Jan 27, 2022 5:47 AM
Sonata's god takes over
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The universe is filled with a million billion tiny glimmers of light, circling and swooping in an endless dance. 

At the centre of that shimmering void, there is a world. A simple ball of rock, carpeted in thick, soft moss and grass, above which rise towering trees and brightly coloured flowers. The same jewel tones shine from the backs of beetles as they crawl and fly and burrow amid the greenery. 

Upon this world, creatures of rock and stone roam peacefully. Some are climbing trees, seemingly just to see what's there. Some of the ones on the ground play chasing games, while others stand in circles, taking it in turns to jump and stamp in rhythm so that the vibrations are felt by their companions. 

A not insignificant number of the rock people have their eyes closed and seem to prefer navigating without sight. It doesn't affect their ability to get around without bumping into obstacles, although they tend to stay away from climbing.

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Of the countless stomping circles scattered across the globe, a few – perhaps one in a hundred, seemingly at random – feel a new voice in their dance, an unseen additional dancer, taking its turn among the others.

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They adjust happily to the addition, welcoming the new voice that joins their songs. 

Some of the patterns change, conveying new messages: hello hello who are you hello 

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hello hello

i am a messenger, a bridge, an echo, hello

do you want to share your dance with faraway strangers

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Some of them say yes! Some of them are a bit confused by this and want more time to think about it. 

A rockperson who is taking time to think about it happens to tread on a flower, squishing it. A couple of the squashed petals shudder and reshape themselves and become the carapace of a beetle, which scurries away to hide under a rock. 

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The circles who say yes are paired up – each circle now hears both itself and its mate.

 

Meanwhile... are the beetles getting up to anything interesting? Or the dancing glimmers?

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The beetles are doing beetle things. Some of them fly, and some of them scurry about under the cover of moss and grass, and some of them are burrowing out little tunnels and passages in the earth beneath. Occasionally they bump into each other and exchange taps and wiggles of antennae before continuing on their way. 

The dancing lights don't seem to be...alive? They drift through the air in swirls and loops that never quite bring them into contact with anything solid, or with each other. She could probably play with the patterns of their movement if she wanted to, or give them colours instead of pure white light. 

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Is there anything in the patterns of the lights, as opposed to the individual lights themselves?

Do the beetles' taps and wiggles seem to be communicating information?

Are the beetles solitary, or do they form groups?

Do dance-circles ever conclude, or new ones form? Do individuals leave or join?

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The patterns don't seem to have been designed on a large scale; they're just the result of each individual light, having started in motion in a random direction, moving so as not to bump into other lights or anything else. If two lights are on a collision course, they repel each other and bounce off in different directions without ever actually touching. 

Most of the beetles seem to be doing their own beetle thing, but a few of them have started forming groups. Their taps and wiggles are a rudimentary form of communication, transmitting basic information like hi-I-am-a-beetle, hi-are-you-a-beetle, I-found-food, and so on. 

Dance-circles start and end all the time; they're a temporary pastime rather than a permanent fixture. Individuals can leave or join a circle in progress, but that's much rarer. 

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When an individual who has previously been in a paired circle joins or helps start a new circle, the new circle receives the offer to pair if it hasn't already. Pairs continue to be formed at random, with no particular consideration for previous pairings of circles in the vicinity or with the same individuals.

What's the life-cycle like of the rockpeople? Of the beetles? Of plants?

Do rockpeople travel significantly, or do they tend to stay in one place?

Is there any evidence of crafting, or of tool use?

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(Some enterprising rockpeople start using this to send messages across the world.) 

Rockpeople don't seem to die or be born. Plants grow from seeds of other plants and keep growing until something kills them. (Some of the trees are very big and very old at this point.) When flowers die they become beetles. Beetles don't seem to die yet, but it's only a matter of time before one of them gets squished by a rockperson's careless foot. 

Most rockpeople seem to roam within relatively small areas, although some of them range wider. Many of them form little friendship groups and tend to hang around with the same few groups of people. 

Some rockpeople have discovered that clay is a thing, and you can make it into shapes. Others have figured out how to get pigment out of the crushed plant bits that don't turn into beetles, and they're using it to make abstract drawings on rock walls and the sides of trees. With the new connections between dance circles, these discoveries are spreading rapidly across the planet, although most places don't seem to be wet enough for clay. 

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Does a rockperson ever dance alone? Any signs of a rockperson being excluded, or shunned, or trying to join a dance-circle but being unable?

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They don't really seem to dance alone very much! Some of them tap out a few steps in isolation but it seems to be either practice for the real dances or a call to nearby rockpeople to dance with them. Dancing, for them, is both communication and art, both of which need an audience. 

Rockpeople have friend groups and most will preferentially dance with their friends rather than strangers, but they're rarely mean about it. Some of them have more luck than others with making friends; Amatsira could meddle with this, but it doesn't really seem like the sort of problem that needs godly solutions. Just normal social drama. 

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Good. That's good; that's right. No being should ever have to be wholly alone.

That thought settles into clarity, and Amatsira can feel it crystallizing into an immutable conviction, and then— it sinks into the fabric of the world itself, becoming an objective fact.

 

No being should ever have to be wholly alone.

 

That still leaves the work of bringing it about. The dance-circles – all of them, not just the ones that have received offers to link – receive the message as soon as the unseen dancer can take a turn.

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The dancers think this is a pretty nice message! A few of the dance circles take up the concept and invent rhythms and riffs to go with it, making little songs. 

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Good. That's good.

All is well. The world is as it should be.

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