Prelude to Part II / The Twin Pillars of Existence

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The following information is restricted to the knowledge of five individuals: Orochimaru, Madara Uchiha, Isabella Uchiha, Susabi, and Mirabelle. It has been discovered in the Restricted Section of the Grand Library of Chungsu; information contained within the document is restricted and can only be disseminated by these five in character. The next mission is not a mission in a traditional sense, though there are rewards for those that follow this through. The following documents detail an astrological phenomenon. This document is directly related to the overarching theme of the arc, pursuing mysteries related to the Void. This document is instrumental in discovering the next mission. Without direct access to the information then your biography cannot be motivated by the information hidden in these documents.
TOP SECRET//SAR-FELLED ANGEL

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES DIVISION // BLACK ONES OPERATIONS​

August 17, 525

MEMORANDUM OF SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAM

SUBJECT: Special Operations August 14, 525 (U)
  1. (C) A Black Ones Contingent arrived in Northwestern sector on August 14th, 525 at roughly 0500 hours. At impact site, hereby known as Ground Zero (GZ), operations team recovered target and returned it to the Restricted Section of the Grand Library of Chungsu.
  2. (TS//SAR-FA) The target found at GZ, a meteorite, is hereby known as the FELLED ANGEL. Director of Operations (DO) initiated a Special Access Program with the same codeword at the Top Secret level. Meteorite stored in the Vault, kept under control by constant Black Ones surveillance teams.
  3. (TS//SAR-FA) FELLED ANGEL was immediately noted by Operator 4 to radiate a mysterious, but potent, chakra signature. To humans it seemed harmless, further testing required.

TOP SECRET//SI//SAR-FELLED ANGEL


FA-01-008 OPERATIONAL DRAFT
OFFICE OF HANGURIAN SCIENTIFIC STUDIES
BLACK ONES SPECIAL FORCES
SPECIAL ACTIVITIES DIVISION

October 5, 525

(U) TABLE OF CONTENTS
  1. (U) INTRODUCTION
  2. (U) OPERATIONAL ACCESS
    • (U) AUTHORITY
    • (U) OFFICE OF HANGURIAN SCIENTIFIC STUDIES
  3. (U) FINDINGS

TOP SECRET//SI//SAR-FELLED ANGEL​
(U) INTRODUCTION​
(U) BACKGROUND

(C) On August 14, 525 at roughly 0500 hours Black Ones Contingent under the Special Activities Division arrived at the Northwestern sector responding to a distressing astronomical event. The operations team recovered a meteorite at the location, hereby known as Ground Zero (GZ).

(C) Under the orders of Director Yoshinobu the astronomical phenomenon was secured in the Restricted Section of the Grand Library of Chungsu.

(TS//SAR-FA) The astronomical phenomenon, described as a comet impact initially by the Operations Squad, was determined to be a meteorite of unknown origins. Under the direction of Director Yoshinobu the Directorate of Operations and the Special Activities Division initiated a Special Access Program with the same codeword at the TOP SECRET level. The meteorite is to share the same name as the SAP it is associated with, FELLED ANGEL (FA).

(TS//SAR-FA) FELLED ANGEL was authorized to have electronic surveillance conducted on it at all times in addition to the physical security in the Restricted Section of the Grand Library.

(TS//SAR-FA) The Directorate of Operations (DO) authorized study of FA by the Hangurian Scientific Studies Association (HSS/HSSA). Specific authorization and read-in for the Special Access Program (SAP) issued on a case-by-case basis. See SECTION II (U) OPERATIONAL ACCESS. Access to FA outside of those with authorization and clearance under SPECIAL ACCESS REQUIRED (SAR) is strictly forbidden.

(S//SAR-FA) Black Ones Contingent noted FA to have a unique chakra radiation signature quite similar to that of Hangurian Ore. Further testing was required.

(S) Astronomical phenomenon has no recorded harmful effects on human or otherwise living entities. On its surface the radiation of chakra seems harmless.

(S) Clearances issued with operational access to TOP SECRET CODEWORD (TS//CW) are not issued collaterally for those in HSS/HSSA. Information contained in this report range from classified at the CONFIDENTIAL (C) level to TOP SECRET (TS).

(TS//SAR-FA) This report contains classified codeword material and is not to be disseminated to anyone without proper access and clearance.
TOP SECRET//SI//SAR-FELLED ANGEL
(U) OPERATIONAL ACCESS​
(U) AUTHORITY

(U//FOUO) Immediately after the astrological phenomenon on August 14, 525 SAD considered how to appropriately store the retrieved target. DO Yoshinobu determined that only the Restricted Section of the Grand Library under Special Access Program protections would allow for HSS proper access under SAD supervision.

(TS//SI) Northwestern sector as defined refers to the outer reaches of the Hangurian Freehold’s influence, technically not within the Nation’s borders. Rather, it is a number of scattered villages in a mountainous region. Direct and covert access difficult. Special Activities Division performed clandestine operations to retrieve FA.

(S//SAR-FA) DO Yoshinobu immediately approved targeted surveillance of groups in the surrounding region, ensuring that rumors of FA were kept to a minimum. Other SAD Operations Teams were sent into the region to perform PSYOPs to control messaging within and leaving the region.

(TS//SI-ECI//SAR-FA) Knowledge of FELLED ANGEL was strictly limited at the express direction of the Daijo-Daijin. DO Yoshinobu, within the first few days, began delegating SAR-FA clearance to members of SAD and HSS to immediately begin testing on FELLED ANGEL.

(U//FOUO) The Office of Hangurian Scientific Studies (HSS) had three scientists approved for immediate access around the clock.

(TS//SI-ECI//SAR-FA) Clearance authority was retained by DO Yoshinobu in the first four days of operations. Authority to clear other persons was directly dedicated to Commander Taijin, Director of the Special Activities Division (DIRSAD). From here, regular zero-based reviews were taken to assess clearing other members of SAD or HSS for additional access to FELLED ANGEL as required.
TOP SECRET//SI//SAR-FELLED ANGEL
(U) HSS REVIEW​
(U) FINDINGS

(TS//SI//SAR-FA) Findings below are complied into this review for DO Yoshinobu and DIRSAD.

ACCESS: RESTRICTED/SAR-FA
AGENT/CLEARED PERSONNEL: SAD-001, HSS-002, HSS-003, HSS-004
DATE: AUGUST 25
SUBJ: FELLED ANGEL composition analysis

(TS//SAR-FA) FELLED ANGEL, the codeword for the meteorite that struck in the Northwestern Sector of the Hangurian Freehold’s influence, radiates a potent but tainted chakra source. Understanding where the meteorite originates from is potentially key to understanding its nature; chakra, a human phenomenon, is intrinsically different from the chakra that FELLED ANGEL radiates. Below are findings to discern where in the cosmos that FELLED ANGEL could originate.

(S//SAR-FA) FELLED ANGEL COMPOSITION ANALYSIS

OXYGEN: 32%
UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE: 18%
SILICON: 16%
IRON: 13%
CALCIUM: 8%
ALUMINUM: 7%
MAGNESIUM: 3%
OTHER: 3%​

(S//SAR-FA) Composition analysis strongly suggests that FELLED ANGEL is Lunar in origins. Further study required.

(S//SAR-FA) Lunar meteorite composition further suggests that FELLED ANGEL is lunar in its origins. Striking similarities between it and the composition of lunar soil and meteorites left behind over various impacts from the past century.

(S//SAR-FA) LUNAR METEORITE COMPOSITION ANALYSIS

OXYGEN: 42%
SILICON: 21%
IRON: 13%
CALCIUM: 8%
ALUMINUM: 7%
MAGNESIUM: 6%
OTHER: 3%​

ACCESS: RESTRICTED/SAR-FA
AGENT/CLEARED PERSONNEL: SAD-006, HSS-003, HSS-005, HSS-002
DATE: SEPTEMBER 4
SUBJ: FELLED ANGEL human contact

(TS//SAR-FA) SAD Operational Team that had discovered FELLED ANGEL was noted to have no adverse symptoms from being in extended contact with the meteorite. FELLED ANGEL was in their possession for three hours and thirty-five minutes, with no consequences reported in debriefing.

(TS//SAR-FA) Three experiments conducted between the days of September 2 and 4; each test had a single HSS scientist remain in contact with FELLED ANGEL for extended periods of time. The first for four hours, the second for eight hours, and the third for sixteen hours.

(TS//SAR-FA) Determined to be harmless in human contact, though unclear if the chakra it radiates could be absorbed or sealed. Further experimentation required.
ACCESS: RESTRICTED/SAR-FA
AGENT/CLEARED PERSONNEL: SAD-001, HSS-002, HSS-004, HSS-005
DATE: SEPTEMBER 4
SUBJ: FELLED ANGEL contact with Fuuinjutsu

(TS//SAR-FA) Meteorite remained resistant to Fuuinjutsu, unable to seal it prevent it from radiating its chakra.
ACCESS: RESTRICTED/SAR-FA
AGENT/CLEARED PERSONNEL: SAD-001, HSS-002, HSS-004, HSS-005
DATE: SEPTEMBER 8
SUBJ: FELLED ANGEL accidental contact with golems

(TS//SAR-FA) FELLED ANGEL moved to primary storage unit after construction (see: SKY DOME). [DOCUMENT DAMAGED, INFORMATION DESTROYED]

(TS//SAR-FA) While in transit FELLED ANGEL radiated its chakra, as normal, and an unexpected phenomenon occurred that caused low-ranking earth-based golem technique, carrying the meteorite, to begin to decay. In a mere five minutes the golem was rendered powerless and collapsed back into the earth. Further tests required.

(TS//SAR-FA) Theorized that any creation borne directly of chakra is susceptible to its effects; this hypothesis seems to hold true as various types of elemental golems were taken into contact with its radioactive effects.
 

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Let me tell you a story. A story of human imperfection. One that a certain man would not share, for the burden of Knowledge is greater than the burden of Life. This man is a wretched monolithic guardian. He stands upon his throne, adorned in ornate robes, gazing into eternity. Yet that knowledge is kept hidden, a secret from the rest of the world. Is that freedom? Is that fair? The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents. We live on an island of ignorance in a black sea of Infinity. You were not meant to voyage far from our island. The sciences, the scholars, the empires, and all their denizens have hitherto done naught to break down this human imperfection. At times our ships sail a little further out from our island of ignorance. But our minds remain placated at small successes, failing to see the larger picture. Some days we piece together another small, fractured, dissociated fragment of knowledge that will let us sail another meter from our island. But our ship drifts back. One day the secrets this cretin of a man, your monolithic guardian of information, will decide. And that day the dissociated pieces of knowledge will unify, opening up such terrifying vistas of reality; we shall go either mad from revelation, or flee from the deadly light of truth to a new island of ignorance.

Ten swords, nine torches, four barriers. Soon the dissociated fragments will unite, lighting the way for the great Convergence. Each step you take is done in service of a greater power. Each enemy you kill, each ally you save, each empire you fell brings our Realities closer to Convergence. Since time immemorial we have Diverged.

Can you see it? Can you see what I show you? Have you learned? Can you see from the highest of your windows looking out into the open sea as the candles sputter out. You see no city spread below, no friendly lights gleaming from remembered streets. Only the blackness of space illimitable; unimagined, vast, infinite space that is both in constant motion and stillness. They have no semblance of anything on earth; and as you stand there, looking out into cosmic endlessness, the wind blows out the candles before you. Cosmic infinity comes to you, sweeping over our island of ignorance as a demon of madness plays its viol behind you, cheering in silence as the tides swallow you whole.

Soon a barrier will break. It holds back the tides of knowledge. Her final hour is drawing near, and she accepts her destiny with open arms. Three torches soon to be lit. Six remain free in their bindings, the chains of damnation too long to be felt unless the ship strayed too far from the island of ignorance into the black sea of knowledge. Another barrier cracks; endless living feel joy in their lives. Their newfound eternity rooted in the same ignorance that blinds them to the cosmic tides enveloping them. You have yet to see the dark universe yawning; black planets roll without aim, horror unheeded without knowledge or name. You stand at the abyss unknowingly, each step drawing you further into the darkness happily taken.

Story tell you let me. You have sent nine bullets into the back of your closest friend's brain, and yet you hope you are not the murderer. Their blood dripping purple, covering your hands in stained torment. I learn, I learn, I learn.

Have you wondered if the majority of your kind ever pause to reflect upon the titanic significance of their dreams? How a dream both holds the power to obfuscate reality, and also augment it? How do we discern what is real, and what is not? Why is your reality more real than mine? You live in a world. A planet that rolls endlessly in the black abyss. Its mechanics beholden to arbitrary universal physical laws that are attempted to be discerned, their mysteries unraveled. I live in a reality where up is not up, and down is not down. Yet I learn yours infinitely faster than you could ever hope to perceive reality. Whilst the greater number of your nocturnal visions are perhaps no more than faint and fantastic reflections of your waking experiences, there is still a harrowing remainder that suggest an eternal character within your mind might vaguely glimpse Cosmic Truth. Perhaps then it is not your reality that is the truer of the two. Perhaps it is mine, the less material life, that is the Truer Existence. Could you accept this Cosmic Truth? Would your mind break? I see, I see, I see.

In your dreams your searchlight expires. The island of ignorance doused in eternal void. You can heard voices, yowls, echoes, and screeches. But above all else a gently rising insidiousness, scurrying across the surface of the water as it raided the island. Arrays of stiff bloated corpses littered the sea of infinity, resting there for minutes yet also eternities. It was a putrid sea. And yet the screams bring you joy. The horror as your fellow humans are devoured in the thousands, no...the millions. Food for the fire, fuel for the stomach. They swarm your island as if a pestilence, unencumbered by need or desire. They follow instinct, their minds quickened by Cosmic Truth. They are not Her's, but Mine.

Your dream is on the edge of fading memories. Yet it is as clear as day. A reality more real than your own. You are distinct, unreachable, frozen. Your eyes laid bare to Truth. The ocean is painted red, yet none can see. The maggots have drained the blood of the dead, staining the tranquil waters of infinity with Reality. I become, I become, I become.

You feel endless pain, but also infinite happiness. The creaking of the invisible gallows sways in the cold dead wind that permeates the island of ignorance. Black and red tides stretch across its sands. Among them are nine dead messengers, their bodies drained of blood. They attempt to call out their lovers names, but dead things make no noise. They suffer, they die, and they freeze. They were like a mirage of paper, floating above a black sea. Nothingness. Naked before the judge as a bird with broken wings soars above, looking down with horror as it realizes it failed to stop the inevitable. Its existence had eight hundred times stood before, stopping unknowingly and knowingly what was to come. But his machinations became too great, too far, too vast to stop all at once. A third barrier broken. He cries, knowing it was too late. His body lifeless on the cold marble. I rise, I rise, I rise.

Overwhelming want. Humans desire the end. They seek it out with pernicious appetite. Wars, corruption, death, destruction. Desire power, desire force. The power to compel drives even the most noble with lust and desire. A fourth barrier to break, the foot of a dragon steps to shatter the glass. A sleeping beast never wounded, its blood drained into the sea of darkness.

Gaze upon Cosmic Truth. Watch as the beasts lumber slobberingly into sight and squeeze each drop of knowledge from its victims. They step through the black doorway, tainted air outside that poisons a city with madness. The Thing cannot be described-their is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy. Such eldritch contradictions of matter, force, and cosmic order upended your carefully constructed reality. They happily dance in the streets, feet puncturing holes in lungs and blood spurting out to paint their black oily skin red. They laugh, they laugh, they laugh.

...

The woman woke in her hospital bed, with glowing blue cosmic eyes wide open.
 

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"A crack in the glass," the shrouded Nefarian observed, looking into the black void with a solemn expression. "The dead no longer whisper. The flow of souls into Irkalla has fallen by almost seventy percent since I began. And the disease remains, so far, largely undetected. Some have their suspicions. Some have followed threads that She revealed. Others have gone a step further and awakened to cosmic truth. Or...at least some of it." Nefarian lowered his hood, his gaze still fixated on the black void in front of him. The wood creaked under his feet, as if the space around him was buckling under pressure. Reality was bending. No...it was being consumed.

Imeroth stood at his side, staring with him into the abyss. For the most part he was silent, simply listening to the report that Nefarian provided. "Everyone and everything serves a purpose." As he spoke a crack formed in the wood under his feet, and the entire tower shifted forward ever so slightly.

"Everyone and everything serves a purpose," Nefarian repeated, his head turning to look at the side of Imeroth's face. The master of the Voidlords continued to stare into darkness, hollow eyes comforted by the maw. Nefarian's expression remained solemn as he stared for a moment. "Death will come first, but Condition will not follow."

Nefarian turned his head back toward the gnawing chasm, looking down into infinity. Another creak, the tower whining as it was pulled closer and closer to the abyss.
The woman woke in her hospital bed, with glowing blue cosmic eyes wide open.

Two doctors stood above her, perplexed by her new eyes. The hospital had been quite silent for a while now. Incoming patients had been reduced significantly; over half of the hospital's normal capacity was freed up in the past two months. The morgues were going out of business. It was an interesting time to live in the Land of Fire. "Miss Kinrah?" Asked the doctor on the left side of the bed. They had no patients to visit. So they often lingered around Kinrah, wondering when she would wake from her coma.

Her eyes darted around the room, suspicion and concern suddenly welling up inside them. Kinrah's head flicked left to right, confused at what she saw. Not so long ago she was on an island surrounded by deep, dark, black waters. But the water was not black. It was stained red. Red with human blood. Beasts with black oily skin slobbered through the doorway of her hospital room. They danced on her corpse, their feet puncturing her lungs and filling them with thick and sticky blood. These doctors....beasts in disguise! It was the only explanation. It hadn't...no couldn't have been a dream. It was far too real. Sharp talons, dead bodies, shattering glass, and an army of monsters dancing in the streets as humans collapsed and died around them. She began breathing heavily. She had to escape. Find her husband and son. Perhaps they still lived?

The doctors, needless to say, were confused. The woman began breathing heavily, clearly panicked in the hospital bed. They watched her, suddenly concerned with her mental wellbeing. Otherwise her vital signs had been normal. She shook in the bed, convulsing, gripping the sheets, her knuckles turning white. But through it all her eyes remained a cloudy blue. "Ma'am!" The second doctor shouted, suddenly springing to action. "Help me hold her down. She's going to hurt herself." The two doctors rushed to action, and from the side of the bed used their strength to hold her arms down against it. "Nurse! Nurse!" They need to sedate her, to calm her down, and slow her heart.

These beasts! She could feel their talons sinking into the flesh of her forearms. Her body convulsed, and her eyes saw blood seeping onto the clean white sheets that she lay in. Blood. Blood.! "Let me...let me go. Please!" She shouted, pleading with her assailants. They were beasts. Monsters. Their oil seeped onto her skin, almost as if to change her themselves. Her chest compressed, and her arms stiffened as they pushed down on them. "Please!" One final attempt at freedom with words. From above they laughed, their screeches piercing her ears. Deafening laughter that relished in her pain and captivity.

"She thinks we're killing her..." One of the doctors managed, struggling as the woman's strength grew. Kinrah was no shinobi. She wasn't even particularly well built or strong. Just an average woman in her late twenties with nothing remarkable about her aside from her long black hair and tanned skin. The average appearance of someone from the Land of Fire.

"I learn! I learn! I LEARN!" She shouted now, trying to overpower their laughter. Her right hand broke free of the beasts' control, nearly breaking the doctor's arm in half as she swiped it out to the right to free her body from it. Suddenly her entire form flickered a black and purple energy, as if her very position in reality was distorting itself. Space bent around her, and both the doctors were sent flying backwards. Yet they stopped instantly in mid-air. Suddenly they were both back in their original position before trying to restrain Kinrah.

"I see....I see....I see..." She began convulsing again in her bed, both doctors terribly confused as they watched her. Kinrah's body flickered again, and suddenly she appeared behind the doctor on the left side of her bed. The opposite physician looked in horror as Kinrah ran him through with nothing but her hand, ripping his heart out from his chest and pulling it back through as it tore the right and left coronaries. Blood splattered around the room as Kinrah screamed. "I rise...I RISE....I RISE!" She shouted at the top of her lungs, throwing the doctor's body at the wall with immense strength and then leaping at the other one. With her finger nails she tore through the second's throat, kneeling on her bed as her nails dug down to the bone.

In Kinrah's mind the evil FDILmHAluKELDR were decapitated and eviscerated. Their laughter had stopped. Finally, silence. Her body flickered again as reality tore around her. In a purple burst of energy she split her body into multiple clones. They were not shadow clones. And yet they were also very, very real. Their flesh and hearts beat as normal humans would. Each with glowing blue Shinkaigan. Each Kinrah leapt out of the window of the hospital in successive fashion.

And yet the doctors still breathed, their bodies still filled with life.

Combat Mission Requirements:
  • The events of this post take place in Keishi, but clones of Kinrah can be found anywhere in the Land of Fire.
  • Your mission must be S-Rank. Unlike the last mission, which dealt with rogue shinobi this mission is far more difficult and dangerous. You are dealing with the shades of the woman named Kinrah, former patient of a hospital. She has no formal ninja training, and yet she is immensely powerful. This mission should represent high difficulty for most that engage her shade. Her parameters are as followed:
    • 220 Health Points
    • 2,500 Chakra
    • Base movement speed of 28.
    • She has incredible physical durability, able to reduce all damage done to her by 50.
    • Every three turns she is capable of evading all damage, her body flickering in and out of existence as if like purple static on a television.
    • You lose 5 Sanity per turn by being within mid-range of her. This stacks with Sanity loss from her Shinkaigan.
    • She is a master of the Eight Inner Gates. You may engage with this at your discretion, though it should be used to some degree during the fight. She is also a wielder of the base Shinkaigan, though has none of its techniques.
    • Kinrah has gone completely insane. But in her mind she is entirely normal.
  • This mission must take place in the Land of Fire.
  • You are to use lethal force against this clone.
 
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MODERATOR'S NOTE: As shinobi enter battle with Kinrah, people around the world can hear these whispers. This is knowledge heard and gained by all.

In the unending depths, the ancient one rests still dreaming.

Do I frighten you, child? Or do you gaze into the cosmic abysm with brave hearts and steeled souls? When the Reckoning comes, will you look upon the infinite with your finite minds? Perhaps you should be frightened, young ones.

Look around you...

The tides of black water grow restless. Once tranquil rivers shift. Soon the waves will crest, soon they will wash over your island of ignorance. Soon they will cascade over the black stone walls. I slumber beneath the waves, my body coiled around her motherly form.

For at the bottom of the ocean, even life must die.

There is no sharp distinction between the real and unreal. There is only the Dream. Underneath the tides I coil, dreaming. Beneath the sea walk only mad things. Do you dream to escape the horrors of reality? Or do you wake to escape the horrors of the dream?

The son of a god rests in Irkalla. His soul tormented, written in the stars. His throat cut to the bone, blood seeping into the ocean. He dreams among dead things. The sprawling bastion laid to waste, torched and set to the sword. Dead things danced to the east.

Her ambitions are an endless crater. Her mind set upon learning the infinite. She will not reach it, but I have filled her heart. Her hour will come when the crown falls from her head, and life is given to the death.

The Mage King walks alone, his all-seeing eyes lighting the way. He is blind to the terrors below.

The Void feasts on your soul at the edge of the abyss. It is content to do so slowly. Patiently. All things have souls. And all souls can be devoured.

I had the dream again. A black serpent with eight eyes gazing back at you. It watches from the outside, yet lives within. The fish know the secrets. They know the cold, they know the dark. Beneath the sea, only mad things walk.

My roots grow deep, they grow far. Its truck grows strong, and its branches wide. Soon it will anchor your reality to mine. Its surface will blaze bright, masking shadows below.

One cannot be sure that the sea and ground were horizontal. The geometry of my reality is all wrong. Or it is all right. What endless wisdom and magnificent architectural skill did the gods employ to construct such a fine reality? Or perhaps it was all mad to begin with? The relative position of everything seems so phantasmally variable, so questionably real. One cannot be sure that the architect did not go mad when building your house.

Mad things walk among the waking, the living. They dream of their dreadfully boring normalcy. And yet their actions scream howls of blood and terror. They steal, they terrorize, and they murder. Their eyes glow blue, cosmic truth reflected in their bloodstained irides. A little doe lost in dark woods, its neck cut open. Blood spurting, it stains the grass red with the black ocean. Yet no one knows. No one sees. The doe still breathes.

The Domain of Condition strains and creaks. Yet it will not break second. Death has left this world. The King of Souls has been made a pawn. The Swordsmith will return what he lost. Soon his heart will break, and his Soul shattered. What can change the nature of a man? He stands at the cosmic abyss, gazing with dread below. The world bends, reality morphs. Soon I will become you, and you will become me. The dreamer becomes the dream.

At the hour of his second death, he ushers my rise. Nine torches lit, four seals broken.

The cold currents sweep through the island. They caress even the bravest of men, making them shiver in the dark. You will all be alone, in the end. As your world collapses, your minds close, and you surrender to madness. Embrace darkness, let it swell within you. Look around you, they will all betray you. They will spill your blood, cutting your throat to the bone. Kill them quickly, before they wrap their talons around you and puncture your lungs.

Rejoice, for the end comes soon.
 
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Yes, I can feel it. The tides have begun to shift. The waters are no longer still. Soon the first tether will snap, soon my reach will expand beyond the confines of boundless infinity.

"Mother? Mother?" Imeroth asked twice, his meditation breaking in the Chamber of the Forge. There was no one else in the chamber with him, and so his words echoed lightly off the cold stone walls that surrounded him under the Sunlit Forge. He spoke to no one there, only responding to the whispers in his own mind. "Mother, is that you?" He asked again, almost pleading for another response like a child lost in the darkness.

Two torches have now been darkened, only seven to be extinguished. From my dreams I call forth, from your mind I rise.

"Yes, Mother. The Akatsuki has captured the Ichibi and Nibi. They move slowly but..." His words were interrupted again by the invading whispers. Tiamat had never spoken to him like this before; never had she been so eager to give Imeroth visions or whispers. Her voice was so ecstatic, speaking quickly in his mind. It was rare for Tiamat to speak so much at all.

To see all is to see nothing. To see nothing is to see all. You walk the path, but it will not be you that turns the key. You are but the shepherd of the blind. Soon the long circle will be completed; I have dreamt it. I have seen it. I have learned it. And I will rise from it.

Imeroth smiled, knowing that it meant they were on course. His plan was working, and they were moving forward as planned.

Soon the Mage King wil glimpse cosmic infinity. And like you he will come to know truth. The young god, the fourth child, will remain as the only bulwark humanity has. But flesh is my gift. And with it many swords have been forged. Among them three new siblings.

The Voice's smile faded away. He and Solomon were completely and perfect opposites of each other. The two were, as Tiamat phrased it, shepherds in their own right. Yet their philosophies completely differed. Solomon believed in noninterference, refusing to use his gifts to insert himself into the conflicts of humanity. Though this largely had begun to change as the Voidlords' plan started to come to fruition. As their machinations blossomed Solomon began to act on behalf of humanity, believing that Imeroth's intentions were not of this world at all. To Solomon, intervening in a war was different from intervening in something divine. If it was not of humanity, then his philosophical protests no longer played a role in his calculus. Imeroth on the other hand had no such reservations. To him restoring what was the 'natural order' was an absolute imperative. Imeroth and Solomon were always in perfect balance. Never crossing each other, and always observing and inserting themselves indirectly against each other. Solomon directed, or at least attempted to, the forces of humanity against the Master of the Voidlords. And Imeroth used his own pawns to move against Solomon, never taking a stand himself. Yet soon this balance might be disrupted, which confused Imeroth. But his confusion would not last for long, as the whispers continued unabated.

I dreamt of a veil deep beneath the sea. Shimmering depths that obscure the darkness below. The fish know the secrets. They know the cold, they know the dark. The next barriers creak and bend against the pressure. Chaos will be unleashed.
 

Drackos

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The mysteries of the Void are vast and deep, young one. I can see you reading this, hearing it in the confines of your limited mind, unable to truly grasp the infinite truths that exist in the depths. Even as we speak my tendrils spread through your earth, my roots reaching to corners of the world not yet explored and depths not yet traversed. Your eyes remain closed to the edge of the abyss that you walk so close to. At this very moment death leaves your world, a truth so contradicting that reality itself will buckle under its weight. Perhaps it is best your eyes remain closed, otherwise you will scream at the limitless possibilities that the cosmos hides behind its vast infinity.

What separates your reality from mine? Why is the sky of your existence more true than mine? One cannot be so sure that the ground and sea were horizontal. The geometry of my reality could very well be more true comparatively. And yet you insist upon holding that truth as close to you as possible, without even realizing it. A truth that you take for granted, and one that might be a falsehood. The relative position of everything seems so phantasmally questionable, so variably real. One cannot be sure that the architect did not go mad when building your reality. But soon we will be bound together, and resisting my Truths will offer no solace, no respite. Soon our realities will become so inextricably intertwined that there will be no ignoring them. Soon the dream will become truth. And truth become the dream.

A single question I will pose to you: what is reality? How can you be sure you are not dreaming right at this very moment? How do you know that your perceptions are not false? If you live in a dream then it must also be held true that your world is but a tiny fraction of physical reality. Perhaps what is even more frightening is that this tiny fraction itself might not even be real. How do you know what is located on some 'fundamental' reality, rather than a construct of some higher power. When the gods forged this plane of existence, what came before it? What will come after it? And what exists parallel to it? Is it even real at all? Or was it created from some false sense of physical existence in a cosmic vacuum. What is reality? Countless philosophers, academics, scientists, and mages have pondered this question not for centuries, but millennia. It was even a question asked by the gods, their mother remaining silent on the issue. And for good reason; the puzzle that continues to provoke has driven men mad and women mad. What holds our societies together if not the idea that we exist within a real reality? What would happen if truth turned to be much darker, much more vacuous, than your people have contended in the past? What if the empires of Gold, Silver, and Bronze were built not on their merits and power, but upon a lie?

Perhaps, then, the greatest mercy is not the ability to cognize infinity, but to spin a smaller and more limited picture of cosmic truth. If you are mad, then it is a mercy. But may the gods have mercy on the one that remains sane to the very end, the one who might glimpse truth. You sail in a black sea of truth, limited to a boat that is kept afloat only by your ignorance. Like the island of ignorance, humans were once exposed to the terrifying vistas of reality that could bring down not only the most magnificent gilded empires, but also entire universes. The bliss of pure anarchy can only be attained once the lie has been broken. But what happens when your boat fills with water and the depths take you? The order that the gods erected was never met to be diverted from. The boat you sail on was never met to voyage far, its sails only intended to exist within the confines of your limited mind.

Why is the love you kiss in your dreams, or the food you feast on for dinner, more real than the souls I feast on in the infinite void?
 
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