I’ve recently come to realise the massive and immersive worlds the brain can come up with. Good lords I never would’ve expected this to all come from me. Even my own religion comes from this world. Hell, I come from this world.
It’s mind-boggling to think about.
So, what Shadow told Neb, way back in the day is that the world was made of eight elements. Water, Fire, Earth, Air, Night, Lightning, Master, and Dark-Light.
These elements were ruled by sentient gods and were also in our souls to determine our personality. We also had “spirit animals” as well, who shaped our base instincts in exchange for providing them with some sort of afterlife. (I’m sorry to the Native communities, I’ve since been calling it something else.) You could only have one animal, and up to three elements. Bi-elementalism was common. Mono-elementalism was rare. Tri-elementalism was rarer still.
Neb was a Night Spirit winged hound. Night Spirits were known to be deeply spiritual, creative, etc. Shadow was a Fire/Night/Master Spirit. For he was passionate, creative, and a scholar. Master was the stand-in for human intellect. It was later changed to ‘Mind,’ probably by my brain. It also changed Dark-Light to ‘Spectrum’ eventually.
The largest sin of this religion was betrayal, because of course it was. Selflessness was a virtue. Self-sacrifice was purifying and had great value.
The worshippers of these eight elemental gods were known as Chaotics or Chaotix, and they originated in Ancient Greece. He might’ve liked the look of the X and it could be yet another Sonic reference. Chaotix had Threads– a single chain of command between Mentors and Apprentices. Mentors were to protect their Apprentice with their life and enjoy a close, sibling-like relationship. A silver tribal ring was passed down every four years, and he gave his to me. His Mentor was his friend, Illusion. (I’d said in an earlier entry that Illusion’s name was Michael. But he never went by that. I’ve just recently remembered that he went by ‘Jay,’ which was either his middle name, or middle initial.) He also had a Mentor, who was originally from Japan and now lived here with her husband.
I’m decently certain that’s all Neb knew before Shadow died in 2004. The only ones in this entry that have legal birth certificates were April, Shadow, and I. (And Probably Illusion.)
Nebula obviously kept on practicing the religion, as a way to feel connected to him. She had loved him, and he had died by his own hand. This body had also been regularly molested at this time, so the combination of that may have been what started this. Though, my headmates may be determined never to let me know the “true” reason.
Then she met Illusion again in 2006. His mentor has a name now– Mirage. (This brain isn’t subtle.) Her mentor was Reflection. (Ugh.) Reflection’s mentor was Mirror. (Agh.) Shade (A bit better.) Darkness (Goddamnit) and Luminai. (You know what? Fine.) Darkness and Luminai lived in NYC while Mirage, Mirror, and Reflection lived in Columbus, Ohio. Shade used to live in NYC, but died before most knew of him. Illusion was the only one who resided in Marysville. Occasionally, Neb would catch a ride with Illusion and go to Mirage’s and Reflection’s apartment, and they would all hang out. Talk about religion, joke around. Neb’s high school friends told her that they saw Mirage and Reflection in a gas station once, and I’ll never know why.
Through the Thread, she learnt the eight elements and the universe in general came from Abyss. Abyss, (Which is ‘Chaos’ in Greek) was an empty void of a god. Think of when you mix all of the colours on the spectrum together and it comes out black. That’s essentially what this is. To create the universe, Abyss split itself into Eight elements.
Read that again.
It once was whole and then it split itself up into multiple parts to create eight other gods and that was how this universe began.
Then Neb discovered, through Mirage’s research, that the location of origin was not only “near Greece” but, more specifically, Atlantis. The Atlanteans were a race blessed with elemental abilities based on their spirit. They aged slowly and were a ruling power, Atlantis’ citizens had mastery over their particular elements, before they betrayed the Water god and murdered him. That’s why the island sank, and why the most painful of the common deaths is drowning.
I’m pretty certain constant bullying and being the victim of unfair social dynamics was the cause of this particularly bit of theology. This brain has suffered the sting of betrayal so many times that it made a religion out of it. Which, honestly, mood. But Chaotix being essentially human was part of our punishment. And we had to follow the rules so that we might become as powerful as the Atlanteans once were.
When Neb met April, April, too, had a pagan religion that her friends practiced. And a dear friend who died tragically too young. They also had elements and spirit beasts. The majority of friends resided in the capital of the state, Columbus. They called themselves the Methusilla. One of their elements was called Light-Dark.
I feel like she leaned over my shoulder and copied an assignment in class but changed just enough that she got by with it.
Neb’s dumbass, not realizing Jeannine was funneling this information to April, was like “Gee whizz, what a coinki-dink!”
Of course, April being an Aries, everything had to be a competition. She didn’t just have an elemental religion; herself and her groups of friends were vampires. Which is why she hissed like a cat at people in the high school hallway. Yep, she was one of those. She would constantly ridicule us for our humanity. Of course our human eyes would only see her hair as ginger instead of the auburn it so obviously was.
In 2009, a lot of Neb’s closest friend found fault with her in some way or another, and she spent quite a bit of time with April. They learned from each other, swapping anecdotes. When Illusion and Jake began to date, their circles seemed to expand.
Eventually, it expanded to include the Chaotix Water God, Luuwyl, who had awakened from one hundred years slumber. He was actually quite personable. Reminded me a lot of Illusion, only obviously more powerful. He looked around at all of us, who had really only theorized about the gods at this point, and said, ‘Oh shit these fuckers are human.’ (Not in those words.) And then, we changed.
All based on our element. Water Spirits dropped their body temperature and began have limited control of liquids around them. Earth Spirits’ skin and bones thickened, I wouldn’t stop glowing like a glowstick for three days because I couldn’t control my moonrush. (Luckily, humans couldn’t see it.) But hell, we were bonafide Chaotix, just like the Atlanteans used to be.
Sometimes my abilities seemed to work. Mostly when I was at one of these people’s houses. I could even transform into a crow! Somedays I felt human. I just had a strong feeling that my preternatural abilities wouldn’t be able to work if I tried them certain times, though it didn’t stop me from experimenting.
Soon after that, our Thread connected to another one that seemed mostly based in Toronto and England. (My dad’s side is English, our favourite spot to vacation was Toronto, ON, so the connection seemed reasonable.) Two of their Thread members in particular, named Sound and Calisto, had to stay at Illusion’s due to issues with their living situation.
Nebula took an immediate liking to Sound. Sound was essentially everything Neb wanted to be. Beautiful, androgynous, petite– had large silver eyes, black silky hair with a silver streak through it– bold, dramatic, witty, very comfortable in his sexuality, and very open about his mental illness. (He had schizophrenia.) He was absolutely full of extroverted antics. He’d also been trafficked as a child, and had plenty of gallows humour about it.
Neb loved him. They quickly became fast friends, as they both had an equal passion in Disney films as well as Rocky Horror Picture Show.
April’s friends visited Illusion’s shortly thereafter– basically to socially gather and party. JaK, Romeo, Yuu, and Kiro. They were essentially rip-offs of Cinema Bizarre– JaK looked exactly like Strify, pictured centre below, which I imagine was April’s conscious decision. And Sound fell head over heels for JaK. They were a match for each other. JaK was every bit as flamboyant and extroverted as Sound and they became an aggressively queer power couple.
JaK proposed to Sound in Notre Dame. Sound, having scorned the idea of marriage and family in almost a Wildean sort of way, was delighted. Their wedding was held at Neuschwanstein Castle on May 1st, 2010, and was the event of the decade. Neb attended, somehow without having had a passport. She remembers the plane ride. She showed up to school the following Monday exhausted with jetlag. I’m not sure if she ever left her home.
Sound, the self-declared moon god with his shooting star. They were the couple that everyone envied in the scale of their romantic gestures. Neb had adored watching Jake and Illusion’s romance blossom but this was something out of a fairytale. She hung onto every update, every sweet moment, every date.
She always dreamed of her ‘Moon and Star’ marriage. Sound was a hero to her for managing it. Instead, she found a black star. Or a black star found her. In the name of an Ancient Chaotix known as Vex.