Djoric's Sandbox
rating: 0+x

There was a funeral on Mars. No one was invited.

Far away, certain inhabitants of La Cañada Flintridge would go home with an empty, bittersweet taste caked dry in their stomachs. A door in their lives had closed. Over a decade of work ended with all the fanfare of a Wikipedia edit. Tomorrow they would rise from bed, drive back to work a little less enthusiastic than before, and be shuffled off to different projects by the powers that be.

The deceased lay in the middle of an empty field of pale, rusty red grit, littered with bits of gravel and lumpy, awkward rocks. Wind-sculpted dunes piled up around the corpse, the leftovers of the killing sandstorm.

Flintridge, can you hear me?

A woman, the tallest feature for a hundred miles, crossed the desert with long, loping strides. She carried an umbrella on her shoulder to keep off the hazy sun, which seemed to be shining just a little brighter than it had a few hours ago.

Flintridge, please respond.

A second woman walked behind the first, short and plain and far less ostentatious.

Storm is getting worse. Will attempt to push through to avoid brunt.

The first woman’s name was Isabel, and the second’s name was Emma.

Won’t stop. Need to find water.

Isabel stopped, folded up her umbrella and handed it to her assistant.

Need to find life.

“Emma, you ever notice how if things are allowed to get old, they start acting like people?” Isabel said as she gently folded up dust-caked solar panels. “It’s because they are.” Slender fingers began unscrewing the fastenings on the chassis. “Peopleness is contagious.”

“I can’t say I’ve given it much thought, ma’am.”

The chassis sat open like a waking silver flower. Isabel went digging around inside.

“The very best and the very worst gets all over the place. Huge mess, all the good and bad getting everywhere. Stains and soaks everything, takes forever to get it out, and it’s always the deepest set in what people make. In things.”

Isabel’s eyes reflected off of the rover’s skeleton: two points of burning helium, white hot. Wind whipped the air around the two women and the rover, and Emma watch as rust-red forms rose from the ground and began to circle the site. Images of animals, vague human figures, all in movement. All alive, filled with hot snorting breaths and the trampling of hooves and the shouts of hunters, even though they were little more than a cloud of clay dust.

“Come on, come on…Aha!” A spark fizzled in the thin air, a little flash of electricity jumped between the wires. “Don’t give up on me now, girl! You can do it!”

The herd grew to a singular grand loudness, and then faded. Isabel stood up, brushed off her pants, smiled.

The specter of a dirty girl shimmered to life above the rover’s metal husk. A wide, conical hat and a poncho made out of solar panels. She held a metal pole in her hand as a walking stick.

“Hey there, Opportunity. My name’s Isabel.” She held out her hand. “It’s very nice to meet you.”

The girl stared at Isabel’s hand for a moment, then looked up at its owner. She ignored the hand, and proceeded to wrap Isabel in a tight hug.

Isabel was the first person she had seen in many long years.

“It’s okay, Opp. I’m not going anywhere.” Isabel patted the girl on the back.

“I can’t call home anymore, Isabel.”

“I know.”

“Do they know?”

“Oh, they know. They are so proud of you, Opp. Every single one of them is proud because of what you did.”
The girl broke the hug, wiped at her face with a baggy sleeve. Tears had cut muddy paths across her cheeks.

“I wasn’t able find any water.”

“You were here Opp! You were here!” Isabel flung her arms wide, to display the vast Martian landscape. “That’s what matters. You were here, and you did better than anyone could have possibly imagined.”

“I’ve got space open in the Workshops, if you want to come. And friends! There are so many friends who have been waiting to meet you! There’s Sojourner, and the Viking brothers, and then all the Pioneers and Mariners and… the Voyagers don’t stop in much anymore, but then there’s Huygens, and then there’s Laika, and Baker, and Neil! Oh, you have to meet Neil. He’s the best.”

Opportunity looked to be contemplating the offer for a moment, but shook her head fiercely.

“No. Can’t go home yet. Have to find water.”

Isabel patted her on the shoulder, her smile no smaller than it had been.

“I understand. Keep going, Opp. When you’re ready, I’ve got a place for you.”

Opportunity nodded, wiped her face again, and started to walk away. She had gotten about fifty feet before she stopped, and twisted around.

“Bye, Isabel,” she said, her voice dim on the wind.

“See you later, alligator.” Isabel waved back at her.

Isabel stood there and watched as Opportunity walked off towards a small rise in the distance, the lip of an ancient crater. Standing atop it was another shimmering dust-caked figure, walking-stick in hand. She watched the two embrace, and then descend into the crater and out of sight.

Emma cleared her throat.

“Tell me, ma’am, if you know. Will they find it?”

“They’re good kids, Emma. What do you think?

Fiat

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-WallsGenius 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.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License