Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Fri 27 Dec - 13:03

Getting back up was something she had already gotten familiar with. It was necessary and even more so on a figurative level than on a literal one.

She followed her instructor when he decided that it was time that they move on. She did stumble a few times, but falling only once on her knees, and even then, she had already understood that her hands could help her not to fall flat on her face. She caught on quickly and unless "unnaturally" challenged, would walk almost normally, although all that time, she wished to revert back to her natural form.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Fri 27 Dec - 14:13

Once arrived at their destination, she stood before an archway that lead into a strange cavity unlike any she had ever seen. It was flawlesly straigth and inside, it went into several directions. It was too tight for the Lilian or Pithus form, only the homid form would be confortable in there. Her teacher gestured her in and closed the wall behind her.

She was now in a maze, thought she did not understand the concept. Over the next several days, she would be required to go through several different such mazes designed to sharpen and challenge her mind and her wits. It would force her to think, force her to discover logic and memory in the simplest most physical way possible. Something any Spider born could theoretically do. And those who could not, those who would simply walk around in circles trying the same paths over and over, would die of hunger. Filtering out the mentally weak from the ranks of the cunning Ananasi.

This would be her first real challenge: Walk, or die. A perfect opportunity to master doing so naturally.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Fri 27 Dec - 18:11

She looked at her instructor, hoping for more. She didn't understand. Was there food somewhere to be found? Was she required to track said food down? Was she sent in this "maze" while they locked the way she came in, and she was required to find the exit?

For the moment, since there was no concrete "goal", and saw only what seemed to her like a "normal territory" on which to hunt, except that it lacked food. Hence confusion.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Sat 28 Dec - 11:14

She had been released in a maze, doors shut behind her. She wasn't too pressed about getting out at first, not knowing this to be a challenge of any sort. She knew, however, that her instructor was trying to make her better, in all ways. So there was something to this place. She walked about the labyrinth realizing quickly it was meant to confuse the mind. She hadn't eaten since her last feast of spiders.

So she walked to get out of there. She started making maps (although alien ones to a human mind) in her mind, realizing sometimes she was walking in circles, an error she wouldn't make so many times.

But she didn't mind making mistakes, and didn't panic. This was the blessing of being both animal born and Damhan. She had uncanny patience. She would learn to walk at the same time as she would about memory and incredible data processing. This form's training made complete sense to her. All of this was meant to be in the human form.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Fri 3 Jan - 13:29

She walked down many short corridors and tried many paths. Her mind sharpening at each turn, learning to withhold more and more information. Without knowing it, she instinctively learned the mental concept called the "process of elimination". Victory soon was hers, when a draft of fresh air told her an exit had to be near. When she finally found it, she was faced with a problem. It was far too small for her to use it.

The room with the exit was larger; large enough for the humongous Pithus shape, in fact. But the exit was no more than a vertical crack in a wall about 4 inches wide that went from floor to ceiling.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Sat 4 Jan - 16:54

She looked at the opening, seeing how this would have been easy when she was smaller. Still, this was all she had for now.

She could be a human.
She could be half human, half spider.
She could be a huge spider.

Perhaps morphing back to what she used to be would be possible. So she shifted back to her huge form, since she had space for it, and it was also what seemed closest to her old self. She wasn't sure how to proceed, except for the fact that she needed to shrink. Her body reacted in a strange manner when she willed this upon herself, and as curious as she was, she went on with this odd feeling.

She suddenly broke into innumerable spiders, as if she was had liquefied herself, she crawled all over the ground. And all these small spiders that she had eaten; All these spiders were... Her. She seemed to be able to "see and feel" through a few of them, while the others followed blindly. She walked a while this way, needing to apprehend this odd feeling of being so many.

She walked around, on the floor and on the walls, when eventually, she crawled out of the crack easily, to then reform as the huge spider once outside, if at all possible. This is what seemed most comfortable to her.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Sat 11 Jan - 17:45

Her teacher was there. Waiting, still in his human shape. He gave her no congratulations or hints to let her know if she did well or not. He simply turned around and brought her to the next maze. This one was underground and far bigger. The patterns were much more complex, taking full advantage of the fact that she could stick to walls and adopt four distinct forms. This maze was designed to teach memory, longer patterns and what would later form the basics of Causality. To do so, it made use of simple associations such as a bigger room meant she needed to be in Pithus or Lillian to go though. She successfully got out within two hours.

By that time, she was already mentally and physically tired. The strain of the metamorphosis she had just gone through was taking its own toll, and her teacher knew this. Once she was out of the second maze, he took her where she could eat and rest. Asking too much from an exhausted mind that was just starting to expand could permanently damage it. It was also desired for her have time to think, absorb what she had learned and reflect on the meaning of all her new experiences. When he decided she was ready, he would fetch her again.

In the meantime, she was left at the edge of an unfamiliar jungle. Here, she could find natural comfort in a tree, build herself a web and go hunting.


Last edited by Admin on Fri 21 Feb - 13:32; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Tue 14 Jan - 17:31

She had been fed already, but weaving a web was easy and natural to her. She did this and found comfort in waiting in her newly built home. This is where she truly found peace and rest.

There, a humongous spider laid, having not fully understood yet what had unfolded before and inside her. She knew her instructor would come again, and although curious, rested well until that moment.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Fri 21 Feb - 13:40

It was only a couple of hours before her teacher came to her again just as night was beginning to fall. Another teacher, not of the Damhan, would have given his pupil the evening off. Not so this teacher. Patience was one thing, wasting time growing lazy and inefficient was another and the difference was critical to one such as he.

So it was that he was standing at the base of one of the gigantic trees now hosting her web. Never wasting even a movement, he kicked it only twice. Just enough that she could not fail to notice the quick movement and the resulting vibration. And there he stood, motionless and waiting.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Mon 24 Feb - 19:24

She was immediately on her legs, and knew that obedience was one of the most important things now. When the vibrations made way up to her, she rose and climbed down without hesitation.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Mon 12 May - 15:44

Her teacher stood there. Motionless. Once again, his demeanor made her understand that he was expecting something of her. She was now able to link ideas, and her memory was sharper. She remembered her first meeting with this man. How he had been expecting her to change shapes. He now stood in the human form, the weak form. But most importantly, the mental form. The one in which memory and learning came easiest. She took the same form, and knew as she did that she was right. This was confirmed when the man did not reprehend her.

Instead, he did something new. He moved his hand in a direction to her left and extended a finger downwards. This had to have a meaning, but not one she had learned before.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Wed 28 May - 20:18

It pointed downwards, but it also seemed to point a destination, which was the spot on the ground just to her left.

She decided the correct course of action would be to move on to this spot, which she did.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Sat 31 May - 12:51

The man did not harm her for any mistakes she might have made. And so, she knew again that she had been right. He bade her move here and there, in ever more complex ways. Teaching her both the basics of communication and implication. After a few simple displacements, he began to use two hands by indicating a destination as before with the first as well as lowering the other towards the ground at the same time. He held his second hand flat and level with the dirt.

This had to have a meaning as well.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Sat 31 May - 13:21

One hand was used to explain where to go. The other hand seemed to mean something else. The entire idea of hands "meaning" something was strange to her, but she had already understood how important for her survival it was to absorb knowledge immediately.

One hand was to the ground. So she would go to the ground was well. She transformed back into her Crawlerling form and walked to the indicated spot.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Tue 3 Jun - 19:57

Where half a dozen of her smaller selves brutally died under the foot of her instructor without warning. Whatever it was, she had done something wrong. The instructor returned his foot to its original position and, at best she could figure out with so many eyes looking everywhere, gave the same instruction again.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Tue 3 Jun - 20:47

She hardly knew what "expectations" meant, so this failure was not met with much frustration. The living spiders crawled back to where she first was, while the crushed ones, not quite dead, still moved their furry legs about, trying to emulate life, or perhaps trying to follow the rest of the group.

The spiders started crawled all over themselves, surmounting gravity, and in a dangling mass of movement, fused to adopt the human form again.

Komaci was now thinking. The time for being a spider was over. They had ordered her to take this form, to learn to think. She must have been wrong to transform back into many spiders. She should have stayed in the thinking form. The first hand indicated where she would have to walk to, that she had understood. But the other hand, flat and close to the ground, also had a meaning. Flat and close to the ground.

She wasn't used to thinking much at this point, and the very idea of crawling while in human form (being flat and close to the ground) made sense to her... even if this form wasn't the most adapted for this kind of activity.

So she crawled up to where she was asked to move to.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Sat 7 Jun - 17:01

Death did not come to any part of her being. She had understood the instruction, the exact, instruction and followed it. And so the lesson continued on with more signs and gestures. Giving her an ever increasing "vocabulary" of signs and actions such as climb, run, wait and jump. Though this, she learned how this new body functioned. It could do a lot of things she never ever thought off. Simple and sometimes confusing things like being to close her eyes. She did well for the most part, and was immediately slapped hard (but precisely once) for each of the slightest faults. There was no place, none at all, for interpretation and leniency.

This took much of the rest of the day and the evening at which point he left again to absorb what she had learned.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Sat 7 Jun - 20:54

She decided that knowledge was key here, and mastery of her own body and newly discovered functions was top priority.

This is why she decided that she would sleep in the human form tonight. She was safe here, or safer than in most places anyway, and thought it better to experience her first time sleeping in human form here than... elsewhere.

It was strange, since she knew not -how- to sleep in this form, and had to learn its most natural way to do so was lying down on the cold ground.

And so she did.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Sun 8 Jun - 10:51

All this new information, all these new concepts were in her mind as she tried to slumber. That, and cold hard ground made it difficult but exhaustion finally won ad she drifted slowly into the entirely new realm of... dreams. Not that dreams themselves were new, no, but they had never been more than fleeting images and quick flashing memories of tastes and sensations. Meaningless, ignored and forgotten the second she awoke.

Now, though, now her dreams somehow felt more immediate. They contained complex events and images that she could recognize, even attempt to make sense of.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Mon 9 Jun - 21:05

What could a young, spider-born, exhausted Damhàn dream about in her human form?

Simple things, really.

She rolled over mountains of fungi, carried across oceans of warm insect-like furry arms that loved her and made her feel safe and at home. She was a white orb, a single perfect eye, carried away by the whatever pushed her. She rolled, and bounced, and flew, and saw many things.

She saw other flying and bouncing orbs, stitching and knitting themselves together, becoming waves of foaming eyes under skies of watchful titanic spiders, spewing gentle thunder and reassuring quakes.

She ate small trees that tasted (quite a novelty) sweet and sour, and ate them over and over as if she had always done so. She felt like she would never lack energy and never required sleep (nor did she she think about such a thing), and dying was not a preoccupation.

This was release.
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Tue 10 Jun - 20:05

But sweet release was not to last. Her teacher returned with morning and tried to wake her up with two gentle taps of the foot on the tree where she was resting. She did not stir for her human body was not made to sense such feeble movement. This surprised the teacher though he did not show it in the slightest way. Looking up, he saw a woman in the tree where he expected a spider or a thousand ones.

"Good", he thought then yelled to wake her.

---

Over the course of the next few weeks, all of her days were spent with her trainer. She went through a labyrinth every day to keep her senses and her reasoning sharp in all forms. The homid would always be better at it, but with time, she increased her mental capacities in the others ones too. Crawlerling was by far the hardest. Just being in the form flooded her with far too much information to keep track and her small size limited her perceptions greatly.

Each day, she also learned more and more about communication. What had started with commands, was now sounds. She learned to recognize "There", "jump", "crawl", "sit", "crouch", "run" and "walk" because on the second day her teacher would say the words as he did the gestures to link the sound to the motion. On the third he would only pronounce the sounds. This was an astounding revelation in terms of efficiency as she found that she could understand some instructions without looking at her teacher as much, she only needed to see where he pointed.

On the fourth day, she learned her first words of vocabulary for "ground", "tree" and "branches" replaced the pointing finger, allowing audio only instructions, then came "low" and "high" and finally "Homid", "Lilian", "Pythus" and "Crawlerling". When the week ended, she could follow complex commands with barely any mistakes.

In the second week, she learned more words, words such as "sleep", when her instructor left for the night. She also learned about objects, such as "chair", "gun", "table", "human" and "Damhan". New commands were also introduced, like "protect", "kill" and "destroy".

Things continued on for months until she could understand almost everything her instructor said. Untill one day...

---

Her teacher came to her tree in the morning, as he had every day.

"Come down. In homid form." he ordered.

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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Thu 12 Jun - 12:17

These last months she had passed learning as much as she could.

Somehow, she understood that knowing as much as she possibly could would guarantee her survival. And knowing her human form (among other forms) better did not make her human in the least of ways. She pushed herself to the brink of death some days, because this was what testing was about. She did what her mentor told to, and eventually learned to "anticipate", which meant for her to train even while her master was gone. For her, there was no difference between physical, social or mental learning. This was about mastering her new self, and these things all needing honing in a way or another. This was a spider's vision of perfecting her new body, and it knew no human-minded concepts like "limits", or "fatigue". Like any animal-born, she pushed herself incessantly.

She learned how to move, since all forms did not have the same quantity of limbs, nor were they the same shape or had they the same strength.

She learned how to think, realizing how not all forms were adapted to do so. Some of them were more limited, while some other let the full potential of her mind develop. The crawlerling form required concentration and much training: being many was so different from being lone, but this needed to be mastered as well, for her survival.

She learned how to use her new weapons, seeing how she sometimes she was small, but overwhelming, and at other times, bigger than she had even been. She had reach, and strength, and speed. She tried to jump, climb, lift, or staying upside down as long as she could in Pythus form. She was testing her limits, and trying to understand where were her forms' flaws: she hardly saw any of her new skills and abilities as "qualities". This, to her, was the present. But she minded the flaws, and tried to build the perfect being out of herself. She knew not of many things to perfect, but she strived to understand her master, knowing this would be necessary to better serve, and to better survive. But in the tiny mind of a spider, to survive meant to be stronger, faster, and stealthier. She never forgot this, and made sure these skills would follow proportionally to her rapidly expanding mental acuity.

Speaking was impressive. This was cunning to her, and she liked how without moving limbs, she could understand and communicate with others. This would ensure survival, and perhaps even grant her an edge while hunting and skulking about.

The most important lesson she learned on her own was perhaps the most "human" of them all. Learning about her own energy, and therefore, limits: depending on forms, and on what kinf of activities she pursued, she required more or less rest afterwards, or required more or less food (and blood). She started learning how shifting forms was important in this regard, and how being as precise and strong was important. The more could do with the least of efforts was best. But the more she did something, the less it required effort or concentration. Repeating, again and again, was something she did not mind (she wasn't even aware that one could tire of repetition), seeing how rapidly, she could grow.

This was her new life, and she was going to make the most out of it.

When her mentor called out, she was already in homid form, jumping from a branch to another, reinforcing her limbs. She was already much at ease in homid form, and this was the form in which she had learned that physical training really meant much. She jumped down the tree with grace, landing on her feet, without a sound. She did not speak, for it had not been asked of her. She waited for the next part of her life.

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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Sat 14 Jun - 12:08

Her master was not alone. Another being was with him. With a glance, the spider knew this newcomer was just as important as her own teacher. That this person was more important than her in the eye of the Queen.

"You have learned the names of things. What things are. A tree, a Damhan, a Great Cat. You have also learned of the names of their temporary states. Prey, hunter, ally, enemy, teacher. Today, I have a another lesson in names for you. The name of a things' identity. This new kind of name allows you to refer to a specific thing even if it is the same thing as another."

He moved next to the newcomer.

"For example. Spider, me and her are both, Damhan, we are both your superiors and teachers. To you, we are the same. There is no name that you now know for you to refer to only one of us. That is the use of the identity. That is a name which is unique to a being and refers only to itself. My name is: Kwame. You may use it to refer to me. But you cannot use it to refer to her. Her name is: Amarachi."

"Do you understand? Prove it, by calling both of us, first myself, then her. Now."
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Seb on Sat 14 Jun - 13:15

This was brilliant. She pointed to her old teacher, first.

- You are Damhàn, male, teacher, and ally. You are superior in the Queen's consideration.

She pointed the other Ananasi.

- So are you. But you are not male, you are female. As am I.

She pointed back to her mentor.

- But only you are Kwame.

And back to the new spider.

- Only you are Amarachi.

Something strange but logical came to her mind. She innocently pointed herself.

- Do I have an only me name?
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Re: Part 1: Listening to the Cosmos

Post by Admin on Sat 14 Jun - 16:39

He teacher smiled, pleased.

"Only you can answer that, Spider". Said Amarachi before Kwame continued "That's right. There will be no teaching today. Tomorrow you will leave this place and to meet with the Queen. Where you will learn what it means to be Damhan. But before that, you will be introduced to the Damhan, there will be many new faces. And you will need to learn their names, their only them names, and they will need to learn yours. Your mission today, is to think on what you have learned, think about who you are, what makes you unique, what you have accomplished, what you can do in service to the queen. Think of all those things, and come up with a name that can only be you. This is your final test, which will prove that you are ready."

He let it sink in, then concluded "I will be here to answer any questions you may have to help you in this task. If you need to know a name you are not yet familiar with, let me know."

No longer needed, Amarachi left without a word.
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