World Without End

Spring 10, 501 ADV: Constable Phyllis Lenz composes a letter (in Common) that, at her nearest convenience, she sends through an opening to Apet created with the Wayfarer's Lantern. She addresses it to no one in particular: the equivalent of screaming into the vast, echoing void and hoping someone elsewhere will hear it.

To whoever it may concern,
to whoever this letter reaches through its journey in a star that both defines and defies time and space,
to, perhaps, another version of myself, younger, older, or just one that took a different route in their life,
or to some wayward stranger in a much distant time and place, past or future, who heeds my words and prepares accordingly:

I've extensively read and studied the works of Vlendam Heid. They recently came into great popularity in the region, but as messages get repeated and passed down over time, they become twisted, distorted, with a different trajectory than their author's original intent. I spoke about this with Heid himself, even — I don't suspect he expressly had 'the death of the author' in mind when he wrote about the inevitability of everything's end, but it's humorous to think about how well it fits.

This divergent line of thought corrupts Heid's original message of "prepare for the proper end of things" to instead mean "endings are the only thing that matters and this world's continued existence burns like anathema so we should dump it all in the cold void of apocalyptic negentropy and find our eternal peace in frozen stillness." At first I wanted to preach at these wayward souls, yelling my corrective instruction from the mountaintops and all through the streets, proclaiming that they had strayed from Heid's original intent, that it was a perversion of what he had meant, but upon reflection on what I believed, I discovered that

so had I.

I began writing this letter at Heid's personal behest to prepare for the worst, just in case things go awry in my line of work. It seems defeatist and demoralizing to think of making contingency plan upon contingency plan in case of failure. It's been said in strategic texts that the victorious set out to win, not even considering defeat a possible option.

That is precisely what I'm going to do here.

I've theorized on the existence of realities and narratives slightly different than the one I'm in, each with small variations at certain decision points. I may have decided to choose one tactic in combat, but in a different reality, I chose another, drastically changing the course of history. I showed mercy here, but they're deceased elsewhere. I might have remained in academia entirely, and someone else might even have my current post, and some other group may even be dealing with … ugh. With the receiving end of the plots and schemes that I'm dealing with today. I may have seemed eccentric recently, flipping series of coins and marking down the results. I may have been following similar lines of thought to those of a mathematician I had recently crossed paths with, but I believe these may serve as means of numerical identification for these variations.

My contingency does not rely on anything in this world. I take solace in the belief that if I fail here, I potentially succeeded elsewhere, and will continue on there. It's in this manner that I make peace with my end: by recognizing that it is only this small twig on a branch that terminates, not the tree that spans all possibilities. Out there, there is one glorious, shining, perfect timeline of the victory I have in mind, of a world of eternity and without apocalypse in stark contrast to the visions of my doomsaying brethren, and I will do everything in my power to make this one match it as closely as possible. No longer will I be subject to history, I will pen its narrative, impossibly grasping out to those other realities and jealously pulling pieces of them into my own.

If anyone out there receives this correspondence, if you're in some version of reality where a possible solution to my plight exists, please,

lend it to me.

Failing that, again, I take solace in knowing that somewhere, out there, I made the correct decisions all along, even if this iteration of myself failed to do so. This is how I choose to escape the decision paralysis I found myself in trying to heed Heid's advice — by stepping entirely outside of the framework that Heid proposed and seeing that this branch is only a small part of the full splendor of the tree as it is, and seeing that my mission is already complete elsewhere and elsewhen, of already seeing the branches of that World Without End gleaming and towering in the distance.

— Phyllis Lenz

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