Day 4. 42 pages, 20,501 words.
Sabata Ramae was … well, where to start?
Ludicrously overblown hyperbole was usually the best approach, as previously established. And there was plenty to be had, in the story of Sabata Ramae.
Sabata Ramae – or Polettemy Strangle, as her name had for various reasons become in the vaults of dark folklore – had been a member of a nobody-in-particular species, on a nothing-in-particular world, back in the lonesome mists of Second Age history. This was long after the Tenth Generation Races had settled down and become ancient. Long after the great Corporate civilisations had hung up their creator-hats and – with the occasional lapse in judgement leading to a genesis or an elevation or some other ill-advised imposition of sentience – left it to evolution to supply new and interesting life-forms for everyone to look at and shake their heads in wry, were-we-ever-that-young amusement.
Ramae’s species did have an official designation, but it was more of a Corporate historical footnote than anything else. Buried, redacted, forgotten – and more than forgotten. It was near-total data eradication. Most of the people who were in a position to even care about such footnotes usually just used the shorthand dumblermar. Obviously this term had been adopted to refer to any species not part of the official Corporate picture, but at least most of the time they used it as an adjective. A descriptor added to some more specific and respectful designation.
But these dumblers were different. They were fervently, aggressively, almost perversely nothing else. The descriptor was deliberately unhelpful. The species nothing but a bunch of torn-out pages in the Corporate census, the world a cut-away section of the greater map of the Cycleis Dimension.
And it didn’t really matter, unless your will to piece together what had been torn out and cut away was as fervent, aggressive and perverse as those who had done the tearing and cutting. And hardly anyone even remembered who they had been – indeed, it hadn’t even really been a coordinated act. It had just happened, a natural process of sociocultural denial-based healing. Because Sabata Ramae’s homeworld had been unique in one terrible, terrible way.
Strangle’s world, tucked away in an uncharted and unknown corner of the Cycleis Dimension, was where the dread Ghåålus Nnal had been imprisoned after His Second Dominion. Nobody on the hapless world had even known. Hardly anybody in the Corporation had known. That was the point. And the details of what the imprisonment had looked like, and how it had been carried out, were lost in the chittering horror-chasm that was Nnalic mythology.
And Sabata Ramae had been the unhappy soul who had freed Nnal and brought about His Third Dominion. The Dominion that Çrom Skelliglyph knew and loved and remembered so very fondly.
The details of what Sabata had done were as lost as the specs of Nnal’s prison. Nnalic myths were few and far between at the best of times, and the ones that dealt specifically with liberating Him from His various imprisonments even more so. They weren’t just culturally suppressed, they were legally censored. Nobody wanted a glazed-eyed, mouth-breathing madman digging up the dread Ghåålus’ prison and taking the lid off it.
They were … not legends, not whisperings, but … a whole new term, a whole new branch of discourse had to be invented to describe what the stories of Nnal’s imprisonment were. These were horrified, jagged, desperate scrawlings in the margins of history books that told of things best left in the past.
They weren’t myths, not really. They weren’t allowed to be.
Nobody knew the full story. But the Firstmades – some of them – could be goaded to speak of it, if the occasion and the illicit substances were right. Those who dared to look Gods and Ghååla in the eye might find out a snippet here and there from the Higher Beings. And a rarefied breed of historian, who worked purely in the frayed margins of those forbidden books, could piece together a picture from the blind spots left in innumerable Corporate civilisations.
The story itself, such as it was, made no real sense. There was simply too much missing from it. Too much that might be metaphor, an allegory, or pure fabrication. Obscuration of the facts was a safety measure in the case of Nnalic myth. It was a necessity.
But there had been two stones. Objects of incredible power, albeit not infinite. The work of the Ghåålus Talekin Who stood in opposition to Nnal, although the precise nature of Their conflict was not for finite beings to know. The stones were parts of a larger whole, an Entity created by Talekin to counter the power of Nnal’s Imp … but from there, it all got rather complicated and didn’t have much to do with Strangle’s sorry tale in any case.
The stones had rested on either side of the prison gates, acting as sentinels. They were not capable of defying Nnal, but that was not Their purpose. They simply maintained the prison, and for some deep and complex reason Nnal, in His infinite power and knowledge, remained within while They stood guard.
When one of the stones was taken away – and It was, of course It was – the prison was fundamentally weakened. Another of the Ghååla had voluntarily stepped into Its place to maintain the prison’s integrity. That Ghåålus had been the Mediator, Ghåålus of Balance and Order. And when the Mediator had taken position at the prison gates, that was when Nnal had played His trick. The stone had been returned, Nnal had walked free and the Mediator had been cast into the prison in His place.
There was little more in the way of details, nothing to clarify events. After that point, Nnal’s Third Dominion had begun and everything became a twisted horror story. Certainly Sabata Ramae’s part in it was impossible to know from the accounts available. She was a mortal being, her abilities and strength insignificant even compared to the two stones that guarded the prison – let alone the Infinite Being within. And yet, just as those infinitely-inferior Entities could act as jailers, so too could a cowering and powerless mortal become the key to the entire dark construct. There was no logic to it. There simply wasn’t enough information to assemble an adequate explanation as to what had happened, much less how. Any information there may have been, had long since been torn apart and hidden, lost in the primal shriek of the Dominion that followed.
And so, of course, Çrom had gone to find out for himself.
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while on the bus.