Bookwyrm, Part 17

Day 82. 64 pages, 25,967 words.


“I do not know what I am, or what I was. Not precisely. I do not remember the time before I was ensnared within this flesh. According to the archives, though, this was my history.

“When the Firstmade Gods cast the Worm from Their dominion and reclaimed Their worlds, They tore down all that the Worm had wrought. They rent the mighty vessels and fortresses of the Enclave asunder, and They made the Riddle Towers, the homes of the Worm’s own Gods, into Their trophies of war.

“The Riddlespawn of the Towers were not Gods in the classical sense. They were events, Gods in potentia, each one a pupating un-thing in a chrysalis of unimaginable complexity. Even so, they were dangerous. They were drawn from their Towers, and dismembered, and destroyed. As you saw the wrong-form destroyed before your eyes, so too were the Riddlespawn – as yet unborn to their promised dominion – unmade by the vengeful Firstmades.

“And as you can see with the wrong-form, there were … traces that remained.

“Not physical traces, perhaps – although I am given to understand that there may have been those as well. But there were more esoteric things. Vitality, or purpose, soaked into a stone or into a weapon upon which the infant would-be God had shed its blood. One such strange relic was brought aboard a vessel called the Vorontessa. It was holy, the Firstmade-worshipping abominations believed. A trophy of their victory over the Worm that, unlike the Tower itself, could be enjoyed and gloated over by the common mortals.

“And so the Vorontessa flew for the home from which she had been cast. And the Destarion flew with her, as protection against the innumerable desperate and dispossessed who coveted the Firstmades’ riches.

“This relic, this scrap of broken thought, found fertile soil aboard the Vorontessa. The abominations within met their ends, and the Destarion was forced to take severe defensive measures to protect the rest of her convoy. The Vorontessa, and the thing that grew within her – like a Riddle Tower, perhaps, writ small – was thought to have been destroyed. But instead, it entered the Godfang herself.

“The Destarion was by far a greater and more formidable enemy, of course. And the remnant of the Worm, the fragment of embryonic Riddlespawn, was … enfleshed. And this is the beginning of the life I remember – such as it has been.

“Within these walls, I am trapped by the same protocols that keep a Godfang’s Flesh-Eater in its place. The energies and transformations that consume and destroy me are turned upon one another in mutual cancellation, my abilities curtailed by forces more powerful than any accord. Here I have remained, with only the lower archives as company, ever since.

“I am not Flesh-Eater, not Riddlespawn, not Worm. I am neither mortal nor Divine. I am a prisoner in this place.

“And now, it seems, you are to join me.”

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.
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6 Responses to Bookwyrm, Part 17

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Interesting, I never thought of the Riddlespawn as part of the Worm cult, G(g)ods or agents of it or anything. I mean, there were Riddlespawn in the Bilgey, right? (cut this out if you want) Wasn’t that…grr I forget his name now but he was jumping through time and up to all sorts of stuff (not really spoilery I hope), you know the one I mean? Wasn’t he a Riddlespawn?

    • stchucky says:

      This is mentioned mostly in Will, the short story where Tornadia meets the entity in Hapstan’s Tower. Basically the Tower is Nnal’s way of bringing the Riddlespawn (Orgok’s creatures) under His own dominion. In doing so, they become part of the wider Worm mass-entity. At least, when the first Nnalic Riddlespawn appeared, They became the High Gods of the Worm Cult.

      Not really mentioned in the Bilgey, which is more specifically about the Worm Cult and the Worm Gods – and the connection with the Riddlespawn wasn’t really clarified in my first draft. So yes, they are connected, but no, they’re not mentioned in the Bilgey. I think in this case, the draft you have read will be tripping you up a bit as opposed to the actual published stories so far.

      But yes, this is also kind of new (and hopefully exciting) information of a semi-twist nature and I’m glad you find it interesting!

    • stchucky says:

      Oh, and you’re thinking of the Jumping Jack. No, he’s not a Riddlespawn (Maze-crawler), although he does speak in riddles.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Oh right, on both points, yes that’s who I meant, and now I remember those are Orgok’s dudes. And dudettes I assume. Yes, it is all very cool and exciting, agreed!

      • stchucky says:

        Thanks again. Yeah, I threw the necessary myth-quote up, that’s basically as far as I’ve gone with it so it’s definitely a work in progress.

        It’s also worth noting that Hacticos, in The Final Fall of Man, mentions that he might have had to fight a “bunch” of Riddlespawn if Hapstan’s Tower hadn’t been empty. So there’s still some unanswered questions there.

        Hopefully, the Bookwyrm’s existence as a fragment that has grown into a cancerous not-quite-Riddlespawn may have started to answer some of those.

    • stchucky says:

      “Even so, there was one Fweig – not even a name remains now – who was able to find the Riddlespawn, and bring them forth into the urverse without Orgok’s sanction. How an Infinite might be so bypassed is a mystery, and yet it was so. Nnal, and the Lapgods of Nnal, had their coveted access to the Riddlespawn. Little good it did them, of course – for even if they could be summoned, the Riddlespawn could not be controlled.

      “This, even the Fweig were unable to achieve. And so Nnal turned to another misbegotten thing from the formless pre-birth of time. This thing was called, imply, the Worm.

      “Using the Worm, the followers of Nnal ad already been able to exert control over empires and civilisations Beyond the Walls – for such things did exist, in the infinite-upon-infinite universes away from the Ghååla’s watchful eyes. When the Worm was exhorted to take root in the Riddlespawn, however, the results were … unspeakable. These things ceased to be Riddlespawn, ceased to be anything of use, ceased to be anything but dark and shrieking horrors.

      “In time, the balance of power was restored. Nnal’s Riddlespawn became Gods of a new religion, a Worm Cult that was destined to come into cataclysmic contact with the bright and churning worlds of the centre of the urverse. This was achieved with the aid of one unified and titanic undertaking, the creation of an unprecedented apparatus – the Riddle Tower.”

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