"In essence," Despair replied to Schi'vya. "It is said that the best way to avoid a trap is to set it off on your own terms."
~The Floating Continent~
"Fair enough," Armal said to Aaviz. He paused for a moment before asking, "What about your grandmother? Or did you even have one of those?"
"And that was my point... at least, I think it was. The memories might be a part of you, but they are not you because they are also a part of me. You are not me, at least I am fairly sure you're not. The memory is you, but it is not you. Thus, those creatures are who they think they are, and at the same time, not."
He paused and looked down the watery path. "I think I will be needed soonish in the inside of the world. Care to travel with, or shall we part ways again for now?"
For the second time in as many minutes, Itja-Rek felt... concerned. No sooner had he addressed the sphere when the forest around him burst into a million chittering voices as the insects went mad! The forest grew thick with them, leaping from mushroom to mushroom, all flocking to a massive swarm... no, make that several massive swarms, flying around the massive orb.
He felt a tickling feeling and looked downwards. The ground at his feet had become a carpet of bugs, some of which were even now striving to climb HIM!
Shaking his feet, he began rising from the earth, stopping the pests from climbing directly onto him. However, it didn't stop the bugs who, seeing that he was now closer to the swarm than they were, were actually leaping from the mushrooms onto him.
Not knowing what else to do, Itja-Rek continued to rise, flailing madly at the bugs in a vain attempt to get them off of him.
"And who's to say I'm not you and you aren't me? For all either of us knows, one could be a delusional hallucination by the other, yes? Only the insane wouldn't be absolutely confident otherwise? Indeed, for all we know, we could all simply be aspects of the same person, different parts of it's personality battling for supremacy within the subconscious mind?"
Shrugging again, he nodded. "I have little better to do. May as well go with you."
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godspire~ Making his way slowly up the godspire, Pollux was still making progress. Crossing cravases, and burning rivers, the way wasn't with out its perils. Slowly but surely he finally made his way into the lower(upper?) reaches of the Caverns of Davros.
Somewhere in the Hive~ Something starts to jingle like its trying to move. Something is awakening.
What an odd sort of thought to think. Odd for anyone else, I suppose. For me, lying on my back in an open field, watching heavy clouds release big, fat snowflakes that swirled through the intervening air, it was barely a curious idea. For few could deny that the flecks of white seemed to any who bothered to look to be pieces of the sky drifting down to home. It might make you feel infinitesimally small. Me, I just feel cold. Wrapping my arms around myself, I realize that they are bare. That explains the cold. I turn my face to gaze upon the hand returning to lie upon the frosted grass. Flakes land upon it, melting into water from the heat of my body. Bare hands. Bare arms. But I'm not naked.
No, my torso and legs seem reasonably insulated. I shift the latter and feel folds of fabric rustle around them. My hands travel to my waist and then up my body, feeling the embroidered bodice. My left index finger traces the outline of a bird sewn there. It feels familiar, like a half-forgotten memory. But it feels foreign too, like it's not my memory. I push it out of my mind. I force myself into a sitting position and take a look around myself.
I feel like some sort of ice princess in this palace of snow. I realize my dress is white. The precise shade of the snow now falling fast upon the ground. And there's trees too, looking for all the world like elegant sculptures not weighed down by the snow, but rather proudly displaying it as a beautiful women would display diamonds. I am struck by the beauty of it all.
I use my hand to push myself to my feet and turn. I gaze down at where I rested moments before. The snow has held my shape. A beautiful angel marred by a single handprint, and suddenly I recall something...
Water always remembers...
Gazing down at the snow, holding so closely to its form, one can hardly argue that. But still, one more thought for the odd. And suddenly I have to leave this place. I turn, and march away, and for a moment, my mind lingers. It lingers on a traveller, arriving here perhaps very soon, perhaps after a long journey, coming across this palace of snow, stopping to marvel at the beauty of this place. And perhaps looking upon the angel broken by a handprint and wondering who could have left it. But that traveller has not yet come, that story not yet begun. My own story is steadily falling, and I must be hastening. Like snowflakes on open skin, I am not long for this place. With a swish of my dress I am off.
Insects fell from Itja-Rek in droves as he flailed them away, eventually turning to other modes of trying to join the growing swarms as the god rose out of their reach. The complex patterns of movement and sound continued longer, the sounds themselves slowly changing until after a great while the thrumming, buzzing, chirping mass repeated Itja-Rek to himself as though guided by some alien conscience.
"What?! Who brings this into the world? Show yourself!"
Moments later, the swarm scattered the phrases, repeating bits and pieces at random, the continuous noises forming words at random around the god as he floated.
"Brings show who?"
"What this world?"
The countless voices continued to join together, mimicking the frightened god as the insects massed farther, the swarm beginning to blot the light out and the ground growing entirely dark with them.
The massing insects then began to swarm over each other, into giant clumps, rough imitations of Itja-Rek's shape hovering in the air or piling up on the ground before collapsing under their own weight or being scattered by the winds. Or worse yet, snapped up by the massive dragon-like eels that made up the incredibly large orb.
The orb remained stationary, as several heads took notice of the god trying to get away from the swarms of insects crawling around below.
Suddenly, the top half of the orb started to shift around and opening up, revealing that all the eels were actually connected to the lower half of a central entity, revealing her true form.
She then looks at the deity, proclaiming: "Do not be frightened. This world will serve the genesis of something greater"
At that point, several heads at the bottom of the orb, after nourishing on the insects, started to disgorge hundreds of draconic eellike creatures. These spawn would crawl around in large groups. In this form, the spawn would do nothing but eating and multiply.
The spawn also entered a second stage in their life cycle, in which they morph into an airborn variant. This form possessed 2 pair of batlike wings and multiple and 3 pair of limbs, giving them a more insectlike appearance. In this stage they would flock around in huge swarms, similar to locusts or bees.
Extremely aggressive, these swarms acompany the crawling masses and attack anything that comes to close, defending the crawling spawn to death. Their kills, aswell as any of their own dead would just be consumed by the slithering mass, food for the next generation.
Several of these spawn started to diverse into the Mushroom Forest
Itja-Rek breathed a sigh of relief as the bugs fell from his form, and watched in facination as they swarmed together, forming crude facimilies of his own form, insects approximating souls that wound up and around a central form.
But these forms could not last. They would say a few words in a cryptic parody of his own voice, and then dissappate to the winds. His fear mostly gone now, Itja-Rek floated closer to the massing insects, and was about to reach out a hand into the flying swarms when suddenly a voice, deep and booming, swept over him, coming from the orb of eels. Itja-Rek looked upwards, and spotted the face of the god looking down at him. A wave of distrust swept over him. Something in her words did not sound... friendly.
"Greetings. I am Itja-Rek. Who would you be? And what would this world be the genesis of? For that matter, where do you come from? You nearly look like a god of Culthet, alhough were that so, I would know you."
This god reminds me somewhat of Davos... although where he was worms, this one is eels. Curious. He thought to himself.
Deep within the god, a subtle change was taking place, orchestrated by some of his most ancient, most distrustful souls that still remembered the chaos and treachery that had ruled in Culthet. Under their direction, a handful of the god's souls began to change, solidifying into something which looked very much like a dagger, but, if stuck into a foe, would release the anguish of the trapped souls of Itja-Rek's form into the enemy, causing untold amounts of damage.
But to the outside eye, nothing changed, merely a few ripples along the leg of the god revealed the work going on within.
All of a sudden, Son-of-Speaker-to-Trilobites burst out in a loud voice. "They are coming! Remember your promise to us. The City comes!"
And sure enough, beyond the Hive, the great bulk of The City rose from the ocean depths, water sloughing from its fungal buildings as Bryofita separated themselves from the main mass and began organizing in the streets. A booming voice sounded in the heads of the Trilobites, and in the minds of anyone else nearby.
"YOU HAVE SOMETHING OF MINE. I HAVE COME BACK TO CLAIM MY WAYWARD SELVES."
~Wenet~ A leak had developed in the system that routed the souls from the Altar of Initiation to the Distillery, and some of the draught of creation had managed to slip down the channels and pool beneath the altar itself. When next the Bahenet came to drain their Soul Repositories and do the Initiations of several young Bahenet children, the power reacted with the souls violently, overtaking the small party and changing them horribly. Where once had stood Bahenet, now stood something else. Their faces twisted and bent, with tentacles drooping from their mouths, they grew taller, some reaching nearly eight feet in height, more gaunt than lithe, they looked at one another in despair as their skin grew gray and clammy and their fingers developed strange suction-cup like growths at their ends.
And then the hunger struck. Smelling something that drew them like sweetest ambrosia, their eyes came to rest on three unemptied soul repositories. As one, the band of twelve or so lunged for the boxes, draining them of their souls. As they did so, their eyes began to burn with a new light, and they gained strength. They then rose, and began making their way south along the Rimward mountains, searching for a way across and into the lands of the souled.
4 PP: Create Artifact: The Blade of Anguish: Combat Artifact for Itja-Rek that is made of solidified souls. 3 PP (1 from Distillery): The SoulSuckers: Like Mindflayers, they live off of not the flesh of their prey, but the souls themselves. Twisted memories of Bahenet, they stalk the world, striking out and draining the souls of any whom they catch.
Syreene|Sonnet had been meditating at the apex of the Triskelion for quite some time. The weeks of introspection had left moss and grasses growing from their arms and legs, and frosty icicles dripping from their ears, nose, and chin.
They had no more will to go on. This place had been wondrous, and yet, had left the god strangely empty. They did not belong here, not truly. They were not of here. The otherness beyond the veil called to them.
The cross-legged figure seemed to sigh, barely rustling the dangling aeroponic plants. The burning anger that had consumed her early had ebbed, leaving not a cold hatred, but an empty hollowness itself. What right did they have to jealousy?
They were alone, yet lonely. Lazy, yet listless. What did they have holding them back? This entire ordeal had been a curious departure -- an impulsive experiment, and nothing more. They thought of the Season's Heralds, the forgotten Kyrion, and Malice. The former were largely autonomous, and the middling had never known their hand in their birth. Only the latter lived in honor of their will, and even that had already burned down. What purpose was there in an arbitrary and unjust vengeance? Malice... Malice would have to be removed. Everything else would be fine without them. They daren't leave an unbound exarch of spite roaming free.
So they were decided. Remove that one from play, and depart... for elsewhere. There was, after all, no reason to remain.
Malice grinned at the crumpled wreckage of the Soul-Distillery. She could hardly wait to see the look on The Reaper's face, the real Reaper's face, when she returned to find her source of bliss mangled and un-wrought.
She was still cackling gleefully when her form simply exploded, a flash of red divinity darting from The Tomb.
~Lord Imbrel's Manor, The Warped Court, The Triskelion~
Valverinox's meditations were abruptly interrupted as a flash of red energy erupted somewhere in the sky. The piercing crimson light burned through the illithid's already shut eyes, scouring them with a sharp pain.
The clerk collapsed, slowly struggling to the window. The first thing he noticed was the Triskelion -- the summit had been entirely transformed; an obsidian spire now appeared where for as long as he could remember had been naught but open space. Valverinox's second shock was when he caught sight of himself in the reflected light of the window. His skin had become like bronze, and for the first time his hunger was gone, his innate inclination for brains and brainmoss extinguished swiftly, and utterly.
~Lord Star and Lynne Moon's Private Quarters, Starwatcher's Keep, The Triskelion~
Lord Star stiffened in his fine bed, and he felt his wife do the same. Wordlessly they turned to one another.
Lynne Moon shuddered. "Then what now?"
Lord Star was silent for a long time. "I suppose we continue as we always have. And do as we have always done."
Lynne Moon snuggled closer to her husband, resting her head on his chest. He idly stroked her hair, but his gaze wandered towards his window, to the great starry sky beyond. "Perhaps some day we will follow them."
He pulled the sheets tighter around them both, and Lynne Moon barely heard his voice over the rustling of the bedding. "And maybe one day they will come back." Yet as Lynne Moon heard it and Lord Star whispered it, both knew it to be foolish idealism. For good or ill, the world had changed this night.
-4 PP -- Modify Artifact: The Soul-Distillery. Sabotaged and broken. No longer accepts souls, and sacrificed souls themselves merely pool about the tarnished metal harmlessly. IMPORTANT: Can now induce bliss without a deposit of souls. Creatures (or exarchs) who discover this are unlikely to leave, slowly starving to death while enjoying the unending bliss of Itja-Rek's essence. -0 PP -- Deascend Exarch: Malice -2 PP -- Create Template: Those Mindflayers loyal to the Warped Court become Mindweavers instead. Mindweavers resembled bronze-scaled illithids who are neither slimy, dark, gloomy, or brain-eating-y. They retain their powerful psionics, have no need to feast on brains or brain moss, and have their empathetic psionics magnified. The strongest of the Mindweaver empaths can heal others by taking their wounds upon themselves, which heal quickly on their psionically charged bodies. -1 PP Mold Land -- The flat summit of the Triskelion becomes a hollow obsidian spire, dubbed the Shrine of Harmony. You can enter it through one of several cave entrances near the top; inside is a vast, empty chamber, with a single rock inside. Some Virago claim the rock looks like an androgynous humanoid locked in meditation, though others have claimed it resembles an orionid, a massive battlebriar, or even a massive dobbit with equal levels of credibility. The place has no arcane, divine, or primal energies, and is remarkably unremarkable. Despite this, it has become a place of mediation and pillgrimage for many among the Wygrove Confederacy. -4 PP Create Artifact -- The Triskelion: The Triskelion experiences a sudden increase in primal vitality. Living creatures upon the region gain the maximum possible hitpoints whenever they spend a surge due to a healing power. Likewise, any creatures with the "undead" keyword are stunted, suffering a -1 to attack and a -3 to damage rolls while within the mountain. -1 PP Guide Creatures -- Due to the abovementioned infusion of life energy, the zombies, ghosts, and unnatural undead lurking within the Triskelion depart in great haste, either traveling west, towards the many-souled denizens of Bahenet, or down, through the earth to infest the caverns between the far side of the world. -0 PP Syreene|Sonnet leaves play.
0/9 +0/3 and fin
If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one.
Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.
The massing insects continued to try and make crude imitations of Itja-Rek's form from time to time, now also mimicing the form of Hirudi and the spawns of Hirudi before they broke on the wind. The swarms seemed to be oblivious to the gods around them almost, taking no note as Itja-Rek drew nearer, and odder still, taking no notice of the massice Hirudi. Simply immitating the goings on around them.
The voices droned, quickly tearing the new words to pieces and scattering them as quickly as the massed insects.
"This world will be frightened."
"Itja-Rek, I would know you."
The swarming insects began to slowly dissapate, until the area began to look almost normal again, though the concentration of insects was still high, the vegetation and light began to become visisble again.