Template:PostPan Post 31 jumps to the Gaian Universe where we are introduced not only to the unusual mechanics of that universe but also to Aire, the daughter of Life and Death. After visiting her mother, Life, Aire takes the stairs to cross the universe and find her father, Death, in the garden of his mansion in the Realm of Death. They discuss her mother and her last mission to gather souls, which she has to admit that she collected them in a soda can instead of the designated, and far more respectful, vase.
The Gaian Universe
Long ago in a universe far, far away...
By long ago I mean yesterday. And by far away I mean the universe next door. Still. That's pretty far. And time gets wappy when crossing universes so it could have been long ago, I'm no astrophysicist so I'm not going to work it out.
Either way, this is the Gaian Universe. Or you might say it's the Gaiverse...
Did I seriously just say that out loud? The GAY VERSE? Considering that last post about Indrans shagging and dancing in a god's co-- Let's stick with Gaian Universe, shall we?
The Gaian Universe is not constructed like others universes. It's physics definitely do not comply to the same rules that the NeSiverse does. It certainly has galaxies and planets but the universe is not an ever-expanding sphere of galaxies. It has two diametric poles - the Realms of Life and Death. All planets in every galaxy orbit their suns so that half of their respective years will be spent looking at the Realm of Life, while the second half of the year will be spent looking at the Realm of Death.
To any beings on those worlds they'd see the great green expanse of Life as the backdrop to a beautiful night sky. Or they'd see the wondrous red expanse of Death. Of course no mere mortal has ever been to either of these Realms. That's reserved for the Gaian Universe's own deities and the two ultimate beings of the cosmos - Life & Death themselves. Mother and Father to all.
And yet not literally.
They may have laid the foundations but they certainly didn't go procreating with each other. Except once. And that once...
Aire looks at the white spiralling staircase that stretches from one side of the universe to the other. A bridge between the two great Realms. She steps up slowly. One-by-one. Twenty-five steps and she has crossed the universe in record time. Of course the staircase may well expand the universe but its folding that space-time to condense it all into a mere twenty-five steps. Lucky because Aire doesn't want to be late for tea and spending aeons crossing the universe would certainly make her tardy.
As she steps down off of the staircase (despite having stepped up them... wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, stairy-wairy) and onto the vast plane of Death. Where she stands it's a single sheet of shiny red with nothing else to be seen. As he walks the world becomes increasingly visible, as though it's only just remembering people are meant to see it. Buildings fade into existence here and there and yet there seems to be no order to anything. Just stuff happening. Until she reaches her father's house. A tall, old mansion with black bricks for walls and a decrepit old gate. She once though the old, worn out look was for effect but later realised her father is just too forgetful to get anything fixed.
She walks up to the door and taps the knocker. The door bursts into light and the entrance to the house is a blaze of white. She steps inside and is engulfed in the whiteness. Until she passes through and she's into the house proper. She's never understood why doors had to do that. Why explode into aethereal light? Couldn't they just swing open or something? That'd be a more more logical method. Or maybe they could slip upwards? Well. Who is she to question the laws of physics?
The house is clean, at least. Not that her father cleans it, the servants will be doing that. She passes through the narrow corridor and into the rear kitchen. Everything in the house has a filter of grey over it, quite a contrast to the vibrant red outside. She peeks through the window and sees her father outside. He's feeding ducks in the pond of is garden. She knocks on the rear door. It explodes into light and she passes through, hearing the faint tingling of its former existence. Once outside she glances and at the door rematerialises.
Doors are just plain weird.
The garden is red. The pond is red. The trees are red. The flowers are red. The ducks are... well white actually, but still. They'd be red if they would put more effort into it.
She walks over the grass.
He looks up. His face is very pale, except his cheeks are forever flushed with a gentle rose red as though he's been out too long in the cold. Unsurprising since the Realm of Death certainly is pretty nippy despite being such a warm colour.
Death: "Aire! Come to see me at last! I've been withering away without you!"
Aire: "I was here yesterday, father."
Death: "Yesterday was an eternity ago!"
Actually it probably was knowing how time tends to not happen in these weird metaphysical locations.
Aire: "Mother says hello."
Death: "I bet she does."
He throws more bread for the ducks, a bit more aggressively this time.
Aire: "Father. The ducks can't eat the bread. They're dead."
Death: "I can watch them try."
The ghost ducks snap and roll over the corporeal bread. Despite being ghosts they look as real and as physical as anything would on any planet. Death looks at her, a little hurt by her words.
Death: "I can always train them in the ways of a poltergeist! Then they can touch things."
Aire: "They'd be able to throw bread around. They still can't eat it."
Death: "You aaaaaaaaalways complain at me. Always trying to make me stick to the rules. Watch."
A duck eats the bread. Aire blinks.
Aire: "Father... you shouldn't allow it to do that..."
Death grins a big grin.
Death: "And why not!"
Aire: "Where does it go...?"
Death: "Where does what go?"
Aire: "The bread."
Death: "In it's mouth! Come on, Aire. You know basic biology. You even have a mouth yourself! And you can eat too! So the butler tells me anyway..."
Aire: "I mean, where does it go next?"
Death points at the duck's mouth and traces his finger to its belly...
Aire: "No biological functions, father. That bread it just sitting inside it. Keep letting it eat stuff and the bread will keep gathering inside until it's just a flapping.. bag of bread."
Death: "Actually maybe I should do that. Then send them to your mother. See what she does."
Aire: "She's just call you a lovable idiot."
Death: "At least she'd appreciate the effort then! So! How was she?"
Aire: "She's fine. I met her pool-boy."
Death: "Pool-boy? What's that?"
Aire: "A boy who cleans her pool."
Death looks sullen and growls;
Death: "I bet he does."
Aire: "Well. You know mother."
Death: "She's constantly making these pointless minor deities just so she can get her rocks off. Pool-boy. Honestly. Does the universe need a god of pools?"
Aire: "I think he's the god of cleaning pools. Hence pool-boy."
Death: "Oh great! Because I bet there's already a god of pools too!"
Aire: "I have to admit, the god of big, black drainpipes seemed pretty unnecessary..."
Death smiles warmly and wraps his arm around his daughter's shoulder. She glances at his gloved hand and thinks of her own but she's prevented from entering that little self-reflection by Death's words;
Death: "My sweet child. You're so much more like me than your mother. And that makes me really happy. At least when she sees you, she sees me. Ha! In your eye, Wife!"
He nudges her to see if he got his little joke. To emphasise he points to his eye and waggles his eyebrows. His irises are grey, adding to the wintery feel of the man. His cloak is thick, set and stark white. His hood always up, hiding his head very short grey hair. Only his gloves are black. She thinks of her own gloves again.
Death: "So! How many people did you kill, my love?"
He looks excitedly at her.
She pulls a soda can from the folds of her own cloak, hers being jet black and ragged.
Aire: "Three-hundred and nine."
Death taps his chin.
Death: "Weren't there supposed to be three-hundred and eighteen?"
Aire: "Yes. But... those last ones were caught in a rain of plasma fire and... and... well... there was a lot of goo."
Death looks disgusted.
Death: "I know how you feel. Eew. You mother loves that stuff. Goo and fluids and... just... biology. It's all gooey and sticky. I can't blame you. But... you know..."
Aire: "I know. They'll spring up. Time has been warped - they never became goo. But maybe that's a good thing? They get to live. Maybe we should stop taking souls, father..."
Death releases her and she regrets her words.
Death: "Now you sound like your mother. All life this and life that. She loves herself so much she only ever talks about herself."
Death: "Do you know what would happen if we didn't collect souls, Aire?"
Aire: "The planets would stop spinning and the Realm of Death would never be seen by the people of the planets - meaning the last months of the universe before it... blows up or something. Never understood how it's supposed to end."
Death: "Well that's the nursery story, sure. I mean. Nothing would actually happen. Universe would keep on going like always."
Aire: "Then why?"
Death: "Overpopulation. You've seen your mother. Life breeds. And breeds. And breeds..."
Each time he says the word he gets angrier.
Aire: "I guess. Nothing dies. Life overruns the universe. It'd end up like that duck would!"
Aire: "The duck you fed bread to."
Death: "What's a duck?"
She points back at them.
Death: "ARGH! Where did they come from!?"
Aire: "Honestly, father, you're only supposed to be affected by old age if you're mortal."
Death: "Old? I'm not old! I'm only... as old as the universe... anyway! Where are the souls?"
She holds up the can and he looks at it. He looks unimpressed.
Death: "Where is the designated vase?"
Aire: "... I forgot it..."
Fortunately he has forgotten that she was just hypocritically chastising his forgetfulness.
Death: "And so..."
He looks at the can.
Aire: "It's all I had with me."
Aire shuffles her feet.
Aire: "Father. You can't drink."
Death: "I know. But Fanta's so... orange. It's unnatural."
Aire: "You Realm is bright red."
Death: "Red isn't orange, my dear. Most important lesson of all. Red is not orange..."
"When I wrote up this post I knew I'd like to use Aire and her parents again but I wasn't sure how this would evolve from a standalone post to incorporating Aire into the NeS stories. She, and her parents, are mostly unchanged from their original incarnations on another RP site before I used them on NeS. While I had used the idea of "Realms of Life & Death" before, I altered them here to be universe components so that it wouldn't conflict with pre-established NeS materials, such as Heaven and Hell." - Britt the Writer