Beyond The Holders
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Be sure to read Calamitas before this.
The ground splits and cracks in front of me, a schism starting inches from my feet and moving outward. It widens, becoming a small chasm in the earth. The cloud of dust settles after a few moments.
Suddenly, the dirt and sand start to move again. The particles begin to coordinate, moving in sinuous patterns toward the chasm. It trickles inside, becoming a torrent as more and more particulates make their way inside. Defying gravity, the dirt and sand rise up, gradually knitting themselves together into a skeletal hand. It rises slowly, gripping the edge of the fissure and pushing. More soil forms around it, adding to the arm and fleshing it out. It extends further, until an entire upper torso protrudes from the crevice in the ground, the top of its head at equal height with my chest. Sand creeps up it, forming into a jawbone as it fits into the skull of the figure. The sand begins to harden, turning into a solid stone.
The monster rears its head, the exposed “bone” of its face the same grey as the rest of its form. Its outer layer has been flayed away in many places, revealing cords of stone that act as sarcomeres, sinew, and tendons within it. Its powerful arms are planted firmly into the earth, fingers and hands supporting its stark body. It looks up at me, stone eyelids opening to reveal two empty sockets. Its mouth, the lower mandible little more that a skeletal jaw made of stone, moves as a grating, rasping voice escapes it.
What do you have to tell me?
“Yochanan has remained dormant, master. He will not interfere with your plans.”
“Master, there is nothing of him. I have searched acr-“
My fist crashes into its face. It gives a grating, screeching cry as part of its face shatters, exposing more of the mineral “bone”. The creature coughs and sputters, clutching its face in agony. Silence! I command my servant. You will locate him immediately.
“Yes, my master.”
You will make him aware that I seek him. Make him aware that I want him to be aware that I seek him. Tell him that it is time. Tell him that my hunger waxes. Tell him that… I wish to see who the true Balance is.
“It will be done, my master.”
Then leave me. And do not come back until you have completed my order. If you fail again, I will not be so lenient with you.
The monster recoils in horror. “Yes, master,” it intones as it cracks, crumbling into rubble and refilling the fissure in the earth from whence it rose. In minutes, the ground shows no evidence of any activity having transpired there. I take my leave.
After a few minutes of walking, I find a house, appearing quite abandoned, judging by its dilapidated state. Slightly disappointed that I will not be having a snack before I depart, I put my hand on the knob. Black tendrils creep through the wood of the door, radiating from my hand, looking like twisted arteries. They spread, until the door seems to pulse with life. Indeed, it shrieks in pain as I twist the knob, walking not into the house, but into my asylum.
My eyeless slaves mill about the long entrance chamber, fetching supplies and treating patients, whose screams can be heard in other rooms. One catches sight of me. It walks briskly toward me, standing to my right, facing me. Another follows suit, standing to my left, across from the first drone. Soon others gather, until they have formed a long corridor that extends halfway through the vast entrance room, standing at attention. As one, they kneel, left knees touching the ground in unison, right palms planted in front of them. I walk through the center of this aisle. I feel the familiar sensation of desolation and emptiness in my sanctuary, and-
I stumble, my hand flattening over my abdomen in pain. The hunger flares up, my vision going hazy for a moment. I manage to right my gait, my hand falling to my side again. The faces, all covered by surgical masks, look up to me in tacit concern. I gesture to one that looks as if it used to be a middle-aged man. Another that looks like it was barely twenty. I point to what was a woman in her twenties. Wordlessly, expressionlessly, the three stand, forming a single-file line behind me as I walk. The growing aisle of my slaves curves, creating a path to a set of massive double doors. They open as I approach them, and close after my chosen thralls and I have entered. The room is completely dark, save for one circle of a sickly white light at its center. I walk to it, sitting at the center of the circle and beckoning my thralls. They kneel in a horizontal phalanx before me. They do not move, their expressions do not change as they die, their vestigial life force exiting their bodies and filling me, for a time. Their forms quickly disintegrate, being held together only by an energy that now resides within me. Hunger sated temporarily, I focus my mind. Runes covering the room begin to fill with light that radiates from me, until the whole room is lit with a dim white light. I close my eyes.
My mind expands beyond myself, filling the sanctuary. I can feel all my servants, all compelled by my thoughts, moving, working, serving me as one. They think and feel like a single living organism, a smoothly and perfectly functioning hive of concerted activity. I marvel briefly at its beauty.
My mind expands still further, filling the very Void, filling the universe itself. My hunger leaves me for the moment as I cast about existence itself.
Balance… where are you? Eight years it’s been since our exchange… do you truly fear me so? Why? Do you fear my power? Then contest it. Do you fear the futility of your situation? Then succumb to your fate and my hunger. Do you fear what I will do? Then let us end this. It is [Praetorious?] time-
I snap out of my concentration. That voice… it was not my own. What happened? Is some soul I’ve absorbed rebelling against me? Is it something about [Praetorious?] this body? [Who-] What is this voice? [You-] I must find Balance. I must crush him, consume him, quell [It was-] this voice inside me. I will end it, no matter what the cost.
I am hunting you now.
To be continued in Prolusio ut Terminus.
Part of the series Ieiunitas, Infectus, Talius.
|Last modified on 2009-08-04 14:10:01Viewed 5126 times|