On the small planet of Vellikka, the Vellich
have evolved in mostly blissful ignorance of the rest of the universe. Signs of races which have visited the planet long ago are explained away as a Place of Spirits
, and their focus is on community.
Identity and individuality is intrinsictly linked to their ability to do the work they've chosen for their community. As the Vellich is a hermaphroditic species, there is no concept of gender, and sexuality is considered fluid. Appearance too, is not linked to identity, in part because their skin naturally changes colour in order to maintain body temperature.
That doesn't mean that life is without its struggles though, for young Storylearner Callineff
understanding their place in the community and their limitations is still a hurdle they come up against daily.
Across the Universe
For several thousand years the Peacekeeper Alliance
has been growing in force, reach and influence. From the initial starting point of P'Ache Solar System
, they have worked with several solar systems to bring them under the umbrella, to the benefit of the Alliance.
Now that they have substantial control over this corner of the universe, they are on the look out for new opportunities and untapping potential value from previously unidentified sources.
Until this moment, Vellikka would have been beneath their notices, but in their hunt for new gains they stumble across a little planet which is home to a far less developed species but has some very interesting mineral deposits below the surface...
Why keep reading
This world is an exploration. It is a dive into several thought experiments, which have clashed together in my brain in a way which entertains me enough to want to write about them (and will hopefully be interesting to you!).
The first of these thought experiments is around what the world would be like if people weren't judged because of gender or sexuality. It seems to me that the human mind naturally likes to categorise things, and putting people into boxes based on innate things like gender and sexuality is symptomatic of that. It makes sense, therefore, that perhaps they are instead categorised based on what they can contribute to their community. This is where the second thought experiment comes in: what if you chose your job and for some reason continuing to do it is beyond you.
The next part of this story is quite personal. Last year I was going through a lot of things mentally, and my racing mind prevented me from being able to find very basic words. So what if your job was telling stories, and you forgot words?
Then, of course, there's the Peacekeepers.
They are an interesting group that I've played with around a little bit in other projects, but it felt... apt... to bring them in here. They are the polar opposite of the Vellich. They are focused on growth and ambition, and taking what they can. The perfect antagonist for the story I want to tell.
The Storyteller paused in their telling. To all it appeared to be nothing more than another Storyteller trick, a device used to encite excitement, frustration, eagerness to hear more. But this time the pause was too long. The Storyteller held none of the glee on their face that one would expect to see if such a device were being used.
Instead a flutter of nerves travelled across the Storyteller’s skin. “Forgive me,” they murmured, “I… I cannot find the word.”
Those who watched inhaled sharply. Couldn’t find the word? But that was the Storyteller’s gift, their chosen merit. They knew all of the words for they had studied them greatly and knew how to use them exactly as they intended.
Someone near the back laughed, thinking perhaps that it was a different type of Storyteller trick, one they had not come across before. But when the Storyteller did not smile back it became apparent that was not the case.
“I know it is in there, I can feel it at the edges. But I cannot grasp…” The Storyteller fell silent.
We pondered this a time.
The Storyteller had chosen this path. They chose to tell stories, to remember other’s stories, to repeat them, to enhance them, to teach us with their stories. To tell us stories about ourselves so that we may know ourselves. This was the Storyteller’s greatest gift to the world. They had chosen not to become a Bearer, to gift the world with children. Nor were they a Gifter or a Grifter, they neither inseminated other people nor bringing life from the soil around them. They chose not to Rule, for few would want such a title. They had chosen to tell stories, and that choice had led them here, to this moment, where they couldn’t find the word.