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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Path of Ț’Ril

Trillius Prime
5+ Years Ago
1 likes 1224 views

Four years prior to Heriah’s joining with the Rex symbiont…

The Alle’Ke’Zonda’er monk opened the door before Heriah and said, “The High Priest will see you now.”

It had been a month of intense study and reading and philosophy and religious teaching and living the life of the Alle’Ke’Zonda’er before Heriah was given her few moments to speak with the High Priest.

The Alle’Ke’Zonda’er were, in fact, Trill. The vast majority of them were a subspecies of the Trill, spotless and with a pronounced brow line on the forehead. Still, they were Trill all the same. They had originally taken the ancient name Ț’Ril, but seeing that as being the name of their goddess deity, they went with the, much harder to pronounce, Alle’Ke’Zonda’er.

Heriah Khatain went there on a field study trip for her socio-philosophical studies class at a university on Trillius Prime. She wanted to better understand that religion surrounding Ț’Ril and what better way to get answers than to speak with the High Priest, but there was no better way to speak to him without spending a month of diving into the faith.

Finally, Heriah’s moment had come and, though she was filled with religious knowledge, she had even more questions then than she had ever had before.

“Heriah Khatain,” announced one of the monks as she entered. The doors were closed behind her, their closing echoed off the tall walls and the high ceiling. The room was dark, save for five lit areas, four of which monks were kneeling in the light. The fifth was occupied by the High Priest, likewise kneeling. In the middle was another lit spot along the floor, meant for the one seeking answers; Heriah.

“Come, young one,” said the High Priest. “Join us.”

Heriah arrived at her location and knelt down.

“Please sit comfortably if you desire. We do not judge here.”

Heriah remained in a kneeling position, both knees pressed upon the floor. “This is how I desire,” her voice echoed and she nearly wanted to withdraw. There was no hiding her voice. Even a mere whisper could be clearly heard by the other five.

“So be it,” said the High Priest. “You come to us with questions.”

“I do. I…”

“…am from the university. Here on a class assignment. You arrived with a list of questions you wanted answers to, but now…”

“…but now,” she repeated. “Now, I have different questions. More questions.”

“Without the time to learn the answers to them all,” he finished.

“It is written, in the Codex of Ț’Ril, that it can take a lifetime or more to learn.”

The High Priest smiled. “And the next verse?”

“It can also take a lifetime or more to learn that it did not need to take a lifetime or more to learn.”

“But merely a moment,” he finished. “Only one moment of clear understanding.”

“What is it,” she began, “that will take a lifetime or more to know that it did not have to take a lifetime or more to know?”

“You seek the identity of the final secret of the Alle’Ke’Zonda’er. That knowledge is not for you to have right now, young one. Perhaps, in a lifetime or more, you will come to understand. You will realize you knew it already and all along.”

Heriah almost gave a singular chuckle as she asked, “Can I have a hint?”

The High Priest did find that funny but answered, “No, I cannot provide you with a hint to what you most likely already know.” The High Priest sat there, kneeling, with his eyes closed and head back as though in a deep meditation. “I do have something for you however. It seems Ț’Ril wants me to tell you that there is something hidden from you.”

“Hidden?” Heriah looked around at the other four monks who showed no response. They were only observing and learning themselves.

“Yes,” returned the High Priest. “Hidden information that defines who you are. Hidden from you by someone close to you.”

Heriah mentally listed off those she counted as close to her. The list was long. “Can I figure out who and…”

“Only when you declothe yourself will you be aware of this knowledge.”

Heriah pondered his words a brief second. Already thinking she had interpreted his word incorrectly, she reached for her shirt. “You mean…?”

“Oh no!” said the High Priest and he laughed at the misinterpretation. He even stretched out a hand to ensure Heriah did not actually declothe herself before them. “Ț’Ril means for you to be declothed of what you armor yourself with.”

“Armor? I…”

“The armor of knowledge and education. That which you know to be true and fact. You defend yourself against anyone who would naysay against something you know to be true, right?”

“Well sometimes people need to be corrected.”

The High Priest was shaking his head. “Do not do that. Instead, declothe yourself of what your armor yourself with. Rid yourself of your knowledge and education. Remove what hinders you from complete understanding and the knowledge that defines who you are, Heriah Khatain, will avail itself.”

Yes, she had gotten that idea many times in her reading of the codex. But to hear it repeated to her aloud, and by the High Priest, it took on another level of meaning and importance. “I…do not know how to do that.”

“No, you do not,” he replied. “But…oh what is it that Earth religion says?”

“There are many Earth religions,” returned a monk. Heriah turned to see who.

The High Priest shrugged and pointed about the other monks. “Someone help me out. It says that…oh yeah…This will come like a thief in the night.”

“A…thief…in the…”

“You will not be prepared, young one,” the High Priest spoke up. “And Ț’Ril also wants you to know that there will be great suffering, a terrible trial and tribulation. Only those that you surround yourself with who know and love you will be able to help you survive what is to come.”

“You’re joking, right?” she asked, wondering if there was to be a life-threatening event in her life. “Ț’Ril is really telling you all that?” Heriah’s voice took on a somber yet unbelieving tone. Even the other four monks stirred slightly at her outburst. “You are telling me that I need to keep people around me at all times who know and love me, because, without them, I will be in grave danger?”

“No,” the High Priest smiled. “Ț’Ril is saying that, without them, you are completely safe.”

In the past month, Heriah had been exposed to many riddles and much scripture that seemed impossible to understand, yet elementary at the same time. In this case, she gathered that reclusing herself would keep her safe but the defining knowledge she sought would never come to her and that surrounding herself with people who would know and love her would be paramount to her survival when the knowledge came to her like a thief in the night.

Though Heriah felt she understood his meaning, she also felt that, “I do not fully understand your meaning.”

“Such is life,” he said.

“And you call yourselves Alle’Ke’Zonda’er,” to which the High Priest nodded, “which means…please bear with me…They who have been made completely righteous by their own doing, right here and now and forevermore.”

The High Priest nodded with a somber smile.

“And are you completely righteous,” she asked him.

The High Priest looked upon her and finally gave words to his glare. “Ask your inquiry in another way.”

“High Priest,” Heriah began, “are you Alle’Ke’Zonda’er?”

The High Priest looked to his left. “Yiran,” he called out, “are you Alle’Ke’Zonda’er?”

“I try, High Priest,” was the response.

“Landor,” to this right, “are you Alle’Ke’Zonda’er?”

“I try, High Priest,” was the response.

The High Priest looked back at Heriah, nodded and motioned with his hands.

Heriah understood his desire for her to repeat her question. “High Priest, are you…”

“’I try’ is the only answer you should ever receive. For if someone who has not tasted death were to say they are Alle’Ke’Zonda’er, know that they cannot know this. They are deluding themselves. Trying to be Alle’Ke’Zonda’er is the best we can do.”

“I understand High Priest.”

“And I doubt that.” The chamber grew quiet as he and Heriah shared a stare. “I understand you seek military service.”

Heriah did mention that a few times during the previous month. She did not know what the significance of him bringing it up was. Still, “Yes, but Starfleet. Not the military of Trillius Prime. I wish to be far away if…” and she figured he already knew the next part as well so, “…if I cannot be joined with a symbiont.”

“Our kind joining with a symbiont is not something you should actively seek and fight for. Nor is it something you should run from if the decision is not in your favor. Joining simply is…or is not.”

Being joined with a symbiont had been Heriah’s dream for so many years and many had been in favor while so many more, mainly her own family, being against the idea. And, for the first time, Heriah felt a degree of selfishness if she had spoken up about it again.

“Our time has reached it conclusion young one,” came the voice of the High Priest.

“But, High Priest, I have more questions.”

“And not the time to ask them. Answers will come.”

“In a lifetime or more,” she said with a disappointing tone to her voice.

“Your defining revelation will come far sooner,” he prophesied. “Just keep, around you, those who know and love you.”

“And if I do not.”

“Then your defining revelation will not come far sooner. Perhaps it will be a lifetime or more. Perhaps never.”

A monk appeared beside Heriah holding a hand out to help her up.

“High Priest, I do not understand.”

“That, I do not doubt. There are other students who came with you, yes?”

“Yes, but…”

“And we have only so many hours in the day and they deserve their time to ask questions.”

The monk was practically pulling Heriah up from her kneeling position. “But I need to know…”

“…and you will…in time,” he said. “Do not rush knowledge. Do not rush wisdom. Only fools do that.”

Heriah was standing and the monk was gently trying to pull her away. She yanked her hand free from his grip and faced the High Priest. Finally, there came some form of realization. She was about to act foolish.

“Forgive me, High Priest,” she gave a bow. “And thank you for your time.”

“There is nothing to forgive. And you are welcome to return to us, anytime.”

Heriah was certain it would take another month of study, reading, meditating and waiting to see him again. But he was right, knowledge did not need to be rushed and she came to the realization that most answers did not need his wisdom, that his wisdom came from the Codex of Ț’Ril. Reading the codex and learning its messages perhaps would not provide the same wisdom as it was simply the beginning of wisdom. Than again, all things had a beginning. Heriah would have to start somewhere.


  • Fascinating to see this faction of religious trill take shape through this post, and their perspective on the symbiont joining is clearly something with depths to plumb. I thought the dialogue exchanges between Heriah and the high priest worked well to highlight the world building being done, as much as to shed light on how Heriah might have grown into the sort of person who could become joined. I liked how through the questioning session with the monk, Heriah seemed to begin questioning herself, and this built a strong platform from which I could see further development of this spiritual side to her character.

    June 4, 2022