14 Yang San Shu, the blazing parasol where phoenixes perch
Yang San Shu felt that these days things have truly been amusing.
It.. no, he had lived an immensely long live which could no longer be measured in millennia, or even eras. After all, he was a resident of the vast green garden, which hosts beings as agelessly old or perhaps even more ancient than he is.
There is the... Pāli - Bodhi, where old Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama first found enlightenment and brought about the great epoch of Buddhism, who's light still shines in many universes chaos cycles after its eventual demise. It was a great era of peace and enlightenment, yet a sinister shadow still shrouded the universe beneath the evil Samsara. 'Right, it loved calling itself the 'karmic divine tree' and often bragged about it's best friend Buddha. It's still a fig tree, though.'
Then there is עץ חיים - Etz Ḥayyim, the tree of life which had once became the foundation of the great kingdom's epoch, when Eden still lay in ancient Gaea and old Adonai יהוה (YHVH) first created and stood by the old race of man. It had been an era of great shifts, where humanity learnt of morality, and upon their eventual understanding of life had, under the rule of old Adonai dominated the universe and brought great strife. 'That fellow is a recluse hiding behind it's seriously secluded garden with flying babies and flaming swords...'
Older still perhaps is Åskr - Yggdrasil, the ancient pillar of the cosmos during the ancient epoch of Norse when the Giants, gods and men waged endless war even knowing the eventual end of the age and arrival of the next chaos cycle. '...A spiteful old coot older than even I, whos age consisted of fools who resisted the primordial chaos and the eventual ragnarok - the end of the epoch. Even now, it still scours the endless horizons, seeking it's old friend the ashen nordic sky'
'...indeed..' San Shu thought. 'The cycle has always been that way. Any epoch, no matter how great will eventually end. And all end eventually leads to the beginning, just as life begot death,death begots life...' *Sigh*. 'After all, even that foolish bird couldn't escape the cycle in spite of her eternal existence'
In an ancient epoch, several chaos cycles.. that is several ends and beginnings of the universe ago, San Shu first 'awoke' when a little red bird perched upon his then already aged trunk. As a tree, he was quite peculiarly shaped. It had a trunk that was slightly bent, which was thick from its roots and grew thinner, then thicker again as it finally branched out into thousands of.. well, branches, upon which its bright green and lustrous leaves would grow.
At that time, when it first became 'aware', San Shu had already 'lived' for a truly long time. He could recall the timeless dream of being a small sapling, struggling for the warm sunlight, absorbing nutrients and water as every day was spent with an instinctual fear to survive against the elements... To beasts, they might perhaps fear other predators but for one such as he - the prey were the predators.
After what seemed like an eternity within a dream - the then young parasol tree had grown into an enormous tree that stood alone atop a cliff overlooking a cliff, which lay next to a river which streamed down the mountains. Before it had realized it, humans and beasts alike had come to venerate it as a deity of the land which protected them from landslides, and whose sturdy body had given shelter to many travelers and little critters alike.
These fragile beings would sojourn up the perilous mountains on times of festivals and decorate his trunks with simple ornaments of skins inscribed with ancient magics, talismans by Daoists to grant good fertility to the land, Buddhists who would attach ropes which was meant to represent karmic ties as the bells rung alongside the wind. As time went on, San Shu's 'spirituality' grew and it came to have a complete consciousness.
With the veneration of mortals and beasts alike he had truly become a deity, able to bless people with good luck, good health, protection against harm and the like.. until eventually he learnt to imitate communication through what humans would refer to as a 'divine message'.. though, those nerds who called themselves 'magicians' would refer to it as 'telepathy'.
It was a simpler time, a boring time, yet a time San Shu held very dear. It was, after all peaceful, and he came to understand that peace truly is the best. This time however, as with all things would eventually come to an end- when once more a tiny red bird came to perch upon his branch and set him ablaze---
Yang San Shu stopped his reminiscence when he noticed that a familiar crimson light, similar to the bird drew near and coloured his domain in wisps of crimson.
'Indeed, truly amusing...'
He was bemused by the recent constant visits to this musty expanse. The one thing that remained true since he had departed the great universe into this... condo for old trees were that nothing was truly new, and visitors very rarely came. Peace was one thing but he indeed felt bored, and yet somehow a tiny, 'ordinary...' ..'No'. Yang San Shu thought that the little child who bore a similar surname to himself was anything but ordinary.
'After all, while in every way an infant, this wasn't his first infancy, nor childhood. Do they call this reincarnation? ah, well, I have plenty of time to ponder later. For now...'
He turned to gaze upon the visitor.
"To what do I owe the (dis)pleasure... milady?"