This short story is part of Galactic Chronicles, an ongoing space opera based on our multiplayer campaign in Paradox’s space grand strategy game, Stellaris. Events and characters, while embellished heavily in some cases, are based on actual events and characters encountered during gameplay. These entries do not have to be experienced in a specific order, but the “Earth Standardized Solar Date” header will indicate where in the galactic timeline a particular entry falls.
This story concerns the Athirova, a race of spiritualist, warrior monk-ruled Avian aliens from the planet Ayaal. Learn more about them here.
[EARTH STANDARDIZED SOLAR DATE c. 1100 BCE]
“Harmony is not the same as peace,” the teacher intoned. “That is a common mistake made on the path to Truth. Peace is silence. Serenity is emptiness. A seeker may use peace as a resting place, but never dwell there. Ceasing to strive is the death of a journey before its conclusion.”
“And when do we know when we have reached the conclusion, thrakaxa?” inquired the student.
“The journey only ends when there is nothing left to strive for. And I pray no Seeker ever lives to see such a terrible day.”
“So you’re saying… that striving for Harmony is Harmony? That the journey toward our wishes is the fulfillment of them?”
“It is not so simple as that. But it is true enough to say that Harmony cannot exist in a world without challenge and drive. Music can be calming. But the greatest melodies are those that make you emote. They use Harmony to make you feel joy, exultation, or sorrow. The worst kind of world we can make is one where these feelings are merely remembered, such is the unchanging paradise we have built to cage ourselves.”
“But if such struggles are unending, does that not mean that Disharmony will always accompany Harmony, no matter what we do?”
“Perhaps. Perhaps we require Disharmony, as an opponent to seek out and keep us striving. Perhaps without it, our song would be doomed to fall silent. That is assuredly a question for future Seekers to answer. Maybe you.”
The student allowed a pleased expression to cross her features. “Maybe…”
The teacher stood from his kneeling position and proceeded over to tap his student reassuringly on the shoulder. “Go now, and tend to the cookfire, itru. The others should be back from the caves with our evening meal soon, and we will need nourishment for fixing up the strider pens when day comes.”
The student stood and nodded politely before hurrying off, her rough-spun robes billowing behind her. The teacher stood in solitude for a few moments, gazing out the front of the shrine at the night sky, until he was joined by another monk, slightly out of breath and wielding a long, hardwood staff banded with metal on each end.
“Thra-Athanivxi, forgive my intrusion,” the monk spoke with deference.
“There is nothing to forgive,” the teacher answered, “so long as you tell me true of the concern I see in your eyes.”
“More soldiers are coming up the pass. King’s Claws, like the last time.”
“How many in this group? A dozen? Two?”
“…Hundreds, thrakaxa. I think they mean to occupy the temple.”
The teacher ducked his head slightly in recognition.
“That will not happen. Sing of battle to call your brothers and sisters, and make sure the fledglings and the animals are safely inside.”
Explore more Galactic Chronicles.