Stanza V: The Glorious Return

Passage from “The Glorious Return” written by Syod of Visions
From the Gathered Writings of the Cult of the Dying God
Written 3,860 standard cycles before the Crescendo

Our people have known sorrow as few others have.

It was easy for us to have played the role of the victim.

We have had the right.

We had known the pleasures and bounties of Eladya and yet when we heard the words of Aninod we could not deny them. When you come to understand something that you cannot deny, you have two choices: debase yourself by pretending to deny that which you know is true or live in accordance with the truth.

Those of us who are here now, are those who chose to live in truth and the descendants of those who made the same choice.

Aninod’s prophecy was as simple as it was powerful.

First, Aninod rejected the pantheon of the divine family. As if the blood and bonds that shaped our tribes could hold any power over the shapers of reality. Even if it were unspoken, many had already understood that imagining divinities in these familiar constructs was a simple way to give form to something formless; to name something Nameless.

But there were other cults that said as much. This belief itself was not a revolutionary theology. It was only his foundation.

When Aninod argued that there was no cosmic divinity, but rather that the universe was a collection of the many shattered fragments of a God trying to form itself from chaos, this caused ripples of anger and unease throughout Eladya. But still, there were no cries for blood or exile. Aninod had laid down the two basic tenants of the faith of the Dying God, and he waited for these to settle in the minds of the Eladyans before delivering its final and culminating tenant.

The final tenant as you all know, demands a sacrifice that not many are willing to make. For Aninod realized, as we do now, that time and energy, though seeming limitless, are not. There will come a time when the stars burn out and no energy remains in the universe.

The children of Asar once “danced to the melody of Nazua,” according to the earliest of Eladyan written sacred texts. They also understood that we, fragments of the Nameless, once worked with solidarity for the purpose of becoming more than any one life could aspire to. Though they did not realize it, the sacrifice of our ancestors in giving up their pleasure and comfort to better understand the most basic forces that govern every act in this universe was a surrender to this greatest purpose one can serve, an endless giving of oneself to the universe. Each life lived was a small grain of sand on a mound, and one day, this mound would reach an unimaginable height.

The language was there. The understanding was there. Every Eladyan understood that a nobler path was surrendered when Ankari directed the children of Asar to selfishly serve themselves rather than the Nameless. The city of Eladya would always serve as a temple of mortals, and by mortals, and nothing more than that.

To serve the Nameless is an endless struggle. It is a lifetime of questions and few answers. But to serve Eladya is to find peace in worldly closure. It is to say “this is what life is for.” It is to pretend that the universe was created to cater to the pleasures of mortals rather than to ask for our help in its culmination.

“If the Nameless, if the unformed divine,” Aninod had said “is to one day awaken in this reality then we must all be prepared to give up that which serves mortals. We must abandon Eladya and all its wonders if we are to ever build anything greater. We must do this with haste, for the dominion of entropy is all-consuming. Every era we serve ourselves is another era that we will drive the universe and all of its possibilities towards doom.”

This was enough to have Aninod killed in his sleep. It did not matter that he was the greatest catalyst of his age. It did not matter that he was favored by the archon, a friend of his since childhood.

They were afraid of what he would have said next, for they knew that his death would make him a martyr. And they were right. His earliest followers, I among them, spoke of abandoning the project of Eladya as if it were something only true in theory, something that one day may happen gently and kindly as we all awoke to these truths. But when they started hunting down my brothers and sisters, our vision to end Eladya became a desperate necessity.

We waged a ragged war for survival, and we lost.

Our movement had been pruned before it could blossom, and thus we became the Cult of the Dying God. We were wretched souls exiled to wander the southern reaches of the desolate basin. For a time, survival dominated our minds more than our mission. But soon, we remembered that survival was our mission.

We have had the right to play the victim.

No longer shall I let this continue, not if we are to survive, not if God is to survive.

I use the word God here as a substitute for the “Nameless.” “Nameless” places emphasis on what is missing. I would ask that we begin to shift our way of thinking and speaking if we are to ever leave our gains of sands higher than the last.

Eladyan scholars forbid the search for the true name of any divinity. They believe that if a mortal was to ever speak the true name of divinity or to come to know its outline, then that mortal would hold power over the divinity. To them, this is the pinnacle of blasphemy: to hold the leash of a greater being—so it is forbidden.

To Aninod, however, the pinnacle of blasphemy was to believe that any mortal could hold power over God, even if it learned of its outline.

He believed that if a mortal was to ever know the name of the “Nameless,” see its outline, know its shape, that this mortal would instead fall under the power of divinity. The mortal would be consumed by it, be made to act, move, and speak in such a way that would continue to move the divinity towards its goal to awaken. If I were to know the name of that which is yet Nameless, then I would be happily reunited with the same melody that set the stars on their initial path. Shouldn’t we all?

Aninod came up with a simple example. Imagine two sides of any container divided by a membrane. Now imagine creating an opening in that membrane so the two sides may come into contact. The stronger side will fill the weaker one and never the other way around. So why should this be any different when a superior being encounters a lesser one?

I said lesser, but I misspoke. After all, our belief is far more optimistic than any outsider would be led to believe from hearing our core tenants. If we believe that the universe is made up of infinitesimally small pieces of divinity trying to form themselves into an unimaginable whole, then we must realize that everything is divine. Every blade of grass, every burning star, every atom, every insect, every creature that thinks, every rock, every ray of light, everything is made up of the divine matter and forces that allow for growth in a universe otherwise ruled by chaos and coldness.

Our faith is one of true harmony. When you erase all distinction between plant, beast, star, and sky then the only mission of any importance left is to come together once again and prepare for the next rebirth. If we do not do this in time, entropy will have taken back all the light from the stars and the awakening universe will end in stillbirth. Our universe will have lost its only opportunity to transcend into the next phase. This is the tragic beauty and power of our faith, nothing is guaranteed!

There is no pantheon of divinities who have written our fates long ago. There is no greater being watching over us. No cosmic horrors to torment us nor benevolent mother to protect us. There is only a delicate dance between evolution and entropy, and the fate of any future God depends on our actions here and now. Divinity is in the present, and tomorrow is never promised.

This is the truth that drives me to seek anything which could bring us closer to knowing the name of God.

In this journey, I have learned something that has brought me both joy and sorrow. I hope it may serve to comfort you all when I am gone.

I have learned everything I could from Aninod before he was taken from us. Although I will never be as skilled in catalysis as he was, I have devoted myself to studying this art and its many winding branches to see if I could carve out some previously unexplored knowledge. I am saddened to say that I have not. There is nothing I can do that the ancient master could not do. Nothing I can do that anyone could not do with the right training.

There will come a time when we discover greater abilities. There will come a time when the catalysis of the old masters, the builders of Eladya will seem quaint. There will come a time when the feats and technology of our descendants will dwarf us as one day, they will be dwarfed by what their own descendants will create.

But ours is a long journey and what I ask of you all is this: we need to accept our limitations as well as our aspirations. Catalysis alone will not reveal to us the name of God. It has only hinted at its outline. We shall continue to give ourselves to the discovery of that outline no matter how many generations it takes.

This is the natural will of the universe, and it is the beating heart of this faith.


We must always surrender the present for the sake of the future, even if it kills us.