None remain to say what this world was like during the time that came before. Too many seasons have come and gone, eroding away the memory of past civilizations. In solitude, a singular mind endured, wandering alone throughout the empty age. A shepherd whose flock consists of a single tree, and born from the race of those who came before that called themselves Unfinit. They were masters over all things in their tiny corner of the universe, but the universe itself refuses to be controlled, and eventually it decided their time was finished. The Unfinit chose to fight their doom. All of their greatest minds devoted themselves solely to their preservation. But the only permanence, is impermanence. It is a fundamental law of time. Entropy, after all, is only an interpretation of time, and vice versa, but that's a thought for another life.
The first memories of a new history are created on a perfect day, just as it's about to begin, and the first rays of light have just broken the horizon. The weather's warm, and a slight breeze carries the sweet scent of salt water with it. Unseen birds add their voices to the ambiance, cheerfully singing their morning songs to one another, sounding far away, yet clear and undisturbed.
A girl lay still beneath the open sky, keeping her eyes closed to its brightening. She focuses instead on all the other sensations bombarding her freshly woken mind. Eventually, she lets her doe eyes open. They're colored light blue with a burst of yellow at their center, and they look more wise than her adolescent frame otherwise appears.
She finds herself lying on her back, with the boughs of a lone tree gently swaying above. She's positioned at the top of a hill that steadily declines to a valley below. Beyond the valley grows a dense wood of tall leafy green trees that stretch out to the horizon, with a vague glimmer of a few mountain peaks further away. In the other direction, just on the other side of her lone tree, is the precipice of a sheer cliff, that drops into a vast sea of tranquil cerulean water with no sight to its end.
She has no idea how or why she’s here. No memory of anything that has ever happened before this moment. Confused, she picks herself up out of the green foliage she's nestled in, and realizes that she's not alone.
Sitting under the nearby tree is another woman, older than herself, similar in stature, but different. The woman is completely bald, in fact, she appears to have no hair growing anywhere on her faintly glowing golden skin. She wears some loose fitting fabric of the purest white, draped and tied about her softly. Her slender golden arms are left exposed, and the back of her dress opens where two large feathered wings, as white as her clothing, are folded together. She holds something in her hand, flimsy and with a series of markings upon it, and she's looking it over thoughtfully when she notices the newly awoken.
“Hello…” her voice is soft and inviting, “would you like any help?”
She doesn’t know how, but she understands her words, and instinctively knows how to respond. “Oh... no, thank you.”
“Okay,” the golden woman smiles at her again, then looks back at what she's holding before adding in her delicate way of speaking, “rise when you're ready. We have all the time you need.”
Even more confused now the girl pushes herself up, admiring the soft green plants she'd been lying on, then looks up at the tree that dominates the nearby scenery. The tree only has a few thick branches sprouting out from its wide trunk. At the end of each of those branches are patches of leaves, and among each of those patches, a single purple fruit. The bark of the tree is light brown, almost white, and the leaves a dark green.
Draped over her own body is clothing similar to the other's, though not so perfectly white as hers. She leans forward to reach around and feel her own back to see if she, like the golden woman, has those magnificent feathered wings, but is disappointed to discover nothing there.
“There were thirteen of them once, including yours,” the winged woman tells her as she finishes up what she was reading and slips it into some hidden fold of her clothing, “of the fruit I mean to say.” She doesn’t look up to the tree as she continues speaking, choosing instead to keep her eyes locked on her newly awoken companion. “The tree is called Bodhi, and there were once thirteen of them as well, long ago that is. Now though, even if you searched the whole world for ten-thousand years you would never find another, and these twelve fruits are the only left, and the only that this tree will bear for millennia, if it ever bears more at all.”
“I’m sorry,” the sleeper interrupts her, “but I have no idea how I got here.”
“Of course. I’m the one who should be sorry. I understand that it’s terribly confusing... being reborn like this and all.” The golden woman rises from where she sits, approaches the other, and offers her hand. “My name is Ohm,” the golden woman says. “Let me show you something.”
Ohm scoops her up into her arms with surprising ease. The touch of her skin feels so natural that the newly awoken forgets any feelings of suspicion and lets herself be taken away. Ohm’s great wings spread and gently begin to flap, the air being silently pushed away in sweet fragrant gusts, and she feels almost weightless as her feet lift away from the ground. Up they go, straight up, until they are just above the height of the Bodhi tree.
“This is only a small fraction of the world,” Ohm says, carrying her easily like a child cradled in her arms. “This is your gift. My gift, to you. An age is ended… a new age must begin. Take the fruit of the tree with you, any who eat of it will be awakened just as you were, and with your chosen, you shall build a new world.”
Ohm begins a gentle descent to the ground, flapping her wings with little effort. She lands and places the other carefully back down beside her. Once the sleeper’s feet are back on the ground, she feels a strange sadness, like she's lost something that she's had since before she was born.
“Please,” she looks into the bottomless light emitting from Ohm's eyes, “who am I?”
Ohm looks back at her for a moment and casts a loving smile. “Who would you like to be?”
She doesn't know how to answer that. How could she? She's only just been born. All she can think is that she'd like to be like Ohm. To be able to make anyone feel like everything's going to be alright. She wants to be able to comfort anyone the way Ohm has comforted her.
“Could you give me a name?” she asks, and she reaches out to grab her hand.
Ohm nods and looks thoughtfully at her for a moment more. “I'll remember you as Perl," she says, and she releases Perl's hand. "The world is yours Perl. You are the first, you always were, and you always will be. Explore and make of it what you will, and I will watch over you."
"You're coming then?" Perl asks.
"You may not always be aware of my presence, but I'll always be beside you." Ohm looks out to the horizon. She appears lost in thought as she smiles with admiration. "This isn't my world anymore," she eventually says, "my interference in your journey, beyond what is already known, could have unforeseen consequences, and none would benefit from it. You'll not feel alone for long. The fruit will provide you with new companions sooner than you think.
“Take the Bodhi. Explore the world and give it a name, as I have given one to you. Give names to all the things you come across. Choose twelve others to receive the Bodhi. You will want for companionship otherwise. But don't rush yourself, the fruit will never spoil, and neither will you, now that you've eaten of it. So take as long as you need. But first, you should rest.”
The word casts a spell over her, and Perl suddenly tires. So much, in fact, that her vision blurs, and her eyelids hang like they've the weight of the world upon them, and she lets Ohm take her in her arms and lay her gently back down at the base of the Bodhi tree. The last thing she sees is Ohm's face, lovingly looking back at her, as her glow dims and she fades away.