Prologue – αποκάλυψις

Sickly yellow-orange lightning flickered in the roiling clouds as it drew closer, its mere presence exerting an impossible pressure on reality.

A tiny figure stood at the centre of the world disk, watching as something terrible became more real. She looked down at the pool of water at her feet and saw her own face, twisted and decayed, against a starless night, covered in blood that wasn’t there. The beast’s influence was reaching a tipping point. She stepped away from the dead centre of the disk, a tracery of light snapping into existence about her face and hands, reporting on the influence levels, atmospheric temperature, thaumic interference and a dozen other steadily more esoteric variables. Most of the numbers were rising steadily so, with a gesture, the interface vanished again. She looked up into the sky. The lightning was’t yellow anymore, but a paradoxical black, spontaneous flickers of darkness amidst the storm.

Rain started to fall, raising little trails of smoke as the vegetation, the stone, and soil started to erode. A few drops fell on the lone figure, sizzling through robes and flesh, before a muttered syllable solidified the air above her, diverting the corrosive rain to her sides.

Lightning flickered darkly, the air rumbling again and again, drawing more light from the world. The sun darkened, growing deeper red as its life was sapped. It was nearly here. The figure cracked her knuckles and looked up, through the clouds, where an angry point of red light was starting to glow, the manifestation of the creature in this reality spewing shadow and death, a wicked comet that plummeted towards the worldplate from the edge of the firmament.

i am malice. i am hunger. i am the death of all things and i have come for your world, whispered the comet into the mind of every living thing on the worldplate, as darkness spread across the sky, a fractal pattern of ink in water.

Around her, the grass was turning brown and every plant, from horizon to horizon, was wilting in the face of the First Ending Song. Gravity was breaking, the hungry sky starting to peel plants, peel soil and stone from the surface.

the end will begin and i will tear all reality to shreds. burn the world and burn a thousand more. i cannot be stopped.

“I beg to differ.”

A hole opened in the clouds, revealing the burning, terrible majesty of the beast, coiling smoke and a thousand gleaming eyes, needle obsidian teeth and hundreds of wings. It filled the sky: a monster larger than worlds, brimming with eternal hunger and glowing across the spectrum of ionising radiation. The lakes and seas of the world, already floating slowly upwards into the devouring heavens, began to steam.

Its structure finally succumbing to the forces, the flat world buckled and started to shatter. The air filled with fire and steam, molten rock and vaporised soil.

A reverse lightning strike, a pillar of light, struck up from the shattered disk, directly towards the beast’s open maw.

In its centre, incandescent with dread power, was the figure.

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