Of The Reformation and Traipah
A Shao'Daan1 Yahgahn Tale
Updated in 3225 AD
(10 years after Priestess Zaen Fii'Ah'Zohl'Ah reformed the Shao'Bahn Order)
Note: Ah'Koi Bahnis and their deities are hermaphrodites, with both male and female genitals.
Thus, female pronouns are used here strictly for convenience.
~ ~ ~
One day, long ago, Shao'Kehn was meditating with Her consort Ahndahn on a pair of stones in the yard of the Onyx Castle, quite calmly, when a great commotion came from the main entrance to the cavern their castle was in. The noise startled the blonde Ahndahn out of Her meditation, and She looked, but nobody had entered yet. It did not sound to Her like a happy noise. Concerned, She got up and began to move toward the entrance, but paused and looked back. Behind Her, still sitting on the other rock, Shao-Kehn's own reaction to the noise was to slowly open Her back-lit amber eyes and calmly wait for whoever was there to enter; scarcely a single black hair on Her head moved out of place. Ahndahn stood quivering, unsure what to do.
Before She could decide, a group of people came in bearing another person on a stretcher. She recognized Jiijiinis and Alorno, the deities of health and healing. She also recognized Ohniahnis, Fwentwetii, Kohr'Vahnyoh, Twahvaygoh, and Ahgoi. She wondered why the deities of health and healing were there with the deities of plants, animals, planimals, ecology, and people, why they were there together, and why they were so agitated. But then She recognized Traipahnya, and it was Traipahnya who lay on the stretcher, looking pale enough to be dead.
“Shao'Kehn! Ahndahn!” Ohniahnis cried, running up to them ahead of the others, “You must help us! Traipahnya is dying!”
“Please explain,” said Shao'Kehn, who was standing beside Ahndahn now, having magically traded in Her simple white meditation robe with a dress made of water that rippled gently in some non-existent breeze.
“She's been ill for a long time, actually, but She recently got worse. Some kind of poison. I don't know... Ahgoi can tell You more. Ahgoi!”
Ahgoi came over as the others took Traipahnya up into the castle. “What is going on, Ahgoi?” asked Shao'Kehn.
“I'm afraid it's the people on Traipah. Two of the species there, the Ah'Koi Bahnis and the Duenicallo. They're polluting the planet with toxins and trash. They've been doing so for a little over 100 years already. Their factories and machines spew out chemicals that are killing Traipahnya and themselves.”
“Why not simply tell them what they're doing, and ask them to stop?”
“I tried that. Problem is, they know what they're doing. They're not even doing it on purpose, but they won't stop. They know what the pollution does. Most of them just don't believe that it's killing the planet. They think themselves divinely protected or some such nonsense. Besides which, even if they stopped right now, it's too late. The damage has been done already. Jiijiinis and Alorno tried to heal Her, but failed. Short of some miraculous cleaning up of the pollution, which they haven't the technology to pull off, Traipahnya will die. We've got some people speaking with other deities. Can either of You think of anything to help Traipahnya?”
“We'll do whatever we can,” Ahndahn and Shao'Kehn said simultaneously.
“For now, go have them put Her in one of the guest bedrooms,” Shao'Kehn said to Ohniahnis.
Ohniahnis went off to do just that. Ahndahn chewed Her lower lip and took Shao-Kehn's hand to stop Shao'Kehn from following.
“Shao'Kehn, My love?”
“If Jiijiinis and Alorno couldn't save Traipahnya, what hope do we have?”
Shao'Kehn held Her lover close in a comforting hug. “I do not know, Ahndahn. But we must have hope that we will think of something.”
“I guess so.”
“Don't worry. I'm sure we will succeed. Now come, let us join the others.”
Shao'Kehn and Ahndahn went inside and joined the others in the bedroom where Traipahnya lay, where they all got into a discussion about what to do. Before long, Grah'Bahn, Thurr, Morshenda, and several others joined them in their discussion. Their discussion lasted the rest of the day, all night, and well into the next day, with no breakthroughs. So they went into other bedrooms to sleep.
When they woke up the next morning, Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah – Deity of Speed and Flight – landed outside the castle and came in.
“Krainah and I got Your message,” Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah said. “My sister is unable to help, but I am here to help. I have no ideas, but if you need to look for ideas, I can get you around Creation very quickly to look for them.”
“Your assistance is appreciated, Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah. Thank You,” Shao'Kehn said, bowing.
And so it was that Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah helped them look for a cure for Traipahnya's illness. She ferried the others around Creation instantaneously to follow leads. But after several months of this, they were all growing despondent.
One day, Shao'Kehn wandered off to walk aimlessly while She thought about the problem. As She did, She stumbled back into the forested region where one of Her Aspects lived – the abode of Shao'Rahk, Queen of Filth. She lost Herself in thought while watching the one Aspect She'd had difficulty learning to love go about Her day of being absolutely disgusting. Literally dripping with only-Kohrainder-knew how many different kinds of slime and filth, Shao'Rahk was a difficult Aspect to spend time with, for She smelled so bad that a charnel house in the middle of a sewage pit would be a welcome respite.
This time, Shao'Rahk was eating scat left behind by the forest's animals. This was an odd thing to Shao'Kehn; She wondered why the animals would risk leaving their scat in the open like that. Shao'Rahk was a carrion eater, of course, but surely there were predators about. After some remote viewing and some thinking, Shao'Kehn realized that they were holding their waste in and coming here to the edge of Shao-Rahk's territory on purpose, so She could deal with their scat. This meant less work and worry for themselves than would doing their business in their own territory, because it left less of their scent for predators to find. And living so close to Shao'Rahk had to have other trade-offs, too. Predators tended to avoid Her territory, because She had such a pungent odor that it could be smelled for miles. And none of the other predators would want to tangle with Her, even if they could stand the smell, for so many bacteria grew on Shao'Rahk that a single bite or scratch from Her would lead to a ghastly and painful death by infection.
While Shao'Kehn watched Shao'Rahk eating animal shit, an idea came to Her mind. What if there were creatures on Traipah that could eat pollution? This would solve the immediate problem of preventing Traipahnya's death. Still, it didn't solve the larger problem of the people who were causing the problem to begin with. Who knew what fresh Hell they'd come up with later? Besides which, solving the problem so simply would lead them to believe that they could do whatever they wanted to do without consequence, which was not a good lesson to teach them.
There was always the possibility of causing evolution to go at an insanely heightened pace, to make the surface unlivable for the people that were native there. But that would cause them to go extinct. Theirs was a very old civilization that had a continuous history of worshiping knowledge and wisdom, though, even if they didn't always follow those wisdoms. They considered destroying books, libraries, art, and killing intellectuals or artists to be the highest sacrilege. For those reasons, Kusahnia was so fond of them that if they went extinct, She would be VERY upset with whoever was responsible. And Kusahnia was one of the most powerful beings Shao'Kehn knew, due to Kusahnia being all Knowledge, and Mother of Wisdom. So that was no good. But She thought She had the beginnings of a plan, so it was time to take the idea to the others.
Shao'Kehn stood up and called Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah. Within a second, they were gone. Shao'Rahk looked up at Their disappearance, briefly, then began to go back to Her meal.
They were all sitting at the main table in the dining room, a circular table made of Creation Onyx, having just heard Shao-Kehn's beginning of a plan.
“So basically, You are suggesting kicking evolution in the pants? And a side effect of this would be to make the surface unlivable for the native sentients?”
“Well, that's what I have so far. But yes, it would save Traipahnya, because at least some of the species would be able to eat any pollutants and make safe substances as excrement. I had originally thought to do just those kinds of creatures, but if it's true that these sentients know what they're doing and can't be bothered to care, that some kind of negative consequences are needed to get through to them to not be so careless again, or else we could be faced with the same situation again at a future date. Or worse, the next time Traipahnya might die before we can do anything about it.
“I've been catching up on the history of these people,” She continued, “and to be honest, I'm astonished Traipahnya is still alive, with all the things they've done. Splitting the atom and using that technology to create bombs, and to create power plants while not knowing what to do with the radioactive waste aside from burying it or dumping it in the ocean? Burning fossil fuels that have been causing global warming? Clearing away all native life forms from areas of the planet for mining of metals, fuels, and other substances? And they've since started going into outer space to collect asteroids because their planet does not have enough metal for their greed, even with their one good trait of being obsessive metal recyclers.
“No, these people are insane. They are wrecking the only planet they have. And they're getting very close to figuring out how to travel faster than light speed. We cannot let them spread to other planets, at least not until after they learn their lesson. I want to save them and teach them that lesson, but if it comes to a choice between them and Traipahnya, I will choose Traipahnya. And of higher priority even than that, is keeping them from spreading to other worlds.”
“Does anyone know how close to FTL they are?” asked Ahndahn.
Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah stood up. “I will see if my sibling can tell us.” She disappeared. They waited. Several minutes later, She came back.
“Well,” Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah said, “Krainah says they are only beginning to get into the math necessary for hyperspace travel. Hyperspace is nothing more than a vague possibility to them right now. Krainah peeked into all possible futures, and the best time for them to get it, barring first contact with a hyperspace-capable race, is 200 years.”
“Less than a generation, then,” Shao'Kehn said, looking worried.
“And how long does Traipahnya have?” asked Ahndahn.
Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah checked with Krainah, then returned, saying, “This plan to make pollution-eating creatures will take a minimum of 20 years to work. But in the first year, it will extend Her lifespan enough to give us the time we need. But we must begin this plan no later than 200 years from now.”
“I have an idea, then,” said Ahndahn.
“Let's hear it.”
“Well, Ahgoi... are there any people among them that are actually trying to stop this madness? Any sane ones among them at all?”
“Actually, there is a growing movement just like that, but they don't have the power to affect any changes yet. And like I said earlier, it's already too late for them to save Traipahnya.”
“That's okay,” Ahndahn said, “because they're not too late to save themselves. I shall warn them of our plan, and have them build many cities underground, and hoard as much knowledge as they can in that time. In 200 years, they should be ready to go underground and survive while the surface is in chaos. Things will eventually stabilize on the surface, and by then, they will hopefully have learned their lesson. Hopefully Kusahnia will be happy with this plan. Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah, will You fetch Her and Her children?”
Dochrahmahn Tu-Rah disappeared and came back bearing Kusahnia, Kusahnjijahn, and Kiinjohn. Shao'Kehn and Ahndahn went over the problem and the plan with Kusahnia and Her children. When that was done, They took a vote on the plan. Kusahnia and Her children were not pleased by the necessity of it, but They, too, voted in favor of it.
So voted for, the assembled Deities spent many weeks working out the rest of the details of the plan. Once the plan was all worked out, They set to work. Ahndahn started to gather people who knew what was going on, who had worked on trying to stop the insanity, and warned them that the surface would become unlivable in 200 years. She told them to build as many underground cities as they could, and told them that they would need ecologically-friendly power creation methods, underground farms for growing food, and underground livestock pens so that the predatory Duenicallo could have something to eat as well. This movement She was building was the early Yahgahn religion, even before Ahndahn's influence.
And so it was that the early Yahgahn religion, under Ahndahn's influence, changed from trying to save the world to trying to save civilization. They built thousands of underground cities around the planet, utilizing the latest in ecologically-friendly technology to build what they would need to survive.
As they did that, they also worked diligently to hoard as many copies of historical, technological, scientific, philosophical, and other writings and information in other formats to keep in the libraries of these cities. They were determined to hold onto every written work as they could, and even set up plans to steal and protect classic works of art once the chaos started to happen. This included lists, descriptions, and even photographs of art works when they could manage it. Alas, they did not end up rescuing everything, but they rescued most of it. A few more things would be found in the rubble, later.
Therefore, 200 years after getting Ahndahn's warning, the early Yahgahns, their families, and any friends they could convince to join them moved into these underground cities and waited. They did not wait long; in less than a week, Shao'Kehn came to Traipah and stood on a plain of ruined earth, destroyed by strip mining. She stood next to a pit of toxic water and glared. Then She focused on what little life existed in the area, from bacteria to simple worms, and focused on their DNA. She then used Her powers and changed them, setting them to work feeding on the pollution, and working on bringing life back to the area.
She went on a walk, from there, feeling out the planet's remaining life. Sickly plants, dying and nearly extinct animals, weak and dying planimals. She reached out with Her mind and gave new life to these creatures, making them hardier. She made insects and plants and planimals all but impossible to kill with even the most virulent pesticides and herbicides. She made plants and planimals that could eat pollution and grow before your very eyes, growing faster than even slashing and burning could deter. She made creatures that would eat the mortar between bricks or stones, bringing buildings – which contained no metal components on metal-poor Traipah – crumbling down. And She made many fearsome predators, both animal and planimal.
Millions of people died as Shao'Kehn set to work spreading the chaos of accelerated evolution about the surface. And as She did so, other Deities prevented anyone from escaping in ships. Those few people living in the asteroid belt to overlook the mining operations did not have the resources to remain in space, and would face the same chaos as everyone else, if they came back to the surface. Enough messages got out that most of the people in space died up there after running out of provisions.
Still, despite the chaos above, the early Yahgahns sent up teams to rescue as many people as they could. If they had not, millions more would have perished than did. Early Yahgahns and their rescue victims were composed not just of Ah'Koi Bahnis, either. Duenicallo were prominent as well. The early Yahgahns even rescued most of the technology-unfriendly Shaokennah, despite the Shaokennah still being upset about having been slaves less than 1000 years before.
And lo, for though Shao'Kehn was Goddess of Chaos, She wept for those who died. All of Her Aspects wept tears for every single person who died. All of the Deities wept.
The chaos finally died down after five years, when the Yahgahns finally stopped sending out rescue teams, because there was nobody else left on the surface to rescue. And so they closed their doors, and sealed them, and would not return to the surface again for another 1500 years.
Twenty years passed, after Shao'Kehn first got to work, and finally Traipahnya awoke again, alive and on the road to recovery. Within 100 years, She was healthy enough to leave the Onyx Castle and return home. Shao'Kehn and Ahndahn thought that was the end of it. They were wrong, but that is another tale.
~ ~ THE END ~ ~
1The Shao'Daan Order later split into the Daan Order and the Shao'Bahn Order.