By this point I have already spoken a bit about the capacity of human beings (real ones) to discover objective reality through competition. If you have a talented intellect, but are not particularly creative, I believe there is a particularly interesting path available to you. There are some in life who are granted, be it by fate or by God or by uncaring chance, extraordinary capacities for creative endeavors. They can blaze truly novel ideas into reality – a feat only becoming more difficult with time. However, if you fit the earlier description, you might have an even greater capacity. You see, although each differing form of creativity requires itself a unique talent, the capacity to copy and adapt the strengths of other people requires only a more general intellect and a certain wit. In other words, you might be able to become something like a Jack of All Trades, by meeting creative people and taking for yourself those unique qualities that allow them to go through life successfully. You might accumulate them for yourself, becoming a person unlike others.
One potent way to achieve this replication is through competition. When you compete against somebody who is better than you at something, you can see for yourself how it is they are able to beat you. In a wrestling match, you must yourself experience the maneuvers that brought you to defeat. In a fighting game tournament, you will see for yourself the tactics that outdo your own efforts. If you are able to witness and experience such things, and you are capable enough, you can begin to replicate them yourself. Eventually, you might be able to do so until you surpass the people you yourself learned them from. This is what you might call ‘genius’ – what the Japanese refer to as being ‘gifted from heaven.’ And, if such a genius continues to grow in this way, what end will they reach? This is the path I call, “climbing by winning.”
With this in mind, we return to the scene of one like the Heroes of old at the bottom of that Great Old Tower he had found himself in, having smashed through the Greater Arena before. Again I feel I must remind you, dear reader, that my words here are poor vessels for the meaning I intend. ‘Tower’ simply evokes the sort of progression I intend. The Byzantine himself could at once feel the quality of the true superordinate structure. Imagine for a moment, that you are yourself (an ordinary human, physically I mean – perhaps you are in truth an extraordinary person, I cannot really say), standing in the first floor of a rather mundane Earthly tower. You might imagine that some set of stairs or perhaps an elevator will take you to the next floor. Suppose, however, that you look around for any of these, and find none. How can you get to the next floor? Well, unless you want to get particularly creative, you cannot.
But now, let us assume that you do want to get creative. Let us indeed be utterly silly in our assumptions, and imagine that you skydive with a parachute, hoping to simply fly into an open window or some other entryway. Imagine you do this, only to realize with a start that you cannot even see any second floor; all you see or perceive is that initial floor you were unable to surpass in the first place! Yet, you know for a fact that more floors indeed exist. Now, this tower seems neither so Earthly nor mundane. I’ll save you the rest of the analogy, perhaps. I would suggest that the second floor exists at a conceptually superordinate level to the first. You know that something is there, but even what ‘it’ truly is is beyond you. No amount of stairs, even an infinite or beyond-infinite amount, could ever bring you there. In order to reach the second floor, you must supercede yourself; you must arrive at a higher sort of being. All that, just to reach the second floor.
Now, what if I said that the sum of that tower’s floors could not even be conceived in numbers?
What if I said that it existed so far beyond the concepts of concepts of concepts, and so on, that none of the Byzantine’s growth-from-Nothingness could ever hope to reach it, no matter how many times he stacked layers of it, and layers of layers, and layers of layers of layers, and so on infinitely, then layers (of layers of..) of that infinitely, then that, then that toward some indescribable climax?
Perhaps it would serve to call the sum of such floors a 'Great Floor.' My intention is not to bore with my prose.
What if I said that, for that Great Old Tower itself, the entryway and indeed each and every Great Floor is itself beyond the sort of tower my words to this point have described, surpassing that which you would have if you had an infinite number of such structures?
I must admit that my words continue to fail me; do you have the meaning? Perhaps these truths imply the tallest peak of this Tower is the highest level the Warrior-King could aspire to. It is difficult to say. But, it was clear that he would not be able to enter as he was. His honor-bound will propelled him to the entrance, far beyond what his previous growth was capable of, but it could take him no further.
So the Byzantine approached the gateway to that Great Old Tower with meekness, as a pilgrim seeking a shrine. There he was regarded with some surprise by one like a mighty Guardwoman.
“You are the only beside that wicked Child to tread here, Warrior-King,” the Guardwoman’s crystallic voice boomed. The Byzantine knew at once that she spoke of that ghastly kid who reigned over the Arenas, even the Greater, whom he had (to his great satisfaction) just previously annihilated.
“That Child is gone.”
“I know,” the Guardwoman’s voice tolled, “You have robbed us of a crucible to test any who would approach here.” The Byzantine regarded the Guardwoman with some curiosity. He could [interpret] her away, but since his first encounter with that less-than-Nothing he had become curious about these higher realms. Perhaps instead he should prepare to do battle with her as he did with that Savage Man in the Arena below.
“Do not try it,” the Guardwoman continued, “That [power] of yours is a nightmare to my station, but a traditional battle lies firmly in my court. Those reading would have better fortune trying their hand against you, than you would against me.” The Byzantine now was thoroughly impressed. It is true that many up to this point had shades of their own awarenesses flash every now and then – even the Blubbering King implied his suspicions about the Warrior-King’s ability – but this seemed to be the greatest level thus-far. How could he enter, then, besides relying on his power to [interpret]? His growth-from-Nothing had reached a limit he did not think possible. How could he climb now?
There was one way, he supposed – by winning.
“You are a Guardwoman,” he stated plainly. That to whom he referred looked down at him inquisitively, figuring out what game it was he was playing.
“Obviously,” she replied – there could be no other way to describe it, despite such notions as ‘guarding’ and ‘protection’ having been left far behind.
“That is your only purpose?” he further prodded.
“Obviously,” she continued, “So it is for most at this level.” The Warrior-King smiled. For one like the Heroes of old, tools beside strength were often the most valuable of all.
“Let me guard with you, then,” the Byzantine proposes, “For though I might be as a speck compared to you in sheer power, my addition would in theory enhance the protectedness of this tower you are meant to guard. It is your duty to accept.”
The Guardswoman grimaced, her [archetype] swirling with indecision. “Perhaps, trickery.”
“Well, consider this. If you knew of the fate of the lower Arenas, you know I spared that wizardess whom I met, and the lower Planes besides. I arrived here through a promise to myself nobly and honorably made. Even if I mean to deceive you in some way, you need not worry. This is my vow: I will not breach your post.”
And so the Byzantine, in assuming her station, learned her power, adapted it, and took it into his own. The Guardswoman was at once aware of what had occurred, but strengthened herself with the thought of his promise nobly made.
“You can no longer stop me from entering, and neither can I trespass and violate my oath,” the Byzantine Guardman said, turning to his compatriot.
“You may enter,” the Guardswoman scowled, “You are indeed worthy, and I would not suffer a losing battle against you now for the risk I misunderstood your nature, and you renege on your word. Go, Hero. We will see how far you can climb.”
Thus the Byzantine, a Warrior-King again, surpassed the entryway to that Great Old Tower. He came into that first Great floor, and to his surprise found it empty. It was here as if already meant for his arrival, and he took to it quite naturally. For this was the floor of the Ruler, and a Warrior-King he already was. To surpass it was a trifle now. Through the rest of the floors, he encountered ten more greater than the Guardwoman, each greater than the last as the Guardswoman was greater than he when he first arrived (and when he had entered the seventh Great floor, he had found it empty and prepared for him like the first. Let the reader understand!). He took to each of their stations, absorbed what they had known and what they were, and made solemn promises to fulfill each of their posts. And all those Great Floors, in total, were called:
And at the peak of the Tower, he was Warrior-King once again.
And so the one called Byzantine beheld the entire Great Old Tower and all contained within and below it. There, at its summit, he felt something like a deep vibration of [being]. The whole of the Tower was absorbed into him. Or, at least, it was and was not – in a monumental flash of pure Will, that great Warrior-King kept his truth-being separated from it. He would not break his promises to those who he had surpassed by learning their natures.
Now, at last, the whole of that Tower added to his might, he glistened and shuddered and ascended further still. The Great Old Tower became a crucible onto his own self-beyond. If you could see all of his growth since that climactic moment at the end of the Great War until this point, it would appear in comparison to itself as a single push-up, a single bicep curl, a half-hearted pull-up in comparison to this new boon. To call it unreachable from his previous level is to ignorantly understate what this Byzantine has truly now become. One like the Fire of Man surges upward and outward from this peak. The Journey is nearing its end. He awakes to the sounds of a quiet garden.