Suvacel's body outwardly rested in slumber, save for surges in the night that rocked the camp like minor earthquakes. Even so, outwardly, there seemed peace. The body rested in the land of Waking. In the land of Dreaming, however, the monster that had stalked her dreams the last two nights and had haunted her day with taunts and barks of fell laughter, a beast in armor that had at the ready a terrible swift sword of lighting and power and which was a primordial fear. She was not religious, none who had the power with hands to do what others did with the witch-fires of the mind would be religious.
But the terrifying Force in these dreams was less a person and more a living storm made manifest, a verifiable tangible God confronting Its Creation, a predator that stalked its prey at the jungle's edge. In the strange chants and incanations, the blasphemous I-Nishi-Azarath! and the name Zezhelanzanai! there was monstrosity, a lurking horror that turned the pleasurable light of understanding into a balefire that blinded and scoured and scarred the eyes. It was a light that gleamed and scarred, a voice that echoed with the remarkable malice and understanding. She was not religious, but the voice seemed to echo as more than a mere voice, as the very power and unholy force of something that was more than flesh and blood, or if it had ever been had long-since ceased to be.
Then that night the creature finally took its full manifestation. A brilliant and terrifying light seared her eyes and that mocking voice echoed, not with barely coherent thought-speech, but with a purpose:
I am come to light a fire in the earth and even now it is kindled!
I have found the clay and formed of it flesh, and the flesh has been given the breath of life!
The force and the strength that is my will pours in light into darkness, it separates the good from the evil!
To me has been given to stand with a scythe and to harvest the weak from the strong!
Of skulls of the harvested shall a throne be built, of blood that flows unhindered shall redemption come!
A figure formed from the light. It was built like the Baranir of Earth, those strange creatures with long lower limbs, shorter upper ones, the only creatures of such kindred without heavy ridges on the face. Well, to a degree. The face was unnaturally round, almost dish-shaped with massive eyes with crystalline sclera that formed an eerie pattern like the cells upon stars. The monster towered over her, and even at her height that dwarfed the true Baranir, the beast grinning with an unnaturally wide smile that flowed with an eerie bonelessness.
A mocking baying howl that split stars followed:
As I stand I burn what I will heedless of what is consumed in ashes.
In the future I shall howl for blood and care not from whence it flows
In the far future I shall stand an idol of dreams fulfilled in the most cruel of fashions.
She was expected to whine and clutch her ears but her eyes glowed.
"I've seen you in flashes of memories from my sisters and gene-sire."
The monster laughed..
Of all my creation, it would be the weakest and the stupidest to seek to defy me.
I who hang stars alight and set them to glow with time unhindered.
I who formed you and those like you, the power and the glory that is mine to wield, mine to claim.
I set stars to glow, I form the wine-dark sea.
Mine the hands that heal, mind the hands that kill, mine the hands that sow, mine the hands that induce famine.
Mine the song that makes the wind and the feline howl.
The tall monstrosity in armor strode to her, lifting her effortlessly with a single hand by the throat, baying with the voice of a mad god that howled on a throne of skulls and then became eerie forms that shifted in no consistent pattern. The foundation-stone of Chaos:
Not perhaps in full. Chaos is itself, there is no predictability. I am the firstborn and yet there was another who preceded me.
The creature laughed and then hurled her with a minor flick of its wrist. She stopped in midair, hovering.
"I hear idle boasting and the winds of madness."
The creature gazed at her.
So speaks the will of one who is arrogant, a simple-minded tank-brain.
"You call me simple?"
The beast stopped and gazed at her, indecision on its face.
"To you is given omnipotence, omniscience, ominpresence. The power to break and forge entire universes anew. This you use to appear in the land of dreaming because you are too brutal and straightforward with it to challenge the Lightdancer."
Suvacel laughed with a terrible sound.
"You call me a simple-minded tank-brain when you have the power of a God and wield it for petty things that are beneath many and many an ordinary mortal which you decisively are not. I do not wield psychic witchery because I need it not. My hands are the great tools I need. If I can achieve with the flesh great things, what need have I to invite Outer Light or Darkness alike? I am myself and I need be none other."
The monster hissed. A finger beckoned and the eyes shifted, visions of infinite space that held her spellbound, a voice that rumbled with anger growling into her ear, causing her nerves to shriek in agony.
You have no authority to speak against me. I formed you out of nothing. If it were to amuse me I could kill and resurrect you in a spiral until that flesh you boast of smashes entire planets in throes of madness.
Then she awoke to find the monster holding her by the throat, physically, a bejewled gauntlet digging into her, the rumbling power of madness oozing from its voice that wormed through her thoughts.
You alone of my creation have achieved the theft of something of the Lightdancer's.
I shall let you fight her, tank-brain.
The beast laughed, an echoing sound of cruelty and madness that flayed and infected the souls and minds and bodies of those who heard it.
Oh, yes. You shall fight her. And when you fail this next time, the Creator shall take its Creation and give you the experience of what you were meant to be.
Do not mistake my allowance of amusement as a potential to threaten me.
Placed gently onto her feet, she then heard a psychic assault of such power that she yielded to it unthinkingly, one word that achieved its goal with not just her but all the camp.
An army knelt, and before them stood in glowing terror of eldritch nature a figure in green armor who extended her right hand, palm upward, eyes gazing with not malice but a strange kind of detachment.
They heard a voice that taunted them:
Now you know what true power is.
The Lightdancer smiled in meditation, a smile that sent a deep chill through the eyes of those who saw her.
Her own voice echoed with the unfathomable power that united existence itself.
So at last is the true puppetmaster revealed. How simple it is to manipulate those who see power only in the image of the mailed fist.
Monica Roberts has been fighting the good fight for black people and transpeople and black transpeople in particular for several decades now. Her career has shown many results for the better, at the social and cultural levels, and at individual levels. Moni's also a good person to talk to, as she's very personable and affable, which means she's got the best of all worlds. She's got the activist's skills to get shit done and get it done well, and she's got a human touch that not all of the really good activists, like anyone really good at well, anything, has.
That combination makes her one of the best people one can get to know. Thank you for fighting the good fight these last few decades, Monica. America is better off because you've done so. And so are women in America, cis and trans alike. :)
He's a writer with two novels to his credit and an excellent example of a human being. Of his works, I've selected ten things he's written that are his best.
This article raises a compelling point that the stories writers may think they tell and what they actually tell are two very different things. It shows that Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight was certainly more multi-faceted than the story intended, as is the line between hero and villain.
This article points out that representing the best of humanity doesn't come without a cost. That it is a choice people make each and every day. Whenever he writes about human nature, his insights are very good, not least because he has a habit of penetrating fog and smokescreens to reach the real issue.
One of his first pieces on black history pointing out that Xena, Warrior Princess has a real life analogue who happened to be in what's now Nigeria. He points out in other pieces like this that many classic archetypes not only have real origins, but that people of color are not incidental to this but inseparable from them.
Whenever Denny writes about the X-Men, you're always in for a treat. Here he points out that the X-Men are decidedly a black story given that Magneto was Malcolm X (with shades of Nat Turner) and Xavier was based on MLK (with shades of Frederick Douglass).
This is one of the best articles about Scott Summers I've ever read and the one that made me a fan of Cyclops, who beforehand I either didn't know much about or simply dismissed as one among many X-Men.
This is one of the best articles I've written on how people who are marginalized can not only find inspiration in the strangest places but use that inspiration all to the good.
Hollowstone is a very unconventional urban fantasy about a gay black man who proceeds to be very awesome and does awesome things. Ignore the reviews, it's a case of Amazon at its worst.
In the same vein is West of Sunset. These are urban fantasy as it should be written.
This is one of the best pieces he's written. It's gone viral before, and it points out that 1) blaming black people as scapegoats for American homophobia in general is wrong, and 2) white people stepping in as saviors of black people is a bad idea waiting to happen if it hasn't already.
Written in the wake of the Travyon Martin shooting, this is a powerful indictment of American society as it is and the racism that infuses it from top to bottom. Of his works, I recommend this one and the piece on Macklemore as good starting points for white readers.
Denny is definitely unconventional, but in the best way.
Looking at Hezhatin, the Lightdancer's eyes suddenly narrowed.
You said your father told stories of me in Azarath. Answer me a second question, is this Arsharzhin Hezhatin, or is it Shanar?
"My father is Arsharzin."
The Lightdancer blinked in turn.
That does explain things.
She favored Vizornii with a cryptic smile before saying:
I have such things to show you.....
With that the universe seemed to warp and wend and twist, a strange sense of weightlessness jarring her instantaneously to a strange place. It was an eerie extension of the universe that seemed:
"This is a fortress."
The Lightdancer retained the cryptic half-smile and then said:
My Fortress of Eternity. From here the Iron Fist of the Universal Empire assails forth to confront the darkness that clusters and jibbers and aims for the throats of mortals of any level of sapience.
Looking around, Vizornii Hezhatin blinked, unable to tell which was up or down, or which angles were convex or concave.
I brought you here to ask you a question that I must know the answer to, in a realm where the Truth shall set you free.
The Lightdancer, casting off the armor assumed a brilliant, almost checkerboard-pattern dress with merely a slight gleam of her eyes.
You have seen beings like me before. I could see in your memories familiarity with my sister, Arazakanu. The one you fought on the Jehexaderavcal Moon. There is another like us, who strides forth, who moves from time to time amongst mortals. You know of Azarath since you know of her.
Her eyes narrowed.
You and the red-skinned creature that look like you look physically identical to one of my kindred, we call her Zee. I take it that she is a parallel of yours, and I know what secret she hides. You........you are somewhat different but you all reflect a design. That of the monster that in origin was my kindred, whose power extends into the very fabric of existence itself as a festering virus coursing through both existence and its immensity with a terrible and debilitating fire. You have convinced me that you are not her work, in full. But having experience with Azarath, I have brought you here to see that her kindred are not all like her. We, all of us, are above Gods and Mortals alike-Hezhatin's breath caught with the casual utterance of what seemed profound blasphemy but had an undeniable kernel of truth to it that made the sensation choking her no less powerful-but we are not all giggling lunatics boasting about ourselves turning that power to work ill.
And-Hezhatin looked as she saw a very tall and armored Barane moving, sharing with most of his kind the odd faces of that world, and she realized, too, the strange protuberance on the chin that made the Baranir unique-I have come for my closest ally and for a few weapons. The curse of bearing and using the black smoke is that as I am invulnerable to whatever forces others assail against me, so are my own creations in the hands of those other who seek to wield them, for good and ill alike.
With that, the Lightdancer went to her compatriot and the two spoke in the coughing and sometimes throaty sounds of the Baranir, as the Lightdancer gathered a few strange devices, some of which were clipped around her belt, others seeming to vanish into thin air.
Returning, the Lightdancer smiled with a more than cryptic and somewhat-sinister smile given the width and breadth of that smile across her face. Holding the hand of her compatriot in what seemed a Baranir gesture of affection, space warped and wended and there was that oh so strange and terrible sense of disorientation and she returned to the camp. Expecting to be arrested for going AWOL, she was shocked to see her timepiece registered a real-time passage of less than two seconds. Shrugging, she then saw her father going over to herself and the Lightdancer, and was shocked when instead of returning to the Beast at the sight of her with one of the Beyond Ones, her father embraced the Lightdancer in a hug that for most would have literally taken their breath away but for her was simply friendly, and then greeted the metallic-organic Baranir with a friendly nod.
"You've come to help with Suvacel, then?"
I have. The Lightdancer smiled.
"Good." And with that, Arsharzin nodded to his daughter, who nodded back. The Lightdancer then calmly levitated, legs crossed, and began to check her weapons for both maintenance and performing any needed, as well as zeroing them in. It was a fortunate aspect of her own designs that they did not need to be maintained in the same sense that the manufacturing of mortal minds did.....
This I pondered in the ruins of the Gotham where I was born, where the city was slowly recovering from the Azar's massacre. I sat on the roof, blending in with the shadows, only two white eyes gleaming in the darkness and a hint of fanged teeth where I willed the light to catch them. Here I could not go home again, for what home there was had been taken in bloodshed and death, and to reclaim it from the grave offered too much risk, at least as I was then. So I remained, sitting in the shadows, wondering what could have been and how having the freedom to choose meant I would secure better options than what had gone before.
Then, looking to the sky and the light of the moon, I stood up and hovered, going to the derelict and rotting hospital where I'd been born.
Out of the nothingness of sleep, the slow dreams of eternity,
there was a thunder on the deep, I came because you called to me.
I broke the night's primeval bars, I dared the old abysmal curse,
I flashed through ranks of frightened stars, suddenly on the universe!
Eternal silences were broken, Hell become Heaven as I passed.
What shall I give you as a token, a sign that we have met at last?
For there lay my mother's body, unburied and unmourned, victim to the unhallowed evils of circumstance.
I would break and forge the stars anew, shatter the Heavens with a song.
Immortal in my love for you, for I love you very strong.
Gathering to me the remnants of the woman who bore me and brought me into this world, I levitated them behind me, and then forming a shovel, I dug a grave and placed her in it. Using my abilities further to form a headstone in the old Gotham cemetery, I wrote on it:
Susan Meir, 1938-51
Love is the greatest gift that can be given.
And for a time, a times, and half a time I stayed and mourned, grief coming freely, as omniscience showed me her life. And I vowed then that even if power be asserted from hellish realms beyond the Veil to act upon me and through me, I would honor as a goal, even if fumbling in the attempt, one who chose to defy a God and made the God bleed, and in so doing created an image to live up to in a vast and pitiless omniverse where all that is is subject to cruelty beyond the wildest dreams of mortals.
That day, I learned from the Hammer of Doom the past that she went through. I did not hear, then, the voice of the warrior who annihilated the Outer Darkness wherever it lurked and hissed and reared forth in horror amidst primordial slime. I heard the voice of Deborah bat Omri, and learned from her the strange secret behind the name. I learned that the Lightdancer had been once a girl who knew only that she could do strange things, who went to Azarath and learned there of her invulnerability to all that was, even within the flesh of a mad God.
Zee then smiled and told me her own past, and that the creature I had come in contact with was named Cthylla. And I learned then of ancient and horrible secrets, of a group of monsters from the far-flung realm of Xoth countless universes over that began to build a great and a dreadful empire. Of a war amongst these mad Gods of ancient days, and of a tremendous warlord who emerged full-blown from them promising a shortening of the way forward, and another who emerged to oppose him. Yet this grand and terrible prince of light, the light-bringer who promised that great new secrets were en route for his followers, father of Ythogtha, Gahatanothoa, Xoth-Ommog, and the youngest of the family, Cthylla, came to the conclusion that the best secrets were to be found by ascending into the great Kadath, in the Cold Waste, to confront the realm of the Primordial Gods, the gateway to Halls outside Time and Space.
The monster did go there, yes. He had sought all that he would find. But beyond that gateway lurked great and dreadful monsters, the greatest of which was Azathoth's soul and messenger, the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep. Often a trickster, in wrath the Artist-Smith was dreaful and terrible indeed, and with a surge of awful power the entire Empire of Xoth was banished into dreaming-death in a vast necropolis, the shattered remnants lasting for a time in a war with strange fungoid beings and still stranger ones that looked like cones with odd upper elements, the former the maker of the fiendish Shoggoths that burbled in endless time and space.
Zee told me that she had found in me a worthy opponent indeed, who relished like her the very nature of combat, and was not afraid to extend power to its greatest levels, if such was required.
Then I asked them:
And our elder sister? Is there nothing we can do for her? I heard her crying, reduced to this sobbing.........wreck of a colossus there by the deed of the other-you.
Zee and the Lightdancer looked at each other. And Deborah said:
No, there is nothing. Here Fate is at its cruelest. Were it within my power to cleanse the Azar, to make the Undying Flame of horror one that would be a perpetual light for healing and restoration, this I would do in a heartbeat. The hardest thing to do is to accept that Fate is what it is. Yet alone of us you have seen into Fate, and it is beyond you, and you it. You are unconstrained and able to defy ordinary things by perceiving them. Fate is what it is, and it is to each of us to bear. And to you, Fate gifts the freedom to be and to do as you please.
Now, as I speak to you, it seems a great privilege. Yet as time winds on down in the eternal river that flows through space and time, it shall be what you make of it.
And you have done all that I expected you would do, and used that armor well. For that, I give to you another gift.
And she handed me an orb that glowed as I placed it in my hand.
A power battery, dear sister, that will grant to your armor great endurance. You and I have an appointment in a few weeks' time with our elder sister, when we go forth to see Igna of Domdaniel at home to see what she was before she became the monster.
As I bowed formally to her, she said: L'Chaim!
I smiled, and darkness enshrouded me and the sensation of weightlessness between worlds greeted me as an old and a dear friend. I knew, then, at last who I was.
Zezhelanzunui collided with the shield with a rippling sound that brought with it a pained shriek from her and a wave of rippling destruction that reverberated through Azarath itself. The monster that stood forth laughed, a squelching slopping sound as its claws dug into the metal environment around it, carving deep grooves. Cthylla then leaned forward, and in a great cloud of greenish smoke the monster from primordial times and elder days beyond the Veil vanished and Xaderavcal once more rose in her stead. Seeing the same figure I'd come into conflict with, my eyes widened. The resemblance to Zee was eerie, save that where Zee perpetually laughed and joked as a wild and ravening beserker champing at the bit, the eyes that looked out from that face were cold and calculating with a strange and eerie detachment.
The monster's eyes, I realized with a sudden stab of fear, looked out from the face of Xaderavcal. Smiling, again speaking in that strange and I realized strangely-accented use of our Father's tongue, she said:
You call yourself the God of this age? You are but a vain and strutting monster, aspiring to power beyond your reach! I have seen the kind of power you aspired to wielded by one able to wield it, no mere abomination of madness and quiet despair howling in madness and praised by the remnants of once-living beings left only their flesh as relics of who they were!
Then the monster's eyes widened, and Xaderavcal spoke:
And you are the one who took my mortal incarnation and made her into.....
Her hand thumped her chest and the mutilated flesh on her face growled with a strange kind of vibration that in another context might have been comical but here marked a sign of dread.
Her eyes narrowed.
I shall punish you properly, Azar of Azarath, Zazhalzanai, who takes to yourself a name not yours! Igna of Domdaniel, I bid you rise!
Azarath changed with an eerie wind that howled through it for a moment, and the world around me glowed with a strange light. The vain and strutting monster that had been my sister was gone for a moment in time, and a shattered, crying wreck was left, curled in a fetal position moaning and begging for forgiveness and to never turn into the monster that she was then.
Xaderavcal looked at her, and for a moment the rage and anger softened, and she knelt by the crying Zazhalanzanai.
If I could release you from the curse upon your flesh and blood, if I could slough off the pieces of the monster without the result being something still more unhallowed than this, I would. You retain sanity amidst the chaos and death that surrounds you, and hold on to that. Your destiny is yet to be fully written. From your evil is born the hammer of doom that scours the unholy, and from your evil is born the shadow that walks and clouds even the light of the moon that makes the night glorious.
Fate is the cruelest and the sternest of masters. And it, my father learned to his cost, is the only master that matters.
And she stayed with the crying wreck, who remained there for hours, until the sobs stopped and she then sat up.
So there is no hope even with the spawn of the stormer of the Gates of the Gods?
No, no hope.
Please, forgive me for whatever I do, when I don't remember who you are. You at least tell me, as did my father, truth.
And we stayed with her until the change began and then Xaderavcal vanished in a strange shimmering, as I did within a cloud of darkness. The cloud dispelled as I saw standing by me both Zee and then the Lightdancer, each of whom gestured to me to go over to them. And so I did.
The Azar laughed, a howl of stars kept in motion by mad gods that stumbled and shambled aimlessly and hurled her hammer into the onrushing hand of the Starspawn of Cthulhu, pulping the hand with a cataclysmic peal of thunder, a vile odor emanating from the impact, green gelatinous tissue splattering around us, though the Azar and I kept them off our person with a field of energy. Even as the creature reared back, the flesh began to recombine faster than it had fallen as another fist lunged forth, only for the Warhammer to smash through the monster's wrist, the tissue falling to the ground with a sickly squelching sound.
So this is our Elders, the beings that were before ere the stars burned with our world? Forgive me if I am not unduly impressed.
The hammer suddenly glowed with a sickly red light and its whirling in blinding speed at the hands of the Azar seemed to leave almost a thin and vile-smelling streak of blood along its trajectory, until the hammer collided into the Starspawn's face, smashing with a brutal strike that led the Starspawn to reel.
Then the flesh that scattered healed still faster and the creature's consistency seemed to change, as six eyes burned like stars. Before the Azar could react, a wave of powerful blows struck her, throwing her back across miles. Moving slightly from my anchored position, I found that my freedom to maneuver was less than I expected or desired. Between the shockwaves and the anger of both entities, it was difficult to concentrate my own ability to do more than keep abreast of the forces at their disposal.
Feeling pain and bruising, a sensation that had yet to lose its sense of novelty, I also felt an icy grasp of fear that without Deborah's armor I would have either passed out or had to learn how to rebuild a body from scratch. As I focused on all this, my eyesight also caught that the Azar's hammer glowed as she slammed it into the Starspawn as it attempted to crush her under its heel, and the blast threw the Starspawn back, the Azar's hammer then swinging toward the monster's knee. The creature reeled still further back and the Azar briefly transformed into a walking field of starlight and outer space within the familiar armor, hammer vanished, and flew forward.
The impact knocked the Starspawn on her back, only for the creature to unleash a shockwave of her own that hurled the Azar off of her, the Azar now resuming her seemingly normal form of flesh and blood. The Starspawn reached out with a colossal paw and while striving to grasp the Azar, the creature that was my sister then bellowed once more the primordial foghorn-like sound that was her motif of sorts. This time, augmented by the full power of the many universes her presence had infected and absorbed, the impact did knock me unconscious, and as blackness swallowed me I saw the Starspawn turning a deep silver hue and rumbling in R'lyehian what seemed like extreme anger, and then both ran toward each other with the booming footsteps of Leviathans.
It was not, perhaps, a long time as Earthmen would reckon it that I fell unconscious. But when I awakened, I saw that I had been dislodged from the ground by the impact of the brawling behemoths. The Azar no longer seemed a mere entity of flesh and blood, though what precisely made up her form I could not have specified then to satisfaction. She had risen to the size of the Starspawn, and her immense form seemed at times to be covered in mouths that roared challenges in the tongue of our non-human race, at times gelatinous and rugose, and at times diamond-hard and almost mechanical-seeming in appearance. Her flesh, if flesh she had at her disposal, changed with such disorienting swiftness that I was losing track of what was up or down.
The blows each launched moved with a swiftness that an ordinary mortal, presuming that the shockwaves hadn't killed him and then disintegrated his body, not necessarily in that order, would have heard only in delayed fashion a set of blows that sounded like fell thunderclaps with the occasional booming sound and flash of light when the Azar summoned back her hammer or a mace and smashed them into the flesh of the being from the other world, which in a straightforward brawl, skin now sufficiently hardened, was starting to prevail and push the Azar back.
Sensing this and snarling, the Azar roared in pride with a thunderous sound that led to my deciding now was a good time to invoke the darkness that was my birthright and hope it would actually work.
I am the God of this Age. No battlefield relic shall contend with me and survive the experience!
With this, the Azar briefly transformed into something that had the vague semblance of a form about her, but emanated an awe-inspiring Malice that seemed almost tangible. Gestures like that of hands clenching followed and as I concealed myself in darkness a wave of such destructive force as to shatter anything it came in contact emanated from the Azar, and yet another planet was consumed in the wake of such entities as my family and this strange being that I now regretted very much having come into contact with.
After remaining in the darkness with a rather frenzied debate with myself, I decided to see where the two monsters had gone, in hopes that as they fought that one or the other might kill each other. Besides, I had the feeling that having antagonized one of them, that if I did not do this, one of them would drag me anyhow so it was better to maneuver things and serve as recorder of what was in motion than to try to es-I realized I'd taken too long to decipher this when I felt the iron hand of one of the entities grasp my enshrouded form and yank me through the portal that one of them had made in the wake of the devastating blast,
As I fell through, I realized the sickly crawling feeling beneath the skin that seemed almost familiar was familiar. The portal that had opened drew Cthylla and I once more into the hellish entity-place that was Azarath, where the Azar was thought and voice to a realm where existence itself was a choking horror of mangled dreams and twisted hopes and endless bleating choruses of "Glory to the Great one, the eternal one, who suspends existence itself in being!" I knew a wintry satisfaction in seeing even the monstrous Starspawn Cthylla seemingly disoriented by the place, keenly gazing around her/itself,
It was then that I saw the Azar, seemingly human once more, hovering in the skies laughing with the fell laughter of a mad God:
Here is my realm, battlefield relic! Here, I am the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and the end! I have the keys to death, and in my hands I grant immortality! Naught exists in this realm save that I allow it! Here all is an Undying Flame that shall burn now and forever, world without end! Know this that now, now I say to you, none are like the Azar! None may give me council! I was there when the stars burned into light and the sons of the Gods sang for joy!
Here is the land of Azarath, where all that is or will ever be is one people, one faith, one ruler: the Azar, the Flame Imperishable who unites existence with an iron hand!
And with a bellowing howl of almost nihilistic glee the monster swooped down toward the Starspawn, who seemed to have a detached and almost amused gaze in its eyes, forming a kind of curved metal dome to shield itself from the swooping monster that seemed to swell and grow in size and be human in size all at once in a bewildering rippling motion that pained eyes that strove to see it.
When I awoke, I saw, dimly, that I was in a landscape that was seemingly barren and deserted. Next to me crouched a colossus that seemed mountainous, a vast and teeming bulk of greenish flesh. The creature gazed at me with its tendrils seeming to form a grim smile, the tremendous bulk not moving in a conventional sense but almost oozing forward. As I began to scramble backwards, the skies suddenly shifted over me. Seeing stars that I hadn't seen in what was in one way almost too short a time and yet felt an eternity, I began to try to invoke the force of a portal when I noticed the oozing bulk of the colossus was looking up to the strange skies, eyes widening. The moment passed and it extended an arm to grasp me, but I then paused and looked up again.
Hovering in the now-restored skies was a heavily armored figure, half her face enclosed in armor with the eyes and the top of her head exposed. The armor was a dark and strange green, emblazoned with a light-blue and crude yet stylized dragon, one of the heads gnawing at the throat of the other. The figure's cape was the same bright blue hue as the armor. The Azar, my deranged elder sister, the mocking and laughing mad god that howled in guttural and inhuman fashions and was the very framework of the worlds it ruled.
The being hovered, a small object next to two of the eyes of the monstrous Cthylla,, which had grown still greater.
Cthylla's mocking voice echoed in what I recognized only in hindsight as recognizable human speech. Realizing this, of course, was not one of my happier moments but there it is:
So the elder whelp comes to the aid of the younger. You have called yourself a God, the center of all that is or will ever be. My kind mastered existence itself many countless cycles before your universe was but the hint of a glimmer in the minds of the Ultimate Gods beyond the Veil! My kind are the elder race that was. We shall rise when the stars become right, and then yours shall be no more. We are the reasons Earth had the potential to draw such creatures as the eldest of your race to our world, and it is we who shall build these worlds in still greater ways anew.
The Azar spoke in response:
So speaks the battlefield relic, the last scion of elder days. Your kind are all dead, dreaming their death in a necropolis within the material framework of this world. Speak not of the glory of those who were once, for they are not now. The Stars for your kind are Wrong, but for us, they are Right! It is not your age now, scion of tens of thousands of lives divided amongst so many pitiful mortal frames in infinite space, but mine! Mine the hands that set the stars in motion, mind the hands that moves the lowliest and the highest.
You glory in the deeds of a father who left you alone save in the few times when the necropolis is thrown up by the convulsions of the seashore, in a timeframe when the lands had not yet formed and the waters had not yet congealed from a cooling orb of lava and ash. Mine the hand that heals, mine the hand that curses, mine that unleashes the wind and the storm over the wine-dark sea, that unleashes the light of rosy-fingered dawn!
You are the last sad relic of the Gods who were, I am eldest and fatherless of the Gods yet to be. Mine the hands, mine the will, mine the power! I am the Alpha and the Omega, first and the last, and beside me there is no other! I hung the very stars themselves that move in their courses, I bring to mankind fulfillment of ancient and primordial dreams! Yea, I make their dreams the nightmares that haunt them, that make them scream themselves awake at night! I offer them worlds without war and misery and death, and in fulfillment of their ancient longings receive my due.
We are the Gods of this Age, for us the Stars are right and shine on us in comfort. So speaks the Azar, the Undying Flame, who gives forth the light and the renewal of the Stars themselves and sets all that is in motion!
The Azar then unleashed blasts of terrible, hellish light from her eyes that seared into the monster, and it was during that time that I chose to seize the moment and call upon myself not the flayed hide of the archangel but the modified version of the Lightdancer's armor. Modifications made by assertion of willpower, and modifications that proved wise indeed as the searing lances led the monstrous spawn of Cthulhu to unleash an unholy whine before turning six glowing eyes on the Azar. Raising arms that seemed to swell with musculature as other parts of the being contracted, Cthylla's massive gorillaesque arms hurled down as the Azar formed a shielding dome of energy, the monster's arms colliding with the shield with a tremendous flash of light, followed by a colossal shockwave that I withstood mostly by my modified variant of Deborah's armor and anchoring my feet solidly into the ground, hands in front of my face in an attempt to brace the impact.
The blast was followed by the eerie primordial foghorn with a rumbling undertone, a sound that led to my falling to my knees, clasping my ears to block out its magnitude. As the Azar roared, triumphantly, unleashing the Trombone and flashing the ten rings, bellowing after:
Ten are the rings of the Azar, and in the Undying Flame shall all that is be consumed!
Yet beyond the triumphant howl a mountain moved forth, aroused to a great and terrible wrath even as the Azar anchored herself and formed a massive warhammer out of nothing, and a clash of Gods made manifest in flesh and blood began with fear and trembling.....
I descended in what I assumed to be glory and honor and terror upon a world until I realized, as I landed, that my omniscience had vanished. The boasting and arrogance I had intended died stillborn as I gazed forward into an abyss whereupon I saw the creature that suspended it. The speech died, yes, but then came with it a rumbling and echoing call of a wrath beyond that of mere ordinary spheres:
So, Zee, you're already here, then? You must be wiser than I expected to be here so soon.
This too died stillborn when the creature walking toward me gave a hideous smile and then calmly moved with a deliberately slowed and shambling walk. A slopping and unnatural voice echoed in levels of sound different to my kind, a sound so alien to the geometries of the material plane that only by analogy could it be called sound:
Quiet whelp. My race was here long before e'er your kind was. Your kind erect the first steps in a great empire and delve into forbidden secrets, and all kneels before you because your progenitor, like mine, is no longer a mere being of flesh and blood. He has become something other.
I am not Zee, whelp, I am the Sovereign you offended by storming into mine own realm, inheritor of a Dark Dreamer whose father lies dead but dreaming in a necropolis that covers half the globe. Xaderavcal stands before you. You stormed into my realm and disrupted a plan a decade in the making as it was poised on success. And you have given to me proof that others since the Stars changed are initiating a return of Wonders not seen since my father's realm sprawled over much of Existence itself.
Xaderavcal, said the being that spoke to me, was its name. But it was not the brutish and arrogant military despot who interrogated me. No, it couldn't be. The creature shambled and its voice was a slopping and hideous mockery of voice and sound themselves. With it seemed to emanate an ancient mist, and for the first time I noticed that people were either suspended by or dead of fright, and that the very ground seemed to ripple where walked the green mist, and then the booming slopping voice rose to a new pitch.
I shall show you in full what it is that faces you. But that shall not be now, quite yet, no.
First, I shall show you that gap between the power you esteemed when the virus gave to you a voice and a pretense of strength, and that which was when the Empire of Xoth was supreme o'er all existence.
And everything went silent with a sudden onrushing of darkness and I didn't even have time to scream.
I awoke in a charred field of fine rubble, seeing only something kneeling in the darkness, eyes watching with contempt. A mountain watched, rasping with unholy laughter, six gleaming eyes of dark blue laughing as a figure not unlike a monstrous caricature of a human, a dragon, and an octopus opened vast wings and spoke again:
N'hraklthk dhargun!And everything changed again as I once more fainted, mind overwhelmed by the unfathomable ancient energies of Something that was when my kind was not even yet a part of a grand design. I had only the time to wonder what it meant when someone aware of the nature of Story found oneself a cat's paw in an entity's hands able to overwhelm even this. Darkness swallowed me before the icy and unfamiliar sensation of true fear could set in..........
As the monster came closer, I heard its rumbling breath and then she stood next to me.
A voice that was silky with blatant menace hissed with the sound of a wind across tombstones:
So, the bastard whelp is here to fight her superior.
Ah, Zezhel. No pseudo-prophetic meter to belabor those of us with actual lives to live? Pity, I was hoping to waste a few minutes with the soliloquy.
Impudent mongrel....she growled and then raised her staff as the runes and gems gleamed with an unhallowed light and slammed it into the ground. A pulse of destructive force surged out, though I formed around me a barrier of darkness that sought to anchor me into the ground. The barrier did indeed keep the pulse from buffeting me, but it gouged a vast crater into the ground around me and elsewhere.
The monster blinked, and then growled.
So you can manipulate darkness then, after all. And it wasn't some illusion.
Tell me, whelp, were I to offer to you the chance to gain access to weapons devised by a mind greater than most, divine or mortal, would you take it?
I looked at her and the crater.
As opposed to simply banging at each other without any logic other than your own bloodlust.....depends on the job.
She smiled, a cruel grimace that bared her teeth.
I would have you go to the realm of Ziharkano, to strike my enemies for me.It is not a cause worthy of direct presence and absorption of that world, and for it you are perfectly suited.
My eyes narrowed:
How then am I to do this? Does strike mean to destroy the planet or those few unfortunate souls you deem targets?
The grimace widened, the dish-shaped face seemingly oddly distorted as she said:
It means the former. Destroy for me that world, and you shall receive this.
Her right hand pointed to a grimoire in her left hand.
It is a book of mighty spells that permit one who wields it to command not merely time and space, but fundamentals of reality itself. With it, your strength shall be greatly enhanced. It is a simple enough deed.
And as she vanished within that same foul-smelling light, I summoned to myself a vision of that world.
To my genuine pleasure it proved to be a colony-world of a species my omniscience said would be dispatched with no mourners. Calling upon myself a cloak of shadow I felt the weightless sensation of passing within worlds to the crossroads of infinity.......
Thus was it that I gazed into his face in wonder and in awe.
( cut for length )
Decisions, decisions, as I formed around me the tanned hide of Metatron, the billowing black cape whipping in an unnatural wind as the monster strode forward, and I decided likewise to savor the moment. One seldom gets a chance to pulverize the everloving shit out of an old........friend.....or alternately deciding to milk what they have to offer for its worth. Grinning, I stood proudly, the haze of the growing beams beginning to cloud my vision.
As I landed in my next world, I saw to my satisfaction that it was a lovely place, very well-drawn. And not an older, cheap kind of animation, either.( cut for length )
One word more he spoke, and then my eyes, all of the, widened almost beyond belief:
As Zee lunged toward me, I simply called into myself the power of Arazakanu, the walking shadow, and the planet suddenly shook as Zee missed me by a narrow margin. Anchoring myself into the planet, my eyes glowed as I transformed into a towering figure of darkness lit by countless glowing eyes and mouths, and with each of the tens of thousands of mouths a roughly anthropoid form echoed with a voice of judgment and doom:
Sic transit gloria mundi! Ada and Zillah, take heed to me, you wives of Lamech heed my speech. I have killed a young man for wounding me, a boy for injuring me. If Cain be avenged sevenfold, let Lamech be seventy-sevenfold!
Then the monstrous form raised a leg that glowed with the light of the Outer realms from beyond where lurking daemons gibbered in wild and lonely places from beyond, and I slammed that leg down with sufficient force to create a tremendous flash of light and then a shockwave that reduced the whole planet to rubble. Such was the power of the strike that even the monstrous Xaderavcal, my adopted sibling with that cackling madness and battle-lust was shocked to unconsciousness, floating amidst a rubble field as one of the only intact corpses on the whole of the planet. Laughing with triumph, I then called around me the Outer Darkness and faded into the uncaring and pitiless Void.
An alley just outside Times Square, Earth-126734121:
A young sorcerer held a Necronomicon, and from its Eighteenth Volume began a chant very familiar to me, though then I understood not why:
I call to the God that is and is within the darkness, striding in darkness as all like it stride in light. I call to the shadow-woman who turns the most sacred wonder and joy into fear and loathing. I call to the God that defies the ready gap of light and dark, of truth and falsehood. I invoke the thirteen-eyed one, the jade colossus that strikes fear and trembling in sifting forth the hearts of men. I invoke the destroyer of the ironclad, the corroder of the sacred, firstborn among the Darkness.
Hearing the invocation, knowing then that it was myself within the text of the Mad Arab's Magnum Opus, I decided it was time to start phase two of the growth of the legend thus invoked. I cast forth the shadows from me, drawing into me all the light around him, save a circle where he expected my appearance, a circle of glowing eldritch light that would have confined lesser beings. As the light winked out, he fell silent, face turning white with fear. I spoke, the darkness magnifying my voice:
I am the shadow on the moon at night, the very outer darkness given flesh and form. The God that now walks among you, making known that which is beyond you. You have called from beyond with the Al-Azif that which is greater than mankind, that which is newer than his Gods but greater than they shall ever be.
Then, as my face broke out in a shark's grin, I opted to transform my clothing into a red and green sweater, to clothe my hands in gloves with blades, and to begin scraping them along the walls.
I am nightmare made flesh, the land of dreaming entering the land of waking, the darkness made tangible.
As I then formed my 'normal' fleshly form out of the darkness, deliberately slowing the process to instill terror, I laughed as the would-be sorcerer sought to run. Extending the shadows to throw him to the ground, I then strode forward, voice echoing with the mocking timeless malignance of that which lurked beyond the iron wall of sleep mankind made.
I smiled as I then gazed forward, eyes glowing.
You destroyed a city of my birth, Azar, to give my life its first step. So then is it appropriate that I give the same fate to this city, one among countless representatives, and do so to give mankind a new era. Magic is dawning here, children of mankind! Hell is upon you!
And I rose, towering over the buildings as a massive collection of glowing eyes and mouths in an anthropoid figure of moving darkness, deciding then to shift it to the species of my father. Still more massive and almost quasi-reptilian in form, countless mouths bellowed in laughter and immense arms were raised and smashed into a city that groaned and disintegrated in a wave of concentrated force. From the ruptured crater was left oozing stones that glowed with a bright light. Giggling maniacally, a sound that carried over the wild winds of Earth from countless mouths, I then decided it was time to take this show on the road and get a little fun with it.
For finally, in that world, the full significance of a very deadly truth hit: nothing that I would destroy was real any more than I myself was. I was a monster, yes, a divine force of evil and doom. But what then of the mind that brought creatures like this into being? I was an unconstrained force of destruction, a being aware more than any other of the puppeteer holding us all on strings, and in that knowledge came freedom, of a most terrible sort. In this, and in commanding darkness where all else, fair or foul, like me would wield light in its various forms, I was free.
I have no strings for now I'm free.
Taking briefly the form of a massive armored juggernaut equally barely human and vanishing amidst the blasted heath that had once been a teeming metropolis, I giggled.
There are no strings on me!
And as I vanished, I then saw my next target and grinned. This was going to be delightful.
The first phase was the German invasion of Poland, in which three million Germans in three army groups struck at Poland in a three-pronged invasion. The general who conceived the operation and implemented it is one Gerd von Rundstedt, a name that will be popping up repeatedly, and especially in the context of the overall fighting in the East. The northern prong of the German offensive sealed the 'Polish corridor' readily, though the Poles held out for a week in Westerplatte. The commander of this prong of the offensive, Fedor von Bock, is another name to watch. Against them, Marshal Rydz-Smigly and his generals Kutrzeba and Rommel (I kid you not) http://ww2gravestone.com/people/
The surprise is that against a vastly superior invasion force, they held out for a full month with a single derisory French drive into the Saar as the only contribution of the Allies. The Poles, to a great degree rightly, saw this as perfidy, but it also reflected the simple reality that the UK and France were taking their sweet time with the simple confidence that if push came to shove they'd won in 1918 and were guaranteed to win again. They were extremely, indeed hilariously wrong in this assumption but that was what they viewed as inevitable.
The Poles' sole major counterattack was the Battle of the Bzura, where they managed to wreck a German division but in two weeks of consecutive pounding the Wehrmacht made better capital out of its small smattering of modern weaponry than the Polish army did with its. Kutrzeba's defeat at Rundstedt's hands doomed the Poles to a set of ultimately futile sieges where their attempts to resist both ended in failure and in the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland, which led to both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreeing to partition Poland between them. In the course of horse-trading over which regime got what, the Nazis secured a border at the Bug (and coincidentally akin to the old British Curzon Line) while the Soviets secured Lithuania, neither regime caring overmuch about what this meant for the locals.
In both cases, Nazis and Soviets began mass deportations and executions of Poles in general intending to forestall the revival of an independent Polish state. The main difference is that the Nazis also ended up rounding up Polish Jews and cramming them into over-crowded ghettoes, setting in motion the first stages of the Holocaust. In Hitler's occupation zone, his regime set about implementing without any hesitation its policies of mass demographic slaughter, in Stalin's his regime was equally pitiless toward his opponents, and with implementing deportation with a decidedly ethnic tinge in the name of an anti-nationalist ideology.
However for a variety of reasons to be detailed in the next entry, until Hitler stormed north and attacked Scandinavia and finally did unleash his strike in the West, fighting in the West ossified into a set of buildups and plans and counter-plans and complete 180 switches on strategic goals by both sides. Not so in the East, where Stalin decided to annex Finland with the expectation given the relative size of both countries the annexation would be a matter of fact thing.
The end of the war shows that with competent leadership this would have been so, the reality was that the Purge gutted the best leadership of the Soviet army and made it a textbook case of vast quantity that did not in actual fact have a quality to match. The result was that in the initial phases the new Soviet man performed very like the old Tsarist army of Muzhik and Dvorianstvo, complete with utter inability to co-ordinate air power, armor, infantry, and artillery with any degree of competence. It was this more than Finnish skill that enabled Marshal Mannerheim to run rings around Kliment Voroshilov for a time. A whole Soviet division was destroyed by a much more pitifully armed and equipped Finnish force at Suomussalmi and the Raate road for no reason other than the inability of its officers to demonstrate the least amount of ability to wield a force that size.
Stalin ruthlessly sacked his initial leadership and replaced it with Semyon Timoshenko, who brought rudimentary tactical ability to the same force with the same disparity of resources. With the ability to fire artillery and have it hit something properly co-ordinated with infantry, artillery, and armor and air power, the Soviet army rolled up the Finns and managed to secure territorial gains. Losses were still disproportionate, but a key element that differed with losses in the 1939 and 1941 wars is that in 1939, the Soviet Union took major casualties from winter weather, due to not providing winter equipment from the belief that it would literally be a walkover. In 1941, as will be detailed, losses from both combat and deliberate mass starvation of POWs were on a far more staggering scale.
The Soviet Union showed two key differences from Hitler's regime: 1) a recognition of its problems that actually did tend to reflect the actual problems and not the ones the ideology of the regime preferred to admit, and 2) a tendency to greater realism when strongarmed by complete and laughable failure into grudgingly accepting this. Where Hitler read his victory over the Poles to vindicate Nazi Nordicist ideals and Slavic inferiority, as opposed to demonstrating simple reality that a sufficiently big stick swung with sufficient ruthlessness will crush damn near anything, Stalin read his failures to indicate that his army demonstrated crippling inability to capitalize upon its resources and began the so-called Timoshenko Reforms which June 1941 would interrupt halfway through.
At the same token, Soviet troops entered all three Baltic states following so-called 'voluntary agreements' in a pattern very like that of Putin in the Crimea now, and reflecting the same basic brutal Russian logic to its neighbors. If the Saint Bernard tells the Chihuahua to move, the little dog will move or get squished. This foreshadowed the annexation in 1940 that cast a long shadow over the Soviet state and ultimately was the spearhead in initiating its collapse in 1991.
However, this war was a part of a grand scene of things where both Hitler and Stalin, desiring the start of a war against the Versailles Order, came together in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Officially a non-aggression pact, unofficially this divided Eastern Europe into Soviet and German spheres. Initially Lithuania would be in the Nazi sphere, with a Soviet border on the Vistula, while Bessarabia and Finland were in the Soviet sphere. In exchange for Soviet neutrality and a free means to undermine the Anglo-French blockade, Hitler would be able to virtually guarantee a one-front war reliant on a deep strike against Poland with nine-tenths of his army.
Against this, though the Poles were unaware of the secret protocol in 1939, they had only tenuous and disingenuous guarantees from a UK and France unwilling to fight Hitler to any great degree, and were stuck with an impossible dilemma. Either they overextended an army partially mobilized on the basis of recommendations from their supposed allies, or they went to a defensive posture and sacrificed their most populous and industrialized areas without a fight. The Poles chose to overextend their armies and hope for the best. But, however, the formal Anglo-French guarantee and ironic 'neutrality' from Mussolini and Stalin led the Germans to adopt an initial delay that came to an end with the Gleiwitz Incident.
Foreshadowing the general approach to war used by the totalitarian regime, concentration camp POWs were dressed up by the SS as Polish soldiers and used in a faux attack on a German radio base, then shot to the last man. With a spurious defensive pretext, Hitler ordered his armies into motion. War was already raging on a grand scale in Asia at this point, and now at last it began to spread to Europe. By a curious irony, the first two years of WWII would witness sporadic phases of highly intense fighting and then long pauses of no active ground operations. But when the German invasion of the Soviet Union finally went into motion, all the land fighting and more that was possible to happen began and so would horrors that outpaced anything of the early phases of the war, ones that only got worse as Stalin began to win his war and Hitler started horrendously failing at his.
In another characteristic pattern, Hitler's armies opened fire without warning or declaration of war with bombing raids and a naval bombardment of the then-free city of Danzig.
From there the island begins to experience a grave crisis as Godzilla both eats away its local fishing supplies and begins devouring whales, too, including some scenes of eaten whales landing on the seashore, hinting at the presence of an unimaginably vast leviathan beneath the sea. The locals panic and the ancient cult of Gojira comes back with a bit of a vengeance. The film then shifts to a scene of a fishing boat, a relatively modern one, going by Odo Island as a set of deep, sonorous booms echo beneath the boat. The fishermen at first think it's a distant thunderstorm until the sea flashes with Godzilla's beam.
Japanese authorities at first aren't sure what to make of the reports of boats repeatedly bursting into flame in the same area where the spectacular whale and shark kills are ongoing, and they decide to send a couple of scientists and reporters to investigate. The scientists and reporters witness the ancient Gojira cult performing its one surviving ritual, a take on the one in the original film before a thunderstorm hits that night, interspersing actual thunder with Godzilla's own footsteps. The village is completely wrecked but one person manages to escape just as he catches glimpses in the night of something impossibly vast, which in a slight difference from the film, the rest of the people there, including the reporters also see.
After reporting of both the village and the strange footprints, a much larger research party including both JSDF officials and some US military personnel is sent to Odo Island as well. As with the original film, there's no attack by Godzilla, only strange rumbling booming sounds and the island looks increasingly vacant with the forests seemingly trampled over by something immense, as though the monster's literally devouring the inhabitants (which technically.....). As with the original film, the scientists confirm the immense footprints are just that: footprints, and an extremely unusually radioactive set at that. Then the same thunderous sounds echo and the village mobilizes to crush whatever monster is there, with the JSDF and US Army riding against it in armored personnel carriers.......only for Godzilla to rise up behind the hill and roar, inducing a panic and actually causing the JSDF and US military personnel to crash into each other as they backpedal as fast as possible.
Godzilla returns to the sea and the monster's presence is revealed, with the chief scientist in the expedition, Dr. Yamane, arguing a creature that has such an ability to survive exposure to radiation and emerge from it with the unusual properties of a daikaiju should be studied for the immense secrets its biology would hold. The soldiers argue that the monster's presence is that of a walking nuclear bomb. This version of Godzilla is depicted as a scarred and deformed monstrosity akin to what the original directors actually had in mind, with the aspects that reflected a rubber suit instead designed as blackened scars and the monster's very motions an unnatural kind of ponderous slowness. As with the original film, too, Godzilla is a monstrously slow juggernaut. In the midst of the discussions, Godzilla actually engages a joint American-Japanese naval patrol and wrecks them en route to Tokyo, surfacing beneath them and not yet revealing the nuclear fire aspect.
As the discussion continues, it breaks up in acrimony and nobody sure of what to do, only for the reports of the monster's successful destruction of the naval patrol to come in even as people in Tokyo Bay report an ominous set of booming footsteps, confirmed in sonar. Godzilla also faces off against and destroys the submarines, sinking nuclear-armed subs as he surfaces in Tokyo Bay for the first time. As with the first film, his initial rampage is a slow and brutal one, and this Godzilla appears in full shots in broad daylight. He returns to the sea, and the US Navy launches a full-fledged attempt to destroy the monster and antagonizes Japan and everyone else because the American population demands vengeance for a set of costly ships destroyed and what few survivors there are dying of horrific radiation-burns.
As all this is going on, a subplot concerns a young scientist named Daisuke Serizawa, who discovers a compound capable of producing a disintegration effect and tries to hide its existence for fear that it would be weaponized. The panic effect produced by Godzilla breezily demolishing anything set against him leads to a gradual set of pressures that his device be used and the young Serizawa overwhelmed by the fear that success would be more damaging than defeat, introducing *this* equally dark theme with Information Age upgrades.
Godzilla is presumed destroyed after the large-scale American naval operation even though none of the nuclear-armed submarines sent against the monster return, as it's viewed that the monster destroyed them as deliberate bait, itself a huge controversy. A bit of a celebration breaks out and then in Osaka, a ship of people with "Eat drink and be merry" attitudes hears a strange rolling booming sound as Godzilla emerges all too alive. In this take, the lengthier and more destructive rampage is actually in Osaka, reducing the city stage by stage into the aftereffect of a protracted nuclear bombing, and it's in the wake of this devastation that Serizawa comes up with the idea of using his weapon if nobody else can find a way to do so. He burns all his notes, attempts to scrub any trace of their existence across multiple media, and manages to kill this take of Godzilla as with the original.
A stinger, however, shows that there actually is not just one Godzilla but a breeding population in the deepest parts of the Pacific, and another equally monstrous creature begins to rise from the depths of the Pacific, while likewise reports come in of another strange monster that resembles a colossal Anklyosaurus-like creature but carnivorous and voracious surfacing in Guangzhou........
This take on Godzilla would keep the blackened skin coloration, but it would clearly be that the monster's burned and unnatural, a product of the fires of the atom upon mortal flesh. The monster's face would include elements where the flesh is clearly ossified and burnt in a sense that it actually melted a bit during the blast. The design would include some elements of both 2014 and the Heisei era with some of the stiffness and sheer juggernaut factor of the 1954 design. The beam would include the charging one spine at a time from the end of the tail to the top of them aspect from the 2014 design but have elements of the Heisei-era beam, and part of the theme of the movie intersects with the depletion of fish supplies by overfishing and ecological imbalance, as well as the reality that decisions have consequences, irrevocable ones, even.
The very unnatural aspects of Godzilla would be played up for a horror trope, somewhere between Cloverfield in the sense that the monster's rampage is for hitherto unknown reasons and the 1954 film in that people at first don't know they're in a Godzilla movie until the monster finally appears in Odo Island. They keep attributing the booms to thunderstorms and the evidence the monster leaves of its presence and immense size isn't readily fitted in until the creature appears and demonstrates that Earth has been irrevocably changed. Even then, the mere discovery of the monsters doesn't mean that the right approach is immediately adopted. Unlike the Toho take, that there are US troops and military interests in Japan is played up.....to show that superpower chest-pounding only makes things *worse*.