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No longer does she carry a fragment of the shard within her flesh. But every night, her dreams return to that place beyond place, the time when there was no time.

* * *

The Old God embraces the Radiant Goddess, who in turn embraces the Acolyte.

From one point of view, they are nestled one against the other, the purely divine descending to the divine human.

But seen from another angle, they are entwined, each possessed of their own divinity, each with their own share of the shard, their own part to play in its reunification.

Did the Old God create the shard as a focus for her power, before she created the galaxy, as a means to create the galaxy? Or did the shard simply exist, until it itself created the Old God as a way for its power to be used, to allow the potential to become the actual?

Even they cannot say for certain. But they do know the shard's desire to be reunified, can feel its vibrations thrumming through their celestial bodies, singing each to each.

The Radiant Goddess reaches out to stroke the fragment of the shard embedded in the Acolyte's forehead and the power hums through the connection. They both reach out to the Old God, and the cracks in her body begin to heal. There will be no more loneliness. Love will cure everything.

The Old God pulls the Radiant Goddess in towards her, twisting reality around her. Once before, she did this and gave up a fraction of her power, but how can infinity be subdivided? Once before, she did this and forced the divinity out of her, forced her to burn bright as the Phoenix, and how can such wrongs be righted? But this time the transformation is in both directions. She takes from the Radiant Goddess, as selfishly as she ever has, but the Radiant Goddess takes from her too.

The Acolyte looks up at them in adoration, each still uniquely themselves but now recognisably the same. She falls at their feet and suddenly is tiny, human again against their vast divinity. She humbles herself in an act of worship, of devotion, of willing surrender. In the temple, she dreamed of doing this for the Radiant Goddess. In Paradise, she did this at the behest of the Old God, never quite managing to completely convince the small part of herself that had remained able to think for itself that she was only going along with it for the sake of finding a way to rescue the Radiant Goddess. Now she is doing it for both of them, somehow simultaneously.

It is the Radiant Goddess who pushes her away, but they all share in the knowledge that the process is not complete, and cannot be this way. They must all become one. The arousal between her own legs comes not only from her pleasure at abasing herself but is the reflection of the effect she is having on them. And the jewel that is far more than a jewel in her forehead aches as the two goddesses each reach for her, and as they pull her up towards them she grows bigger, her body more fully divine, until all three are locked together in an embrace.

They all give themselves up to one another, a Festival to end all Festivals -- and begin them again. From the stars of the seasons, they take the rhythms of nature and turn them into the rhythms of their lovemaking. From the Burning Star comes the heat of desire, and from the Flowing Star the wetness that follows it. And from the Shining Star, the precious gemstone that is the shard itself.

As the process goes on, they see themselves more and more clearly. With perfect knowledge, their bodies move together, hands made of star-stuff moving across skin that shimmers with the light of far distant nebulae, lips meeting lips in supernova explosions.

It is impossible to keep track of who is doing what, the inflammation of desire entirely and perfectly mutual. The parts of them that are human are overwhelmed with sensation, even the parts of them that are divine given a new appreciation of the meaning of infinity.

They come together, and join together, each radiant, each fully human and fully divine. The boundaries between them melt into one another as the shard reforms into a single pure entity. It is the pure power that they have each on their own embodied imperfectly emanating out into an endless cosmos. There are no boundaries anywhere; everywhere and everything is boundless potential. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Everything happens at once, everywhere, for ever. Universe after universe explodes away from them, endlessly, infinitely, eternally, each carrying its own reflection of the shard. Each universe a dream of a triune goddess, each universe in its turn dreaming of them in its own way.

* * *

They are the wellspring of all of the realities, but one in particular within the infinitude is special. It carries the echo of the three-in-one not only as a dream, but as a memory. And so they choose to intervene, reshaping the galaxy in their own image: no longer fractured, with each star carrying its own fragment of the greater whole, but a single unified society around the temple.

And they have learned the lesson that came from the Old God's petulant turning away from a galaxy that had turned away from her, of the Radiant Goddess's assuming too quickly that they had achieved indpendence. The All-Goddess holds court with the humans, guiding them through discussion to their own decisions, neither controlling nor abandoning them. A continual process of becoming which will never be completed.

And a key part of that process is the Acolyte-Priestess, human once more, explaining to the others what her human form can understand of the story, even as she knows that she is only an imperfect reflection of one aspect of the All-Goddess.

No longer does she carry a fragment of the shard within her flesh. But every night, her dreams return to that place beyond place, the time when there was no time.