[ the following tale can be found in the historical documents section in most libraries and data banks. dated as having been written in 1415 ae, or, 253 years ago ]

In the waning days of the Commonwealth, there lived a botanist named Guozhi.

He was born in a small farming colony on a moon that orbited a blue gas giant, where he came of age and oversaw the care of a greenhouse that had been in his family for generations. A sudden lack of regular supply shipments resulted in a need for Guozhi to focus on creating plants of medicinal use to help heal the sick and wounded of the colony. He soon became regarded as the local physician and was appreciated by everyone.

When harder times fell upon the colony and people began to speak of rebellion, Guozhi discouraged this - citing peace as the only path worth walking and unity the only direction worth going. Around this time he married his true love, a woman named Elusia, and soon after fathered twin sons: One they named Jin, the other, Nianzu.

Guozhi's humble intelligence and gentle wisdom guided the colony. There was no problem Guozhi couldn't solve! Whether a sad heart, a hurt body, or a confused mind, he always had an answer that brought hope to the darkest moment. He became a local celebrity and a spiritual leader, his greenhouse regularly filled with people seeking council, whom he always welcomed. Even the occasional off world visitor who had heard of the "wise farmer" would make a pilgrimage seeking his guidance. Many of them begged Guozhi to go to Cassius, to spread his wisdom and teachings. Despite the growing fame, Guozhi dissuaded any attempts to advertise himself and turned down offers to travel or preach. "I have everything I need here and want for nothing. I hold no mystery that you cannot find in speaking truth and acting with kindness."

And so Guozhi lived, humble and happy, never leaving the moon he was born on.

On his final day, he gave to each of his sons a single seed, "This is my legacy. Let it also be yours." Before falling asleep forever.

Elusia believed Guozhi had only wished their sons to plant the seeds on his grave. Instead, the sons eagerly grew the seeds given to them expecting a genetically altered specimen that would embody their fathers botanic experience. Only to receive an unmodified lotus flower. They puzzled over the deeper secrets their father had apparently left them with, locked away in this lotus flower.

"Obviously" regarded Jin, who had always admired his fathers intelligence and knowledge of medicine, "There is untapped potential here that he did not have time to unlock. It falls upon me to realize what medicinal use this lotus possesses so that we may find new cures and remedies."

"I believe" retorted Nianzu, who had always admired his fathers wisdom and influence over people, "Our father would not want us so focused on the material world, and was trying to tell us how fragile and fleeting our lives are and that we must work hard to plant lessons to guide the next generation."

And so the Brothers chose their destinies.

Famed as the sons of Guozhi, Jin went on to continue growing plants with pharmaceutical properties - extracting their medicinal qualities into medicine he could patent and sell for a healthy profit. Nianzu in turn began traveling and setting up chapels and shrines that immortalized his father's deeds and words - as well some of his own - collecting a large following of faithful.

Jin grew disgusted with Nianzu's lust for recognition and fame

Nianzu grew disgusted with Jin's materialism and greed.

Then, the Commonwealth began to fracture.

The Vigilant Codex had spread to the colonies, who in turn received even worse treatment.

Nianzu cited that the treatment of the now classified "Low Born" went against everything their father stood for - that the best course of action was to join Brightland's rebellion and set forth for a new promised land where all could be treated as the same family.

Jin declared that their father once said unity was the only direction worth going, and that to so easily abandon the Commonwealth went against everything their father stood for.

Nianzu criticized Jin as only wanting to stay to sell his medicine to rich highborn.

Jin criticized Nianzu for only wanting to leave to receive higher praise from those who didn't know him.

Both brandished their fathers words as weapons to support their ideals, yet neither knew the lessons behind the words.

And so Nianzu left

And so Jin stayed.

Nianzu soon discovered that the newly-formed exiled cassians were not welcoming of new philosophical teachings - they had, after all, just rebelled against religious dogma! While he preached tolerance and philanthropy, many exiles were wary of his overly sweet words, growing hostile and threatening him and his followers. Nianzu had to become more manipulative, appealing to individual tastes to grow his congregation and adapting flexible views to justify any action they needed to "defend" themselves.

Jin tried in earnest to do what his father had done, but as the war began and supplies dwindled, the colony was forgotten by the dominion. He started making deals with nearby marauders, at first trading medicine for necessities and protection. But he soon found that manufacturing dangerous recreational drugs was far more profitable than anything he'd ever done before. He justified his actions as necessary to keep the colony afloat, and anyone who disagreed, disappeared - including his mother, Elusia, whom he cast away in a cryo-pod when she openly chastised him.

In time, Nianzu's following was revealed for what it was: a cult that did little more than obey the will of its leader. Nianzu refused to surrender and escaped after ordering his followers to fight to the death. At the same time, the Dominion armada arrived at the small farming colony, chasing away the marauders and rooting out the corrupt government. At the top of the drug operation sat Jin, who barely escaped execution by bribing the right officers with all he had left.

Both brothers were cast out into the stars, sharing fates and making way towards the core worlds to begin anew.

The brothers would meet again in the city of shadows, secrets, and smugglers; Hei Xing.

Time had only grown the differences within the brothers, and not long before discovering the other had also set foot in Hei Xing, the two had vowed to destroy one another.

Whether his fathers intention or not, Jin discovered powerful neurological properties in the lotus flower. But gone was his desire to be a man of medicine, instead perfecting his recreational substances and using the free market of Hei Xing to acquire unimaginable riches and found The Gold Lotus; a cartel of smugglers, thieves, and those who lusted over coin.

Nianzu quickly began rebuilding his congregation - this time from desperate souls and dangerous criminals. He perfected his art of speech, but had long lost his desire to help fallen hearts find peace, instead sacrificing his followers and parts of his humanity to acquire forbidden power and loyal killers. They'd come to be known as The Jade Dragon; a cabal of power hungry seekers for whom no cost was too great.

In time, Nianzu succeeded in killing Jin.

But Jin's children quickly avenged him, killing Nianzu.

Who was, in turn, avenged by his own children.

Whom, were later, avenged by their children.

And so the cycle of blood goes - burying each generation in fresh layers of justified hatred.

Many lessons could be derived from this tale. But I believe my husband Guozhi once said it best. "The most fertile soil grows the most beautiful flowers, but left without purpose, will grow the most horrible weeds."