Interval III – A Pleasant Chat

In the far north of Reality, past the edges of all known Realms, beyond the shallows of the Void lies Oblivion’s Reef, where the laws of God and Man go to be unwound.

Travel north beyond all physical understanding of the concept, and you will find the Reef, airless and beautiful, with the fires of an eternal Armageddon burning cold as they are sucked away into the further Reach – a space beyond space, where all is one, nothing and everything colliding amidst the shattered and fragmented echoes of the Incandescent Law that binds what is Real. Space and Time cross over in Oblivion’s Reef, hours becoming miles and inches becoming eons. The washed up detritus of a thousand thousand Realms, dead gods and shattered civilisations gathered like so much flotsam and jetsam, clutters the fizzing boundary between the Real and Unreal, the Reach.

Beyond the final rules to be unwound in the Reef, the Reach is unknown, and there is no knowing what lies beyond, for knowledge ceases to exist beyond the boundary. Another Realmic system, running on different Law unknowable? The corpses of the first Dominions, Is and Is Not? Something else?

 

Two upright figures were standing on the edge of the Reef, watching the end of all things unfold.

Humanoid, at least on the outside.

The second entity spoke, audible through the vacuum. “You are correct in your surmise. I can feel the ripples it makes in the shadows. Something is following it.” His eyes and upper face were concealed in shadow that clung like moss, despite the light being emitted by his partner.

“I am always correct, Mr Moon,” came Dr Sun’s reply. “And in the purview of light, the Pursued enters the home of the Hunters. It is under protection, and beyond my reach.”

Dr Sun was tall and pale, glistening with near-blinding light in places unconcealed by blue-pale bandages, medical scrubs and a long white coat. She shone from within, just as Mr Moon seemed to suck the light from around him.

Mr Moon chuckled. “And the Stranger still follows it. It falls from my view when it moves through the Void, but it steps back into darkness, soon enough.”

The light from Dr Sun flared briefly, burning a few layers off of Mr Moon’s skin and scorching the ground beneath her. “The associate of the Murderer?”

“The very same. It has Vowed to take the Pursued to the cage of matter in which it was confined for so long.” Mr Moon grinned, flesh around his mouth cracking and flaking as the light burned it away.

He didn’t care. He had other faces.

“Mr Moon, I think we are going to have to take action, once this Pursued has left the safety of the house of the Hunter.”

“Dr Sun, I daresay you’re right.” The light abated, and the skin started to crawl across Mr Moon’s charred face, stitching and melding together. His burning clothes started to put themselves out, thin tendrils of coatflesh bridging the burn marks, weaving back into its original form.

“Materia still rejects the Pursued, keeping it from its cage. With luck, the Stranger will realise the impossibility of its task, and unravel.”

Another chuckle. “We should be so lucky. How did you managed to get the cage to reject it, anyway?”

“I simply told the truth to its defences, told them what to look for.”

“Good, good.” Mr Moon paused to brush some ash from his shoulder before continuing. “What of the Hand? It is putting into motion plans of its own.”

She wrinkled her nose. “It will not be a problem. I will remind it of the contract drawn up between our partners and the Heart, and thusly that this is not of its concern.”

The last four words were punctuated by another blistering flare of light. Mr Moon briefly caught fire.

“Point taken,” he rasped. “Now, could you direct that somewhere else?”

Dr Sun growled, but the light receded, gathering about her arms, flickering with bright fury.

An ancient ruin of a tower stood over their meeting place, stretching brokenly into the flaming sky of the Reef, stones crumbling with age. A gesture from Dr Sun sent a fan of blazing light the size of a cricket pitch whizzing across the landscape, slicing clean through the base of the tower, the stones sublimating silently, sending the tower listing towards the two associates. With another flick of her hand, a second fan of light, vertical this time, split the tower neatly in two, a pair of half-towers that hit the edge of the Reef in an impact that shattered local gravity. Dr Sun and Mr Moon would have drifted away, but they both believed they should be standing on the ground. So, there they remained.

Mr Moon continued reconstruction on his face until he could speak again. “That was gaudy.”

She turned to the devouring nothingness, less than the Void and greater than the Realms, that surrounded them on all sides. She turned further towards it, bones of the form she held bending and creaking, flesh twisting discontinuously as she moved through the decaying remains of a higher dimension, washed up on the Reef like so much garbage.

“It’s so much like them, isn’t it?” she asked wistfully, watching as the remains of a million worlds funnelled into the maw of Oblivion’s Reef.

“Yes, it is,” Mr Moon said. “And they will be avenged.”

“They will be avenged,” Dr Sun said in response, eyes burning beneath the blindfold she always wore.

With that, Dr Sun vanished in a flash of light and a thunderclap, vaporising the section of cliff she was on in an instant. Mr Moon had already  left, crawling along the ground like an insubstantial liquid, tearing holes through the ruins that surrounded the cliffs of Oblivion’s Reef as he burrowed through their shadows.

All that remained of the associates’ meeting spot was a steaming crater, in which oddly luminescent fire still burned.

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