Poisoned Fruits

No, not lightly does one kill a God.

There was an insult, a dire curse, mostly forgotten in the Last Days but still guaranteed to kick off a fistfight or a witch-burning if spoken in the wrong circles. That curse was giela.

It was a thing of corruption, the whole of an unspeakable and unfathomable darkness distilled into a form able to be comprehended – just barely – by the minds and senses of brief mortals. It was said that, in the deepest of ancient times, the Leviathan of the Dark Realms had gone among lesser beings in a giela of flesh. It was said that all Gods, good and evil and indifferent, did this at some point – to dally and torment, to entertain Themselves or to teach lessons to Their followers.

Nobody really believed those fables from antiquity. But when the Greater Fall of Man threatened to tear the very world asunder, and the poison began to seep out of the Angelic Prison and into the stones and the air, the word was remembered.

Giela. The poisoned fruit of a garden irretrievably befouled by the dark deeds committed within its walls.

The giela took many forms. Some were large, some were small. All were terrible in their own ways. The worst of them were the ones that poured into human hosts, changing them into things almost unspeakable in their twisted deformity of body and spirit. When the toxic waste of God-space leaked into a tree or a stone or a beast of the field, it was bad. When it found a home in the already-fetid soul of a human being, to call it a nightmare was an injustice.

For dark and dreadful centuries, the giela ravaged the world. Sometimes they came out of the desolated and forsaken land of Aganéa, and those were the worst. Things that had been hardened, given some sort of life and purpose, a feverish desire to feed upon and despoil the relatively clean lands beyond. They committed atrocities that, at their best, were senseless and bestial … but at their worst had cunning and calculation behind them, and a dreadful intent. Some, a terrifying few, were even able to hide their abominable deformities from the general population, and crawl their way up behind the scenes into places of power, where their corruption was given free rein.

It was there, of course, that they began encountering the other hidden entities of the dying Earth. The Demons, and the Imago, and the agents of Osrai, and more.

To call what happened next a ‘war’ was perhaps inaccurate. Wars generally have some measure of restraint, some half-remembered ideal of protecting one’s own side or securing the resources, the spoils, of the vanquished enemy. Even if restraint and ideals are abandoned in the final extreme, one can usually distinguish a war from tragedies of smaller scale. What happened between the giela and the other forces beneath the surface of the human world was more like a feeding frenzy. And when it spilled over into the narrow slice of the world that humans actually noticed, the results were even more terrifying than the giela assaults.

Eventually, though, the giela were defeated. One by one, they were hunted down and cauterised from the world. The seeping poison slowed and dried and turned to dust, and no more monstrosities emerged. And yet, even when they were all gone, the word was remembered. Giela. An insult of nearly unforgivable direness, an accusation of debasement and impurity. An insult that implied cleansing by fire, and that could only be answered by fire.

Among the greatest soldiers in this ugly and mostly-unseen war, with a personal body-count of nineteen greater, thirty-eight lesser and untold multitudes of minor giela, was Athé of the Rooftop. Athé of the Angelic Prison. Athé the Piebald.

This entry was posted in Oræl Rides To War and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Poisoned Fruits

  1. stchucky says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of artists producing stuff and releasing it online and through other formats in this difficult time, I figured what the heck, I’ll have a go at that (even though I was doing it before it was cool). Don’t know how much I’ll put out there, but here’s another snippet from The Last Days of Earth, Part Two.

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so now i get it!

    Damn. Fergies are real dicks aren’t they?

    Cool stuff man…Athe is great!

    • stchucky says:

      Yup, although it’s really just a word. This is explaining a bit from The First Feast (here’s a bonus mini-story!):

      Massington looked, momentarily distracted from his irritation at Mer’s attempt to wriggle out of the explanation it owed him. “What? Oh, that’s not a robot, it’s a giela,” he started to explain, and the mildmannered
      warehouse cultists completely lost their minds.

      “A misunderstanding I should have foreseen,” Mer said, “I’m very sorry. It didn’t even occur to me. After months and months of lexicon-building and cultural analysis, this should never have gotten through the screening process. The Xidh word we use for the robotic avatars of the Fergunak … on Earth, the term has survived as a … an extraordinarily vulgar and superstitiously hostile curse. Indeed, it is so virulently antagonistic that it is almost never used in broadcasts, which is why it passed unnoticed in our studies. Needless to say, I am passing on a surreptitious but very urgent message to the party in Detroit, and to the rest of the Fleet, to not under any circumstances use the term until we can introduce and talk about the Fleet’s modern Xidh usage in a measured and inoffensive manner. I am confident that this will make an excellent diplomatic example in time, illustrating how a word can have the power to create such tension and misunderstanding … for now, however, I think such tensions and misunderstandings should be minimised.”
      “I couldn’t agree more,” Massington said unsteadily. Mer hadn’t really explained, yet, how the humans spoke archaic Xidh in the first place, but he wasn’t about to start throwing accusations around now. “Please let our friends know that I have absolutely no knowledge of the negative meanings of the word, which incidentally I will never say out loud again and may in fact have just spontaneously forgotten.”

      “The … the giela,” Adithol said, lowering his voice almost to a whisper as he spoke the wicked word, “is a thing most dark and terrible, a God forcèd into flesh, an expression of the will of a devourer of worlds. It is the warped and twisted homunculus of an evil so abiding and foul that it has infected the very bones of humanity and driven us from the graces of the Pinian Brotherhood.”
      “Oh,” Massington said, as calmly as he could given his total confusion. “Well, um, not that one,” he pointed at the argovision. “That one is a remote-controlled ambulatory collection of sensors and transmitters with a pair of manipulator arms, so a big fish can interact with landbound species,” he paused, thinking, while Mer translated this for added certainty. “Not a very nice fish, though,” he conceded, “so there might be a grain of common etymology
      there … ”

      Adithol waved it aside, although he still seemed shaken. “It was […] mere surprise,” he said, and Massington appreciated what was an evidently more-than-trivial stretching of the truth. “For the Þurs, in greater part, ‘tis a word of great import, for their memories extend far into the mists of time and […] origins […] the Angels fell and […] was sealèd away beyond the eyes of man in the Prison Angelic and […] yea, e’en before those dark times, to the rule of […].”
      “Don’t like giela,” Big Thundering Bjørn summarised in a growl, his battered metal helmet turned towards Massington in a decidedly unfriendly way.
      “This is going to make the Fergunak way more difficult to introduce than we’d initially expected,” Massington noted.
      “That thought had occurred to me,” Mer replied.

    • stchucky says:

      Athé is very cool though. She needs more recognition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s