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Thoth: Stagnant

I did not return to the Fears for a good while. The Empty City took me to Tuonela, where I ran as fast as I could until I found another Door. I asked The Empty City to take me somewhere far away, but I didn’t care where in particular.

It took me to Aegyptus, date somewhere around 90 CE. Knowing nothing of the languages of the time, I feigned myself a mute and took residence in Memphis. I hid in an abandoned store for a few weeks, stealing food and learning bits and pieces of dialogue from observing the locals. My clothes, I found lying on the street. Probably stole them too. I didn’t know how long I intended on staying, or really what I was trying to do. But before I knew it, I was standing before the the Great Temple of Ptah, listening to two people nearby speaking in English.

"Amazing what they do for us."

"Pfft, yeah. All this effort. We don’t even care.”

"It’s not like we can just tell them we don’t want it."

"Well, yeah, they’ll likely fight another war or something."

I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from until I looked up and saw two people standing atop the front gates. Having no way to get up there, I called up to them, asking if I could speak. Within a second, one of them suddenly appeared in front of me, the other one still climbing down. The one who had teleported bore the head of a jackal as a mask, the one climbing down wore bright white clothes with a long black beard.

The jackal-faced man asked me, “What is it you wish to discuss, mortal?”

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Slayer preaches to the masses in THE CHURCH PLAY FROM HELL

Even if you read Parts I and II earlier, click the “Read More” button on the full version for Part III, the conclusion to the “Capillarian Duties” chapter.

This is the big one.

Thoth: Capillarian Duties

Omega stared at me as I struggled into consciousness and regained my bearings. I was lying under a tree in some forest of streetlights, the nonexistent sky illuminated by artificial means.

"C’mon," he said as he helped me to my feet, "get up."

He led me down a path of black leaves on dirty grounds until we arrived at a cardboard palace. Its front gates, giant pencils, stood twenty feet high. When I blinked, the palace was made of feathers. It was eldritch, that was all I needed to know.

I asked Omega if I was still dreaming. He said nothing.

I asked Omega where we were. He said nothing.

I asked Omega who he was. He said nothing.

The front gates opened by themselves, expecting visitors. The sky turned from nothing to green, planets appearing in the distance close enough to be mistaken for moons. Not one of them was spherical. Then a roof manifested over our heads, showing a magnificent ceiling mural of a ship sailing through space and emitting a brilliant white light on the worlds below.

Omega finally spoke. “That’s Ra’s boat, the Mandjet. Boat of a million years, they call it.” His voice gave inflections of sorrow. “Unfortunately, the Mandjet has had its time, and now it’s time for you to board the Mesektet.”

"What, am I Ra now too?"

"No, you’re still Thoth. You still ride the boat, though. You have much to do."

Before I could ask for clarification, after which Omega would probably ignore my question anyway, a guttural moan rose from the ground. A hand broke free of the cardboard floor, and then a second. Out of the chaos underground, Nyarlathotep dug into the palace and grinned at me.

"Thank you for delivering him to me, Omega." He snapped his fingers, and Omega transformed into a serpent before vanishing. I was now alone with The Crawling Chaos. "You must have so many questions. Go ahead, ask.”

I put on my best poker face and just stared at him.

"Ooh, the arbitrary silent treatment," he said with snark. "Ominous! Spooky! You’re a Fear already. Fine, I’ll just have to tell you what you obviously don’t know." He began to pace, looking at the floor. "Ukhu Pacha has long been considered by us gods— us true gods— to be the battlegrounds for combat we know to be worth the effort. Locked in eternal struggle as it is, this universe or lack thereof runs on laws no one fully understands, which makes it the fairest of arenas.” He raised his head to look at me, stopping his pacing. "This inner world affects the perception of all who pass through it. Even me, and even my father whenever he finds his way into these parts. So naturally, when such a character as you came here, you couldn’t handle it, thinking you had returned back to Earth after some point.” Pause. Adorable.”

Ignoring the condescension, I asked, “So you brought me here to fight on even grounds?”

"Something like that." Nyarlathotep then grew in size, stretching out his arms and growing thick black fur until he appeared as a demonic bear. Fire erupted off his back, forming into the shape of wings. Towering over me by several feet, the Eldritch Bear bellowed a hideous roar which shook the palace.

It was then, and not a moment sooner, that I experienced true fear. Memories flashed into my head of dueling this mammoth bear several times during the apocalypse of 2011. I felt a sting in the place where my eyes used to be. Frozen in that moment, frozen simultaneously in a moment three years prior, I left a clear target for the Eldritch Bear to smack with its claws. I hit the wall with a thud and felt brick crack the back of my head despite the palace’s cardboard.

I lost consciousness, if only for a second. And in that second, I swore I could hear the palace’s heart beating many floors below.

When I came to, Nyarlathotep was leaping at my body. I barely had enough time to roll out of the way, hearing the beast’s thud and groans behind me. So I staggered to my feet, watching his paws reach for his head in pain. He recovered much quicker than I could, growling and preparing for another leap, and I just stood there trying to feel feelings in my legs again without a single weapon to my name.

That’s when I remembered I did have a weapon to my name! I had a pistol! ..but I had no idea how to summon it!

As the Eldritch Bear leapt once more at me, I tried to run but fell to my knees in pain from the last dodge, bracing myself for the impending shadow above me. Then, just to remind us of our whereabouts, Ukhu Pacha decided now would be the best time to have the floor crumble away beneath us, sending the both of us tumbling down a deep chasm of stone.

In mid-freefall, I spun onto my back to see Nyarlathotep flailing his arms around, finding his large body awfully hard to maneuver in the air. I felt something materialize in my hand. I didn’t need to look at it to recognize the trigger in my fingers; all I needed to do was silently thank the gods, aim at the colossus above me, and pray the ground wasn’t too soon.

The gunshot played its part. It may not have killed the beast, but it stunned him for long enough for me to grab it by the paw and tug as hard as I could, pulling him down until we were level so I could climb atop his back and ride it towards whatever fate lay below.

We fell for another several seconds before he came to his senses and tried to shake me from his back. I clung tighter to the black fur, he flipped over in attempt to make me hit the ground first, I pointed my gun at his head and fired point-blank through his skull. He did not die, only lost consciousness, giving me my chance to flip him back over right as we struck the ground with a mighty crash.

In any other universe, I wouldn’t have survived that fall, not even atop a bear. But the gods of Ukhu Pacha clearly liked my struggle, so they granted me safety and let me stand up unscathed. When I rose my eyes and saw myself atop a dusty stage watched by thousands of dead blue eyes, I heard myself mutter, “I wish you didn’t spare me from that fall.”

Every pair of eyes belonged to a Camper, one of Salmacis’s own bodies. None of them gave any sign of life, nor did the boomboxes and amplifiers resting on the concert hall floor at regular intervals. Standing in this tomb of prog rock zombies, I found myself staring into a Camper’s eyes, listening for any hint that the abyss stared back.

Behind me, a voice whispered, "We’re not supposed to be here." Nyarlathotep had returned to his humanoid form and was getting up, clothes torn, a black blood-like substance covering many open wounds.

"This—" I spoke much louder than I’d intended, so I stuttered and reduced myself to a whisper as well. "This place shouldn’t exist."

"No shit. You guys said you killed it." He grabbed his head and snapped it back into place.

"We did. I think we’re in its corpse.” A few seconds passed. I listened to the steady breathing of the Camper behind me, not liking that I had my back turned. Then something dawned on me. “..this is Ukhu Pacha?”

"I did say you could ask me questions earlier. I would have told you.” Even in his state of blatant pain, Nyarlathotep managed to bear a grin.

"Alright, then tell me now."

Shook his head. "Not here. I don’t like having all her eyes on me." He looked around. "There’s gotta be a way out of here to somewhere safer."

I could think of no possible reason to argue with that. Without leaving the stage, we looked around the hall for any sign of a door, or better yet, a Door. Any way out of there.

After a while, Nyarlathotep got goosebumps. "I see the exit."

"Where is it?"

He simply pointed. It was at the opposite end of the hall, past all the aisles of dormant Camper.

I looked at him. He looked at me.

We started our walk, sticking closer together than when we were wrestling in freefall.

Neither of us dared to say a word. We spent as much time looking at each other as we did looking at the sitting bodies staring, eyes open, at the stage we left.

Our footsteps were steady and careful. We gave as much room to the Camper as possible.

Nyarlathotep stopped walking. I stopped immediately after and looked at him. He turned and looked behind him, then looked straight ahead and resumed walking. I turned to look, scanning everything for something out of place, but saw the backs of Camper heads and the stage, nothing different. So I quickly joined him again.

After a while of walking, we found that the aisles became a disorganized festival crowd, Camper seated on the floor with no pattern, so we had to step through the crowd, taking care not to so much as touch any dormant bodies.

I followed quickly behind The Crawling Chaos, gently stepping over some bodies and squeezing around others.

Every now and then, he would stop, look over his shoulder past me, then resume his motion. Sometimes, I would look too, but see nothing out of place. Our stops became briefer and briefer until eventually we weren’t stopping at all, just making one continuous trek through the concert hall.

The silence was unbearable. Worse than that, it wasn’t silence; there was, under the sound of our footsteps, the constant rhythm of every Camper breathing steadily around us. As unnerving as it was, both of us dreaded hearing anything to contradict it.

The exit approached. The crowd of Camper thinned out to the point where we could walk more comfortably.

Nyarlathotep took one last look over his shoulder.

I did too.

I saw nothing.

I turned my head back.

He was still looking behind me, eyes wide.

I slowly looked again.

There was one pair of blue eyes looking in our direction from far away in the crowd.

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Thoth: Blue Eyes (Capillarian Duties, II)

The gunshot played its part. It may not have killed the beast, but it stunned him for long enough for me to grab it by the paw and tug as hard as I could, pulling him down until we were level so I could climb atop his back and ride it towards whatever fate lay below.

We fell for another several seconds before he came to his senses and tried to shake me from his back. I clung tighter to the black fur, he flipped over in attempt to make me hit the ground first, I pointed my gun at his head and fired point-blank through his skull. He did not die, only lost consciousness, giving me my chance to flip him back over right as we struck the ground with a mighty crash.

In any other universe, I wouldn’t have survived that fall, not even atop a bear. But the gods of Ukhu Pacha clearly liked my struggle, so they granted me safety and let me stand up unscathed. When I rose my eyes and saw myself atop a dusty stage watched by thousands of dead blue eyes, I heard myself mutter, “I wish you didn’t spare me from that fall.”

Every pair of eyes belonged to a Camper, one of Salmacis’s own bodies. None of them gave any sign of life, nor did the boomboxes and amplifiers resting on the concert hall floor at regular intervals. Standing in this tomb of prog rock zombies, I found myself staring into a Camper’s eyes, listening for any hint that the abyss stared back.

Behind me, a voice whispered, "We’re not supposed to be here." Nyarlathotep had returned to his humanoid form and was getting up, clothes torn, a black blood-like substance covering many open wounds.

"This—" I spoke much louder than I’d intended, so I stuttered and reduced myself to a whisper as well. "This place shouldn’t exist."

"No shit. You guys said you killed it." He grabbed his head and snapped it back into place.

"We did. I think we’re in its corpse.” A few seconds passed. I listened to the steady breathing of the Camper behind me, not liking that I had my back turned. Then something dawned on me. “..this is Ukhu Pacha?”

"I did say you could ask me questions earlier. I would have told you.” Even in his state of blatant pain, Nyarlathotep managed to bear a grin.

"Alright, then tell me now."

Shook his head. "Not here. I don’t like having all her eyes on me." He looked around. "There’s gotta be a way out of here to somewhere safer."

I could think of no possible reason to argue with that. Without leaving the stage, we looked around the hall for any sign of a door, or better yet, a Door. Any way out of there.

After a while, Nyarlathotep got goosebumps. "I see the exit."

"Where is it?"

He simply pointed. It was at the opposite end of the hall, past all the aisles of dormant Camper.

I looked at him. He looked at me.

We started our walk, sticking closer together than when we were wrestling in freefall.

Neither of us dared to say a word. We spent as much time looking at each other as we did looking at the sitting bodies staring, eyes open, at the stage we left.

Our footsteps were steady and careful. We gave as much room to the Camper as possible.

Nyarlathotep stopped walking. I stopped immediately after and looked at him. He turned and looked behind him, then looked straight ahead and resumed walking. I turned to look, scanning everything for something out of place, but saw the backs of Camper heads and the stage, nothing different. So I quickly joined him again.

After a while of walking, we found that the aisles became a disorganized festival crowd, Camper seated on the floor with no pattern, so we had to step through the crowd, taking care not to so much as touch any dormant bodies.

I followed quickly behind The Crawling Chaos, gently stepping over some bodies and squeezing around others.

Every now and then, he would stop, look over his shoulder past me, then resume his motion. Sometimes, I would look too, but see nothing out of place. Our stops became briefer and briefer until eventually we weren’t stopping at all, just making one continuous trek through the concert hall.

The silence was unbearable. Worse than that, it wasn’t silence; there was, under the sound of our footsteps, the constant rhythm of every Camper breathing steadily around us. As unnerving as it was, both of us dreaded hearing anything to contradict it.

The exit approached. The crowd of Camper thinned out to the point where we could walk more comfortably.

Nyarlathotep took one last look over his shoulder.

I did too.

I saw nothing.

I turned my head back.

He was still looking behind me, eyes wide.

I slowly looked again.

There was one pair of blue eyes looking in our direction from far away in the crowd.

Thoth Versus the Eldritch Bear (Capillarian Duties, I)

Omega stared at me as I struggled into consciousness and regained my bearings. I was lying under a tree in some forest of streetlights, the nonexistent sky illuminated by artificial means.

"C’mon," he said as he helped me to my feet, "get up."

He led me down a path of black leaves on dirty grounds until we arrived at a cardboard palace. Its front gates, giant pencils, stood twenty feet high. When I blinked, the palace was made of feathers. It was eldritch, that was all I needed to know.

I asked Omega if I was still dreaming. He said nothing.

I asked Omega where we were. He said nothing.

I asked Omega who he was. He said nothing.

The front gates opened by themselves, expecting visitors. The sky turned from nothing to green, planets appearing in the distance close enough to be mistaken for moons. Not one of them was spherical. Then a roof manifested over our heads, showing a magnificent ceiling mural of a ship sailing through space and emitting a brilliant white light on the worlds below.

Omega finally spoke. “That’s Ra’s boat, the Mandjet. Boat of a million years, they call it.” His voice gave inflections of sorrow. “Unfortunately, the Mandjet has had its time, and now it’s time for you to board the Mesektet.”

"What, am I Ra now too?"

"No, you’re still Thoth. You still ride the boat, though. You have much to do."

Before I could ask for clarification, after which Omega would probably ignore my question anyway, a guttural moan rose from the ground. A hand broke free of the cardboard floor, and then a second. Out of the chaos underground, Nyarlathotep dug into the palace and grinned at me.

"Thank you for delivering him to me, Omega." He snapped his fingers, and Omega transformed into a serpent before vanishing. I was now alone with The Crawling Chaos. "You must have so many questions. Go ahead, ask.”

I put on my best poker face and just stared at him.

"Ooh, the arbitrary silent treatment," he said with snark. "Ominous! Spooky! You’re a Fear already. Fine, I’ll just have to tell you what you obviously don’t know." He began to pace, looking at the floor. "Ukhu Pacha has long been considered by us gods— us true gods— to be the battlegrounds for combat we know to be worth the effort. Locked in eternal struggle as it is, this universe or lack thereof runs on laws no one fully understands, which makes it the fairest of arenas.” He raised his head to look at me, stopping his pacing. "This inner world affects the perception of all who pass through it. Even me, and even my father whenever he finds his way into these parts. So naturally, when such a character as you came here, you couldn’t handle it, thinking you had returned back to Earth after some point.” Pause. Adorable.”

Ignoring the condescension, I asked, “So you brought me here to fight on even grounds?”

"Something like that." Nyarlathotep then grew in size, stretching out his arms and growing thick black fur until he appeared as a demonic bear. Fire erupted off his back, forming into the shape of wings. Towering over me by several feet, the Eldritch Bear bellowed a hideous roar which shook the palace.

It was then, and not a moment sooner, that I experienced true fear. Memories flashed into my head of dueling this mammoth bear several times during the apocalypse of 2011. I felt a sting in the place where my eyes used to be. Frozen in that moment, frozen simultaneously in a moment three years prior, I left a clear target for the Eldritch Bear to smack with its claws. I hit the wall with a thud and felt brick crack the back of my head despite the palace’s cardboard.

I lost consciousness, if only for a second. And in that second, I swore I could hear the palace’s heart beating many floors below.

When I came to, Nyarlathotep was leaping at my body. I barely had enough time to roll out of the way, hearing the beast’s thud and groans behind me. So I staggered to my feet, watching his paws reach for his head in pain. He recovered much quicker than I could, growling and preparing for another leap, and I just stood there trying to feel feelings in my legs again without a single weapon to my name.

That’s when I remembered I did have a weapon to my name! I had a pistol! ..but I had no idea how to summon it!

As the Eldritch Bear leapt once more at me, I tried to run but fell to my knees in pain from the last dodge, bracing myself for the impending shadow above me. Then, just to remind us of our whereabouts, Ukhu Pacha decided now would be the best time to have the floor crumble away beneath us, sending the both of us tumbling down a deep chasm of stone.

In mid-freefall, I spun onto my back to see Nyarlathotep flailing his arms around, finding his large body awfully hard to maneuver in the air. I felt something materialize in my hand. I didn’t need to look at it to recognize the trigger in my fingers; all I needed to do was silently thank the gods, aim at the colossus above me, and pray the ground wasn’t too soon.

blindrapture:

Stay tuned like a damn good saxophone.

Reblogging this because the time of its relevance comes nearer and nearer still.
Vote Saxophone? Or don’t vote Saxophone? ..does it matter which you do?

blindrapture:

Stay tuned like a damn good saxophone.

Reblogging this because the time of its relevance comes nearer and nearer still.

Vote Saxophone? Or don’t vote Saxophone? ..does it matter which you do?

Here’s a thing. Last weekend, we were gonna get so many scenes done for our secret project. But then George doesn’t show up, and he’s in a lot of scenes, so we’re kinda screwed. We go home to Alistair’s house, and then we hear that George is on his way up. So we decide to put him on trial.

A good Charlican comes to filming when the Lord Marshall says we must come to filming.

asks:
Haven't spoke to you in a while...but in your opinion, which is better: Coheed and Cambria or Between the Buried and Me?

No competition, Between the Buried and Me. Their stories feel more self-contained, their lyrics feel more varied, their songs feel more varied. Coheed and Cambria feels to me like, when you get right down to it, just another band that happens to have a really good song every now and then. Between the Buried and Me always surprises me.

Somehow I lost four followers for that

SO WHAT’S NEW WITH RAPTURE?

Well, for one thing, A Book of Names is now a tentative title. Might change it. One name I’d kinda prefer is Put The Sun Down, as it’s more thematically.. relevant to the story. “A Book of Names,” while certainly literally true, is more a side-step of what the story’s actually about. But I’m still fishing for names.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I’ve successfully edited all previous posts into a second draft. Still not perfect, but it should flow better (or at least “more like how I’d want it to flow.” Part 1 of the story is now titled Eric and the Book of Names, and Part 2 has the confusing double-title of Thoth and the Circle of Fears, Jordan and the New Journals.

And there are a few more new posts/logs to read! I now know where I’m going with things, so that’s good. I think bringing Jordan and his journals back was the right decision, as I seem to do strangely better when I have multiple narrators.

SO PLEASE ENJOY AND WELCOME BACK TO THE WORLD OF RAPTURE AGAIN

Oh! But one questionable edit I made was taking out the explanation of what the hell Salmacis even is. So unless it’s actually easy to figure out (which I doubt), I’m either gonna have to work in a new explanation for that somewhere or Rapture’s sequel is gonna have to depend on the reader having read the logs first. …….which is kinda what I’d intended, really.