The world had grown quiet. For nearly three decades, the people of Earth had come to know a form of peace. Many attributed this to the deeds of the ubiquitous being known as Savoir. In a way, they are right, but the truth is the world grew quite from fear. No one dared perform a criminal act because Savoir would be there to confront them. He could stop over ten crimes simultaneously no matter where they were taking place. He once stopped a robbery in China while also preventing an operation to sabotage an oil rig off the southern coast of Chile. It didn’t matter what the crime was, he would be there. Any malicious act, no matter how small, was met with the hulking figure of Savoir. Governments congratulated him, honored him, and would not dare condemn his actions; even if those actions fell outside of the laws they had created. Many people loved him. They called him a hero. Some worshiped him as a god. And yet, nearly all feared him.
Nobody knew who he was, where he came from, or what his abilities were. His form was human though many speculated he was not born on Earth. He first became known to the world when he prevented a skirmish between Russian, American, and French soldiers in the area formerly known as Ukraine. His large figure, shrouded in thick layers of his now emblematic poly-chromatic cloak, stood between the opposing forces. Within an instant, he was at the front lines of either side, crushing tanks and other vehicles, snapping rifles like straw, but never harmed a single soldier. He disarmed both armies before a single bullet was fired. Within two weeks, every firearm on the planet had been destroyed and every weapons factory had been shut down. Nuclear silos were found empty by inspection teams the world over. What became known as The Ceasefire was his first act upon the world.
At first, nations listed him as the greatest threat to mankind. They formed alliances to stop him, but nothing could be done. Any weapon made was promptly destroyed or disappeared. Any attempt to capture him failed. Governments poured resources together to figure out who this person was. In their efforts they theorized his movements were based on a form a teleportation. He seemed to possess super strength or an ability to levitate objects. His physical features were never seen. His cloak revealed nothing. No eyes, hair, or even skin could be seen beneath the ever-changing movement of the fabric seemingly made of cosmic dust. In short, most of the intel on Savoir was mere speculation.
It took eight years after his first appearance before governments stopped their public research into what he was. They of course continued behind closed doors but the research never progressed. No longer able to fight, governments turned to open negotiations for key resources. Some economies grew slowly despite flourishing trade. Others collapsed entirely. Many countries experienced famine and epidemics. Savoir either could not or would not assist in natural disasters or the choices of organizations to refuse aid to others. Humanity continued to grow disproportionately for another twenty years. Many of the world’s resources were collected by a small few. The rest of the world was left to fend for themselves…until Savoir met the small girl known as Zemora.
Zemora grew up in the once prosperous country of Botswana in the hallowed city of Mookane. Her family had been swept away as in a wave of disease that crossed the continent. She was left alone at the age of six surviving off of scraps left behind by those migrating south seeking safety. Home was a closet in an empty apartment building. Despite knowing Savoir was out there to protect her from any physical harm, she locked herself away every night against both the cold and the large groups passing through the area.
For ten years she survived in the deserted city. Nearly thirty years after the appearance of Savoir, she found a pointed, sharp metal fragment no larger than the length of a finger. She hid it away for months. Then, one day, she locked herself in the closet. Light pierced the empty spaces around the door. She pulled the metal from her secret area beneath the loose floorboard and placed it across her wrist.
“What are you doing, child?”
She dropped the metal fragment and looked up to see the moving colors of Savoir’s cloak.
“I am going to see my family,” she said, picking up the metal sliver again.
“I cannot allow you to harm yourself,” the deep, phantom voice said.
“Why not? I am not causing harm to others. Not that you seem to care about human life.”
“I do not care for anything. I only live by a code that preserves life.”
“What about the disease that takes life? What about my family? Why didn’t you save them?”
“They were not in direct harm.”
“All living things die. I cannot change the fate of the universe. I only prevent your kind from unbalancing the life-stream.”
“Life-stream? What does that even mean? Everyone knew you weren’t human. Why are you here?”
“Many questions, of which I’ve answered all but one. I am here to protect the balance of the life-stream. I follow where it flows and prevent obstructions.”
“Why don’t you tell this to everyone else? Why let us guess? We can help your cause if you teach us.”
“So many questions. Much like a…what is your word…infant,” he said, “I cannot interfere more than I have. You must learn and grow as you were meant to. I am here only to-”
“Balance the life-stream. Yeah, you’ve said that.” She still held the metal sliver. She knew he would prevent her from harming herself, but part of her believed she still had the ability to make her decision. She knew, though, in the back of her mind, that this decision was already made for her. She sat in silence as Savoir hovered above.
“Why do you stay?”
“The obstruction has not yet cleared. Once your kind has learned balance, then I shall follow the life-stream to the next obstruction.”
“How can we learn to have balance? Can’t you teach us and leave us alone?”
“Balance cannot be taught. Only learned. No,” he said, predicting her next question as he had for many others, “increasing the amount of life does not bring balance.”
“So you will let us die.”
“All living things d-”
“I know! You said that already.” Tears were welling in her eyes. She pressed the metal against her skin and it disappeared.
“I cannot allow you to inflict harm. You must continue.”
“Do you even know what it means to be here? To breathe? To feel? Can you even comprehend what life-” her voice caught and she sobbed into the blankets that were her bed. Savoir hovered in silence above her until her sobs subsided and she once again found her voice. “Do you even know what it means to die?”
He had never been asked this question. In the thousands of years traversing the stars, he had believed he had heard every question life had to ask of him. He was surprised to hear a question about death. A question he could not answer.
“Well?” she waited. “Do you know what death is, or are you immortal? Free from the chains of mortality.”
He left a physical body behind with Zemora and slipped into the life-stream to find his answer. He was within it for years, searching, and then returned once he found it. Zemora did not notice his absence since to her the time lasted a second and he still hovered above her. His answer came mere seconds after her question.
“I was,” he said, “but now I must correct the imbalance caused by my own causality.”
“You’re leaving? But what will happen? No one cares about each other on this planet. They will return to killing each other once they know you are gone.”
“I will be gone, but you shall remain.” He offered his poly-chromatic cloak to her. His figure was still hidden but in a shroud of darkness. She stood, hesitant to take it. “You have been chosen as the next Emissary. The cloak fell into her open hand and what had been Savoir, whatever he could have been, was gone.
Zemora drew the cloak around her and instantly fell into the life-stream. A minute passed on Earth before she emerged two thousand years wiser. She would build this world as it was meant to be. Then she would wade back into the life-stream until she uncovered the next obstruction.