When the Seven rose from nothing, one among them was granted a higher place than the others. One was set to ensure that all proceeded as it should, that all events occurred as they had been planned.
The Watcher was granted sight beyond sight, his ever-watchful eye peering over the newly living world, the shades of that realm that all things entered when their time and usefulness was at an end, and even beyond, into the darkness that had not yet borne form and function. Always he knew the precise location of each and every one of his charges – every thing, living or not, upon the earth – and always he was in communication with his brothers, to alert them to the needs of their tasks.
But while this conferred upon him a status and prestige that the others lacked – after all, was he not their overseer? Did he not decide when they should intervene, and when they should stay their hand? Was it not he who bound them together and kept the world spinning on its axis? – it also filled him with loneliness and a feeling of being “outside,” of being removed from the world in a way not even his siblings were.
He was always to watch. Never to touch. To talk. To taste.
Given that his task was observation, it was perhaps unsurprising that a seed of curiosity blossomed in his core. The Watcher knew that all the living things did things… but it didn’t know why. Why did this one choose to eat that fruit over another, while this mated with that rather than those over there? He knew these things happened, and had a hand in causing them to happen, but never did he understand the point of all of it, no matter how much he wanted to.
In time, that curiosity became frustration. As more and more living things gained form and the useless things changed theirs, they behaved in ever more intricate – and confusing, to the Watcher – dances of existence. Knowing he didn’t understand their choices, and further knowing that he would never be allowed to know – not as he was, at least – his mind chased itself and fed on that frustration.
Curiosity to frustration. Frustration to jealousy. Jealousy to hatred. And as hate for all the things under his care came to the fore, he began to wonder if anyone was actually watching him.
He began to experiment. To extend his will at times and places it was not necessary – even sometimes directly countering the plan he had been set forth to enact. Little things at first – should that squirrel dive into the mouth of the wolf instead of hopping away or cowering? Should this man sample the fruits of a woman not his mate? – but escalating over uncountable years – should the wolf den itself behind a wall of its kills, or the man murder his mate at the moment of climax?
Even that grew to be boring and tiresome in time, however. The Watcher wanted the one thing he couldn’t have. He could tinker with the design, subvert the plan, act on childish, malicious whimsy… but he was no closer to understanding the choices or what it felt like to do the things he commanded rather than merely observe them.
And so he did the unthinkable; he abandoned his post. When a hyena moved against an elephant for the kill, he dropped away from his celestial vantage point and entered into the beast. He felt flesh tear against jaws that were not his own, tasted the coppery spurt of blood, shrieked in ecstasy and agony when the elephant crushed three of his ribs with a swipe of its trunk.
He knew what it was to feel. And he wanted more. Soon he had embedded fragments of himself into all the beasts of the land, sapient and not, and felt all the things they did.
But his brothers soon missed his direction. Without his commands, their charges withered, their tasks became erratic and incomplete. Some came looking for him, to ask why he had abandoned them. Others had sunk so far into lawlessness that they no longer cared.
Those who found him, he smiled at. “My siblings,” he said through the lips of a woman the primitive humans revered as a goddess, “I have found true satisfaction. Allow me to show you the way.”
And then… he did.