Vigil Worlds

A Place of Learning

we sit in the dark waiting to reach our next destination. After making port in The Fever Breach, Fray took the reins. This has to be the fourth warp jump we've made. The waiting has me more than a little nervous.   We venture deeper into Eden space, though Fray isn't as forthcoming as I'd like concerning where.   They say, "You'll see. This is the last jump. We have just a few minutes more."   "Can you at least tell me what we're doing when we get there? I'm getting anxious."   Their face softens, barely illuminated by the red emergency lighting fretted along the cockpit. "You told me about your childhood, how you are a woman plucked from time by the will of some kind of monster."   "Nergal, yes. I was in cryo, but what does that have to do with anything?"   "Maybe nothing, but recent events have me wondering. I called in some favors and arranged passage."   "Passage?"   Fray sighs and shakes their head. "We're going to Daien."   "Daien? A system?"   "No," They reply. "It's a planet, the vigil I grew up on."   "I remember learning about eden space at the academy in case I ever needed to resupply. Why haven't I heard of it?"   "The system was left unnamed. You won't find it on any star chart. We tend to keep them hidden."   "Why?"   Before they answer, we drop from warp. The lights flicker on as the ship slowly restores its systems, one by one. Life support kicks in first, followed by communications, then engines.   They turn to me, and laugh as I rub my eyes. They're struggling to readjust to the burst of light. "I have an acquaintance who operates a clinic in orbit, one of the most sophisticated medical facilities the Lebha have ever built. I'm hoping they can help."   Fraeia activates the panoramic view. The tiles of the floor and ceiling rotate. The screens on the opposite side flicker on and the sight from outside leaves me breathless.   I'm staring at a planet, a continental world with vast oceans between equally vast masses of land. Clouds obstruct the surface but nothing can hide the vigil rings.   Along the equator and meridian of the planet are massive structures, vertical and horizontal rings that circle the entire planet. The rings rest on a set of pillars, rising just shy of 500 meters into the sky. What baffles me the most is how fast the planet is turning, and how it seems to slow the closer we get to it...
       
For the eden, a vigil is a test. Almost every member of their species will take at least one. A vigil is taken on a vigil world, a planet chosen and enhanced to challenge those who venture to its surface. Vigils are built to hone one of six distinct traits, traits that serve as the pillars of eden society.   Vigils are more than just places of learning. They are designed to shape you, to take the talented but raw mass of flesh and bone and mold it into something akin to perfection. What happens on the surface if a vigil is unclear. Each has its own rules, its own method of forging those deemed worthy enough to enter.   Taking a vigil is no simple task. You must be judged and deemed worthy. To step foot on such hallowed ground Is an honor but it's also a heavy burden. A vigil can be a lifelong endeavor. While anyone of any species can take a vigil, species with shorter life space aren't even considered. It'd be a waste of their precious life. Once you begin, it never ends. The only way off of a vigil world is to succeed or die trying.

Construction

Vigil worlds begin as either dead worlds terraformed to meet specifications, or habitable worlds lucky enough to meet the requirements. Meeting the requirements isn't enough, however. For a habitable world to be considered, it needs something special.   The requirements may be underwhelming for some. The candidate must have no signs of intelligent life, not even ruins. Vigil worlds must start out pure; untouched. They would rather transform a lifeless rock than consider a world tainted by others. The planet's climate, flora, and fauna are also factors in the process of selection.   Vigil worlds tend to be very dangerous. Their climates are hazardous, from literal acid rain, radiation, and plague to extremes in temperature. Worlds with particularly dangerous flora and fauna are highly valued and considered ideal. This is where similarities between vigils end.
     

A world outside of time

When a vigil is selected, construction on the vigil ring begins. Vigil rings are key, the secret sauce in what makes the eden so effective in literally everything they do. Their military, scientific community, and even their political organizations are the best because they found a way to cheat.   A vigil ring uses higgstech to bend gravitational forces in reverse. The greater the gravity, the slower time passes for those inside the gravity well. Higgstech can reverse this process, a peak instead of a dip in space-time. Time bends, stretches to a halt outside of the ring's influence. Once inside, you have all the time you need. Years go by on the surface in what appears to be a matter of weeks For those outside.   How they do it, like most things concerning the lebha, is beyond our understanding of science. It shouldn't be possible. The Eden themselves fail to understand how it works, the technology created long ago. They have the schematics, the blueprints for a megastructure given to them by their gods, but the science is long gone.

Vigil?

It's not a mistranslation. This is the appropriate name but it's weird. What are they meant to be vigilant of? Is it referring to those who watch applicants and determine if they succeed? Neither of these are correct.   The name is a holdover from the eden's history, and the reason is lost to time. However, it's clear the name was deliberate and those who succeed are meant to be vigilant of something outside of the vigil, as opposed to the vigil world itself.   It's as if vigil worlds were initially created to prepare for an arrival, an eventuality that couldn't be avoided. This checks out given recent events. The ancestors of the Lebha built the thought graves, each refusing to fight as they wait for 'a foe worthy of war.' Maybe the lebhni took the hint and chose to prepare as well...

The six vigils

There are six different vigils one can take, each focused on teaching and testing a different trait deemed valuable to Eden society.

War

The vigil of war is required for any position in the military. They have the most diverse climates, the surface carefully sculpted to produce a myriad of distinct biomes, each just as dangerous and extreme as the others. It's a planet stuck in a constant state of war. Everyone on the surface is a combatant, another enemy to overcome.   Despite the danger, a vigil of war is considered the safest vigil to take. Those who do technically never step foot on the battlefield. They use clones operated through some form of transference, their consciousness given control.

Body

Taken by scouts, soldiers seeking advancement, and chroniclers, the vigil of body is designed to build and challenge your resistance to exposure. These are the most dangerous planet's the eden can find, each a unique level of hell. While all vigil worlds are dangerous, vigils of body are unique.   Imagine trying to survive on a gas giant, or seeking shelter on a planet where it rains glass and diamonds. You do this while desperately seeking one of a thousand sources of oxygen placed for you. The oxygen is limited and everyone else is trying to do the same.

Mind

The vigil of mind is considered mild compared to some of the other vigils. While still dangerous, it focuses more on instilling knowledge rather than experience. The whole planet is treated like a university. Scientists, diplomats, engineers, and more are all expected to take this vigil.   The vigil of mind is the hardest for other species to take. The eden can sort through mountains of data and calculation in their head, while I'm still using my fingers to keep track as I count. There's no higher honor though. When someone of another species completes a vigil of mind, they will have the undying respect of the entire lebhan species

Soul

The vigil of soul or spirit is the hardest to actually explain. It is reserved only for those who aim to become chroniclers, a highly specialized and prestigious position in the eden military. From what I understand, it's a mixture of theological study, soul searching/self reflection, and profound spiritual experience.   Those who take this vigil will never be the same, even if they fail. It's forbidden to reveal what the vigil entails. Anyone you ask speaks in riddles, dropping hints that only those who've taken the vigil would catch. One thing I can say is these vigils are the most empty. Few even try to become chroniclers. Doing so leads to a time of isolation. It can feel like you have an entire planet to yourself.

Leadership

The last vigil is that of leadership, and is reserved solely for those who have both achieved Somnihein and seek out positions of leadership such as politics, specific military officer positions, and of curse The black wardens. I'll get to them in a few.   It's the shortest and easiest vigil to take. That's okay, life after will be harder than most. This vigil is taken by those who aim to take multiple vigils to meet specifications for their desired position and it's focused on teaching poise, restraint, discipline and other traits considered essential for leadership roles.

Service

The vigil of service is for those who either lack ambition or those who are comfortable with a simple life. Not everyone wants to wage war. Not everyone wants to lead or spend their days cooped up in a lab. Some wish to spend their lives turning the gears that make it all possible.   The vigil of service is for those who want to learn a trade. Those who complete it take this knowledge planetside. While neophytes handle most of the jobs outside of the military, if the job requires training and experience, it will require completion of this vigil.
 
 

The Black Wardens

Eden wardens have one of the most challenging jobs in Eden society. When a vigil is first constructed, it needs testing. The first generation of those who complete the vigil will gain the title and spend their entire lives on that vigil, teaching the next generation thereafter. It is a black wardens job to determine just what qualifies as completing the vigil in the first place.   A black warden is dedicated to the vigil they operate. They oversee the health of the planet, populations of its flora and fauna, and ultimately judge whether one has successfully completed the vigil. Despite their name, they wear an alarming shade of white, their armor easy to spot anywhere on the vigil. Becoming a black warden requires certification from another black warden. New vigils will enlist those from similar worlds and have them observe the first generation as they attempt the vigil.   Black wardens have mastered the planet they inhabit, how else could they have survived as long as they have. Their numbers vary, but there are rarely more than a handful per vigil world. This makes them valuable and they have a lot of influence in the selection of applicants seeking to take their vigil.

Comments

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13 Feb, 2022 21:10

The vigils sound interesting... but to look at them, not to do them, I would die the first second xD

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Master Monkos
Andrew Booth
18 Feb, 2022 08:08

There's a subtle poeticism in the naming of the Lebhni and the Lebhna, which I've only really picked up on in this article. "Those that were" is a lovely way to describe it. And I love hearing more about the Vigil Worlds - any chance Amber and Fraeia might be meeting one of those Black Wardens soon?

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Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
30 Apr, 2022 07:27

Oooh rad to see more megastructures here, and time altering ones no less! I really like the touches with language oddities— like vigil being a holdover, or the black wardens not actually wearing black.   Hold up the Eden have straight up Warframes? You can't just sneak that one by me I AM WATCHING.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
30 Apr, 2022 15:31

Ohhhh transference... i understand now. Nice call but not quite. The warframe reference comes a little later. I was spooked for a moment there. XD these clones would be virtually identical to the person that inhabits them as opposed to a war form that can be controlled. Thanks for that. I probably should have specified. It offers a way of learning from death without dying. More dark souls than warframe. Dont worry though. It's coming. Lol.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
30 Apr, 2022 19:02

Haha I understood, I just had to make the mention especially when you used that word. Keeping my eyes peeled!

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