Jul. 7th, 2016

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Chapter I: 

Seven days passed since the announcement by the strange figure across the world. From that point, strangeness began to break out across the world, signs and wonders indeed. A kind of Midas Effect was noted where random objects began to turn gold, sometimes with a crystalline-like construct of turquoise hue in the form of a two-headed dragon, one head gnawing on the other but never seemingly the same, and the shifts on each object likewise strange.

The wind seemed to whisper and to howl with a thousand thousand manifold voices. At times the skies would flash with dread lightning in cloudless skies and then vile clouds would form and blood rain from the skies. Random spasms of darkness fell, the Sun darkened across the planet, where the Moon was visible its light taking on a blood-sheened hue. The small hours would be ridden with frightful nightmares of a splendid and wondrous realm of ivory and gold. Its buildings were gem-adorned, its inhabitants ever-young and shrouded in cowls with a vaguely-birdlike aspect that hid only eyes that seemed to gaze in pain. Others wore only the clothes in which they were born, wrapped in serrated barbed wire, screaming silently into an uncaring sky.

Cyclopean statues and buildings, sharing that avian motif, and countless worlds and stars dancing in an immensity too grand for humanity to know. And at the center of it all a being clad in crimson hue on a great throne. The dreams could not decide if the throne was golden and the being clad in what seemed like blood woven into thread, or an immense skull carved into the form of a throne, the being clad in armor and wielding a terrible staff that oozed with latent malice. Here instead of a robe the being wore dark green armor with a light blue cape, a quasi-helm shielding the chinless round face that broke out in too-wide fanged grins, those terrible crystalline blue eyes fully visible.

The armor's gauntlets were adorned in rings, jewels covering or crusting some rings, others simple bands of what seemed gold. And in a still more nightmarish vision the ivory and gold were replaced by an immense throne of skulls over a sea of vile blood, the armored monster having grown more greatly in size, the staff replaced by a colossal sword and gazing out into the infinity of space, master of all it surveyed, caring not from whence blood flowed, merely that it flowed was rationale enough. The immortals wailed in despair, transformed into bestial entities of reddish hue and great bat-like wings with fanged jaws, wielding tremendous axes in clashes against each other.

Still further in time the entity would grow still greater, no longer recognizable as a being of flesh and blood. Angles flowed and move where angles ought not to move, what was convex became concave, what was obtuse became acute. Sensations that warred against the many sensations of the sapient mind indicated movement and the whole was a colossal force that assailed the mind. In this latter case there was another vision of a strange and terrible figure clad in silver armor, a knight going to war against the chaotic dragon of the Outer Light.

Dark smoke rose crackling with lightning and lanced out and the monster screamed....and across cities and worlds in the night and in the day the screams of nightmares and visions rang out. The monstrous manifestations in the night were accompanied by still further wonders in the day. Wounds of ancient nature began to heal, scoured desert began to bloom. The boom and the crash of the bomb and the gun were stilled and there was a certain gallows humor in the rage of the aggrieved fanatics who denied their outlets sought in turn to seek martyrdom otherwise and succeeded only in making progressively stronger and deeper dents, howling in frustration.

The blind began to see, the deaf began to hear. Faith-healers were at a loss to explain how such wonders occurred, how the limbless regained limbs of greater power than the ones lost. How the ashes of the cremated re-formed into bodies that were ever-youthful, shrouded in the same hoods and garments as the people in visions. These Returned Ones began to preach a great and a splendid Gospel of the ever-watching Undying Flame whose light burned eternally.

Those who proclaimed them demonic adversaries of the Beyond found themselves helpless, if merciful made to be the agents of their own destruction, if merciless slain by demonstrations of a fiendish power to which science had no answer.

One case in Turkey caused a brief sensation, when a tall anonymous figure with long hair and a resemblance somewhat to a clean-shaven version of the Jesus in iconography in Christian Churches was called the Anathema and beset by terrible power from two of the Returned Ones. The figure in turn unleashed a bluish only vaguely corporeal light that banished the entities, left them smoking and vanished and then vanished himself, leaving only a sign of a two-headed eagle to mark his appearance.

The Returned Ones' signs and wonders led to the first stages of conversion to the new religion of the Undying Flame. From tens in the third day of the week, there were hundreds of millions by the seventh. And it was that night that the skies fell dark and strange stars appeared and flashed across the skies, comets trailing and colliding into the Earth with fire and smoke. When the skies returned to their norm, smoke billowed into the skies, impacts leaving vast craters from which emerged most of ten thousand who gazed at the world with a strange mixture of hunger and the uttermost despair.

Their muscles rasped with movements and the Immortals of Azarath gazed upon a world that gazed at them with awe and fear, the uttermost manifestation of the great dreams turned into the darkest nightmares, each neatly subverted. Yet they too gazed at the skies as a flash of sickly green light revealed the form of the Monk, his dark blue cowl whipping in an unnatural wind, hands extended and his bearded face smiling with a sinister glee.

I reveal my inmost self unto the Undying Flame that illuminates all that is before it.

Now and forever, world without end! 


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