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Nexus Clash :: View topic - "What New Hell is This?" (The Re-Emergence of the
Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:57 pm Post subject: "What New Hell is This?" (The Re-Emergence of the
It was St. Germaine, an island of the material world, where once I was a tourist. I was worried about material things. My pedestrian job, my dull and lacklustre life, avoiding discomfort and death while secretly waiting for it. Unstimulated and going through my the motions of my life. St. Germaine was an escape, if just for a week, to what was advertised as paradise. People went on vacations. It was what people did instead of resolve the unhappiness of a life's path gone stale. It was just a week in an agreeable climate, see different sites, find a temporary mate, indulge in hedonistic pleasures, and try to silence the thought in my head that when the week was over my life would be waiting for me, and nothing really changes.
You'll have to forgive my shallowness at that time. The material plane was much smaller then. Other planes were speculative nonsense or pure fantasy. So were the incredible sights, the amazing beings I encountered, the abilities I'd thought were out of reach...
This new multiplanar existance was at first frightening, but as I had navigated this new world, found more of its secrets, and protected myself while others around me had gone mad and succumbed as they were made pawns in the struggle of alignments, I strived to set myself apart, not to be beholden to the whims of mad gods and the fancies of deluded leaders... but rather to tear existence down, feeling that none of these beings were worthy of the prize they were fighting for...
My name is Lord Shade, and I will tell you my story.
What do I remember of those early days? I could best describe it as 'hysteria'.
The first hints came from the silence of our media. Radio, television, internet, it was all cut off from the mainland so we had no explanation. We didn't know what was happening, thought something happened to the outside world, that St. Germaine was the last bastion. A few were sent to the mainland and they described a literal barrier, as if St. Germaine was scooped up from our world and displaced into a void. There was no world, no earth, nothing. Just us in a void, without so much as a plausible explanation.
In those early days people descended into madness. The rule of law broke down. Governmental institutions disappeared. Tribes and gangs began to form as lawlessness broke out throughout the islands. In those early days you had to look out for yourself and the group you sided with, for that was the only order you could find. Those morphed into the major groups you see today. The biggest demon, angel, and transcended human factions started out as common street gangs.
Oh, but in those days we had no idea what to make of the metaphysical changes to our existence. The immediate ones were of interest. Stores were mysteriously restocked every day. People would die and then be reincarnated into new bodies, remembering their deaths. Then the first extraplanars appeared, glorious and beautiful angels as well as twisted, warped demons, and worse it was people who were turning into these creatures! Not even regular humans were spared, having found strange new abilities on their own.
So of course it descended into madness. The sides may have gotten more organized, but with no death, no lack of material goods and a total abandonment of the old order... what did you expect? People were reduced to insane, debased creatures, wearing rags, drinking, eating, abusing, screwing, and fighting... so much fighting, without regard, remorse or regret. There was no peace, no refuge for decent people as they preyed on each other! We were given abundance, we were given new wonders to explore, new ways to exist, new meanings of existence to ponder. All we had to do to make it tolerable was to not turn into animals! But... what else could happen? People will immediately go to their base natures and destroy even the most beautiful paradise.
That was the world I found myself in. It was bizarre. It was maddening.
And as I became increasingly bitter, I found out its secrets and, through the path of magic, I began to fight back.
The main reason I survived those days with my sanity intact was because I sought shelter with like minded individuals. Then I busied myself with the study of this new existence, learning its secrets, using them to gain more power, protecting myself from the madness of the Nexus War. As I was to find later that delusions are a comfort and that you cannot claim to distance yourself when you are directly involved in events.
Other planes of existence opened up. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the Deadlands. We were made aware of the Nine Elder Gods. I grew to despise the Gods, the way they played with our existence like a game of cards, all for petty reasons that mortal adults would consider childish and petty. But that was to be our existence. The war saw no end, the Breath was just a rumor, and we all kept dying and resurrecting, playing out the same events over and over. Without much else to do we settled in and surrendered to the monotony. Snatching secrets and learning more about this strange existence was our only entertainment and, I believed, our only way to break this cycle.
During that time I was a minor bureaucrat for a group called Magi Anonymous. I had access to the greatest collection of arcane lore in the multiverse and in turn I wrote scrolls, scribed books, worked in the alchemy lab and helped defend our base from extraplanar incursions. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement.
I had arcane power, but what I lacked was political power. Those who had it weren't really worthy of it, just as I saw the Elder Gods as being unworthy of their station as the arbiters of existence. But... that was just the lamentations of a small, insignificant man back then, one that lusted for power, one that wanted to get revenge for being thrust into this mad existence. Fantasies. In the end I would go back to work.
Strange how the quill in that world was like the keyboard in the last. I was doing the same damn thing, and I was becoming just as significant, which was not at all.
Then I heard a rumor being whispered among my fellow sorcerers. One of the protected zones, run by the Ragged Philanthropists, was attacked, with nearly a hundred killed and many injured. A series of death clouds were unleashed, an attack so powerful, so devastating that the safe zone was devastated. Normally such a slaughter was reserved for an organized raid, but it was all done by a single Wizard.
Her name was The Paper. Some crazed weeaboo from the old world, with enough mana potions and death cloud scrolls to absolutely destroy an entire fortress.
This was the first time I heard of a phenomenon known as the 'Mage Nuke', and it was there that I saw the opportunity I was looking for. The opportunity to transcend my mundane existence, my pedestrian role in events, and perhaps a chance to exercise some control over my life, the universe and even the gods themselves.
I learned how to turn myself into a mage nuke. It was the single most empowering task I'd ever performed...
Next where the days when the planes expanded, the population of extraplanar and transcendent being dramatically increased, the war between Heaven, Hell and Purgatory heated up, and beings that even humbled the most powerful sorcerers began to appear. Even Haldos, the first to defy the Gods, made the occasional appearance. I didn't find these events that displayed the true gulf between the Gods and their creations disheartening. On the contrary, I was empowered. First, I was becoming a powerful and feared entity myself. And also, I was understanding the nature of my new existence. Sure, there was death, but the secret truly dying in the nexus was to totally give up your existence, and your soul will follow.
And since I had, at the time, no plans to doing that I felt I had all the time in the universe to accomplish my goals of toppling the established order, stopping the Gods' insane game and finally bringing a new, human led order. It had no place for the extraplanars or the beings that created them.
The first stage was to do even more mage nuke attacks. Those were successful. Not only myself but others were inspired by those methods. All the planes feared the next bloody attack.
But the next phases were all failures.
In my first attempt at true ambition I tried to rally the mages of my order to all mobilize, gather power and use the same methods I have. The order was big enough that if every Sorcerer did what I did, not only would we crush entire faction strongholds within seconds... but we could do it to multiple factions at the same time. Entire Alliances, their entire armies... wiped out, and counterattacks meet with the same bloody reprisals. It would have been a marvelous turn of fortunes, perhaps changing the outcome of the entire nexus war.
But it was not to be. Magi Anonymous ignored my suggestions. Despite my power I was still considered a mid ranking wizard, and as such hierarchy trumped merit. I could not get them to mobilize. They stayed buried in their musky tomes and wasted their potential. Therefore my plans, to crush dissent, remove the extraplanars, and finally make the Gods heel to our demands to stop the game and cancel the breath were stillborne.
I tried a new approach. If I could not depend on my order, then I will inspire others to do what I do. Therefore I left papers, rhetoric, propaganda after my attacks. I do not know how well they were received. I just know that it did not work. It's a funny thing, trying to inspire others. I never reached the popularity where I had enough people where taking action did not seem so dangerous.
I tried and tried. Attacks on the Ragged Philanthropist safezone. Bombings in the largest strongholds, all it did was leave lots of dead bodies but effected no change.
Then I made a huge misstep.
It was after some sort of party Somewhere, somehow, these people decided on a temporary truce, to be followed by an epic battle between heaven and hell. There was a jovial atmosphere and a giddy anticipation for the coming events. We were all ready, yet delays kept coming. We had to wait for some high ranking angel or demon to arrive, or wait for a faction leader to get over his hangover. I couldn't believe we had to delay for the sake of what I thought were undeserving souls, and whether we agreed to it or not they demanded this truce be upheld.
That was my arrogance at that time. I was frustrated by the failures of trying to impose my will. I was sick of Gods and Freaks telling me what to do. I did not believe anybody had the right to make demands on me, much less freaks from other dimensions, or their collaborators. Defying the truce, I uncapped my satchel, unfurled my scrolls, and touched off my spells. Many perished before me, and when the torrent of ice and snow was rendered impotent by protections and wards I switched to gaseous clouds of death. It was my most effective attack yet.
And as the demons and angels united to tear me apart, I didn't think of the mistake I made, I only smiled as I was killed, loving the idea of screwing over all the people and things I hated.
That was the last time I experienced joy and accomplishment...
What was I thinking? Was I so deluded that I thought what I was doing would garner me respect, power, privilege? I had all the intent in the universe to overthrow the elder gods, the beings who held power, and finally take control of the Breath so that mankind can finally control its own destiny. No... at that last attack they only saw another crazy, one of many in Valhalla whom the Nexus War broke in mind and spirit, who attacks like a crazed animal with no more compulsion than that of bitterness and anger.
I was excommunicated from my order. Once the Magi Anonymous disavowed my actions and left me out in the multiverse the hunters came. Anyone that recognized me cursed my name and killed me, sometimes seeing enough foresight to make me suffer. I had become one of the most hated people in the multiverse.
Give the extraplanars and the mortals some credit. When you kill as many innocent people as I, it doesn't matter how noble your cause was. Once the wrong people died that cause was invalidated. Thanks to me people were more firmly in the camp of the Elder Gods and their subordinate beings. I had failed.
To escape the persecution, I changed my appearance and my name, found an obscure group to join, and hoped to start again. But as I prepared I found my drive to change the multiverse somewhat... blunted.
I had lost hope in my cause and confidence in my ability to carry it through. I was cynical about the denizens of the multiverse, for I thought they did not understand, much less share, my views on a mortal centric universe. Everyone was content to follow the Gods. They did not care if they were gamepieces, if they were aware of it at all. All they saw their own minute points of views, made manifest by powers and pacts. Haldos was close, but he was long dead. There was nobody to relate to, and if I came out seeking other like minded individuals I would have been hunted, killed, discredited.
The secret to dying in the Nexus is to will yourself not to exist at all. When you die, you choose not to resurrect. You just stay in the void. Eventually, you are forgotten and then your soul disperses. You experience a true death. I learned that much in my studies at the old Magi Anonymous towers, mostly theoretical learnings based on observations of some of Valhalla's denizens living awhile, then just disappearing from sight and mind. I decided to give it a try. I went out into the Niflheim, picked a building, and waited.
A Void Walker was too happy to oblige. He sent me to death, and then I willed myself not to be resurrected, and I waited. I felt my memory get foggy, my life essence disperse. I was to be no more...
It was a sudden shock when all at once my essence was recollected and my soul was made whole once more. Normally it is a painless process, but when it is done against your will it feels like a heart attack and a deep violation of my being at the same time.
I was in front of nine shadowy faces.
The Nine. The Elder Gods. The beings that controlled all of creation, those beings I had railed against throughout my career as a metamagic theoretician. All before me, all arguing in booming, yet hushed tones, what to do with me, the arch heretic.
You see, a new breath had taken form, and as a joke the evil gods wanted me alive, but to take me down and have me tormented in their new creation. The Gods of Good wanted to enslave me, to make good payment on the sins I have caused. And the Neutral Gods, impassive to my fate, watched with uncaring eyes and uninvested interest.
Having enough, I said, "Do as you will. All I ever wanted was self determination. If it threatens you so... you've only yourselves to blame, for I am one of your creations raised in the environment you yourselves have made. If you had not wanted the threat of your own gamepieces turning against you then you should have not set up the game at all."
They did not appreciate my arrogance. I was bombarded with condescending messages from the gods, telling me to know my place, to not presume to lecture the lords of creation. In the face of this collective disdain, I did not break.
I did, however, reason. I told them, "I never wanted to be part of your game, but I can no more divorce myself from it than a cell in my body can split on its own accord from the whole. However, my route to self determination for us mortals is an obvious cancer to you. If not me, than Crohmal-Hult, then Haldos, then creation knows who else. Does it not make more sense to find out what people like me want and how that can fit in your plan?"
It came out, I suppose. All my rebellious nature was against the great plan. Like in my old life, nothing changed. I still felt like a small man under the controls and whims of other, and resented them for it. Resenting an old boss or the lords of creation, it was all the same.
I told them, "I am tired. I tried to take control over my destiny and it has caused nothing but disaster. Please... I had great plans. I wanted a world where we mortals are treated with dignity. If there is any one of you Elder Gods that are willing to create a utopia for my kind I will back you all the way."
(Shade? As in the "wrote-the-book-on-nuking" Shade? O_o)
"Just another magical gringo, I don't see what the deal is!" says Dropkick, the demonic Luchador on the matter before trailling off to murder more people by stomping on their faces. On and pose shirtless, of course.
Edit: Was just commenting real quick and wrote up a very short blurb of what my main would think, having never known the guy. Mind you, I'm open for a challenge, I mean, he IS a wrestler.
So to this I said, "Then I will continue to deny my existence. Good day."
I felt a great and powerful urge pull me. The voices of The Nine were not in unison, but rather assaulted me one after the other. I was able to get one unifying message from the tumult of emotions and expressed thoughts.
They were very angry with me. My actions resulted in a irrevocable change in the way magic was to work. This was especially galling to the chaotic aligned gods, but was deemed necessary to prevent magi like me from abusing our powers and threatening their position. Entire spells, their knowledge of creation and application were literally wiped out of existence. The laws of metamagic physics was rewritten. No longer could us Wizards threaten entire cities or challenge the gods. All of us were denied.
Then I was told I could no longer will myself out of existence. In this next breath, and every breath that would follow, I would in some way shape or form exist. Because I could no longer reach the amounts of power I once wielded, they were confident that I would live all my existences in obscurity, returned once again to be a small man living a small life under their rule. I was returned to St Germaine, now called Petra, stripped of power, my mortal existence reset.
Like the struggles of my first days in St Germaine, I gathered resources, avoided the crazies and the extraplanars, sought shelter where I could and tried to make sense of this new breath. The influence of the dark powers, whom had won twice while I was away, was apparent in the mutations of the mortals. The science that brought pocketspace to Petra was especially fascinating to me. However, I learned to my dismay that The Nine did indeed collectively change magic as we knew it. Nuke Mage attacks were now impossible. Now the major source of power was in the armies of undead, demon hordes, and the clockwork minions of angels. Talk about feeling very small!
At least I didn't despair, but I was aimless, so despair would have been inevitable.
Were it not for a visitor during my wanderings that gave me new purpose.
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