[Order was the winner]
Your words echo across the entirety of creation. Having been rendered obsolete by your choice, the two now-defunct versions of creation shatter and explode, sending their shards into the vast blackness of Oblivion. When at last all the pieces settle, only the peaceful ordered world remains.
You find yourself floating miles above the world in perfect tranquility. Your mind is at peace for the first time in your life — ready and waiting for whatever may come.
A soft voice speaks in your ear. It sounds… familiar, somehow — a voice you’ve heard all your life. After a few moments, you realize the voice is your own.
Are you ready?
You nod your head without hesitation. You’ve never been more ready.
Slowly and softly you feel your essence draining away. You look down and see your feet begin to turn translucent and slowly fade into nothingness. The nothingness begins to creep up your body until at last you are wholly consumed and all that remains is your raw consciousness. Your voice continues to speak, and now you feel it thrum throughout your consciousness — experiencing it no longer as sound, but as pure understanding, which spreads throughout your being. The feeling is not unpleasant — rather like drinking warm soup after swimming in ice-cold water.
In the beginning, there was One Entity. The One created the Earth and the Cosmos, man and beasts, land and sky. Under the loving gaze of the One, all things lived in harmony and peace.
But then something horrible happened, and the entity was split in Two. Creation was rent asunder. Oceans reclaimed the land, massive meteors fell from the sky and destroyed man and beast alike. Brother turned against brother, father against son.
Chaos and death reigned.
It was aeons before a balance was restored — and it was a human being who brought it about.
An image of Harold drifts across your thoughts.
This man, the wisest of all men, sought to restore the Unity. For one hundred years he labored tirelessly until at last… at long last… he found what he believed to be a solution. For another hundred years he gathered materials. For a hundred years more he prepared. For yet another hundred years he enchanted and ensorceled until at last he was able to create a device that he believed could bring together the separate parts of the One into one place.
An image flashes into focus — the stone pillar from the Heart room, complete with etchings and hand print.
And so he unleashed his device, and at first it seemed to work. The two warring elements of the One returned. The Earth and the Sky, Order and Chaos — they came and when they arrived they were both bound to the device. But Two they remained.
For a hundred years, the wise man pondered. For a hundred years more, he deliberated. For a hundred years he prayed and meditated, he cast his mind to the limits of creation, searching for a solution. At long last, one arrived — but the man, for all his wisdom, lacked the courage to bring the two together.
Like sealing a crack in a wall, something had to bridge the halves of the Two. A Third was needed, but the price was too high. Like most men, he placed too high a value on his own life and soul.
And so the world was stuck. Like a broken record it kept playing the same tune over and over.
But now we have broken the cycle. The Three are One again. Your essence will merge with ours, and we will be Three no longer. Order, Chaos, and the man who was Vladimir — all three will be gone and only the One will remain.
The truth of this thrums through you. The purity and beauty of it reverberates through the very fabric of your soul.
And so I ask you once again, and for the last time…
Are you ready?
Your affirmative is swallowed in a flash of white light and your last thought as a separate being is how unfortunate it is that you’ll never get to have that cup of coffee with Harold after all.
“So it’s over, then?” Harold sits across a table from You, moving a gleaming metallic chess piece forward.
“It is.” You respond to his move immediately, capturing one of his knight with Your rook. “This world is once more made whole.” You look up from your move and catch his eyes with Yours. “We are pleased.”
“Well, then…” he moves his remaining knight into place on the board “it would seem that it all worked out after all.” He finishes his coffee, pushes his chair back, stands up, and dusts his hands on his pants.
“Checkmate!” He grins a sly grin. “Keep practicing, almighty-one. Some day you’ll get the hang of it.”
You smile back. “I’m sure I will. See you next week, my friend.” With a wave, Harold exits the coffee shop.
After a few moments, when You’re sure he’s gone, You move Your rook again to take his second knight, checkmating his king and ending the game.
“Some day,” Your smile literally lights up the room “I’ll get the hang of it.”