- This time for real
- the great escape
- UAC draft
- The Naturalist
- I am so sorry
- Missionary Balloons
- The Counselor
- 679 re-write
- Mars Truck
- Super-Sentai Whales
- 36 tale
“Sorry about that. The nausea and headaches should pass in ten minutes or so. It’s just the Scranton dragging you back to a baseline reality state.”
“Yeah, yeah, just take your time. My name’s Rachel, by the way.”
“Okay. Great. Sorry for the trouble, but you were the best option Delta-T could find to deal with this.”
“Target is one Sigurrós Stefánsdóttir. Initially contained by the Foundation in 1996, then put in cold storage in 1998 after an assassination attempt. They thawed her out in 2010 to resume study. She’s a Level-5 reality bender, not sure what you guys would classify that, but it’s top of the spectrum. On top of that, she’s infected with a potent transmissible adaptive cognitohazard that plays hell with all sorts of records and media. It’s leaked into her powers.
“In layman’s terms, you’re dealing with a 14 year old girl who’s watched too much anime and is infected with contagious bad fanfiction. Who has ascended to godhood.
“Going to be honest with you guys, the world outside this room is…pretty much completely fucked.”
A woman ran down the cobblestone road, her sky-blue kimono flowing out behind her. Gently flapping wings, one snow-white and feathered, one black and batlike, leant a flightiness to her steps. A wide-bladed sword1 of ruby and obsidian and frozen quicksilver was held over her right shoulder, glimmering in the sunlight. Her pace was relaxed, despite the expanse she covered with each stride and flap of her wings down the tree-lined road.
There was nothing but her light footsteps, the gentle sound of her wings and the breeze carrying the cherry blossoms.
Then, something in the distance behind her.
Then discernible notes. Guitar twanging. Bass heartbeat. Stronger chords layered on top it, sharp-edged and solid.
Dum dumma dummmmm DUM DUM
Dum dumma dummmmm DUM DUM
Dum dumma dummmmm DUM DUM
Dum dumma dummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
WHOAH BLACK BETTY
A song, growing louder and louder until a beaten yellow Volga M24 screamed and screeched and swerved around the corner, left wheels rising off the pavement, black smoke belching from the exhaust pipe, music blasting from the speakers, llamas bleating just under the roar of the engine. Inside, the driver, a heavily-built black man argued over the cell phone with some unknown party in deep patois. In the passenger seat, Salah leaned out the window, trying to get a shot at the runner. On the roof, Mary-Ann clung like a mussel, rifle in one hand, wind roaring in her ears, and the sure and certain knowledge that everything had gone completely batshit bugfuck insane.
The following thoughts ran through Mary-Ann’s head.
1) Holy shit what is going on
2) Holy shit why am I doing this
3) Holy shit fuck
4) Holy shit holy shit holy shit
She grit her teeth and tried to aim at the running woman, bracing herself as best as she could against the cargo bars. A llama sat by her elbow. This was insanity. Normal people died doing this sort of shit.
Granted, normal was an utterly meaningless term at the moment.
The swerving lessened enough for Mary-Ann to let off a staccato burst of gunfire, accompanied by the sharp periods of Salah’s pistol. The woman danced out of the way, not even slowing her pace. Bullets shattered panes of force like mirrors.
Come on, come on…stand still, you fucker…
A gigantic red tori gate loomed over the road. In the distance, a gigantic walled city filled the horizon, the tops of shining skyscrapers and Edo-era palaces looming over the white stone walls.
The woman took flight, wings unfolding. She spun gracefully, swinging wide her sword. A crackling wave of light cascaded down, tearing open the ground. Trees crumbled to ash, soil boiled away in clouds of dust. Geysers of molten rock shot up and splashed about. From the depths of the split earth leapt a horde of dust-shrouded figures.
Little girls with assault rifles. Thousands of them.
“Hold on!” the driver shouted. Mary-Ann did so. The brakes screeched as the tires burned and the car slid across the pavement. Mary-Ann felt her heart and stomach move up to her throat. Probably her liver, too.
The car skidded, flipped, bounced off of the road, and smashed into the first rank of gun-toting lolis.
“She’s basically re-written reality now. Everything’s operating off of qualitative narrative laws, rather than physical. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds, it means you can use the same laws without most of the ritual stopgaps and shortcuts most people need. Downside is, it goes to your head – like how you guys were before I got here. I don’t know, how much training in this stuff have you already had?”
“Oh, wow, that’s a lot. So I guess you can see where I’m going with this.”
If there had been a photographer at that moment the Dial-a-Llama car crashed through the first row of pre-pubescent blood-balloons, this is what they would have seen.
Mary-Ann Lewitt in midair, knees tucked up to her chest. Hair bound back in an orange wool hair net. Blue arrows painted on her forehead and arms. Flame-patterned bikini top, khaki cargo pants, combat boots. M4 in her hands. Some obscene, oversized rifle better suited for taking potshots at tank factories slung across her back.
Salah beside her, wearing a suit of chainmail and a white surcoat, emblazoned with a yellow sun with a Mona Lisa smile. A quart bottle of orange juice fastened to his belt. An iron tetsubo, engraved with the words PAIN STICK.
A short distance behind both of them was a black llama. It too was in midair, but with far less grace, because it was a llama.
6) What the fuck am I even doing.
A thousand or so schoolgirls, all arrayed in tactical harnesses and sailor uniforms, brought their weapons around to aim at the two. The target was already flying away. Time froze in the billowing clouds of dust, under the watchful gaze of almost-certain death.
Only almost certain. In that briefest moment, Mary-Ann lowered her mental defenses, just as their fingers hit the triggers. A wave of greasy, clammy film settled on her mind. The girl’s influence, rewriting reality. Allowing just enough to make it all work.
Just like it did in the movies.
Mary-Ann dropped the M4 and swept her hands around her. Gunfire like rain on a roof, bullets trapped in the currents of air that shielded them. Release the sphere, shockwave, hit the ground. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Salah’s club came down right on top of a girl’s head, which exploded like a water balloon filled with food dye.
Please don’t be a real person please don’t be a real person, please don’t be a real person.
A dim screech behind them indicated that the Dial-a-Llama driver had left, off to spend the money they’d paid him on booze to forget the events in question. Mary-Ann ducked out of the way of a knife swing, sent the girl flying with a blast of air. Salah intercepted, knocking her flying out over the ranks of girls like a batter hitting a pop fly to right field.
The rest of the girls attacked. The world filled up with bullets and flashing knives and gushing blood, and Mary-Ann felt her body acting on its own, as according to the dictates of that greasy patina in her brain. Part of her mind laughed at the absurdity of it all, how divorced from reality this fight was. Part of it was simply entertained that she knew magic kung-fu now. The third part loomed over the others with continued prayers that the girls were merely constructs, figments of their mistress’ imagination.
[BLAH BLAH STUFF HERE]
Mary-Ann drew up more gusts for crowd control, driving a wedge through their ranks. Salah following behind, taking swings at the mooks. Mooks, that was all they were, just mooks. A distraction, mooks were always a distraction. Not a threat, a distraction.
But a distraction from what?
In the distance, Mary-Ann caught glimpse of a small, shining form alight on top of the city’s wall. A sword was raised, then plunged into the stone.
The walls erupted in clouds of stone dust and far-flung hunks of masonry, and from within emerged, shoulder to shoulder, a line of skinless giants, each tall enough to gaze over the skeleton of the walls that imprisoned them. Each one grinned with a lipless mouth.
Oh. A distraction from that.
MORE TO COME
In the beginning there was tohu va-bohu. The waste and the void. The unformed chaos: dark, shapeless, meaningless. There was Nothing.
And then, with a Word, there was Everything.
The Splitting of the Darkness, and the Absolutes
The Word divided the Unformed Darkness into the Darkness Above and the Darkness Below, giving each of these form and shape. From the Darkness was made the Absolutes, those changeless and unchangable beings now listed below.
- Death – The three brothers who are one, Small Death, Great Death and All-Death, were the first of the Absolutes to be created, and would be the last remaining of all things in Creation. They were given dominion of all that would follow them, and were set as the guardians of the Silent Halls and the Lands of the Dead.
- The Laws – Manifestations of the underlying natural laws of Creation both physical and metaphysical. The Laws are woven through Creation to the point of omnipresence, though they bear no consciousness or will at all, nor can they develop these traits.
- Nobodies – Paradoxes existing in a state of permanent impermanence, Nobodies reside at the margins of reality. Their primary purpose is that of observation, rather than interaction, and their points of interference are few. Their identities are fluid and shift, melding and separating amongst themselves with the passing of years. The most stable Nobodies are those with fragmented persons, where the constant duality of their competing sides results in equilibrium.
- Somebodies – Far fewer in number than their Nobody brethren, Somebodies are fixed identities, concerned with interacting with Creation towards the end of certain tasks or the aiding of certain individuals. They rarely act on their own, instead providing aid to chosen individuals. One Somebody in particular, Emma Aislethorp-Brown, would later become instrumental in the destruction of the Scarlet King.
- Holes-in-the-Walls – Genius loci that attached themselves to the surface of the nascent Word, placed to fill the chinks in between the forming realms. Holes-in-the-Walls will often disguise themselves as restaurants or curiosity shops, and function much in the same manner as Ways.
After the Absolutes had been formed, what remained of the Darkness was further s shaped, and the Vault of Heaven was formed of the Darkness Above, and the Abyss was formed of the Darkness Below. These would become the homes of the elder gods.
Regarding the Elder Gods
The elder gods are split by their origin. The Gods Above emanated from the Word, taking up their residence in the Darkness Above, which was formed into the Vault of Heaven. The Gods Below were formed of the Darkness Below upon the splitting of the Darkness, and remained there as Creation took root.
Elder gods are, by their nature, entities both slow and reluctant to act – while their influence can be felt throughout Creation, they rarely exercise their vast power, and even more rarely take notice of the echelons below them. They are not completely mindless, as are the Laws, nor are they immutable, nor are they immune to Death, but their awareness is stunted. Rather than thinking, they act as according to their nature, and have no need to make a willful choice. Consciousness is a rare trait amongst the elders, occasionally bubbling to the surface when it is needed before sinking back into the depths of their being.
It is a common fallacy to think of the elder gods as good or evil by their origin. The gods below are no more prone to evil paths than the gods above, and in truth good and evil is rare amongst the elder gods – without mind or will, there is no good or evil to be had. Those few elders who do exercise their vast consciousness, though, may be seen to be one or the other or somewhere in between.
Regarding the Scarlet King and his Children
The Scarlet King began as one of the many embryonic elder gods formed in the Darkness Below, a small god called Khahrahk, the Worm. It would have swum in that dark abyss for all time, had it not been for a quirk of the necessary disparity that allowed Creation to function.
Khahrahk was defective. From the moment of his emergence from the Darkness Below, he was aware; of its smallness, of the darkness that surrounded him, of pain. He had no way to deal with this awareness – he did not have the blessed smallness of a lower mind, nor did he have any recourse in the other elders. Khahrahk was alone in his pain.
Worse then, was the thought of the light and the shade of the Word now rooted and spreading its branches. Khahrahk first desired it, and when he found that he could not, he desired to destroy the Tree. In its pain, Khahrahk lashed out against all of Creation, seeking to make it suffer as he suffered. It would be better for all things not to exist.
Krahrahk then began to devour the other Gods Below, growing stronger. As his power grew, so did his pain, and thus he sought more power in an attempt to overcome that pain. Those elders he did not devour he enslaved. Many of the Gods Below fled to the Vault of Heaven, or even into the Tree itself, to escape Krahrahk. He carved out a kingdom for himself in the Abyss, in mockery of the Tree, and in defiance of the ordering of Creation began to divert the souls of the dead to his realm.
The final subjugation to be had in the Abyss was the rape of the goddess Sanna, the last resistor of the Worm. When he had finished with her, Khahrahk rose from her bloodied corpse and professed himself Shormaush Urdal Khnith-hgor – The Scarlet King of the Darkness Below – and he declared his war against all of Creation.
His servants, both those birthed of the Darkness Below or those that had been subjugated, surged out of his kingdom. The King remained in his court, for the Tree resisted his entry, and by the seven daughters of Sanna he sired his Levianthans, and the hordes of the Abyss grew ever stronger.
The war would continue until the end of all things
Regarding the Word, the Tree of Knowledge
Regarding the Spheres of the Tree
Regarding the Qlippothic Court of the King
Regarding Yesod-with-Faces, the Taproot Libraries, the Labyrinth, and the Dreamtime
Regarding the Stars
The Stars were the first material beings to come into existence within Creation, emerging from the burning clouds of gas that filled the space between the Darkness Above and the Darkness Beneath.
Stars are organized into five clusters of the Main Sequence – Dwarf-M, Great-O, Errant-G, Lesser-K, and Shining-A. Two others existed near the beginning, Fortnight-B and Magnificent-F, but these were driven to extinction by the others. Those clusters not of the Main Sequence - Giant-Red, Massive-One, and the Pygmy - fell into obscurity, even among their own kind.
Unlike both gods and mortals, stars do not have souls – they are purely material beings, and as such their thoughts are both incomprehensible and incompatible to the other inhabitants of Creation, mortal and god alike. This vast, unbridgeable gulf of understanding led to the Stars’ unyielding hatred of the gods both above and below, and all mortals without question. Only their hatred for each other prevents the true realization of their destructive urges.
While the Stars do not seek worshippers, much less mortal ones, their power is so great that mortals sensitive to psychic emanations are drawn to them, and the clever among this group will determine methods of communing with the Stars, or siphoning off some of their power. The hearing and interpretation of [Star signals] is a recurring theme in many occult traditions across the worlds of Creation, ebbing and flowing with the movements of the Stars.
According to certain numerological formulas, the resonances of the Stars can be formed into a pattern. This pattern, if transposed from notation to sound, is that of a great chorus of voices, all screaming.
Regarding the Twins, Nahash and Hakhama
Regarding the Feather-and-Claw People, the First Children
A member of the family Dromaeosauridae, the Feather-and-Claw people were the first sapient species to evolve on Earth, living in the Barremian stage of the early Cretaceous period, approximately 127 mya. Approximate in size and relation to Utahraptor, the First Children did not advance far beyond basic stone stools and simple animal husbandry, due to the lack of opposable appendages, but maintained a rich oral culture, magical traditions, and complex tribal society.
All knowledge of the First Children comes from fossilized burial sites and preserved texts. Twenty-six individual specimens were documented by later studies
It is unknown by what means the First Children died out. Plague is the currently supported hypothesis.
Regarding the Yeren, the Second Children
Regarding the Daevas
Regarding the Primordial Races of Man
Regarding the Beasts, the Third Children
Regarding Man, the Fourth and Final Child
Regarding the Three Sons of Adam
Regarding the Ark and Noah’s Sons
Regarding the Antediluvian World
Regarding the Wonder-Maker
Regarding the Fall of the Daevas
Regarding the Flood and the Veil
Regarding the Chronicle
In the final years of the Daevas, it became apparent to some in the higher echelons of the theocracy that the Empire’s time was fading. The worship of the Scarlet King, now dominant above all other gods, would lead to the destruction of the Empire, for the King looked kindly upon no one. A faithful servant no longer required was to be disposed of.
With the knowledge of their doom, a cabal of Daevite priest-mages began to compose a work which would allow for Daevite civilization to survive its impending destruction – a chronicle which would allow for the empire to be reborn. In mirror of the work’s patron, this rebirth would even be retroactive, to make up for lost time.
While the Empire was destroyed and its relics scattered amongst the veiled world, this Chronicle was among the item that survived, and would eventually be classified as SCP-140.