200 years.”
“The first used up her time here long ago.”
“If she returns, she breaks the law.”
“The Gen leaders are afraid of her, and think that she will kill them.”
“Then, she will rule with the one who carries the symbol.”
“Do you believe it?”
“If she ever lived, it was ten thousand years ago.”
“A legend is just a legend, Neebol, not truth.”
“Still, the fear is real, and just as dangerous to you.”
“Tell no one about the whisheeku, and hide it.”
She frowns and wraps her hands around my hand.
When she pulls her hands away, the whisheeku is missing.
“An illusion, and only temporary.”
“The energy is still in you.”
“The symbol will come back when you dream.”
“It’s good that gloves are in style again,” she says with a smile.
“Wear them every time you go out.”
“Come tomorrow at day’s end,” she says.
Then she kisses me on the cheek and vanishes.
The city is brighter, and my body light as I walk home.