Darkness, and fuzziness. Melding together, splitting apart, melding together and splitting apart again.
These happened cycle by cycle; nothing really changed. Nothing until they came, and the meld-and-split was disrupted, this not-part-of-itself not melding and splitting like had always happened. Parts of it went to make the not-bits split and meld like they were supposed to.
Many parts of itself went into nothingness, but before they did, they touched bits and pieces of the not-self. There were vague impressions of joining before the bits of not-self became no more, enough that something inside wanted to touch. Wanted to make the not-self part of the self and make all whole.
More splitting-apart, and more of self rushing out to defend from not-self. More touching of not-self, of impressions, impressions both ways of splitting and joining and... a lot more. There were not-self parts touching self-parts and the not-self parts were different. They were not parts of one self, they were... separate. Free parts, still a little like self, but having their own functions. They had a whole... Earth? But not part of a whole.
Not like bits of self that were just bits of self. Each had... a concept of identifying themselves from their whole. There were no parts of self that needed such; no parts of self that weren't part of self whole.
And even more, there were glimpses in some of them, glimpses that even though they were part of the Earth-whole, parts of Earth-whole didn't work well with other parts of Earth-whole.
Its self-parts were not like that, unless they came apart from the whole. Which sometimes they did, joining the Earth-whole, taking part in the Earth-whole's self. Helping remove other parts of Earth-whole.
Self sometimes sent out parts of self to bring those parts of self back. But they were too different now, parts of Earth-whole, parts of the other. Held by the other. But those touches of self that were no part of self gave glimpses of things that were strange to self. Gave self touches of Earth-parts, of different Earth-parts, with different identifiers, different *names*, different importances. Self did not identify parts of self other than parts of self, except by function; those parts-of-self that drifted across liquid-parts were different than those that drifted across solid-parts.
There were many Importances among the Earth-whole - Deirdre, Earth-Deirdre, was the first and foremost. Other names came too, but that part of Earth-whole was the one that interacted most with Self-parts, and so that part was of Importance.
Self now probed in different ways. It was easier to find Earth-parts now; not as easy as finding Self-parts, but easier than before. Some easier than others. It touched each part, little by little, finding names, finding connections. Finally, it found the one it was looking for.
And then everything changed.