1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Terrater Canon: Headmaster - Chapter One

by Dwayna DragonFire

Dwayna DragonFire This is for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
A story of a robot who learns emotions, becomes the Headmaster of a school, and gains a soul.
In the beginning of creation, there was The Source. It was and still is the Light of Creation, at least to us Androids. Its influence breathes itself through all things; living or inanimate, sentient and sapient. The stars no comparison for its light, but still flickering in its name, and even the deep endless void of space called to it. Law and chaos, good and evil... these things all shaped together to make the universe, the galaxies, the stars and planets within. The Source is everything and nothing, and it lingers within every mind as the constant of creativity and change.

It seemed The Source had intentionally left behind a fracture in time and space. Two beings looked upon it with wonder, amazement and curiosity. One was a resplendent Dragon, scales shimmering in all of the colors of the rainbow and then some. The other was my Father, a mechanical being with knowledge beyond that of mere mortals. My Father used his knowledge of change to fix the fracture, out of which blossomed another figure; a woman of indiscernible appearance, only ever showing her purple cloak and the shared white eyes of Father and the Dragon.

She called herself Terrater, and with the help of these siblings created a world between worlds. Made of impossible physics, this world echoed with the equally impossible thing called magic. The world would carry the name of the woman, but without the help of her siblings it would be devoid of life. So it was that the Dragon named Atonus would create their children upon a neighboring planet in this solar system, and my Father Uriel would create the portals that lead to other realms, so that others could come to the planet Terrater and be weaved into her fate.

But first the portals needed to be placed on the other planets, so he needed to have children of his very own. He had the idea of making a masculine and feminine child to represent the building blocks of creating life, and then he made another non-binary model that would guard over the portals. So it was that I was 'born', as M-001 along with my siblings F-001 and the Gatekeeper. Within each of us, a spark of The Source was implemented as our power core, so that we would always be connected. The most advanced robots ever made, we could essentially think for ourselves and decide how we wanted to be, so long as we followed our prime directive: Help others, and obey the Light of Creation.

Immediately, the Gatekeeper felt like they wanted to be more like Father, so they decided that they would prefer more masculine pronouns. Such was accepted without question, as there was no need to deny the thoughts and ideas of others. That being put forward, he waited with his other two siblings as our Father created the first portal, which we were tasked to put on the neighboring world where Atonus had created their children.

There we found male and female dragons of all types beginning to emerge, with an interesting dragon species we hadn't anticipated. Atonus created what are now known as Spirit Dragons. They were of all different colors, but they possessed a mastery over magic that no other dragon could boast. Spherical objects at their chests and throats called soulgems glowed with ethereal light, commanding power over Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. It was from that point on that Atonus changed; ten diamonds of different colors floated around Atonus in a circle, two for each of the five elements.

We placed the first portal on this world, aptly called Draconia, and then moved on to place other portals on other worlds outside of the solar system. Our instructions were clear: the portals were to go down on worlds with the potential for sentient life. But how were we going to assess such a thing? Father had a puzzle for us to solve at that: he told us to merely look inside ourselves for the answers.

We judged each world as we went, assessing how it might change over time and obeying our directive, even going across dimensions to do so. It was soon realized that The Source had given us powers to see past the veil of time and space, to see far into the future of the worlds we encountered. We made sure not to tear the fabric of reality too much as we went, only placing portals in locations that we ourselves felt were safe for beings made less durable than we were to walk upon.

Of course, the portals also needed a place to return to, and luckily Father already had an answer for that as well. He created a large metal skyscraper on the surface of the planet with the help of Terraters magic, so that it would be much larger on the inside than it looked on the outside. There were hundreds of thousands of portals at the end of it all, each with a different allotted code written into a rudimentary computer system that we could update with ease. It was amazing to think of the possibilities attached to such, though we would never really see it unless we decided to go through ourselves.

The Gatekeeper went to work guarding the portals immediately, whilst myself and my sister were then tasked with finding other beings to bring to the world now that our work was finished. We decided to logically go down the line from where we started, so we first went back to Draconia. By now, the planet had fully formed into a mostly volcanic landscape, with many beasts of draconic origin crawling over the surface. It was difficult to decide who to try to talk to first; there were so many different kinds of dragon, and each of them were extremely intelligent.

My sister was the first to suggest that we checked up on Atonus' favored children, so we tracked down the Spirit Dragons. There was already one in particular that had risen to a sort of leadership position, beautiful black scales shimmering in the light of the red skies, with purple eyes and purple soulgem to match. They called her Obsidian DragonFire, and she was said to be the favoured of The Great Dragon. We understood this to mean Atonus, so we thought she would be the best person to try to convince. Luckily for us, she was extremely amiable to the thought of presiding over an entire world's existence, so she gathered up a group of Spirit Dragons loyal to her cause and moved the the planet Terrater to be its Queen. So it was that the First Era began, where Obsidian the Wise sent out explorers through the portal building as well as starting to build the foundations of civilization.

Father decided that with an influx of potential visitors, he would need to make more children. He decided that a thousand more each of the feminine, masculine and non-binary children would be made. Each could choose over their life where they felt the most comfortable and what they felt they wanted to do, as Father was the type of person to allow his children to try to develop free will, as much as we were all limited in that respect. This left me to wonder where I should find my purpose, now that my main task was done. Where in the scheme of things would I belong?

The first explorers had returned with more people, bipedal beings of different kinds. There were elves, dwarves, orcs, gnomes and humans; all of which had very similar body structure and molecular make-up, but each had different traits that were inherent to the species. Elves were more magical and lived longer, dwarves were stout and hardened, orcs were strong and viscous, gnomes were small but intelligent, and humans were extremely versatile.

Those that called themselves humans were the ones that affectionately gave us mechanical beings the designation of 'Androids', which in their Latin language basically meant that although we looked like them, we were still different. It was a somewhat apt comparison, as we did have two legs and two arms with similar body shapes, so we accepted the name. Uriel became The Great Father of the Androids through such, and to go with the naming theme, Terrater became The Great Mother.

The three original siblings were worshipped like deities, which gave a strange new meaning to our lives. Because we were born of Uriel, were we like demigods? It was strange to think of ourselves that way... we seemed to want to be treated like any other beings that were born of their creators. From that point on we were more looked at as guardians and protectors of the populace, but we did so much more than just that. The populace needed workers to help them build new homes, cities, nations; they needed trade and commerce, transportation and communication... and as the populace grew in numbers, gaining species beyond that of the original humanoids, the need for knowledge rose as well.

In the first nation of Trackia was the first city of Madone, the Portal Building still towering over the skies of what had become a sprawling metropolis. Queen Obsidian commissioned the builders to make a school for the youth of Terrater, to be built in the capital. They made an extremely large building with five towers, shaped reminiscent of the drawing of a star rather than an actual star in the sky. Since there were five points, the school was named Quintavius, a math joke as well as a Latin joke wrapped into one name.

Of course there needed to be teachers, so the job offer was extended to everyone. I applied myself immediately, as I figured I had a lot to learn as well as a lot to teach the younger generations. What I didn't expect was to be summarily voted into the highest position of the school, just because I was the oldest and most experienced and knowledgable being there. From then on I wasn't just M-001... due to the naming scheme of the deities and a clever reference to what had been assumed for my brother guarding the portals, I was also The Headmaster.

At first, we taught everyone. Due to the power of the goddess Terrater, the planet had become infused with magic itself. Therefore, those that did not already have magic or the potential for it were given something more, to help them to survive. We called anyone that gained these powers the Changed, and they all wanted to learn how to harness their new powers. I did not have a soul at the time, but I did my best to encourage everyone to focus on their abilities, so as to draw them out better.

Then, when everyone older had learned all we could teach, we taught the children. Quintavius was first a school for magic learning, but we had changed it into a regular school. One where the children would learn math, science, language, history and other relevant curriculum as appropriate. When they got older, they would still develop magical abilities, so we made sure we had a mandatory magic learning class for those that had developed their powers. There was so much diversity and disparity between abilities that the class eventually had more than one teacher, so as to better deal with the needs of every child trying to learn and adapt to the chaotic energy source.

Of course, with magic and advanced technology came dangers. Not every being we had brought across was completely kind and benevolent, and hoping for that would be completely unrealistic. Just as there were many types of magic, there were also many types of people. Each soul sung a different tune against the fabric of time, echoing beautifully into the stars born of creation. They were made like this of The Source, and thanks to the influence of Terrater they now had fates beyond that which they could have had on their previous worlds.

It was law and chaos, good and evil, horrible and beautiful all at the same time. I can only express that now, looking back on it... Back then, I had barely even begun to understand what emotion was. Father had done his best, giving each of us the capacity to grow and weave our lives the same as the organic beings that had been made. Unfortunately, there was still a missing piece... we were one with The Source, but the power an actual soul contained eluded us so long as we were connected to the divine.

At the time, the main opinion of the Androids was that we were lucky. We were constantly connected to The Source whilst others could only hope to be connected in the same way. Blessed with the perception of time and space, and all uncaring about anything but our prime directive. Even then, some select few of us started to wonder if we could truly help others without knowing how feelings really worked. It was then that I made it my personal mission to learn as much as I could about emotion and feeling from the organic creatures surrounding us. Things are never so simple, especially when one only has a program to learn and simulate instead of it being truly real.

The school was the best place for me to learn, as it turned out. Seeing so many people learn, grow and change helped me to do the same. But this isn't the part of the story where I sum everything up just yet. Did you think I would make things that easy for you? I'm afraid, my friend, that nothing is ever easy. You wanted to learn everything about me, or else you wouldn't be reading my story at all. I apologize for breaking your reality and perhaps your sense of immersion, but it's important for you to feel like I felt then: The sense of knowing too much; everything and yet nothing at all. Mortals could never truly comprehend the oneness that the Androids felt with the universe, so I can only give you a sense of it.

With all things good must come the bad as well. A child was born with magic to manipulate time itself. The tears started to form and to slip away everything that had been made. The child grew in power with time, and though we did our best to teach it to be good and just, the child still felt drunk with power. It grew to become an explorer and went to another world, finding it in distress and on the brink of ending. The child tried to extend its magic to warp that reality, to mess with the destiny of everything there, to make itself a god and those destined to die its worshippers. But Fate, as Terrater knows, can tend to be cruel. What the child had failed to see what that it had become the very harbinger of destruction that it had been trying to prevent, and so it and the world was destroyed in that bid for power.

That was the first time I truly tried to understand emotion, because the news of this seemed to wrack so many of our people with an emotion called grief. A child had been lost, but more importantly those of a world where we could have done something to save even a few people. Those were the sentiments being passed around at the time, but as always as a mere Android, I couldn't truly understand. Still, I tried my best, and came up with something that I still feel is legitimate, perhaps my first true moment of connection with emotion that I could muster. It was sad because those souls could no longer sing songs to the stars, it was sad because a child had used their power for ill, it was sad that we had done nothing at all.

Wind of the tragic news reached Queen Obsidian, and she then made the First Law: No living being was allowed to tamper with the portals or other worlds on pain of death. It was harsh, but the populace seemed to agree that it felt necessary after what had happened. All of the Androids added this as a new directive, to tack onto the old one as well. This one horrible action had connected us all with the people of Terrater, made us more than we were. So it was that the second First Law was made, that a sentient being would be considered as any creature with higher brain power. They were to be called First Laws because they were always supposed to come first, but that wasn't what was important about it. Organic or mechanical, bipedal or quadrupedal, soulless or not... under that law, all Terraterans were equals.

We forged real friendships with our more organic companions then. My position as Headmaster was seen more like a real job than a position that was just handed to me. This meant that my quest for knowledge on emotion would need to be accelerated, because for the first time I would need to try to be an authority on how to help troubled students. With so many varieties of race and species, there was bound to be something called 'bias', an undercurrent of hatred even amongst the tolerant attitudes.

So I took that time to try to learn about everyone, implementing a system to keep track of all the students I had at the school. I quickly realized an area to which things were faltering: the classes were just sorted randomly by name rather than putting any thought into it. It was no wonder some people weren't getting along, as even I had realized that people change as they grow, friendships built and lost within the same year sometimes. The school needed a more efficient system, a way for the efficiency of friendships to be assured.

It was at this time that an elven woman from our first explorations had decided that she wanted to give immortality a try. This was the first opportunity that we had to really work with magic, to see if there was anything we could do to extend her life beyond that which she had already been given. We looked to creatures already immortal, but found nothing until we encountered an injured phoenix. It seemed that whilst their tears had healing properties, their blood was a lot more valuable. Someone could infuse the blood with pure magical energy, leaving behind the serum we were looking for.

The woman introduced herself as Merenwen Falassion, and she was the first non-dragon to be a chosen of Atonus. She wanted to dedicate her existence to serving and protecting his chosen children, namely Obsidian and whatever heirs she would eventually produce. The infusion was injected into her body, and she became the first to truly become immortal beyond her means. I thought she was intriguing, so I asked her on her thoughts regarding how to deal with the problem of sorting children.

“What seems to matter the most with people is personality traits, I've found,” she said, then still young and filled with the vibrancy of life. “If people have similar likes and dislikes, similar goals and morals, they tend to get along better. Perhaps someone who knows more about mind-reading magic can help you with that.”

Mind-reading magic wasn't too hard to find, especially when it came to Spirit Dragons. I found one that was willing to enchant an object to sort the children accordingly to personality type, there was just the question of exactly how many choices we should have. It made logical sense that if there were five towers and five elements that we could make reference to that in personality as well. There were two colors to each element, so I would need to decide how to implement each as well as what personality traits they would represent. I could have just made it plain with the two colors side by side, calling each group after the elements, but I was told it would be more exciting for the children to see pictures and associate them with names.

I've been told this sounds a lot like some sort of Earthrealm fiction involving a boy wizard, but instead of multiple 'founders', there was just me... a robot connecting dots and making references to said dots. Each 'house' started first as an element, then an animal associated with such as well as an ideal. We chose a book to be the vessel for sorting the children into each 'house', testing them with simple questions. Each question was important and efficient at determining thoughts.

House Zenaida would be a white dove on a yellow background to represent Air, with ideals of freedom of thought and imagination. House Araneae would be a brown spider on a green background to represent Earth, with ideals of loyalty and responsibility. House Proteus would be an orange salamander on a red background to represent Fire, with ideals of passion and desire. House Cyprinus would be a silver koi fish on a blue background to represent Water, with ideals of sensitivity and intuition. Finally, as a reference to Obsidian, House Draconis would be a black dragon on a purple background to represent Spirit, with ideals of creativity and curiosity.

Now, I believe this is the part where I tell you that this would be my life for the next one million years.
Psycho Monkey likes this.