A/N: The prologue is very different from the rest of the story. If you don't like it or it doesn't make sense, please DO skip it. You can come back to it later if you wish.
Choice was made, and Awareness became. Awareness was not created, for it was source. Awareness did not arrive, for it was place. Awareness was a characteristic of one, and so it simply became.
As it was intended to do, Awareness noticed. It noticed one, because indeed there was nothing not-one, and enjoyed the sensation. It noticed a variation: a tiny portion of itself that was dissimilar. Awareness knew what would become of this interesting fragment, but decided to ponder it anyway. It did not normally ponder, and therefore would find the experience pleasurable.
Its purpose fulfilled, Awareness became not.
In a cramped room in an unremarkable building, a gaunt woman screamed in the agony of unmedicated labor. The structure and its occupants were far from grand, and the rickety bed frame creaked with each writhing twist of her body.
When it was over, a careworn woman in patched clothing bathed the infant in the cloudy water of a wash-basin, and then she presented the child to its mother.
"What will you call him?"
Her voice was a weak rasp. "He'll be named for his fatherů"
In a place beyond dimension, at a moment outside of time, an entity without normal description was created.
The entity was an aspect of one, though it was a very unusual sort of aspect. By definition, one was omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Aspects of one, therefore, carried some level of power, some level of presence, and some level of perception. The entity found itself with no power beyond that of thought and only enough presence to allow it to think properly. Perception, however, it had in abundance. In fact, the entity knew almost everything it was possible to know.
All aspects of one also had purpose, and purpose was almost certainly the most important of the four. The newly-created entity was pleased to find that it knew its purpose; it was aware that some aspects did not, which seemed quite sad. Recognizing its situation, the entity named itself Thinker and began its task, realizing that the only thing it didn't know already was the solution to the dilemma it had been created to contemplate.
Thinker saw that, as of the moment of linear time prior to its creation (the next moment having not yet occurred), one was in a state of incompletion. At some previous time, an aspect had been created which was missing its purpose, though it had an abundance of power and perception, along with an above-average presence for its type. The existence of this incomplete aspect had already had a noticeable effect on its surroundings, though the disruption was not unrecoverable.
This aberrant aspect, however, was only half of the problem Thinker had been created to examine. Looking ahead, Thinker saw that in the next moment of time (which was still waiting patiently for its turn), another fragmented entity would be created, this one with unprecedented purpose and great power, but with only enough presence and perception to allow it to function in the physical realm.
Four men sat, stood, or paced restlessly in the sitting room of a medium-sized cottage. The sounds from the room above them made them pale, but they'd been assured that the woman was in the best of hands. All of them, even her husband, knew better than to come into the woman's presence before her ordeal was over. Some women might like to have their spouses present; this one most emphatically did not.
Thinker knew that aspects of one had never been created without all four attributes before. The upcoming aspect's low level of presence was also very unusual for an aspect of that type. These oddities, Thinker realized, could only be the result of the incredible variety and potential of one: with infinite options and infinite time, eventually anything and everything would occur.
The danger, however, was in the interaction of these two strange aspects. Thinker decided that an aspect missing an attribute would seek out that attribute in its surroundings, knowing on a very basic level that it was missing something vital. Two aspects with complementary strengths and deficiencies might well be drawn to each other. The convergence of the two aspects in question, however, would disrupt a portion of one to an unacceptable degree.
What, then, was the solution? The purposeless aspect was already in place, and once the ignorant aspect was created, the two would quickly and unerringly seek each other. They could not be allowed to collide and combine, and the attraction between the two had to be eliminated. Destroying aspects of any kind was simply unthinkable.
Drawing on his vast knowledge, Thinker envisioned the problem as a configuration of marbles, two of which were magnetic. The magnetic marbles were attracted to each other and would move together at any opportunity; in fact, they were already in motion and very close together. The immediate problem was to prevent the marbles from touching and hopefully to deflect them, buying time for a more permanent solution. The answer, Thinker saw, was really quite simple in the context of marbles. All that was needed was to place nearby nonmagnetic marbles between the two in motion. The two would then strike the unmoving marbles and their paths would temporarily veer away from each other.
Translating this solution from marbles to aspects was unpleasant but not difficult. One or more balanced aspects would have to be placed between the unbalanced pair. Unfortunately, due to the power of the entities in question, the intercessors would likely be severely damaged in the process. Thinker did not like this solution, but saw that the damage to one or more balanced aspects was vastly preferable to a joining of the fragmented pair.
A tall, formerly-handsome man with soulless eyes and a hungry expression led the way into the cottage. Following him was a shorter man with lank hair, who was showing no emotion whatsoever. A dark-haired man opposed them and fought with a skill born of desperation, but he was slain by the tall man after a few moments. The silent duo then proceeded upstairs to find the other inhabitants of the house.
The real problem, therefore, was keeping the two entities from seeking each other again once they had been separated initially. It was impractical, inelegant, and impermanent to simply keep placing healthy aspects between them; something more creative was called for.
Envisioning marbles once again, Thinker tried to determine a way to keep the magnetic marbles apart. A barrier was impossible, as the attraction between the two would eventually break any barrier erected. Since the attraction itself could not be eliminated, the answer seemed to be to find a way to divert the attractive forces.
The solution presented itself to Thinker in a moment of pure intuition: a leap of thought bypassing logic and sequential reasoning to reach a new and perfect solution.
The answer was a third magnetic marble. This new marble had to be even more attractive to one of the original pair and benign when unified with it. At the same time, it needed to be repulsive to the other of the original two. Thus the new marble, combined with one of the first pair, would eliminate the original attractive force because the new marble's repulsion would match the original marble's attraction. The remaining original marble would be left to find its own course.
Again, the analogous plan was readily applied to reality. The intervention of healthy aspects between the two flawed aspects would permit time for a third fragmented aspect to be introduced. This new entry would be perfectly balanced to one of the originals but incompatible with the other.
The first aspect, being older and already entwined with the aspects surrounding it, would be harder to influence, so Thinker determined that the second aspect would be the one to be joined with the third. The second aspect's high power, high purpose, low presence, and low perception could be matched by a new entity with low power, no purpose, high presence, and great perception. When combined, the two would form a well-balanced single entity, to which the first aspect would not feel a particularly strong attraction.
A red-haired man looked at his red-haired wife as they readied themselves for bed. "So, what do you say? One more try?"
She thought for a moment. "One more try, dear. I've wanted a daughter so badly."
Pleased with his pondering, Thinker left the realm of space and time to create a very attractive marble.
The progress of time resumed. In an ordinary place, at an ordinary moment, an ordinary miracle occurred.