On humans

Day 60. 100 pages, 52,197 words.

Today is Helatorstai so I have the day off work, and will hopefully be getting some stuff done. But let’s see, as always.

In the meantime, I recently finished this little interlude-chapter for my up-coming book, and thought it was fun enough to share. In this, arguably a tangent but one that touches on a whole heck of a lot of assorted threads in my wider story, I wanted to show a little bit of good old-fashioned creation myth.

This is technically an excerpt of sorts from a larger “history of the urverse” mythos I am fleshing out, and have already written in part. Whether I’ll actually publish it as a Silmarillion-esque piece, or just slip it in here and there and maybe release it on the blog, remains to be seen.

There ought to be some familiar names and events in here, for anyone paying attention to The Final Fall of Man. But it’s pretty obscure. Mostly, I like this piece for its introduction of perhaps my favourite Infinite, Vortex.

It began with Vortex, Ghåålus[1] of Chaos, Apotheosis of Pandemonium.

[1] Ancient title for the Infinites, literally translating as all-God, Overgod or, more commonly, simply Infinite. Plural Ghååla, or Infinites / Infinitae.

Vortex was greatly enamoured of the Potádi, the Hounds of Mayhem. This was a canine species of provenance dubious beyond words, and by many accounts may have been created by Vortex whole out of the very grey. Vortex declared the Potádi to be His species, under His protection and patronage, for all the march of Ages. He pronouncèd Lo, These The Hounds Of Mayhem Are Mine Own Creatures, And Any Who Should Raise E’en A Hand Against Them Shall Answer To My Wrath.

This was during the Dominion of Nnal, dread Ghåålus of Hatred, Master of all Adversity and Atrocity. As, at this time, He strode free across the green purity of The Centre and toppled the great towers of Capital Mind at a whim, so did Nnal look upon Vortex’s challenge with cold intent. And so it was that the servants of Nnal did rain down bloody and grotesque butchery upon the Potádi, for the crime of being loved by a lesser Ghåålus.

Vortex’s response was not as that of a measured or sane Being, as Nnal had come to expect from His opponents. The Apotheosis of Pandemonium reached forth His hand and did plunge into howling nothingness a universe that had long been settled in secret by the children of the Damoraks. One of eight such Dimensions, known in obscure circles as the Domakin Eight, the destruction of the universe did – but only briefly – redefine these territories as the Domakin Seven.

Vortex did then reach out once more, and brought low another universe in all its infinity, in all its complexity and – yea, but for the dark masses of Damorak civilisation growing in the least of its corners – its eternal beauty. The urverse itself shuddered to its foundations as these threads from the great tapestry were burned into the grey, and all of creation held its breath lest time and space come crashing down, sending the urverse plunging into the Elsewhere, and oblivion.

And Nnal called back His servants, and did leave the Potádi in peace.

And Vortex did say Yea, That Is What I Thought.

The Apotheosis of Pandemonium then decreed that, all things in the turning urverse being fair, each of the other nine Infinites must also take a mortal species, to cherish as Their own chosen people. This may also have been a gambit to appease Nnal, Whose fury was deep and abiding.

Limbo, the Caretaker, took the Relth, those great Vultures of dying civilisations. The Vultures had long been His servants, doing His bidding among mortal races and variously bringing to an end all dangerous thought and design, all of it in service to the preservation of the urverse’s very fabric. Now, as His chosen species, the authority of the Relth became near absolute in the finite sphere.

Zerf, the Forger of Peace and the Crafter of Worlds, took as His own a reclusive species from the world of Farrendohr, a world which He had made and over which He shared a protective dominion. The Earthmen of Farrendohr these were, short and strong and fair, but going oft-hidden and seldom rising from the deep places of the Ghåålus-wrought world. They themselves held great powers of creation in their blunt hands, and the talent to read minds and to see future events curled behind their great dark eyes.

Death, the Reaper, Ghåålus of the Last Breath and of the Final Days, took the Paact as His own species, for they were beings of terrible ferocity and had a power to end life that at times seemed to rival His own. And Death did say These Are My Creatures, And Any Who Should Raise E’en A Hand Against Them Shall Surely Lose That Hand, And Their Lives Besides, And Ought Reckon Themselves Fortunate But Very Well, Yea, Also My Wrath Shall Fall Upon Their Forlorn Heads Should They Survive.

Orgok, wicked Ghåålus of Brutality and Vice, dreadful brawn to the brains of His vile Brother Nnal, chose the Riddlespawn as His own. The Riddlespawn were a hidden and unnatural folk, created almost literally from whole cloth by the childlike Ghåålus. They had no world, although many believed they dwelled somewhere in the wild places of Farrendohr, the world Orgok shared with Zerf and Ith; they bore no offspring; they shed no blood – none of their own, in any case; they had no allotted stretch of mortal days, seeming to spring fully-formed into being and vanish in the same way. They existed, indeed, only when Orgok decided to call them forth, as from the seething swamps of His imagination, and when He did they were terrible beyond both mortal and immortal comprehension. Of all the monsters of antiquity and legend, only the Fudzu and the Paact themselves were more deadly – and none were more feared. They were nightmare, given flesh, and Orgok did say These Are My Creatures, And Any Bold Or Mad Enough To Raise E’en A Hand Against Them Shall Answer To My Wrath.

Orgok was thrilled, in His childlike and simpleminded way, by this game of adopting mortal species. It was as play to Him, and so He said unto His Brother Nnal, Brother, You Must Also Take A Mortal Kind As Your Own. Do This Thing, For I Grow Weary Of This Diversion And Would Bring My Riddlespawn Out To Hunt And Do Violence Once More.

Nnal had long coveted the Riddlespawn for His own, a weapon of terror He could direct as He would. He saw in them a great and even more terrible potential, should they gain a guiding hand with more wit than that feeble assembly at Orgok’s command. He was ever unable, however, to find where His Brother laid the Riddlespawn to rest, and until He did so He would remain unable to summon them forth. His search narrowed, but He knew that should Orgok call out the Riddlespawn and then return them once more from whence they came, it would not be the same resting-place in which they now waited, for Orgok’s imagination and creation was unstructured and capricious. And Nnal’s long search would of necessity begin anew.

Had Nnal chosen the Damoraks, as had been His immediate thought, had He chosen the Time Destroyers or the Fudzu or any of the multitude of hopeful Nnalic races, the course of the turning urverse and the march of Ages might have been different. But He did not choose them.

In frustration that He was unable to take the Riddlespawn as His children, and wishing to assuage Orgok’s boredom so as to prevent Him from removing the Riddlespawn from their unknowable lair, and desirous that His thoughts and motivations remain hidden, Nnal chose in haste and abandon.

He showed to the other Ghååla a species all but unformed, squirming fish-creatures without distinction or value, and He said Here Is My Species, And What Shall Be Their Fate Is Mine To Know In My Wisdom And Intricacy, And Any Who Should Raise E’en A Hand Against Them Shall Answer To My Wrath. And all knew it was the truth, for in those dark years of Nnal’s Dominion many were the victims of the Ghåålus’ wrath, oft without cause.

One day, the unhappy chosen people of Nnal grew and flourished and became a scourge swimming across the Dimensions, but that time was long and far in coming. Against that day, they were thrust out of sight, overshadowed and forgotten by all.

Now, it so happened that in the first hours of Nnal’s Dominion, the Master of all Adversity and Atrocity had banishèd the Ghåålus of Balance and Order Whose task it was to counter the havoc wrought by Vortex. For this reason – save, that is, for occasional massacres of chosen people and retaliatory destruction of universes – Nnal and Vortex were allies of deplorable convenience. And in the absence of this Mediator, Vortex decreed that He would choose a mortal species on His opposite number’s behalf.

Vortex selected, for His Nemesis, the unhappily-named grey-winged gargler, the ragged and near-extinct remains of a species of large grey bird native to the Forest Gardens of Capital Mind. They were a savage breed scarcely a step beyond the spark of nascent sentience, little more advanced at the time than the worms chosen by Nnal.

They were thoroughly unworthy of the sombre and dignified Moderator. Vortex considered this a fine jest at His eternal Rival’s expense. Lo, He pronounced, These The Grey-Winged Garglers Are Mine Brother’s Own Creatures, And Any Who Should Raise E’en A Hand Against Them, To Pluck And To Roast What Paltry Meat Lies Upon Their Bones, Or To Make Of Them A Pie Both Foul And Greasy, Shall Answer To His Wrath.

There was another species native to the Garden. A species of primate, bestial as the grey-winged garglers were. Responsible, in fact, for the near-eradication of the birds that had predated upon their nests and devoured their young in bygone years. A species on the trembling cusp of self-awareness.

This species was the human beings.

Ith, Ghåålus of loyalty, nobility, justice and all things good, chose to take the human beings as Her own. It was ever uncertain why She did so. Some said that Nnal had demanded it of Her, as a cruel jest. Others said that Vortex thrusting the grey-winged garglers onto His Nemesis had obligated Her to take the birds’ prey in order to shelter them from the impending danger of a predator species with Infinite patronage.

Others, inevitably, dared to whisper that Ith – ever the saviour-figure of the common mortals although She was not the Ghåålus set in opposition to Nnal – knew something about the human beings. That She saw some potential in them, some secret in their futures, and knew they would one day prove worthy of Her much-coveted favour.

Ith integrated the human beings into the vast mass-culture of The Centre, tried to make them at home in Capital Mind as it huddled and cringed under Nnal’s boot-heel. The troubled creatures had a long and difficult path ahead. Some of them, a small tribe of Her most favoured, She took to Farrendohr. She shared the secluded little world, in happier times, with Zerf and Orgok and it was, by dint of having no fewer than three Ghååla watching over it – among Them Orgok Himself – one of the safest places in the urverse in the dark years of Nnal’s Dominion.

Nobody knew which mortal species was chosen by Talekin, the true Adversary of Nnal just as the Ghåålus of Balance and Order was the Adversary of Vortex. Some suggested that Talekin might have chosen such things as the aactur – the smallest life-forms in the urverse – or the Gluthas – the largest – but in truth, Talekin told nobody which mortals He had taken as His own. He was gone, deep in the confinement into which Nnal had thrust Him at the moment of His ascendancy, and nothing was known of His actions or thoughts within that terrible imprisonment.

DaRah, first and greatest of the Ghååla, took the Molren, first among mortalkind. DaRah did not interfere in the events of the urverse and the vast Corporation of Dimensions at its centre. DaRah was neither good nor evil, was neither order nor chaos. DaRah observed, and played the game. From beginning to end.

And DaRah said, Here Is My Species, And Any Who Should Raise E’en A Hand Against Them Shall Answer To The Wrath Of The Molren.

Nnal was enraged by the wisdom of His fellow Ghååla. The more His thoughts festered on the mortal races taken in, and the more He brooded upon the decision He had made, the greater His fury became.

And so, all in secret and barring only the unknown species adopted by Talekin, Nnal took something from each of the protected peoples.

From the Molren He took the empathy of shared sentience, the vahoonar. Never again could a Molran understand people of another species on their own terms rather than as Molren. The great superspecies could still understand, could still feel, but it was a cold thing, and unforgiving.

From Vortex’s Potádi, and with due caution for the Mad Ghåålus’ disproportionate protectiveness, Nnal took Sygia’s Harmony[1]. Within three generations, the Potádi had divided into eleven subspecies incapable of producing mixed litters. All held the patronage of the Apotheosis of Pandemonium, but never again were they one people, and they did terrible war on one another, and so it was that Nnal circumvented Vortex’s wrath.

[1] Thought to have been an element in the Potádi genetic code that suppressed a region-dependent reproductive inhibitor. Specifically, Potádi from different areas of their homeworld were able to interbreed and the Potádi was able to remain as a single cohesive species because of this factor.

From the Vultures of Limbo, He took the compassion which forever tempered their actions when they flew out in protection of the urverse. The Relth had ever been harsh to those in their path, their triage brutal and complete, but this was born of necessity and had no malice behind it. Whenever it was possible, they protected the blameless and erred on the side of preservation and knowledge, even at the risk of continued threat to the tapestry. From that moment, though, the Vultures were as high and as cold as the Ghåålus they served, with nothing of mortality and moderation left in them.

From Zerf’s Earthmen, He took the ability to recognise telepathy from delusion, prophesy from fantasy. When they heard one another speak, never again could they be certain the whispers were not in their own minds. When they saw future events unfold, never again could they be certain it was not the work of their own imaginations. For a time, the Earthmen were bereft and many were struck mad by the cruel affliction. But they were wise, and cool-headed, and soon their good sense prevailed. The lack brought with it the necessity for still deeper reflection, greater consideration for others, and so it became a strength – of sorts. Their ability to foresee what was to come, however, was dealt a fatal blow and never again were the Earthmen considered reliable prophets by the mystics of the Corporation. And so they sank completely into obscurity.

From the Paact, the savage creatures of Death, Nnal took the very spark of sentience. While they continued to be deemed reasoning beings, and while they remained fiercely intelligent and dangerous animals, animals they were forever after.

From the grey-winged garglers, although it seemed redundant to take anything from a species so very undeveloped, Nnal took humility, the knowledge that they were as nothing in the eyes of the Ghååla. The great birds developed, over the centuries to follow, into a mighty race of people in their own right, but they never again felt an instant of humbleness in the face of the urverse’s infinite-upon-infinite majesty, and this left theirs a stunted and perpetually-lost excuse for a civilisation.

From the Riddlespawn, His continuing avarice for the monsters far outweighing His comradeship with Orgok as a reason for His clemency, Nnal took naught but their last weakness – their joy in the hunt and the kill. The dreadful compulsion remained, and the Riddlespawn’s near-matchless talent for butchery was undiminished, but gone was the delight that ofttimes made them reckless and interfered with their effectiveness in the arena of battle.

Finally, from the human beings, He took something unseen, unknown. He took away a thing that not even the humans had been aware they possessed, and which thenceforth they knew only by its absence, an absence that could not be undone. Like a glimmering jewel, Nnal snatched it away and all the human beings knew was that something was gone, something had been stolen from them and they remembered not what it had been.

And they would spend all eternity trying to find it again.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy. https://hatboy.blog/2013/12/17/metalude-who-are-creepy-and-hatboy/
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16 Responses to On humans

  1. dreameling says:

    And Vortex did say Yea, That Is What I Thought.

    LOL. Your Gods are funny.

    Finally, from the human beings, He took something unseen, unknown. He took away a thing that not even the humans had been aware they possessed, and which thenceforth they knew only by its absence, an absence that could not be undone. Like a glimmering jewel, Nnal snatched it away and all the human beings knew was that something was gone, something had been stolen from them and they remembered not what it had been.

    Did Nnal just troll humans? He actually took nothing but just made everyone think he did? So that silly gullible humans would obsess for eternity over something they’d never even possessed?

    And if Nnal did take something, how come nobody knows what it was? What he took from the other species is known, but what he took from humans is somehow magically not? Surely the others Infinites could’ve found out!

    (Or maybe he just took self-confidence or the absence of self-doubt? Or the sense of purpose, or the confidence to not need a purpose? Would explain a few things.)

    Finally, if you fundamentally remove a trait by its roots — from mind and body — wouldn’t it by definition be an absence you couldn’t identify, or perhaps remember at all? Meaning all the other species should’ve been in the same situation as humans?

    PS. Why would subsequent generations of humans care about something they were born without?

    PPS. Am I being too literal with your creation myth?

    • stchucky says:

      You’re literally demonstrating how Nnal’s curse is still in effect.

      • dreameling says:

        Lack of confidence or self-worth or purpose? Endless questioning and searching and anxiety over existence?

        Man, that’s a strength!

      • stchucky says:

        Is it.

        Anyway, there’s more theories on aki’Pedia of course. But all in all yeah, it’s a creation myth. Your need for scientific consistency and your phobia of omniscient narrator voice are so much more than merely invalid.

      • stchucky says:

        Ugh, that didn’t come out right, sorry. What I mean is yeah, you’re overthinking it a bit, but that’s cool – it gives me a new way of thinking about it too.

        But also, yeah, it’s an origin myth so some of these things just are, because the narrator says so. They may not have happened at all, they’re just explanations for why Molren are unsympathetic jerks, the Riddlespawn​ are awful, and humans are deranged.

        There’s a fairly basic reason the Infinites don’t mess with each other’s stuff. It’s because They’re perfectly evenly matched and can very easily cancel each other out and cease to (functionally) exist, and They’re having too much fun to let that happen. So They’ve gotten used to working around each other and balancing the tables elsewhere.

        But amidst all this, y’all’ve missed the biggest This Changes Everything in the whole story…

      • dreameling says:

        Hah, no, it read like a creation myth, a highly abstracted and creatively symbolic story, not like factual-rational world explanation. I was misinterpreting on purpose because I just couldn’t help it (and because I assumed there were kernels of truth behind all the layers of symbolism and metaphor).

        So no worries.

        PS. Omniscient narration is perfectly valid for creation myths, which claim universal truth value. You couldn’t really do it any other way.

      • stchucky says:

        🙂 Appreciate that. I was having a bit of a Day yesterday, so apologies again for any crossed wires.

      • dreameling says:

        But amidst all this, y’all’ve missed the biggest This Changes Everything in the whole story…

        Nnal is the patron of the Fergunakil? Well, no, that’s not a game changer, so can’t be that.

        Hatboy is an Infinite, either the Ghåålus of Balance and Order Whose or Talekin? Yeah, I have absolutely no basis for this. BUT IT WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING.

      • stchucky says:

        Heh, no actually it was that first thing. I did think I’d laid it out pretty obviously.

        And maybe it only changes certain perceptions right now, but it sure as shit changes the shape of the story to come – and, in the same fashion of Human‘s twists changing the story retroactively, it changes the stuff written so far.

      • dreameling says:

        Well, “a scourge swimming across the Dimensions” was pretty obvious, but I think we the readers know or understand too little of the whole story to see why that’s such a huge deal.

        But I guess it explains why the Fergis see (at least some of) the other species as missing something — which has obviously had a pretty significant effect on their intra-galactic neighbor relations in the Playground. But wait, don’t Fergies see every other species as lacking something, not just the patron species? (Except the Damorak(ind) and, interestingly, Glomulus.)

      • stchucky says:

        Well, exactly. They did see the other species they shared their world with as missing things, that’s yet to be explained. The three Molranoid species, and humans, would naturally be missing something, but a lot of the other encounters, like the aki’Drednanth … what they are missing there is a bigger question. It could simply be a relic of Nnal telling them that they were the only species not to be missing something.

        Now, the Damorakind and Cratch not missing something, yes. Also a fairly big deal. It may have to wait, though. There’s no tidy and consistent answer … yet.

      • stchucky says:

        I will say, though, that it’s connected to what ultimately happened with Cratch, when he joined the crew of the Destarion. And how similar it was to what the Damorakind and the Fergunak do.

      • dreameling says:

        So, augmentation? But, wait, didn’t a Fergunak recognize Cratch as not missing something already on the Anger & Lethargy?

      • stchucky says:

        That was the only place they’ve encountered each other so far.

      • stchucky says:

        Actually, once I’d finished writing it I realised where I’d heard it before. The origin myth in Hellboy has humans with a hole in them that nothing can fill, making them unhappy and insatiable. Same basic thing here.

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