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The Lights

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Always—at least as long as is recorded—the three states have been known only to one another, a coalition of adversaries. Each holding itself as the pious choice due to the supernatural forces operating them all, intermittent war rages on. Nobody knows why it all began, or, more importantly, how, but the truth cannot be denied: the states were chosen to live divine existences.

The scholars all profess the same truth, that the states, distinctively potent, cannot overpower another. The populations live separate lives, chosen for them by the deities, and come in contact only on the borders. War involves merely kidnapping an opposite from the Center Refuge and either ending their time or morphing them into the other. All may enter the Refuge, to return solely to their own land; heavenly forces ensure there are no trespasses. But, one may cross the border of an opposite only by force: abduction. The captives all pray not to be taken to the Tract…or the Hippodrome…or, feared most, the Manor…Nobody knows for sure what happens in the opposites’ torture places, but that those who actually do escape have transformed souls.
Like those who grow envious at the smell of pepper, or those who show guilt at the sound of thunder, there are those whose destiny is controlled by the Lights. The states are all equivalent but for the one distinction: one population reacts only to sound; the other to aroma; the other to light. Each color instills a different sensation within the soul. Several colors are desired, while some are loathed. It all depends on the will of the gods:

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Coral rays promote the state of exaltation. Underneath the light of orange one’s worries melt away, sadness is interred, and well-being pumps through the soul. Life reacts with a surge of energy. However, though coral is most preferred, it must submit to its partners.
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The glow of azure reveals fatigue. Muscles relax and the mind grows wearisome to prepare for sleep. A short exposure to azure light knocks out all.
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Trepidation arrives with contact to pearl rays. Once presented, pupils widen, heartbeat soars, and breathing quickens. None enjoy a pearly glow, provoking mistrust and defiance.
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The amber warmth of limmerance is second desired to coral. All anger disappears with its presence. The lone sensation is of wanting and of being wanted.
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An orchid shine inaugurates animosity in full. Those under its effulgence hold fast to their ideas, provoking feuds. That of amber usually follows orchid light.
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Scarlet luminosity precedes voracity. Under its shine one desires to cease fasting and to seek out sustenance.
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Beams of rose encourage desolation. To counterbalance coral overexposure one develops a trance that affirms all wrongs performed that day. One also endures notions of malevolence from others. So as not to severely bruise the soul, azure light habitually follows after.
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Agony accompanies saffron glare, situating the body in insufferable affliction. Lasting only momentarily, as a single flash is like a stab, its main effects arrive between light transitions. Saffron light is one of the most abhorred.
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The sacrosanct lambency resembles ebony. Under this shine the soul feels whole and is desirous to worship. One feels most alive spiritually under so.
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The gleam of emerald…one shudders at the idea. Destiny alone is in control of its glow. The time comes for all; when it does, they mature into a moribund personage. One is declared to experience all Lights simultaneously until death.

The Lights are produced by any light fixture. One will notice that the fixtures are clear and cannot be withdrawn. It is from these components that all life is directed. One awakens to scarlet warmth; hunger. Debate classes are often filled with orchid rays; anger. Prayer time is commenced with ebony glares; faith. The gods control the color of the Lights. Though much of society feels alike at any instant, there are always those undergoing a separate process. Society lives daily awaiting the next color, like the other two societies, in anticipation of the consequent aroma or noise, respectively.

Under orchid’s service, one most fears capture in the Center Refuge. Once possessed, the captive is taken to each society’s headquarters, whether it is to the Tract for the Torture of the Scents, to the Hippodrome for the Torture of the Sounds, or to the Manor for the Torture of the Lights. All fear the Manor, for those sent to it are almost always considered condemned. The gods allow capture for their own pleasure; they alone decide whether the prisoner will be given fate or rebirth. The idols favor the former.

One knows one has been chosen for detainment through the soul; thus, resistance does not exist. One always obeys. Once a prisoner is located in the Great Hall of the Manor, the front doors are locked. The Chosen One is ordered to find the exit. All that is in the Manor are vacant rooms, all leading one route. But the Chosen, accustomed to direction by nose or ear, will not believe what eyes pronounce….A simple saunter through each room and the gods continuously adjust the light—but compel the soul to retain the sensation even after the color has faded. The detainee may begin under the Lights being scarlet, for thoughts jumble with hunger. Not understanding, the Chosen One continues on.

Depression with rose, anxiety with pearl—until the deities crave a false impression: coral in the kitchen, amber in the study. The knowledge of being intermediate in the Manor settles; time for a malicious twist. Azure glows in the basement; exhaustion instigates, communicating with the other feelings there from the onset of the Torture. The staircase gleams orchid, along with the lavatory. Fury at the opposites prevails—until the dining room contains a lustrous ebony glow. Falling to knees, the one chosen for destiny prays for forgiveness; persevering is a must. Trekking to the observatory, the Lights shift to saffron, flashing and blazing their might. The prisoner shrieks in pure anguish, collapses and cries, ponders what could possibly be next. Despite the pain, despite the destruction of the soul, all one could ever do is ascend the staircase to the attic. There, all must cease to exist.

Stranded in the heart of the attic, one comprehends that the exit is in front of them; but, alongside that, the perception that all one can do now is go up more. The thought of escape is what brings on the emeralds, dazzling and intoxicating. Illuminating the windowless room in entirety, the Chosen One screeches, with no one to listen. Emerald dominates the senses: all that can be seen is emerald; heard, emerald; smelled, emerald; tasted, emerald; even the soul feels emerald penetrating through the exterior. Emerald is annihilation.
The gods have chosen between fate and rebirth—but they are one and the same. Death is life. Beginning is end. Only through one of the three Tortures can soul become eternity. Shattered soul is whole. Body remains in the attic; emeralds gleam, bringing peace. All one has left to do is go up…





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