The Unsalvageables’ civilizations were separated from the rest of society by simple walls.
… Not that that was what kept them separated, given the Illunirans’ ability to fly. No, that was the certain death that awaited the Unsalvs if they dared try to cross it.
And the rest of society? They didn’t want to cross it. Why would they?
Only criminals lived on the other side.
However, much to “normal” society’s dismay, the two sides could never be too far from each other, as both needed access to the others’ energies to survive. Thank goodness for that. Else, I’m certain the Dead Ones would have had them killed outright, just like-…
Because of that little aspect of Illuniran biology, the Dead Ones were gracious enough to give every Unsalv civilization a designated area that had access to the city’s volcano. Couldn’t have their precious livestock dying on them! How would they keep the rest of the world controlled and peaceful if everyone was hungry?
Oh yes. The rest of the world lived quite peacefully indeed. Akin to lemmings waiting their turn to jump off a cliff.
Comparatively, the Unsalvs were, perhaps, like unruly, bored teenagers.
So, yes. Criminals waiting to happen, I assure you.
Sarcasm aside, the Unsalv civilizations did have many problems. And, given I was one of those “lemmings,” those problems, rather than the actual people, were what I noticed when I arrived there. They were forced to live under an entirely different set of rules from normal society — a more militant government. Which meant I acted as more soldier than peacekeeper.
I was miserable, even though, at the time, I couldn’t have told you why.
And yet, somehow… it was also one of the happiest times I had in my homeworld.
Because I finally had a truly close friend.
An angel-eater. Who, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll call “Angel.”
See, while demon-eaters were used to keep demonic energies under control in normal society, angel-eaters… they emitted demonic energy. The Dead Ones “couldn’t allow” them to spread it and eat up all the demon-eaters’ hard work. But, by virtue of being balancers, angel-eaters were still valuable.
Not only that but, in an emergency, an angel-eater could set an “Angelic Energy Flame.”
THE greatest reason the balancers were feared! Used correctly, a single balancer could restabilize an entire continent’s-worth of people-
-or destabilize it. This was the ancient balancers’ greatest weapon during the War of Instability.
However, the Dead Ones refused to let the angel-eaters leave the Unsalvs’ civilizations except in such emergencies.
Now, if you’ve “done the math,” you may have an inkling why that would have been a biological problem for the angel-eaters — let alone the rest of the Unsalv civilizations!
Put simply… Since the angel-eaters were concentrated into — and feeding off of — less-than-half of the world’s population… That meant the fed-on population was extremely deprived of angelic energy. Or, rephrased, too full of the demonic energy the Dead Ones were so concerned with keeping as-low-as-possible in normal society.
Every angel-eater was on the verge of setting a Flame at all times. It was the only Flame the Dead Ones were unconcerned by.
Why should they be? Those Flames only brought even greater peace!
The only danger of those Flames… was the “famine” they caused for nearby demon-eaters. So, ultimately, the Dead Ones still preferred to avoid them.
Hence my new job: balance out the overabundance of demonic energy in an Unsalv civilization — by cancelling out the local angel-eater.
… I’m so sorry, Angel…
… Given we spent all our time together, we-
Heh. … C’mon, Tess… There’s worse than this coming later.
You can tell this part of the story!
It took a while for her to fully open up to me.
But, of course it did. I was just another soldier, at first. But eventually, she looked at me more… deeply. And, like Mentor, she noticed how I was… different.
Since we were opposites, since we cancelled each other out… Our… auras, they… They didn’t work on each other. I was no more “angelic” to her than she was “demonic” to me.
We could see each other more clearly than anyone else.
So, eventually… She opened up to me. And when she did, she… She showed me what the Dead Ones didn’t want the outside world to see.
The Unsalvs… They were just people.
I know, that should’ve been obvious, but quite often the most obvious things are the hardest to notice. We’d been told all our lives that the Unsalvs were just “naturally rebellious” and, therefore, dangerous.
To break the rules was to threaten other people’s safety and comfort. It risked conflict, the precursor to another war.
But Angel showed me what had always itched away at the back of my mind. She showed me children rough-housing, insanely potent and emotional stories, exciting sports and games, extremely close families and friends that teased and insulted one another — all sorts of things only possible because of conflict.
Because of chaos, individuality, and intense emotion!
Because of freedom, self-interest, and passion.
… Because of Blue, Green, and Red. Together. Reinforcing each other, and not cancelled out for the sake of some so-called “peace.”
… However. The Dead Ones weren’t completely wrong.
Without Yellow order, there was lawlessness.
Aside from the few sparse balancers — all of them, lower-leaders — roaming around, there was no system in place to punish anyone who hurt anyone else. People fought over every scrap of food there was, for a safe place to sleep at night, for a beautiful piece of artwork… Those hurt were left to seek revenge for themselves and those closest to them.
Without Purple selflessness, people didn’t help anyone they weren’t close to.
There was no large group of people; only families and tight-knit friends. Inside those small groups was a wonderful place to be, but no group truly cared about any of the others. They would help those within them, and it was possible to join one, but… Getting them to work together? Share with each other? Was nearly impossible.
And without Cyan logic, they couldn’t see past their own emotions to solve their problems.
It was like trying to calm frightened children, but without any proof that there weren’t monsters under their beds. When they decided on a target for their anger, fear, sadness — there was no convincing them that their target wasn’t responsible. Not even with the best, most irrefutable proof.
But the ones responsible for all that wasn’t the Unsalvs! True, most of their problems were self-inflicted. But with the right guidance, with intervention…!
All they needed was a bit of outside help, for the love-of-everything!
To get them that outside help, Angel convinced me to join this peaceful, underground rebellion. Their goal was to make a bunch of small changes, over the course of many Cycles, until, finally, they could explode their influence and change everything.
And it was working.
And maybe, eventually, it did work.
But I’ll never know.
I lived there, helping with the rebellion, until I was a fledgling adult. Around then was when Angel…
She grew too attached. To one particular Unsalv child. They were still young enough that they hadn’t gone through their Emerging yet, but it was clear that they would be True Killed the instant that they did.
It was clear that they weren’t just an Unsalv… but an Unsalv balancer.
So Angel hid them.
And I helped her.
But the Dead Ones found the kid.
And, true to their laws, killed the child immediately.
Angel lost it.
She tried to kill the lower-leader who had murdered the child.
But they captured her.
However, despite Angel’s Rebel status, that lower-leader… was incapable of True Killing her.
Only an adult balancer of the opposite polarity could True Kill another adult balancer.
At least, without help.
So — me being Angel’s supervisor, a highly-compatible demon-eater, and such an excellently-behaved lower-leader —
… They ordered me to do it.
They ordered me to True Kill my only Best Friend.
Of course I couldn’t…!
So we fought…
I’m… not sure what Angel and I were thinking. We probably weren’t.
There was no way we were going to win…!!!
The lower-leader had called for help. More balancers were on their way. We knew we didn’t stand a chance of winning — we could’ve run.
We should have run.
Angel was already weak. But she lasted surprisingly long. She didn’t manage to do much damage, but…
They killed her, of course.
True Killed her — cut off her head, absorbed all her prizmal energy…
Right in front of me… !!!
… It happened too fast, and too slow.
My mind was racing, my body wouldn’t move… The next thing I knew, I was charging. And my vision and aura…
Had gone completely RED.
I wonder… if they realized the MISTAKE they’d made then: That my spirit only seemed gray.
Because it was so balanced between the colors.
Equal parts Red Passion and Cyan Logic.
Yellow Order and Blue Chaos.
Green Self and Purple Others.
They knew I was a Dark soul, prone to Indirect methods of action. But I wonder if they realized, then, what Mentor — WHAT ANGEL — had… !!!
That I was extremely Saturated.
That I was NOT Passive.
That I was, in fact…
… an Unsalv myself.
… If only the looks on their faces had been worth it.
But they could NEVER make up for what they cost me.
… Unfortunately, I don’t think I managed to kill any of them. But things happened rather quickly, so I could be wrong.
The very moment they saw that brilliant Red, the lower-leaders around us-me… tried to absorb my energy.
But — to their and my surprise-
-it didn’t work.
They still managed to kill me while I was in a blood-rage.
And before I even managed to set a Demonic Energy Flame!
So props to them for that, I suppose.