The Enmity of Scolrys, Part VI: Insanity

“YOUR RUNNING AND TRICKERY BORES ME,” thundered the Star of Midwinter. With a clap of Her mighty wings, the Dragon turned about and charted a course for Her perch within Spinesreach, content with Her contribution.

The sky above Mournhold distended in a vain attempt at resistance before it gave way to the quantum impossibility of Chaos, its canvas twisted toward profane ends. A yawning chasm of kaleidoscopic colours and alien geometries unfurled where once was welkin glory, revealing the endless array of cyclopean realms born from the imagination of a mad god. Unknown stars flared out and died, their cold dissolution yielding space to yet more realms in a rapid hypergenesis of unthinkable horror.

Cries of despair arose from the town of Jaru as the Arqeshi beheld the coming of that which should not be. Villagers young and old raced throughout Jaruvian ricefields and strung up superstitious warding charms in hopes of turning aside the oncoming tide of terror.

Satisfied with the result of His gambit, Arvelis dissolved into an oily smear of smoke before Celezor’s next swing connected. The shadows rushed forward to embrace what remained of their ambitious prince, conveying Him to safety amidst the startling crack of midnight ice. With Tanixalthas lost to boredom, Slyphe crashed back down near the ritual’s center within view of Lightsworn Fire and tilted Her head to look up at the clouds.

The breath of madness rattled forth from the twisted skies above Mournhold, suffusing the realm entire with the fractious insanity of a truly deranged mind.

Eldritch cacophony roared from the chaotic canyon in the sky, making all other sounds mundane, purposeless noise. The heart of reality quivered like that of prey as the Dominus of All Unreality pierced the veil of worlds and turned Its featureless face, eyeless gaze and all, towards Sapience. Countless rasping suckers and fanged maws gaped open in a display of ravenous hunger for that which holds the Prime Material together, a ceaseless desire to consume emanating from the forbidden presence on high. Impossible angles and chilling contortions served as Its eldritch limbs, Its tendrilous fingers seizing upon the edges of Its new point of ingress and tearing it further open to better allow the impossible proportions of Its ancient mass to pass through.

Unable to withstand the horror of the Faceless One’s emergence, the psyches of lesser adventurers unlaced into a string of gibbering thoughts that ultimately yielded to dissolution. Pain lanced through the minds of all who beheld That Which Slept, Its very visage and silhouette gnawing away at everyone’s thoughts until they became naught but panic and jumbled terror. Thrusting one twisted arm through the ritually wrought rent, That Which Now Wakes seized upon a section of Mournhold’s earth and yanked upward. Reality squirmed in an impotent effort to elude the gravity of a determined Fundament, its resistance quelled by the sudden imposition of innumerable tentacles burrowing deep into the bedrock beneath the town.

Forged from nothing, made material from immaterial parts, countless slavering hordes of warped Chaos hounds amassed as a pack and surged forth to terrorise the town and defend Lanu Du’s burrowed tendrils. Though many experienced terror throughout the profane proceedings, one soul experienced utmost enlightenment: the lithe Tekal cutter of Tiyen Esityi. Declaring the Dark Lady unworthy of her worship, the ascendant warrior cried out her devotion to Lanu Du and gave wild praise to Varach Scolrys, naming him the Prophet of Madness.

As adventurers watched on in horror, Chaos-attuned mages and ascendants experienced similar disturbances throughout the ritual. Unbeknownst to most, the Unforgotten Court toiled away beyond the Prime to secure Astral’s sovereignty. Aided by Ecdysia’s enchanted lantern and the myriad creativity of a disenfranchised court, Bhalwyn and his ragtag crew of once-oneironauts saw to the invocation of the mythical sphere of white to serve as a protective barrier against chaotic interference.

Blazing fury flooded through Celezor’s incandescent silhouette as He witnessed the unleashed horror of Immortal Chaos. Cobalt castigation glimmered in His pitiless gaze, His indistinct jaw clenched as He resigned Himself to a duty of equal need. A rigid gesture from Accordant Righteousness manifested a fiery fusillade of lightborn bolts that sizzled through the thick knot of tentacular terror, allowing Him all the time He needed to close the distance and hew through many more invaders with Daybreak’s flaming edge.

Not one to be outdone, Slyphe raised Audacity on high and transfigured into a raging tide that looped and whirled through the air to elude the defenses of the Faceless One. The unthinkable pressure of lightless trenches crushed any puny minion who stood before Her, reducing them to ichorous pulp or else shattering them into thousands of icy crystals left in Her wake. The Queen of the Tides solidified at Celezor’s side with a whooping laugh, Her rakish glee evident as She sheared through countless cords of chaotic muscle with the gleaming edge of a cutlass forged by a fallen Sister. Casual ease lightened the mood of the swashbuckling goddess, bespeaking the effortless simplicity of Her conviction. Together, Lightsworn Fire and Immortal Water held the line with an ease born of power elevated by the Monomachy’s travails – but wheresoever They felled Their foes, myriad more sprang forth from endless insanity.

Soon after, a jagged gateway of cobalt fire scythed through the center of the ritual site, allowing a new figure to stand at Varach Scolrys’ side: Lahkencai, the Withered Lord of Nazedhan Chaos. Drawn by the emergence of his unspeakable deity, the Withered Lord beckoned forth Immortal Chaos’ loyal hounds and unthinkable terrors. With a wave of one thin limb, the sovereign of foreign Chaos commanded his dread hordes to fan out through the township and commence slaughter of all stragglers. Countless Chaos minions of varying shapes, sizes, colours, and anatomical dissonances manifested by the will of insanity’s soul. Barking and screeching alongside the coalesced hounds, these terrible aberrations engaged the trapped troops of Theocracy, Fist, and Hammer alike in a bloodied massacre.

Swordsmen, warmages, unspeakable horrors, and darkbow archers banded together amidst the tumult of awakened Chaos, battling in vain to escape the sacrificial fate that now awaited them. One by one, these brave soldiers found themselves cast down before the hungry tendrils of Lanu Du, all that they are, were, and could ever be distilled down in a futile attempt to stymie aeonic insatiability. Some soldiers fell to hounds or minions, whereas others chose to take their own lives rather than be subjected to their final moments in the presence of a terrifying eldritch deity, their deaths nevertheless serving to empower the Faceless God.

Suffused with offerings of stripped bone, fresh blood, and hundreds of souls newly liberated from corporeal binding, Lanu Du extended another arm into the Prime Material. Dazzling barrages of chaotic rays ruptured the earth, making of Mournhold a smouldering battlefield that forced the Hammer’s deities to go on the defensive. Celezor and Slyphe swiftly bound together Their domains, fashioning a dome that deterred the destructive shower of essence at the expense of Their mobility.

It was then that the clarion call of herald’s horn slices through Immortal Insanity’s eldritch symphony, bringing clarity for all of a breath.

Penned by my hand on Kinsday, the 24th of Haernos, in the year 2 AC.