9th World -- Zarzuket (1 posts)

thread created on 8/13/13 at 23:19


9thdm, 8/13/13 23:19

Your party makes camp another night with Shem, affording the Gravediggers with magical healing and another night of rest to get their wounded back on their feet. That night, you dream...

You are standing on the stage of a circular amphitheater under a clear night sky, encircled by a seemingly endless audience who seem to stretch back, row upon the row, away into the sky. Filling the seats are innumerable individuals, all lit by the gentle glow of the stars. At first you see only humanoids, but then discover that the farther back into the rows you look the more you see other creatures mixed in as well - giants, dragons, and myriad others you cannot identify. As you peer out and up as far as you can you realize that off in the distance, incalculably far away, there is in fact a horizon of seating; as you squint and strain to see it you make out that strange and massive shapes, shifting and leaning like living things, are seated there, towering over the stage despite their vast distance.

A long moment of silence stretches out, and you start to become nervous as you realize that you have no idea what you are expected to perform! Just as your mind begins to race through your best pieces - 'The Merchant Pauper' or 'An Old Comb for a Cold Gnome'? - the front row of the audience stands and begins to sing. The song is wordless but beautiful, and you stand listening in awe. Before too long the second row stands and begins to sing as well, adding their voices to the chorus with a song which is similar, but not the same, as the first, their song interweaving with the first in an admirable attempt to compliment it. Then the third row stands and sings. Again a slightly different song, which while complimenting the second, it detracting from the first in many places.

When the fourth row stands and begins, you realize just how loud the voices are getting. The fourth song, while surely beautiful on its own, conflicts greatly with the first, making the chorus distractingly bad and really ruining the whole thing. By the time the eighth row stands and joins in, your hands are covering your ears; by the twelfth you're squinting in pain at the din; by the twentieth your fists are shoved in your ears and your head hurts from the noise. Yet more and more rows join in, their songs complimenting those in front and behind them, but the total effect becoming one of maddening discordance.

As row upon row upon row stand and join, you notice that there are some members of the chorus/audience who are directing and conducting the others, at least one in every row. As you peer at them through pained eyes you come to believe that their faces seem fake, their forms odd beneath their clothes, and that they are in fact dressed in clever disguises.

Eventually you are forced to your knees the cacophony is so great, as it takes all your effort just to stay conscious. It is then, head pounding and eyes blurring, that you think you make out vague, dark shapes moving through the audience, not joining in song but instead slipping like greasy shadows through their ranks. You dare not remove your hands from your ears to wipe your eyes, but between frantic tear-filled blinks you note that these dark figures, now definitely humanoid in shape, are all moving downwards, row by row, towards the stage - towards you.

Just as they begin to grow close enough that you hope to catch some glimpse of their faces or garb, the whole amphitheater begins to shake, a low rumble which steadily grows more and more violent. With a dull terror you realize that at the horizon those unfathomable shapes have begun to sing. You slump to the ground as watch as their voices, so far off that it takes many minutes for them to reach the stage, roll down across the audience, their power and volume apparent as all lesser members of the infinite chorus are either knocked forward along the almost visible wave of sound, tumbling and flying towards the stage, or are blown apart entirely.

The shadowy figures now sprint across the stage towards you, attempting to stay ahead of the destruction as well as to dodge and weave through the storm of living hailstones as chorus members from farther back, creatures seemingly spawned from myth and nightmare, begin to land on the stage and crush anything beneath them. But none move faster than that final song, and everything on the stage is blown into meat and dust before it can reach you at the center. As the contracting circle of sonic destruction closes upon you there is the brief clarity of utter silence on the stage floor. Looking up you see two forms rise up above the horizon, opposite each other, each taking up a third of the sky: one a bright, translucent orb, full of swirling motes of light and streamers of color, dazzling and beautiful to behold; the other a great, dark cloud lit by intermittent flashes of lightning and fire, swirling inwards like a great hole in the sky, with ten eyes floating before it - nine open and one whose lid begins to open as you watch. In between them the night sky is full of stars whose light, once gentle, is now bright and hard, seemingly focused down on you.

Then the wall of sound smashes into you, and you wake to screaming...