Far Beyond

A lone planet circled around its star, silent in space it followed its course. The calm of its rotation was only a front though, down on the surface chaos reigned. The surface of the planet is unstable, large deposits of charged crystals defy the gravity of the planet, lifting large chunks of it into the sky, while some rose to safe heights before stabilizing, others sailed far beyond, falling apart the dirt and stones came raining back down to the surface, destroying anything it landed upon. It did not matter if it was a hundred-foot tree, or a boulder, they were crushed under the immense weight of that which fell. Beneath the chunks of land were great craters which over the years filled with water and became lakes. The creator of the planet, Anodyne the mad god of chaos, spent their time in the pursuit of creating life, they started by making plants and single celled creations, they found themselves moving up the evolutionary ladder at a rapid pace, but when it came to creating a creature with sentience similar to a human, they achieved nothing. The already scarred surface of the planet was struck repeatedly as the deity let out their frustration. They created deep crevices, and reduced most of the mountains on the planet to a sliver of their original height. Their screams could be heard across every planet in his universe, vibrating through space and resonating on every planet. Anodyne continued to feel the crushing pressures of loneliness, they thought that by now they would be able to create life they could interact with, something that they could talk to as to stave off some of their crippling isolation. They cried and laughed at the same time, their hands shook with rage, as they giggled to themself. “All alone, finally, everything we wanted as a mortal. To explore a universe, and here we lay in the dirt, weeping, laughing, incapable of dying.” Anodyne slammed their head into the ground, over and over again, screaming louder with each collision, then they stopped just shy of the ground. “I don’t need to create life, I just need to find developed life, I am an idiot. This universe must be covered in developed planets.” Anodyne seemingly vanished as they started to fly around their universe in search of sentient life. They darted between planets like a wayward pinball in the largest machine ever built. It reached a point when they started to give up on everything, they slowed down, and soon they were nothing more than adrift, staring blankly with their mouth slightly ajar. Their eye twitched as a small portion of drool fell from them, freezing in the cold of space as it drifted away, eventually finding itself falling to a nearby planet, evaporating upon entry it released a new biome of bacteria, and a new branch of life to develop. Meanwhile Anodyne was approached by another, there was a flash of light and a soft click that appeared behind them, they turned to see a shining individual, their ambient light fading slowly they stood before Anodyne upon a small chunk of earth with lush grass and flowers they sprouted instantly. Anodyne squinted, turning their head to one side, then slowly back to the other. “Are you real, or just one of my usual hallucinations?” Anodyne asked, as he covered each of his own eyes one at a time. The other deities mouth opened, but instead of words, came the sounds of crashing waves, cracking rocks, and morning bird calls. Anodyne stared blankly, but before he could say anything the other deity spoke again. “Strange, do you use language?” “What else would I use?” The other deity looked around them, squinting periodically before turning back to Anodyne. “With a universe this old, I assumed you would know other forms of communication.” “What, is the sound of nature supposed to be faster than just talking?” The other deity pinched dust that was floating past, look intently. “This is rare,” the deity brought their finger closer to their eye. “Oh, this is very rare, this place might be a good spot for mining.” “What are you on about?” Anodyne looked at the small pile of dust “It is dust how is that rare? It is everywhere.” The other seemed to stop momentarily before grinning. They then started to walk forward, and the small island beneath their feet grew to accommodate the new deities’ movements. They walked straight past Anodyne, Anodyne turned to watch him, but another light caught their attention, they turned back to see two other deities wander in. They both looked to one another and the sounds of nature came out, the first deity to intrude replied in kind. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my universe?” Anodyne yelled. The other three looked to one another with furrowed brows. “Listen kid,” the first deity said, laying a hand on Anodyne. “This place has some rare materials, we are going to take it, then we will leave. We will only be here like a million factorial years, then we will leave.” Anodyne raised his hands and proceeded to count on his fingers for a moment before looking back to the newcomers with the same hatred in his eyes that he used to stare at the frozen being. “You will leave now, or I will kill you.” The three newcomers laughed at Anodyne before turning away and continuing their plan. Anodyne felt the rage boiling inside of him, he turned and struck the closest one, just to have his fist stopped by some kind of invisible force. “Okay, listen here child. We find you amusing, but if you try and get in our way, we will kill you, and we will continue what we were going to do anyway. So, know when you have no chance of fighting, and back off.” Anodyne waited for them to finish before he slammed his fist at the other deity a second time. “This is my domain, you will leave.” Anodyne proclaimed as he continued to stare. “Stupid, fucking child gods.” The invading deity said as he turned to Anodyne. He let a sigh out just before he struck Anodyne, sending him flying back to a nearby planet, like a stray asteroid landing upon a planet. Anodyne coughed blood, and struggled to breath through his injuries, his vision started to wobble, and then he fell still. The other deities did as they pleased, bringing strange machines into the universe they begun bagging the dust that was circling around the universe. Anodyne’s blood flowed out onto the planet, around his unconscious body was a small any colony that tasted his blood, returning it to their nest they began improving themselves in ways they were not prepared for. The followed the stream of blood, and moved their colony into Anodynes body, crawling in every orifice they could find they built their colony in his body. The more blood they drank, the stronger they became, until they were able to finally chew through Anodyne’s internals, carving their own caverns, not having to rely on his natural cavities. They dug deeper, ate more, grew in strength, and number, but it did not matter how far they dug, his body never seemed to end, even when they had burrowed further than Anodyne’s slim frame should have been able to hold. Anodyne awoke suddenly after only a few months with an intense ringing in his ears. His body had healed, and he stood to his feet, nearly falling as he went. “Odd, why is my body off balance?” He asked himself. Rolling his eyes backwards he looked inside, to see the sprawling nest of ants that now lived in him. “Pests. If it wasn’t my body you were in I would crush your home suffocating you, until, you, died…” Anodyne began to trail off, then looked to the sky. “I know what I have to do.” Anodyne started to amass every piece of matter he could lay his hands on, pushing it all together they soon collapsed under the immense pressure, creating a black hole in their place. He could feel the pull of his creation, but could still move freely around it, he knew he would have to do better. So he made another one, and another, until they started to chain react, sucking each other in, until there was one that ate everything that came near. Meanwhile the invaders were working on collecting all the dust from space still, but they stopped when they noticed that everything around them seemed to be drifting in one direction, then stop again. “That, was, weird. It was almost like there was an intense pull then it balanced.” They looked to one another before getting back to work, they made no attempt to look for the disturbance, and soon had forgotten that it had even happened. But after a while it happened again, pulling in another direction for a short moment before stopping. Then again in another direction. “Okay what is happening?” One said frustrated. “That is simple, I am going to kill you all.” Anodyne said, appearing in-between the three other deities. “What are you on about?” “I am bringing death to your door, this is your last warning, leave or suffer.” “Kid, you don’t know what you are talking about, you have never even left this universe, how do you expect to stop us? We have visited hundreds of other deities’ universes; you can’t hope to defeat us.” “I won’t defeat you; I even intend on dying with you.” The other three looked to one another, before noticing what was happening. Around them the universe was being consumed by a collection of black holes that were slowly encroaching on them. “Damn, take what we got and move out.” With that, all the strange machines disappeared, and two of the three deities reached out, grabbing door handles that were not there but a moment before, and walking through the appearing doors, for them to just vanish once they closed. “Smart move, but you can’t jump universes, good luck getting out of this. Out there in the Eterna-verse, they call getting caught in a black hole that is stronger than you as god hell.” The last deity went to leave, reaching for a door handle that started to appear, but then faded, and Anodyne began to laugh. “Oh thank the stars, I thought I was going to die alone, at least you can join me.” The intruding deity began to panic as he started grasping for the handle, trying again and again. “What have you done?” He screamed as he looked at Anodyne. “I made black holes to destroy all your precious dust, turns out that somehow disrupts your little door thing which is a nice bonus. I actually had forgot you could jump universes, so I nearly completely fucked up. But hey, one out of three aint too bad for a kid.” The surrounding black holes all spiralled around another, encroaching on the two remaining deities, they could feel their bodies being dragged by the immense force of a nearly universe sized black hole. While the intruding deity screamed in horror, and tried to summon his door he could not help but see Anodyne allowing the pull of the black holes drag him around as he laughed. “You have no idea what fresh hell awaits us, you won’t be laughing then!” “I spent my first several billion, trillion, whatever years of existence suffocating in space, being burnt to dust, and dissolving in acids, I then had part of another being’s mind forced into mine. I don’t see things getting worse. I have done hard yards; this is just the next hurdle. Welcome to the life of the suffering friend. Let’s visit hell together.” Anodyne reached out, grabbing hold of the other deity, laughs and screams twisted, and wound around one another, spiralling into the immense mass of …

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Mortality And Infinity

The Eterna-verse is a concept that mortals struggle to comprehend, but with such a large concept it is no surprise. Ask a mortal to imagine a meter and not only can they most likely imagine it, but they could even demonstrate it. If you ask for them to show you ten, their variance becomes a little wider, and this is true for every meter above the first. If you mention it in kilometres, people may be able to have a concept for how far is needed, especially those who travel often, but if you ask them to imagine the distance between their planet, and the nearest moon, the ability to comprehend falls away. The distance between their planet, and the sun, their solar system and the next, their galaxy and the next, their universe and the next. None of the numbers that could be tied to distances matters, they may as well be infinity, because if a mortal was to attempt to understand, or to travel the distance to experience it, they would die before they accomplished it. The Eterna-verse is the representation of infinity for location, it represents the ever-expanding matter, and anti-matter that makes up the Eterna-verse. For the mortals I ask them to imagine that their universe is the centre of the Eterna-verse, then around their universe is their personal multi-verse, the multi-verse that is every iteration of their own universe, outside of that there are the other multi-verses, that of the other universes that have no tie to their own, around that all is an endless storm that surrounds everything, and blocks the light from either side, beyond that are more rings, of things that become harder to understand concepts that make up the Eterna-verse. Then I ask, as you imagine these perfect rings, or layers to a shell, I want you to drop it, let it smash, and scatter across the ground, pick up the pieces and do it again, until what you hold is an unsortable pile of matter that could not be pieced together, even if you gave the mortal their one hundred years of life. This is the Eterna-verse, it is an endless pool of chaos that grows, shapes, and changes as life develops within it, universes are born faster than they die, and thus the chaos of the Eterna-verse grows each second it is alive. The seed of each new born universe is a deity, as a new deity is born, a new universe develops around it. Deities are born from mortal souls dying once they have lived for a hundred years, the soul wanders the Eterna-verse until it finds a place to rest, where it can grow into its next stage of life, where it turns into a deity, and during this birth there is an explosion of energy that creates a universe for them to reside within, to keep them safe as they develop. The deities will find themselves upon a planet where they can come into their powers, learning how to develop them, until eventually they are able to leave to begin exploring the universe they are in, and in time further into the Eterna-verse. However, the Eterna-verse is ruled by chaos, anything can happen, and it does not matter how routine a system may seem there is always exceptions to the rule, mishaps, and each one helps topple any sign of order within the Eterna-verse. There was one deity, born on a planet like others tend to, but before they were able to take their first breath, and open their eyes their planet was eviscerated by the local star going supernova. By the time the deity did awake it was in the cold void of space, their eyes opened, and quickly they began to freeze over, along with their mouth and nose as the water in their body boiled, then cooled upon touching the void of space. Their muscles expanded and contracted, ballooning them before tensing them tighter than they could imagine. Their body started to twist as the muscles pulled them in random directions, until after a few minutes, they died, or so they thought. When deities are born they have to learn how powerful they are, their mortal lives ideas on how things work will guide how their body reacts to things until they are able to prove it wrong. Spoken simply, if a rock were to fall onto their hand, they would feel pain, because they believe they should, they would not try leap higher than a human, or perform acts beyond a human, such as walking on water, eating lava, or even surviving in space. These feats take time, thousands of years of development and growth before a deity is capable of understanding even the most basic elements of their abilities. They need the time to think on what is happening, and how it has, or hasn’t affected them. If experiences happen too fast, and there is no space to reflect, no learning can happen. When this deity assumed space had killed them, they did the only thing they could do that was close to death, they fell unconscious, their body started to regulate itself again and they returned to normal, just so they could awake and do it all over again. Each time they lived, they did so for a minute or two, and each time they had the memory of the last time it happened. After the first hour went by the first thought formed in their mind, something that usually happens within the first few seconds of existence. They thought to themselves. “This is going to happen forever.” That thought played on a loop, every life had them clawing at their own throat in search of air, hoping to remove whatever was blocking their lungs from working, fighting against the twisting of their limbs as their muscles pushed them to bend in unnatural ways. Beyond the vision of most, and certainly beyond the vision of this deity, on a separate plane of existence a set of wary eyes watched, taking notes. They rested their note taking tools, and they sighed deeply as they watched this deity die, over and over again. They looked away for a brief moment and their plane of existence started to shake, they turned back to the deity, and the shaking slowed to a stop, and so the being watched. With time it was not only the void of space that killed this deity, they were pelted with asteroids, ripping chunks from his body, the blood freezing as it left their gaping wounds. This impact was the first of many, but it was the one that set them on their course, where once they floated stationary dying, now they were swimming through the void, travelling it. The being behind the veil had hoped that they would land on a planet but to their dismay they did. They came crashing down like a stone from the sky, their body burned up as they collided with the atmosphere, they felt their flesh rend from the bone, their eyes exploded, and their eardrums burst all before they died. When they came to, they were in free fall. This time instead of their body freezing and asphyxiating in the void of space, they found their lungs dissolving as fast as their skin as they breathed in the caustic air of the sulphuric planet. Millions of years passed as the being watched, each time they turned their head, or closed their eyes they could feel the fabric of their dimension starting to shake, and pull against itself, so they kept their eyes open, and they watched the deity die, and they took their notes, every last detail. It took an eon before the nearby sun went supernova and shot them off into space once again. The being shook with rage as they continued their role, their fist tensed until they could feel their nails dig into their skin, and just as they could squeeze no harder they suddenly released the tension. They took one deep breath before stretching out their hand, breaking the barrier between dimensions their hand disappeared from their own, and started to appear in the deities. The deity watched as fingers started to appear out of no-where, soon a whole hand had formed and was reaching towards their head. The being pushed with all their might, it felt as if they were pushing their hand through a torrent if broken glass that was oscillating around it, then their universe shook like it never had before, they felt as if they were a drawing on a piece of paper, and the paper was being crumpled, torn, their very being was warping in ways that they could not comprehend, they felt two dimensional against the force that was crushing their very existence, but still they pushed through all the pain, all so that they could touch the deity. The deity watched terrified as this disembodied hand reach towards them, it vibrated, and blood dripped from where their nails had dug in moments before, it shook so violently that it looked as if there were dozens of hands all reaching towards them. They stared unblinking as the violent approach of the hands instilled a new kind of dread within them. Their body stopped reacting to the effects of space, their mouth dried, and they felt the dread that not even the sight of an impending super nova could cause, not even the thought of an endless suffering could compare to how they felt when they stared at the hands approaching. Their heart beat increased as their body froze, not with ice, but muscular tension, their body wanted to move, to run, but in that fear the body engaged every muscle, all at once, the result of which was that they started to coil into a ball. Their eyes never left the hands though, and now, despite being in a vacuum the hands resonated a strange sound, an increasing pitch that sounded like the sound of a singular nail running along a black board. Right as the sound reached the crescendo of its pitch a single finger made contact with the deities forehead. Suddenly the dimension that held the other being collapsed, crumpled like paper in a fist, bending the being along with it. They manifested into the same plane of existence that the deity was in, but their form was distorted, mangled, and horrific. They froze over into a rugged sphere of ice. Meanwhile the deities mind was burning, they were given knowledge, it surged into their mind as the finger touched them. Their brain was burning with a fury that made the deity scream, their spit flung from their mouth and froze into little shards that escaped them. In return for the information that flowed into the deity, a single piece was given back, a single word, Anodyne, the deities name. Anodyne was finally able to breath in space, the void no longer bothered them, neither did the cold, or the radiation. The information had freed them from what they were suffering, and once the searing pain in their skull slowed, they looked over the ice formation that rested in-front of them. Anodyne rested their hand upon it and they knew that this was the thing that had set them free, they had part of the being’s mind in their own, a mess of images, words, memories, emotions, and sensations that should not be experience for such a young deity. Their mind was broken by the years spent in solitude, but the information given to them has shattered their sense of sanity. They stared into the ice, making contact with one of the eyes of the being, Anodyne looked at the horror the eye had frozen into, and Anodyne stared back at it with hatred. “You saved me, I will find the one you fear, I will find the one who did this to you, and by the time I …

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The Wall

Anodyne was floating through one of the universes that had created, he muttered to himself under his breath until his forehead collided with a stone wall. He stopped moving, his brow creasing. “I don’t remember putting a rock here.” He said out loud. Anodyne floated back slightly, then looked at the wall. He looked it up and down, and left to right. But it did not matter which way he looked, it extended to the end of his universe. He tried punching it, but it failed to chip, let alone crack. “A wall.” He said frustrated. “Why is there a wall in my universe?” There was a long pause then he cried out again. “Who put this shit in my universe?” “Oh, that was me.” He turned to see a dishevelled looking individual, he was eating an ice block and licking his lips as he stared at Anodyne without cause. “Why did you build a wall through the middle of my universe?” Anodyne asked, “Hey, that aint no way to greet.” The man said, closing the distance between Anodyne and the stranger. “I am Rune.” He said with his hand outstretched. “I own this fine wall.” Anodyne ignored the hand as he looked at the man. “I am confused.” “It is simple, you say your name, then shake my hand. It is a simple greeting in most universes.” “Not that, I am confused to not only how, but why you built this wall. I can’t get past it, and it happens to be running through my universe, and I need something on the other side, so get rid of it.” “Well I am confused as to how someone can claim to not be confused by my customs, then not acknowledge them.” Rune said as he puffed out his upper lip and looked down to his hand, then back to Anodyne. Anodyne rolled his eyes and groaned. “I am Anodyne, now will…” Anodyne tried to continue but his hand was grabbed with vigour, the man smiled, and interrupted. “It is a great pleasure to meet your acquaintance Mr. Anodyne, what can I do for you sir?” Anodyne’s arm jolted still as he stalled the vigour’s shaking. “I want to know how and why you built this wall.” “That is simple mister, I really wanted a wall there, so I put it up because I thought it might be fun.” “This is my universe, get it out.” The man laughed to himself. “No can do sorry. But I built it out of some special material that gets stronger the more of it, that, is, attached, to, it. Damn that was a weird sentence”. “Are you saying you made something that you can’t un-make?” Rune pressed his lips together as he looked about the wall. “Looks like that do be the case kind sir.” Anodyne’s eye twitched as he looked at the wall, then turned back to Rune. Anodyne tried to slam his fist into Rune, but his fist was stopped by a barrier of light. There was the sound of cracking glass as layers of the light seemed to shed. But despite the layers removed, Rune stood smiling. “Oh ho, ho. That is not going to work sir. You are no where near strong enough to touch me.” “Why am I surrounded by other deities that are far beyond my level of strength?” “Well to be fair, there is at least twenty gods in the Eternaverse, what is the likely hood you can beat all of them up?” “I have literally met thousands of other deities.” Anodyne said as he felt something in his brain twinge. “Yeah, that is at least twenty.” “I need this wall moved, move the wall. I need to be on the other side.” Rune walked up to the wall and slammed his fist into it. Small pieces of powder came back with his fist, but no visible damage was done to the wall. “Well, I think it may just be permanent. Better luck next time friend.” Rune looked at his watch and shrugged. “Well I gotta go, I have a date with a very pretty star that has been flirting with me every time I go past her.” Anodyne turned around to look at Rune, but he was already gone. “I can’t believe that this is my life, how is this always my life?” Anodyne closed his eyes and breathed deeply, and calmly. “I swear, Ompti must be testing, or punishing me for something.” Anodyne rested his hand against the wall and he slowly sunk into it, His eyes opened, and when his vision returned his hand was buried up to his wrist in the stone. But trying to push it in further did nothing, Anodyne’s panicked crept in when he failed to remove his hand from the stone. “Why? How?” Anodyne said as all expression fell from his face. He remained floating in space and looked around. There was sadly nothing on this side of the wall that Anodyne had made, there was no life, or any significant astronomical events that caught his attention. “I guess I am just here now.” He said defeated. His whole body slumped as he kept his body as far from the wall as he could. Decades went by as he remained stuck to the wall, he tried everything he could think of to remove his hand from it, then eventually to push it further in. Despite his best efforts, his situation did not change. Anodyne looked to the stars as time went on without him. Eons went by as his mind started to slip once again, the agony of being held in place sent his mind racing to the edges of what is possible. His body went through every emotion he was capable of expressing, and still none of them gave him insight on how to fix his situation. He screamed to the Eternaverse for answers to his situation, but everything was still, and no one answered him. Then one day Rune returned. “Well looks like this is quite the pickle, isn’t it?” He said with his hands on his hips. Anodyne looked at Rune, barely noticing his existence, before looking back at the wall. “Oh come on, don’t be so glum.” Rune floated to the wall and pressed his hands against it as he hummed to himself. “Ha, I know how to fix this.” He yelled. Snapping his fingers found himself surrounded with Darkness. “Oh, oh that was wrong.” Rune said as he floated around the now cube of strange material. “it seems I have taken the wall, and made it into a box. This literally makes your situation worse, because now the mass of the material is concentrated, so it will be even stronger. I hope you have space in there. I’ll come back if I think of anything.” With that Rune left again, this time Anodyne was cramped into a small cube where he was incapable of standing. His body was pushed against itself as it struggled to fit into the space. He sighed and shrunk himself to fit in the space better, but as he did the material expanded, filling the space he made. No matter how small he made himself the box would shrink with him. Anodyne sat in the box terrified that this would be the fourth, and last time that he would be forced into isolation. He could not see a way out, and no matter how much energy he expended he was incapable of doing anything to the walls around him. He remained in the cube for so long that his thoughts started to repeat, he ran out of content in his mind to explore, everything in his head became as dark as the cube that he was trapped in. Nothing but silence as Anodyne gave up on moving, screaming, and crying. His body was cramped, and he could feel his bones starting to fuse together. He kept his biological body from faltering out of self-preservation, but once his mind turned black, he let it slip away. Outside the cube Rune was pushing it through the Eternaverse, crossing universes, multiverses, stretching beyond the created content, to the naturally spawning creations of the Eternaverse, until eventually he arrived at throne where another deity sat. Their visage was so powerful that those who dared to look upon them had their eyes burnt from their skulls, and despite deities abilities to create, and even alter selves, they were incapable of seeing, or even remembering what sight was, as if they were born into darkness. Rune kept their head bowed to avoid the image of the deity before them and spoke through the cube, his voice just loud enough for Anodyne to hear. “Hey buddy, so I wasn’t just a wandering dude who built a wall, but I am sure you figured that out by now. But I have delivered you to your new owner, so have fun buddy. They like to collect crazy gods, so I just make them and get paid well for it, nothing personal.” Rune slapped the top of the cube twice before standing back from it. The sound of Rune’s voice was enough to scare Anodyne. The first sounds he had heard in millions of eons. His ears tingled as the vibrations bounced around his ears. The deity that sat on the throne stood, grabbing the cube in both their hands they pried it apart as if it were warm bread, straight from the oven. From it, Anodyne’s mangled body floated in space. Rune nudged Anodyne and spoke to him. “Come on guy, Your new master is waiting for you to introduce yourself, I don’t know if you remember, but I showed you how to do that. Although I would not recommend looking them in the eye, or the foot, or anything. Not pleasant.” Rune continued to nudge Anodyne, as he talked to the deity by the throne. “Sorry friend, this one seems to be a dud. I can’t imagine this one would be fun to rule. I do know how you like to play with your toys.” “I am not a slave.” Anodyne muttered through petrified vocal cords. “What was that?” Rune asked as he leant in closer. “No one is my master.” “Well, that is where you are wrong buddy. This one is, they own you now, just as they own this whole sector of the Eternaverse. Hell, they even own me. It aint a bad life really. Can’t complain, well I could, it is horrible, but could be worse, probably.” Anodyne spent their energy unfurling their body, slowly correcting their form until they were nearly standing normally, still hunched, with a whisper quiet voice. “I am no slave, to no master. No one owns me.” Rune laughed. “You can’t even stop me from doing things to you. How are you going to stop them?” Anodyne turned to the entity, his head was cocked low as his body was still to regenerate fully. “I am no slave.” He said as he looked up to the deity. Anodyne’s vision of the ground was the base of a marble throne, as he looked upwards it started to warble, and everything became blurry. He could see shapes of what appeared to be an individual sitting upon a throne, but no details. It felt as if there was an immense pressure against his eyes, not pushing them in, but pulling from the inside, like the other deity was already in his mind. Rune watched as Anodyne looked up in horror, shocked that anyone would willingly peer upon his master. He knew from experience that even catching his master in the edge of his peripheral vision was enough to feel like he had a fire in his skull. But the thing that caught Rune’s eye with Anodyne, was despite the fact he was staring at his master, his eyes had not erupted into flames and cooked from his skull yet. Anodyne couldn’t see clearly, …

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Rebirth

Anodyne stepped slowly through the halls, his stride confident, and calm. As he marched his pace quickened until he was taking heavy strides, his chin was raised, and his eyes stared forward as if he were a hungry predator eyeing his prey. He ran a hand over his head, he could hear the hairs scraping against the metal of his rings. His tongue ran across the front of his teeth, enjoying the smooth sensation as his lip rose and dropped like a wave over the action. At the end of the hallway was a door, light was beaming through the cracks around the edges, and was picked up by the fine spread of smoke that was slowly filling the air around him. He grasped the handle to the door and pulled it towards him, the light flooded in and consumed him as he screamed out in pain. Suddenly his eyes opened and his body lurched forward from its prone position. He sat with soot and muck covering him, his ears were ringing so loud he didn’t notice himself tensing his jaw so tight that his teeth were groaning under the pressure. His vision was pure white, slowly fading to reality as his ear did the same, letting the world slowly bleed in. His vision returned moments before his hearing did. He looked around at deities running for their lives as strange geometric humanoids descended from above, grappling and consuming them into their bulbous bodies before launching themselves back into the sky, and far from the planet. Anodyne could feel the familiar warm trickle of blood escaping his ears and dribbling down his neck. Spitting blood, he watched the chaos that flowed around him until Vure ran up to Anodyne, their mask half destroyed, and their body weak. “We need to leave.” They said as they grabbed Anodyne by the cuffs of his jacket. “They are taking everyone.” Anodyne scoffed, rolling his tongue of his teeth once again he tasted iron, and felt the slick of stained teeth. “Just portal away, why are you panicking?” Vure shook their head with their eyes closed, they swallowed hard and looked back to Anodyne. “None of our powers work, we are pretty much mortals, these things have been picking us off, we need to get underground!” Vure watched as Anodyne’s composure started to falter, his eyes started to dart around as he saw his fellow deities being lanced, crushed, grabbed, and ultimately imprisoned in the bellies of the strange beasts that were descending upon them. The air rang with the sound of a siren, Vure and Anodyne looked up to see where it was coming from. A large sphere floating above the carnage emitted a transmission that could be heard planet wide. ‘Behold, you have been chosen, you will experience rebirth, in the light of Ompti, and the first Verse, you are being blessed. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.’ “Fuck that, we move, find a way down, and hide.” Anodyne called out as he started to run. He stumbled like a new born animal learning to run for the first time, his legs felt weak beneath his weight, and his knees felt as if they had no ability to remain steady against his locomotion. He could feel sweat forcing its way from his pours, dousing his face with the salty liquid, his lungs burnt like fire, with each breath his lungs were the bellows, and his throat the furnace that was being fuelled. His head started to spin, and his vision multiplied, the ground appearing to shift beneath his feet he dropped to his knees before sliding to his side. Breathing heavily, he lazily vomited as his head came crashing down into the dry soil. He could feel his body in a way that he had not experienced since he was mortal. He did not know if Vure was behind him, or been taken, and his body was too weak for him to roll over to look. He breathed, and spluttered the bile out of his mouth, spitting when he could, waiting for his body to lift from the ground, and to be consumed by whatever it was that had decided to attack him, and all of those on the planet they stood on. He closed his eyes and tried his hardest to focus on controlling his breathing, but found that between the fire in his chest, and the vomit sliding back down his throat, there was little ability to focus. He soon found his body was being lifted by what he assumed was one of the creatures that were flying above. He felt cold as his body was forced into the belly of the creature, the same voice that was blaring from the sphere spoke softly to him as he was slowly consumed. “Your soul is to go through re-birth, it will be beautiful, you will be better than you have ever been before, we will make you as you are meant to be, calm, caring, and ready to share your love with the Eternaverse. Welcome to your new hom…” Their voice was muffled as Anodyne’s head was consumed into the stomach, his vision strained, and soon his eyes were held closed, and he was left in a cold, muted, darkness. Once the creatures had claimed their targets they flew from the planet, leaving the atmosphere to return to an enormous elongated sphere, where small panels would lift open to all the creatures to return, and once they had all returned it shimmered, then disappeared. The creatures were all let loose again on the other side, an unknown planet, in an unknown universe. They all spent their days living as they normally would on their world, those of them that returned with the deities in their stomachs were revered as highest of their society, precious, and special. They received any and all special treatments that their race could offer them. They all looked at their stomachs with care, and love, as if the deities were their own children, watching as their forms melted down to their raw soul energy before returning to a solid form to be birthed. There was one though that looked down each day with concern in their eyes. They were approached by others with similar concern as they examined their deity through their translucent stomach. “Why do you think it is still mostly whole?” “I don’t know, all the others have already started to re-grow, most are nearly done. Maybe this one is defective?” “Don’t talk about mine like that, it does not need your negativity in its life. It is trying, I am trying.” The creature looked down at the partially dissolved Anodyne with concern. “I am doing my best for them.” They said with doubt in their voice. The others looked at the carrier then one another. “I am not defective, it was my time. I was chosen by those, this is my one to care for, I was chosen.” The carrier was ignored as the others walked away. “Blessings I guess don’t always chose those who are ready for them.” One muttered just loud enough for the carrier to hear, as they walked away. The carrier was shunned as all the others started to spread word that they were incapable of fulfilling their task. They became an outcast that the other carriers avoided in case their inability would spread to the deities they were holding. Wandering the outskirts of their society they watched as the crowds gathered for the birthing ceremony, and they compared the bare dissolved Anodyne in their stomach with the newly formed bodies of those they could see with a look sorrow. “I am sorry little one, I was not good enough for you. I was sent to make you better, but all I have done is caused you pain. I came with a promise that I would make you better, and all I have done is killed you, and myself.” They sighed resting on the ground they looked over to the start of the ceremony with longing. In the centre of the gathering the carriers were all gathered, spread evenly apart they all slowly went through the process of birthing their deities. One by one they all emerged, all of which were changed in form from when they went in, naked and doughy eyed they looked at the world with wonder and appreciation. There were cheers from the crowds as they all emerged, the carriers all took the time to look down at their new born, and ask. “How do you feel?” While all had their own way of saying it, they all answered in kind. “I feel free, I feel healthy, I want to go out and spread the joy I have with others, let others know that it is safe to care.” Then there were gasps as one deity re-emerged in the same form as they went in, from the gap in their torso, to the clothes on their body, to the mask on their face. Vure stood among the gasps and mutterings. “How do you feel?” Vure’s carrier asked. “I feel the same, I mean, I want to do what those ones want, but I have wanted to, and have done it for a while.” The creatures gasped at Vures words, and their carrier embraced them lovingly. “You were perfect before you were plucked, you are the perfect child.” Vure stood as a pin, looking around as if answers were going to provide themselves. “Okay, not that I don’t love this, but I was taken with someone, do you have any idea where he might be?” “I am sorry child, but all other children were made a new, you are the only one that remained the same, because you are perfect.” The carrier said as they caressed Vure’s cheek. “I, I, I don’t understand, I just didn’t think that was possible for him.” “It is marvellous that you were capable of being friends with one of these other filth, you must have a patient heart.” “Not all are evil all the way through, it is just strange to think that he is gone.” “Not gone, made better. Unless of course, no, never mind, it is not possible.” “No, what is it?” Vure inquired. “Well, we have one rotten egg, they refused to be born again, they are still in the process of dissolving, something that has never happened before. We believe that the carrier may be to blame for some of this failure.” Vure groaned and rolled their eyes. “Take me to them, that will be my Anodyne.” The creatures all looked to one another with surprise. “Are you sure child? I couldn’t imagine even you have the patience for that much sin.” “Take me to him.” The carrier pointed out of the crowd, they parted as Vure looked out to where Anodyne resided in their carrier. Anodyne’s carrier was limping back towards the crowd, crying out in a way that stopped the celebrations. “It burns, my child burns me, help me, save me!” Anodyne’s carrier cried out. The creatures all rushed to help as they noticed the fluids in the carrier were boiling inside them. Vure watched, noticing that even though his eyelids were dissolved, he was staring, with a hate that Vure had not seen in a long time. The creatures all panicked, and the carrier screamed until suddenly Anodyne burst from the creature. Their stomach exploding outwards with a scolding bile. Chunks of Anodyne fell from his body, but slowly regenerated as he stood, his torso folded over as he regained his strength. A vapour rose from his heated body, appearing to lift him back to his stature. He cracked his neck and looked around the crowds. Everyone was stunned, except Vure who stood with their arms crossed, and their expression hid behind their mask. Anodyne’s eyelids were the last to regenerate, both making their stare less, and more aggressive. “No one changes me, but me, and only …

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Always

A small roaming planet wildly bounced around the void between universes. The planet was mostly barren, except for small towns that cropped up across the charred, broken, and scarred surface. Flashes of light dotted the surface as those with the abilities to teleported to the planet, through science, and magic they seek refuge, buying themselves shelter from whatever storm they are running from with whatever they brought with them as a bartering option. Those who frequent would be fortunate enough to pick up some of the planets currency, others, have to bring a haul for a night of safety, and everything it entails; and it entails a lot. Down on the surface wounded soldiers teleported with fringe science machines, sorcerer’s open portals, and then there are those lost and confused, brought to the planet through happenstance, or even a misguided attempt at something else. Outside a fighting pit a small group of three sat alone, an arena filled with blood sat before them as the cleaners came through to hose down the walls. “The fights here are pretty brutal, you would never get that kind of thing back on Earth.” Said a spry man with scars across his fists and elbows. “Don’t worry you are not alone, back on Bellude there are some nasty fights, but very few get this bad. Human bodies only go so far. The man said in-between mouthfuls of food. “Really?” The third man ask. “On Dolor there are plenty of fights like this, not all of them human, but the humans fight harder than any other on that rock,” he said with pride, standing with a fist on his chest, “As some of the weakest on that planet we make our mark, and we fight the hardest that we can.” “Shut it Dolor, your planet is covered with monsters, there is no wonder your humans have evolved stronger.” “Oh, so we are just genetically better are we?” Dolor responded, “Yeah, I ain’t seen your shitty dirt tribes, but I bet your planet is bigger too.” Bellude grabbed Dolor’s forearm and squeezed. “Feel this nonsense Earth, this bone feels twice as thick as it should be.” Dolor jerked his hand from Bellude’s grip. “If you want to prove a point, settle it in the arena. In the arena, not in the grandstands, space boi. I thought advanced societies were supposed to augment people and make them stronger.” “Those people are disgusting, thankfully only very few fringe groups do that on Bellude, or at least few I know about.” Dolor looked over the Earth human as he sipped from his cup looking at an old man slowly scrawling on the nearby chalkboard. “What you looking for Earth, another bet?” “Shush.” “By the gods your lot are disgusting when it comes to gambling, like we definitely have it, but you lot have agreed that is unparalleled.” “What is Hollow?” “I don’t know, lots of things. “ Bellude answered. “No, you idiot, it is a universe on the board. Hollow, they have a star next to their universe, why is that?” Dolor and Bellude looked to one another knowingly. “So,” Bellude started, getting Earth’s attention, “The star means it is a universe with a high win rate. Hollow however is new to me, have you heard of them Dolor?” “Can’t say that I have. But if they have a star they are worth the bet.” “Not at those odds thanks, I would need to bet millions to make any money back. For every hundred dollars I drop I get ten cents back on a win. There is no way that this Hollow person is a person, it must be a monster.” “Human only town Earth, they are strict on those rules, for others, and our own protection. Saves on clean up if you keep is segregated by species.” Bellude informed Earth as they finished their meal and dropped the wrapping to the floor. “So do we wait for that fight?” Dolor asked. “I have never seen a star fight before, and considering the financial odds, with the fact that his opponents are three of my kind, this should be very interesting.” Dolor said as he looked to the others with eagerness in his eyes. “I feel like that look answers that, I am going to get more food, I will be back.” Bellude left the stand to get food as the other two waited. “So are you going to bet on Hollow?” “I mean, have you seen the return for betting against him?” Earth sad, practically salivating. “Calm down, there is no way those three win.” “Three vs one Dolor, how can they lose? Surely this is some kind of money sink scam.” “You need to look more carefully.” Dolor leant over Earth and started to point at points on the board. “He is a new fighter, with no previous experience in the arena, and the fact he is starred, that means there has been enough Hollow humans come through here that this is how they rank them.” “But…” “But nothing Earth, whatever the humans on Hollow have to deal with must be insane, because the arena makes fights as even as possible, so if this is as even as they could make it, that means Hollow fighters are nasty.” “Holy shit guys, you won’t believe what I got told at the bar.” Bellude said as he sat behind his friends. “What?” The other two asked. “So turns out this Hollow place is a nasty place, like proper covered in monsters, although they call them nightmares.” “Told you they must deal with it big shit if they fight good.” “No, that is not the important part, you seen the physical stats of the fighters?” “Yeah I thought that was weird, the Hollow fighter is like child sized compared to the others.” Earth said as he weighed up his options for his bet. “Yeah looks like a child, or…” Bellude paused with his hands gesturing at Dolor and Earth. “A child or… what? Just tell us.” Earth said. “Oh damn, no that is outrageous, there is no way, what is the fighters name?” Dolor interjected. Bellude snapped his fingers at Dolor and started cheering. “I know right, it is insane.” “I am sorry I still don’t understand.” Earth said puzzled. “Read the fighters names Earth you dumb fuck.” Dolor groaned. “What is so important about names?” Earth muttered back as they looked back to the board. “Let us see, we have, on the triple threat Dolor side. Ven’dar, Alide, and Faver. Then on Hollow’s side we have Eva. What is your point?” “My point, is that those are all male names from Dolor, I don’t know about you, but that looks awfully like a woman’s name to me.” Dolor said as he turned to Bellude to continue the conversation. Earth ran off to the betting booth as others were starting to filter in. Upon returning the stands had come alive with the buzz of Hollow being whispered to one another as punters looked at the board confused, consulting with one another. “So who did you bet for?” Bellude asked as Earth sat down next to him. “Not saying, bad luck to let others know.” “Oh gods, that is so stupid. I hope you lose.” “Hey, hey, hey, I don’t ruin your fun, don’t ruin mine.” “We are not ruining fun, this is an addiction you idiot.” Bellude added, snacking on his food. “Well this should be a fight to remember at the very least, I have not seen this place this full in a long time.” Dolor said looking around. “People are literally standing in the walkways, this is insane.” “Now everybody, the fight is going to begin, we have three strong men from Dolor, a multiracial planet with the use of fictional science and primary weapon of choice is sword and shield.” The intercom came through loud and clear, quieting the crowds down as the three fighters entered the arena, raising their arms for a cheer. Dolor sat back in his chair looking annoyed. “Oh, here we go again.” Bellude groaned. “Why can’t they just say magic, we use magic, is that really that hard? This pc language is absolute trash.” “Shut it, who cares what they call it.” “You shut it, your science is just science, no demeaning titles. It is dumb.” “Can’t be that pc if it is offending you then is it.” “Alright star head, listen here.” “Both of you shut up, I need to concentrate.” Earth interrupted the other two as he held his paper in-between both his hands as a prayer. Dolor and Bellude rolled their eyes, but quieted down for Earth. “Then on this side, we have the rare pleasure of a human from Hollow, and before anyone asks we put all our fighters through the same tests, according to our machines, this is a fair fight. But we will see wont we?” As the gates for the Hollow contestant started to rise she crawled under on her stomach and started to sprint straight at the three opponents she was facing. There was an uproar as the three men got ready. The cheers quickly faded as people watched the fight progress. The cracking of bones was nearly drowned out by the screams of the men as they were each bloodied. Not wanting people to die the refs interfered, shooting electrical charges at the Hollow woman her body tensed and she continued to maim her victims until she was hooked by three separate electrical charges. Dolor sat with his jaw ajar, Bellude’s face went pale as his last bite of food was pushed out of his mouth with a gag. Earth very carefully took a side of his betting slip with each hand and ripped it in half. “She is smiling, she is smiling with what looks to be one of her arm bones sticking through her flesh.” Earth said with a gag at the back of his throat. “Come on, give me more. I’ll kill anyone who thinks they can fight me. These are not real men, these are lambs, lambs ready for the slaughter. I will bring the wrath of Anodyne here and bring you all back for trade. Nothing but cattle…” “Damn, what kind of fucked up planet is that?” Earth said, with a quiver in his lip. The ground started to shake and a large portal opened behind Eva, Anodyne stepped forward and grinned, behind him the Conductor stepped into view as the entire arena started to scream and run. “God, clear out!” Those who could portaled out of the arena, and sirens started to sound, Eva was let loose as those holding her binds warped from the planet. The whole planet was vacant in minutes, those who hadn’t found a way off world were carted back to Hollow, chained by Anodyne, and lead by Eva, leaving Anodyne and the conductor standing on the planet alone. “It has been too long since we have gone mortal hunting, why did we stop?” Anodyne asked, looking to the Conductor for answers. “… Can I be honest?” “Always.” “You changed, you have been losing your rage, your sanity is returning and soon both me and Hollow will be nothing more than a fleeting feeling at the back of your mind.” Anodyne turned to the Conductor, and with a familiar rage in his eyes he spoke softly. “Then it looks like I need to see someone to sort that out, we have an old friend to visit.”

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Hidden Secrets

Vure wandered the vast ordered halls of the Tenenment library, there hand gently stroking the spines of books as they past them. They did not look at the category, row, or even the neames on the books, they wandered with their eyes closed until they felt their hand stop upon the spine of a book with a strange feeling coming from it. But when they opened their eyes the feeling faded as they read the name on the spine. Vure closed their eyes again and slowly the feeling resurfaced. Their brow tensed as they thought, pulling the book from the shelf the felt the feeling wane, so they slid their other hand into the gap made by the book. The feeling returned much stronger as they touched a book that had been lodged at the back of a shelf. Struggling quietly the removed the wedged book and replaced the mundane book back in its spot. “Now, let us see what makes you worth hiding.” Vure muttered as they floated off to the secluded reading corner they frequented often. Sitting down they got comfortable, the nested into the groves of the old chair, taking solace in its familiar comfort. It was dark where they sat, the nook was hidden behind a set of stairs and nearly completely devoid of light, fortunately Vure brought their own candles and lit them every time they visited. The soft glow was invisible to any who wandered past the narrow opening to the reading nook, but to Vure it was a soft, orange, flickering that brought them joy, and added to the reading experience. Examining the exterior of the book they failed to notice any markings to signify an author. “Strange, never known a god to not mark a book they made.” The said quietly, trying to avoid others finding their spot, but loud enough that they felt as if they were in conversation. Opening the cover, the front page was blank, but Vure noticed that the grain was perfectly in line, running horizontally across the page. Turning the page was the title for the book. ‘Tales of the gods that forgot what they were.’ The ink was raised and felt as if it was embossed on the page, Vure gently scratched at it but failed to break any of it off under their nail. “Strange, maybe this is their mark.” They turned the book over in their hand eyeing the ink from various angles. “But maybe not.” Vure flicked to the next page and where they expected to find an index of the works inside, instead they found another page with horizontal grain, turning back to the title they examined the paper to find that its grain was more random, less curated, and organised. “Interesting, this might be the mark… But maybe not.” Flicking forward Vure cocked their head slightly as the beginning half of the book was empty. They kept thumbing through until they hit the centre point where they finally came across a chapter title. ‘Story one: Deity death by self-belief.’ “Why half way, am I missing something?” Vure flicked back through the book and viewed it from every angle they could, generating different coloured lights to try and reveal secrets that might be present. Failing after a few hours of different attempts they flicked back to the centre of the book. “All right book, give me your secrets.” ‘These are the stories of those who got lost in their own minds, they found who they thought they were, and became that despite who they were. They took the images of what they weren’t, then forgot who they were,  Old, young, smart, dumb, belief from mortals can lead to belief in self, then belief leads to is, in the case of the lost deities. Some lost their lives while others far surpassed what they were capable of, the greatest of minds and those with scabbed knuckles were all born of the same form of belief. Death, power, creation, ineptitude, all possible if you become what are not.’ Vure flicked through the rest of the pages in disappointment. “Is that it? This is a lot of… energy for such a small passage. Hardly a story, let alone multiple.” Vure struggled for days as they tried to decipher the text, but eventually gave up. They let loose a loud sigh and tossed the book onto the small table in front of them, their head cocked slightly as they noticed a small print on the base of the book. They rubbed their finger across it with curiosity. ‘Don’t over think,’ “Don’t over think? Surely not…” They tapped their mask and looked towards the door of their nook. “Maybe it is that simple.” They stood up, snuffing the light, and heading back to where they found the book. Looking around they put it back in its hiding spot. Walking calmly they moved out of the library before warping through their field of thunder, arriving in Anodyne’s universe. “Now, time to test a theory.” They muttered to themselves as they flew around looking for Anodyne. They eventually came across him standing on Hollow, breathing deeply he watched as the heat of his breath became visible in the cold air that surrounded him. Next to him the Conductor stood, his head had turned to the side to allow him to see Vure as they approached. “Have you come for something Vure?” The Conductor asked. “No, just watching.” The Conductor turned their head back around, facing forwards. Vure stood a few meters back from Anodyne and decided to follow him. Anodyne kept breathing heavily until his vision returned to normal, and the vapor appeared as vapor again. “How was it my lord?” The Conductor asked Anodyne. “It is better than the last compound, but it still only lasts a few hours. We can do better.” “Yes, my lord, shall we head to the factory?” “We don’t need to, they know what they are doing. I want to wander, let those on Hollow remember who I am.” “As you wish.” The Conductor said with a slight bow. Anodyne started to wander off into the wilderness when out of no where a child erupted from under a blanket of snow and plunged a dagger into Anodyne’s leg. Anodyne looked down at it before looking to the child who looked to be filled with fear. “Don’t stop now, you started something. Kill me, plunge that dagger into my heart, end my life.” Anodyne said calmly. The child lurched forward for the knife with a more focused look on their face, but Anodyne knocked them back to the ground. “No fair, you told me to kill you. Why did you do that?” The child cried out through tears that were starting to appear. “I told you to kill me, not that I would let you kill me. Now work for it!” The child got back onto their feet and charged at Anodyne, dodging the slow and methodical attacks that Anodyne made to deter the child. Knocked to the ground time and time again the child eventually acquired the knife once again, making their way up Anodyne’s body they plunged it into his heart. Anodyne then pulled the child off of him by the scruff of their shirt, holding them at their eye line. “When you attack you either finish the kill or die, if you are smart enough for a sneak attack, you are smart enough to know that. Next time you don’t get special treatment, next time I will kill you like I would any other.” The child grabbed the knife from Anodyne’s chest and drove it into his eye before spitting at him. Anodyne chuckled as the kid started to become increasingly violent, biting and scratching at Anodyne’s hands. Anodyne grabbed the knife from his eye and flicked the blood back at the child. His eye regenerating back to normal before the first drops of blood hit the child.  “Now you are getting it, if you bring me a corpse, I will give you a reward, whatever you want.” Anodyne dropped the child, then dropped the knife next to them. The child grabbed it with haste and ran off into the wilderness. “Do you think the child will do as you ask?” “I think they will try, but who knows if they will succeed.” Anodyne smirked at the Conductor before turning invisible and running to follow the child, the Conductor and Vure both followed suit, trailing after anodyne. They all watched as the child ran through the forest with a goal glinting in their eye. Each time they seemed to slow down over the day Anodyne would whisper into their ear, making the fire in their soul re-ignite. The child eventually found themselves on the edge of a small fort, running to the gates they were opened at the sight of them and closed quickly behind them. The tall wooden walls were covered with ice, scratch marks, and charred chunks of wood. Anodyne floated through the wall without leaving a mark, upon coming out on the inside the child had already climbed a nearby individual and was in the process of stabbing him. They made several cuts in the legs to drop the man, before he started to slash into his upper torso, slicing through a defensive hand and splitting the man’s lip with a kick. He finally managed to push the blade through the man’s eye, and into his brain. The nearby patrons started to run to the child to calm his aggression. The child looked to the sky and started to scream. “I brought you a body, I want a nightmare army that obeys everything I say.” A couple of the adults running stopped to look around the sky, while the others kept running over, all with weapons in hand. “You little shit, you can’t just go around killing people. We are going to have to muzzle you, you animal.” A woman yelled as she approached with a small, heavy chain net. Anodyne looked to the Conductor and shrugged as the Conductor pushed his hands together and grinned. Turning back Anodyne waved his hand. There was a sudden shriek in the distance and those in the town looked around to one another with concern. Those who had stopped running had already started to pack their belongings and was leaving the town as the shrieks resonated in the air. Behind the screams was the sound of wings beating, a small horde of gargoyle like nightmares rose above the walls and surrounded the child, protecting him from the adults. The child jumped with joy and sent the nightmares out to start killing all in the town, over the course of less than ten minutes and the child was left alone with his collections of nightmares bowing before him, blood covered, and obedient. Anodyne lowered to the ground and made himself visible once again. “You did well. The more corpses you bring, the greater your army will become. I expect great things from you child.” The child watched as the corpses on the ground started to twitch and turn, slowly standing once again, they rose like zombies from the grave. Taking a place near the gargoyles they too bowed in anticipation for the orders that were to come from the child. The child jumped with joy and watched as Anodyne floated away, disappearing into the sky. The child looked back down to his small gathering of nightmares that are now under his control, his eyes darted over the gargoyles and noticed that some had gotten larger. “Why have you changed?” The child asked. The gargoyles looked up and spoke in unison. “The more we kill, the greater we become.” The child grinned and looked around the wastes of the town it stood in. They listened to the calm, hoping to hear someone scrambling among the ruins, instead Vure appeared before the child. Their image enough to scare the child, but the addition of …

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Tolterach

Anodyne stood perfectly still, his coat slowly shifting by the force of the wind. He was concentrated, focusing all his energy towards his hand, channelling it from his mind, through his heart, around the stomach, then back out to his hand where he grasped the air and a door handle appeared. With a sigh of relief, the tension from his body fell, a shower of clicks cascaded down from his neck all the way to his legs. Each vertebra sounding off as his body returned to its resting state. “This time you will not be able to turn me down.” He snarled as the door slowly opened. Bracing his left hand against the frame he pulled with all his might, but still the door opened as if it were being blown by a calm wind. His muscles strained as the satiations could be seen as they crawled just under the surface of his skin. His teeth gritted against one another, straining to stay together the sound of them crunched in Anodyne’s ears. He watched as the darkness on the other side of the door stuck to the door itself, refusing to allow any light through. Propping his left foot against the frame he removed his left arm and reached for the darkness on the other side of the door. It recoiled for a moment, and the door lurched open slightly more, giving Anodyne a grin. Anodyne nearly completely gave up on holding the door as he lunged for the darkness, just to have it disappear. “So this is where you live Tolterach, it is.” He paused for a moment as he took in his surroundings. “Strange.” He continued with confusion. Anodyne looked back through the door to the planet he had started on, then back to the new universe that he had entered. Behind him he could hear the door slowly receding into nothingness, leaving him stranded in Tolterach’s universe until he finds the door again, or until he finds another way out. “I, I need help.” He muttered as he looked up. Before him, behind him, and to either side, was a seemingly endless plane of white sand that had a layer of water on top, creating a perfect mirror. When he looked down, he saw his own reflection looking back up at him, and when he looked up he saw himself standing on what appeared to be a ceiling made the same as what Anodyne was standing on. When he raised his hand to meet his reflection they collided, and the water around his fingertips rippled. “A whole universe that is barely over two meters tall?” He said to himself as he slowly pulled his fingers from the cold water. He walked forward cautiously, as each foot rose and fell it created great ripples that disturbed the surface of the water, the small droplets from his shoes added to the chaos and displaced even more of the environment. Anodyne felt a chill come across his body and he stopped moving, once again allowing the water to settle. Carefully he levitated above the water beneath his feet, crooking his neck a little to avoid the water lining the ceiling. As he waited for the water drops to fall from his feet he looked around in all directions as a sense of impending doom came across him, a sense that faded once the water settled. He started to fly off at speed in search for Tolterach when the sense of dread came across himself again, but this time he panicked and started to fly faster, but the faster he flew the greater the feeling became. In a near hysteria he looked behind him to see the water being displaced by the air he was moving in his flight. But while looking behind he did not realise that he had started to fly upwards, and soon he collided with the ceiling of the universe. His head passed through the water and made contact with the soft white sand, at his speed he pushed through only a few inches until he made contact with water again and rose into another cavity, barely taller than Anodyne, water on sand, for both the ground and the sky. Anodyne came crashing down, smashing bac through the layer, then several more. He grabbed for something to stabilise himself but all he got was fistfuls of sand. Eventually he slowed enough and collided with a sand bed that did not let him through, and he was left hyperventilating on his back in the cool pool of shallow water, staring up at his reflection he watched as his laboured breathing created ripples around him. “Hey.” A small voice called out. Looking up he could see Tolterach standing at his head looking down at him, she was standing on the water as if it were glass, the ripples from Anodynes breathing fading before they hit her feet. Floating upwards he turned around and stood on the sand in front of her. “Finally, there is no more hiding from me.” Anodyne said as he reached out with one hand to her. But instead of fear, Anodyne found himself being embraced by Tolterach. She squeezed him warmly then let go, flicking her finger the water and sand that clung to Anodyne’s form fell to the ground. “How have you been Anodyne?” Anodyne froze with his mouth ajar. “What? I thought that, did you not run from me last time?” “I mean yeah, but only because I had to be somewhere, I did say goodbye, but you weren’t really listening.” Anodyne laid one hand on her shoulder and she looked up to him with a loving smile. Anodyne recoiled at the sight slightly, but pressed on. “Well since we are clearly such good friends are you able to tell me what you know about dimensions, I hear you are someone who excels in this topic.” Tolterach placed one of her hands-on Anodyne’s and gestured around. “Well of course, my universe is one of the largest, despite the fact that it takes up only infinity by two and a half meters.” Anodyne tugged his hand back from Tolterach’s and quickly eyed around himself, but when he turned back, she was gone. He spun on the spot looking for her, above where she stood was the slightest sign of a ripple, so without thinking he breached the top layer of water and sand over and over again and the ripples above him began to become clearer. “No more running Tolterach, you will give me the information that I require.” He reached up and soon found he had grasped Tolterach’s leg, dragging her down she collided with the sand on his level and he started to speak calmly. “You can’t run from me Tolterach, not even in here.” Tolterach laughed as she climbed to her feet, flicking sand and water from herself. “I was not running, I said that I had to go see someone, I was coming back.” “You didn’t say anything, you just left.” “No, you recoiled from my hand, and while you were not looking at me, I said I would be back. It is not my fault that you don’t listen to me.” Anodyne scowled. “I don’t remember hearing you spea… Never mind, who could you possibly be seeing? Your universe is devoid of life, besides us, and the shadow beast that guards your door.” Tolterach scratched her head. “There is so much life in my universe, but I started populating it from the centre, so none out this far, and certainly no shadow beast. Also, what do you mean my door?” Anodyne’s eyes narrowed. “In order to jump universes you have to find doors, and once you know how to find someone’s door you can go in and out as you please, there are some who have managed to bypass the door system and tear their way through universes by force, although that does come with its own problems. More interesting though is the door shadow, I will need to do some research.” “Oh my gosh that is so cool! The spooky door thing, not so much. You will have to teach me how to do the door thing some-day. Well since I am already heading to the centre you might as well follow me, then you can see the life I have.” “Only if you promise not to run off randomly.” “Well I will only promise if you actually promise to listen.” She laughed, squeezing his hand a little she flew off. Anodyne was led by Tolterach, up through layers of sand and water. The breaching of layers became almost rhythmical as the flew in silence. Anodyne enjoying the small impacts as they put a calming pressure on him as he passed through. But it started to change, the collisions started to take longer to arrive, so Anodyne started to focus around himself. The ceilings were no longer slightly taller than him anymore. They seemed to stretch tens of meters high. “What is happening?” Anodyne yelled. Tolterach laughed. “If you want to find the centre of my universe, we are going to need to pick up speed. Think you can keep up?” “Oh child, this has been nothing but a stroll so far. Show me your best.” Tolterach smiled down at Anodyne just briefly before turning forward, and accelerating. Anodyne kept up pace and started to fly even closer to her. “Come on, you must think I am crippled. Show me some real speed.” Tolterach scrunched up her nose in frustration and started to fly faster still, and suddenly the ceiling seemed to be hundreds of metres between breaches. Anodyne flew right behind Tolterach to tease her, provoking her to fly as fast as she could, to which Anodyne kept follow as he promised. After only a few minutes at flying at her maximum speed she breached one final layer and stopped. Anodyne looked around, stunned. The ceiling was now out of sight, and the plane beneath him was the same mirror. Except there were islands, and animals running around, with an enormous tree sat growing in the centre of the plane. The life seemingly growing from this one tree. The only light was a source less white light, which complimented the fact that there was nearly no colours present. Everything was black and white like old films, each creation had small slivers of colours but remained almost entirely white or black like the environment that housed them. Anodyne turned to Tolterach who had ran off and was talking to a tall, lanky individual that towered over her. The man gestured slowly with his hands as he spoke calmly, and too quiet for Anodyne to hear, Tolterach was entranced by what he had to say, nodding in agreement. He looked over to Anodyne and the placid look on his face soured, finally speaking loud enough for Anodyne to overhear just one phrase. “What is he doing here?” Tolterach smiled and waved over to Anodyne as he was scowling at the tall man, catching her eyeline Anodyne gave a small smile in response right as she turned back to the man and started talking. Once again in hushed tones. Anodyne watched as the tall man corrected his posture and dusted off his clothes, speckles of white shone like stars under the white light of the universe they were in. He then gave a slight bow with a hand resting on his chest before he slowly started to walk towards the tree. Tolterach ran back to Anodyne and grabbed his arm. “You seem to be terrible at making friends.”  She chuckled. “He knows me?” “Not personally, apparently he has heard a few things about you though. You didn’t tell me you were famous.” She jested as she jabbed his ribs with her elbow. Anodyne scowled as he watched the tall man walk away at a casual stroll. Turning his head slightly he caught the man’s eyes, and felt the anger that …

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Vure And Sylum

Vure hovered over the surface of Hollow, silently following a Holite that ran around on the surface. Their eyes were transfixed as they followed the mortal from day to day, behind the edge of their mask the curl of a smile could be seen. “What are you doing?” Sylum said, floating behind Vure. The smile disappeared from Vure, their posture changing to a more formal stance. “You know Anodyne told you not to interfere with Hollow.” Sylum continued. “He doesn’t like anyone touching the planet, you should know that.” Vure rolled their eyes as they reactively let loose a small sigh. “I am not interfering, I am watching.” Vure responded. Sylum looked over Vure’s shoulder at the Holite, and how she ran on the surface of the planet as a monstrous nightmare hunted for her. Sylum smirked and turned to Vure. “Strange, I didn’t think of you as someone who enjoyed the blood sports of Hollow. You got a secret dark side Vure?” Vure turned to Sylum, the black eyes on their mask swirling where once they were just paint. Then with a crackling voice Vure replied. “More than you know.” With a shake of their head the paint returned to its static state and Vure’s voice returned to normal. “But that does not matter, I am not watching this in the hopes that she dies. I am watching, because she reminds me of an old life I used to know.” “Oh, who?” Sylum asked with genuine curiosity. “Well, this one has not slept in a couple days, works a lot, even by a Holite’s standard, and they are driven to achieve a seemingly impossible goal. Can you think of anyone?” Sylum laughed gently under his breath and looked at Vure. Sylum took a relaxing stance and shared a side eye with Vure. “I can think of one… How long do you think this one will last?” The edges of Vure’s mouth began to curl again as they too took a relaxing position. “I don’t know, like anyone one Hollow, any day could be your last, even the Potion man couldn’t out crazy everything.” Sylum looked over at Vure with one eyebrow raised. “The Potion man is dead?” “Super dead.” Vure replied as their attention returned to the mortal on the ground. “What the fuck, that guy was pretty much a demi-god. You need to explain what happened there, I can’t be bothered doing a time skip to find it. Tukon is a pain in the ass to deal with.” Vure groaned and rolled over to face Sylum. “Fine.” As Vure started to tell the story of the Potion man they took their eyes off the mortal as they descended into a small cavernous opening in the rock. Sliding down a narrow, steep incline they descended into the planet. The gargantuan claw of the nightmare behind her attempted to follow, but its bulging muscles were too large to follow. The woman lay down on the cold, damp rocks and stared upwards, watching the nightmare claw at the air. She took a moment to catch her breath, letting the moisture from the moss under her back cool her. “Come on you stupid, fat, overgrown cat. Come get me.” She cried out with a chuckle as she slowly stood. Dusting herself off she stretched, feeling safe from the still present nightmare cat that was attempting to break into the tunnel. Grabbing the stump end of her right arm she plucked the dirt from the textured end. Her arm ended half way down her forearm and the scaring on the end was slightly red, and itchy. Her scars covered the small amount of skin she was showing, from face, to balls of her feet. Saluting the wild claw she smiled contently before strolling away. “Aint no monster cunning enough to take Edena out.” She gloated to herself. “You won’t stop me, nothing will.” Edena yelled as she spat at the claw, then turning back into the tunnel she started to run. “Wait, where did she go?” Sylum asked as he interrupted Vure. Vure stopped talking and turned back to Hollow. “Aww, they ran off.” Vure watched the large feline nightmare prowl around the hole in the ground, scratching at the hard stone of the hole. “I guess down the hole we go.” Vure and Sylum made their way down to the planets surface, bypassing the feline nightmare they wandered down into the cave. “So let me guess this straight. Someone managed to kill the Potion man in his own night club? That place was rigged with so many defences too. Who managed to storm it?” Sylum asked as they followed Edena. Edena turned around as she could hear whispers on the wind, facing behind she stared into the darkness where Vure and Sylum stood. Her eyes narrowed as she shifted side to side, trying to make out the source of the whispers. “It is so weird when they try to look at us when we are invisible.” Vure stated as they moved from Edena’s eyeline. “Why is it we can turn completely invisible, but when we talk the wind carries our voice like a whisper?” Sylum shrugged as they both waited for Edena to move on. “I don’t care about that, what group invaded the Potion Man? You would have to be insane as a mortal to assault that guy.” “It wasn’t a group, it was an individual.” “Oh damn, please don’t tell me it was that asshole vindicator.” Vure fell silent, looking to Sylum with an agreeing nod. Edena turned away from their whispers and moved further down into the tunnel. “I fucking hate these tunnels.” Edena said as she started to jog down the tunnel. Listening to the shrill calls of the nightmare at the entrance of the tunnel. “But better than that.” Edena’s eyes strained as she got deeper into tunnel, but she eventually saw the soft flickering of light that only a fire could produce. Peaking her head around the cave wall she spied a small group of imps sitting around a fire. “Oh thank fuck, just Imps.” Edena said as she calmly walked around the cave wall, she raised her full arm and called out to them. “Make room shrimps, I am tired.” The imps all side eyed one another and whispered hastily to one another in their language. Before they could conclude Edena kicked one to the side so she could take her spot by the fire. The imp screamed at her before talking to his comrades. “Stop that moon speak or I might become a trouble guest.” The imps fell silent as they watched Edena take the cooked bat off the fire and start to eat it. Spitting out bits of fur and bone. “Never liked these bats, they always tasted like bad feet to me.” “Then don’t eat it.” One of the imps snarled. Edena nodded, tossing the remaining meat straight onto the fire, burning it into a crisp. One imp tried to grab it from the fire but was repelled by the intensity of the flame. Its aggressive snarls falling to a whimper as its stomach growled. “Nasty one armed woman.” An imp cried, drawing the attention of all the other imps. They all looked over Edena, spotting every cut, bruise, and just how exhausted she was. They started to grin and each grabbed a sharpened stick in hand. “Maybe you can be our next meal.” “Do you think she loses here?” Sylum asked Vure. “Do you even want to know how the Potion Man died?” Vure replied while Edena and the imps were locked in a heated argument. “I do, but this is more relevant. She is happening, the Potion Man has already happened.” Vure looked to Edena as her hand slowly slide to a large pocket on her pants. “Na, I think she is too smart, even for a group of imps. These ones look a little under educated anyway.” Vure added to prove their point. “But four imps with sticks have killed quite a few Holites before. It is not a matter of intelligence, they are fast, and get ya in the important parts.” Vure turned to Sylum as Edena was attacked, pulling a rusted piece of metal out of her pocket she defended herself. “But for them to hit the important parts you have to know where they are. Which means an undereducated group might never actually hit anything vital.” Sylum thought on it for a moment and shook his head. “But if you stab something enough, you will eventually hit something that does not want to be hit.” Vure and Sylum looked at one another for a brief moment before turning back to Edena. She was sitting next to the fire with several wooden sticks sticking out of her back, but rotating above the fire was an imp with a chunk of rusted metal wedged in its throat. Methodically Edena took the wooden spikes from her body, a small stream of blood following each one. Rotating the skewed imp she slowly cooked its flesh until it popped and crackled with the fats within, she took it off the fire and began to eat her meal before turning in for the night. She dowsed the fire, then crawled into a corner of the cave and surrounded herself with rocks and hide her body from sight with a dark grey blanket that matched the stones around her. “Okay, she is asleep. More about the Potion man. How exactly did Sephrium manage to kill him?” Sylum said impatiently, eagerly awaiting a response. “Well, it turned out that at some point the last Phial came across a sacred relic that the Vindicators had been searching for, something they thought had disappeared during the Dream god purge. Turns out it was simply buried under all the carnage that happened.” “So the Potion man expanded underground and came across this artifact?” Sylum interrupted. “Exactly.” “But how did the Vindicators find out about it?” “Well, the Potion man made it a centre piece to one of his rooms. It was talked about enough and eventually the information was sold to the Vindicators.” “What was the artifact? Because from memory those crazy zealots are always looking for some abstract item from Hollow’s history.” Vure was about to respond when they spied spider like legs emerging from one of the tunnels leading from Edena’s cave. Five, long, dark, hard, legs tapped their way through the dark of the tunnel. It poked and prodded with each foot point until it found one of the imp’s corpses. The nightmares body was low to the ground, it looked like flesh wound tight around a large ball. At the bottom of the body was a gyrating maw of teeth that grew seemingly at random, to sizes that varied as much as their placement. All five of its long legs attached at the front of the nightmare, and at the back of the creature was another set of five, shorter legs. The nightmare positioned its mouth over the corpse of the imp and lowered its body to start grinding up the corpse. Bones shredded like paper under the creature’s powerful jaw. Vure cringed at the sight, while Sylum just stared as if it was entertainment to watch. Edena awoke to the sounds of snapping body parts and remained perfectly still as she laid in the darkness beneath her heavy grey blanket. Her breathing increased for a moment before she calmed herself from her hiding point. Vure watched as Anodyne moved through the cave, his form invisible to Edena and the nightmare. He used a guiding hand and ushered the nightmares legs across to Edena, as they made purchase with her soft form it was not long until the screams of Edena echoed through the cave. Joined by the laughter of Anodyne. “I am sorry Anodyne.” Vure whispered. “What was that?” Sylum asked reactively. “Nothing, how about we get on with this story?” Vure …

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A Beautiful Moment

A new born deity floated in space, drifting aimlessly through the expanse without direction, they took in the sights that the universe had to offer, admiring the celestial bodies, and star clusters. The flickering of different coloured stars illuminated the distance into a rainbow of colour. “I feel odd.” She said to herself, “I think something is wrong.” He added as she furrowed her brow. She raised her hands and stared at them, struggling to tell if they were young or old, from certain angles they were smooth like a child, from others they seemed to be worn like that of someone in their final years. Her drunken eyes fluttered as she struggled to understand where she was, her mind filling with memories of lives she assumed to be hers. “I think these are mine, but they don’t match. How can I have reached old age more than once?” She asked as her head started to throb with pain. Grasping at her temples she started to moan, then slowly it turned into a scream as the well of memories consumed her. She started to cry as lives passed by her eyes, with each passing face she felt a new emotion that continued to overwhelm her, adding to the mountain of emotions already burying her. Right as she reached her threshold there was a deep siren, then out of nowhere a rusted ship appeared in the space before her, she could barely see it through the tears that flowed from her eyes, slowly drifting from her face and freezing. She reached out to the boat with one arm as she held her stomach with the other. “Please, help.” She groaned as another deity stepped from the boat, lifting her up he took her onto the boat, laying her down on a bed. “I am sorry young one, but you will just have to endure what is happening, it will be over soon and you will remember who you are.” He voice was course, but calming. Laying her down he wandered back off the boat and took the frozen tears and placed them into a jar. The sounds of the newly born deity resonated from his boat, he sighed as he slowly made his way back on board, waiting patiently for her to stop screaming he say next to her and slowly stroked her head. She curled up to him and gripped tightly onto his shirt, tearing another hole into it. He kept the jar of frozen tears below her and caught each one as it formed. “It hurts.” She screamed. “I know child, we all do it, and this moment will never leave you, not matter how long you live you will always remember this moment.” “I don’t want to, it is too much, I want to forget!” She continued as she squeezed her eyes shut as hard as she could. “Shh, it will be over soon. Then you will understand, and you will revisit this pain as if it were an old friend.” The main said softly, trying his hardest to calm her down. The hours rolled by and he consoled her every time she requested to forget, every time she begged for it to end, he told her that what she was experiencing was beautiful. The pain started to fade as the memories slowed, and she was left exhausted, laying half in bed, and half on the man’s lap. He gently took her and placed her in the bed before returning to his spot at the helm, staring his boat there was a crackling of energy and they disappeared. The new born deity slowly came back to consciousness, her head calm, memories no longer flooding her mind she was finally able to move. She coiled her nose at the sight of the ship, the exposed innards boasted rust and warped supports, her bead was stained with oil and tainted by rust that had fallen from the ceiling. The floor had no floor, just exposed hull and ribs of metal that were designed to support the floor boards that it was lacking. She gingerly stepped from the bed and balanced her way across the metal ribs through the only door available to her. Glancing out the window she watched as millions of asteroids surrounded the boat. “Finally awake ae?” The man called out as he spied her standing in the door way. “I, where are we?” “More importantly.” The man said as he sat down facing the new born deity. “Who are you?” He said pointing with a smile. The new born deity smirked at the question. “Well that is obvious, I am, I’m… me.” Her smirk faded and she concentrated as hard as she could. “I am Alendra.” He said with a gentle tone. “And you are?” “I am… Soier.” She said cautiously, taking a deep inhalation through her nose looked back up at Alendra with a certainty. “I am Soier, it is a pleasure to meet you Alendra.” Alendra widened his eyes in surprise. “Woah, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone compose themselves that fast after such an intense rebirth.” “I am sorry, did you say rebirth?” Soier said, dropping her composure. “Yup, You my curly haired friend, have lived and died many times, now you have been reborn as a god. Congratulations.” “Wait, so you have been following me through all my lives?” “Well actually…” “Are you god? Are you everyone’s god, or just my own? If you are my god why didn’t you know my name? why do you have this boat? Where in the universe are we? Are we still in a universe? Is this heaven?” As Soier’s breath ran out she gasped heavily. “Are we in hell?” “Woah, you need to calm down kiddo, that is a lot to answer. Give me one question.” “I want to know the answers to all of them though, and more.” “That is fine, and in time you will get those answers. But for now, let’s pick one.”  Soier scrunched up her face and hummed to herself before opening her mouth slowly. “The first one, have you been following me my whole life?” Alendra smiled and relaxed back into his seat. “No.” “Then how…” “Did I know?” Alendra interrupted. “Well it is because all gods have to go through the cycle of life, many times before they are born as a god. You would have lived as everything from a small cell, to a proto-life, through to massive multi-celled creatures, and your final form would be a creature capable of advanced self-actualisation, otherwise known as higher sentience. Most of these seem to be bipedal hairless creatures with the ability to learn quickly.” Soier scratched at her head as she looked around the boat, examining the rust covered walls. “Second question, sort of. Why are you in a boat if we are floating in space? If we really are floating in space.” Alendra laughed as he adjusted his seat. “Yes we are in space, I will allow you to sneak that second question in.” Soier grinned back to Alendra with pride. “The reason I am in this boat is because a very long time ago I used to live in this boat, back in one of my past lives. Now I like to use it to get around the Eterna-verse. I don’t need it, but it makes me feel like I am home.” “Then why is it so rusty, were you homeless or something.” “Yeah I was, I snuck into abandoned docks and lived in their derelict boats, when I was a mortal that is.” “Then why live like this, why not live on a big boat, with beds, and food, and staff?” “What a wonderful Idea.” Alendra yelled, standing up. He waved his hands and the boat started to creak and change. “Let us spruce up this old bucket of bolts.” He continued as the rust on the walls peeled from existence. The room they were in turned into an enormous ball room with white walls and chandeliers, Alendra lead Soier to the top deck where they looked over the several decks of the super yacht. Wait staff lined the walls and there was a smell of fresh fruit and high class kitchens drifting through the air “Yeah like this, why not live like this?” Soier asked as she tried to explore, but before she knew it, the boat was back to the same old rusty mess. She turned around with an expression that begged the question why? “I don’t live that because it is not what makes me feel good. These rusty walls are home to me, they sheltered me through some of the worst storms on my planet. Holes were ripped in her hull, and parts fell away, but she always had room for me to stay. It is not glamorous, but it is home.” “That is dumb, I would live in a palace if I was you with all your wooshing powers.” Soiers eyes lit up and she turned back to Alerndra. “Since I am a god, will I be able to do all those cool things?” She asked, waving her arms around. “Eventually, you might want to figure out some more basic abilities first.” Soier seemed disappointed and tapped a rusty beam with her foot. “Why are you here?” “What a good question Soier. I am here because I like to help new born gods find their way. It can be hard being thrown into a universe with nothing but the clothes on your back. So, naturally I spend my time helping others.” “Like me?” “Just like you.” “I think that is a very good thing to do, I always believed in helping others when I lived on Earth. That is the name of the planet I came from, have you heard of it?” Alendra shook his head. “The Eterna-verse is a big place, it is impossible to know everywhere.” “What is the Eterna-verse?” “Well, that one is a little complicated. Since there are so many universe’s and multi-verses, and pocket dimensions, and a plethora of other realms, we group them all under the name Eterna-vere. Because no matter how many universes collapse or pocket dimensions burn out there will always be one constant, the Eternal-universe.” “Oh woah, that is cool. That is so cool, can you explore them? Can I explore them?” “You can go anywhere you want to go, do whatever you want to do. You are free to be yourself.” “I think I want to help people, like you.” “People, or gods?” “Oh.” Soier chuckled. “I want to help gods, and people, and animals, and everyone.” “That is a big task, if you want you can come help me help so more new born gods like you. On the way I can teach you how to grow, and you can help others too.” “That would be amazing, can I…” Soier’s attention was grabbed as she spied the jar of frozen tears, picking it up she listend to them clink against the glass. “These are my tears, why did you save them?” Alendra turned back to the wheel of the ship pointing to a door that suddenly appeared. “That is your room, I hope you enjoy figuring out the many mysteries of the Eterna-verse.”

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An Abomination

Anodyne awoke, his eyes as pitch black as the space that surrounded him, the sterling silver cross pupil darted from side to side as his body slowly adjusted to consciousness. His body once limp and slowly floating through space corrected itself as he awoke. His body was suddenly thrown to the nearby planet by an overwhelming force, glimpsing over his shoulder he spied a bald deity with his arms locked around Anodyne, pushing him down to a nearby planets surface. Their bodies erupted with flame as they broke atmosphere, the heat barely registering as a sensation for them as the vibrant orange flames curled around their bodies, fading as the descended. The air rushed by with extreme force, blowing their clothes around, and Anodyne’s long, dark hair. “Die monster.” The bald deity screamed, cracking his voice. “Monster?” Anodyne thought to himself as he collided with planet side, the cracking sound echoing around the planet as the bald deity continued to push Anodyne down further. The newcomer forced Anodyne through the layers of the planet, cracking the crust in only seconds. The Bald deity changed his position and started to chock Anodyne as he forced him through the planet, his face frozen in excitement. The heat of the planet started to turn the nearby stone into a viscous liquid that formed around the two as they passed through. Eventually the core was struck and the planet started to collapse. First it seemed as if it would float away in several parts as matters started to drift from one another, then they all clamped down stronger than before. Gravity increased, the birds flying around fell to the ground, bones broken and incapable of moving, all large land-based predators started to feel the effect, their toned muscles defying the new increase of gravity, but everything smaller fell to the ground in exhaustion as they were slowly crushed to death. Anodyne gripped the hand of the new Deity, staring into his eyes he smiled in a way that no one had ever seen before. He grabbed the new deity and finally started to fight back. The two of them wrestling in the core of the planet, the external rules of nature changed as the chaos ensued. After hours of conflict the planet was slowly torn apart, leaving the two deities laughing in the middle of the molten core of the planet as it started to cool in the vacuum of space. “You cheeky fuck, your lucky I wasn’t using that planet.” Anodyne jested with the other deity. “When did you change your look? You look like a fucking idiot Lio.” Lio grinned as he rubbed his smooth head. “Mate it is the new trend, do you know how many other gods are rocking a bald head? You’re the one who looks like the wanker with the long hair.” Anodyne shook his head slowly as he stared at the shining head of Lio. He took a moment once he noticed the bushy brown eyebrows resting below his creaseless forehead. “Fashion is not something I don’t think I will ever understand.” “Clearly.” Lio said looking Anodyne up and down. Anodyne turned back over his shoulder, his eyes glowing blue he waved his hands and the destroyed planet slowly reformed, going back through the process that Anodyne and Lio put it through until it was finally whole again. Anodyne turned back to see an encroaching smile crawl across Lio’s face. “You destroy that planet again and I won’t help you today.” Anodyne said like a parent warning a child. “You are no fun at all, and I do need your help. So I guess I won’t destroy it… for now.” Lio said waving his hands in front of him, wriggling his fingers. “Dun dun dun, but one day, when you least expect it. It will be in pieces.” Anodyne stared at Lio with disappointment. “Why do I tolerate you?” Lio shrugged earnestly and they both laughed as Lio raised one arm, pointing two fingers up he brought his arm down slowly, a small tear in space appearing before him. “Come on then, we have work today.” “This is hardly work.” Scoffed Anodyne. “Well if you put the effort in like I did it would be, so, shut up and come on.” The pair squeezed through the tear one by one, disappearing from where they stood, reappearing on a large flat plane of grass that extended further than they could see. All around them others appeared from their own portals, wandering to a central spire that stretched high into the blue sky, it too going beyond eyesight. “This is such a strange place, I have no idea why it has to be like this. It hardly has anything to do with what we are doing.” Anodyne said as they started to walk toward the tower. “Yeah, and why the blue sky? Why can’t they go with the normal colour?” Anodyne gave Lio a side eye. “What do you mean normal?” “Well you know green, the normal sky colour.” “To me blue is default, it is what my mortal lives grew up with.” “Oh, me too actually. But green is literally the most common colour, we are unique. Well, not really. I think Blue is actually like the fourth or maybe third most common.” “Oh shit, and how may I ask did we get this information?” “The only way possible, they were counted. One of those weird groups of gods that like to check rarity on shit. I mean obviously they have not counted everywhere, but current standing, green is number one, and by a wide margin too.” “This has to be one of the dumbest conversations that I have ever had, and that is saying something.” “Are you telling me you seriously don’t find that interesting, like not even a little?” Lio asked, pressing intently for an answer. “I am no longer apart of this conversation.” “Ha, I knew it. Don’t you worry, I will keep you updated with all the random facts and crap these groups come up with.” “D-lightful.” Anodyne said sarcastically. “Maybe we should move the topic to the one at hand?” “Fine, what is your strategy?” “Strategy?” Anodyne laughed. “You have me mistaken for someone who is trying to win. The only reason I did this shit is so I could master creating sentient life. Now that I have done that, I do not care for this stupid game.” “Come off it, you are gonna love this shit.” Lio jumped in front of Anodyne and put on a announcer voice. “One universe locked in accelerated time, every planet seeded by a gods own creation, only one race will come out on top.” “You look like an idiot. Stop that.” “Come on man, lighten up, have some fun. If we do good enough we may even win our entry fee back.” “Entry fee? You never mentioned an entry fee.” “I mentioned there was a prise though, and their can’t be a prize without a fee.” “All right, I guess that one is on me. What is the fee.” “A hundred thousand tonnes of none forgeable matter.” “What the fuck, are you serious?” Anodyne yelled reactively. “Oh come on you hoarder, you don’t even use yours for anything. What is the point in finding rare material if you don’t even use it? It is like…” “Fine, shut up. I will enter this once, and once only. That is hours of work for some shitty life simulator that will be over in minutes.” “Days, not minutes.” “I hate everything about this competition.” The two walked into the tower and signed up for the competition, wandering slowly around the room until they stopped at the final desk where they were handed a different pamphlet each from a god sitting behind a desk. “Now these are your information booklets, they will have all the details on the planet, asteroid, or other habitable region of the Universe that you will be seeding for this competition. We begin tomorrow morning, so please plan carefully. The prize for the winners is on the back, enjoy.” “The whole of creation to explore, and this fucking idiot decides to sit behind a desk and hand out pamphlets.” “Damn, relax Anodyne. He is just doing his job, and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here. Now, what seed location did you get? I got a… Oh I better do good, I got a green planet, it is already covered with life. This will be a cake walk for the early stages, hopefully it will cover for my lack of experience.” “I got a barren ass wandering asteroid. No atmosphere, no liquid, just a small pocket in the centre that I can put my genetic material in and pray I actually hit a planet before this competition is over.” Lio winced as he looked at Anodyne. “Sorry buddy, better luck next time.” “Woah, what is this bullshit?” “What?” Lio said confused. “I ain’t fucking lost yet, just because I don’t have fancy green planet like you don’t mean I am not going to do well. I am going to crush this competition.” Lio raised his hands and raised an eyebrow. “Alright, if you say so buddy. But I think you just wasted your entry fee.” Anodyne stared at Lio, his lip twitching with anger. “I aint wasted anything, you just watch.” Anodyne stormed off to a preparation room and started working on his competition entry. He scoured the information given to him about the universe they would be seeding, he looked over his asteroid and its potential trajectory. Carefully examining the planets it was most likely to land on. He festered over the information, but the words of Lio rung in his ears and he stubbornly pressed on with his research, desperate to find the angle needed to win this competition. The next morning rocked around and Lio found Anodyne standing at the front of a display screen, his eyes fixed on his own name that was being displayed on the score board. “I thought you were just doing this because I invited you?” Lio said sarcastically. “I was.” Anodyne replied, his eyes shifting to the countdown timer. “But you told you me that I couldn’t win, so now it is personal.” Come on man, that was not a challenge, everyone knows if you get an asteroid you have all but lost. Most never hit another object, some explode in space when they hit others, and the ones that do make it to a planet are usually millions of years behind the others. It isn’t an opinion it is fact, the odds are stacked up against you.” Anodyne watched the last second tick over on the countdown timer, with a loud siren the game began with a voice echoing through the air. “Welcome everyone to the seed challenge. All your genetic material has been added to a universe that has been created to run time as fast possible, we will watch all your creatures grow adapt, die, and kill until there is only one left. That one will be crowned the winner. There is also prizes for the creations that achieve milestones, and various other tasks. Best of luck to you all, may the best species win.” Time started in the pocket universe and everyone started cheering as the score boards started to fill with points. “There was pretty much nothing in the booklet about the scoreboard, how do I get points?” “You serious Anodyne? All that researching and you didn’t bother to look that up?” Liorolled his eyes and started to explain. “Well it is pretty simple, without going into the intense maths of it, pretty much, anything your species does in the universe earns it points, just existing will get you a point per second, so you will never be on zero points. Then evolving, conquering, diplomacy, tech advancements, literally everything they do will gain you points. The rarer the thing they …

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