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Alpha walks into the meeting wearing a younger body. The day before it belonged to a member of Rose's audience. After making the jump to the new body just after being hit, Alpha was able to walk right out of the theater unsuspected while everyone was surrounding his old body still bleeding on the floor.
Roy is present, sorrowful, and being held on a tight mental tether. Marie doesn't take betrayal lightly. She's not so pissed off that Roy fell for another woman, he was always weak and horny and has cheated on her before. What gets to her is that, through the use of Gyre's powers, she can see that the love he feels for Rose is unlike anything he ever felt for her when they were together.
Looking more closely, she can see his love extends beyond Rose, beyond space, and beyond time. She sees that Roy has felt the ecstasy of merging with a non-human power and this infuriates her. After he loved a goddess, Marie knows she will never be enough for Roy - even thought she’d never take him back anyway.
Marie is able to lash Roy without moving a muscle by activating the pain centers in his brain. It hurts him just as much as leather would. Falling into delirium, Roy's mind drifts back to when they lived together and the way he used to beat Marie. Before passing out he hears his own voice tell her, "You're no better than me."
Can two stories be braided together without one leaving a trace on the other? You could say two entities are interlocked like figure and ground but who is the positive and who is the negative? In a world where simply breathing, eating, scratching, cleaning ourselves, making shelter, staying warm, all the basics of survival can cause harm to other living things, who has a faultless existence? What distinguishes the necessities of living from the excess of causing harm?
Seeing separate sides means ignoring the whole. The parts are always mixed because they were never not part of the same thing. To find fault in something requires rules and a mind willing to judge that a rule has been broken, meanwhile sentient creatures eating one another just exist. Only in each moment can change take place, our intention makes the difference.
Rose sits calmly, attention on her breath, less and less distracted, thoughts settled, contentment growing, connected to source. In this timeless meditative space the importance of her recent drama diminishes. She knows the infinite in which everything resides won't be altered by human interactions. No matter how dark the hurricane, the clouds don't change the sun. Rose reflects on her previous life, surviving in the school, training, growing strong, and resolves in her heart to continue giving her performances. Even if they attack again and kill her, she is not afraid of dying and returning. Her thinking mind, still unconvinced and anxious, begs her for a reason - and that reason falls like rain: for the benefit of others.
The Dragon awakens.
Maybe you'd like to hear more war stories. TNAP vs OGP, Rose vs Marie, one battle after another, rival strategies, each side trying to gain an edge. On and on like a Netflix series. But if anything this story is about perspective, from fine focus to universal vision, and we never stay at one setting for too long.
The war rages for the next few months, background noise now. Rather than one side gaining an advantage, the struggle becomes a dance. Each side needs the other to justify its existence, to give it purpose, to know that it is alive. Everyone is working to destroy the other and yet is terrified to see the other be destroyed.
The constant push and counter-push give birth to the Dragon, a spectrum of forces in dynamic equilibrium.
The adversarial alliance between TNAP and OGP dominates the media. Every broadcaster and podcaster has an opinion to share. Sides are passionately argued in bars and on social media. Each group rallies their followers against the other side, securing their loyalty, and raising lots of money in the process. With all the donations pouring in, volunteers lining up to help their cause, and online venues selling must-have merch, both camps are making a good living off this struggle.
The Headmaster throws his head back and laughs, watches the self-sustaining, mobius-like flow, and allows his minions to continue wreaking havoc despite casualties because he feeds without effort on the prana that this positive feedback loop emits. Life is easy for the Headmaster but how is the support and perpetuation of anti-dharma acceptable to Her?
We learn here that Her perspective is more encompassing. Her highest value is creativity. Construction and destruction are equally creative. For everything made, something is destroyed and for whatever is destroyed, something comes into being. Dynamic equilibrium is a naturally emergent form sacred to Her.
The danger, the battle, the anger, the pain, the desire, the triumph, the adrenaline, the schadenfreude, the glee, all the isolated and labeled moments remain in order, move like gears in the mind, give rise to conditions, cause contraction and expansion, and give substance to the self.
As W sits contemplating the struggles, a word from Her, "Don't get focused on the inevitable fluctuations. Rest in the awareness that illuminates the fight."
The Dragon thrives.
From a meta-perspective, the daily struggle of life on Earth is not dramatic. Plants grow, blood flows, and wind blows. Living things come and go but the cycle of life persists.
The Dragon is this churn of life. Like a human body whose cells are continually being replaced, the body of the Dragon is entirely replenished over time; yet something doesn't seem to go away. Humans retain a sense of self as they age, believing the person they are at 8 is the same person they are at 58 or 88. The Dragon retains a sense of persistent universal consciousness, believing the awareness present in one living thing is the same awareness in all living things.
When members of The North American Project (TNAP) and the Old Guard Patternists (OGP) collide, their struggle, becoming the center of the universe, starts to define both groups and obscures their original missions. The issues at stake in the conflict are heightened by social media, argued in the press, and felt deeply in the population. Spiteful disagreements amongst large groups of people distort the fabric of society and drag everyone down. This gravity well of fear and desire is the lair of the Dragon.
Outside of W is Her,
outside of Her is the Dragon,
outside of the Dragon is the text of the story,
outside of the text of the story is the image of the author,
outside of the image of the author is the self,
outside of the self is delusion,
outside of delusion is no self,
outside of no self is consciousness,
outside of consciousness is no is.
One overwhelmed by surprise and novelty,
learning more in a minute
than in a lifetime of meditation,
and the other absorbed in the minutiae,
losing focus to gain feeling,
both now learning to balance
peripheral awareness and attention,
the arcane and the mundane connect.
The first step is
all levels of scale,
all angles considered,
all objects, dialog,
and plot points,
The first step is
born in each moment.
in every decision, cell division,
supernova, grimace, snowflake,
keystroke, and passing thought,
cultivates tolerance to change.
The first step is
seeing the suffering
in our character's lives,
seeing further how
the desire that controls
their actions causes the pain,
and in the same moment
revealing a larger perspective.
The first step is
right point of view.