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chapter_17 [2009/12/11 18:31] (current)
doan created
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 +Gyiiyg stood at the peak of the Cliff that Time Forgot, in the Lost Cave, next to the Horns of Time.
 +
 +It had once been called Mt. Itoi. It was very different then – a vast mountain of red sandstone. He had always been drawn to it. Even when he first arrived on the planet, it was the place he had decided to land his ship, the place he made his home. Then the second time he had visited... that wasn't the same, but he had still ended up here. There was something about it that called to him. He had no idea how to find a centre of power in the world – if there was a place that was really the psychic signature of the world, it would leave such enormous psychic residue that it  would stand out to him like a beacon. There was something more subtle about this place, something lost. It sang to him, but the song was cut short, muted, like half a song, as though half the song was somewhere else that he couldn't reach. That sadness, that incompleteness, drew him closer. It reminded him of himself.
 +
 +The Horns of Time had changed once again since last time he came here. This time there were two horns, giving it the appearance of the head of a giant behemoth tearing its way free of a subterranean prison. Both horns were intact where the one horn had been slightly broken. The other major difference was that there was a path leading to it. It had never been accessible from anywhere else on Earth before. Both times he had landed his ship directly on  top of it – he made it accessible to his army using teleportation and a system of underground caves the first time, by the theft of a Phase Distorter the second, when it had become nonlocal in the space/time continuum. This time around, with his ship still on Dictory somewhere – unless either his own Government or the Starmen had auctioned it off, stripped it for parts or simply destroyed it on suspicion of infection with Giygas – he was worried that he had no way to access it. However, this time round, a small rocky path had simply appeared.
 +
 +Straightening himself – it had been a long journey with little rest and he was growing weary – he held his tail high and strode across the mountainous balcony.
 +
 +As he walked up to the two horns, touched them, sat between them, his tail curled around one of them for support, he felt a kind of electricity. It was invigorating, exhilarating. He was, for once in his adventure, maybe even more than when he had been flying through space battling for his life, truly alive. A dark, primal energy flowed through him, neither negative nor positive, simply there. It had been before good or evil entered the world. It had been when the source code of the Universe was still compiling, when the dream of the Universe had entered the heads of the thinkers that first woke up and decided to imagine it. His tail, pointed downwards, felt as though it was sinking down through the rock of the mighty mountain, down into the bedrock, charged elementally with the moisture and the earth and the fire of its core.
 +
 +It came down upon him like a black wall of rain. He was halfway between them. He was touching a world that was forbidden to all. The other side of the screen. Like a lucid dream. It occurred to him that it might not last long – that he might shatter the illusion and wake up. He had to act now, to seal the loop, to trap his consciousness there.
 +
 +He reached his bony arm into the pocket of his smart suit and took out the shell. Placing it on his lap, he gripped it tightly, running his hands over the smooth contours of the two crosses. It really did feel like a shell, but it was warm, alive. He remembered hearing something Maria told him about shells sounding like the sea if you placed them to your ear. What would this thing sound like?
 +
 +The song pulsed through him, louder and clearer now, wild and electric and alive.
 +
 +Except now he could hear the other half of the song. Both the question and the answer, the plea and the reply. An echo across billions of light years, twelve dimensions, six Parallels.
 +
 +I miss you.
 +
 +I miss you too.
 +
 +He stood up and walked forward into the rain. The world became that same shade of black and white. Intensely greyscale, like a world that had made up for its lack of colour by relying upon depth of detail instead of a crutch of gaudy hues. It buzzed with static.
 +
 +An orb appeared before him, something he recognised even though it was white with shades of light grey and crackling and shimmering as though unstable as a bulk teleporter device from Dictory. He reached out to touch it. The world swirled around clockwise, then anticlockwise, then he was somewhere else.
 +
 +A snow-covered mountain plateau. A storm brewing up, whipping up a snowstorm. Behind him, the two horns, protruding from a snowdrift. Before him, rising into the distance, an enormous white rock shaped like a shell.
 +
 +Realisation came to Gyiiyg in a flash. This is my Magicant? How many times have I been here now? The things I've seen and half remembered... the people I've spoken to, who have been trying to tell me something... did they happen, or will they happen? Are they real or did they just happen here? Was he seeing them in real time?
 +
 +The light glimmering off the snow caused patterns to dance and play in the air, fey lights, shades of purple, green and blue. As he stared at them in wonder, they began to coalesce into images. Some he recognised clearly – Maria, her features angelic, both young and old, timeless, her white dress sweeping along the rocks like a blanket of snow, beckoning him to step closer. Gayzaq – had she ever really loved him or had she meant to betray him all along? The Starmen, arranged all around him so he could not escape, their accusing eyes still judging him with the relentless undeniability of those who knew exactly what he had done. Ness, just stood before him, behind him, above him, everywhere he looked, another Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness... Pokey, tapping against the glass of the Absolutely Safe Capsule, still silently pleading with him... no, he would no mercy for lies, and anyway, he knew Pokey would have done the same thing to him if their situations were reversed. Ninten, his mouth silently wording the song so that he turned away, but there was Paula, her hands joined in prayer, willing his doom.
 +
 +He walked on, willing away the illusions that distracted him. These messages were things he already knew. He knew now that they were the lies. He had no more times for lies. He hunted the truth. Where was the truth in this arid wasteland?
 +
 +“Where are you?” he demanded, looking up at the stars. His eyes caught the swirling spire of the shell stone. There. He had always been on the top of the stone. Wrapping his tail around him for fortification against the sudden strong gale that threatened to blow him backwards, he walked on.
 +
 +Climbing a steep, smooth hill in the middle of a snowstorm when the wind was blowing in the opposite direction was not the easiest thing he had ever done in his life. His spindly limbs were long and agile, his tail perfectly suited for climbing, his mind quick at spotting wrong moves. He used the last of his failing psychic strength to bolster the signals to and from his brain, making him that bit more efficient at jumping and climbing, and to block out the cold that was now leaking through his normal elemental defenses. It didn't help that with every turn of his head he saw something else out of the corner of his eye – a faint memory, an old friend or enemy, something about himself that had always been hidden, Maria's beckoning voice, whispering in the wind.
 +
 +Then his hands met the top of the hill. Wrapping his tail around the point, he hauled himself up. He hadn't realised before exactly how high the hill was. He could see for miles. Miles of pure white. It was beautiful. Cold, treacherous, deadly, inhospitable and maddening, but beautiful. The illusions were gone. All except one – he still saw himself, perfectly reflected. He was looking back up at himself. The look in his eyes... perfect sentience, even more than his real self... or was that his real self and he an illusion? Those depths... that unlimited knowledge and power... infinite years in a single second. For what felt like hours, they just stood and looked at each other as if trying to recognise each other.
 +
 +Then Gyiiyg caught sight of something behind his other, just out of his range of vision, maybe at right angles to the dimensions he could actually see in... It was them. The winged one, the grey one, the red thing, the cross-shaped hole in the ground, the naked child... Tent Person, Dung Beetle, Snow Bunny, Aeolia's Table, Mini Elevator, Vapor, Vapor 2 and Sign.
 +
 +His eyes were torn back to the other Gyiiyg as his face broke into a malevolent grin, his form rippled, broke apart and went blood red.
 +
 +He sprang backwards and arched his back, his tail held above his body and his claws out, instinctive terror filling him. Giygas was here. He already felt it creep back into his mind, that screaming insanity, the red light that permeated his every thought, dragged him off to a void where thought no longer existed.
 +
 +GYIIYG GYIIYG GYIIYG GYIIYG...
 +
 +All his mental defenses slammed down at once. He closed his eyes, blocking out the sight, the memory, all thoughts of what he had become. He could still see it. Its crimson light pierced the darkness, outlining the veins in the back of his eyes in a macabre foetal vision. The light was pain. A terrible gnawing pain that ate at his soul. The vision twisted and distorted even as he desperately tried to block it out. No! I am no longer Giygas! I am stronger now, strong enough to resist it!
 +
 +But am I? Truly?
 +
 +If Giygas is here, in my Magicant, then he is still somewhere in my psyche. Maybe only a fleeting memory, only a thought, a suggestion... but Giygas is information. Faulty information. Pure madness. If I can think of him being part of me, then he is not gone from me. And he feels solid, maybe more solid than the other things in here.
 +
 +And had it been me that freed myself? I don't have the power to do anything for myself. Its always something else that frees  me – a miscalculated shot with a stellar cannon, a delivery man picking up the wrong order, the sudden return of the Messiah to a race of people... Maybe there is nothing here to save me. Maybe I really am on my own. Alone in the hands of an entity of madness more powerful than any God.
 +
 +You don't have to let it take you.
 +
 +Gyiiyg turned around. It was a boy. A blonde-haired boy with a striped T-shirt. He had never seen this boy before in his life. What was he doing in Gyiiyg's psyche?
 +
 +This is your psyche, you know. You can destroy it. You could erase it all and nobody would know the difference. I did. It stopped their advance. Maybe you'll trap it this time. It'll have nowhere to run to and this time it will be truly erased. I will show you how.
 +
 +But then I would destroy my own psyche. Wouldn't that make me Giygas?
 +
 +No, it would make you nothing.
 +
 +I do not want to be nothing.
 +
 +But it is preferable to being Giygas.
 +
 +If I am not yet Giygas, if I am capable of making that decision  When I was Giygas, there was no me and Giygas, there were only different states of me becoming Giygas.
 +
 +He looked the thing face on. It reached out its tendrils and grabbed him by his arms, legs and tail, pulling him inwards. 
 +
 +Yes, that is definitely Giygas over there. And this is me. I am not Giygas.
 +
 +I am not Giygas!
 +
 +He felt the static, like having his fur rubbed up the wrong way if he still had fur, like being pulled offscreen, smelled the acrid rusty taste. It was like bathing in blood. He felt violated to his very core.
 +
 +Then who is Giygas? What is Giygas? Where is Giygas?
 + 
 +Ignoring the stench, the wrongness of the whole thing, he pulled his face through the leering crimson tapestry of tortured souls and stared right into Giygas. There he saw the darkness at the eye the storm. A cosmic darkness, a writhing, frothing nuclear chaos.
 +
 +No, this insanity, it is weakness. It is only because you cannot comprehend it. What fool cannot comprehend their own nature? I want you to open your eyes and SEE the truth behind it.
 +
 +Giygas is an obstruction. A locked door. And behind it lies...
 +
 +First he saw his legs dangling through the swirling blood-portal. Then his arms, then his tail, then he fell. He fell further into the utter darkness, the space between worlds, between both worldsystems in the Universe and versions of this worldsystem. The space between time and space and punctuality. His own Magicant receded from him, a sparkling frosted diamond, and he could see the other Magicants, tiny globes. As he fell, he caught sight of  bigger worlds, constructs of collective consciousness, forged so that all the minds could live in them  – Eagleland, a bright emerald and azure world; the old Earth he had been raised on by Maria, a little faded now, empty but still grand; Nowhere Island, a fast crumbling ruin, half of which was being pulled apart before his eyes. They receded as he fell away from them. He spun around so he could see where he was heading. It was much more useful that way. What he saw was...
 +
 +Parts of worlds. Parts that didn't join up, floating around him, unbound by any laws. Parts still being built, parts abandoned before they were finished. Here and there, half a building, a clod of earth, the top of a mountain, a snow-covered tree or a lamp post. He landed with a thud against something that he thought was empty space but was actually a floor, slightly discoloured. Then there was a static tingle and he realised that he was sinking through it. He fought to stay on top but he wasn't quite moving at the same angle as it, or it wasn't a floor, or he wasn't in a position to stay on top of it. One or the other.
 +
 +He realised now that he could hear the second half of the song perfectly. But he could no longer hear the first.
 +
 
chapter_17.txt · Last modified: 2009/12/11 18:31 by doan
 
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