10 Red Twilight Worldwalkers chapter 10
Harm approaches Syphon as s/he steps out of the court house "Servant of Rhoda." The walking dream stops and turns to face the blood-god. With the crowds thinning its form becomes more firm. Its body settles on a female shape on par with Harm's height, glowing ivory skin, bold, wrapped in black leather with thin eyes, thick lips and generous secondary sexual characteristics.
Syphon looks Harm up and down her exasperation seeming hungry "Princes from Pantheon, have you come here to amuse me? Or should I amuse you?"
Harm stands uncomfortably close "your powers are strong. You can see into my mind to spite my holy blood. By there is something you have not noticed it would seem. I have no hart that one can warm. I hunger only for flesh."
Syphon looks away "you bore me already."
Harm grabs Syphon and forces her to look at him "Yet you have something that I want."
Syphon's expiration shifts to one of longing. The shapeshifter places its hands on Harm's chest. "and what do I have that you would wish for?" any onlooker to this conversation would see clearly that though Harm is the vampire they are both predators, one with his fangs bare the other with its tail raised both looking to ensnare the other.
"I want Rhoda." Harm grips Syphon by the arms, his voice filled with authority.
Never has Syphon had such easy prey to attract, typically she needs to pay out, offer her victims gifts of money or physical gratification before they ask to see the sources of her power. Harm is no small offering, he is old, he has seen many worlds, eating him will bring Syphon a great deal of pleasure.
Syphon slides backwards taking Harm by the hands, "Come with me, I will give you what you desire." Syphon act cute, childish and giddy as she pull Harm out of the sight of others and to a place where she can safely teleport.
"Yes, you will." Harm explains
When Syphon worldwalks it feels like the moment between dream and waking, for a split second the world of the mind and the world of the body are as one, you can see the dream and you can see yourself but then one fades to black as the other dissolves to white. The waking dream falls from before Harm's eyes and what is cast before him is a sight that is nearly incomprehensible, Syphon has become a phantasmal amalgamation of the sum of all life, s/he is a pair of every creature Syphon has ever seen all at once, tens of millions of pars of distinct animals all held together by a viscus mass linking them at a multitude of body parts like mucus the colors of the monstrosity crosshatch it unnatural ways everything bleeding into everything else.
But Syphon is only a tiny piece of a much greater being. Harm finds himself standing in the hand of a humanoid stone beast, the hand alone must be a hundred or more miles wide forged of stone and fungus, the life form casting its own light as there is no other lights left in the world. With no atmosphere to reflect light and no gravitational pull one can see forever and this nearly unlimited scope of vision brings to light the giants hand moving to its face to exsame the insect in its hand.
Rhoda resembles a Mesozoic stone idol, its skin smooth as sand, its eyes lumps of metal, it has no teeth only a vacuumus hole where a moth should be, no ears but a rounded noise, its features are genderless. The stone god need not speak, it thinks and Syphon hears it.
"Rhoda! Behold! Sindaquil, the eldest son of Akasha Queen of the red sand and lady of blood."
Harm looks to Syphon then up at Rhoda. "Impressive, you really area a universe of one. But I fear that a universe so small has a fatal feely. You are a god to an unprotected world."
Syphon looks to its god the back to Harm "Rhoda wishes to know what you mean by unprotected."
Harm nods "I will grant you this favor. The Keys of Salvation forged by the Three-headed goddess offer this world no quarter. Without the Keys this world may be claimed by any Real Gods if only they have an Avatar to open the door for them. This world and everything in it now belongs to Cravixs."
Harm throws out his arms in prayer and the sky flashes with magenta light, teeth rain from the heavens as the God of Nothingness bites into the dimension. Harm closes his arms pushing his hands into his sleeves "If I where you I would start groveling now."
Cravixs wraps his teeth around the minuscule universe that is Rhoda, the whole of its existences absorbed into the walls of his soft tissue like in egg adhering to in ovarian wall alongside thousands of other universes in an almost spider like egg clutch. Only Cravixs angel, Harm, being left behind in the world of nothing left behind, no light, no color, no darkness, true vacuumus emptiness. Absoult nothingness is a state of being that is beyond human understanding and seeing such a thing would destroy the mind of any mortal. Even harm finds the absinces of existences numbing and is quick to jump to the next nearest plain of existences just to be in any simi-familiar environment.
Cravixs reaches out with his feelings searching as far as his eyes can see continuing his search for his lost siblings. Now with Rhoda inside of him he can stretch only slightly more and at last he spots a light at the edge of this reality that he recognizes. Cravixs whispers into the vastness of space "Laus-dayO." 'I should have known, where would be safer then at the edge of reality, all the worlds all the realities, which would be the one he would choose to go to? Where would the Void never look again?' Laith, the places of lost memories. That is where Lous-daO has gone, that is where he is waiting for him. That is where Cravixs most go. The universe spanning monster turns itself inside out to move across time-space in a single vast step.
There, at the place farthest from heaven Lous-dayO sits and waits, has he has for countless era he watches the water, watches time drip away and the clock count down the ages left till the end of all things. Dresses as an unassuming old medicine-man his lags pulled into his chest his head down the water rippling before him. Even for the Tamrial time is unescapable. He has felt every passing moment and waits for the release that comes with the end of time. Not even he, the oldest thing in this chrono sphere can find Nirvana, mortal pain, mortal weakness, boils in his blood.
The sky rips open and the Void's teeth terror apart space, Cravixs flashes into reality dresses in the skin of Filleus-Mammon. The opal skin, the shimmering black hair flowing like water down his back, the eyes that look like gemstone, Crow holds out his hand in greeting. "DayO, my brother."
Laus-dayO stands looking out to the water where Crow is levitating "You can't be here. I claim ownership of this land."
Crow drops his arms, the love melts from his face "Brother?"
Laus thrust one arm of to the side as if to slap away a bug "leave my sight you filthy, diseased thing."
Crow floats in ever closer "I have fought my way here, I have slain tens of billions of unworthy souls, consumed worlds without number… all for you brother."
Laus yells "you have defied my wishes, our mothers wishes. You have befouled that which we built… Mammon died fighting the Nothingness. You are nothing more then skin."
Crow circles Laus "you cut me with your words. That is unwise of you King of kings, oh, Lord of lords."
Like to lions dueling over a hunting ground the two gods stare each-other down pacing back and forth waiting for the other to blink "You are a mockery of life…"
Mammon cut of DayO "…I am Life! You could end this brother! At any time, you could have returned to Yggdrasil! Called me back! Callled: Chaos, NameO, we would have slain the Three-headed Goddess, burned Zion to the ground, destroyed Phage then once again we would have been the unquestioned lords and lady of Tamreal. We would have been the unequivocal masters of all time and space…"
DayO interrupts the monolog "you are projecting your sin onto me. You drew first blood, you lashed out at me, forced me to take action to protect the worlds that the four of us had created…"
Mammon cuts in again "…You used the power of creation to construct a goddess out of clay, a fake mother figure to replace our true mother, you made god in your own image, and the golem your raised attacked NameO, sending him to some distance place in time-space, that I have spent eons trying to find. Then when I return home to sleep I find that Eden is baron. My siblings are all gone, taken and hidden somewhere in the endless web of forgotten past and probable futures. Suddenly, there are armies of young gods, walls constructed to limit my vision…"
DayO steps in closer, rage filling his voice "You don't know what you are do you? You don't understand what you have become? What you are doing to us?"
Mammon matches the inward step the two gods now stretching and growing towering one then the other as they try to intimidate the other "You will be with me or you will be a part of me there are no other options."
DayO calls Mammon out "You have not grown early as large as you think you have."
The two men discard their facades assuming there truest forms Mammon; that of an esophagus lined with hooked fish like teeth. DayO; a net of light blue and white rupturing in all directions, any time two or more lines meat a squid like eye burst out of it. The two-monster push outwards covering every inch of their world and applying pressure to one another in a feral contest of power. If anyone where around to see the two monstrosities it would be a sight to behold, the gravity the monster generate is cataclysmic. The two best co-existing creates a supergravity forces everything around them to shrink then explode from terminal density, the friction of the two of them touching burns water and air, melts rock and turns sand into crystal.
Cravixs has grown larger then DayO by eating the cosmos but his mass has not grown grate enough to allow him to swallow DayO in a single bite like he had Rhoda. Cravixs tries, but is frightened by his pray fighting back.
Mammon whispers to DayO as he withdraws retreating slowly into another existence "Sleep well brother, surly I will eat you tomorrow."
DayO shrinks back down into his elderly man form. Being so close to Mammon has scarred him, he grips his chest with a hand that is half skeletal and breaths deeply. The parasite from beyond reality that Mammon fight years ago still lives inside its host. So long as that evil warm lives it will continue to kill everything it comes in contact with. It is a force of nature, it knows only hunger and pain, and the drive to divide. Mammon is the perfect body for IT. Mammon doesn't age, Mammon can't get sick, he will never die… somewhere in the endless string of worlds there must be some magic that can separate Mammon from Cravixs, DayO must hold Cravixs at bay till someone finds it.
Mammon returns to his place of birth, he lays the body of his favorite avatar against the hall of the Tree of Beginnings. Here he can sleep, here he can heal. Cravixs thinks to himself, 'All conceivable power belongs to us, only one another can stand in the way of each other ambitions. When one of us moves the others, all are given the opportunity to move in contradiction. Lous-dayO, you have chosen to move. Now it is my tern.' The trap is intercut, but the flaw is clear. DayO is trapped in his own net with Cravixs. This is a deadly miscalculation. If DayO wishes to escape he must allow Mammon out as well. But so long as the time loop is intact even if one of them kill the other their victory will be empty.
"Lab rat, did are you still alive?"
Charlie shacks himself off, he sits up looking about. Charlie is on the ground of Seekers laboratory. Charlie reaches around skurfing his hear as he waits for his vision to clear. "what's going on?"
Seeker reaches down to pick Charlie up "you have been asleep for seven point seven seven hours. I have injected you with a micro device that is preforming modifications to your neurological networking. As well as I have taken a blood, tissue and plasma sample for future records."
Charlie rubs his eyes "I feel sort'a funky. I should be mad but it seems everything is ok. What where we talking about?" Charlie drifts in and out of awareness for a short time seemingly having trouble focusing
"the micro device I placed in your body is constructing an advanced cyphering tool into your lower brain, and a panspermic shuttle within your saliva membranes. I am happy you are still functional. The last five people I experimented on did not do as well. The modifications I have made to your body should be complete with only a few more hours. You will be able to read, write and speak any cataloged languages. This is a technology I have adapted from Celverant. You will be able to spread this gift to others by contact with bodily fluids."
Charlie screams at himself as if trying to wake up then quikly calms down "what happened to the others you experimented on?"
"the reordering of the nuro-paths resulted in irreparable damage to the soft tissue around the lower brain resulting in lobotomization." Seeker is cold a deliberate in her approach but is trying to act in a motherly way holding and rubbing Charlie like a child that tripped playing some form of game.
"you adapted this from Celverant? What are you to him anyway?"
"Today I am his equal, tomorrow I will be his master. I am everything he has ever tried to be but better. He has constructed countless bodies, all identical, all constantly absorbing and sorting information and then feeding it back into the matrix that is his mind. But he is sloppy, disorganized."
"what makes you better?" Charlie having finally landed his footing looks to Seeker.
"he has tens of thousands of bodies all deigned to do everything that the others can do. I have hundreds of millions of bodies but they are all fractioned off to do specialized tasks. They are small and specialized. Every one of them having only the tools to do their function and to repair a other should they be damaged. Simplicity is key, interchangeable parts are covenant, we have only two brains to concern ourselves with, the hive and the independent. A dominant form and a submissive form."
Charlie looks confused and irritated "can you take me back to the Steel Rose?"
Seeker shacks her head "I need two and three fourth more minutes to charge before I will have the energy to jump again."
Charlie nods. "Ok, I'll wait." Remembering something Charlie's head drops back and he pulls at his hear "Tatsu! Where did I meat Tatsu the last time?"
For Milli and David the night rolls by quietly, Milli spending most of the day reading over the vast files on the computer left for them, David on the other hand spends the time practicing his martial arts. The two of them share some time talking about each other's lives, the things they love and the things that they both wish they could forget. It turns out when you are an alien things are tuff all over.
Ultimately after the synthetic sun sets David pulls off his coat and sleeps in a faint couch near the patio door, Milli on the other hand finds a bed on the upper level of the luxury prison. How many hours are in a day on this space station is unclear but from Jazzman's point of view it is not enough, he has barley found a comfortable position to lay in it feels when Milli takes him by the arm and shakes him awake.
Jazzman complains, "If it is any earlier then a quarter after eleven I am going to kick your ass." In an almost drunk voice he protest Milli's shaking him.
Milli leans over Jazzman touching her noise to his. "two things: thing one, my body physiology lacks the muscle structure that you would call in 'ass'. Thing two, I don't know how to read the clocks around here." She points up at a digital clock over the door "whatever we are counting as time seems to be counting down from thirty with a remanded of one hundred tenths."
Jazzman only partly reoriented jokes around with Milli "your sent is very distinct, it is sort of a coppery, salty, eggy sent…"
Milli drops one knee onto his chest and thrust her palm off one hand into his jaw. Jazzmen grunts and rolls into a ball socked into alertness, Milli stands up and shuffles a few paces away "Im a Stith of breading age, for six point nine days out of every twenty-eight my mucus membranes are casting a hormone trail. You are the second humanoid I have met that seems to be able to detect it. Any way I stayed up most of the night reviewing the personal database. It seem there was no lock on it for god only knows what reason…"
"Second human?" David sits up
"Yah, Richard Blake could also… didn't we talk about that already?" Milli looks confused as she looks at David.
David shrugs and grunts.
Milli picks up on her last point again "so the giant metal-faced monster, he was once human-ish, His name was He'ro Shra'. Died of Alkali poisoning wall he was working on building a space station."
David stands up then fall forward landing in perfect posture to being doing pushups. "Didn't look that dead to me."
Milli stands at one of the windows looking out into the landscaping "well the whole idea of life and death is kinda' innocuous, the line between life and death is more than just a little foggy. Do you know what really confused me though?"
Jazzman pushes himself up claps then falls again to continue his morning workout "how something can be both alive and dead at the same time. Seems like that would run contrary to 'the Law of Non-contradiction' if you ask me."
"'Non-contradiction'? how about the 'Law of Identity'? this guy is spitting in the face of the 'Logical Absolutes' left and right all he needs to do now is find a way to brake the 'Law of Execution' and he will stand in conflict to all three absolutes. But no, I was thinking about how he ended up inside the space station. I was just reading the Watchers Journals and, well… the situation that created Celverant is almost identical to the one that happened to Dr. Karingson." Milli looks over her shoulder at her cell mate.
Jazzman rolls onto his back then kick flips to standing, he starts shadow boxing "Are you allowed to talk about stuff like that?"
"don't think it matters, I don't know if we are going to ever get home."
Jazzman as he is running a kata nods "we will."
Without warning the door to the room opens and Charlie Belmond waltzes in holding a pair of backpacks. Brightly he smiles and throws the bags at his 'friends' "Moring Guys!" he exclaims.
Milli catches the flying bag "Bloody Hell! Where have you been?" she opens the bag to find her gun RONA.
"Well, 'off world' is the common vernacular. But seeing how right now we are between worlds it is more like 'On world'." Charlie explains.
Jazzman grads the bag tossed at him to reveal his pistols, shotgun, and the demon sword. Charlie looks to David "does the name Hetatsubatchi Una many anything to you?"
"No, should it?"
Charlie shrugs "he is from your planet."
"there are a lot of people on Phage I don't know." Jazzman jokes around "If you can describe him I might be able to guess where he is from."
Charlie nods and starts doing some hand jesters as he thinks "three something feet at the shoulders, five, maybe six feet from nose to tail, over all dog like body shape, white hair, green eyes, a tattoo that looks sort of like a tulip on his face..."
Jazzman cuts in "sounds like a feral Cainon."
Enthusiastically Charlie claps and points, "Ok, we have a destination." Charlie waves them to the door. He stops momentarily looking around "where is Lances?"
Milli tips her head "I thought he was with you."
Jazzman speaks up "aren't you some kind of Time Lord and know everything or something? Oh, and by the way we are trapped in here."
Charlie rolls his eyes thinking "It's not like I have minute to minute knowledge of everything going on. It's more like broad strokes, I know who I known on the last rotation and where they were when I saw them then. I would say it is far from perfect." Charlie walks up to Milli and pulls out of his coat what look like a set of defaulter plates. "Milli if you would please, take off your jumpsuit."
As if it were a trained response Milli reaches around herself and unzips her top pulling it down. Outside of the crass tanned fur covering her body Milli has a strikingly human shape to her torso, she is athletic and her body is sleek and strong.
Jazzman playfully jabs at Belmond "Next time I go out drinking, you're coming along."
Charlie shacks his head as he places the magnetic plates over the metal chest plate that has been fashioned to Milli's body "I don't drink anymore. I stopped around the time I found out that Hell is real, and I have an all expenses payed one way ticket." Charlie rotates the handles and the chest plate unwraps from around Milli and folds itself up into a block only slightly larger than a notebook.
Milli brings up her hands and rubs her breast. "I feel about twenty pounds lighter."
Charlie throw the hefty block at the ground. "you are."
Jazzman looks to Charlie as Milli gets redressed "and the Sol marks?"
Charlie walks over to the door he rubs his hands together then holds one out, the magic marks on the walls stretch and pull as if being pulled by a vacuum, they snap away from the walls and get sucked into Charlie's body. Charlie holds out his arms and tips his head off to one side smirking as if waiting for applaud.
David step up to Charlie then looks to the door "so it's that simple? We just walk out?"
"yea. I claimed responsibility for you two so now you are free to walk around. Now we just need to track down Cinder, Lances and Tatsu, then on to Yggdrasil." Charlie steps around the two of them grabbing them by the shoulders "oh and one more thing." He quick turns to Milli and kisses her on the muzzle then he turns to Jazzman to kiss him as well. Jazzman Grabs Charlie by the cheeks with one hand interrupting him.
"Sorry, we aren't that good of friends yet." Jazzman pushes Charlie away.
Milli looks at Belmond "you know, I have never received this much attention in a single day in my life."
As they step out of the room Charlie explains "I have a magical kiss know that lets the people around me speak any language…"
Lances Jacob spent much of the last day with Magdalen St. Frances and early in the morning fallowed her back to the court house deeply inquisitive of the Glyph people and their plight. Lances is a man that is drown by his will to learn and to understand, and the St. Frances of Glyph seems more than willing to help Lances understand himself.
After the opening speech Magdalen is the first to stand, she calls out Visstle at Jacobs recommendation. "Fiona Vesstle, what are you?" she ask
The gray skinned witch smiles "I think the word that best describes me is ghoulha."
Magdalen leans over the table to speak with Visstle "And you are the one that wanted us to meet here. Why?" Visstle smiles, she stars down St. Frances, her hands folded, stoically she waits. "you will speak when spoken to ghoul." Still she sits in silence, insidiously watching the cardinal. "you wanted to lead me way from Vishnu, didn't you? Why?"
Cinder looks to Celverant "Objection, Begging the Question."
Celverant replies "true. Miss St. Frances what are you leading at?"
St. Frances turns to face Celverant "your honor, this woman has been playing you as a foul. She is abusing your good nature to attempt to play into her selfishness. She is a zealot void worshiper with intention to offer up her home planet in exchange for immortality. And she is making you help her do it."
Celverant staunchly hears St. Frances out "speculative. You need to provide evidence for this claim."
St. Frances glasses flash as she folds her arms under her breast "look up her personal information in your own files you find more than adequate information to raise a reasonable suspicion of her motivations."
Celverant addresses Visstle "how do you plead against these accusations?"
"there has never been a case of Void worship recorded amongst the people of Glyph." Visstle speaks up.
"you are also the first Worldwalker recorded to have been born to a Glyph. It seems you also have a relationship with Arwen Bloodsage, and Harm. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that one of them could have introduced you to the foundations of Void worship."
Visstle retorts "but my theistic position is not what is on trial at this time."
Celverant calls to Jloose. "Probe her."
Jloose stands up, he walks around the tables to approach Visstle. One hand reaches out form under his blue cloak to grip Visstle by the forehead. With his touch Jloose start to transfix himself into Visstle's memories. Her life is unnaturally long filled with all forms of oddities. But for a Worldwalker nothing seems out of places till she travels to Arwen's home world. After that it seems she is split into two minds sharing a single body, then her mind splits again, into ten, then a hundred, then into a thousand minds speaking all at once.
At some time Visstle gained the ability to bring the dead back to this world for a second life, but there is a catch. After you are brought back, she owns your thought and can command our actions. All thanks to a brain eating bug she found that seems to burn with telepathic energy.
'The bugs' Jloose probes deeper looking for the bugs, where are they from? What can they do? Jloose's mind is attacked as he is reading Visstle, something large, powerful, something from outside time and space bites into his mind, vampireing his thoughts, blocking his power. Jloose hears a whisper from outside time "ten keys, Glyph, one more"
Jloose struggles, with much effort he falls away from Visstle, he looks up, horror gripping his face, he grips himself by the hand stunned that he can be assalted even from the psionic plane. "Something is wrong with her. There is something in her that is unlike anything I have seen."
Visstle looks down to Jloose. "Im sorry. Maybe you shouldn't have probed me so hard."
Jloose shutters "what have you become? ... ten keys?"
Visstle stand she starts shouting in the wizard tongue, she bites onto her own hand and lashes her arm out, her blood turning to a spear mid throw. She points at Magdalen, the spear dives at her.
The giant called Father Joe picks up Magdalen swiftly hiding her against his chest. The bone spear strikes him exploding. Joe is critically damaged. Dale pulls out his crossbow and takes a shot at Visstle, with a flick of her hand and a whisper of a magic word a coat of fly's swarms around her turning the witch incorporeal. From her astral state Visstle reaches out attacking the Glyph priest easily overpowering the humans with her heroic straight.
Many of the onlookers are stunned by the sudden onslaught. Lances jumps down from the audience, he takes the holy symbol from around his neck as he starts to cast a spell in angel script. Visstle becomes partly solid and grabs Lances by the arms pushing his hands down to his sides, she chants in arcane to cancel Lances' spell.
The mad Worldwalker has extraordinary might even for a chosen of chaos. Countess Estargo and Edman Dante both leap in to join the fight but are blasted away by an unseen force.
Cinder joins the mix, with a spin of her staff she calls down a vortex of wind and a cyclone of fire, she forces Visstle into a cage of elemental force. "I think it is time we all calm down." Cinder slaps her staff into ground and calls down a monsoon of ice to freeze Visstle.
Lances walks in close to examine the ice sculpture that has formed around the witch. "is she dead?"
Cinder steps up alongside Lances "that depends on what you think the word 'dead' means."
A dozen of Celverant's armors walk into the chamber and start picking up the wounded carrying them away. Magdalen walks over to Lances standing at his opposing side. "you knew. How?"
Lances grunts "I didn't know anything, I just felt it."
"I should like to retain your services Father Jacob. Yours as well Cinder, Child of Vishnu." The cardinal proclaims frankly. "with just a few more sharp swords by my side the St. Frances family could be a most formidable force."
"I'm a pilgrim, I might do a good deed or two on my way buy I can't fight any wars." Cinder shakes her head stanchly turning the cardinal away.
"that is most unfortunate. Your elementalisum is impeccable. What of you Father Jacob?" Magdalen pivots to face Lances. Lances lets out a slow breath hissing softly as he thinks.
The war on Glyph is not Lances' war to fight but nevertheless he feels a strange draw towards Magdalen, a need to stand by her side, a need to fight. All his life Lances has been chasing the sunset with no real destination in mind, but what if this is where he had been going this whole time, what if what he was looking for is a world where he could be the grate hero from the west, the gunslinger with no name. the idea is attractive. As Lances stars at Magdalen for what must be an unsettling amount of time he dreams in celluloid of himself on a horse, picking up his own personal rendition of a Ms. Kitty, and going on one last ride into the night.