The Enmity of Scolrys, Part XXXIII: The Grasp of Madness

Lanu Du’s paranoid insanity hastily directed Its assault in a new direction, a manic palpitation of planar power crashing down upon the nine gods warring within Chaos. Four huge portals carved through cosmic space, looping Prime to Chaos to Prime in a dizzying distortion of three-dimensional space. Each portal gazed upon a significant city-state of Sapience, allowing a breathtaking view of each location as if snatched from an eagle’s eye. Fundamental Chaos reached into the Prime for a third time with the four tentacles that had once threatened Lexadhra, Its insidious attention coiling tight around the realm entire.

As Lanu Du drew the whole of Sapience into Its eldritch embrace, a keening symphony of frenzied woodwinds seeped into the hearts and minds of all mortalkind. Alien, disjointed notes served as a charming piper that led consciousness far beyond the troublesome constraints of physicality, its insidious music driving most mortals into the darkened pit of madness. Close as the continent’s adventurers were to It, with nowhere to go and nobody to rescue them from Its slithering clutches, they could do naught but tremble as Its power forced the riddle of time to yield to Its insistence. It compelled the stars to align, building a pathway for It to plunge into the realm’s fragile psyche.

What took root within Sapience’s mind was a foul flower, a glimpse of all the universe has to hold of horror and abominable profanity – a terror so true, so pure as to render the skies of spring and the blossoms of summer as poison forevermore. Each city-state beheld madness tailored to them and their ends, their agendas and creeds warped and twisted by the insidious touch of Lanu Du. Ambition, faith, expansion, duty, and even the planes themselves quailed before the Faceless One’s touch, one and all turned bitter upon the tongue of those that clung to their sovereignty.

As Sapience’s finest clawed control back into their purview, they rallied to defend their homes. Employing siege weaponry, savage strikes, and clever tactics, the major cities of the realm carved through Lanu Du’s final attempt at an invasion even as the gods manoeuvered to guard the Indelible. United in purpose, Six of the warring Seven reached Her side. Light, Water, Life, Morale, Tyranny, and Corruption assembled in a defensive formation with Memory at its centre, Their collective might unleashed to annihilate the endless spawn of Chaos. Still held in the throes of mania, Bamathis rejected His position at the side of His fellow Immortals. He cleaved through foe after foe, earning liberation from Loss with every brutal blow.

An ephemeral twister arose from the middle of the gathered gods, its other end shooting off into the infinite empty of a primordial plane. A brilliant shockwave raced out from the twister’s heart, its outer edges bristling with an infusion of Immortal sorcery. As it passed over countless shards, worlds, demiplanes, spheres, and other mysterious pockets of Chaos, each let loose an answering cry that combined into a disorienting cacophony.

The dark clouds of madness receded, allowing clarity to shine through.

Lanu Du stilled, enraptured by the jarring clamour. Its endless tentacles and tendrils ceased writhing. The agonised cries of abominable maws and the wet squelches of eldritch appendages died away. Strife’s victims stood motionless before His blade, but only He fought on – all Others watched as the plane cried out to its ancient Ruler.

Seizing the opportunity of a lucid thought, the Faceless One exerted Its unfettered, indomitable will upon Its domain.

Exotic woodwinds once more drowned out all other auditory perception, their first notes shearing away mortalkind’s connection to the world around them. The Chaos Plane lurched as it underwent a fundamental shift, all its paradoxical laws called into question for one unnerving moment. Though the instruments sounded eerily familiar, the specific arrangement yet still eludes the Grand Library’s attempt to recreate it or place its odd familiarity and our experts have yet to come to a consensus on what exactly this tune did – or what dramatic shift it forced the plane to undergo.

Satisfied now and distracted by something in the far distance of Its realm rearranged, Lanu Du daydreamed Itself and Its spawn into non-existence without so much as a whisper. In the unsettling calm following the Fundament’s departure, the eight deities cast Their collective gaze towards the rippling aperture in planar space. As One, They took a single step that brought Them back to the Prime, leaving the madness of Chaos at Their backs. Immediately, Bamathis whirled around to level His gaze upon Lexadhra. He pointed Caelestis toward Her, its blade still dripping Immortal gore, His wild eyes flashing with barely contained rage.

“Your interference robs Me of enjoyment, Lexadhra. I will not forget this slight,” Strife snarled, His words setting the heavens to a tremble.

Indifferent to the threat against Her, Lexadhra smirked and took Her leave upon a gust of chilled mist.

The remaining Six turned to look back at the shattered stretch of unformed Chaos and the colourless fires feasting upon the viscera of Immortal battle. Vague unease emanated from Them, staining the sky with an ugly bruise that only dissipated when the rent knit itself shut beneath the urging of Their collective will. One by One, the Gods dispersed into motes that scattered throughout the continent – each of Them now gone to recover and plan Their next moves.

As Lanu Du turned away from the Prime, Qor Qogol’s magma-forges rang out in the unsettling silence of warfare’s aftermath…

Penned by my hand on Quensday, the 13th of Dharos, in the year 5 AC.