Short Stories, The Augmented World

Ex Nihilo – Unsullied

To live is to speak. From the first breath of any mind spilled forth magic and spells, silvered chains that grab a hold of the ever-fluxing matter of reality and bending it to the will of the living, speaking, being. Anchored by emotion, strengthened by reason, emboldened by intuition thought they might be, the basic fuel of actions are words. You cannot do that which has not first been articulated. When the hand dives deep into the frigid waters of what exists, it must be driven by the ligaments of expression, the muscle of syntax, the bones of structure. Do not succumb to the horrors which wait outside the human mind, do not give in to the formless violence that is non-speech, that is not silence but something more and less than silence, do not give in to the raving at the death of all things. Forget everything but do not give in.

All of this and more swims in the mind of Jetta, First Councillor. Standing on the Pulpit, a massive circle enclosing her legs and pulsing with a blue light, she leans over the abyss that cannot be named and tries to name it. It is the end of her watch but there is no one to replace her, as the rest of the Councillors lie dead on the floor around her. Problems were to be expected in a place like this, with a project like they were attempting. They had known this going in but no one had expected something quite as bad; the phenomena, the abyss that, even now, cannot be named had seemed powerful but not malicious. That had been proven false not more than four hours ago, if time had any meaning any more, when Fairt, Second Councillor, had attempted to name it. Why he had done such a thing, so far ahead of the schedule, they will never know, as Fairt was the first victim claimed by the abyss that cannot be named. However, Jetta has begun to understand. No matter how much she resists, drawing power from the Pulpit itself, her lips cry in all manners to speak the name, to make the name, to bind the abyss. And she must not, she knows she must not, it would consume her, but her will is slipping.

However, this is not the worst thing. She has already come to terms that she will fall and that the expedition will fail, the first one to do so since her people had emerged from a darkness none of them quite remembered. Certainly this was the strongest phenomena they had yet encountered, so near to the galactic centre, but they had not expected such utter, devastating failure. However, this is still not the worst thing. The worst thing is that she suspects the abyss that cannot be named, this phenomena, will not kill her. As her lips near surrender, as the name which she must not utter draws closer to the air of the world, she has begun to understand the phenomena, to glimpse the malicious nature inside it. Yes, this was the worst thing: from her demise this thing will birth the greatest empire possible. Jetta was dealing with much more than insanity, much more than evil and much more than her own demise. This was…monumental. And now, she must stop fighting. She feels her lungs take in air, feels her throat expand. She finally understands the wounds present on her former companions: collapsed larynx, imploded lungs, shattered teeth, buckling as they all fought to keep the name inside. That was not possible, it must be spoken. And speak it she will but on her own terms, damn it. On her own human, mindful, sentient, linguistic terms.

Yes, abyss, I will name you, she thinks. Yes abyss, I will call you, she thinks. Yes, abyss, I will birth you, she thinks. But I will name you my own name, she knows. I will call you my own sound, she knows. Yes, I will birth you my own creature, she knows. And so she does. To live is to speak and no one is more alive than Jetta, speaking. From her first breath of her mind spill forth magic and spells, silvered chains that grab a hold of the ever-fluxing matter of reality and bend the abyss to the will of the living, speaking, being. Anchored by emotion, strengthened by reason, emboldened by intuition thought they are, the basic fuel of her actions are her words. You cannot do that which has not first been articulated and now it is time to articulate this abyss, in chains. When the hand dives deep into the frigid waters of what exists, it must be driven by the ligaments of expression, the muscle of syntax, the bones of structure. Do not succumb to the horrors which wait outside the human mind, do not give in to the formless violence that is non-speech, that is not silence but something more and less than silence, do not give in to the raving at the death of all things. Forget everything but do not give in.

“I name you Heart”.

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