At this point, not much surprised Cian. Every planet seemed to be the same; all the people were the same, and the way their histories played out in the grand scheme of time were all the same. Take this world in front of him right now. It was populated by a race of bird-humanoids that worshipped the weather. They were in their infant stages of knowledge, worshiping rather than understanding. They were split into tribes, some friendly with each other, some decidedly not. The people were doomed to fail and fall into war, some tribes would die, or perhaps the whole world would. If they didn't, life continued and perhaps there would be a renaissance or enlightenment. If they all died then he could come back in another thousand years and see the new life emerging, only to fall into the same trap its ancestors had.
"Lovely world, Sesmia is," said a voice behind him.
Chills ran up Cian's spine and he jerked around. Standing behind him was another of his kind, an Eternal, albeit one who seemed to be completely different than him. Where Cian had longer curly hair, this man had straight chestnut hair, sleeked back behind his sharp ears to show off a handsome, rectangular face.
"Don't do that," hissed Cian.
"Do what?" The other Eternal smiled childishly, in a way that grated Cian.
He could tell this one was older, like him. They both had aged more than the others Cian had met, their bodies looking just a bit older than others. Cian had some grey hairs, this one didn't, but there were lines on his face, framing that childish smile and making his wrinkles around his green-blue eyes.
"I am not the kind to play games," Cian muttered, shifting away from the planet, Sesmia, and striding out towards open space.
"Oh come now!" The other called. "I'm sorry!"
As the other Eternal started to follow Cian, a jingle came from him. The jingling caught Cian's attentionit was annoying. He set his sharp violet eyes back to the other and found that there was an anklet on his left footwhich was barefoot and foolishand the anklet was nothing but bells.
"Why would you wear that?" Cian complained.
Though, really, the annoying jingling anklet wasn't the worst of the other Eternal's outfit. He had a well-tailored grey and red pinstriped suit, with a red undershirt, but then there was a ridiculously long blue and gold striped scarf caped around his neck and shoulders. It was like he didn't even look at his clothes before donning them, just did!
"Why wouldn't I?" Asked the brunette. "It's not like there are many out here to hear me."
That was an unfortunately good point. Cian huffed and shook his head. He would never be foolish enough to wear jingly bells, but some people were different. Maybe this man had a screw loose. Cian's eyes ran up and down the man in front of him again. Maybe more than one screw loose.
Who are you?" Cian decided to ask.
Instead of properly answering a very simple question, the other Eternal shrugged, as if the question were trivial or unimportant. Cian wasn't exactly fond of that response and crossed his arms over his chest.
"If you don't answer the question I leave."
"Now you're just being mean," complained the annoying Eternal.
"No, you're being difficult, like a child. What is your name?"
"Since when were children such despicable things?" Wondered the horridly dressed man.
Just as Cian started to grind his teeth the brunette smiled. He put a hand over his heart and bowed his head.
"I'm sorry, I keep being rude. My name is
There was a hesitation to his voice, as if he were picking the name out of a hat. It made Cian hesitate. Not all of the eternals were objective observers. Some meddled, some played a hand in other worlds. Was Mercutio one of those types? Cian was of the opinion that those who meddled only hastened the ends of societies and worlds. But that way he said his name slowly, how Mercutio's smile quirked like that
it unsettled Cian.
"And you are?" Mercutio prodded.
"Cian," he answered automatically.
That made Mercutio smile. The man gestured to the world beside him. It was mostly dense forests that curiously backed up to arid deserts. There was one great ocean that cut through a couple of landmasses, but beyond that it wasn't that different from other garden/desert worlds. Cian had found a number during his life.
"Were you going to see this one?"
Cian shook his head. "There's no point."
"No point?" Gasped Mercutio. "How could you say such a thing?"
"How can you say that there is a point?" Cian complained. "All worlds are the same. Some things are different, but nothing changes."
It was Mercutio's turn to frown. Instead of folding his arms like Cian, he flexed his hands at his sides and kept looking over to Sesmia. Cian wasn't particularly bothered by hurting Mercutio's feelings. Just by feeling the man around him Cian knew that Mercutio was old, old like Cian was. He should know better. Cian shouldn't have to explain the universe to a man who walked it daily.
"Things do change," Mercutio said a bit loudly. "That is how the universe works."
"The universe is one bit pattern constantly repeating itself," Cian argued shaking his head, letting his curls fly around his shoulders.
"There are patterns, but they never fall the exact same way. You can't say this world is exactly like another world, that nothing at all has changed from Sesmia to Earth. Have you been to Earth?"
"The remains of it," Cian murmured.
"Oh yes, I forgot. That was a shame," sighed Mercutio, "but that's not the point. They're not the same."
"They are in the grand scheme of things. All of it is boring, all of it abides by the same rules."
"Do you really believe that?"
"How can you not?" Snapped Cian. "What makes Sesmia, this world you seem so taken with, so much different than other worlds?"
"The culture. Just look at it! I know you saw the Av'iras. They aren't the same as humans, shigens, ynoizmo, minotaurs"
"Maybe not in how they look but how they act"
"No! Each culture is different and unique!" Mercutio got louder as he debated.
"How?" Cian demanded.
"You can't see it from here," Mercutio waved his arms about. "From space you only see pieces, no matter how strong you are or how long you stare for."
"Oh foryou too?!" Cian cried exasperatedly.
"Me too what?" Blinked Mercutio.
"You and that child, Chara. Both of you preach that going down to the planets is worthwhile."
"It is not! Some worlds have grottos, some have diamond caves, other have walking trees, but that doesn't make them worth the trouble of walking on," Argued Cian.
"Did you talk to anyone?" Mercutio prodded.
"Why bother? They all react the same. Either the people are afraid or in awe. Some want to make us gods, which we aren't. But letting them know our existence changes nothing."
"You are so stuck!" Mercutio decided, scratching his sleek chestnut hair. "You've made yourself blind and deaf by sitting out here for so long!"
"And you think, what, visiting Sesmia will change my mind?"
As soon as Cian offered it, he regretted that decision. Suddenly Mercutio's face lit up with a wide smile. His green-blue eyes stuck to the world as he searched it. Cian contemplated making his escape while Mercutio was busy, but that seemed a bit
rude. A second later Mercutio looked up from Sesmia.
"One of the tribes is having a festival tonight to bring in the coming rainy season. We could participate!"
"Before or after they either start worshipping us or trying to kill us?"
"Oh don't worry about that," Mercutio laughed, "this tribe knows me. I've visited before."
"And you would visit again?"
Mercutio's grin turned to a thin warm smile. He held out a hand to Cian and beckoned him closer.
"Let me show you why."
Cian groaned and looked down at Sesmia. How did he keep walking into these sort of situations? And since when were so many of his kind that he could encounter two in a relatively short time expanse? When Cian looked back at Mercutio the man was bouncing on his toes, waiting for Cian to take his hand.
"I'll go with you to Sesmia, but I'm not touching you."