2018-01-13: Things Unseen Under a Great Light
- Cutscene: Things Unseen Under a Great Light
- Cast: Neriah Parringer
- Where: Three Cucco Spring, Ignas
- Date: Sep. 13, 2018
- Summary: Maddened by the miasma of an elder god, Neriah Parringer becomes lost in the horrifying power within her, and does something she'll regret.
- It upsets you, doesn't it.
Usually, a falling star shines in the night sky.
It is a rare thing to find one so dark that it seems to swallow daylight as it passes.
The deep black spark screams across the sky above the Badlands, high and fast. A trail of shadow streaks across the sky behind it, like some immense, grotesque smudge of something unimaginably hideous. It's as if the shape in the sky were defiling the very earth over which it passed.
- That they stand here and flau̶n͟t ̡th͞e͠i͏r sp͞ecial legacies. And͞ ͟th̶eir sp̵ec̵ia̴l t҉oys.̢ ̶And their special things.͢ Ho̕w̢ un͏i͏qu҉e ͞the̥̙̲y͖̖̼ ̨̣̮̭̤a͏͇͖͚̟̮̙̮r̨̻̠e̘̲̱̱͕̪.̼͚̜
Far below, in the seed village of Three Cucco Spring, a woman gasps and points towards the sky, dropping her basket full of foodstuffs. Potatoes and onions and cactus fruits spill out across the sandy ground of the bustling village's main street.
"Mom, what's that thing?!" a young boy asks in wonder as eyes begin to lift to the heavens. Life in the village street grinds to a halt as wonder takes them. Men, women, children, even their steeds, are all fixed on the skies, following the path of that hideous smudge. None of them have seen the like of it before. "Well, it can't be a vulture and it ain't some other kind of bird," one of the menfolk surmises. "Birds don't leave funny stains like that."
Surprised chatter bubbles from the crowd with alarm as the streaking black fireball in the sky - already so bizarre - does something unexpected.
It twists madly in the sky, wrenching itself into an erratic, spiralling course as it begins to climb higher and higher into the open sky. It passes across the sun, seeming to tangibly darken the light of it.
And then, at the apex of its climb, the shape suddenly begins to fall.
- Bu͏t ͝yo̸u̢ ̡a͘re ͏th͜e ̵m͏os̛t ҉uni̶̠͓̝̺̣̩q̯̥̰̭̟͈͢ͅu͈̝͈̜͇͕e͡ ơf ͡a̧ll̛ o̧f̵ t͜he͜m.̨
The wonder of the villagers of Three Cucco Spring turned to screams the second the meteor came into sight, and into flight the second the meteor made a landing in the middle of the street and it became clear that it was not a meteor at all.
Shrieks and panic rip through the town as women flee with their children, scrambling madly towards the dubious shelter of the buildings along the main street. Horses rear and whinny in terror. Some of the more courageous menfolk stay behind, but there are pale, stunned faces as they reach for their ARMs, ready to defend their village from what's before them.
The malice pouring off of the shape is tangible as it sinks to one knee in the village street. Sheer proximity to it is enough to make some of the men physically nauseous. The black energy which composes the vaguely humanoid creature strains and ripples insanely; its limbs and back bulge and warp in places, as though its physical shape were barely adequate to contain something truly hideous. The body is humanoid enough. Strand of ethereal white plasm of some kind stream around its head in a halo, like countless ghost fingers.
It kneels with its face buried in its hands, trembling. A low, unsettling rumble emanates from it - a groan just a little too low to be clearly heard, but low and long and pained.
With a click of hooves, an anxious horse rides forward through the ring of villagers. The mustachioed sheriff on the back of it unholsters his six-gun. He too is pale, but resolved, as he begins to move. "You there. Creature. What is it you want in Three Cucco Spring, now? Say your piece and we'll have no problems, ya hear?"
The rumble shifts subtly. The villagers glance at each other; one of them swallows his gorge. Seconds tick by.
The dark shape lifts its head, as though it weighed a thousand pounds.
Hollow white eyeholes, massive enough to swallow up half the creature's head and pulsating as if their diameter wasn't fixed, lock on the sheriff. That empty gaze almost seems to swallow him up.
- Y̵ou h͝a̡v́e a̶ sp͜ec͘i҉͜a͘͜͠l̸ l̸eg̶ać̴̨y̕ ̷͘t̢h̴̨a̵͟t ͜c̸͢á͞ǹ͠n̴ot be̴ see͞n͘ ̨unde͠r ̀a ̶gr̕e̕a̶t l̷i͜ght.̵
Three Cucco Spring is drowning in blood.
It took generations of settlers untold decades to build to prosperity what their visitor had destroyed in minutes. The sturdiest sheriff's office, the most painstakingly-designed saloon, the homes built with the love of fathers and grandfathers, could never hope to withstand the unnatural force that was levied at them. That which was not smashed or torn to shreds simply rotted away and disintegrated, as if the mere touch of the abominable power cast forth at it was enough to sap the will to live even from things that do not normally live.
Organic gore splatters through the ruined village. The rubble of things that were once human. Most of it is not recognizable. Some of it is. Most of menfolk are little more than disconnected parts and gruesome liquid smears that stain the desert floor with corruption.
The bodies of some of the others have been left. The women - some of the older men. Always twisted, ravaged by a distorting darkness.
The rumble of shrieking undersound is deafening, even lying as it does just beyond the lower edge of human hearing. The collapsed remnants of the town shudder under the force of it. But over that grating noise comes more sound.
The sound of children crying.
- None of them can take this away from you.
There are ten or twelve of them, escorted by a terrified schoolteacher who has sheltered them here. Wide-eyed and frightened, they huddle together in the wreckage of the schoolhouse, hugging each other tightly. All of them are crying.
The little children of Three Cucco Spring know they are going to die.
"Please," a small girl sobs, one among the many of them. She falls to her knees before the one who will be their murderer. "Please don't kill us!! We didn't do anything!! Please don't!! Please!! We won't do anything! I promise!" Tears stream down her anguished face like twin rivers.
The guttering shadow flame before her ripples and undulates. Those pale white eyes fix on her. A dark arm is held straight, prepared to summarily execute them.
It hangs there for a moment, before a seam opens along the lower half of its face. It opens, like a mouth.
- Śome ͡p̛e̸op͏l͜e͢ dese͟r̵ve͠ ҉to̡ ̶b̢e͜ ͝hu̡rt́.̨
The children of Three Cucco Spring watch in utter amazement and horror as a miracle occurs.
The dark entity hurls itself into the sky. It screams towards the horizon on an erratic, writhing course. The dark smear of it thins as it sails towards the horizon.
They are spared - but left with the rubble of their former life before them.
- But some of them don't. Some of them don't, no matter how much I hate the world. That's why I can't be a monster anymore.
- For Riesenlied... Jay... Ginny...
- ...for Mikaia....
When Neriah Parringer opens her eyes the next morning, the overpowering madness induced by the Primarch of Muse as it mingled with the taint of Valmar has passed. she is somewhere far from Wayside Village. Somewhere even farther from Three Cucco Spring.
Her resting place was a crater on a mountainside in a place she's never been, freshly smashed into existence by some power.
Or perhaps... that power.