The Evolution of Noaths
Noaths, Son of Nathan, was the failing king of a failing kingdom, the kingdom of Gnat-it. Noaths, in his dealings with his neighbouring kingdoms, failed to consider the reactions of his neighbours. He angered them with unreasonable demands. This brought war and Noaths made foolish choices in devising his martial strategies, never even considering begging for peace. The capital was crowded with impoverished, displaced refugees from the former out-lying regions of the kingdom. Those out-lying regions had been taken by the kingdom’s neighbours in war after war. Noaths was paralyzed by a lethargy that prevented him from acting even as the armies of his neighbours closed in around him.
But unbeknownst to Noaths, there was something very special buried in the rock under the twin mountains of Re and X just north of the capital. Something that the Rednax mine, which had been cut into the pass between Re and X was about to find.
This special something dated back to the breaking of the Singularity at the beginning of the universe. The Singularity was infinite in expanse but every finite portion of it was crushed down to an infinitesimal point. When it broke, six infinitely large stones formed which each filled all of space time. These six stones governed the six most important aspects of the universe, Passion, Life, Empathy, Connection, Wisdom, and Knowledge. The six stones immediately shattered into tiny shards the size of pebble each, an infinite number of shards of each stone. The resulting explosion of dark energy caused the very fabric of space time to stretch, spreading the rest of the energy and matter thinly through space-time while the shards of the infinite stones stayed the same size and became lost in the vastness of the expanding space-time like needles in an infinite hay stack.
The Milky way galaxy was lucky in that 6 shards fell into its gravity well, one from each stone, and Earth was particularly lucky in that three of the shards ended up on that one planet. Perhaps this is why that most unlikely event, the evolution of complex, intelligent Life happened on Earth. In any case, it was one of those shards, a purple shard of the Passion stone, which was found by miners in the Rednax mine.
They brought it to their king and he ordered it fitted upon a ring of gold. When he put the ring on his right ring finger, it broke his lethargy and he began to act. He rallied his armies and excited them with great speeches, filled with rousing sentiment but little substance. Still the armies of Gnat-it were awakened and fought back against the invaders with such vigour and rage that the neighbouring armies withdrew from the around the capital and dug-in in the out-lying regions of the kingdom. Noaths had not regained his kingdom but at least the immediate threat to the capital was removed.
Word came to Noaths of a Yellow stone found in Africa. He recognized from its description that it must be another stone as powerful as the purple one he had found, so he sent a team of his best warriors on a suicide mission to retrieve it. The mission was unexpectedly successful and one warrior, Noise, returned alive with the stone and presented it to Noaths. Once again, he ordered that it be fitted upon a ring of gold and when he placed it on his right index finger it wrought even greater change in him. It was a shard of the Wisdom stone and suddenly he could see which of his strategies were wise and which were foolish.
Soon his enemies found that their heavily fortified and dug in positions were traps. Noaths' new found wisdom allowed him to find strategies which used the immobile nature of the fortifications against his enemies and soon the invaders were in panicked retreat. Noaths and his armies began to take kingdom after kingdom expanding unchecked across the globe.
But Noaths failed to see how the world would react. Soon the whole world saw him as a threat and united against him. The resulting alliance began to liberate kingdom after kingdom from Noaths' rule. Noaths devised strategies to slow their advance but could not stop them.
As the alliance closed in on Gnat-it, Noaths soldiers pillaged the kingdoms on the edge of his domain, leaving nothing of value for the advancing alliance to use. In one monastery they found a glowing green gem guarded jealously by the monks. The soldiers killed the monks and took the stone to Noaths.
He recognized it as a third stone in the set which had given him such passion and wisdom. He had it placed on a ring and wore it on his right middle finger and like the first two before it, it changed him. It was a shard of the Life stone and it gave him tremendous power to heal. His armies fought with renewed courage as they knew that if they died fighting for Noaths, he would resurrect them. The alliance found that it could deal no permanent casualties to the armies of Gnat-it and they retreated and begged for peace. But Noaths' armies pursued them and showed no mercy.
Noaths was taken by a desire to have more of the stones. The green Life stone prevented him from ageing. He conquered the whole of planet Earth and her colonies weak and dependant on the mother world, quickly submitted to his rule. The stones gave him the power to enrich the colonies, greening all the worlds of the solar system and increasing their populations to reasoned sustainable levels. But every living being on those worlds was a slave to his desires and his desires were to find more powerful gems to aggrandise himself. He was ruthless in devising the most efficient ecosystems. He cared little how much pain his subjects endured, only that their productivity was maximized.
He had his best scientists devise detectors which could scan entire worlds for the signatures of stones like the three he wore on his iron fist. The centuries passed and still he lived on, kept alive and young and healthy by the Life stone. But further stones were nowhere to be found.
Millennia passed and once the solar system was thoroughly searched, Noaths had the detectors changed and linked together to form an interferometer that spanned the Oort cloud. Ten thousand years of searching, of adding data to a single image of the galaxy resulted in a faint signal being detected. Twenty thousand years and the signal was localized enough that a ship could be sent to retrieve another stone.
Noaths travelled on the star ship personally to retrieve it. It took a hundred thousand years but even as he travelled, behind him, his empire expanded into the Galaxy. He found the stone floating free, in interstellar space a tiny red gem. He had it mounted on a ring and he placed the ring on his right pinky. Again he was changed. Suddenly he knew almost everything. This red gem was a shard of the Knowledge stone.
He knew which of his subjects harboured desires to rebel and he punished them for it. He knew which of his subjects were organizing to avenge those he had killed and those he had made to suffer, and he crushed their rebellion. He knew how to create machines to do anything he desired. And he had those machines built. Planets were mined and stars harnessed. He knew how to travel to other galaxies. He began to build intergalactic warships with the aim to conquer the distant civilizations his scientists had heard in other galaxies. But most importantly, he knew where the remaining two shards of the infinite stones were here in the Milky Way.
One was in a temple, in a city of a long dead civilization, Dragon Sass, on a frozen ice world now populated by giant creatures her burrowed through the ice concentrating radioactive elements and feeding on their energy. The other was on a tiny frozen moon, Boremer, trapped at the L2 point of a gas giant orbiting near a red dwarf. In the sky of Boremer, was a perpetual full solar eclipse with only the corona and flares of the little red sun to light it's dim surface.
Noaths knew that the stone on Boremer was guarded by something powerful but it seemed that the Boremer-stone was able, in turn, to guard the knowledge of the nature of its guard from even the bearer of the knowledge stone. Still Noaths knew that the Boremer-stone was the most powerful of all and wanted it intensely.
Wisely though, Noaths chose to take the Dragon Sass stone first. It was a blue stone, a shard of the Connection stone. Again he placed it on a ring and this time wore it on his right thumb and it changed him. It connected him to his subjects and them to each other. It was like the minds of all of his subjects became one great mind under his control. He could feel them suffering but he cared not. Instead he enjoyed the power he gained. The whole galaxy had become his body. The Connection stone manipulated quantum entanglement to achieve instantaneous communication across any distance. He no longer had to use the Knowledge stone to find and crush rebellion. Every creature in the galaxy was his puppet, rebellion was impossible.
Now he brought a great fleet to Boremer ready to do battle with what guarded it but found only a single nearly-starved child waiting in the dim red shadows of the perpetual eclipse. He went to face the child himself armed with a great sword, believing he would enjoy killing the last being who stood between him and his desire.
"What power do you possess that could stop me, child." Noaths brandished his sword menacingly as he bellowed at the child. He wanted to enjoy the fear in the child's eyes; this is why he threatened her before attacking.
But the child showed no fear. "I have no power." she said. "It is my destiny to guide you to the stone and my duty to warn you about it."
"what do I have to fear from this stone," Noath cried, "I who wield five like it and rule the galaxy. I will take it and it will be another tool in my arsenal. I will be invincible. My dominion over the universe will be inevitable."
But again the child was non-plussed by Noaths fearsome cry, "This last stone will exact a price from you that you will not foresee. It is the greatest price that anyone could pay."
Suddenly Noaths was hesitant, "Will it kill me?"
The child laughed, "No, you have the Life stone, nothing can kill you."
Still Noaths wasn't certain, "Will it make me wish I could die?"
Again the child laughed, "No, I am certain, that in the end, it will make you happier than ever you have been."
"Then lead me to it!" Noaths cried.
The child led him to a pedestal in the middle of a shallow pond. On the pedestal was the orange stone already mounted on a golden ring. Noaths put it on his left ring finger and was changed. Suddenly he felt the suffering of all of his subjects as if it was his own. He dropped to his knees in the shallow water and wept tears into the pond. For this stone was a shard of the Empathy stone and it changed him more deeply than any of the other five had. For it did not give him a new ability to use to satisfy his desires. Instead, the stone took his desires away and replaced them with new desires. No longer did he want power or fame or safety for himself. Suddenly he wanted freedom and joy and love and safety and life for all beings and even potential beings in the universe.
The intergalactic warships were altered into diplomatic envoy and trading ships. The systems of domination were dismantled. His use of the connection stone changed so that no longer did he use it to control his subjects, but instead used it to listen to their needs and explain those needs to his other subjects. No longer did his subjects toil in pain but instead they worked together each toward their own goals but with the help of their neighbours. As the empathy stone's power spread through the galaxy, every creature felt safe and cared for. No longer did each creature feel the need to get its own out of fear. Instead, each creature felt the need to grow the common good. Each creature's goals became to find a way to contribute to the whole. And as the whole grew and flourished, flowered and spread, each creature was filled with joy.