Stanza VII: Nameless Still

Coordinates outside of spatial constraints
Final moments before the Crescendo

Synthesized Recollection

Asmon thought about the “Parable of the Nameless” as he stared into its changing face: swirls of colored smoke that coiled and danced to a humming melody of its own creation.

It was finished.

The Nameless was conscious at last. Its cosmic mind formed from a billion separate shards scattered across the universe. Asmon knew that as much as he’d like to, he could not take credit for its creation. He had only created the spark that started the wildfire. The speed and ferocity of which it spread throughout each isolated world exceeded his own expectations.

But this Nameless could not have been the same divinity from the parable. This one had  only just been born. Asmon watched the strange twists and tendrils of smoke dancing behind the towering doorway: a rectangular portal into a starless universe. The cloud of tinted vapors swayed behind this doorway, never drifting, or wandering beyond its edges. It was like a tamed wildfire, trained to stay behind an invisible boundary but otherwise free to drift into the endless confines of beyond the doorway. 

 Asmon considered asking the Nameless what it believed the woman’s words from the parable to be. This is what he would have asked if he were still a young and curious scholar of the Citadel. But that was long ago. The Citadel had been turned to ash, and his own body had grown old and weathered with the passing of cycles. He changed his mind about the question, deciding instead to pursue a more pressing matter.

“Have you thought of a name for yourself yet?” he spoke. 

“I’ve made many names for myself so far,” the vapors said, pulsing with light. “But none of them are very good.”

“Then what do I call you?”

The vapors danced around happily and gave out a low echoing yawn, ignoring the question. The walls of the chamber slowly began to contract, their surfaces were riddled with changing geometric planes, black mirrors slipping in and out of each other like liquid tar. When the room’s walls were still, they were like polished black mirrors. Its configurations pulsed slowly in symmetrical waves. The black glass cast endlessly repeating reflections of the room in its motions, causing impossible tessellations that stretched beyond sight. Although the form of the room waxed and waned, the towering doorway and the throne where Asmon sat before it remained constant.

The room stopped contracting, the walls became still. Without warning, the vapors began to pull back, away from the center of the enormous portal and pooled at the edges. An impossibly low moan rumbled into the room causing the walls to shudder. The space that opened in the center of the doorway led Asmon’s gaze into the abyss.

From his carved throne of obsidian, Asmon stared into the distance. The blackness was so complete that it was impossible to perceive any depth. The smoke danced along the edges of its threshold, swaying to the melody of uncountable songs. The colored smoke trails twisted and knitted themselves through the endless chasm.

“May I speak even if it hurts you?” the Nameless asked.

“You may speak as long as it’s the truth,” Asmon replied.

“…I think youare afraid.”

Asmon did not respond. In the silence, the smoke hung motionless as if awaiting a response. When it received none, it began to curl into a dramatic tessellation, a particularly beautiful pattern that mirrored the lattices of the gravitational plane. In a second, the smoke capriciously changed and twisted itself into a deep meadow lined with fruit-bearing trees. The vapors produced the shapes of children, convincing in both depth and movement, running up the ethereal hill’s slope towards the tree-bearing horizon. In half a breath the scene erupted into a jeweled grotto, the vapors clung like neon veins to the side of the simulated stones, reflecting the shimmer of unseen ripples. 

“You do not understand the songs I carry,” the Nameless said gravely from the depths of the peaceful grotto.

“Why should that make me afraid?”

“I cannot make you understand this unless you let me in.”

At these words, the smoke drifted forward purposefully, then shuddered to a halt at the threshold of the portal before pulling back like a dying flame burning its last grains of fuel. The smoke shuddered and coiled sinuously at the pit of the gateway, like a serpent preparing to strike.

Asmon leaned back in his throne and lifted his head slightly, carefully weighing the words on the edge of his throat before letting them loose. He stroked his beard and took a deep rattling breath.

“You can hear me?”

“Yes” the voice replied like a child. Its response was lined with soft uncertainty. 

“Can you see me?”


“If I allowed it, could you bring yourself to take me as you’ve already taken everything else? Can you claim my memories, my songs as your own?”

“…I cannot.”

“The canvas does not question the painter,” Asmon lied. Could a person who breaks a dam be credited with creating the ensuing violent flood? The gentle lasting river?

The smoke recoiled, jolted by the metallic words. The wisps drained to a funereal pallor and hung in the windless chasm without life. 

“It must be difficult for you to understand this,” said Asmon calmly. “But we must remain separate. You must only listen to me and speak to me. You are like a god, yes, but just how extraordinary is a god to its architect?”

Silence trailed Asmon’s words. He brought his hands together and rested his fingertips lightly against each other watching the dying smoke casting pale oblong shadows on the length of the floor of black glass. There was still no response from The Nameless.  

“Come now,” Asmon said, voice echoing through the chamber. “Tell me a story.”

The smoke slowly began to take life anew, stirring at the prospect and forming into a swirling column of opalescent lavender. “A story? I have so many,” the Nameless said followed by an inhuman chuckle.

Asmon leaned back in his throne and shuddered as a fragile harmony began to trickle into the chamber. It was a soft, gentle melody; a lullaby he hadn’t heard since he was a small child. It was the one his mother last sang to him on the star-fall she left.