Tuesday, December 17, 2013

End

And at last, we reach the part of the story where I enter.

There was no measure of time to tell how long I-330 slept. She really had quite a bit of rest to catch up on. As she drifted through the Quiet, her wounds healed and her limbs grew back. When she finally woke up, she was floating beside me.

It wasn’t the first time I-330 had encountered herself. Though she certainly hadn’t expected it here. And the glowing eyes and aura of light I’d given myself might have been a bit much, but hey, I’ve got to entertain myself too.

With remarkable speed for someone still mostly asleep, I-330 got up and started searching her coat for a weapon. When none was forthcoming, she grew black claws out of her fingers instead.

“Where am I? Who are you? Where’s the Slender Man?” Her voice cracked a little as all the words rushed out.

“The Quiet, Antevorta, wandering around the Quiet someplace.” I gave a little smile. “Any other questions?”

Her posture didn’t relax at all. “Antevorta? You mean the person who made all those weird posts on my blog?”

“I’d hardly say you’re qualified to call my posts weird, given the usual content you put up. But yes, that was me.”

She looked me up and down. “So what are you? Another future version of me?”

“Yes. Kinda. In a way. Look, this is going to take some explaining….”

“Save it. Just tell me where the Slender Man is so I can finish this.” She wasn’t able to control her hands shaking as she spoke. Her eyes kept darting around and she repeatedly looked over her shoulder, as if expecting an attack at any moment. I remembered that feeling. After fighting for so many years, it becomes hard to shut off.

I grabbed her shoulders to get her attention on me. I suspect she’d have tried ripping my throat out if I hadn’t been holding onto her so tightly. “Stop it. There’s nothing to finish. It’s all over.”

She stared at me like I was speaking nonsense, as the color slowly drained from her face. “N-no. No. It’s not over. I can… I can still do something. I can fix everything! Change it back to how it was before!”

“You can’t. You really can’t.”

She thrashed in my grip until she got free. “Yes I can!” Her breathing was becoming much more rapid. “I can do anything! I’ll just try to make another universe! This time it will work!”

“No, it won’t.”

“You don’t know that!”

“I do. Because I already tried it.”

That stunned her enough to at least calm her breathing. “What?”

“You asked me if I was a future version of you, and I said that I am, in a way. The truth is, I’m not just a future version of you. I am the future of every iteration of I-330 that has existed.”

“But….” You could almost see her mind trying to break that down. “Every I-330…. I thought I was the only one. The only I-330 in the multiverse. EAT said-”

“Oh, well, of course you’re going to be getting your facts wrong if you go around listening to what EAT tells you.” I giggled at her confused expression. “The Fears are like people on an island, who think that they know everything about the world because they’ve explored the entire island. It’s true, you were the only I-330. In that multiverse.”

“… That multiverse? I thought there was only one multiverse…?”

“Now whoever told you that? No, reality is far larger and amazing than anyone, even the Fears, could imagine.” And then I broke eye contact, because the conversation was about to get depressing again. “An infinite number of I-330’s. Every time we reach this point in our lives, it creates another multiverse, where similar conditions cause the whole cycle to repeat. Every possible idea you can think of for how you would ‘fix’ this, how you would win, has been tried. And every one has failed. This really is the end. It’s over.”

I could see her trying to think of some reason I was wrong. I remember being her and trying to come up with some flaw in the argument I’d heard. Because if what I said was true, then there was no way to take back all the mistakes she’d made. All those deaths would be permanent. And that realization sinking in let loose all the emotions she’d been holding back for so long. Tears rolled down her face. She grabbed me and put her head against my chest, sobbing uncontrollably.

She cried for a long time. Until all the pain and regret had been released. When she stopped, she continued to hold onto me in silence before finally speaking.

“So is that it? End of the road for me? Now I just float around here forever?”

“Not quite. There’s still a little bit more for you to do.” I held her face up and gave her a grin. She needed some good news. “I want to show you something.”

I took I-330’s hand, and carrier her through the Quiet. We reached a crack, through which one could look into another universe.

“Here, I-330. Tell me what you see.”

Rather unenthusiastically, she looked through it. “Stars. Planets. It’s space. I’ve seen lots of space. So what?”

“Let’s move this space a bit into the future. Then we’ll see what you think.” In a place like the Quiet, where time has no real meaning, such a change was easy. Hundreds of millions of years passed in that universe, as I moved the focus of the view toward a tiny little blue planet. “You might recognize this universe. It was the one created by the Slender Man at the end of your battle with it.”

I-330 winced at that. “Rubbing in my defeat?”

“No. Showing you your victory. Keep watching.” Time continued to pass on that planet, as continents moved and cells started growing. “Given an infinite number of universes, anything that could happen will eventually happen.” The cells evolved together, creating larger forms of life which spread across the world and died. “Anything. Even miracles.” A new creature evolved on the planet. A tool wielding primate, with the capability for higher reasoning. I-330’s eyes grew wide as she watched them multiply and build their cities.

“But… those are humans….”

“Yes. They are. In some tiny, faraway corner of this new multiverse, the conditions allowed for the existence of humanity. And so they came to be.” I slowed down the speed at which time was passing in the universe so I-330 could see more. “This is probably the best of all possible outcomes. After evolving in two multiverses that were controlled by monsters, humanity finally gets to live free. There are no Fears here, or any Outer Gods. No Nyarlathotep or Slender Man. Just humanity, finally given the chance to live for themselves.”

Tears appeared in I-330’s eyes again, but for a very different emotion. “Then… I did okay? I was doing the right thing?”

That’s a question I never like answering. “… Maybe. We ensured the survival and freedom of the human race. But all those people we killed are still dead. All the people we knew are gone. They can’t be brought back.” I turned my face toward the planet so I wouldn’t have to look at I-330’s expression. “The end result did work out for the better. But what we did was still monstrous. I suppose it’s up to you to decide whether or not the end justified the means.”

She was silent for a very long time. I closed the crack to prevent the Quiet from spreading to that universe, and let her think for a while. When she spoke, her voice was very quiet. “Is this it? This is where it ends for me?”

Ah, now finally I could get to the good news. “No. There’s still one more thing for you to do.”

“What now?” Her voice dripped with dread.

“The creation of this new multiverse was the best outcome. But in order to ensure it’s the outcome that happens, there’s a little tweaking that needs to be done to the timelines.” I started carrying I-330 through the Quiet again, to a new destination. “There’s only so much I can do while trapped in here. Make a few vague blog posts. Narrate. Nothing major. For the proper order of events to happen, a stronger outside influence is needed.” We reached another crack in the Quiet, leading to a different universe. “Didn’t you ever wonder why you hadn’t experienced any of those adventures with Lisa that got her involved in all of this?”

“Well, yeah. I just thought I’d changed the future or something….”

“No. It was because you don’t start that adventure until now.” I pointed through the crack, into this universe. When I-330 looked through, she gasped. Lisa was on the other side, working in a library, just as she had been the day before she discovered our blog.

“You mean… I get to see her again? I get to be with her?”

“Yes. Up until you die, of course. Because if you go back, you will die. At which point you’ll become me.”

“That’s fine. Dying is fine. Just so long as I get to be with….” She hesitated. “But… if I go back… it will ruin her life. That’s what forces her into this world of monsters and death….”

“Ruin her life? Did she ever think of it that way? You have her memories. Look back at them. Even at the worst times, did she ever regret any of it?”

I-330 shook her head. “No. Even… even when she was being torn apart limb by limb… she still….” I-330 stared through the crack, still not moving. Her eyes narrowed, as if thinking about something. “Before I go… what happened to the Slender Man?”

I laughed. “Oh, it? It’s probably wandering around the Quiet right now. Eventually it will find a crack that leads it to another universe. One ruled by Azathoth and the Outer Gods.”

“Wait… but….” She bit her lip as she tried thinking through the implications of what I’d said. “Isn’t that a paradox? If that’s the case, then where does the Slender Man actually come from?”

“No idea. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out. Until then, it’s just another mystery.” I looked away, lost in thought. “If you could only see what I have seen. Everything you know about reality is just a fraction of its wonder. Even I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of it all. There are so wonders and mysteries out there beyond anything that humans can perceive or describe. Even with an infinite amount of time, I’ll never be able to unravel every secret.” Turned back to look at her again. “But you’ll find out when you get to see it for yourself. For now, you have your reunion to go to.”

I-330 nodded. “You do realize, if I go back there, I will try to change things.”

“Every I-330 does. But it never works. We always end up back here.”

“I’m still going to try.”

“Of course you do. You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.”

That got a slight chuckle out of her. “Alright then. I’m heading out.” And with that, she stepped through the crack.


I’ve experienced that same meeting so many times. Every time I-330 comes to the end of her journey, it plays out almost exactly the same. And then she goes back to be with her Lisa, starting the whole cycle again. And so it’s gone for all eternity.

But... that’s a lie, isn’t it. Because there’s no such thing as eternity. There is no final revolution. I said that no I-330 has been able to change things. They’ve never been able to break the cycle. But who’s to say they never will? Given an infinite number of repeats, anything that could happen eventually will.

I look forward to seeing it when it does. When she finally changes the future. Slays the monster, gets the girl, saves the universe, all without sacrificing anything. Maybe it’s just a fantasy of mine. But I can imagine it so clearly, it almost feels real. It’s not even a complicated dream, really. Just a single image. The god who chooses to live as a human, trench coat blowing behind her in the wind, riding a motorcycle she stole, off into another adventure.

Maybe if I hold onto that image long enough, it will become reality.
The tree’s branches continued to move, creating a stairway leading to the base of the tree. The Slender Man slowly walked to the ground, like a king exiting his carriage. Everything about its form spoke of perfection. Its head was completely smooth and white, without a single hint of human features. Its dusty black suit and tie lacked any wrinkle, and looked perfectly tailored for its tall, slim body. It stood with absolutely straight posture, towering over Nyarlathotep with its height. Even without any expression, it still gave off feelings of incredible arrogance and pride. Even the color around it seemed to bend to its will, as the ground and air slowly seemed drained of brightness, creating a monochrome land that matched its attire.

Opposite this monster of order, Nyarlathotep stood eagerly awaiting the coming battle. She too wore a black suit, but it was the blackness of the void of space, nearly indistinguishable from the shadows that were growing around her. Her trench coat billowed out behind her, even without any wind. The green tie she wore shone with a sickly light that casted an eerie glow on her face. Her black hair twisted around her like tendrils, moving as if with a life of their own. Her lips were turned in a smirk, but her red eyes contained nothing but hatred. She was hunched slightly, like an animal preparing to pounce on its prey, and her sword of fire grew ever brighter in her hand.

For an hour, the two stood without moving, only silently watching each other. And then without warning, Nyarlathotep screamed and jumped forward. The Slender Man raised its hands, and branches grew out at incredible speed. When Nyarlathotep’s sword clashed with those branches, it unleashed a force unlike anything the Earth had ever seen. The ground beneath hem was torn open with a crack that went all the way to the planet’s core. Molten earth roared up to the sky. But the two gods were not affected by the heat or the burning debris that rained around them. The sword and branches clashed again, cracking the Earth a second time. More pillars of lava rose up around the two as everything was turned to ash. Nyarlathotep spun and cut through the branches, barely dodging each attack, until she had reached the Slender Man. She swung her sword at its face, but it caught the fiery blade in its hand.
 The power of the sword meeting the Slender Man’s hand was too much for the planet to withstand. The crust cracked, and the entire Earth was torn apart. But even being thrown into the emptiness of space did not hinder the combatants. Nyarlathotep flew between the pieces of the Earth, dodging the thousands of branches lashing toward her. When she saw an opening, she went for the Slender Man. But every time, more branches would appear to stop her. Direct attacks wouldn’t work; she needed an alternate strategy. Nyarlathotep pointed at one of the huge pieces of debris, and willed it to move. It rocketed toward the Slender Man, whose branches tore it into pieces before it could hit. But another piece soon followed, and then more, until Nyarlathotep was throwing every remaining fragment of the Earth at the Slender Man. When there was nothing left to throw at it, it had become completely shrouded by a cloud of dust. She looked intently into the dust, hoping that would be enough to finish it. But when the dust blew away, and the Slender Man was still there, she wasn’t really surprised. Just had to find something bigger to throw at it….

The Slender Man seemed to have the same idea. It stood still, one arm pointing toward a red light off in space. So, the Slender Man thought it could win just by tossing Mars at her? Such a paltry attack was nothing to Nyarlathotep. She readied her sword, waiting for the planet to come so she could destroy it.

She waited, but nothing seemed to be happening. The light didn’t seem to be moving any closer. What was going on….

She felt it before she saw anything. The laws of physics being completely disregarded and rewritten, all to throw a planet at faster than light speeds. Faster than even her human eyes could see. It would hit her in seconds, and she wouldn’t even be able to see it coming. In desperation, she unleashed the fires from her sword. Thousands of miles of space were covered by a wall of chaos. When Mars hit the fire, the entire planet was erased from existence. The fire returned to Nyarlathotep’s sword, and she started to sigh with relief. That breath was cut off as a black branch impaled her throat. More branches followed, stabbing through her chest and stomach. The Slender Man moved closer, stabbing more branches through her as it approached. Nyarlathotep swung her sword at it, but its branches wrapped around her arm, stopping her. The branches wrapped around her body, slowly crushing her. Yet through all this, Nyarlathotep began to laugh. The Slender Man stopped, and tilted its head as if confused. Nyarlathotep’s free arm was pointing off into space. And then it became clear why she was laughing once the Slender Man looked towards what she was pointing at: the Sun.

The Slender Man released Nyarlathotep as it prepared for this new attack. It held out its hands, and released thousands more branches from its back to try and catch the oncoming star. It wasn’t enough. In moments, the Slender Man was consumed by the Sun.

Nyarlathotep had flown a safe distance away to heal her wounds and the results of her attack. When the Slender Man vanished into the sun, she raised her middle finger and shouted, “How d’ya like that, you mother-” The sun suddenly dissolved. There was no explosion or dramatic finish; one moment, the sun was burning bright, and the next, all the energy in it was gone, leaving only dust. And amongst that dust was the Slender Man, still looking the same as it had since the start of the fight.

“Well if that’s how we’re going to play….” Nyarlathotep snarled. And once again, she charged forward.

The battle between Nyarlathotep and the Slender Man could be followed by watching the stars vanish across the Milky Way. For what would have been centuries on Earth, the two battled without pause. Neither could gain an advantage over the other. They fought until the entire Milky Way galaxy had been torn apart, and then they continued to fight in the empty void between galaxies.

Patience had never been one of Nyarlathotep’s virtues, and this stalemate was testing her greatly. She intended to destroy the Slender Man, no matter what it took. With a terrible roar, she pointed as a distant galaxy and willed it to fly at her foe. “I will not lose to you!” She screamed, directing another galaxy at the Slender Man. “I am Nyarlathotep! Last of the Outer Gods! You destroyed all of them, save me! You could never destroy me! And now I have become the most powerful being in all reality!” More galaxies were thrown towards the Slender Man. “I have suffered more than anyone else, and I have lost more than a monster like you could ever understand! And I will not allow those sacrifices to be for nothing! You cannot stop me! Nothing can stop me! The multiverse is mine to rule!” Her gestures grew more erratic, grabbing several galaxies at once and throwing them at faster speeds. Finally, she raised both her hands up and then flung them forward. Every galaxy, every rock, even every tiny piece of dust in the entire universe flew at the Slender Man. Its usual composer fell apart, as it spun around trying to look for an escape. But there was no escape. Stars and planets came at it from every direction, at several times the speed of light. When that uncountable number of stars collided, it created a massive explosion that spread through the entire universe.

That should be enough, Nyarlathotep. This was finally her victory. She laughed, a hoarse cackling sound that went on until she was too tired to keep going. Then she whispered to herself, “It’s finally over….”

That claim had been made too soon. Rather than continue expanding outward, the explosion turned in and started to collapse on itself. At the center of the implosion, the Slender Man calmly stood with a small black hole floating above its hand. Light, dust, and fire were streaming into the black hole, feeding it and making it grow larger. Soon the black hole grew too large for the Slender Man’s hand, and so it stepped away, floating in front of the expanding darkness with its arms held out as if taunting Nyarlathotep.

The pull of the black hole began to tug on Nyarlathotep. She attempted to rewrite physics to ignore the force, but something else was changing the rules back faster than she could. Nyarlathotep glared at the Slender Man, who simply remained in place, calmly watching her. The hole continued to grow larger, and Nyarlathotep began to accelerate toward it. She stabbed her sword into reality, anchoring it there, and then tried to hold on against the pull. Even with both hands holding the hilt, she was barely able to maintain her grip. And through it all, the Slender Man remained completely unaffected and still.

That stillness could be an opportunity, Nyarlathotep thought. It was a small opportunity. One that would probably end in her horrible death. But if it worked….

She pulled her sword out of the tear she’d made. Instantly, she began falling towards the black hole. But this time, it was a controlled fall. She flew at the Slender Man, sword pulled back. And the moment she was upon it, she swung.

The Slender Man vanished the just as her sword was about to hit it, and then reappeared several feet to her left, out of reach. It was too late for her to change direction to reach it. And so Nyarlathotep tumbled into the darkness of the black hole.

It is hard to tell what the Slender Man thought then, if it even does think in terms comprehensible to humans. But it clearly believed it had won. That Nyarlathotep was crushed in the depths of the supermassive black hole, never to return. And so it turned away, preparing for whatever the next step of its plans would be.

Perhaps it would have been wiser for it to observe the black hole a little longer. Because then it would have seen the flame coming out of the black hole, shooting toward it. Nyarlathotep had not been caught inside the black hole. Rather, she was flying out, wreathed in flames of chaos. The Slender Man finally did notice her, but it was too late, just as the fire reformed into a sword and she cut through its chest.

The Slender Man looked down at the colorless gash across its body, as if in surprise. Cracks of nothingness began to spread out from it, across the Slender Man’s body. Branches grew across its suit to try and fix the damage. But with all of its focus on healing itself, the Slender Man was unable to continue its fight against Nyarlathotep. All it could do was dodge as she swung her sword, destroying huge swaths of the universe with each attack. Bit by bit, what remained of the universe was being chipped away and dissolved into emptiness. The space which the Slender Man had to dodge in continued to grow smaller as Nyarlathotep’s fires spread across the entire universe. Until, finally, all that was left of the universe was the size of a small marble, with the Slender Man caught inside.

It was an amusing sight, Nyarlathotep thought. The god who had ruled over the entire multiverse, trapped in a universe so small she could crush it between her fingers. She grabbed the universe with her index finger and thumb, and thought about that. Just one tiny squeeze. That was all it would take. The slightest effort on her part, and the universe would be gone. Every remnant of the Slender Man’s multiverse, all trace of the reality it had created, would be destroyed. Such an easy task, she had to laugh at it. Everything destroyed! All of it, gone at last! She could finally create her new reality! A multiverse of chaos, bound by no laws! Her fires would stretch across an infinite number of universes, filled with beasts stranger than even Azathoth could dream of! An ever shifting creation of destruction and darkness, which she would rule supreme over!

And then a single thought passed through Nyarlathotep’s mind that clashed with all the others. Just two words. Very simple words. But enough to halt the internal monologue.

“Wait… why?”

Nyarlathotep hesitated. She closed her eyes for a moment. And when they opened again, for the first time in what had seemed like ages, her eyes were blue.

I-330 examined the marble of a universe between her fingers. A multiverse of chaos? Was that the reason she had been doing this? No, it was… it was something else. Why had she been fighting again? It felt like so long ago… so hard to remember…. She had been trying to… fix everything, hadn’t she. Fix all the damage that had been done. Then why was she here, preparing to destroy everything?

That hesitation was all the time the Slender Man needed. The wounds inflicted on it were healed, and it could act again. And now, an entire universe had been compressed into a single point. All that point needed was a little push to get things started again….

The universe in I-330’s hand exploded outward, flinging her aside. A new Big Bang, fueled by the Slender Man, was reforming the universe. Except this time, the Slender Man was at the absolute center of all creation. I-330 could feel its branches spreading out as the universe expanded. They were in every atom, every molecule. This universe was not just a creation of the Slender Man: it was the Slender Man. And it did not intend to make the mistakes it had with its last multiverse. There would be no humans here. No life at all. Nothing disorderly, nothing left to chance. Nothing but the perfectly mathematical spin of atoms and the exact physical forces acting on them. A universe of cold, empty planets making perfect circular orbits around evenly distributed stars.

All the confusion I-330 had been feeling was overridden by an absolute disgust at this new universe. This was wrong. Worse than even the reality of chaos she had almost made. Above all else, she had to stop it. She had made so many mistakes before, but now she knew this was what she had to do. With a scream, more of desperation than the rage filled battle cries of before, she flew toward the center of this new universe.

Any sign of the Slender Man’s suit was lost amongst the mass of branches it had turned into. Amongst the tree limbs, I-330 saw the Slender Man’s pale face. She flew straight at it, ignoring all the branches in her way. Those branches attacked her as she flew by, slashing and stabbing at her, but she paid no heed to all her injuries. Even after a branch cut off the arm holding her sword, she kept flying. Another tore off her legs, then crushed her jaw, and yet another stabbed through her eye. None of it stopped her. She went through it all until she reached the Slender Man’s face. Then she pulled back her remaining arm, and punched its white head.

The Slender Man flew backwards, and I-330 followed it, punching at its head again and again. Its branches were ripped out of the atoms they had spread inside. Space twisted around them as the Slender Man lost more connections to the universe, until the space around them shattered, and they both fell into the Quiet.

As I-330 pulled back to punch again, the Slender Man shoved her aside and reached for the hole they had fallen through. It had begun to close itself, so the Slender Man spread its branches, trying to get through before it was too late. It didn’t make it. The hole closed a moment before the branches reached it, leaving nothing.

A shrill shriek unlike anything I-330 had heard before came from the Slender Man. It began to wildly swing its branches around; not at any target, just thrashing through the emptiness. I-330 watched it, fascinated by the strange behavior. It reminded her of something, but she was having a hard time putting her finger on what. When she did realize what its behavior reminded her of, she smiled. It was throwing a tantrum, like a child who hadn’t gotten the toy they wanted. That would have made her laugh, but laughing felt too hard now. Everything felt too hard. She was so tired…. She knew that she would have to heal her wounds, and do something about this emptiness she’d just trapped herself in, but… that would wait. All she wanted to do now was sleep. And so, I-330 closed her eyes….
The Towers of the Manufactured Newborn rose high above the Earth. A canopy of metal and flesh was spread between them, blocking the nothingness that was still spreading across the universe. The materials used in the construction were the only sign that anything had ever lived on the planet. Apart from them, the entire globe had been turned into a barren wasteland.

This was the home that Nyarlathotep returned to. The sight of such devastation across a familiar planet was shocking at first. But that shock was pushed aside by the feeling of being back in the multiverse she belonged to. This wasn’t some tiny pocket universe made from the corpse of a Fear. This was a real universe. Everything there felt right. The laws of physics, chemistry, energy… it all worked exactly as it should there. She breathed in deep, feeling the oxygen molecules flowing through her. Small flames cracked at her feet as she breathed in, and crystals of ice appeared in the air as she exhaled. She raised her right hand up, index finger pointing like a gun at the Newborn’s ceiling.

“Bang.”

The canopy crumbled apart, letting sunlight stream down on Nyarlathotep. She basked in its glow for a minute, letting the familiar warmth caress her. But only for a minute. Then it was time to do what she had come to do.

Nyarlathotep lifted herself into the air and took off toward the closest tower, moving faster than any mortal eye would have been able to follow. As she approached, the Tower tried restructuring itself. It molded metal and flesh into guns and other defenses that lined the sides of the Tower. But it was too slow. Nyarlathotep’s sword cut it in two and she flew off before the first gun was even formed. The other Towers fared little better. Nyarlathotep crossed the Earth in seconds, tearing down every Tower in her way.

Soon, only one remained. It had begun changing the moment Nyarlathotep arrived in the universe, and by the time she reached it, was bristling with rockets, anti-air guns, and even several exotic looking weapons she didn’t recognize. The defenses seemed impenetrable.

Instead of continuing her head on attack, Nyarlathotep stopped and raised her hands up to the sky. She held that pose for some time, without moving. Nothing seemed to be happening. Nothing… until it became clear that the moon was slowly growing larger in the sky. The ground began to shake as the moon grew closer. Cracks appeared along the moon’s surface, and a large chunk broke off and fell toward the Tower. More chunks broke apart, and soon all the shards were raining down at that single location. The force of their impact should have been enough to devastate the entire surface of the Earth. But Nyarlathotep had other intentions. When the first shard of the moon hit the Tower, she controlled the energy released by the impact to prevent it from spreading outward. Instead, she reflected it back toward the Tower, striking it with the force of impact over and over. As the rest of the pieces hit, the space around the Tower became a vortex of destruction as the crust of the Earth was torn off and a pillar of fire and magma soared into the air. Nyarlathotep cackled as the burning light roared into the sky, obliterating the Tower.

When the fires and energy finally died down, all that was left was a perfectly circular crater. Nyarlathotep landed at the edge, and looked down. An infant made of gears and iron lay at the center, wailing with a harsh metallic noise. A cruel smirk appeared on Nyarlathotep’s face. She jumped into the crater, and stabbed her sword into the Manufactured Newborn. With that blow, the last Fear dissolved away.

Filled with joy, Nyarlathotep bounded out of the crater. She twirled across the empty wasteland, howling with laughter toward the broken sky. The Fears were gone. Now only one opponent remained…

As if summoned by the thought of it, a black branch broke out from under the ground at the center of the crater. It grew with incredible speed, as a familiar black tree rose from the ground. Nyarlathotep had to fly back to avoid being caught up in the growth, as huge roots tore across the ground. When the tree had reached its full height, it had grown so tall that it blocked out the sun. And then, its branches began to move aside, revealing the Slender Man.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

All the Fears’ universes have fallen. Only one universe remains. I can feel its presence. I can still sense the Earth out there. I feel the Manufactured Newborns wires running through its soil, and the Towers rising to the heavens to shield the planet from my glorious destruction. I shall tear through that shield and end this war. There can be no turning back now. This has to be seen through all the way. If I stop here, everything that has happened up to this point will have been in vain. There have been too many sacrifices for me to give up now. The only option is to destroy them. I will crush the Manufactured Newborn and the Slender Man, then remake the multiverse in my image. My vengeance shall carry no mercy or remorse. They were the ones who caused this. They’re the ones who deserve punishment. They’re nothing but monsters. When the new multiverse is made, I will not allow such monsters to exist. I shall be the lone ruler. No Fears or gods will be permitted to exist beside me.

This will be the final battle. This will be where it all ends. And where my rise into glory begins.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nyarlathotep smashed into the next universe, tearing a path of emptiness open in her wake. She had no plans of letting curiosity distract her this time. She didn’t pay attention to the bright light that filled the universe, or the faint outlines of screaming figures in the light. All her focus was in the swing of her sword as she cut through reality.

She only halted when one of the outlines solidified into a person. Nyarlathotep stopped dead in place, too shocked to continue. Her mouth hung open as she looked at the figure, and she whispered, “Miles?”

Miles had indeed in the air before her. His clothes were gone, and his face was locked in an expression of pain, but all signs of the gunshots that had killed him were gone.

“But…” Nyarlathotep said. “You… you’re supposed to be dead….”

Miles’ fist swung out, striking Nyarlathotep in the jaw and launching her back. His body changed, his clothes becoming a black cloak and his face morphing into an ivory gas mask.

A monotone voice came from behind Nyarlathotep. “It was unwise of you to come to the Archangel’s realm after he has been given the opportunity to embrace so many souls.”

Nyarlathotep turned around and saw five humans standing together, all with EAT’s usual blank expression. “We had hoped that the other Fears would provide more of a delay before your arrival.” EAT continued. “Even so, this is still within acceptable parameters. Your arrival here shall result in your final defeat.”

Nyarlathotep sprang at EAT, ready to bring her sword down on its closest body. Before the strike hit, the Archangel grabbed her arm and pulled her back. She punched its gas mask with her free arm, forcing it to release her, and shifted her attack toward it. She swung her sword, but the Archangel dodged by flying straight into the air. Nyarlathotep glared at the rising figure, but had no intention of letting it escape. Gravity… it was just another physical law, wasn’t it? And why should such laws constrain her?

With a dramatic motion, she kicked off the ground, and rocketed into the air after the Archangel. It must not have been expecting the pursuit, as it only scarcely dodged her swing, and immediately began flying away. Nyarlathotep continued her chase, staying just on the Archangel’s tail, but never getting close enough to attack. As she tried gaining ground, a thought occurred to her. Gravity need not affect her. But there was no reason it shouldn’t influence other beings.

She waved a hand, and the Archangel suddenly plummeted down, striking the shining ground hard. Even after such a fall, the Archangel quickly stood back up. Nyarlathotep snarled at the sight of it getting back to its feet. She was focusing roughly 200 times of what Earth’s gravity would be on that one spot, and apart from the initial fall, the Archangel didn’t seem fazed by it at all. But with that running away nonsense done with, perhaps it would finally stay still for the five fucking seconds needed to stab it.

Again, she flew at the Archangel, ready to strike. But before she reached her target, hundreds of the outlines within the light solidified into people. Rows of screaming, naked humans floated around Nyarlathotep, eyes pleading for some rescue from their torment. Nyarlathotep tried pushing past them to reach the Archangel, but the Fear had vanished from her sight. She spun around, eyes scanning for a hint of the Archangel’s mask amongst the faces. For a moment, she caught a glimpse of it, but it vanished before she could lunge forward. A few moments later, she saw it for another second, then it was gone. Then another glimpse….

One of the women next to her began to change shape, a gas mask growing over his face and a black robe appearing on its body. The Archangel pointed at Nyarlathotep, and she felt herself being struck by an unseen force. She recovered quickly and began to swing her sword. A moment before the attack hit, the Archangel’s form reverted back to that of the woman. Nyarlathotep tried to stop mid swing, but instead spun around in the air as she redirected her sword away from anyone. When she stopped spinning, the Archangel was in front of her. The force hit her in the face with the force of a train, knocking her out of the air.

As she fell, Nyarlathotep tried calculating the necessary transfer of energy to avoid any injury upon impact. At such a speed, it wouldn’t be difficult for her. She had just about finished the math when the Archangel appeared directly behind her. It waved its hand, and suddenly she began to fall much faster. Too fast for her to manipulate energy or physics. At the speed she hit the ground, it was like rotten fruit being dropped off a building. Black inky shadows splattered all over the shining floor, leaving barely any trace of her body. The Archangel didn’t let up, and with another wave of its hand lightning came down and struck where Nyarlathotep had landed.

It still wasn’t enough. The shadows crawled across the ground, coming back together. They wrapped around each other, forming into the shapes of arms, legs, a head. Skin and clothes grew back over the shadows, slowly regaining a human look. The Archangel sent down another bolt of lightning, but a partially formed hand rose from the mass of darkness and turned the lightning aside. Nyarlathotep rose once again from the shadows, appearing completely unharmed. She lifted her burning sword, and pointed it toward the Archangel.

The Fear quickly concealed itself in the crowd of human bodies. But at that point, Nyarlathotep’s patience for searching was gone. Without any hesitation, she swung her sword through the crowd. The fire cut through the bodies easily, erasing all it touched from reality. Her victims screamed in pain as they vanished, crying for mercy. Nyarlathotep ignored them, and shouted wordlessly as she tried to drown out the sound of their calls. She cut again and again, tearing apart dozens with each swing. For a split second she saw the Archangel before it vanished again amongst the bodies, and her attacks grew wilder and less controlled as she tried cutting towards it. She lost her grip on her sword and it flew out of her hand, but instead of stopping, she turned her arms into black blades and kept attacking. She didn’t pause until everyone was gone, save her and the Archangel.

The Fear stood amongst the light, no emotion reflected in its mask. Nyarlathotep took a deep breath, wiped her eyes, and resumed her battle cry. She ran forward, filled with nothing but murderous intent. The Archangel held both of its hands out, and Nyarlathotep stopped as her skin began to rot and slide off. The shadows underneath twisted and began to take on monstrous shapes, but Nyarlathotep forced them to retain their humanoid appearance. It would have been easy to let go, just become a formless monster and crush the Archangel. But Nyarlathotep inexplicably held on to her old shape. When she killed the Archangel, she wanted it to be in the form of a human.

Slowly, she regained mastery of her body. The shadows calmed, and her skin began to heal faster than the Archangel could make it rot away. She began to stride forward, cracking the ground beneath every footstep. The Archangel flung more lightning at her, to no effect. It could do nothing to stop her as she wrapped both hands around its throat and lifted it into the air. She squeezed, so hard that cracks began to spread across its neck. The Archangel changed form, again taking on Miles’ appearance. Nyarlathotep continued to strangle it. It changed again into Flint, then Virginia, Roy, Peter, Lucy… so many people that Nyarlathotep had known in her past lives. She did not waver once. Her hands squeezed until they crushed through the Archangel’s throat, leaving a hole in reality that quickly consumed its body.

With the Archangel gone, Nyarlathotep fell onto her back, panting. She was shaking, and wasn’t sure how to stop. She closed her eyes and tried taking deep breaths, with little success.

“You continue to baffle me, Nyarlathotep. Why is it that, when given the opportunity to create a body in any form you desire, you insist on making one that still has tear ducts?” A monotone voice said.

Nyarlathotep jumped upright. With the fight against the Archangel, she’d completely forgotten that EAT was there as well. Its five bodies stood around her, equally spaced apart. She snarled at them, turning around to try and keep her eyes on all five.

“That’s it? Just a growl?” EAT said. “You used to always have some sarcastic retort prepared for any of my comments. Have you really devolved so much into this monstrosity that you have forgotten how to speak?”

“Shut your fucking mouth or I’ll tear it off your face.” Nyarlathotep growled back.

“That really isn’t much of an improvement. I did not realize how much I would miss our banter. All the more reason to end this, I suppose.”

“Ha!” Nyarlathotep’s lips turned up into a sadistic smirk. “Do you realize who you’re talking to? I am the Crawling Chaos! I can remember when the stars were nothing but dust. I have killed entire pantheons, and laid waste to whole universes. You Fears are naught but insects compared to me. Children who have grown unruly without discipline. I shall crush you, just as I have crushed all the ones who came before you.”

EAT didn’t reply to the speech. “I must express my gratitude to the Archangel. Even when it became clear that he could not defeat you, he ensured that after his death you would be placed in the perfect position for my trap.”

Nyarlathotep’s eyes widened. “Your… what?”

Lines of green light appeared between EAT’s five bodies, creating a star, with Nyarlathotep at the center. Four of its bodies began reciting an inhuman sounding chant, and the ground beneath Nyarlathotep fell away, creating a pit of nothing which she began to sink into. When she tried pulling herself out, she only sank in faster.

“The fuck… what the hell did you do?”

One of EAT’s bodies spoke while the others continued their chant. “I am doing the same thing the Slender Man did all those aeons ago. I am trapping you within the Quiet. This has been the end goal which we have worked toward this entire time. We remained on the sidelines as you fought the other Fears, waiting for your human body to finally be killed, and for you to return to your original form. And now, after weakening you through your battle with the Archangel, I can finally end this war.” The star’s glow brightened, and Nyarlathotep began to sink faster. “There will be no escape this time. No human body you can smuggle yourself out in. This time, you truly will be trapped forever.” And then, for the first time in Nyarlathotep’s memory, she saw a small smile appear on EAT’s face. “Probably. After all this work, all this preparation… all my calculations keep coming to a 50% chance of either of us succeeding. Exactly 50%. No predetermined path. No statistical advantage. For the first time… I do not know how things will turn out. I must thank you for this experience. It is truly an interesting one.”

Nyarlathotep was not inclined to listen to such sentiment at the time. She was too busy looking for an escape. Pulling herself out wasn’t an option… but there had to be something… some way to break free….

She saw her sword, lying on the ground where she had dropped it, some distance behind EAT. Too far to physically reach it. But Nyarlathotep had other means at her disposal. She closed her eyes, and focused on the space around the sword. Matter… energy… gravity… just needed to modify the rules of physics a little bit, and….

The sword flew off the ground, and pierced through one of EAT’s bodies. Then it changed direction in mid-air, swinging around and cutting through another body before coming to Nyarlathotep’s hand. The green star vanished from beneath her, and she moved with blinding speed, leaping out of the emptiness and cutting down another body. Without pause, she turned her attention to the remaining two. The Archangel might have been able to withstand increased gravity, but EAT’s bodies were only human. When she magnified the gravitational pull around the two, they were crushed in an instant.

Once again, silence fell across the universe. Nyarlathotep looked down at the body at her feet. EAT was still clinging to life in it, looking down at the colorless gash across its torso with shock.

“N-no….” It said. “I can’t… not now….” It held a hand toward Nyarlathotep. “I d-don’t want to… die….”

For a moment, Nyarlathotep’s face softened, and she started to reach toward the hand. Before they could touch, she froze. A pained giggle escaped from her mouth as the light around them grew dim. Tentacles tore out of her back and she began to laugh as she brought up her sword and swung it down at EAT. The fire cut through easily, and its whole body shattered into oblivion. She continued to laugh as more tentacles ripped out from under her skin, until she heard a faint voice.

“So there really is nothing left of her in there.” EAT said. “All that remains is the monster.” The voice faded away, leaving Nyarlathotep in silence once again.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Guilt

Nyarlathotep expected the Eye’s universe to be a giant court room, or perhaps a prison cell. As such, she was surprised when she arrived to find the entire universe shrouded in darkness. As with the Dying Man, her more pragmatic side debated immediately destroying everything before the Fear could attempt any tricks, but curiosity proved stronger, and she started exploring, using her flaming sword to light the way.

“Hey!” She shouted in a voice much deeper than would be expected from her appearance. “Get the fuck out here so I can stab you and leave!”

Something did appear in the darkness, but it was not the disembodied eye that Nyarlathotep had been expecting. It was a woman, who looked impossibly familiar to Nyarlathotep.

“Lisa?” Her voice suddenly sounded like I-330’s again.

Lisa look at Nyarlathotep with sad blue eyes. “Why, 330?”

A chain appeared around Nyarlathotep’s leg, but she didn’t seem to notice it. “This is an illusion.” She said. “You died. I remember it. I was you when it happened.”

“Yes. I did die. Because you couldn’t save me.”

Another chain appeared around Nyarlathotep’s other leg. “I tried the best I could!”

“And look at what you did as a result. Did you think that’s what I wanted? Did you think I would be happy to come back and find out how many people you murdered in order to save me? That I’d be grateful enough to forgive the fact that you destroyed the entire universe?”

A chain wrapped around Nyarlathotep’s arm, making her drop her sword. She still didn’t react. “I… I thought… maybe I could make things better…. After I saved you, I could fix things….”

“How? You can’t just take back everything you did. People died. All for something that didn’t even work. How can you justify that? How can you keep fighting, acting like it’s all someone else’s fault?”

“I just… I….” More chains continued appearing around her, pulling Nyarlathotep to her knees. “All I wanted was to get you back. Is that too much? Is it wrong for me to want something worthwhile in my life?” A tear went down Nyarlathotep’s face, and more rapidly followed. “I’ve been fighting nothing but losing battles my whole life! I’ve seen humanity killed twice right before my eyes, and all I could do about it was try to get revenge on the perpetrators! Everyone I’ve gotten close to has died!” Her body shook with sobs. “And it’s always my fault. Everything I try to do only makes things worse. I keep fighting, hoping to change things for the better, because it’s the only thing I know how to do. But instead of fixing everything, I just keep breaking it even worse.”

A chain wrapped around Nyarlathotep’s neck, but she still didn’t resist. “The time I spent with you was the only time I was ever really happy.” She said. “The only time there was some peace in my life. There was actually someone in the world who loved me. Not some idea of me, but just me. I didn’t have to constantly act like a perfect, energetic adventurer for her. She saw me at my worst, when I was crippled and angry at everything but she still loved me. Even when I acted like I would never return her feelings. And she was everything I wished I could be, everything I used to be before I turned into this monster. Of course I tried to get her back. Who wouldn’t fight with everything they had to get something like that back?”

Lisa stepped closer, and put her hand on Nyarlathotep’s shoulder. “No one can doubt your motivations. But you went too far. You need to accept that it’s pointless to keep fighting. Accept that I’m gone. It’s over, 330. You can rest now.”

Nyarlathotep’s sobs grew softer as the chains tightened around her. And then, almost hidden by her crying, a chuckle. Then another. And another. The tears stopped, and Nyarlathotep laughed madly as the chains that had been holding her began to break apart and fall away. “Over?” She said. “No. Not yet. I haven’t lost yet. I can still win this. I can fix everything. I have that power now.” She looked at Lisa and laughed. “So what if Lisa died? I’ll make a new her! One who will approve of the actions I took to bring her back! And I’ll make sure she stays by my side forever!”

“But you can’t-”

“Shut up!” Nyarlathotep roared, her voice again becoming deep and powerful. “How dare you wear her face! How dare you pretend to know anything about what she would have thought!” Nyarlathotep picked up her sword and advanced on Lisa.

“330… please… please don’t….”

“Shut up shut up SHUT UP!” Nyarlathotep swung her sword through Lisa. Lisa’s body vanished, and in its place was a large, floating eye. Nyarlathotep screamed and swung again, cutting the Eye in half. As it died, so did its universe.

Only silence followed. Yet another Fear had been destroyed. Just three remained. Three, and the Slender Man.

Nyarlathotep spat at the spot where the Eye had been. It did nothing to soothe her anger. Nothing but the continued destruction of her foes would calm her now. They would meet their death soon. She intended to make sure of it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nyarlathotep

The scars from Grendel’s revolution still covered the Empty City, in the ruins and rubble from the fighting. The Black Dog stalked through the streets, as the Intrusion’s thousands of insects swarmed around its feet. The Rake watched from inside the skyscrapers, patiently waiting. They all knew that I-330’s path of destruction would eventually take here there. All they needed to do was wait.

They had not accounted for her expecting their presence. As the Rake walked down a twisted hallway, I-330 appeared next to it. It barely managed to step aside before her fist went by its head. Instead she struck the wall behind it, smashing it and the air around it into a hole of emptiness.

The Rake fled, leaping out a window onto the streets. I-330 followed it, jumping out seconds after. Halfway through the jump she regretted the choice, as she looked at the horde of insects below. Her arm became a tentacle and lashed down, shattering the street and scattering the bugs. The Rake had already begun bounding away when she landed, and I-330 attempted to pursue. But when she took a step, her feet sunk into the asphalt streets like quicksand. She smashed the ground to free her foot, but with each further step her feet sank again, slowing her progress. The Rake turned into an alley and was lost from sight, but the Intrusion remained. The swarm had recovered from I-330’s attack, and was racing at her like a black cloud. There were too many to scatter like before, and the sucking asphalt made dodging impossible.

She closed her eyes, and felt everything around her. The air. The atoms spinning and bouncing. Energy moving between them. She focused on that energy, moved it into new forms, then snapped her fingers….

An explosion ripped through the swarm, crushing and burning the bugs. The blast was larger than I-330 had anticipated, and she was picked up and thrown several feet. When she got back up, the City was shifting. Buildings move and streets twisted before her eyes, into alien shapes and forms. As the towers moved, one skyscraper tilted, and began to fall toward I-330. She started to run, but walls grew from the streets around her, cutting off any escape. The building was almost on top of her; no time to think, just react. She held up a hand, and the moment the building touched, she shifted all the kinetic energy from its impact away. It’s landing felt lighter than a feather on her hand, but now she was stuck holding up a massive skyscraper with one hand, and a massive amount of energy looking for an outlet.

A howl echoed through the City, and the Black Dog leapt over the walls, looking to take advantage of I-330’s trapped position. As it came close, I-330 closed her eyes again, raised her free hand toward the Dog, and pointed a finger at it, miming a gun. Just as it pounced, she released all the energy from the skyscraper falling out of the finger. All that energy, focused on a single, tiny point, struck the Dog, and sent if flying. Its body broke through one of the walls, and kept going down the street, without any sign of slowing. The road cracked and windows shattered at the speed of its passing, until it slammed into another building at the end of the road. The whole tower came crashing down on the Dog, creating a cloud of debris that billowed over I-330.

It took some time, but the cloud of dust settled. I-330 had gotten out from under the building she’d been holding, and was coughing heavily. She took several deep breaths, which only caused her to cough more. Now the only question was, had it done any actual damage. It had certainly looked impressive, but….

The rubble flew off, and the Dog emerged, completely unharmed. It growled with a deep sound that shook the dust off it, and ran down the street so fast it looked to I-330 like a black blur. She just had time to mutter, “Oh shit,” before it was on her, teeth flashing. She raised her left arm to protect herself, and the Dog bit through and tore the limb off. Pipes burst from under the street and wrapped around I-330’s neck, dragging and pinning her to the ground. The Dog’s mouth went for her head, so she closed her eyes and started frantically moving as many air molecules as she could. A gust of wind hit the Black Dog and carried it down the street, buying I-330 time for her arm to recover. She broke apart the pipe holding her and got back up, preparing to meet the Dog’s second charge.

The ground shook slightly as the City shifted again. Buildings were sliding aside, creating a grand avenue. I-330 couldn’t understand the purpose behind the change, until she saw what was at the end of the avenue. At first, she thought she was looking at a black wall. When it moved, she realized it was a horde of insects, larger than any she’d ever thought could exist. The Empty City was moving to make way for the entirety of the Intrusion’s swarm to fall upon I-330.

The Swarm from one end of the street, and the Black Dog charging from the other. The City kept shifting, closing off alleys or other escape routes I-330 could take. She would have to stand and fight there. Her mind raced, trying to figure out her options, attempting to narrow down to the best one….

She punched her tentacles through the street, and started to spread them under the road. A sound came over the City, the sound of concrete and metal screaming. The Dog and Intrusion kept coming at I-330, ignoring the sound. I-330 didn’t react to them, keeping her attention focused entirely on the ground. The two were only a few feet away from her before she moved. Dozens of black tentacles broke out from beneath the street, ripping apart a hole in reality larger than the entire City block. The Black Dog and Intrusion were caught in the hole, and the sound of the Dog howling and thousands of insects dying shrieked over the City as both were consumed by nothingness.

As their dying screams faded, everything became quiet. I-330 barely dared breath, expecting the Black Dog or Intrusion to suddenly reappear and resume their attack. Nothing of the sort occurred. Even the City had stopped moving. The two Fears really had been destroyed.

That last attack had pushed I-330 to near her limit. It took most of her remaining energy to move the molecules in the remaining streets to create a bridge she could walk on to get out of the circle of emptiness she’d made. When she reached the end of the bridge, she nearly collapsed. Manipulating matter and energy was hard. But at least the fight was over….

The Rake appeared behind I-330, and stabbed it’s claws through her stomach.

W-what is… what just… happened….


The Rake dropped her body, and brought down its claws at her face, tearing out her left eye and leaving her blinded. She started to scream, but the sound was cut off when the Rake’s teeth tore into her throat.

I can’t breathe… why can’t I breathe….

The Rake’s claws cut across I-330 over and over, mutilating her body. She made no motion to fight back, only laying still as her flesh was torn open.

I’m tired… I just… want… to… sleep….

It was an interesting experience for I-330, watching herself die. She felt her lungs stop puling in air and her heart beat its last time as if they were outside events that had no connection to her. She saw the last few brain waves dying away, and her body becoming nothing but inert, lifeless meat. And the moment her body died, her conscious broke free.

Kill them all.

Nyarlathotep moved her hand so fast that the bone in her arm snapped under the pressure, hitting the Rake in the face and throwing it off her. Her body rose up, not standing up, but lifted up as if by a string. Her mouth opened, and she roared with the fury of a supernova. Black tentacles burst from her back, then more out of her arms, face, all over her body. Her skin slid away, revealing a twisted, chaotic mass of shadows, covered in bright red eyes and roaring mouths. The Crawling Chaos grew in size, rising above the skyscrapers of the Empty City. The fires of chaos grew around Nyarlathotep, then exploded out over the City, destroying everything in its way. The Rake was struck and burned away in an instant. The wall of fire quickly covered the entire City, leaving only oblivion in its wake.

When nothing remained in the universe that had once been the Empty City, Nyarlathotep’s body compressed into human form. She looked similar to how I-330 had, or rather, how I-330 had seen herself in the desert lake’s reflection. All the signs of her old injuries were gone, including her eye patch. Two bright red eyes illuminated her face, outlined by heavy Egyptian eyeliner. Her black suit and coat remained, but they had been joined by a golden circlet crowing her head. Her hair was dark as the emptiness of space, and it floated behind her in ways which seemed to pay no heed to gravity. When she smiled, teeth sharp as blades shone out. The shadows and tentacles that had been her left arm were gone, replaced by what appeared a human limb. But under her skin, darkness writhed.

The fires which had destroyed the City came back to Nyarlathotep, condensing into a sword of fire. She grabbed the burning hilt, and with a single swing, tore open a path to the next universe she would destroy.