CatastrophicFailure

Revelations of the Kraken (Chapter 38: Talking at Windows)

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36 minutes ago, KSK said:

You can't...

But some things are worth the pain ye ken? :)

 

Spoiler

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27 minutes ago, Patupi said:

I'm pretty sure no one has really asked the Haggis if it hurts. I mean, onions?

Onions. That’s some next-level Sacrifice right there. Almost makes it feel like someone’s chopping them. 

 

Riveting culinary discussions aside, that “quick” chapter from like a couple weeks ago is nearly ready. :rolleyes:

I’m assigning homework on this one.

There will be a test. 

You won’t have to know dates. 

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40 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:
  Reveal hidden contents

0221abd10567206a3e125ef4b0501c17.jpg

Onions. That’s some next-level Sacrifice right there. Almost makes it feel like someone’s chopping them. 

Riveting culinary discussions aside, that “quick” chapter from like a couple weeks ago is nearly ready. :rolleyes:

I’m assigning homework on this one.

There will be a test. 

You won’t have to know dates. 

Homework done! And I see/saw/stood in awe at what you did here:

"And just before his head died, he was said to have spoken a prophesy: 'ye shadow of the first, ye whisper of the second, as empires rise and fall, so shall the revelation of the third bring the end of this age... and bring the hell that waits beyond."

That's some master-level foreshadowing right there. Particularly when I recall all the debate over what the third installment of this trilogy was going to be called... 

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1 hour ago, KSK said:

That's some master-level foreshadowing right there. Particularly when I recall all the debate over what the third installment of this trilogy was going to be called... 

More layers than an... onion...<_<

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3 hours ago, KSK said:

Homework done! And I see/saw/stood in awe at what you did here:

"And just before his head died, he was said to have spoken a prophesy: 'ye shadow of the first, ye whisper of the second, as empires rise and fall, so shall the revelation of the third bring the end of this age... and bring the hell that waits beyond."

That's some master-level foreshadowing right there. Particularly when I recall all the debate over what the third installment of this trilogy was going to be called... 

You know what's really sad? I remember looking at that exact line when the debate about part three's name was going, thinking 'Chadvey's talk is BOUND to have a clue!' And apparently I just skipped right over the word 'Revelations' and missed it entirely.

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The Sixth Bowl was poured out upon the water,
And the water dried up to make way for the Kings.
From the East, and North, West and South they came, 
And they gathered there to do battle, in the place called Kharm Heggíton.

Chapter 35: Ivan Grozny

Ivan, the First of his Name, son of Vlad, Lord High Vizier of the City of Kerman, and Emperor of All the Ussaris sat his horse, gauntleted hands resting casually on the pommel of the enormous steel and wood howdah. The lines of age had already begun to touch his face, carving shallow rifts in the leathery surface that would one day grow into deep chasms, yet no hint of grey dared touch his night-black hair, as if by doing so it might draw his attention, and incur his wrath. Save for a short, thick beard trimmed precisely to a point, he wore it close-shorn to his scalp, so as to neither distract him in battle nor bring the scourge of lice. A red scar ran down one cheek, still not quite healed. He would forever remember the desperate face of the young kerb who delivered it, moments before he cleaved the boy’s head from his shoulders. Little more than a squire or page, it was unfortunate: a boy of such spirit would have been useful. 

Beside him, Tritus, the Lord Marshall of the Guard, collapsed a spy-glass with a loud snap. He conferred once more with the wiry old outrider before him, who was still festooned with branches and sprigs of grass, then gave a nod. The lanky soldier raised a salute and set off at a quick pace about some other business. 

The Lord Marshall nudged his own horse closer, "it is as you said, Majesty," his face was a pale circle within the polished reaches of his gleaming helm, "they have evacuated, right through the hole we left them. Kerbelles, kerblets, kerbs with narrow shoulders and slack jaws. My scouts confirm, there is not a fighter amongst them."

The Emperor grunted a vague assent. His keen, narrowed eyes did not need a glass to spy the last few specks straggling out of the southern gate, yet some leagues distant. At last, at long last, the prize was within his grasp. Arstotzka. The shining City on the Hill, the paradox that was both beacon and bane. Never, for thousands of years, since the time of the Roamin's and before, had any force breached those mystic walls. 

The Emperor might have smiled, now, if he were one taken to smiling. Behind him, an entire legion of Imperial Guard stood ready, their breastplates spotlessly clean yet bearing the many scars of this long campaign. They hung in pairs from massive war-horses, each beast clad in heavy, angled steel plate that could turn aside massed pikes like willow branches. Once a formation was so pierced, the riders would strike at the very heart with their killing sticks. Halberds. Weapons yet unknown in this part of the world.

He might have smiled, for the brigades of mounted archers wielding bows that could send arrows as long as a kerb is tall hundreds of spans afield, knocking riders from their mounts and tearing plate armor like cloth. He might have smiled, for the endless corps of infantry fed, armed, and trained by his own coin, bringing discipline unseen since Roamin' times. He might have smiled, for the cadres of engineers who even now felled every tree in sight to build siege towers, battering rams, and trebuchets.

But mostly, he might have smiled for the secrets brought from a continent away. What had been mere parlor tricks in Gytep, he had made into the most frightful weapons the world would ever know. First, the gonne. A simple bronze tube packed with brimstone, charcoal, and saltpeter, which once ignited would expel an iron ball at incredible speed. His trained soldiers could send wave after wave of such fire against his opponent. 

But even the gonnes paled before the Emperor's Dragons. 

He had brought a drove of confectioners to feed them, on sugar shipped from the distant southlands that did not know winter. Melted with saltpeter and cast in hammered copper tubes as big as tree trunks, the sugar would unleash fire and smoke as if the very bowels of the Ninth Hell itself had been opened, launching the tube like a spear across hundreds of spans. The Dragons would drive their hardened steel tips deep into the thickest walls, and ignite a foul mixture of lamp oil, spirit of niter from rotted grain, and the essence of fermented night soil, to rend stone from stone and tear it down. 

Each one was worth a king's ransom. 

Ivan, the First of his name, had ransomed many kings. 

Today, he would have victory, yet still he would not smile. Whatever sort of victory came, he knew it would come at a price. 

There was always... a price. 

Ivan, son of Vlad, had learned this well in his life. There was always a price. 

Without looking away, he spoke. His voice was rocks rolling downhill, "and your kerbs are in position?"

The Lord Marshall half nodded, half bowed, "yes, Majesty. Concealed in the forest on either side of the South Road, awaiting your order." He pointed out towards the distant city and grinned, "they will not escape."

"And what of the walls?" more rocks rumbled and cracked their way down. 

The Lord Martial's grin faded just slightly, "still guarded, Majesty. My scouts... tell strange tales. Of each pair I sent out, only one returned. Every kerb claims his partner..." he coughed, and licked at dry lips, "... his partner... burst into flames. Though they were yet hidden."

"And you believe this?" a rock shattered against the ground. 

There was an once of hesitation in his voice, "certainly not, Majesty! Yet I know my kerbs. They are not taken to hysterics or flights of fancy. Whatever deceitful trick they are using," he nodded off towards the city, "we would do well to mark it."

The Emperor said nothing, once more rumbling an acknowledgement like distant thunder. 

Suddenly a commotion arose, as a sentry cried out, "Majesty! Riders!" The Emperor and Lord Marshal were instantly surrounded by a girdle of cold steel and watchful eyes. 

The Lord Marshal scoffed, knowing better than to chastise his sentries in the presence of the Emperor, but at a loss nonetheless, "what?! How?! How did they approach without us seeing?"

"This yet their land, Lord Marshal," rocks tumbled and cracked, "and they know it as a lover." The Emperor's eyes ran over the rising foothills before the city, noting again the contours, the dips, the switchbacks that might conceal. There was broken cover, and yet—

"Look!" the Lord Marshal blurted out, forgetting propriety in the moment as he peered through his spy-glass, "it's him! And... and he's brought it! By Above and Below, he's actually brought it!" He looked to the Emperor with wonder and horror on his face. 

More squads of bladed staffs began to file towards the pair, yet Ivan waved them off with a single steel-clad finger raised from the pommel. 

"If we have seen them, it is because they wish it," then he called out to the guards, and more boulders smashed together, "let them come!"

The waves of steel parted and the Emperor saw that it was indeed him, and two others, mounted on stocky, long-necked khef, strange beasts of burden from the far north. Hair, long yet sparse, clung to the sides of his head, trailing out in the breeze and occasionally revealing a stubborn bit of red still hiding among the white. His face was smooth, clean-shaven save for a line of white billowing white along his jaw that matched his head, and despite his purported age, the Emperor found could put no age to that face. It wore the hint of an amused little smile.

On the beast beside him must be the daughter. Tales of her beauty had traveled far and wide, and Ivan now saw that every one was a lie. He thought that not even a thousand poets composing for a thousand years could find the words to do this one justice. Her face, unlike his, bore the cast of misery itself. 

And following behind her, just to the side... the Emperor saw this was no kerb but Death upon a saddle. This one wore a cloak that billowed in the wind, which seemed to make even the Emperor's hard eyes loose focus and drop away, as if it resisted being looked at. He wore no obvious weapon, only carrying a gnarled wooden staff, but for one such as this, that made no matter. His face might have been carved from stone. 

The trio paused a short way off, before dismounting their strange beasts and approaching on foot. 

Ivan, son of Vlad, raised a hand in greeting as they did, "Calichniye, Jebediah al'Jedediah, Tamyrlin an Arstotzka!"

Hail, Jebediah, son of Jedediah, Tamyrlin of Arstotzka!

The one with the funny little smile stopped a few paces off, and raised his own hand, "hail, Ivan Kinslayer. Have ye come t'slay me and mah kin, too?"

The Lord Marshal bristled at the insult in his own tongue, and everywhere within earshot hands reached for swords or staffs or nocks, but once more the Emperor stayed them with a simple finger. For a time, there was no sound but the distant whistling of the wind in the trees. 

"You would to well to keep your tongue on a shorter leash, Lord Tamyrlin," Ivan's voice was like the grating of pebbles before a landslide, "no blood need be spilt here this day. Or any other."

The Tamyrlin seemed to consider this for a moment, his amused smile fading into a slight frown before rebounding, "indeed. Why don't ye come down from there, and let us speak as simple folk, as menh, like the old ones say?"

Once more hands found weapons, and once more the Emperor calmed them. A rustling susurrus began to spread through the crowd, as the Emperor stood in his howdah. With a sound of squeaking leather, he descended a small rope ladder, his feet hitting the ground with a metallic clank. He towered over all around him, a massive, imposing figure like a giant statue come to life. Moving slowly, deliberately, he unfastened his sword belt and passed it to an attending squire. No one else moved. No one made a sound. His footfalls were like the clomping of a steel golem, the sun seemed to dance and shimmer off the plates of his armor, his eyes blazed as the forges of a blacksmith's legion. 

Yet he walked with his hands open, and outstretched, showing he held no blade or club. He stood before the Tamyrlin, looming like a building, a mountain, a planet, and his voice was the quiet rumbling of a distant, onrushing flood, "no kerb need die here today, Lord Tamyrlin. Bend the knee, surrender the Staff and the city to me, and your people will be spared. I swear this, upon the Blood of my Fathers."

The Tamyrlin met that fiery gaze, his odd little smile never failing, and spoke as an early spring breeze across a snowfield, "your fathers' blood? And is their blood on yer hands too, like that of yer brother, and yer infant nephews yet in their mother's arms?"

Leather creaked. The distant flood grew nearer. Yet still no one moved. 

And then... the Tamyrlin held out his hand. In it was the Staff, a simple rod of perfect whiteness, narrowing to a point at one end. His fingers opened, the Staff balanced on his palm.

"Ah will give you the Staff," the smile twitched just a bit, "and the hand of mah only daughter, so that your young empire might have the heir it needs... but the secrets of Arstotzka must remain so. They were not meant for this world, but another long past... and yet to come. The Ashan'shoufa on the walls have taken a vow to protect them, unto th' last day, and sworn upon that far graver than even blood."

The flood swept up all in its path, trees, boulders, buildings, and still it came, "look before you. I have gathered the greatest army the world has ever seen! My forces number like the sands of the desert, and the stars of the sky! A million kerbs stand at your gates. I have brought halberds from the east, longbows from the west, heavy horse from the south, and Seekers from the frozen north! I, too, bear secrets yet unknown to this world, and with them I will tear your walls down. If I must."

Oblivious, the wind blew on. The Tamyrlin's smile never faltered, never failed, as if he were thinking of a joke no one else in the world knew, "the walls of Arstotzka have stood for many thousand years," he said simply, "they will stand another thousand yet."

Ivan's lips curled into the hint of a sneer, the creases on his face deepened into caverns. He turned to the army in their thousands upon thousands, and stretched out his hands between the heavens and the land. The flood raged, smashing itself against a cliff face, rending stone from stone, "witness me, all of you! I, Ivan, son of Vlad, Thirteenth of his Name, swear upon the Blood of my Fathers: if all my demands are met today, I will grant safe passage to the people called Kermanni, and not one hair of their heads shall be harmed."

Then he rounded back on the Tamyrlin, raging like a mountain ripping in two, "but I also swear by all the Nine Hells and everything else Below, if you make me tear down those walls, I will leave not one stone upon another within, and every kerb, kerbelle, and kerblet will find their head on a stick lining the way from here to the City of Kerman!" A sudden, slight pain bloomed just behind his right eye, as if perhaps he had screamed too loud.

The Tamyrlin's head tilted just slightly, "so then you agree, if I do not make you tear down those walls, you will take mah daughter and the Staff, and go out from this place in peace... and mah people will forever be under your protection, and enjoy safe passage in all lands that bend the knee to Ivan, son of Vlad?"

Ivan ignored the unfamiliar sensation in his head, and once more rumbled like a building storm, "I so swear." Something... something was...

"And so the bond is sealed..." the Tamyrlin said, and the girl made a sudden noise deep in her throat, raising a hand to her lips. He stepped back, raising the Staff to the sky, "...by the blood of mah fathers... and mah own."

For a long moment, nothing happened. Confused glances and muttered words passed amongst the gathered. Then the steady wind started to blow harder, and a great rumbling arose that was not of the Emperor. A flock of birds in a nearby tree took wing. A nervous horse snorted. The ground itself began to shudder. 

"Sourcery!" someone yelled. 

"Sourcery!" another echoed him. 

In an instant, the Emperor was again enclosed in a wall of steel and flesh. All along the line, swords screeched in scabbards, bowstrings creaked. 

"HOLD! Hold your weapons!" Ivan roared like a landslide. He shoved armored kerbs aside this way and that like paper dolls, forcing his way forward, "you would go back on your word so readily, Tamyrlin?!"

"Never in this life," he said, his eyes cast skyward, veins straining on his face, "or any other."

One by one, kerbs began to drop. Weapons clattered to the ground. Horses screamed and oxen brayed as they, too, fell. Ivan grunted, feeling an inexorable pull downward, as if the very grip of the world had strengthened. Around him, some Guards tried to crawl forward, daggers gripped in their teeth. 

"HOLD!" he railed, "by the Kraken's breath, you! Will! HOLD!" but he himself dropped with a clash of steel... and beheld a vision beyond imagination. 

Ahead in the foothills, the ground rent open, spewing out gluts of fire and molten rock. The clear day turned dark and angry, clouds churned and lightning split the sky. The very land heaved, and collapsed. The great hill the city was set upon began to sink, crumbling, and invert upon itself, becoming a vast depression. 

Yet not a stone of the walls was disturbed. 

As Ivan watched, the roiling clouds began to circle, whipping into a maelstrom centered on the city. Lightning crashed and thunder boomed, and all at once the clouds seemed to descend. Yet it was not mere cloud mist but water that slammed into the ground. The flow became a torrent, and the torrent a river, drowning the battered land.  

Yet it rose softly over the distant walls, veiling them from this world, and not a stone was disturbed. 

Closer in the water continued to rise. From the soldiers still crushed upon the ground, a muffled cry rose up. A wall of water a hundred spans high and more now raced at them, building and churning, towering until it blocked out the sky. Helpless before it, kerbs offered up their feeble last cries to this life.  

At the very last moment, the wave broke against some unseen barrier, rising to the sky with a sound like the thunder of every war ever waged, and even the mighty Ivan hid his face in the dirt. 

When he looked up again, the sun had returned. Placid waves lapped against the new shoreline of a wide lake, only spans away. The Tamyrlin lay upon the ground, the Staff still in his hand outstretched in offering, his blue eyes as intense in death as they had been in life. They bored into the Emperor's own. 

Ivan forced himself to his feet, unsteady, the great weight now lifted, and beheld the spectacle all around. Far away, on a narrow spit land flanked by forests, people huddled together. What had been a gentle rise was now a wandering coastland, cradling the front lines of his troops like a mother's arms. The ancient city, and all who remained in it, were gone. 

For a moment, the lines faded from Ivan's stern face, and he looked boyish and stricken. He slowly approached the Tamyrlin, and finally took the Staff. It felt smooth and strangely light in his hand. But the moment did not last, and the old chasms returned with twice the intensity. The Emperor cried out in a loud voice and tore the armor from his chest. He beat his own breast, and rent his garments. 

The Lord Martial approached, cringing, from behind, "M... Majesty? Majesty? Shall I give the order to att—?"

The back of the Emperor's gauntlet caught him in the face, snapping his head back with a clash of metal. He dropped like a stone and was out before he hit the ground. Ivan clanked back and forth before the lines of bewildered kerbs, and roared like the breaking of a world. 

"Witness me, all of you!" he stripped off his gauntlets and dragged the point of the Staff across his left palm, then held the hand high and squeezed the blood out upon the ground, "by my blood and the blood of all my Fathers, I, Ivan, son of Vlad, Emperor of all the Ussari, bestow my protection upon the People who call themselves Kermanni, and grant them right of free passage to all lands that bend knee to me! An offense against them is as an offense against the Throne, and a favor upon them is as a favor upon the Throne. Does any kerb here challenge this?"

As one, a million Kerbals took a step back. From where he was, the Emperor peered at them, and where he did they shied back further still. None made a sound. 

Ivan squeezed more blood upon the ground, and spoke as soft and cold as the deep winter wind, "and so the bond is sealed."

Now he turned to the maiden, who was still huddled upon the ground. The stone-faced one next to her did not tense at his approach, but such a kerb need not do so. Ivan offered her his unmarked hand, and did not insult her with vain words. 

She looked up and met his gaze. Tears wet her green dress in streaks that somehow looked to him like blood. Her eyes were full of sorrow and grief, and yet devoid of hate. She let him draw her to her feet. 

"My Lord," she said, casting her eyes down again, "by your leave, grant me the Staff but for a moment, and I will place... an enchantment on all here, that no one will remember this place or this day, save for the words you have spoken, and the bond here sealed."

Confusion passed the Emperor's face for an instant, before understanding dawned. He turned to the Tamyrlin and rumbled, "what shall be done for him?"

The maiden's breath caught before she spoke, "he is sealed to this place, and here he should stay. But we dare not linger, the waters still rise."

Ivan stepped to the fallen Tamyrlin, and for a time only stared, then knelt down, placed his hands across his chest, and closed his blue eyes. 

"Then may these waters made sacred forever keep you," the Emperor said simply, "glory to Arstotzka."

He returned to the maiden, and handed her the Staff.

"Do as you have said."

***

Clank.

Clank. 

Clank. 

CLUNK!

The sound of enormous lock bolts sliding open died away, and two massive oaken doors festooned with ornate carvings swung open with fitting creaks. The Empress... never touched a thing, save for blue münstone at her neck. She led the group into another richly finished room, smaller than the library but expansive all the same. Here, there were more shelves... and yet every eye save hers instantly fixed on the huge painting at the far end. She stepped before it, and spread her hands. 

Ivan Grozny... and his brother.”

It was some time before anything else was said. 

“Whoah,” someone breathed. 

His eyes...

Edgas thought that he had never seen eyes so haunted. 

On the canvas above were two young kerbs, one, barely out of boyhood, cradled the other’s lifeless body. He knelt in his smallclothes, his long, ink-black hair sodden with sweat and blood, his mouth pulled back into a rictus of horror, his face taught, as if every muscle were straining. Beside him, lay a bloody sword. 

It was terrible. And fearsome. 

The Empress turned, “it is said that on this day, the young prince, now a self-made king, screamed so long and so loud that it was heard all across the land, and his angel’s voice became like that of the very rocks of the ground splitting open.”

“That’s... awful...” Edgas said, yet was unable to pull his eyes away. 

“Indeed. Hours before, he stabbed his own brother in the back, and slaughtered anyone who bore even a drop of his blood to claim the throne for himself,” she eyed each of them in turn, “and then took the headsman’s axe from the block, and jumped from the parapet of the castle into the throng of barbarians at the gates of Kernobyl. It is said that his hair burned with choking smoke like brimstone, and his face struck terror into the heart of even the bravest warrior. He struck down ten thousand by his own hand, and as his enemies fled in panic, he consumed them with lightning from his eyes, and fireballs from his, er, posterior.”

Edgas blinked, “wait, what? That actually happened?”

“No,” the slightest rise of an eye... bulge, “oral histories and stories told around campfires and tavern flagons tend to be... embellished, but what is certain, is that on this day King Ivan I tore a hole in their tribal memory so deep the savages never again came within a thousand leagues his kingdom. For this, he was named *Ivan Grozny.* He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his people.”

“Sacrifice?” Edgas scoffed, “what sacrifice? He lived! He killed everyone else. He killed his own family!

“Indeed,” once again, the Empress fixed him with that implacable gaze, “in order to save his city and people from a fate worse than death, he condemned his own soul.”

Edgas shrank back a bit, “oh.”

“What do you mean, ‘fate worse than death?’” Burdous asked. 

“Child,” she turned to him, “if only half the stories told of these barbarians are true, and I told you only half again of that, you would probably have a stroke.”

Burdous considered this a moment, “Ok!”

She returned a flat look, “the un-fixable sort.”

Now Burdous shrank back, looking rather pale, “oh.”

“Ivan eventually hunted them down anyway, and put them all to the stake like his ancestor,” the Empress continued, “he had all trace of the tribe’s name scoured from documents, speech, even memory by sheer force of his reputation, long before he ever met the Tamyrlin’s daughter. Some scholars think a few might have escaped to what is now Cerima, but myself, I find that unlikely.”

“He sounds like a monster,” Edgas frowned. 

“People are not always so one-dimensional,” Dibella turned to him, “he was a learnéd kerb, at a time when most people, even rulers, couldn’t read at all. He studied art and philosophy, history and science, mathematics... he founded what would become the University of Kermangrad. Ivan I was an early archetype for what would be called centuries later a Renaissance kerb, as powerful in mind as he was in body.”

Edgas looked at her, nonplussed, “he still killed a bunch of people.”

“Why did he do it?” all heads turned toward Valentina. 

“Because he was a monster?” Edgas huffed. 

Valentina glanced at him, scowled, “no, not him. This... Lord Tamyrlin person... why would he destroy his own city? If he could do this thing, surely he could have just wiped that army off the face of the map.”

The Empress fixed her with a long, considering gaze, “indeed he could have, as his predecessors likely did before. And for a time, there would be peace... until the next army came, larger and even stronger. And then another, and then another.” 

She turned her eyes to Edgas, “I think, perhaps, this Tamyrlin was tired of the bloodshed, of trying to hide that which cannot be hidden. Ivan Kinslayer was indeed a monster, but he was also practical, and an especially gifted leader of kerbs. The Tamyrlin realized he could turn that pragmatism and reputation to his own devices, that by sealing the blood of the Kermanni forever with that of the Imperial dynasty, he could keep the secrets he was charged to keep.”

“Why though?” Edgas persisted, “why such secrecy? What could be so horrible in that city? And this Staff, and you, and...” his eyes scanned around the room, the paintings, the books, the strange maps, the shelves full of baubles, “...and everything.”

“You disappoint me, Edgas Kerman, I would think you, of all, would understand the need for certain... discretions,” yet the Empress explained, “the Staff, when complete, is known as the Rod of Dominion. It is the very power of Creation itself, the power of deity. Think of what that could do in the wrong hands, or even the right ones, if they did not know what they were about.”

Edgas did so, and found his knees growing weak. 

She continued, “but like everything, there is a counterbalance. It is called the Crown of Worms, it is the nexus of evil, in this world or any other. If anyone found it, and wore it, it would unleash destruction beyond measure. But if the Prophesied One, the Betrayer finds it...” she shuddered, and shook her head, “it is thought by scholars and prophets alike to rest in the Sanctuary of Arstotzka, beneath a lake in what is now Athiland. Or, as it was once called, Heggíton. Lake Athiland. Kharm Heggíton. From which we get the modern word, Armageddon: the end of all things.”

The Empress stepped towards Edgas, and he saw behind that serene, ageless face something he had not thought her possible of, “if the Betrayer finds the Crown of Worms, and puts it on his head, it will be the end of all things. Not merely this world, but all worlds, everywhere, anywhere. Worlds long past and yet to come, as the Wheel turns upon the Tower. I do not expect such as you to appreciate such evanescent ideas, but know this...”

She leaned in, and he saw raw fear in her eyes, “if that moment ever comes, everyone you have ever loved, and everyone you have lost, will be born again into unending suffering the likes of which you cannot possibly imagine, and for that deficiency, you should count yourself most fortunate.”

“I—“ Edgas struggled to speak, his mouth suddenly dry as desert sand, his tongue burning of alkali, and his spine laced with ice, “I think I need to sit down, now.”

“Indeed,” the Empress nodded, gesturing to several comfy chairs near one wall, “it is time you— all of you, knew the truth of the world. As my ancestor once said, let us speak as simple folk.

“As menh.”

 
 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure

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Whoah. Just whoah. Things move and tales told to stir the soul... not neccessarily in a good way either. Yikes.

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18 hours ago, Patupi said:

Whoah. Just whoah. Things move and tales told to stir the soul... not neccessarily in a good way either. Yikes.

:D

I think everyone else was just weirded out... :unsure:

This was actually the first chapter of Revelations, technically, mostly, written back in June of ‘17 before the actual writing commenced.

Then one thing led to another after I found this:

mnayhg.jpg

Our world’s Ivan the Terrible, after (much more unintentially) killing his own son. :( His  eyes...

More weirdness will eventually follow, next on Clarissa Alexandra Explains it All... :confused:

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10 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Our world’s Ivan the Terrible, after (much more unintentially) killing his own son. :( His  eyes...

wow, that's a fantastically terrible painting. I get the feeling that the person who painted it had that burned into his memory forever. 

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56 minutes ago, Thedrelle said:

wow, that's a fantastically terrible painting. I get the feeling that the person who painted it had that burned into his memory forever. 

Quite so. And it was painted by Ilya Repin 300 years after Ivan’s death, so I’m guessing that poor guy had many Krakens wrestling in his own mind. :wacko:

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Your writing amazes and draws me in again and again, sir.

Absolutely amazing.

I eagerly await the next chapter.

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and yet the ratsquirrelfish could be the creature that guards that crown

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It'd be a rather smelly crown then. Not sure I'd want to wear it after THEY'D had their way with it.

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On 1/31/2019 at 4:56 PM, Ho Lam Kerman said:

Your writing amazes and draws me in again and again, sir.

Absolutely amazing.

I eagerly await the next chapter.

These are the bits that brighten an author’s day. :D

The next chapter will be a while, sadly. It’s turning out to be most... frustrating. :P

10 hours ago, lunardog15 said:

and yet the ratsquirrelfish could be the creature that guards that crown

There are some things even a RSF fears... :wacko:

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1 minute ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

There are some things even a RSF fears... :wacko:

Sticks and Twigs?

1 minute ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

The next chapter will be a while, sadly. It’s turning out to be most... frustrating. :P

something something quality over quantity something take your time I'm sure we can find something better to do than constantly refreshing this page :P

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On 2/4/2019 at 10:30 PM, qzgy said:

something something quality over quantity something take your time I'm sure we can find something better to do than constantly refreshing this page :P

Really? *Eye twitches, finger poised over mouse button* T...There is really something else to do...? Oh, right... work.... *sigh* I guess.

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This thread is not dead. :P

Just when I thought the next chapter and February were both kicking my S here comes March all, “‘ello, guv’na!” and kicks me right square inna fork. Got some bad news this weekend, the kind that necessitates sudden cross-country travel and no expense spared. Wrestling your own Krakens is easy, having to watch a loved one wrestle theirs and they can’t tag you in, that’s hard. 

So, no February update, obviously, and March is looking mighty shaky too. But I’ll keep plugging away where I can. 

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Ohh. :( 

Sincere condolences, to yourself and to the sender of that bad news.

Will be thinking of you.

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10 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

This thread is not dead. :P

Just when I thought the next chapter and February were both kicking my S here comes March all, “‘ello, guv’na!” and kicks me right square inna fork. Got some bad news this weekend, the kind that necessitates sudden cross-country travel and no expense spared. Wrestling your own Krakens is easy, having to watch a loved one wrestle theirs and they can’t tag you in, that’s hard. 

So, no February update, obviously, and March is looking mighty shaky too. But I’ll keep plugging away where I can. 

were behind ya. keep on keeping on, and i hope your situation improves.

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Wish you all the best. Hope you and yours' all pull through OK. Take all the time you need. We'll still be here.

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Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. There are neither beginnings nor ends, and All Things Serve the Beam...

But if March could stop kicking me inna fork, that’d be great. Yet the words are once more flowing again, if slowly. Here’s a preview gag that may or may not make the final cut, utterly devoid of context. :ph34r:

Spoiler

He poked at it. It looked like a very large, clunky flashlight broken in half. And just behind it was a thin, black skullcap with a pair of big black discs jutting from it. He picked this new thing up...

 

...And quickly set it down again. 

 

He felt a great disquiet, like a disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror... and were suddenly silenced. Somewhere, somewhen, he feared something terrible had happened. Edgas stared down at the dark headgear in disgust. Surely, this was a thing of incredible greed and corruption and... princesses?*

 

He gave a little half-turn, and saw the Empress still staring at him, the intensity in her eyes belying her serene face.

 

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9 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Here’s a preview gag that may or may not make the final cut, utterly devoid of context.

NO EDGAS! YOU KNOW NOT WHAT EVIL YOU  ARE MESSING WITH!

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Hmm. As Chadvey might have said - something disnae seem right wi that thing.

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22 hours ago, KSK said:

Hmm. As Chadvey might have said - something disnae seem right wi that thing.

I see what you did there

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