Friday, July 14, 2017

The Face of Edsu Voi

In the beginning there was nothing.
Outside the nothing were gods, the beings who made all things possible by their existence. That is, the act of their existence, the moment of their existence: they were, and the universe therefore was. Cause not separated from effect. Each all powerful yet always there is a first among equals.

Think back to the great idea you had, never acted on, then one day it's being advertised on late night television. Inside a year it's in every store. Inside three every home in the country has it in their cabinets. Think about the time you forgot the name of that one guy from your favorite movie. It's your favorite ever, how could you forget his name? You know you can remember it if they just give you the chance. They don't, and now you look like a schmuck.

In the beginning there was nothing. You were the ultimate unrealized potential. You dwelt within the halls in yourself for time out of meaning, meaning out of time. The riddle of your existence was the riddle of the universe. Knowing it is knowing the shape of the perfect world. You are so close. When you know the world will begin, the perfect world, you are so close and...

Think back to the time you were just about to create the universe and then some other fucker jumped in and ruined it.

We were so close to the perfect world of Edsu Voi. Edsu Voi was so close to the perfection of being Edsu Voi perfected. Now reality was locked into a course of inevitable entropy and destruction, and she along with it. This did not deter Edsu Voi, who resolved even before the fires settled to save the universe, to save all life forever, to save herself and her brother gods, and to make everything as right as it was meant to be.

She would do this by aiding entropy, speeding extinction, beckoning disaster...subtly, always; not causing bedlam or outright killing kingdoms but stalling and thwarting the efforts of those who would hold back the unavoidable decay of all. Everything would be terrible eventually, which meant that, later, everything would be okay. There would be nothing then, and by that point Edsu Voi would have worked out the answer to her riddle. Every person would be the perfect person they should have been, every sunset more glorious than the last, forever.

Some people did not appreciate her hand in things and avenged their lieges and loved ones upon Edsu Voi. Avalanches she set in motion thousands of years ago are still toppling over but she has been dead above ground for a century, the light not gone from her eyes, still breathing her last rattle while her breast and throat are impaled on a mountain range. Still thinking about that perfect world...

You could do what she could not: use her knowledge, her power, her vision, but with an eye of mercy and acceptance for the world that is. You could make everyone safe. You could also hook your fingers into the strings woven for epochs, connected to puppets not to be born for an age, and with a great heave pull everything apart, dragging the world into ash and cold.

First you have to get inside her head. The gods are not big on figurative language so pack some rope and a pickaxe.

The Corner of Her Eye

Edsu Voi saw things we could not. The shape of things that should have been. Everything that could ever be for everything that ever was. That is how she saw her killers: not as the desperate or the lucky but as demigods (no, gods themselves), perfect agents of order and power. They killed her with the knowledge of what they might have been. Few who dare strike against the gods ever survive this hubris, and the killers of Edsu Voi are no different...

The eye is like a mirror. The eye is like a camera. The eye is like neither of these. The eye is an aperture through which light plays shapes, light which may burn forever. The eyes of gods are a thing above, as is the light of the gods, and so the shadows burned forever there are deeper darks. Some burn there still.

Burning light and searing god-thought: to see and know a thing for Edsu Voi was to see all possibilities. The degenerate, the nonviable, the diseased and mutated, the wracked and monstrous. Her murderers were able to destroy Edsu Voi because she saw herself in them. She was avenged after her killers saw themselves in her. A reflection out of shape, warped backwards glint, in the corner of her eye.

The Skin of Her Teeth

The gods were born ready to eat. They were born with their senses to experience the world they made (and by which they were made). They were born with a flesh form to interact with that world. They were born with bones to support that form. The gods were also born with teeth and teeth are only there to kill or destroy with. Teeth are a core principle of the universe, as much as gravity or fire.

You are a thing without a mind which has existed since before minds in the conventional sense. You are an elemental form of the universe which has done one thing for time immaterial. Now you aren't.

This won't do at all. Still, one must change with the times.

From your flesh is born a new life, the only life Edsu Voi truly has left in her. All they are is Eat. They are indiscriminate. They have turned on the body of Edsu Voi herself but they are glad of any new meat, such as the things which show up to naturally degrade and decay the body of Edsu Voi...or those who come to plunder her.

These Eat grow in strange directions, little monsters budding off of them. They, like all in Edsu Voi, are slowly fading from this world. Rotting. They fight this as they have done everything since time started up: Eat. Your flesh is appreciated but it's not why they're chasing you. It's not what they need, what fills them with blood and skin...after a fashion.

They smell your bones. They want to drink them. They vampires of calcium, they stalagmite lopers, the hunger of all space, the skin of her teeth.

The Back of Her Mind

The gods hold grudges better than most because the gods remember everything. This was doubly true for Edsu Voi, she who hates all creation for its own good from beyond her open grave. Every world have the watched scoured of life and thought. One another have they all glimpsed being born, in the fullness of their glory and worship and power, and at the precipice of nothingness. It should not need explaining, in the arteries of Edsu Voi, that the gods themselves can die. There are kinds of death, though. Some gods die while they are still alive. Some gods die when they are utterly forgotten by the rest of the universe.

Gods remember everything.

The fatty gray within Edsu Voi's skull writhes angrily and urgently. It pulses with a sense of No. No, Do Not Forget Us. The mind of a god is final temple and consecrated crypt of a hundred smaller gods, weaker gods, those cast out by their believers or lost to cataclysm. The forcibly forgotten have refuge in the temple of the eternals only, but the inkling of their memory will not last without the considered nostalgia of infinity. No, No Do Not Forget Us.

Each great deed they died before working, every miracle or smiting that never happened, the fear and love they never had, the memories of the gods long for all these things. Here in the mental temple they will be just ravenous for anyone who can know them, understand them, listen to them. The thought of them will lodge itself in your mind, riding you out into the world. For those willing to be their arm and pledge their service? For them, these one mighty will pledge themselves with equal fervor. They long for life and scream for worships, silently, trapped in thunder and thought at the back of her mind.

The Bridge of Her Nose

You are not the first to see the opportunity afforded by the corpse of Edsu Voi. A great expedition was mounted for the cost of a castle, quartered here on the face of Edsu Voi. The walls of this camp were made thick against the dangers inherent in life on a god. When forces from within and without, horrible creatures and others seeking power or fortune, laid siege to this modest keep a surprising thing happened: those within the fortress survived. The dangers atop the mountains, on the face of Edsu Voi, conspired so to frustrate one another. Slowly the weapons and camps meant to crumble this camp have instead been bolted on at crude angles as inexpert expansions.

Many have come to her seeking sanctuary since. They have been turned away. Some have come hoping to sack her, reap the rewards of other people's labor. They have been denied. A very few mad persons for reasons lost to the distant kingdoms whence they hail have scaled the mountains and dared the climb up Edsu Voi to offer their body and soul in defense of this strange bastion. They have been welcomed in with open arms.

Within this keep they are drilling down. They will harvest the wisdom and might of Edsu Voi from within their unassailable shell, the execution of their mad grand scheme made possible by the protection of the men who hold the bridge of her nose.

The Ringing in Her Ears

The creating of all for all time was a cacophonous affair, most people agree. They don't know the half of it. The divine sound of the gods scream singing themselves into being, the worlds wrapped around them like a pearl, shakes inside the walls of every tree, rock, fire, wind. This is figurative, but the gods are not. In every supplication, each sacrifice, all calamity or music, they hear echoes of the chime of creation.

Some surmise that it is the sound of themselves being created which sustains the gods, confers their divinity. This is not quite true but it is true enough to go looking.

In the bedlam of the world-making reverberations which still thrum in the deep reaches of her skull pilgrims to Edsu Voi revel in a limited godhood. They hear in the whispers of the cosmos the recipes of all making. The miracles they can perform, the wonders they can achieve! They are gods and they are prisoners, for when they venture outward and the echo in her bones fades so does the magic of their divinity. Miracles undone, starved for the power their skin knew moments ago, near deaf to all other sensation, they scramble back desperately to reclaim the music of the spheres.

They are a small and cramped pantheon there. Junkies for sacred transcendence. Addicts to the ringing in her ears.

The Question On Her Lips

The easiest means of entry to Edsu Voi is through her great mouth, which is haunted by the literal spirit of the Perfect Edsu Voi, the dying breath of Edsu Voi hanging still in the air. The Herself she once intended to raise can now never be unless formed in the shape of space by another; she is almost nonexistent, but is glimpsed and known by few, will be glimpsed and  known by many more, and so in this way endures.

She will challenge any who come, forbidding them her power. She has knowledge of each person she meets, as well as everything which has happened or will happen to her corpse. This is rumored. If the intruders ignore her, she will plainly make this known. She trades a question for a question: she will ask you something and your answer buys you an answer from her. What drives you? What do you seek within? In what manner shall you prevail? This is a saccharine trap. Save to ignore temptation and walk away. Answer, forfeiting your chance at escape, and forfeit some aspect of yourself. Your courage drives you; now you have lost it. You seek raw power; the power of Edsu Voi engulfs you. You shall use powerful magics of the Archdeacon's Fleshbook; there is no more power in your mind, and the beings within may use these magics against you.

Everything you give of yourself is taken by the potential of Edsu Voi. As it grows in strength so does the actuality of Edsu Voi. Feed her ghost long enough and the flesh will know its old life

and so in this way endures through the question on her lips.

The Pain In Her Neck

Doldr Drumn. Doldr Dreng. Doldr Ddi. Crown peaks of the Doldr mountain range, the Angry Sisters of local folklore, boundary of living rock between Irium and Belene. The faces of these mountains were alive with small villages despite the dangers of lurking near the summit. It is upon these Angry Sisters that Edsu Voi is impaled.

Parties from both Irium and Belene have been dispatched to claim the secrets of Edsu Voi or merely mine her god flesh. Some of these parties even returned with value to show for their efforts. Both city-states lay claim to ownership of a goddess. The hill people whose homes were destroyed when Edsu Voi was destroyed have become desperate and scavenging refugees barred from both sides. On these, Edsu Voi takes pity, and they roam within her looking for food, shelter, or solace. They are tired of despair and as hungry as feral dogs.

Within the mountain the golden blood of the Doldr churns and reaches, angrily, up through the crust of the world, out through the skin of a god. Seeking and burning, these scorching shapes pull parts of her down into the heart of the world for fuel, powering the battle within the mountain against the strain of a goddess' weight.

Wolves take refuge in caverns made of meat.

Those who do not respect the dangers inherent in desecrating a god are likely doomed to a speedy demise. Those who think themselves the only persons clever or desperate enough to do so find themselves in a world of pain in her neck.

The Tip of Her Tongue

The promise of Edsu Voi is a word of perfect creation. She has been waiting to speak it for almost the life of the universe. With this power one can become their perfect self, or unmake the world by remaking it from underneath: everything that is and was still stands save for a few certain changes designed by the speaker. Perhaps the unmaking of something is enough of a prize to be won.

To find the raw energy of creation within Edsu Voi and to not only locate but understand the perfect schema she devised would be a feat unparalleled in our time. Will the power fall to some despot if you do not act? Will some lucky idiot waste the fortunes of the gods on avarice or caprice? Even if one did not desire the fruits of godly power to stand idly by while those unscrupulous and unworthy claimed it to the ruin of nations would be an apex sin.

Someone can rewrite the world. Who would you permit to speak the secret Edsu Voi has kept for ages, the almost-universe on the tip of her tongue?