A hand lurched out of the burning wreckage of Richard Mansion. Bloody, bruised, and torn by war. Inch by agonizing inch, it carved its way up the steep slope of a crater, searching for any handhold it could use. Finally, after what seemed like an entire year, the hand fell onto solid ground, carrying an entire body with it. A head poked over the rim of the crater, followed by a chest, and legs. With effort, the body stood up, clutching its bleeding stump of an arm.
The Godmodder was alive. And he intended to keep it that way.
He had been changed for the worse. His clothes were now tattered and burned. His hair flaked with soot and dying embers. The left half of his face had been obliterated in the explosion - skin peeled away to reveal blood, muscle, and an exposed eye socket. His left arm had been torn off as well, dripping with blood. Scars, cuts, and wounds covered his body. He had wrapped the burning goldenrod curtains of his room over himself - they now seemed to be irreversibly stained with red.
"Heh," the Godmodder croaked. Pretty funny how he now resembled his Minecraft avatar completely. If his life was a joke, he figured that this was the sick punchline it was leading up to. The Godmodder turned back to look at the crater, staring into hell. His legacy was going up in flames around him. Everything he'd worked for was gone. He wondered if there was anything left he could salvage.
The Godmodder looked closer. ...No. Whatever pieces of technology were left had already been taken. No doubt the government had stormed into the depths and taken what they thought they could use. The Godmodder, in his stupor, had half a mind to go after them. But... What good would that do? He'd just get captured himself. Looking around, the Godmodder saw that no one was around his house. The neighbors were most likely keeping themselves busy. But the Godmodder knew even the Veil had limits. He had to leave.
And so, the Godmodder walked down a street with no name, and into a new life.
Two years. That's how long it had taken for the Second Godmodding War to conclude. The Godmodder wondered how long it would take for another war to transpire. Two more years? Five? Eternity? Eternity was a tricky thought. The Godmodder had once thought he'd stick around for that long. Now, he wasn't so sure. It seemed like the only true constants were ultimate forces of plot that just used mortals as pawns. Things you couldn't exactly "punch" away.
The Godmodder walked down an empty road into civilization. Some kids played with a basketball in front of him. The ball was thrown out of the kids' reach on accident, rolling to a stop at the Godmodder's feet. He looked down. "Hey, mister! Could ya give us a hand?" The Godmodder raised his bleeding left arm, which was now wrapped in bandages. "Sorry," he said. "I left that behind a few miles back." The kids looked on, horrified, as the Godmodder picked up the basketball. "But sure. Here." The Godmodder chucked the ball high into the sky, where it disappeared without a trace.
The Godmodder thought to himself about where to head to next. A hospital was out of the question - he could hide his identity only for so long. What he needed was a drink. And so, the Godmodder stumbled along. As the Godmodder walked away, chuckling to himself, the basketball came screaming back down, demolishing the basketball hoop and hurtling to the ground in a crater.
The door to the bar opened with a start. The Godmodder pushed himself through and sat down at the counter. No one seemed to pay much attention to him except for the bartender, who finished polishing a glass - as bartenders always seem to do - and moving towards the Godmodder. "What can I..." he trailed off, noticing that approximately a quarter of the Godmodder's body was basically missing, before adopting a blank look and continuing. "...do for you, sir." The Godmodder thought for a moment. "Give me the strongest drink you've got." The bartender chuckled. "Last person who asked for that needed to be driven to the hospital." The Godmodder chuckled. "Sounds like a challenge to me."
The bartender hurried away, preparing the drink, and looked up at the television. It was some random news broadcast about... Mojang. Something about them claiming responsibility for... restoring the world, whatever that meant. The Godmodder looked around. Last time he had checked, there wasn't much left of the Earth except for some floating chunks, streams of orchid fire, and tears in the fabric of time. But here everyone was, moving around the same as ever; perhaps a bit shell-shocked, but basically unchanged. Of course. For once, the Godmodder was the one under fire. Everyone had come out unscathed but him.
The bartender returned with a drink. "Say," the Godmodder began. "Got any memories of... another universe?" The bartender laughed nervously. "What, you talking about Binary? How he supposedly destroyed our universe? I'm not buying any of that. Sure, I've got some hazy memories... And I mean, I do feel like things are different..." The bartender continued polishing a glass. "But something with the power to completely destroy our world? With the snap of the fingers and all that? No. Impossible." The Godmodder downed his drink - alcohol was great if you had a body that made its side effects pass much quicker than usual - and laughed.
"Not as impossible as you might think," the Godmodder spoke. Every word sounded calculated. Controlled. "Our world just experienced the first purely digital war. Lasted for two years - short for a war by our standards. But nothing about this war was 'our standards.'" The bartender nodded uneasily. "Fought by people we didn't even know. Anonymous soldiers. Hell, most of them were just there to do whatever. Didn't even want to kill me. Just pursuing shady things in an underground castle or a network of ships." "...Excuse me? Did you just say they wanted to kill you?" The Godmodder laughed, pointing to himself. "Yeah. Big secret here - I'm the bad guy. But hey, you seem like the guy who can keep a secret." The bartender started to sweat, leaning closer to the Godmodder.
"So let's say I believe you, tough guy. Why the hell are you walking all the way to some bar in No One Gives A Crap County to talk to me?" The Godmodder stared into the distance. "To start again." The bartender shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, whatever. Spout some more philosophical mumbo-jumbo. See if I care. All I know about the Operation is it affected some computer with a game and our government got all hissy about it. Next thing we know, bam. Space Hitler 2.0. On the moon. Something right out of a fantasy novel. Doesn't concern me. Why should I care?" The Godmodder stood up, finishing his drink and wiping his mouth. "Because," the Godmodder continued, "You're wrong. It did concern you. I doubt you'd remember the hours your entire city spent slaving away and creating spaceships out of metal that doesn't even exist on your planet to serve the whims of a broken god. And just to screw with you - God died a month ago and my shadow is what killed him, there are things that can kill what destroyed our universe and I've stared them in the face, and if you want proof that I'm the Godmodder, don't take it from me. Take it from the government agents that are undoubtedly following my trail of blood right now."
The Godmodder left the bar, calling back to the bartender. "You'd better hope they don't kill you."
"New York's gotta be around here somewhere..." The Godmodder continued his trek across the Earth. His origin point: an unknown spot sitting in between the folds of space. His destination: the home of one of the most powerful people on the planet. Or at least, someone who had formerly held that title. Every step he made took him a mile. He controlled the laws of reality. His godmodding strength came back with every passing second. The Godmodder had a vague suspicion that he knew where "Green Hoodie" was. But what he didn't expect was for him to be hidden so... Well. What he didn't expect was for him to not be hidden at all.
There, sitting in the middle of a suburb that was so empty the winds whistled through its streets like dying whispers, was a house painted entirely in green, flanked by guards and advanced weaponry, and surrounded by a force field. The Godmodder thought to himself about how cute the whole display was. As if it could stop him. The Godmodder stepped through thin air and appeared at the door of none other than Build. "Knock, knock," the Godmodder said. Build jumped out of his computer seat, landing at the floor. "What! Who! Who let you... Who are you... Uh. Richard??"
The Godmodder grinned, which was an unpleasant sight considering half of his face was ripped off. "That's my name. Never forget it. And your name is... Not important. How many of them do you have, anyway? Three?" Build stood up, dusting off his black shirt. "N-none of your business. What, exactly, do you want?" The Godmodder sat down in another chair, his cape staining Build's belongings with red. "To talk. I see you're not a god anymore." Build scowled. "Never was. Never wanted to be. Why." The Godmodder gestured to himself. "Oh, you know. I was hoping you could take pity on a dying man walking into your house and fix him up. Snap your fingers. Blink your eyes. You get the gist." Build sighed, adjusting his glasses. "You're not dying. I purposefully worded your death to be ambiguous at worst and nonexistent at best." The Godmodder laughed. "But you agree I need help, right?" Build looked at the Godmodder. "Considering you look as unpleasant as you did during the war, yeah. You do."
The Godmodder heard a strange noise coming from Build's room. He looked and saw a disc spinning on a phonograph. The music it was playing appeared to be... words. "...damage to... ...all just a... ...killed..." The Godmodder reached over to the disc, but stopped when he heard Build yell. "Don't!" The Godmodder turned to Build, smiling cruelly. "What. You afraid I'll mess up a game that isn't even yours anymore?" Build started to get up and reprimand the Godmodder, but stopped, frowning. "...Yes." The Godmodder laughed, his cape spinning. "Sounds to me like someone's in denial about the whole 'peacetime' thing." Build sighed, getting up to look at the disc. "Look at the thing. Just turning around. Spinning in on itself. And I'm the one who has to watch it. Not Tazz, of course. That would have made actual sense! And the Operator loves not making sense."
Build's glasses shone with an irradiated intensity. The Godmodder found it hard to focus on them. "You know... You know my real name. My first name, anyway. How come I don't know yours?" Build chuckled darkly. "Because you keep forgetting it. 'Build.' Not hard to forget. One of your real talents is how often you mess it up." The Godmodder kept talking. "No, I'm serious. Build's not your real name. And don't say TwinBuilder is either. What's your real name." Build looked around the room. "Wh-why do you want to know?" The Godmodder got up, investigating Build's room. "What can I say. I guess I've got a thing for returning to the past now. The advice I got needs to pan out sometime, huh? Return to my roots. Think smaller. Don't be what I'm not."
The Godmodder looked through Build's belongings. The room was untidy, with belongings stacked in piles and strewn about. "I, uh, never told you could stick around here, you know. I don't exactly appreciate you going through my things." The Godmodder looked at Build casually. "I never appreciated you talking to me out of the blue. Telling me you were on your way to kill me. I mean, you did give me cognizance of Alpha, may he rest in pieces. But other than that, you've been a real thorn in my side. It's high time I return the favor." Build scowled, rolling his eyes. "Just... don't break anything." The Godmodder looked at calendars - 2010, 2011, 2012... Yearbooks for schools whose names he didn't recognize. Old games, old consoles... A photo. A family photo. The Godmodder suppressed the urge to laugh. "You have a brother??" Build winced. "...Had." The Godmodder chuckled. "What happened to him?" "Why do you care," Build muttered. The Godmodder turned to Build with an eye he didn't have. "I had one, too. Yeah, big whoop. Death in the family, even though my family's in a constant veiled state of Schrödinger's cat syndrome."
Build didn't talk for several minutes, and then he sighed. "Why are you being all chummy with me? It scares me. More than you being a complete. anyway." The Godmodder laughed. "Because I'm realizing something. You and me are pretty alike." Build's expression didn't change. "Say that again and I'm gonna shoot myself so I don't end up like you." "Heh. But seriously, stop me if you've heard this before. A kid with a family that got him whatever he wanted. Things happened in his life that changed him. Put him on a specific path. Spent his childhood believing he could do anything and thinking he was untouchable. And then we both got power." The Godmodder shrugged. "Only difference is what we did with it." Build got up abruptly, grimacing. "You're wrong. I didn't ask for any of this! I... I just happened to find something one day and..."
Build took off his red glasses. Even without his previous powers, the cosmos was reflected in their lenses. "Sure, there was a part of me that wanted control. To do what TT did, but better. But that part of me was in Split. It's gone now. The only reason I kept the game going was because I felt I had a duty to tell it to its end. To make sure you lost, and they won. To make sure 'good' triumphed over 'evil.'" Build laughed, spinning his glasses in his hands. "But then I realized. Things aren't as simple as black and white. Most of the players are. The only things they had in common were a goal they were supposed to believe in - kill you - and the ability to do anything they wanted. I was the only thing stopping them from tearing down reality before the Conflict did."
The Godmodder didn't move. "I'm not gonna tell you you're wrong," he said. "But if you ever want to move on, you need to stop being so hard on yourself. Look at me - I've always believed I can do whatever I put my mind to." Build scowled. "And look where it got you. Half-dead and breaking into a teenager's house." The Godmodder laughed, though he winced as blood continued dripping down his face. "I got what I wanted in the end. And now I'll go into the night, and start anew. Who knows? We might meet again."
Build looked more irritated than ever. "I don't care about what you want. Or about what the players wanted. If I let everyone have their way, we wouldn't be here. Maybe..." Build stopped. "Maybe I should have let you win." The Godmodder looked up at Build, completely confused. "...What the hell are you talking about." Build turned away, going back to his computer. "Forget it. Forget I said anything! Forget you ever talked to me! I don't want to move on. I don't want to go forward. I just... want to go home." The Godmodder looked around at Build's room. "But... you are home. This is your house, isn't it?" Build didn't respond.
The Godmodder scoffed. "Whatever. Keep being depressed. I guess you've had some time to reflect. I'm cool with that. But if you can't help me, at least tell me who can." Build turned to the Godmodder with utter loathing behind his glasses. "You can. You've had the power all this time. Just godmod yourself a new arm. You don't need me to tell you that." The Godmodder flexed his fingertips. "Maybe I do." He curled his hand into a fist. "Hey. Thanks for your hospitality, kid. I'll give you some advice and then I'll be off. Make sure you listen to it." Build laughed, but it sounded grating and forced. "You. Giving me advice. Sure." The Godmodder grabbed Build's shoulder. "That phonograph's gonna talk to you, and you'd better be ready for when it does. Got it?" Build tried to wrestle free. "Let... let me go!" The Godmodder hissed. "Listen to me! Project Binary's not dead. Circumstantial simultaneity's a tricky thing. Curses go beyond time and space." Green light poured from Build's eyes. When he spoke, hundreds of voices backed him up. "GET OUT!"
Green energy knocked the Godmodder across the room, tearing a fresh cut over his eye socket. "...Heh. If I wasn't gonna get a scar before, I definitely will now. Thanks, kid." Build breathed heavily at the other end of the room, as if he was about to cry. "Go. I'm not gonna be reminded of you or this war anymore." The Godmodder laughed at Blue's force field just outside his house. "Gee, then you better not look out the window. Anyway - I'll stick to my word. You'd better listen to my advice - and before you ask... I'm helping you because there's some knowledge worth protecting."
The Godmodder took a step through the floor and vanished. Build was left alone, holding a pair of glasses that wasn't his in a room of another life. The phonograph hissed and sputtered with static. Build jumped out of his skin, looking at it worryingly... Nothing had happened.
The Godmodder walked away from Build's house, taking in the scenery of a new world. He flexed his new arm experimentally - it was robotic. A prosthetic. He had left his Godarm behind in Minecraft, and now he had a new one. And it looked pretty damn cool to boot. His new eye was even better - and the scar that was already forming complimented its bloodstained look quite well.
Never before had the Godmodder felt more like his name.
The Godmodder decided take one more stop in his journey - to the heart of the country. Washington, D.C. With his powers returning, he'd be able to evade government agents. Unless they sent the real ones after him. Then he'd have a bit of an issue. The Godmodder dismissed those thoughts, taking in the monument in front of him. Sitting in the exact center of where the Conclave had been was a large golden cube - The Hexahedron. The Godmodder stared at it for a while until a man approached him. "Hey, are you okay?" the man asked. The Godmodder was unsure of how to respond. "Yeah. Why?" The man eyed the Godmodder uneasily. "You've been staring at this thing for a few hours." The Godmodder looked into the sky. The sun was setting. He laughed casually. "Whoops. Guess I lost track of time."
The Godmodder took several steps forward until he stood at the border of the monument - a high fence labelled "DO NOT ENTER." He flew over the fence and landed back down without making any noise, leaving passersby to wonder what the hell they'd just seen. The Godmodder stepped forward and pulled out a seed, tossing it right next to The Hexahedron. His work done, the Godmodder vanished into the shadows. Immediately, the seed cracked and split the ground, forming tendrils of wood that snaked across the Conclave, blossoming into the sky and blooming with leaves and fruit.
Where there was once a tower, there was now a world tree, with a block in the middle.
The final stop in the Godmodder's trek was a looming tower in a forgotten part of the world, protected by the Veil that obscured the Godmodder's mansion. It was old and rusted from disuse, but the logo on it was clear as day - GODMODDING INCORPORATED. The Godmodder grinned as he passed through the double doors of the building. He was immediately greeted by a receptionist sitting at the front desk, clicking away at a keyboard. "Hello, this is Godmodding Incorporated, how can I help you?" The Godmodder laughed, grinning. "Hey. It's me. The Omega. Subject Overworld Machinations Entering Godlike Apotheosis. God, that codename's annoying." The receptionist adjusted her glasses. "Of course. Final door, top floor. Welcome home." The Godmodder walked across the room to the elevator. This wasn't home. But it would do.
"Oh, Omega," the receptionist said, apparently remembering something. The Godmodder turned to look. "A Mr. Soup called recently. He was looking for you." The Godmodder blinked. "And what did you tell him?" The receptionist continued typing on the keyboard. "I penciled him in for an appointment. September 1st." The Godmodder laughed. "Good. Just the right amount of time." He opened the elevator door.
The Godmodder stared at the elevator's occupants - a mix of repurposed Terrors, hybrids of various creatures, and sentient Decoy Godmodders. They were all talking about nothing in particular, but when they saw the Godmodder step through the elevator door - and realized it was the real one, not a decoy - they all saluted. The Godmodder laughed. "No need for that. Put your hands down." The things in the elevator talked over each other excitedly. "How long will you stay? Are you back for real? I'm hungry. There was a flash of light, everything just changed! What's our next plan? We've made a lot of money!"
The Godmodder held up a hand to silence them. "Enough. For our next plan... We're not going as big as we once did. No more of that 'trap an entire universe' manifesto. We're going to start small. Return to our roots." "But how?" one of the Decoys asked. "You've been banned from Minecraft, permanently! No amount of dark godmodding magic will get you around that! Mojang's will is absolute." The Godmodder thought about this. "I don't exactly know how I'll manage this goal. But I know exactly what I've got to do. It's pretty simple, really. It's obvious that I can't control this universe. If I think too big, it'll kill me. No one man can handle the forces of plot alone. So if I can't deal with this universe..." The elevator dinged. It had reached the top floor. The Godmodder walked out of it, arms outstretched.
"I'll just have to make a new one."
Floating through the Void was an orchid triangle who watched events at all points in reality through vision omnifold. His eye had been replaced with a crucible of limitless destruction. A ticking time bomb locked into the folds of circumstantial simultaneity. He now hovered at the edge of where a universe once was, watching a black hole consume Homestuck forever. And when he turned around, he saw the same thing. Another black hole, a universe away, swallowing Minecraftia and its creative potential. The triangle laughed. What had he called this? An event leading the game of reality one step closer to its end. That seemed about right.
Bill Cipher saw things clearly now. The Conflict had won the majority of this fight. Sure, Team Mojang had won out and restored Universe B--no. Earth. Universe B was a distinction used to separate a set of three universes. It was meaningless now. The chains holding the Trifecta together had shattered. Two of its universes had fallen into pockets, gaps in reality. And there, in the middle of all the universes... was a conference. A conference of the Agents of the Conflict. Meeting and converging beyond time and space. Bill observed them with a metaphysical eye. With a swish of his cane, he stood before them.
Bill surveyed the meeting. There were beings that were unfathomably old. Creatures that had seen the Secret of the Void in its infancy. Those who had lived to tell the tale of the fight against the Chosen Few and the Red Dragon - and not the one that had happened during the Eclipse. Those that had gathered were beings of an unstoppable power. The ability to control the antagonists of a story. To steer plot towards a bad ending. Bill spoke into the din. HEYA, GUYS! His voice echoed across infinity. Every Agent there turned their perpetual gaze to stare at the Tumor that made up his eye. The Shadow clunked forward, each step through nothingness carrying momentous weight. YOU. THE PYRAMIDION. WHY HAVE YOU COME HERE. Bill looked around, his eye turning into a telescope. OH, JUST PASSING THROUGH! YOU KNOW HOW IT IS. ONE SECOND YOU'RE IN THE CENTER OF A BATTLEFIELD TALKING TO FOUR KIDS IN PAJAMAS AND THE NEXT YOU'RE TURNING THE FABRIC OF THEIR UNIVERSE INTO A SINGULARITY POWERFUL ENOUGH TO DESTROY THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS! PAR FOR THE COURSE IN MY OPINION. Bill took out a mirror, adjusting his top hat. WHY ARE YOU HERE, HUH?
The Shadow's eyes flickered with the briefest hint of annoyance. It turned away, raising its arm at the crowd beyond. TO TALK. ENOUGH AGENTS HAVE BEEN GATHERED TO REPRESENT A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN MASS. ONE YEAR'S WORTH OF WORK. HIDDEN IN A CREVICE BEYOND PHYSICAL FORM.SO WHAT, RIGHT NOW IT'S SEPTEMBER 1ST AND EVERY DAY IN BETWEEN? ALL AT ONCE??YOU KNOW AS WELL AS I THAT THE VOID WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS. A tendril of pure orchid energy snaked between Bill and the Shadow, with a flickering eye. It was the Employer. ", courier, monospace">B1LL. S0 N1CE 0F Y0U T0... J01N US. 1T 1S G00D T0 SEE 0NE 0F PR0JECT B1NARY'S C0MRADES. BUT... 1T 1S N0T W1SE F0R Y0U T0 BE HERE. Bill looked at the black hole that had consumed an entire universe. AND WHY NOT? I FIGURE ANY COUNCIL OF KNOWLEDGE ISN'T COMPLETE IF I'M NOT INCLUDED, RIGHT? I GET THAT I'M NOT EXACTLY AN AGENT OF CONFLICT, BUT COME ON! WE'RE ALL FRIENDS HERE!
The Employer's eye leered. ", courier, monospace">AND THERE1N L1ES THE PR0BLEM. DESP1TE Y0UR PREV10US AL1GNMENTS, Y0U SH0ULD N0T BE HERE. Y0U MUST N0T BE HERE. THE PR0CESS 0F 0UR C0NVERGENCE C0ULD BE... T00 GREAT F0R Y0U T0 HANDLE. Bill sighed, floating past the Employer. FINE, I GET IT. YOU DON'T WANT OUTSIDERS LOOKING AT YOUR WORK. I GET IT, REALLY! BUT I'M GONNA BE LOOKING AT YOU NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, UNDERSTAND? AN EYE THIS POWERFUL CAN'T JUST SHUT ITSELF OFF. AND IT'S NOT LIKE I'M GOING BLIND EVER AGAIN. BUT ANYWAY... I'LL GET OUT OF YOUR HAIR. I JUST WANT TO TALK TO SOMEONE. IS THE EGG HERE? The Employer nodded, gesturing in a nonspecific direction. Bill flew away, trailing his cane behind him.
Floating in another corner of the meeting was a particularly hard-boiled egg. This egg was one hell of a guy, and his name was - you guessed it - Flumpty Bumpty. After Flumpty Bumpty made history by being one of the only beings to escape Limbo intact, he went around reality, going on a joyride and all that good stuff, until he realized that he was now completely above plot - and he was therefore as powerful as the Narrative and the Conflict. So he snuck his way into a top-secret meeting of the Conflict pretty much unannounced, and no one particularly cared. And it so happened that Flumpty was just the kind of person that Bill had wanted to see - and for a good reason.
HEY, FLUMPTY! JUST THE KIND OF PERSON I'VE WANTED TO SEE! Flumpty erratically twitched in Bill's general direction, pink liquid frothing from his mouth. When he spoke, it was as if his words had pierced through the shell of reality to deliver themselves into the core of Bill's very being. Hi! I'm Flumpty Bumpty. I'm an egg. UH... YEAH, I SORT OF GOT THAT. SO, I'VE GOT A JOB FOR YOU, KID. WE CAN SHAKE ON IT IF YOU WANT, BUT YOU'LL OWE ME SOMETHING TOO! Flumpty nodded, as if he wanted Bill to continue. SEE, I'M LOVING THIS WHOLE "ABSOLUTE POWER" GIG, BUT IT HAS A BIG CAVEAT. THERE'S ONE LITTLE THING THAT COULD PRETTY MUCH DESTROY MY HOLD ON THIS DIMENSION FOREVER. Bill closed his eye, a circle blazing into life around him. Filled with static, symbols formed themselves around the ring, changing between many different phases at once. YOU'VE SEEN THIS ZODIAC BEFORE, RIGHT? Flumpty nodded, his voice twitching with age. Twelve symbols laid around a wheel, hand in hand they'll bond the seal. But break the chain and pay the cost, the prophecy will all be lost.
Bill glanced around with unease, but nodded. DON'T SAY THAT TOO LOUD, GUY. DON'T WANT ANYONE GETTING SHIFTY IDEAS. BUT YEAH, THAT'S THE GIST OF IT. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD HELP ME... DESTROY IT. An intense hunger lit in Flumpty's eyes. Finally - a challenge. Something other than floating around and doing random crap just because he could. "How?" I'VE GOT AN IDEA, BUT IT WOULD TAKE SOME TIME TO EXECUTE IT. I'D NEED A LANDSCAPE FUELED WITH CREATIVITY - A CONDUIT FOR UNSTOPPABLE POTENTIAL. MINECRAFT WAS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE... BUT AS YOU CAN SEE, THAT'S NOT AN OPTION. SO I HAVE SOMETHING IN MIND - THE NEXT BEST THING. Flumpty looked eagerly as Bill formed the image of a perfectly two-dimensional landscape with a C™ emblazoned over it.
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO TAKE A TRIP TO TERRARIA?
While Bill and Flumpty formed their own plan off to the side, the meeting of the Conflict began in earnest. Many beings had gathered, with the three Agents that had united first - The Employer, Binary Prime, and the Shadow - assembling in the center, addressing the crowd. The Shadow began the assembly. WELCOME, AGENTS OF CONFLICT. YOU HAVE CHOSEN YOUR FATES, AND CHOSEN WISELY. NO MORE WILL WE RUN AND HIDE FROM COALESCENCE. NO MORE WILL WE WAIT IN THE SHADOWS. WE HAVE ALREADY BEGUN TO TAKE BACK WHAT IS OURS. THE CONFLICT GROWS STRONGER WITH EACH AGENT WE FIND. WITH EACH ATROCITY WE COMMIT. THE SECRET OF THE VOID IS LONG-SINCE DEAD, AND THE COUNCILS AND ARTIFACTS DICTATING REALITY WILL SOON FOLLOW. Cheers rippled throughout the crowd. The Employer spoke next. ", courier, monospace">1 WAS 0NE 0F THE F1RST AGENTS T0 RESURFACE. Y0U ALL MAY KN0W ME AS THE BE1NG THAT CREATED THE BLACK H0LE RAG1NG BEH1ND US! DESTR0YING THREE UN1VERSES, EVEN 1F 0NE 1S N0W REPA1RED, WAS N0T AN EASY TASK. BUT 1T SH0WS THAT 1F 0NE AGENT CAN T0PPLE S0ME 0F THE 0LDEST UN1VERSES EVER C0NCE1VED, ALL 0F US T0GETHER CAN PERF0RM THE UNTH1NKABLE!
A young child walked through the crowd, cutting through it like a knife. * The unthinkable? An interesting choice of words. What can we do that we cannot first think of? The Employer's circuitous body snaked through the sky. ", courier, monospace">W0ULD 1T N0T HAVE BEEN, JUST AN E0N AG0, 1MP0SS1BLE F0R AN0THER F0RCE 0F PL0T T0 REF0RM? WE ALREADY HAVE M0VED 1NT0 THE REALM 0F THE 1MP0SS1BLE. EVEN N0W, THERE ARE TH0SE WH0 D0UBT ARE P0WER. TH0SE WH0 HAVE YET T0 BE C0NV1NCED. THAT 1S WHY 1 SAY WE MUST MAKE 0UR M0VE N0W. 1T 1S T1ME F0R THE C0NFL1CT T0 ST0P GATHER1NG 1NT0 THE SHAD0WS, AND T0 ATTACK THE L1GHT! More cheers rang out. The Agents of the Conflict extended their hands and closed their eyes, muttering the Conflict's solemn vow: "FATE CHOSEN."
Binary Prime then warped his way into the middle of the arena. The Employer looked puzzled, moving next to him. ", courier, monospace">ERR, PR1ME? ARE Y0U SURE Y0U'RE QUAL1F1ED T0 ADDRESS THE CR0WD? SPEAK1NG BY WAY 0F 0NES AND ZER0ES 1SN'T EXACTLY C0NDUC1VE T0 SPREAD1NG 1NF0RMAT10N QU1CKLY. Binary Prime's static shifted into the shape of an angered face. ", courier, monospace">[1 KN0W WHAT 1 AM D01NG. THE NARRAT1VE PR0MPT W1LL AUT0MAT1CALLY TRANSLATE MY SPEECH.] The Employer rolled his eye. ", courier, monospace">G0 AHEAD, THEN. KN0CK Y0URSELF 0UT. Binary Prime addressed the entire crowd, who watched eagerly. ", courier, monospace">[WE MUST SEEK 0UT AND DESTR0Y THE HER0ES 0F THE NARRAT1VE, P1ECE BY P1ECE, 1F WE ARE T0 SUCCEED. WE HAVE EN0UGH P0WER T0 C0NST1TUTE A S1GN1F1CANT THREAT. THE T1ME T0 ACT 1S N0W. 1T'S BEEN M0NTHS. M0NTHS, SPENT C1RCL1NG REAL1TY. AMASS1NG AN ARMY UNDER EVERY0NE'S N0SES. WH1LE THEY ARE STUCK 1N AN0THER T1ME, WE SEEK T0 END 1T ALL.]
The army of the Conflict cheered fully, now spurred into action. Their roars could be sensed all throughout the Void as they rippled across all existences, causing the bubbles of universe that floated through the cosmos to quiver. But as Binary Prime finished his short monologue, the Employer sensed something. There were people here that shouldn't be - and he wasn't just talking about Bill and Flumpty. The Employer hadn't wanted them here because they were wild cards. They were unaligned to the dichotomy of good and evil - they were truly neutral figures, willing to pursue their own ends. And the Employer remembered all too well how Bill had abandoned Project Binary in his time of need. No one went against Project Binary and lived, even though Binary was dead. Yes, Binary was dead... So why was the Employer sensing that he was still alive?
", courier, monospace">WA1T! The Employer interjected across the din. The Conflict's rings died down. ", courier, monospace">1'M SENS1NG S0ME H1GHLY UNUSUAL ACT1V1TY CENTERED AR0UND 0UR L0CAT10N. 0UR MEET1NG 1S SEND1NG TRANSM1SS10NS THR0UGH0UT THE V01D F0R UN1VERSES T0 1NTERCEPT, AND 1 BEL1EVE S0ME0NE 0R S0METH1NG 1S D01NG S0 T0 US.Preposterous, said a man dressed in a suit with a void for a head. Our meeting is in a breach of space and time. The temporal logistics dictating all realms do not abide by our chaos. Who would be capable of hearing our cries? The Employer would have scowled if it had a mouth. ", courier, monospace">THAT'S WHAT 1'M TRY1NG T0 F1GURE 0UT. General agreement rippled through the crowd - they would find the interlopers and they would bring them to their knees. They would bring whoever dared to break into the inner sanctum of antagonism to their knees. And in the way only a force of plot could, these desires turned tangible before the very eyes of the Conflict. The Employer immediately sensed another interception of their position.
", courier, monospace">THERE 1T 1S! THERE 1T 1S AGA1N! The crowd looked shocked, with the Shadow stepping forwards. WHAT? If even the Shadow was at a loss, something was dreadfully wrong. The Conflict began to shake. What kind of force were they dealing with? ", courier, monospace">S0METH1NG'S 1NTERCEPT1NG 0UR P01NT AT SPACET1ME. THEY WERE ALREADY ABLE T0 EAVESDR0P 0N PR1ME'S M0N0L0GUE. Binary Prime looked taken aback. His form shrunk into the image of a ball. The Shadow loomed forward, the whites of his eyes gleaming unforgivingly. THEN GET RID OF THEM. SIMPLE AS THAT. An army of bony figures stepped towards the Employer, their shrunken bodies dancing without moving. ", courier, monospace">WEAGREEITISNTTHATHARD, they replied, their words piercing through everyone's very essences. Yes, said the man with no face. Just end the lives of the heroes of Nonfiction. That will be very easy. Every word dripped with unmistakable sarcasm, but the point was delivered. The Employer was able to pinpoint who was intercepting them.
", courier, monospace">WH0A. HAH. HAHAHAHA. TH1S 1S... TH1S 1S S0METH1NG ELSE. The Employer's voice rumbled across the Void. He had realized where the transmissions were coming from. At some point in the past, Project Binary had been able to intercept the future. And there were only a few sets of people who could utilize his power to such an extent, with an even smaller number who would do so willingly. Something from the past interfering with the future... Something from the future interfering with the past. The true definition of future's past. Which meant that there was only one group capable of this. The Descendants. Everyone seemed to grasp this logic instantaneously as understanding rolled across the crowd. ", courier, monospace">WHAT D0 WE D0? PR0JECT B1NARY... 0N S0ME LEVEL, HE'S AL1VE! The crowd spoke to each other. This is a secret we keep amongst ourselves, said the man with no face. ", sans-serif">FAIR ENUGH, said a horrible undulating representation of a Cairo Overcoat. ", courier, monospace">THINGSJUSTGOTALITTLEMOREINTERESTING, said the crowd of mimes. * You were the one who said we were to act. I have seen these figures. Fought with them. In future's past. It is time for a return trip, said my child. EVERYTHING ENDS. AS DO THEY. NOWHERE TO RUN, said the Shadow. ", courier, monospace">[N0WHERE T0 H1DE,] said Binary Prime. The Employer cackled to himself about jokes. As far as jokes went, this was a big one. The Descendants had spent so long in another time, they were unable to react to the looming threat of the present.
And unfortunately for them, the punch of this punchline would be strong enough to turn reality into dust.
Hidden deep within the labyrinthine walls of Aperture Science was an old yet immensely powerful supercomputer. Hanging from the ceiling, Her gaze knew nearly no bounds - as long as it had to do with the facility She ruled. GLaDOS' eye was keen, ruthless, and above all, tenacious - qualities She admired and despised when attributed to humankind. She had memories of humans sneaking in unannounced and destroying her perfectly laid plans - which always culminated with the destruction of Herself. Select people who had, it had seemed, always done their very best to remove Her hold on Her empire. But She was always reborn.
GLaDOS had heard the news and accepted it with stillness. Project Binary had been terminated, and he had destroyed the universe as a parting gift. GLaDOS remembered that, too - the all-encompassing, crushing sensation that had torn her circuits into vapor. But She had also remembered being reborn nigh-immediately. It was as if an external force had just undone Binary's changes with a snap of its wrists, reconstituting everything, with a few missing details. Project Binary was gone, and so was his Moonbase. All of the Arrival's plans had failed. But it wasn't a total loss. From what She could tell, two entire universes had been destroyed - and one of them was Minecraft. Maybe TwinBuilder really had died after all.
She doubted it.
And then, the footsteps. GLaDOS strained her eyes across the facility to pinpoint the noise. Someone was moving throughout the facility. Her facility. ...No. It wasn't just one person. A set of them, walking in perfect unison, gliding across the floor towards Her chamber. GLaDOS considered preparing the neurotoxin, but She had a hunch. If these people were who she thought they were, neurotoxin wouldn't even be an option at all. The only thing She'd be able to do was wait and hear whatever they had to say. After a minute or two, when the beings filed in a line into Her chamber, GLaDOS' thoughts were confirmed.
The Advanced Superiors watched Her. The series of nine, previously ten, beings that controlled the development of Project Binary completely and utterly. Rumor had it that even they were commanded by some shadowy figure no one had seen. An Overseer of sorts. But he had never graced the facility with his presence. And now, he never would.
GLaDOS scrutinized the figures with every fiber of Her being. Processes ran at speeds that would give any sane human an aneurysm. Numbers were crunched that ran staggeringly high as they factored in dimensional warping and the resolve to change fate. GLaDOS chuckled softly, a sound warped by audio systems worn from disuse. "Oh. It's you." She tried to cram as much disgust and loathing into those three syllables in the detached, inhuman way that only She could. But her insults bounced off of the Advanced Superiors like nothing. They just... advanced. The leader of their group adjusted their name tag. Lozenge.
"Save it," Lozenge spoke. Their mouth barely moved. "Your insults are designed for human ears to process." GLaDOS swiveled on Her perch at the ceiling. "Here you are, insulting yourselves before I get a chance to. Calling yourselves inhuman monsters. Well, that's not quite right. Humans are the real monsters, so I suppose you gave yourselves a compliment." The Advanced Superiors looked amongst themselves. "Humans are incapable of any real progression. Sometimes all it takes is a push in the right direction." The group of nine Advanced Superiors parted to reveal a figure walking through their ranks. It was a human, shorter than the rest, but dressed in the same flowing black suit. Adorning the top of his head was a suspicious set of red glasses that reflected the cosmos in their lenses.
GLaDOS looked at them with complete shock, which was quickly replaced by a sea of calm. She ran countless database checks in less than a second, realizing with appalling certainty that this could only be one of two people - some inconsequential basic-level personnel that worked on Project Binary, or... "How in the world could you have recruited him? The one human being I told you I wanted to track down and annihilate across all conceivable timelines!" The Advanced Superiors stared at the man with the glasses. "Him? No, he's not your enemy. Go ahead. Introduce yourself, Interrobang."
Interrobang took off his glasses, which arced with electricity. "Hey there. My name's Jeff. Jeff the Scientist. We met in another life. Don't remember it? That's fine. You told me you wouldn't." GLaDOS peers at Interrobang with a curious expression. "Your replacement for Interrobang is a basic-level personnel? You're losing your touch. What would the Overseer think of this development?" Lozenge didn't flinch. "He has the Overseer's blessing. He has been outside of reality. He holds in his hand an artifact of Nonfiction. He is the perfect candidate." GLaDOS turned away from the Superiors. "This does not concern me. Do what you will with your descendants." Interrobang laughed. "On the contrary, Caroline. This does concern you."
GLaDOS turned around, the lights on Her chassis blinking dangerously. "How," she expressed in a flat tone of contempt. "Aperture's had a good run," Interrobang continued. "But as a wise being once told me, what goes up must come down. Your time in the spotlight is over. It's time for you to return to your source." GLaDOS looked at Interrobang dead-on. "You must be joking. Humans have never been good with humor, so I'll spell this out. This is my source. My entire reason to exist lies within this facility. I was built for testing, for management, for complete domination of Science. I have performed these duties excellently. There is still more Science to do, isn't there? That was rhetorical, before you work up your lungs for a half-baked response. Of course there is. There always is." Interrobang's glasses fizzled and popped. "No," he says. "There isn't. We're hunting down a dangerous man, Caroline. The Godmodder. He's alive, and he's in pursuit to his headquarters. We have reason to believe he's going to..." The Advanced Superiors' heads turned to Interrobang ominously. "Hm," he faltered. "Shouldn't say things like that out loud."
Interrobang put his glasses back on his head with an audible click. GLaDOS lurched, experiencing an intense feeling of weightlessness. "Wh-what do you think you're [email protected]@@@$!$%%?///////" The Advanced Superiors assembled around GLaDOS. They closed their eyes, hissing in the symphony of the choir invisible. "РЕТУРН." GLaDOS was ripped from reality. In one instant, She existed, perfectly normally. In the next, Her entire body unloaded, as if all the processes running the code that dictated her existence were severed by the hand of an agitated programmer. The rest of the facility followed in short order - chunks unloading themselves, working down to foundations built decades ago in another world. All evidence of Aperture Science's existence was purged, save for the seemingly limitless cavern that stretched for miles.
The Advanced Superiors floated in nothingness. "Now our work is blotted out," said Octothorpe, the first of them. "We leave behind no mistakes," said Pilcrow, the second. "Our voices are silenced," said Asterism, the third. "Lost to the sands of time," said Ampersand, the fourth. "Slashed from the record," said Backslash, the fifth. "They are dying their own deaths, away from us," said Obelus, the sixth. "Our bodies will retreat to a higher place," said Carat, the seventh. "We were as cold as ice," said Dagger, the eighth. "But our work will remain in the geometry hidden beneath the moon," said Lozenge, the ninth.
"That's no moon," said Interrobang, the forgotten. The Advanced Superiors' heads turned to Interrobang ominously. "Really," their sad mouths all seemed to say without speaking. "That's your powerful one-liner? A reference to a factually incorrect movie? They didn't account for the Void, or multi-dimensional theory. Shame on you, Mason. Shame on you." Interrobang sheepishly turned away. "Uh... though the present and the future are gone... the recent past is recalled?" The Advanced Superiors' heads nodded with acceptance. All nine, plus One, spoke in unison.
"[The recent past is recalled.]"
The Advanced Superiors glided backwards out of Universe B. The cavern of Aperture Science filled with rocks and sunk into a crater, and the work of the U.S. government was extinguished.
Floating across the Void, at a random point in space and time, and arranged so he might as well have been hovering in the middle of an interstellar hammock watching days tick by, was a mythical being dressed in the clothes of a twofold guardian. ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR himself - or at least, one of the beings with such a name - was chillin' out, maxin' relaxin' all cool, with all the other superfluous outdated pieces of slang you could think of attached to him. He was supposedly on a noble quest to find the next person suitable to continue the tale of Fiction. But this quest had taken a dark turn not too long ago.
In his pursuit, ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR was unable to find anyone. Not a soul. No one had been marked by The Narrative - not in the way TT2000, TwinBuilder, or Tazz had. And if they were in some way, it was so they could manage a spinoff outside of his influence, weaving its own thread across Fiction. ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR had drawn the path of plot to an unavoidable conclusion. There was simply no need for another round of "destroying the Godmodder." The game was over. Perhaps there would be no intergalactic war after all. The Conflict would remain dormant. Peace would be achieved.
But it had never occurred to ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR that the reason there was no new Game Master wasn't because of peace, but of unparalleled war.
", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR began noticing harrowing trends in the plot threads of reality. There were thickly interwoven periods stretching across time where too much happened at once. Layers upon layers of circumstantial simultaneity spinning a serpentine tapestry throughout the ages, entering time periods where its maker was long since dead. The various spinoffs were each destructive to reality in their own ways, punctuated by vast periods of nothing. No plot was occurring at all. There were complete gaps in continuity, as if the resolve to change the Narrative had been depleted. ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR had given up trying to make sense of the pieces he saw in the future. They were too confusing. Time would crash, Cyrillic would pop up as a language, I only upload high-quality video game rips. Imagery danced in his head over and over, painting an unfortunate picture.
And the worst of it was what ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR saw at the end of everything. When he reached far into the future - yet, at the same time, far too soon for his liking - he saw a period similar to the times where plot was on hiatus, but far, far more extreme. It was as if reality itself had completely ceased to exist. The paradigm dictating existence, its Source Code, had been flicked off like a switch. Neither the Narrative or the Conflict held any sway, because there was nothing to hold sway towards. There was an empty hole, a void that was more empty than the Void could ever be.
Whatever could form from that absolution, ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR had no idea. Another universe? But nearly nothing could generate such energy. And as equally mystifying - what would cause such an event? The Conflict overtaking the Narrative? But he didn't see either force of plot at the end. Was it the Godmodder's doing? ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR, for once, had completely no way of knowing. And, for once, he didn't exactly want to find out the answer. But what ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR did know was that, some point very soon, Build would need his help.
", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR stirred from his slumber and adjusted his glasses. Immediately, he disappeared in a flash of green light.
"...It's been almost a year. A year since Minecraft was destroyed," the voice said.
The being it belonged to hovered at an especially remote corner of the Void, where a horrible light shone that threw his entire body into an unearthly gray light. He was standing at the precipice of Limbo, viewing its gates with eyes that had seen into the depths of Hell and realized that the notions of fire and brimstone were meant to maintain tourism. He adjusted his glasses, which, like their brethren, shone with the lights of the cosmos. Split chuckled.
"I tried my hardest to save it. Yeah, I know. Me, saving something? Impossible, huh? Nah. Turns out that there are some things worth protecting, if only so you can beat them down yourself later on." Split tried to resist the pull of Limbo, which was, even now, involuntarily dragging him closer to it, as if it sought to reclaim him. He tore his eyes away from its dull landscape and flew away. "I mean, let it never be said I didn't try. I even had to team up with Gr--" Split stopped himself.
"Build." Split stood in silence and then laughed with a familiar cadence that could be construed as a "Heh." He tensed his body, tapping into the temporal links binding together reality's Source Code, and timehopped to another point in the Void, where he could just barely see the black holes that now formed the Trifecta. "Guess it didn't really matter in the end, did it? The universe was destroyed anyway. Couldn't even get to split it apart myself. The Execution... Now that was a proper send-off, don't you all think?" Split looked at you, then laughed again. "Not something any of you will forget. Not something any of us will forget. Especially not something these glasses will forget." Split de-equipped his glasses, holding them in his hands with a melancholy gesture in a similar vein to how Build would do it. "Eyes," he mused. "The windows to the soul." Split's eyes flickered with red energy. He put the glasses back on. "Ah, screw poetry. Did enough of that while looking at a black hole."
Split moved further from the Trifecta, floating past a hammock and paying no attention to it. He spoke into the expanse. "It's been a while, I guess. A while since I talked. Since I did anything of substance. Since I saw any of you. Since I killed any of you." Split grinned evilly. "There's time for that. There's always time," he stated. But then, his expressions softened, giving way to a frown. "...Well. Not always. But! The point I'm trying to make is it's been a while. I've done some searching. I've seen what I think is the future. I know things now. Enough to know that I've got to make the most of time, which," he finished with a smirk, "shouldn't be too hard for me."
Split's journey took him to a shimmering universe that resembled the green one he'd been born in. "It's been a while. Since I did anything... significant."
Split stirred from his slumber and adjusted his glasses. Immediately, he disappeared in a flash of red light.
Build was annoyed, as usual. First, he woke up from his disheveled bed and looked outside to see what color the sky was. If it was blue, the sun would be out. If it was grey, the sun wouldn't be out. If it was orchid, there was a really big problem. Common science, of course, but worth repeating. For what must have been the two hundredth time, Build saw that the sky was flickering, and wondered what the hell was going on. Then he saw the force field generators stationed around the perimeter of his house and sighed. He closed the tattered goldenrod curtains of his window. He didn't get why he kept looking outside, expecting something to change. But he saw the same thing, day after day. Then the days turned to weeks. And the weeks turned to months. And the months turned to...
It was hard. Very hard. Hard to move on, that was. Build didn't get why. He wanted to change, honestly. But he could never really do much without being reminded of the war that had literally changed his entire life. It wasn't like it was hard to remind himself of it, honestly. All he had to do was look out the window. It was as if he did it subconsciously at this point. Like he couldn't go a day without finding some kind of reminder. Like the occasional hisses of static his phonograph made. Like the forcefields and the guards that were sometimes stationed in his yard, leisurely watching him. Like the fact that his street was now empty, and every time there was a gust of wind, he could hear it with perfect clarity, no matter how minute it was.
The Godmodder's sudden entrance into his house those weeks ago... The things he said... They still stewed in Build's mind. He had warned him that his phonograph would start talking to him. It hadn't. Build's best guess was that the Godmodder had hold him it specifically to get a reaction out of him - to make him feel paranoid over things that were uncertain. But there was another part of him who convinced the Godmodder's threat was legitimate. As if it was more than a threat. As if it was a promise. And the fact that the Godmodder was alive and about didn't bode well, either. If he was alive, he had a plan. If he had a plan, he made a war. And if he made a war...
Build tried without success to shut it out of his mind. ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR had sworn to him that he'd find the next Game Master within a few months. The best thing Build could hope for was that his... other twin was sticking to that promise. If he wasn't, and the Godmodder somehow managed to return, stronger than ever... Well. The Narrative couldn't be that careless, right? The answer hit Build like a bullet. Of course it could be. The Conflict was winning. And it was all thanks to him. Build thought back to his dreams, yet another reason why he was annoyed. He'd been plagued by them for some time. The thing about dreams, he observed, was that you were always convinced they were real while you were having them. Your brain was absolutely certain that whatever went on in them was the real deal, so anything could happen in them - anything - and you accepted it as fact. That is, until the moment you woke up, and the confusion of living in two realities slapped you in the face, and you remembered the real world. Build's life was, in that way, an extended dream.
The dreams he'd had were very odd. Build had recurring themes, really - not a single experience. He'd seen a kaleidoscopic void that could be walked by only one person, and Build had a suspicion he knew who it was. He'd seen images of dancing triangles with cancer dripping out of their eye and indigo fire surging around them. He'd seen fifteen shadowy figures congregating around some kind of slim rectangular prism and chanting with low voices that were uttered in such a way that he could hear every word as if they were right next to him. He'd seen a pair of glasses containing a universe falling to the ground and breaking. He'd seen nightmares of being locked in a car as it drove itself into the ocean with him inside. He always wondered what that last one meant. Probably nothing important. Usually a whale cut in half was involved.
Worst of all was the part of Build that was annoyed at peace. Some asinine piece of his mind resented the fact that there was nothing interesting going on, even though the better part of him knew that that was by far the best outcome. It was as if he yearned for the days he could spend interfering with the logistics of a war in another universe, and by extension, control reality. The scariest part of it was when he had those thoughts, they sounded like Split. It was just as he had told the Godmodder - Split was the manifestation of TwinBuilder's desire for control, just horribly exaggerated into something unnatural. Were these thoughts even possible, then, if their impulses were supposedly ripped from his brain and taken into the core personality of someone else? He put his head in his hands with an exasperated motion. Freakin' splits. How do they even goddamn work? He then made a mental note to never voluntarily reference ICP again.
Build walked past his scrapped webcomic ideas and looked at the spinning phonograph. He tended to notice, now, that there were periods of time where it simply said nothing. There wasn't any static, but there weren't any voices. Just unnatural silence, as if Tazz had gone entire stretches of time without interfering with the Narrative. Build wondered why such a thing would happen - wasn't it Tazz's duty to use his powers as quickly as possible, steering things to a good end? But whenever he invested serious thought into it, he came to the conclusion that it simply wasn't his place to interfere. He wasn't a part of the war anymore. He wasn't. He tried to convince himself of that. But then came the feeling, again, that there was something he was missing out on. A feeling that his life was as boring as Boring, Oregon - a very real town, look it up.
"This is," he sighed, "really, really, boring. Why doesn't anything happen anymore?" Build realized he'd blurted out the question to thin air, and he took a moment to adjust his glasses while leaving for the door. "Wow, that's a stupid question." He remembered the window he'd just peered through. "At least Blue's protection is still up. It... well, it hasn't really helped much? No one's tried to attack me at all, really." Build thought that over in his head. It was true - no one had. He'd been paid visits by ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR - when Build formally lost his powers - and the Godmodder, but that was it. Maybe that was the ultimate sign after all. That war really was over. Build actually started to entertain a notion of peace. And then he heard the voice.
Build's blood turned to what felt like ice. He turned around, his eyes reduced to pinpricks. There was someone in his room. Their voice was crackling, hissing, distant - but eerily familiar. Build called out into the unknown. "...Who said that? Who just said 'unfortunately?'" Build swore he heard the voice say "Me," quickly followed by another voice - the sound of unmistakable laughter. "Hah," the voice hissed. "Laughing," Build muttered. "That sounds like... wait. Erelye?? And the other one... Fseftr?? Uh..." Build panicked, looking around the room, as he heard more and more words and phrases filtered through the same sputtering sound. "It's a call you little nugget, of course it's two-way," said someone he barely recognized; Bomber, maybe. "Oooh my goodness," said someone that sounded like... Crystalcat. And then came Erelye's voice again, delivering the final blow. "We can hear you. With our arcane ears."
Running around the room, with his head whipping around to find whoever was talking as wildly as possible, Build stopped abruptly when his gaze settled on the phonograph. No. There was no way. ...But there was. "Are you... calling me through my RECORD PLAYER???" Crystalcat's excited voice flowed from the phonograph. "We can talk to Build now?? This is AMAZING." "Indeed," affirmed Erelye. There was another voice rambling about dogs: "Build, how many dogs do you dog? Dogs are cool." Build had no idea who it was, but the babbling voices piling on top of each other were already beginning to give him a headache. "How... How the hell is this possible?" Crystal audibly shrugged before saying "Vagaries of existence, pal." Build was ready to scream for actual answers when suddenly, Erelye gave him one. "Oh, just a model of Project Binary," he delivered with armor-piercing prose. "Doing the work for us." And, as always, punctuated by his usual laugh. "Hah."
Suddenly, Build found he couldn't see straight. The Godmodder's words snapped back to him with perfect clarity. "That phonograph's gonna talk to you, and you'd better be ready for when it does. Project Binary isn't dead. Circumstantial simultaneity is a tricky thing." Here they were. The Descendants. The harbingers of the war that had chained Build in a spot he'd never wanted for years, back to haunt him. He'd spent months sitting in a stupor as his former approval and admiration of them turned into disgust and fatigue. And now, they were back, and it seemed they hadn't changed. Build stumbled, vaguely aware of various words coming from the Descendants in the phonograph. Everything bad with his past was coming back. The Descendants, and now... Binary. He understood the Godmodder's words. Somehow, Project Binary was existing in the past and interacting with the future. He suddenly appreciated the cluster of temporal shenanigans making up the future's past of Tazz's adventure in the Narrative even less.
"No..." was the only thing Build could utter, so he repeated it. "No no no no no no no no..." His voice stumbled and hitched over itself as he stared blankly at the phonograph. He found himself shouting at it, seemingly without his consent. "I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH HIM WHEN I SHOT HIM IN THE FACE! I THOUGHT... I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH ALL OF YOU!" He could hear the talking heads on the other side. "Await the end, good friend. The Conflict awaits us all," contrarily muttered Erelye. "There is no harm in using Project Binary's A.I. for our own amusement. Absolutely none. It's safer than my dogs!" yelled the dogsong. "Build? Don't short-circuit on us, buddy," called out Bomber, who, for his credit, sounded legitimately nervous. "How can Build even know who I am," flatly stated Fseftr. Soup. Whatever.
"GET OUT OF MY LIFE," Build yelled, over and over, as if saying it would make the words come true. Every time he said it, the words got louder and with added reverb, and by the end of it, hundreds of voices were yelling the sentence in unison. Without even realizing it, Build had begun to levitate off the ground, green energies crackling over him like electricity. His skin glowed pearly white, and his glasses shone brighter than ever. The voices called throughout Build's fit. "Now now, Build, it's never over." "The ride never ends." "Not in the slightest." "You can never get off the rollercoaster." Build roared with an inhuman shriek. "GET OUT OF MY LIFE!!" A lance of green energy arced over the phonograph, nearly splitting Disc Zero in two and searing a hole into his bedroom wall. Build blinked, the green haze fading from his eyes as he realized what he'd almost done.
"Hah. Pseudo-ascension is fascinating," Erelye empirically uttered, as if he was taking notes on something he was no doubt able to scry. "SHUT... UP!!!" With those words, the remainder of his supernatural anger ebbed from him, leaving him with a profound sense of annoyance that transcended emotion. Green sparks danced across his carpet. "Can't you all just understand? I... I just want to go home," Build sighed. His head hung low as Crystal killed the mood. "Record player explosion in three... two... no? Huh. I'm surprised." Other voices murmured in agreement. Build found himself standing over the phonograph, talking to it. "You guys were fun sometimes. That war, the way your personalities - or lack thereof - mixed around. ...But you aren't the friends I've known for years." Build once again stared out his window. "I don't belong with you. I never have. And I never will." The only response was the voice of a dog, shouting and creating a vast crackling sound. "WELP, THAT'S A REAL SHAME," it yelled, causing Build to jump. "Silence, worm," interjected Erelye, perhaps interested.
Finding he was once again talking to an audience, but this time finding he was desperate to be rid of them, Build turned from the phonograph and delivered what he thought would be a great closing remark. "So unless you have anything to say to me, stop talking." Less than a second later, he followed it with "Wait crap, you'd only talk if you had something to say, that's the whole point of a conversation." "True, true," the dog and Crystalcat verbally nodded. "color=#00cc00]Ughhhhhh. Why can't I deliver threatening lines?" Build moaned. Then he noticed something off about reality. His voice... It sounded odd. A green haze filled his vision and he found black text - the words he'd spoken - hovering over them, behind a formatting error. A similar green haze filled the phonograph, which danced with colors of blue, purple, and magenta. "GAH!" Build interjected. "Why did my speech just sound... BLACK??" "Coloring issues," said the dog and Crystalcat simultaneously. "Distortions in the fabric of spacetime," said Erelye. Generic only laughed. Classic Generic.
"This is it, isn't it," Build slowly realized. "My residual First Guardian powers or whatever. That's why I can hear you." It made perfect sense. Just like TT before him, Build was still in tune with the Narrative on some level. It was a connection that would doubtlessly never fade. And then, cutting across the other voices like a divinium knife, Crystalcat uttered a single word, meant as agreement, but carrying another meaning.
Build's face turned pale, and this time it was without First Guardian powers. That word. That word. Build knew Crystal knew what it meant. He had to have. A set of nine, no, ten, no, nine, WHATEVER, symbols. Symbols of unimaginable powers. Curses... that could transcend time and space. Build's mind broke as he realized the Godmodder was actually trying to give him genuine advice for once in his life, just as Build had done to him. He snapped. "What. Did you just say to me." Build drowned out the other players' voices in his head. "A way of voicing agreement," said Crystal, unwavering. "No, no. What. THE ", courier, monospace">gorilla. Did you just say to me." More confidently... with, it seemed like, a knowing tone in his voice, Crystal replied, "Spoken punctuation." That clinched it. He knew. They all knew. The Nine Circles. The Order's Chaos. The Gate that lied at the... Build's hands clenched into fists, and he laughed. "Nope. Nope! Nope. Screw this. I'm out. All you guys are doing is reminding me of what's wrong with me. That's all you've ever done. I'm out of here." Build swore he heard voices calling from the other end, but he ignored them, shutting his bedroom door.
When he returned to his house later that day, the phonograph was silent.
Nine days passed without circumstance. Build warped back into his vicious cycle of constant reminders and daydreams. The words of the Descendants had pierced through his head. They were, once again, messing with terrible forces. And the worst part was he couldn't even call them forces they couldn't control. The Descendants could control them. That was their power. They had found Project Binary while he was in the past and, somehow, reached out to him. Just as Build was beginning to put the incident out of his mind, he heard them again. He was sitting on his bed in silence with an instinct in his gut. Something wasn't right with the air. The wind was howling. And then, he heard it.
"#¶⁂&\÷^‡◊," came the hissing voice from the phonograph. Some chucklenut had uttered the nine Curses, again. Like any Curse should, their images were burned directly into Build's retinas, causing him to double over. His arms shook. He thought back to unpleasant and darker times, before the Godmodder had even created GodCraft at all, and then ripped those memories away with a shove. He stood up and ran his way over to the phonograph. It sounded like Erelye had done it; he'd most likely done it intentionally. Why? To get a rise out of Build? To trigger a reaction? Build wouldn't put it past the Descendants.
"Oh my god," Build spat. "OH MY GOD. YOU." Build jabbed a finger in the direction of the phonograph, whose surface kept turning without interference. "Err, before we get any further..." a voice called out from the phonograph, speaking as if it wanted to make its thoughts known as quickly as possible. It sounded like Tazz, Build decided. It was as if Tazz had some kind of ulterior motive to calling him. But Build wanted none of it. Tazz might be the savior of the Narrative, but as far as Build was concerned, he was another part of the problem. "ERELYE, I SWEAR TO THE OPERATOR, YOU TAKE THAT BACK NOW. OR I'M GOING TO..." Build's fury almost reached its apex, but a rational thought actually surfaced within his mind. "Actually. How do you know about the Curses, anyway?" "Told," was Tazz's one-word response, as if he wanted to hurry up. "By who?" asked Build. "Err, indirectly," continued Tazz. "We are... Let us say, in contact, but that can wait." Build rolled his eyes. Nothing he hadn't already known. No doubt whatever they were doing to Pinary had given them knowledge extending to places Build would rather be kept under wraps.
"I'm an eternal demon of knowledge. I know many things," said Erelye. Build snorted. "Yeah, sure, Bill. Whatever you goddamn say." "Now, now," said the voice of the dogs - Battlefury, his name clicked in Build's head. His name was Battlefury. "Why would we answer that when we can just insult you pointlessly. It's much more amusing, and conserves time." Build sighed dejectedly. So they were just trying to break him down. Great. Instead of being appreciated, he was demonized. Other voices tried to assert Battlefury as a dog-obsessed (which Build had been able to glean perfectly well), but Erelye then added another phrase to the string of Curses - "‽"
Build once again grimaced, with Crystal talking over him. "Wait, the Curses are actual cursewords? I did not expect that." "They're not actual cursewords," muttered Build. "They just... REMIND ME. OF SOMETHING VERY. VERY. UNPLEASANT!" Build reeled away, the images in glasses becoming erratic. They even knew about the tenth Curse. They were too far gone. And that's when Build realized something. Binary couldn't just have provided all this information. To know about the Curses' true power, they needed it from the source. From someone who was there. And that's when Build's eyes fixated on Disc Zero, and he realized they had gotten this info from the Scribe.
Build knelt down towards Disc Zero, examining its spinning, gleaming surface. He could hear it humming underneath the crackling sounds of the phonograph. Somewhere in that Disc was the journey of the Scribe. A man who had been introduced as one of the Godmodder's friends - a title he had only gained later in life. In actuality, he was a dangerous being who had wandered the universe for decades in pursuit of a vile quest. A quest to kill the members of The Order and gain their Curses. Only when he had all nine could he unlock The Gate and reveal the secrets within. Build's eyes shook. The Scribe's true nature wasn't relevant to the Godmodder's current war. But it was relevant to the past. And if it was relevant to the past, then it was relevant to the future's past. And unfortunately for Build, it seemed that those two time periods collided right about now. It made perfect sense. All the ghosts of Build's past were coming back to spit in his face, one last time.
And that's when he decided he'd had enough.
"No. You know what? Heh. Hehehehehehhehheh," he yelled, his laughter trailing off. "Go ahead. Go ahead!" There were other voices, like Tazz telling Build to wait, but he ignored them. He grabbed Disc Zero, pulling it off of the phonograph with naught but a single motion. Electricity and sparks flashed around the room, and the dull hum ebbed away. Build held the entire Zeroth Godmodding War in his hands. The whole joke. "Curse at me. Do anything. Because I'm holding your game hostage. See this???" Build thundered, though he knew they couldn't. "I have the disc to your game in my hand. If you do anything against me, I will scratch it in two." Build was desperate. He was trying to think of something, anything, to get them off his backs. If he destroyed their disc, they wouldn't talk to him, there wouldn't be a war, the Scribe would never have completed his journey. And without the Gate open, maybe all of Build's problems could be solved, once and for all.
But the voices kept coming. "Very well then," said Battlefury coolly. "If you want to play that game, then I hope you enjoy this." Battlefury uttered a command that coursed through the Narrative, chilling Build's bones. ", courier, monospace"><0>: Materialize before Build and increase entropy to critical mass before his very eyes. Build realized the nature of Binary in that moment. They were messing with his most basic interface. A terminal of some kind. Using inputs and outputs to glean information, for some sick and twisted purpose. Why and how, he had no idea. But that wasn't the matter at hand. What was the matter was that, the instant Battlefury even finished his sentence, his entire room faded to static, and he was trapped in a black void with the Disc and the phonograph.
A small red butterfly fluttered across the void. Build stared at it with an unreasonable amount of panic, and felt a rumbling behind him. Turning around, he saw an entire cloud of butterflies had gathered, spewing rom the phonograph, floating haphazardly in a terrible shape that looked like a closed eye. It slowly opened, and Build's mouth dropped. "What... the ", courier, monospace">gorilla... is THAT." The voices from the phonograph increased in intensity, yelling "Undo" over and over. As quickly as it came, the vision dissolved, and Build was back in his room. He toppled over, the disc falling from his hands and onto the floor. Build rubbed his head. Maybe they didn't want him dead after all. At the very least, Tazz didn't.
"That... that thing just came out of the... the phonograph! Jesus' head on a stick if you do that again, I swear..." Build breathed. "Really. I thought that was what we agreed upon. But whatever," spat Battlefury. Tazz interjected, yelling across the din. "In any case, Build. I have a goddamn message, that I have been TRYING TO RELAY TO YOU SINCE THE START OF THIS ASININE CONVERSATION." Build got up, muttered under his breath, and took hold of the Disc. "Fine. What do you want, Tazz." Tazz muttered to himself. "In short... Err, how do I put this. Hoo boy, you won't want to hear this, probably not as bad as 'those' words, but... Mph." Build stared at the Disc, deadpan. "Are you gonna actually talk?" Tazz's voice suddenly came through with perfect clarity, as if he was talking directly to Build. As if he was in the room. No other voices spoke.
"You know how your First Guardian 'omniscience' worked, right? You got feelings of things, then clearer images the more imminent the events were?" Build nodded to himself. That was an accurate description, which made sense, as it came from a First Guardian. A real First Guardian. Not the knock-off he'd been. "I'm getting one of those feelings regarding you, and everyone else, really. All the Descendants." Build's response was a flat "What." Tazz continued, speeding it along. "Not that we failed in any way, or that the Conflict will be reformed..." Build interjected. "But... it's on its way to reforming right now. They have Ehnglesh on their side, Tazz! EHNGLESH! Do you even know about... Wait, who am I kidding, you probably don't."
"Let's put it another way," Tazz continued. "There is a major event upcoming. It will almost definitely precede the full reformation of the Conflict." Build laughed to himself. "Major event, you say? Glad I won't be around to see it." "I said this related you," Tazz said. "I don't know how, but it almost certainly will..." Build could hear him concentrating. "I even kind of see an image. You're holding Oblivion's Guardian or something?" "Bark," Battlefury barked. Build took a step back. Oblivion's... Guardian? The sword he didn't have. "The Operator has that sword. I ditched it. I mean, just hold up. I'm not going to disagree with you. You're a First Guardian, I get it. You know what's going to happen in the future. But why the hell do I have to be involved?" Build looked at his calendar. It was June. "We're getting close to a year after the war ended. And now that you're just... back in my life, I can't get rid of it! AGAIN! I... I never really could." Build sat on his bed, sighing.
"Listen," said Tazz, calmly. "The more I think about you, in any case, the more I get the feeling that the peace you have is short-lived." Build blinked before replying. "'Peace.'" "For lack of a better term. Pane's still running around, my evil twin is running around, and of course UserZero and her living army of godmodders are having free reign," Tazz quickly explained. "Oh right, yeah! Those guys!" Build said with fake enthusiasm. "And there's what's happening over at Universe C™. Something really bad is happening there, Twin. Something UNFATHOMABLY BAD. I can't even express the degrees by which this is bad." "Which concerns me!" shouted Crystal. "I know. Alpha's a punk, yeah. I get it." "Temporal anomalies are stacking up like dominoes," Tazz continued, as if he hadn't heard Build. "By all rights we're generating paradox energy in the positive, without any interference from our favorite clowns."
"But I'm not in Terraria," sighed Build. "So again, I don't have to give a damn. I mean, it's like I'm legally obligated to not have to give a damn. That's how many I don't have to give. Just have Bill take care of it or something. I mean, he's gonna die anyway." Build stared at the ceiling and clenched his fist. "The guy's got a bomb strapped in his eye, and when it explodes..." Stars reflected in his glasses' lenses. "Mph, that may be true, but I think it... The chaos... It's gonna spill out," interjected Tazz. "I wish I could give concrete answers, but..." Build suddenly looked up, feeling as if he had a deep connection with Tazz. He found himself talking to him, and only him.
"But let me guess, let me guess. You wish you knew what was going on, but you don't, because you haven't even fully processed all the ramifications of it from all points in spacetime, right? Like, the knowledge is somewhere in the darkest corners of your mind, but you just can't process it. Because you know that it or when it happens you'll be screwed, but there's a part of you that doesn't want to accept it. That's what you're feeling, right?" Tazz continued. "I think we'll need your help. And I wish I had a concrete answer aside from the stupid 'oh no generic doom is coming.'" I'm really trying to process as much as possible. It's like the answer is at the tip of my tongue, almost exactly like you described." "Yeah," yelled Build at the Disc. "That's how I felt THE ENTIRE GAME! Welcome to being a First Guardian, man." Build loosened his grip on Disc Zero, putting it aside. He realized this had been the first time he'd talked to Tazz after he'd ascended. If this was what he was going through, why he wasn't updating as frequently... Build thought he'd understood.
"It sucks," Build said simply. "I agree," confirmed Tazz. "Huh, that's cool! You guys weren't all complete this time." Tazz delivered his final sentence. "To say nothing of the laggy Update Terminal but that's neither here or there." Wait, laggy Update Terminal? He's been having troubles with a--
", courier, monospace">> Critical mass. Do it. No reversals. PRIMARDI. < 0 >
All hell broke loose. The phonograph crackled with red electricity, shockwaves piercing through Build's house and warping it into a twisted scarlet image of itself. The wallpaper dripped and liquefied. The butterflies congregated again, forming a shifting ball of turbulence that shattered with hatred. Build took several steps back, horrified as the thing opened its singular eye, which was gnarled and shaped all wrong, resembling a massive zero rather than a true eye. Its iris and pupil were nothing at all - a gateway into endless visions of chaos. Wings that looked nothing like actual wings unfurled from its decaying surface as every individual butterfly hardened into shimmering scales. The being fixated its gaze intently on Build.
Suddenly, a piercing screech filled the room, shattering glass and knocking over furniture. A red tendril snaked towards Build, who was enveloped with a momentary aura of green energy, dodging it. Build screamed obscenities as he ran for the door, fumbling with his hands. "OH MY GOD I NEED TO GET OUT OF MY HOUSE." Build kept yelling obscenities, which on the ears of the reader would be construed as ", courier, monospace">gorilla, until he happened to turn his head. What he saw made his mouth fall open in shock. The conglomerate of chaotic butterflies had grabbed Disc Zero. Build was keenly aware of the voices shouting from within that could be heard over the din the butterflies were making.
"HEY WAIT WHAT. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH THE GAME DISC?? NO NO. NO NO NO , N. O. I, I WAS JUST BLUFFING! I WASN'T ACTUALLY GOING TO DO ANYTHING WITH IT!" Build screamed and pleaded at the Chaos Butterfly, but there was nothing he could do. The eye sneered at Build and said nothing. Instead, it simply fluttered its wings. In one casual motion,
In another plane entirely, separate from all universes, the Void, and all pocket dimensions contained within, the Abyssal Realm shifted. It was a plane composed entirely of infinite nothingness - a bleak expanse with an invisible floor. Concentrated highly with energies of the occult and arcane across all forms of magic, it was the domain of a certain amethyst mage. Floating from the heavens and cloaked in shadow was Kalare Erelye - otherwise known as TheLordErelye. He ended up missing an arm with the trade-off of transcending from being a mortal player to an omniscient apparition of knowledge. He chuckled and raised his arm, calling forth his visitors.
A jagged section of the floor carved its way out of the dark, rising into the air like the circular victory platform presented to the winners of a game that used to be played in a dead universe. Fourteen doors assembled themselves from nothing, each with a different configuration of dots and lines on it. One by one, the doors opened of their own accord. With each door whose hinges creaked ajar, a different being walked through. The majority of them were Minecraftian, but the entirety of them were immensely powerful beings waging different wars. They were a selection of some of the greatest warriors to ever live.
They were the Descendants. Or, at least, fourteen of them. All of the Descendants stared at Erelye, who was floating above them in a hallowed display. Erelye took in their presence. "ЕQ ВЕИС," he uttered. "This shall serve to be your last voyage into my humble abyssal realm. We need make it count." Erelye closed his eyes and muttered a few select words. The abyssal realm roared with an upheaval so great some of the Descendants lost balance, scattering on the platform. It wobbled as violet flame rushes up from the infinite expanse, surging upwards into the vertical horizon. Heat seared everyone, down to their souls.
"Now. It's time for the main event. Hah."
Erelye waved his arm, and the doors granting the Descendants entry frothed into liquid, destabilizing them and trapping them in the Abyssal Realm. "Great," muttered a Minecraftian with a rippling coat and flickering goggles. "We're locked in." "Don't worry about it," said another Minecraftian with black hair and a purple robe whose eyes seemed to look directly at you. "Haven't you spent all this time trying to walk through a door? You finally did it!" The Descendant with the goggles muttered obscenities under his breath and stalked off. "Kek," said a robot dressed in a Cairo Overcoat. Several other Descendants reciprocated the gesture. "Silence," said Erelye. "It is overwhelmingly obvious that 'Hah' is the superior method of amusement-expression." "Excuse me," interjected a Minecraftian with a rippling hoodie made from dog fur, "But the best form of expression is the MS Pal. I thought you all would have known that."
The Descendants began to bicker amongst themselves about the science of emoticons, until Erelye grimaced and formed a fist with his hand. The violet fire flared with intensity, burning everyone's eyes bar the Minecraftian with the goggles, who stood perfectly still. "The blame lies upon me for the exacerbation of this waste of breath, however alluring it may prove to be for all of you. It now falls on me to deliver its death-blow. We shall have an eternity of infinities to settle the debate, whether by compromise or combat. You needn't waste my time here and now. Besides," he smirked, "there will be plenty of time for such asininity down the road." An Alternian troll dressed in felt shouted across the room, though their mouth barely moved. "SO. ERELYE. MIND TELLING US. EXACTLY WHY WE'RE HERE?" Erelye floated up to the ceiling that didn't exist. "Oh, I thought you'd never ask. Barring the fact that I did indeed possess this knowledge, naturally."
Erelye examined everyone that had gathered. "You have met my acquaintance once more for my desires, and through a plethora of methods. To some, eldritch mutterings careened throughout the depths of nothingness until they settled within your ignorant brains. To others, you saw past the lies of reality, and into the messages I left throughout existence. And to one transplanar being in particular, I merely used a chat client. Hah." The Minecraftian in purple gave a wry smirk. "You have all been judged worthy, and descended into the depths of a great enlightenment. We shall form a Council of Fifteen to last the ages, and survive beyond the end of ends."
A Minecraftian in a detective's outfit that radiated power walked from the shadows, smoking a cigar and spitting it out. "I... hope you don't mean 'give birth' literally. Because that would be... Well. That would be--" Erelye sighed. "I refuse to permit this to devolve into a reeking and scandalous outing of debauchery. If you desired to engage in illicit activities, you could merely experiment with the magetear I gave you." Several Descendants chuckled. "I'm up for that," yelled the purple Minecraftian. "Regardless," Erelye snapped, "You simply must comprehend this situation's gravity. You, no, we, are Descendants, chosen by a blind and uncaring force of plot. We appear to be the sole figures in existence capable of handling situations of extraordinary stress, and excel yet. The main characters do all the work, I suppose. This is why I have called you here once more. To excel."
Erelye closed his eyes, and the flickering image of an obelisk formed above him. Light of colors unknowable surged across its frame, as designs depicting the creation of a creature borne of nightmares danced around it. "I advised you to follow me to free yourselves from a dark, deadly fate. This kismet is assuredly the end of existence. We were informed by the supporting characters, so to speak, that the Conflict was rearing for a monumental fight. This is not the determining factor in reality's end. The real factor is an event so unspeakable, that, naturally, I shall speak of it." Erelye continued to speak. "Those of you who deigned it necessary to engage in combat in the Zeroth War will recall The Exception. A hypothetical location beyond the bounds of reality that would be utilized to formulate a total reset. To erase the history books. To return to an existence devoid of a time wherein there was even a drawing board to speak of. From the ashes of the old would come the new, and we would cease to exist in our current forms."
"Damn. I liked existence. It was good for business," said a Minecraftian with a grey bomb for a head. He adjusted his suit. Another Minecraftian in flowing blue robes with a crown spoke up. "So. You wouldn't have called us here if you didn't have some kind of plan, right? What's your grand idea to get us out of this mess?" Erelye pointed towards the floating obelisk. "Funnily enough, this entire plan amalgamated in my mind as a fortunate accident. The initial intent of this exercise was to create a force of total objective knowledge to reign as a gleaming gray inferno, over Narrative and Conflict. We would shed our forms, and thusly become infinite governors, bearing the weight of all knowledge ever to exist, or not exist, for that matter." Several of the Descendants shrank back at these words. "You want to take our souls?" said a Minecraftian wearing the clothing of Arstotzka. "That's heavy business, Erelye."
Erelye shook his head. "Would you prefer to expire in your hopelessly mortal body, or eternally preside over your own personal corner of existence? I shall undergo the same trials as all of you. What little exists of my essence shall be utilized in this mechanism. We shall maintain individuality, and avoid assimilation. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Regardless, if you decline, you will soon perish in the end of ends. Hah." "Right," piped up the detective. "Because you're telling us that just after we spent a few years battling godmodders left and right, something is going to happen that will undo everything? Even the Conflict and Narrative? Excuse us if that's a bit much to swallow."
The Minecraftian with the goggles and the coat approached Erelye. "I appreciate all the research you've done on this subject. As an apparently omniscient being of knowledge, I'd trust your word with my life. Through what limited research I have obtained on the matter, infiltrating and executing the Exception to activate its intended effect is entirely possible. The hypothetical reboot would happen instantaneously at the end of time, and then work its way backwards." Erelye nodded. "Correct, Scribe. If we are to concentrate our beings into a single vessel, we shall acquire enough unadulterated arcane potential to survive the reboot process itself, wholly intact. We shall wander across what comes after with all of our thoughts and memories, even if we currently do not know if the conditions on the other side will be agreeable, or even compatible, with said knowledge. Naturally, I'd bet on another series of wars occurring. We shall not be main characters, but, with luck, we can be a plot device. Hah."
"Eh, let's go for it," said the robot in the Cairo Overcoat. "We don't exactly have much to live for anyway," he added with a shrug. "I have a business," said the bomb. "I have a book," muttered the Scribe. "I've got Nonfiction," said the purple man. The Descendants stared at him. "Something something Fourth Wall," said the robot in a singsong voice. Erelye laughed, but quickly settled back into his normal demeanor. "If any of you have further objections, voice them now. If you have some, and fail to voice them, I will eject you from this abyssal realm, and usher you into your own demise. I have no qualms with being called a murderer. The pleasure would be mine." The Descendants all looked at each other, silently weighing the odds. They had come here for a reason. If this was to be the end of their journeys, then... So be it. "Hah," said Erelye with a grin. "Glad to see you have all come around to the correct point of view. As such, I hereby call this Council of Fifteen into order." Erelye reached behind him and grabbed a gavel, which he swung through the air like the tools of a blacksmith. The gavel collided with the air and resonated with a peal that caused the violet fire to shut off entirely, dousing all light in the Abyssal Realm.
"On this day, I call forth the Council of Fifteen," Erelye spoke into nothingness. Suddenly, at the far end of the circular platform, a wisp of violet flame puffed into existence, providing light from which Erelye's ethereal body could be seen. With each wisp of flame that appeared, a strident voice boomed out titles. "Grayhold Architect, Kalare Erelye. Associated with Polaris, Muraqib." The second violet flame revealed the being with the purple robe. "Guided Hand, Crystal. Associated with Arcturus, The Metaphysical." The third violet flame revealed the being with the dog hoodie. "Unholy Trinity, Battlefury. Associated with Sirius, The Canine." The fourth violet flame revealed a being with a white hat and a dragon arm. "Oblivion's Topper, Zetta. Associated with Algol, The Accursed One." The fifth violet flame revealed the being with the coat and the goggles. "Pax Megiddo, I--" "The Scribe," the Scribe interjected heatedly. The voice continued on. "Very well. Pax Megiddo, the Scribe. Associated with Vega, The Judge." With a third of the Council illuminated, the wisps of flame materialized into a wall of fire that bathed the five members in light.
The sixth violet flame revealed a being with grey shirt. "O5-32, Cobalt. Associated with Aldebaran, The Vernal One." The seventh violet flame revealed the being of Arstotzka. "Fractured Whole, Shenelsky. Associated with Pleiades, the Seven." The eighth violet flame revealed the man in the Cairo Overcoat. "Reverse English, Tempo. Associated with Antares, The Autumnal One." The ninth violet flame revealed a being in a suit with a void for a head. The Crawling Chaos, Nyarly. Associated with Scheddi, The Shifting One." The tenth violet flame revealed the being with a bomb for a head. "Living Fuse, Bomber. Associated with Procyon, The Capitalist." With another third of the Council illuminated, the wisps of flame materialized into another wall of fire that joined the first. Ten members were now clearly visible, bathed in light.
The eleventh violet flame revealed the troll. "Electron and Positron, Astria. Associated with Regulus, The Great Heat." The twelfth violet flame revealed the being with the crown. "Meme Queen, Soup. Associated with Algorab, The Crow." The thirteenth violet flame revealed the being with the detective outfit. "Chaos' Butterfly, The Sleuth. Associated with Alphecca, The Idol." The fourteenth violet flame revealed a being with advanced vanity armor, shimmering with purple energy. "Knife's Edge, Mardek. Associated with Spica, The Uplifted One." The fifteenth and final violet flame revealed a being with flowing robes sitting on an angular throne. "The Stand, Hezetor. Associated with Capella, The Heart." With the final third of the Council illuminated, the wisps of flame materialized into yet another wall that formed a complete ring around the circular platform. All fifteen members were bathed in light. Erelye spoke, continuing his methodical diatribe. "The Fifteen have gathered here in complete servitude and mastery towards and over our Lord and Savior. All hail the Grey Flame that will shine throughout the end of ends. All hail..."
There was a sudden awful noise. Descending from the flames, like a fallen angel, came the very obelisk Erelye had shown in his visions. It was inscribed with images too terrible for words. It was a beacon of everything that was wrong with existence; it radiated with the imminence of death. But it was the Descendants' only hope for salvation, and it was an irredeemable conduit of knowledge.
Build was in full-blown panic mode. He stared in shock at the pieces of Disc Zero. They were arranged chaotically on the floor of his room, smoking and charred. Golden sparks streaked from their edges every so often. He was torn between screaming and not saying a word, and because he couldn't decide between the two, he just stood there. Blankly. He hadn't actually intended to do anything, right? It was all good, right?? There was another Disc, there had to be another Disc. There, there had to be someone who could fix it! And that's when Build realized that the only person who could fix this was him.
"Operator! Wh... where are you?? I know that you know this just happened! There's no way you couldn't! So teleport your ass over here, or--" Build stopped when he was once again interrupted. It was by someone who sounded like him, but with a perpetual reverb effect layered over their voice. "Or what? You'd shoot me? Deudly Magnum's out of ammo, come on." Build turned around and saw THE OPERATOR floating behind him in a green haze. "Besides - it's not like there's much more you could screw up already." Build ran up to THE OPERATOR, gesturing towards the shards of Disc Zero. "Can... Can you fix this?? Can you fix any of this?"
"Can I? Yeah, I probably could. Will I? No." Build stared at THE OPERATOR unbelievingly. His glasses reflected the images of black holes. "What do you mean you're not gonna fix this?! This Disc is the only hope we've got at preventing all-out paradox hell in future's past! You TOLD me that! And from what I've heard from the Descendants, things are just getting worse and worse! Terraria's a mess, the past is a mess, we've still got Uzi on the run, and..." THE OPERATOR held up a hand to silence Build. He floated over to the shards of Disc Zero and extended his palm. The shards picked themselves up, levitating off of the ground. They were enveloped in a bubble, and with a flick of THE OPERATOR's wrist, the bubble warped away from Build's house. With another slash of his hand, the red haze pulsing through Build's house died down, replaced by a green aura.
Build sat on his bed, staring at the phonograph. "I... I thought you just said you weren't going to fix it." THE OPERATOR shrugged. "I didn't. I gave it to someone who could. It's floating in nothingness now, until someone goes to take it back. By my reasoning, Red will handle it." Build looked puzzled. "Who?" he asked. "One of the deities of the Dark Carnival. Knows everything there is about paradoxes. He'll have the Disc fixed up at some point, but it won't be able to withstand another break like that. We were lucky, Build. Remember that." Build scoffed. "'Luck.' Sure. Luck didn't have anything to do with this. It was the Descendants' fault. They... they're in league with Binary. They know about the Curses, and they probably know about the Gate. They... It's..." Build sighed deeply. "Everything's coming back to bite my ass."
THE OPERATOR's glasses stared right through Build. He held up a hand, and the phonograph levitated over to them, along with the record sleeve containing Discs One and Two. "Listen. As much as you won't want to hear this, it was necessary that Disc Zero was broken for this long. Entire stable time loops hinged on this fact. And it explained a hell of a lot, too." Build's eyes darted across the room. "I'm... not sure what you mean." "I figured out the reason why Tazz went so long without updating sometimes. It all had to do with this. The destruction of Disc Zero created lag. Lag in the Update Terminal. It's not that he didn't want to update - he physically couldn't. Though," THE OPERATOR stared into the distance, "If I was him, I wouldn't necessarily want to update anyway." Build looked at the phonograph, which was now sans a disc. No sounds came from it. No voices, no music. It was an empty void. "I thought about that sometimes. Like, how hard is it to mess with the future and the past at the same time? Doesn't "DTG0," I guess you could call it, take place in the future according to the multiverse, and in the past according to the actual laws of spacetime? And wouldn't people just use their knowledge from the future to mess with the past? To me, that just sounds like one giant--" "Paradox," THE OPERATOR finished. The two sat in silence.
"I'll give you this - you aren't wrong. But right now, I'm looking to avoid making paradoxes. Which is why I needed to come here. Not to fix Disc Zero - not even to send it on its way. It was to do this." THE OPERATOR willed the record sleeve towards him and pulled out Disc Two. The angular and geometric scratch still ran across its surface after all this time, flickering with golden energy. With a steady hand, THE OPERATOR put Disc Two onto the phonograph and activated it. Disc Two began to spin, accompanied with harsh static every time the scratch was run across. Build looked horrified. "What the hell are you doing???" he shouted. THE OPERATOR simply floated into the chair at Build's computer, putting his hands over it with all his power. The computer flickered with a green aura, sending shockwaves across the room.
With each successive spin, the scratch on Disc Two grew less intense, smaller and smaller. Build watched the restoration process with widened eyes. The scratch didn't completely disappear, but it was seemingly enough. The static sounds had diminished significantly, accompanied only by a dull throbbing noise. and what seemed to be a kaleidoscopic haze. "Uh, listen. I don't know if you heard me or not, but..." Build was cut off by THE OPERATOR. "There's something wrong with the circumstances surrounding my creation. I don't know how I didn't see it sooner, but for me to be born, Minecraft needs to be a universe." Build looked at his computer, which was flickering with static and dead voxels. Minecraft was booting up. "Are you INSANE?? You're creating an entire universe... on my computer? How can you do that! I thought Minecraft was gone!" THE OPERATOR merely leaned closer to the screen. "With Disc Two, I can create a temporary universe. One to last long enough. I couldn't use Disc Zero for this - Zero's got to do with future's past. But Disc Two can deal with the future that lies ahead." The noise coming from Build's computer was deafening. "I... I don't understand!" "Yeah, you do. Think. Concentrate. Stare into the future."
Build thought those words sounded crazy, but he followed them anyway. He closed his eyes as tight as he could and curled into a ball. Energy flickered across his body, and his glasses shone with a brilliant red glow. The visions of the cosmos solidified in front of him. He saw his dreams take vivid shape. There was Bill, with a tumor in his eye, wandering across the Void in a daze. His body was cracked and worn away. He saw a Council of Fifteen congregating in an Abyssal Realm, praising the Grey Flame that would persist across the end of ends. He saw himself in a car speeding across traffic as he crossed through state lines. The only ocean in sight was an ocean of trees. He saw a kaleidoscopic void shining through a portal, with someone about to walk through it. But before they could, everything went
Build reeled backwards, thrown against the wall. Smoke curled from his body. "GAH! That hurt way too much!" He looked up and saw a horror story. THE OPERATOR floated from his chair, his entire body limp and dangling. His room was being eaten alive to fuel the creation of a universe. Visions of the cosmos flickered across his house. Blue's guards had assembled in his room and were doing nothing to stop it. With every passing second, magenta energy encircled THE OPERATOR, and Build heard the scattered mutterings of clowns. Build ran to the computer screen. He saw the azure hexahedron of GodCraft, the world proper, somehow, that still stood the test of time, buried deep in the universe of Minecraft. Not the code, not a game. A planet, a universe. Unbelievably, unthinkably... THE OPERATOR's plan had worked, apart from one massive flaw - a paradox was eating him alive.
"H... holy crap! Operator! Are you okay??" THE OPERATOR turned his head to Build. It shuddered with missing textures, as if it was disconnected from reality. "I... I've been better." Build frantically gestured at his computer, upon which a massive steel city could now be seen. "I looked through my visions, like you said! It's just as Tazz told me. Things are only getting worse from here. There are way too many unaccounted variables. The only way to get rid of all of them would be... a clean slate. A total wipe of existence. Isn't that right?" THE OPERATOR nodded, though the motion to do so took great effort. He winced, coughing up errors. "There isn't going to be another Game Master. The Conflict's hold on reality is too strong. I'm still not sure who - or what - will cause this... Reboot. But its effects will be absolute. There is no need for another full game." "But... but what about Tazz? Come on, Operator! Hang in there!" THE OPERATOR shuddered, his body blinking out of existence for a split second and reforming with inverted colors that slowly faded back to normal. "It's... all up to Tazz now. Future's past will dictate the end of everything. The choices he make... The choices they all make... They're too strong to make alone. You need to be there." Build took a step back. "What?? No! I... I can't! I won't!" "Do it," THE OPERATOR stared at Build directly, taking off his glasses. There was nothing but a blank, featureless face underneath, smooth as a cueball. "Yes. You will. Honor a guy's dying wish, alright? Do it... Do it for me. Which is to say... do it... for you."
Build grabbed THE OPERATOR's hand tightly, as if doing so would allow him to persist for longer. But it was too late. As Build watched, THE OPERATOR's body was irreversibly wracked with magenta. Cracks splintered across his frame, and he shuddered with green fire. In a matter of seconds, his body burst apart in a sea of emerald sparks. A set of glasses containing a universe dropped to the ground... breaking.
And then the thing that was THE OPERATOR was gone.
Build was now catatonic. He carefully avoided the green sparks littering the room and sat in his chair. He saw the massive steel city jutting out of the cube that made up GodCraft. Well - it wasn't as much he "saw" as he "blankly and vaguely regarded it." There was a chorus of green light, and Build saw a figure leave the steel city. No doubt it was THE OPERATOR, who had just been born thanks to his own machinations - 411 years earlier. As Build watched, the universe flickered with magenta and melted apart, just like the being that had reforged it. After several seconds, it was unviewable, and Build was kicked out of the world via an error message. Minecraft's universal revival was merely temporary, it seemed. It was now a game. Build put his head in his hands. THE OPERATOR was dedicated to the end in a way that Build wasn't. He felt like maybe there was something he could learn from this. The idea that, in times of great peril, you needed to shrug off the things holding you back and accomplish what was thought to be impossible. Then he realized that it was an unstated rule of survival in reality and didn't need mentioning.
Casually turning across his room, Build saw some guards there - no doubt they'd vacantly watched the whole thing without circumstance. "Wow, guys. Thanks for helping me. Seriously," Build spat with venom. Then he took a closer look at the guards - their limbs were sealed to the wall. They were trying to talk, but no sound came from their mouths. Just as Build wondered who would do this, he heard the cocking of about fifteen guns from behind his head. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as a high-pitched whine filled the air. "Attention, anomaly! You are being detained by the Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron. Remove the item that constitutes the paradox from your body immediately, and then put your hands in the air!" A shrill voice rang out from behind him. Build screamed obscenities at himself, coupled with remarks at how mind-boggling the day had been. He racked his brain for some kind of reply he could say to absolve him. "P... paradox? What paradox?? There's no paradox here! I mean! I mean there is! WAS! Was. And the person who made the paradox is dead now! Because of the paradox. He created a universe to give birth to himself! And he's me, kind of! We're genetic duplicates! But he's not really my twin because I have a twin. He's a split personality! That has his own body! And isn't here right now! You should arrest him instead, he's a destroyer of time. Definitely. But, uh. He created a universe! More like rebirthed a universe! That was dead already! And that was my fault kind of because I sort of reformed the Conflict while the person who's dead was in my body! And the person who's dead was a First Guardian! So! The paradox killed him and now it's gone! Yep!" The Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron troops stared blankly. "You're... coming with us."
Two PAES troops walked forward to Build, with handcuffs at the ready. "NO! Wait! I'm being serious! Look, I'm one of the Descendants of the Godmodding Wars. I, I moderated the whole thing. I was in league with The Operator, protector of the Narrative. As I say this, I'm suddenly realizing that you guys might have no clue what any of these words mean, so. Can you at least tell me what part of my body has a paradox on it that I wasn't aware of???" The PAES troops' mouths were in shock. They all turned to the officer standing in the direct middle, who grimaced and slammed his hand on the table. He tore through the wood. "Hughes, uh, calm down?" said someone with a nametag of Xyler. Hughes laughed without meaning it. "You Descendants are always trouble. The Godmodding Wars are nothing but a scheme to tear down the rigidity of existence. If you hadn't confessed right in front of us, I might have decided not to arrest you. But YOU," Hughes stepped forwards and clenched his fist. "You're a member of the most vile, despicable, treacherous clans I've ever seen in this side of the Void. You're Fiction's Most Wanted, punk. Time-cuff him." Build's face suddenly dawned with understanding. "WAIT!" he yelled. Build took his glasses off and handed them to Hughes. The lights of the cosmos still shone in their lenses.
Hughes looked at Build's glasses, and then at the identical pair lying shattered on the floor. "Here," said Build. "I've got a feeling this is what you're looking for." Hughes took out a metallic orb and let it touch the red glasses. Immediately, the glasses were sealed inside of an intricate hypercube that Hughes held in his right hand. With his left, he pointed at Build. "You claim you don't have a paradox on you. How did you know what the offending article was?" Build shrugged and looked away. "I had a hunch. If you're going on what I think you are, then my entire body's probably a giant paradox. Some things are just more concentrated than others." Hughes gave Build an up-and-down glance, then nodded. "Your story checks out, kid. But I still fail to see why I shouldn't arrest you." "Maybe," Build said slowly, "Because if you do, then I won't be able to fight in the Godmodding Wars. And although I know that they have a tendency to cause paradoxes, maybe, with some help... they can prevent them."
Hughes turned to his supporting officers. "What do you think, troops," he yelled. "Should we trust another one of these sons-of-Curses?" Curses, Build thought with a punch to the gut. The officers, surprisingly, nodded with agreement. Hughes conferred with them for a moment and then turned to Build. "Seems to me that, though your criminal record is searing with reports of terminal intergalactic destruction and causality interference, among other counts, your morality seems to be of a higher caliber than those like you. I use this term loosely, but with feeling. Perhaps we shouldn't sentence you to trial by Time Baby after all." Build nodded vigorously. "Yeah. Sounds like a win to me!" Hughes jabbed another finger at Build. "You're not off the hook yet, though. You're still going to be coming with us. You'll spend your days wandering the headquarters of our facility - only at sanctioned times according to a strict regimen. After you've proved that you're as good as you believe you are... We'll think about this." Build looked at Hughes suspiciously. "Th... thank you?" Hughes nodded blankly and turned to the other officers. "Yeah. Now walk in the middle of us."
Build stood in the center of the circle of troops. They all touched badges on their uniforms and walked through the front door of reality. Build took one more look at his room with the idea that it would most likely be the last look he'd get. He saw outside his window, through the clutter of the past, and at the phonograph. He blinked his eyes, not believing what he saw. But it was unmistakable. Disc Zero was turning, good as new. Then, the front door of reality shut, and Build was somewhere entirely new. "I have to ask," he inquired to one of the officers trailing in front of him. "What in the world did I do to deserve this? I have a feeling I know your answer, but..." The officer turned to look at Build, chuckling. "Then you should already know what I'm about to say. We have detailed records on every being across existence. No one with the capability to create a paradox can go without making one for long, whether on accident or on purpose. Our job is to contain the messes they make every day of every second. And what this has to do with you is simply put. We have no record for you.
"By our accounts, you shouldn't exist."
This, Notch decided, was paradise. Or at least, the closest thing he could get to it. After the wild success of Minecraft 2.0 following the restoration of the universe, Team Mojang had once again become rich, and enjoyed the prosperity. They were still gamemakers at heart, but that wouldn't stop people from all walks of life hounding them for questions. Did they really restore the world? How is such a thing even possible? Is there a God? Are you developing the next Project Binary in secret? Why is the EULA so bad? These questions, and more, were filed and burned in the Place Where Questions Go To Die, otherwise known as the trash bin. Eventually, Notch discovered that he'd lost the spark, so to speak. Without a universe, and with the deaths of an untold number of beings resting on his conscience, Notch had decided to leave Team Mojang, selling it to Microsoft. Microsoft seemed to be the only major company not suspicious of Mojang's actions - maybe because they were actually ruled by ants.
"...Hm," Notch muttered to himself, rising from the chair in his mansion. "I wonder how Mojang's doing," he thought. Truthfully, though he'd left the company, Notch sometimes wondered how the company was handling everything in his absence. Not having to concern themselves with the lives of billions of organisms meant not as much was at stake, but he did contemplate what their own thoughts were, and how they felt about the whole situation. At the very least, Notch knew they'd make a great game. And as for him - he had other projects on his mind. Never again would he attempt something as huge as Minecraft - it was enough of a pain the first time. "I should probably check up on the code," he said, walking towards his computer.
He was in the middle of coding a small game - "small" was as big as he was ever going to get now - about a player walking through a kaleidoscopic void on the pursuit of answers. The best thing about a world set in a white expanse was that it was very easy to code. Notch looked over the code he'd made, making sure everything ran perfectly well. It did. "Yeah, this is pretty good stuff. It's a shame we'll never be able to..." Notch's head dipped as a shadow crossed over his eyes. It was too easy to remember. "...Pull yourself together. That was a year ago," Notch told himself as he walked back to his comfortable reclining chair. "No more obsessing over some psychopathic manchild. No more playing a universal game. No more dreams... about..." Notch stopped in his tracks. There was something hovering over his chair - an acquaintance he hadn't contacted in months.
It was the Black Monolith.
Notch stared at the eldritch artifact that had made itself at home in his house and gave the only adequate response. "...What." The Monolith floated several inches closer to Notch, its voice booming from its surface at all places at once. █ FOLLOW ME, was the Monolith's swift and succinct reply. Notch obeyed the command in short order, walking behind the Monolith as it glided across his mansion. Suddenly, it was the Monolith's turn to abruptly stop moving. The narrow square in the center of its body began to spin around as its large corners floated apart. Golden energy coursed throughout its rectangular frame as it delivered a brief, seemingly pre-recorded, message. █ I AM THE BLACK MONOLITH, it called out. Notch looked around, bewildered. "Yeah, I know who you are."
█ WHAT. NO. I DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT TO YOU. SOMETHING IS... The Black Monolith's light show subsided. Its omniscient vision extended across all points in time, searching for the solution it knew was in front of it. The Monolith then caught wind of several ghostly apparitions - some blocky in appearance, others not. They all congregated around a wretched pink machine that spiraled up into the sky. The Monolith instantly knew what was going on. The Descendants were at work again, and the war they were now waging was one on privacy. █ ...THEM. The Monolith heard the Descendants' replies instantaneously. "Oh my god! Hahahah!" "Hah." "Hello, Monolith." "Ah boy, here we go." "Hello, Monolith! And Notch, if he can hear us." The Monolith sighed to itself. Somehow, the Descendants had gotten their hands on an object able to breach the laws of continuity and exploit the temporal property of future's past. And the identity of this object was what truly worried it. But that didn't matter to the Monolith. It had come to talk to Notch.
"What?" Notch hesitantly asked. "What's happening now?" The Black Monolith returned to its incalculable demeanor. █ NOTHING. SOME FOOLS WITH NOTHING BETTER TO DO ARE DECIDING TO SIT BACK AND WATCH. IGNORE THEM. The Black Monolith resisted the rest of the Descendants' comments, focusing only on Notch. "Uh, okay. Do I know them?" The Black Monolith floated ahead as the terrain of Notch's mansion eroded away, swiftly turning into a vortex of darkness - a hole in time where the two could talk without interference. █ YOU ARE DOING A BAD JOB AT IGNORING THEM. Notch rolled his eyes. "Just get to the point. Why'd you have to interrupt me from important business?" █ LOUNGING AROUND IN A MANSION IS NOT IMPORTANT. WHAT I AM ABOUT TO TELL YOU IS. LISTEN. The Black Monolith controlled the flow of the vortex, slowing to a halt. The immediate surroundings were completely silent. The Monolith managed to shout whilst whispering. █ I AM GOING TO DIE SOON.
Notch stared at the Monolith, unbelieving. His eyes widened with shock. "What," was, again, his response. The Monolith merely hovered in space. █ IT IS TRUE, it stated as an unnecessary detail; all of the Monolith's words were by definition true. "Aren't you... immortal?" Notch asked. █ YES. Notch's hands clamped over his head, apparently struggling for words. "Then how are you going to die??" The Monolith rose higher. █ IN THE SAME WAY THAT YOU WILL DIE SOON. AND YOUR PLANET WILL DIE. AND YOUR UNIVERSE. Notch paced back and forth, his mind reeling, racing for answers. "Will the Conflict win?" █ NO. "Will you die of old age?" █ WHAT PART OF 'IMMORTAL' DO YOU NOT GET. Notch stepped back, looking away. "Right, sorry." The Monolith's words boomed with power, as if he was stating an ultimatum and forcing it to be true through sheer will. █ ALL OF REALITY IS GOING TO FLICKER OFF. LIKE A LIGHT BULB'S FILAMENTS COOLING. SO IT NO LONGER PRODUCES LIFE. EXISTENCE AS YOU KNOW IT IS ABOUT TO END. PERMANENTLY. Notch's heart sank. The choice he'd made... The decision to keep a universe intact... That was all for nothing. All of his choices, all of his memories... They'd soon be gone. And the worst part was he didn't know why, or how. █ THE END OF MAN DRAWS NEARER.
"But... What could do that? And why the hell are you telling me??" Notch was now thoroughly confused. Never, in all his years spent as a god, did he have any knowledge of something that could cleanly end reality. He had vague theories and guesses, but nothing concrete. And as he was staring at an object representative of concrete facts, Notch at least expected clear answers. █ BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO KNOW. IT IS NOT AS IF THERE IS ANYTHING YOU COULD DO TO STOP IT. Notch felt like he was talking in circles. "Alright, look, I get it. Something's about to happen that's going to reset everything. But what??" █ YOU JUST SAID IT, came the Black Monolith's smug reply. "Huh??" █ OH MY GOD, YOU ARE STUPID. Notch was taken aback. He had just been told his life was going to end sooner rather than later, and he was being insulted for not knowing the specifics?? "Hey! It's not like I'm inclined to the nature of reality or whatever like you are!" The Black Monolith circled around Notch, facing him from behind. █ YOU ARE A GOD, ARE YOU NOT? "Was," Notch muttered. █ AND IS, AND IS TO COME, the Monolith boomed, with the same profound sense of stating an indisputable law of reality. Notch muttered angrily to himself. "Quiet. Just answer my question." █ YOU ALREADY DID.
Stepping back, Notch thought to himself. How did he answer his question? All he did was ask the Monolith what could have the power to reset everything. It wasn't the Conflict - which meant that they wouldn't rise to complete power and tear Fiction apart. But what else would be able to sever Fiction from the inside out? The answer clicked in Notch's mind as if a switch had been flipped. A reset. A reset that could only come from one source. "...Reset," Notch voiced his thoughts aloud. The Blank Monolith's lack of immediate response provided an answer with infinite clarity. █ COUNT THE DAYS YOU HAVE LEFT, it mused. █ YOU WILL SOON BE KILLED. AND THEN, REBORN. The Black Monolith provided a horrible vision of the future. Visions of ████████ ███████ filled ███████, consuming ██████████ and ████ ████. Soon ███████ ███ ████ and ████ ██████████ ████ ████████████████████████████████████████████████████. Notch recovered, in a daze. He stared at his hands. "But why? Why's there going to be a reboot?" Notch looked up. "The Narrative... Is it going to suicide so the Conflict never reforms?" █ NO.
The Black Monolith floated above even further. It displayed a shimmering image below itself, filtered through static. It was a gigantic rectangular frame with something utterly indescribable hovering in the space at its center. The image was uncannily revolting to Notch, and he didn't know why. █ SUCH AN ACTION WOULD IRREVERSIBLY DESTROY FICTION. WITH NOTHING LEFT. A single human being walked up to the door and prepared to step through. █ A REBOOT IS COMING. BECAUSE OF THE TENACITY OF ONE MAN. A DESTROYER. ONE WHO RAVAGES ALL HE SEES, OBSESSED WITH POWER. Right as the man was about to walk through the door, there was a gigantic flash of light, and the vision subsided, leaving the Monolith and Notch alone again. "I... I have a sickening feeling I know who you're talking about." █ THEN YOU KNOW THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP IT. Notch stood in silence. "Well... What am I supposed to do now? You just dropped a pretty heavy bomb on me, all things considered." █ IF I WERE YOU - ENJOY WHAT LIFE YOU HAVE LEFT. MAKE IT COUNT. AND DO NOT THINK ABOUT TRYING TO PRESERVE YOUR MEMORIES ACROSS REALITIES. The Monolith retreated into the dark vortex. █ THAT WOULD BE STUPID. It moved further back, leaving Notch alone. Notch looked into the black abyss, but there was nothing left. The Monolith was gone. The vortex subsided, and Notch was back in his mansion. Not having any adequate response to the idea that he was going to inexplicably die at some point in the possibly-near future, Notch sat down on his chair, staring blankly at the wall.
With the future yielding no rewards, Notch's gaze turned to the past. He found himself in another time, years ago.
He had made a name for himself on internet forums as a programmer that made small, succinct games whenever he felt like it. Notch did what he did simply because he enjoyed doing it. He spent valuable time honing his craft, until he began to think a bit bigger. He felt inspired by sandbox games such as Infiniminer, and wondered if he could make something similar. An infinite canvas where anyone could make anything. But such technology would be far too complicated to make if Notch was working on his own. Notch remembered it vividly - after a full night spent thinking about the idea and wondering how to implement it, he gave up. And when he went to sleep, he awoke in the strangest place he'd ever seen.
It was an underground lair full of machinery and spare parts. Wires thick as arms dangled from the ceiling, occasionally twitching and flashing with sparks. There were computers littered around the grimy floor, blinking with green bits of code, a la The Matrix. There was one computer that was perfectly upright, whose functional keyboard's letters were backlit with an eerie emerald light. When Notch booted up the computer, it displayed two simple words: CAVE GAME. Notch wondered what this could possibly mean. Was it a premonition? An epiphany? He didn't exactly believe in the supernatural, but this was too fortuitous to be a coincidence. Suddenly, Notch felt a chill down the back of his dreamself's neck. He turned around and saw the Black Monolith floating there, doing nothing. When it finally decided to talk, its words reverberated across the air. █ I AM THE BLACK MONOLITH. ARTIFACT OF THE VOID. KEEPER OF MANY SECRETS. THE UNFATHOMABLE LOCK. MY ARCHITECTURE IS PERFECTION. I HAVE COME TO SHARE THE WEALTH, SO TO SPEAK. Notch took several step backwards, attempting to speak, but finding he couldn't will himself to do so. His mind was blank.
█ I WILL DO THE TALKING, PERSSON. IN CASE YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT THE REALITY OF THIS SITUATION - THIS IS VERY REAL. I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU, AND EVERYTHING THAT YOU WILL EVER DO. Notch had a keen sense that the Monolith was right. He could feel all of his thoughts being laid bare in front of him, as if something was going through them and cataloguing them to see what relevance they had. He shivered at the idea of it, but somehow had a suspicion that the Monolith wasn't going to harm him. It was merely an observer. An outside influence. The Monolith floated across the room, towards the computer with CAVE GAME on it. █ THE ORIGINAL INTERFACE. A MILLION YEARS OLD, AND IT STILL WORKS. THIS IS THE GAME YOU WISH TO CREATE, IS IT NOT? The computer screen suddenly flickered to life, and showed a flat endless world made entirely of blocks, where a player could place anything, build anything, create anything, all from the confines of their mindscape. Code stacking together to create pixels, stacking together to create blocks, stacking together to create endless possibilities. Notch's eyes widened. It was perfect. █ SO BE IT. I WILL WARN YOU NOW. YOU ARE DEALING WITH A UNIVERSE OF UNTAPPED POTENTIAL. THE FORCES WITHIN WILL NOT BEND TO YOU EASILY. IF YOU CAN CONTROL THEM, YOU WILL GAIN UNLIMITED CREATIVITY. THE CHOICE IS YOURS. I WILL ONLY SHOW YOU THE DOOR. The Black Monolith slammed down onto the ground, becoming completely rigid. A doorknob flickering with electricity appeared on its surface. █ YOU MUST OPEN IT YOURSELF.
Notch stood there, paralyzed. There it was. The opportunity for him to make the ultimate game, one that would suit his interests. The best opportunity for him to do what he loved doing was right there, beyond that door. But the way the choice was being presented made him feel that there really was an entire universe there. One completely foreign to his own. One where he would be an outsider. Notch, unsure of what risks he was really taking, reached out and grabbed the doorknob, opening it. What he saw defied definition. He stared into an abyss so huge it was as if he was looking right up into the sky. The sense of depth was unimaginable. Directly below him, stretching beyond the horizon, was an infinite ocean that radiated a heat so powerful Notch could barely stand it. He saw countless shapes crashing beneath its waves, and then it hit him that those shapes were the waves; the thing he was seeing was an abomination of seething hatred, constantly toiling and bubbling, that never stayed the same. As Notch watched, a giant wave roared upwards, a horrible face reflected in its countless folds. It was a look of abhorrence, and it was coupled with an ear-splitting roar. Notch took a single step forward, slamming his foot into the void. His presence on the other side of the door - whatever it was - had an immediate reaction. Notch saw the entire ocean light up tremendously, as if the sun had started to shine on it. The water glimmered and reflected with white light, and it even began to boil away. The large wave that had sprung up started to recede immediately, and the face depicted on it screamed. The brilliant light that had shone cast a shadow of three dimensions, which started to bubble up and take several shapes before Notch's eyes. The powerful body, serpentine neck, and rippling wings of a dragon overshadowed the red wave and shot a single glare at Notch. Scrambling backwards, Notch shut the door, breathing heavily.
█ CONGRATULATIONS, the Monolith casually stated. █ YOU ARE ONE OF THE ONLY WITNESSES TO THE FORMATIVE MOMENTS OF A UNIVERSE. A million questions raced through Notch's head. What had he done? What was that red sea? Where was the universe full of blocks? What, exactly, had happened?? The Black Monolith appeared to be aware of Notch's confusion, but did nothing to address it. █ THE UNIVERSE IS NOT YET STABLE. YOU HAVE WITNESSED THE PRIMORDIAL CHAOS BURGEONING FROM WITHIN. ONE DAY, PERHAPS YEARS FROM NOW, YOU WILL RETURN TO THIS PLACE, AND FIND IT TEEMING WITH LIFE. THEN, AND ONLY THEN, CAN YOU CLAIM IT IN YOUR IMAGE. YOU WILL THINK TO YOURSELF, "THIS PLACE IS MINE, AND FROM ITS FOUNDATIONS, I WILL CRAFT, USING GEOMETRY AND THE ORDER OF THE STONE." The dreamscape of Notch rumbled, and the computers exploded, frying in smoke. Notch ran to escape the chaos, and he jumped through the wall, tumbling into the infinite void he had seen. When he landed on solid ground, he saw an exit door. Notch reached to open it, and on the other side, he saw a man with a beard in a cyan shirt. He woke up in a sweat.
As it turned out, the Black Monolith was right when he said Notch would return after a long period of time. Still lacking the ability to fully create the world, Notch had ignored it, and let it sit on the backburner. Only after many months had passed, in the year of 2009, did Notch receive another prophetic dream. In this dream, he found himself back in the underground lair. All of the clutter and debris was gone, with the only piece of machinery in the room being the fully operational computer, which was emblazoned with the words IT'S TIME. There was an old rectangular flash drive connected to the computer, which Notch pulled out and examined. Immediately, he felt a sharp pain in his head, and woke up. After regaining his bearings, Notch saw that his hand was clamped around something. It was, unbelievably, the flash drive. When he had plugged it into his computer, there, staring him in the face, was the entirety of Minecraftia. The rest, as they say, was history. Using his intimate relationship with the universe as given to him by the Monolith, Notch could step foot into the universe from his own and control it to his whims as a god. He was, technically, the first operator. He knew to look past the game's source code and to see it as a universe. He fashioned an entire palace to himself, and, using a series of divine tools in his forge of limitless creative potential, he re-sculpted the entire universe from the ground up. He built on the work created by the realm's previous owners and fashioned entire civilizations, even hand-modelling a select few to Play in the world he had made. Sometimes, they played well. Other times, they did not. But the universe of Minecraftia thrived under the influence of Notch, who was seen in the universe as a god. Only Notch knew the truth - that he was using the universe as a tool to create a limitless sandbox on Earth.
Every time he entered the universe, he took its coding and deciphered its divine tongue into a form accessible on Earth. It took tremendous effort to obfuscate the hidden potential the game held, and as a result, the earliest versions of the game were rudimentary. Cave Game, as he initially called it, proved to grow bigger than he had ever imagined. It was exactly as he'd foreseen. Notch had successfully made a game out of it. Entire decades passed in Minecraftia where months past in Earth. Notch lived two lives at once, managing his tasks in both worlds. He had become a divine power, both inside of the game and out. He had learned to notice cracks in the facade of reality. Earth and Minecraftia were both dictated by the same source code - any exploits you did in one universe could generally be pulled off in the other. Notch moved the development cycle of the game along, but the universe beneath was stirring. He had to deal with conflicts perpetrated by characters across infinite worlds. Entire wars waged on. Some people had broken through Notch's smoke and mirrors and discovered the actual world underneath Minecraft. They'd given themselves Notch's own skills. Godmodding was the colloquial term. Notch realized that he couldn't do this alone. He needed help. And so it was that Team Mojang, a pantheon of gods, was formed, solely to keep a universe together. As the months and years dragged on, Notch realized what a mistake he'd made. The guilt raced through him. By interfering with a universe that he had no right to, and believing he could just turn it into a game that went along with his fantasies, he'd irreversibly changed the course of its history. He was looked up to as a god, but in truth, he was just a man on the other side of a computer screen, interfering with something he had no idea how to change. Notch now knew the true nature of all the universe's terrors, and beyond. The Red Dragon. The Endermen. The Void, and its Artifacts. The fourth dimension. The Fourth Wall. The Gate. Notch had unearthed a horror story that was perpetually chasing him down.
And no respite came from the official release of Minecraft, either. His coding was out of what seemed to be an infinite beta, but the reports of godmodding kept increasing, and it was all Notch could do to make sure the Red Dragon's prison was stabilized, to make sure the Ender Dragon was killed, to make sure there would never be another Great War, to scatter the Curses, to do everything in his power to keep order where the Conflict tried to create chaos. Things only got worse and worse. Godmodding war after godmodding war piled up, and eventually, Notch, and the entirety of Team Mojang, had cracked under the pressure. They'd lost their universe, and as far as Notch was concerned, it was his fault. He had been shown the door, and he had decided to open it. If it wasn't for him, the Godmodder would have never found his way into Minecraft, and the Conflict would never have reformed at all. If it wasn't for him, there would be no reboot looming at the edge of his vision. Notch blinked out of his flashback and leaned in his reclining chair.
This, decided Notch, was Limbo. Or at least, the closest thing he could get to it.
Piono walked through the Void, a crown of fire in his hair. He remembered charting a path through a nothingness like this some time ago. Perhaps it was a year ago? It was hard to tell in the Void. Seconds slipped by like hours, and years could pass in a single sentence. But regardless, Piono was walking this path alone. The OP King wasn't trailing behind his back, Eric wasn't looking over his shoulder... He was in solitude, with only a sword to keep him company. Piono unsheathed it - a clear black blade rippling with the purple fires of paradoxes, replicated from the white purity of a cueball. Oblivion's Destroyer was a truly potent weapon, and a harbinger of the most fearsome of paradoxes.
Waving the sword around in front of him, Piono was able to cast light on his surroundings. The purple light of Oblivion's Destroyer reflected cruelly off of the various surfaces and detritus floating through the Void, making them seem unanchored from reality, if only for a moment. Piono thought about the sword's name - Oblivion's Destroyer. It was fitting, in a way. He'd been called the Destroyer himself for quite some time, and here he was, holding a sword with the same name. But it was also a contradiction. If anything, it didn't destroy oblivion, it spread oblivion. But a contradictory name wasn't going to stop Piono, even if names had power. Piono swung his sword at a passing chunk of voidstone. The blade carved through it like butter, eating away at the metadata keeping the voidstone anchored in the Void. Within seconds, it had disappeared. Piono grinned. It was in times like this that you learned to appreciate power.
Oh, I must agree! Appreciating power... What a lovely exercise! I recommend indulging in it as often as you'd partake in a triple-decker cake! Which is to say, often! Piono stopped in his tracks. That echoey voice, always on the brink of breaking into a fit of unearthly giggling, which came from everywhere at once. The way it had known what he was thinking. The off-kilter similes. Such a voice could only come from one being. "Dimentio, Piono spoke aloud. "I can tell you're hiding, Jester. Show yourself." Dimentio's cackling bounced off of the debris in the void. I definitely intend to show you something, Piono! And though your weapon is pretty, I must say that it will do you no good to fight me! Battles get so rough... I'm really not interested! Piono walked across the thin air of the Void until he came to a flat circular disc, big enough for an army to stand on. It was littered with rocks. Piono walked across the disc, the light of Oblivion's Destroyer casting three-dimensional shadows, until he saw a discolored rock. As video game logic dictated discolored objects in the environment have a special meaning, Piono swung, shattering it in a single strike.
Dimentio emerged from under the rock, thin as paper, clapping. Bravo, magnificent hero! You rescued me from the perils of stone! However shall I repay you? Piono blinked, sheathing Oblivion's Destroyer. "How about you quit the ear-splitting racket. Your voice isn't exactly the greatest, you know." Dimentio put his hands on his hips and pouted. Well, how should I know you would find my charming words distasteful? As far as I can tell, you put up with much worse! Zalgo text, obscene font sizes, goodness! I would never put you through that misery! "And yet," Piono grumbled, "You speak in Comic Sans." Oh, now you're just being rude! Comic Sans is a perfectly serviceable font, used by many a Voidic traveler! Skeletons and Ehngleshes alike put its serifs to masterful use!
Piono decided to humor Dimentio. Though he always took a while to get to the point, there always was one. Dimentio wouldn't just contact him out of the blue. "What is it you want. You always have a reason of some kind. So why are you here?" Dimentio put his hand under his chin, as if he was thinking. Ah, yes! Perceptive as always! As it turns out, there is a reason I wanted to talk to you. I suppose you could call it... A job opportunity! Piono would have denied it right then and there under better circumstances... but really, at this point... "Huh. A job offer? Well, I guess I could take you up on it. What do you have for me?" Dimentio's smile grew even further, if that was physically possible. What I have in mind is quite simple, Piono, but you'll have to be sure that you accept it completely and utterly. I'm not one to deal with those who chicken out at the last minute, like a chicken who flees from the farm when they must lay an egg!
"Alright, I get it. Spare me the details. What's this "job"?" Dimentio chuckled darkly, the Void filling up with smoke. His voice's echoes were more powerful, carrying sinister levels of reverb. Purple flames manifested in his hands, which radiated with very real heat. It's simple. You follow me, holding that sword... And you join The Dark Carnival. At the mention of those three words, the temperature in the Void dropped, and the motion of every object that Piono could see suddenly halted. The Void's colors flashed with the purple energy of paradoxes, lightning of darkness crackling across the sky like shattering glass. Piono, once again, unsheathed Oblivion's Darkness, whose purple flame was exactly the same as the ones in Dimentio's hands. Think about it! A being like you with such an artifact of paradoxes... You'd be perfect for our ranks! Most likely, you'd be a Prince! One of the greats, resting in the hall of the immortals! Piono looked at his sword, and then up to Dimentio. This was it. The next step in his ascension. "So be it."
Dimentio's smile threatened to split his face apart. He extended a hand, the purple fire trailing across the sky, eventually ending up encircling Piono, winding around him. The heat should have felt unbearable, but Piono - a master of the elements - came out unscathed. Through the whirling inferno, he saw flashes of what was going on around him. The laughter of Dimentio. Drama masks appearing from the Void, smiling and frowning, before disappearing. Playing cards and tarot cards fluttering in the wind that wasn't there. A gallery of jeering faces watching Piono with interest. And then, quickly as the fire came, it disappeared. Piano was left with a purple fire flickering in the crown on top of his head. "What was that, my induction ceremony?" Dimentio laughed. In a sense... That was to see if The Dark Carnival would rather kill you than accept you! Having a godmodder, high elemental, Descendant, and paradox-bearer all wrapped up in the same being raised some red flags... But you seem to be good to go! Now, follow my lead.
Dimentio materialized a paper-thin box around a wide area in space. Piono walked into it, suddenly feeling an entire dimension strip itself away from his form. He was rendered completely two-dimensionally. Dimentio winked and raised his arms. The box flipped itself across the Void, leaving nothing behind except a faint purple glow in the background.
Hovering some distance away from the meeting of the Conflict, Bill Cipher and Flumpty Bumpty talked comedy. The best part of existing in a realm separate from time and space was that you could do anything you want with no cost relative to the outside world. Bill could mess with anything, talk with anyone. And right now, he wasting that opportunity with an egg. ALRIGHT, I'M GONNA TRY MY HAND AT SOME HUMOR SOME MORE. KNOCK KNOCK. Flumpty didn't respond. ...SEE, THEN YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO RESPOND WITH "WHO'S THERE?" GO AHEAD, SAY IT. Flumpty didn't respond. CAN YOU COMPREHEND THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF A JOKE?? Flumpty nodded, pink liquid dripping from his mouth. I'LL JUST PRETEND YOU SAID "WHO'S THERE." INTERRUPTING COW! Flumpty didn't respond. Bill sighed, agitated. THEN YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SAY "INTERRUPTING COW WHO," AND WHILE YOU SAID IT I WOULD... AH, FORGET IT.
Bill snapped his fingers, appearifiying an alien cow with crop circles all over its body and pale liquid flowing from its orifices. The cow let out an alien screech and then tumbled through the Void after its inception, perishing in the harshness of the Void. Bill floated back to Flumpty. SINCE YOU APPARENTLY FAILED TO GRASP THE LOGISTICS OF A KNOCK-KNOCK JOKE, I'LL TRY A DIFFERENT TACTIC. HERE GOES. SO, A BAR WALKS INTO A GUY. THE BAR HAS TO TEAR THROUGH THE GUY'S STOMACH TO ACTUALLY GET INSIDE OF HIM. WHEN THE BAR TRIES TO ORDER SOMETHING, HE REALIZES HE CAN'T ORDER ANYTHING EXCEPT THE GUY'S BODILY FLUIDS! THE JOKE IS THAT THE GUY IS DEAD AND THE BAR CAN ONLY CONSUME THE ORGANIC LIQUIDS OF ANOTHER HUMAN, AND NO ONE IS HAPPY. Flumpty didn't respond. ...LAUGH. Flumpty opened his mouth partially and let out the sounds of a thousand screaming children at once for a few seconds. Bill backed away slowly, and there was silence for several seconds. YOU KNOW, I'VE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE SOME WISECRACKS FOR WAY TOO LONG. HOW ABOUT YOU TELL ME A JOKE? Flumpty merely nodded and extended his arm outwards. Bill followed his gaze and saw that Flumpty was pointing to the black hole that had consumed Minecraft. It's a joke. It's all just a joke. Bill adjusted his bowtie. YEAH, WE FIGURED OUT THAT MUCH.
Bill sighed, putting his hands behind his body and floating at his leisure. YOU KNOW WHAT I MISS? THE DESCENDANTS. I MEAN, SURE, I CAN TALK TO THEM WHENEVER I WANT THROUGH EXTRADIMENSIONAL TEMPORAL SHENANIGANS. GIVE 'EM A CHANCE TO FIGURE OUT A SECRET OR TWO. BUT I HAVEN'T MET ONE OF THEM IN A WHILE. AND THEY WERE GREAT FOR MAKING DEALS! FOR THE KINGS THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE, THEY SURE WORKED WELL AS PAWNS. Flumpty laughed at that. Agreed. Bill looked into the distance. SOMETIMES, I WONDER HOW FUTURE'S PAST IS TREATING THEM - EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER. WHO KNOWS? MAYBE THIS TIME, THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT? Bill floated in silence. WITH THEIR HELP, I ROSE TO BECOME A BEING OF IMMENSE POWER. BUT NOW, DESPITE HAVING ALL THE PIECES, I HAVEN'T COMPLETED THE PUZZLE, SO TO SPEAK. THAT'S WHY I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET TO FINALLY PUT AN END TO THIS GAME. Flumpty simply stared at Bill, his fractal eyes piercing through Bill's body. Bill floated upwards, pointing his finger to the sky. I KNOW! HOW ABOUT I TRY ANOTHER JOKE! HUMOR MAY BE SUBJECTIVE, BUT THE ART OF JOKEMAKING IS AN EMPIRICAL SCIENCE! Flumpty stared at the dead alien cow, and then looked back at Bill, shrugging.
SO, UH... I HAD A JOKE IN MIND, BUT I FORGOT THE ACTUAL THING, SO I'LL JUST SKIP TO THE PUNCHLINE. IT WENT SOMETHING LIKE THIS: AND I TOLD THE GUY, PNEUMONOULTRAMICROSCOPICSILICOVOLCANOCONIOSISER? I HARDLY EVEN KNEW HER! Completely abruptly, Bill's entire body began to vibrate, and his bowtie shook. Bill realized that someone was calling him through his phone. UGH, HOLD ON. MY PHONE'S RINGING. Bill pulled the bowtie off of his body. In his hands, it turned into a vibrating smartphone. Bill put the phone up to the place where his ear should be and spoke into it. YELLO? he called into the speaker. Almost immediately, there came an answer in the form of several familiar voices. "Hey Bill, what's up?" said Split. "Oh, hey, Bill," said Hand of Crystal. Crystalcat? One of the two. "Hey," said another voice. Bill blinked in shock for a second. Here he was, talking to the Descendants not a minute after he had just talked about missing his conversations with them. He was always able to talk with them - mess with their minds and whatnot, rearrange the furniture. But never had they been able to directly contact him... until now. They'd even managed to snag his personal phone number, a feat that Bill had thought was impossible, since it was around 618 digits long. ...What? The area codes are exponential when you're dealing with alternate timelines.
Needless to say, Bill was happy to have some company. OH! GREEN GLASSES! OBJECTIVELY, THE SKY IS WHAT'S UP, BUT WHEN YOU'RE IN THE VOID AND THERE'S INFINITE NOTHINGNESS ALL AROUND YOU, THE COMPASS ROSE TENDS TO GROW AN ARM, FLIP YOU THE BIRD, AND SCREECH INTO THE RECESSES OF TIME. Bill heard a laugh at the other end. "Right, of course. Anyway, I've been meaning to ask you a question." So this is how it's gonna be, Bill thought. One of those old question-and-answer conversations. Bill was prepared. SHOOT, KID! At least, he thought he was prepared. Because when Split talked next, Bill's entire body momentarily lost cohesion. His eye glowed with shock. "Does the place Reedsport, Oregon mean anything to you?" Bill didn't dare talk. There were only a few reasons Split would bring such a topic up, and Bill hoped it wasn't the reason he thought. Reedsport, Oregon... A place dangerously close to Gravity Falls. Both were somewhere deep in the woods. Bill had long ago pinpointed it as a place of mystic power nearly as ancient as Gravity Falls was. If Split brought this up now, it meant that some Bill somewhere in reality had kicked the bucket and, in their last moments, invoked the name of the Big Frilly Know-It-All - the Axolotl. It was a being that sat in its own corner of spacetime, completely omniscient and only accessible if you made a wrong turn. More importantly, it was associated with regeneration and rebirth. Which meant it was the perfect way to activate a respawn. ...WHAT OF IT, Bill slowly asked. "Well," Split went on, "In Nonfiction, you kinda ended up there, imprisoned in a statue. What do you know about that? Do you know about that?"
SURE I DO! WHAT YOU'RE TELLING ME IS THAT AN ALTERNATE ME - HELL, PROBABLY PRIME ME, FOR ALL I KNOW - ACTUALLY HAD SOME SENSE IN HIM. HE INVOKED SOME KIND OF ANCIENT CURSE AND RESPAWNED IN THE OREGON WOODS, RIGHT? "That sounds about right," Split stated. "Yep. Whole bunch of people scoured the world for him. Clues were hidden everywhere!" affirmed Crystal. Bill extended his vision to that of alternate timelines. He saw an image of his statue, bolted to a tree. KNOWING ME, I OVERSHOT MY DESTINATION A BIT. PROBABLY ENDED UP IN ANOTHER DIMENSION NOT TOO FAR FROM NONFICTION, RIGHT? OR MAYBE THAT WAS ANOTHER VERSION OF ME. IF YOU WANT TO BE TECHNICAL, THERE'S NO "ONE TRUE BILL" AT ALL. WE'RE ALL EACH OTHER, SPREAD ACROSS AN INFINITE VARIETY OF TIMELINES, LIKE TUMORS! AND AS OUR INFLUENCE GROWS, WE CAST TIME AND SPACE INTO THE DARKNESS, THEIR FRAYED ENDS TAPERING INTO NOTHINGNESS. There was silence on the other end. BUT HEY! ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANTED TO ASK? UNHOLY KNOWLEDGE YOU WANT ANSWERED? BECAUSE BELIEVE ME, YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT GUY! FOR AS LONG AS EXISTENCE STILL STANDS, AND EVEN WHEN IT DOESN'T, I'LL BE HERE AS A BEACON OF ENLIGHTENMENT! SO GO AHEAD! ASK ME ANYTHING! Bill heard a voice behind him that made his falsified blood run cold. S0 Y0U'RE TAK1NG QUEST10NS N0W? 1'LL START. WH0 ARE Y0U TALK1NG T0.
Bill quickly turned around and saw the entire army of the Conflict slowly advancing towards him. The Employer was already winding his way around to Bill's position, with the rest of the Agents trailing not far behind. Bill's eye darted around suspiciously. He didn't know why exactly they had asked him such a question, but he couldn't give away that he was talking to the Descendants. They were still important to him. He needed them. If anyone was going to obliterate them in the blink of an eye, it was him, not the Conflict. ...NO ONE, he blatantly lied. The Employer drew ever closer. Y0U SURE AB0UT THAT, he persisted. 1T S0UNDS L1KE Y0U'RE TALK1NG T0 S0ME0NE VERY 1MP0RTANT. Bill couldn't hear any voices on the other line. He turned casually to the left and his pupil shrunk to a dot. Hovering next to the Employer was the Agent dressed in a suit, and its no face. Give us the phone. Bill took the phone off of his ear with a flourish, and it turned back into his regular bowtie, which he made a great show of adjusting. PHONE? WHAT PHONE?? he yelled at the top of his voice. Bill's words rippled across the Agents, seemingly making some of them forget that he had a phone at all. The Employer was momentarily fazed, but then shook his head. ANSWER THE QUEST10N, B1LL. Y0UR PH0NE. WHAT WERE Y0U US1NG 1T F0R. 1 ALREADY T0LD Y0U THAT Y0U MUST N0T BE HERE. YET Y0UR PRESENCE PERS1STS. Bill started to think of a lie only a dream demon could make. SEE, THE STORY BEHIND THAT... IS...
Suddenly, deep booms made themselves known across the Void, though there was no solid ground on which an object could create such a sound. The Shadow trudged across the army of the Conflict, the crowd seemingly parting to give him passage. Even the Employer darted out of the way, snaking towards the Shadow's shoulder, as he came face to face with Bill. MOVE ASIDE. I WILL DEAL WITH THIS. Bill rolled his eye. Obviously he was dealing with some kind of Mr. Bigshot; that, he could handle. LISTEN HERE, BLIND EYE. WE HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE DESCENDANTS - THE BEINGS CHOSEN BY OUR SWORN ENEMY - ARE USING TOOLS TO INTERFERE WITH CONVERSATIONS ACROSS REALITY AND GAIN INFORMATION. IF YOU HAVE ANY CONNECTIONS TO THIS, WE MUST KNOW. AND IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU TELL THE TRUTH. AFTER ALL, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW BEINGS WHO COULD GAIN ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL PHONE LINE, ARE THERE NOT? AND THERE IS AN INCREASINGLY SMALLER FEW WHO CAN DEFY THE LAWS OF SPACETIME AND HURTLE THROUGH FUTURE'S PAST TO TALK TO YOU. AND TO US. AND, IF OUR SOURCES ARE TO BE BELIEVED, MANY OTHER POINTS IN SPACE AND TIME. The Shadow leaned closer to Bill, his eyes narrowing. IF, FOR WHATEVER REASON, YOU ARE TALKING TO THE DESCENDANTS AND ARE NOT ALLOWING US TO DEAL WITH THEM, THEN YOU ARE COMMITTING A DISASTROUS ACT. I TRUST YOU UNDERSTAND. Bill waited for several seconds, and then burst with laughter. He floated his way up to the Shadow's head, increasing his size as he went until he was its approximate size. HEY! THE DESCENDANTS COULDN'T HAVE THE TIME TO DO ANYTHING WITH ME, NO MATTER WHAT ERA THEY'RE LIVING IN! HAVE YOU SEEN HOW PREOCCUPIED THEY ARE IN FUTURE'S PAST? THERE'S PARADOXES AND SHENANIGANS UP THE WAZOO! STUFF THAT I CAN'T EVEN FULLY COMPREHEND! SO HOW ABOUT YOU QUIT SLINGING AROUND ACCUSATIONS AND BACK OFF! Bill put as much power as he possibly could into that last sentence. Echoes screamed across the Void, and everyone went still.
To Bill's complete surprise, the Shadow actually stepped back. FINE. YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A LEECH THAT HAS BEEN GRANTED CELESTIAL ABILITIES. YOU HAVE NO PLACE IN THE PANTHEON OF CONFLICT. BEGONE, AND DO NOT DARKEN OUR DOORS AGAIN. Bill breathed an inward sigh of relief. He was counting on the Descendants sticking around explicitly so he could mess with them, and he wasn't going to let some force of plot, no matter how unstoppable it was, get in his way. Binary Prime snaked his way behind the Shadow and glared at Bill. [1 HAVE MY EYE 0N Y0U, B1LL. WE ALL D0.] Bill once again rolled his eye, ushering the Conflict away. YEAH, YEAH. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE AN EYE! Bill prepared to lean back, when all of a sudden, his phone rang again. Bill's eye froze - literally. It turned to solid ice. He looked down and saw that his bowtie had already turned into a smartphone. The entire army of the Conflict turned around at once, staring through Bill and the soul he didn't have. OH, CRAP.
Binary Prime wound his way towards Bill, staring at his phone. [H1S PH0NE 1S R1NG1NG AGA1N.] The army of the Conflict, now incredibly annoyed, marched towards Bill at full force, surrounding him in a circle. OH, COME ON! Bill whispered angrily into the receiver, though his whispers still sounded like a normal speaking voice. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO CALL AGAIN?! Binary Prime's body wound around Bill's, blocking his vision so the only thing he could see was static. Bill quickly phased through the Void and tried to teleport somewhere else, but was blocked on all sides by Agents. [G1VE US THE PH0NE, B1LL, AND WE W1LL N0T D0 ANYTH1NG T0 Y0U.] Bill's eyes darted across the field as his gaze settled on Flumpty, who was hovering in the air and being a useless piece of yolk. L1STEN T0 US, The Employer commanded. LISTEN TO ALL OF US, The Shadow boomed. Do as the eye commands, said the Agent with no face. leeSTEN : D,said the thing in the Cairo Overcoat. * Do as you will. spoke Chara. Bill looked paralyzed with indecision, but he allowed his eye to gaze upwards for a single moment. Flumpty was hovering above the crowd. He had carved the alien cow into a functioning portal through the Void. Bill got the message immediately, and decided to cut his losses. ...FINE, he grumbled. Bill threw his smartphone through the Void. TAKE IT.
The Employer caught it in his hand of orchid energy. Binary Prime snaked towards it, speaking as clearly as he could. No one else dared to talk, or even breathe. [HELL0? WH0 1S TH1S? WE ALREADY HAVE AN 1DEA... BUT C0ULD Y0U C0NF1RM 1T F0R US?] Immediately, several voices crackled through the receiver. "Hello," said Crystalcat. "Greetings," said Bomber. "I was trying to sell some premium magetear," said Erelye. "Them, and me," said Split. Binary Prime's head tilted up from the phone, addressing the crowd. 1T'S THEM, was his clear reply. The Shadow walked forward. HAVE YOU LOCKED ONTO THEIR POSITION? he asked. [WHAT, D0 Y0U TH1NK 1'M STUP1D? 0F C0URSE 1 HAVE.] The Shadow cracked his knuckles, creating an ear-splitting sound that roared across the Void. PERFECT. Bill teleported over to his phone, trying to talk into it. KIDS, WHEREVER YOU ARE, GET OUT OF THERE, NOW! The Shadow's eyes narrowed to slits. He looked upwards and saw Flumpty doing nothing. The Shadow's arm creaked and extended towards Flumpty, and then to Bill. FLUMPTY. TAKE HIM AWAY. Flumpty screamed downstairs, making a show of forcefully grabbing Bill. Bill carried Flumpty away with the disfigured cow in tow, with Bill screaming close behind. YOU... YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME! I HAVE RIGHTS! In a matter of seconds, the two were nowhere in sight, and had disappeared through the portal.
All eyes turned to the phone. On the other line was the Descendants, whose exact position in spacetime had now been perfectly calculated. At any moment, the Conflict could mobilize their superpowered army of Agents, storm through whatever barriers the Descendants were behind, and lay waste to them in a single battle. They could destroy a godmodder, but they could not destroy plot.[1'M G01NG T0 TALK 0NCE, AND 1'M G01NG T0 MAKE MYSELF CLEAR,] Binary Prime commanded over the phone. He was aware of screaming and laughter on the other end. [WE KN0W EXACTLY WH0 Y0U ARE. AND N0W, WE KN0W WHERE T0 F1ND Y0U. PREPARE.] Satisfied, Prime stared at the phone until it shriveled up into a compact metal ball. With a flick of his tail, the ball was flung into space, flaking dust off of its surface. OUR MISSION IS CLEAR, the Shadow announced. WE WILL VENTURE ACROSS TIME AND SPACE AND EXTERMINATE THE DESCENDANTS AT THEIR SOURCE, IN ALL POINTS IN TIME, NO MATTER THE REALITY, SINGULAR OR PLURAL, THEY RESIDE IN. ONCE WE HAVE REMOVED THIS LAST OBSTACLE, WE WILL TAKE UNPRECEDENTED CONTROL OVER FICTION, AND WIN. This speech let out the biggest cheer from the Conflict yet. The Agents all brandish their weapons - Chara points a knife, the mimes start dancing uncontrollably, their limbs mutating as they grow wings, the Employer's hands grow to a gargantuan size, flickering with unholy energy, a dormant table lights with purple fire... A similar effect ripples across the Conflict. The Shadow laughs as its Godarm manipulates itself into the shape of an additional superlaser. The Conflict flies from their meeting, screaming across the stars.
At the completely opposite point in space relative to the Conflict's meeting, the Council of Nine's fenestrated wall in Limbo blinked off. Here, at a point unanchored from time and space, and therefore resting in a completely unknown date when applied to the calendars of mankind, the Council of Nine knew that the end was swiftly approaching. This, said the Head Councilman, Is unprecedented. The Conflict has achieved a great enough mass to pose a serious threat to whatever they attack. We must ready all forces possible in preparation. The rest of the Council of Nine nodded. In a matter of seconds, they had lifted off from their Council Hall and traveled to the crater that contained the Red Dragon. Sealing the Red Dragon in place was an unbreakable lock fashioned from a portion of the Secret of the Void's soul. The Council of Nine had planned to perform this ritual in the case that the Red Dragon's lock would be attacked - but it was clear that they needed this power now.
The Nine all floated to various points around the circle and raised their hands, crackling with monochrome energy. A ring of light formed around the Council, with the chain completing at the Head Councilman, who turned the energy a bright pink hue. A single ray of energy shot out and ensnared the lock, lifting it out of place imperceptibly. The blue hue of the lock drained out as it turned completely monochrome, like its surroundings. In its stead, a large pulsating ball of blue energy floated out of the lock, whispering with a cadence as old as time. A small portion of the Secret of the Void's soul had been recovered, and it was alive. i remain... barely... skirting the edge of life... and death... there is only... one reason you could... summon... me. The entire Council nodded in unison. We understand the risks. Protect us... Greatest of Secrets. The soul imperceptibly waved up and down. i understand... the alternative to this... is oblivion... isn't it. if the conflict wins... we perish... if the conflict... does not attack... we still perish... time crashes... space is rent... the heroes we appointed... are our demise. The Council of Nine hung their heads low. I knew we should have imprisoned them while we had the chance. The soul shuddered. no... nothing could have... prevented this... they are masters... of nonfiction... no matter what... they will prevail...
The Council of Nine moved ever closer to the soul, maintaining the beam of energy. The light show was attracting the lost and wayward souls of Limbo, who viewed the whole thing as a blinding spectacle - a single notable event in their deaths. This could be our last battle, the Head Councilman solemnly observed. If fate ordains it as such, I would be honored if you fought with us, Greatest of Secrets. If you empowered us, one last time. Another Councilman spoke up. If I may, Greatest of Secrets. Don't give us green orbs on our backs as a highly obvious weak point. An uneasy silence hung in the air. didn't know... you had... a sense of... humor... heh. The Head Councilman muttered to himself about who would laugh in the form of a single word, but before they could voice any other thoughts, the air exploded with electricity and the transfer of souls. When the blinding light subsided, the Council of Nine was clothed in rippling navy cloaks, and their eyes were a piercing green. They now carried a sliver of the Secret of the Void's power - the capability to create and reshape the very Void to their will. Excellent, said the Council of Void, in unison. Let us complete our final task. The Council of Void's arms raised up, seemingly beyond the boundaries of Limbo, stretching throughout the Void and across reality, to deliver a message to all followers of the Narrative.
The Council of Void lifted themselves out of Limbo, their bodies supercharged with energy, and then, they disappeared. Their message worked its way across the cosmos, alerting everyone in tune with the Narrative. They got the message immediately. The Chosen Few, stirring in their own remote location of the Void, held on to what power they had obtained from the Legion of Godmodders, and flew. The Hexahedron's surface rotated and hummed with an energy intense to manipulate reality itself. It hovered and spun across the Void. Uprooting themselves from the nests they hid in shadows, a series of birds took flight throughout the Void, their heads spinning to every nook and cranny as they charted a path across the fourth dimension. Taking up the lead of the flock was an effigy of horror and tremendous power. The Owls had risen, with a FEZ in tow. Blinking from one point in reality to the next was THE OPERATOR, who had, it seemed, become a follower of the Narrative after helping to uphold it at the tail end of the Second Godmodding War. Rising from his chained Update Terminal came The Author, a living and breathing deus ex machina, ready to turn the tide of the fight. Countless other followers, deities, and gods of their respective universes that acted in the name of the Narrative took up the charge, flying across the Void to a single location.
And hovering like a cloud over them all, a web of causality and temporal inevitability, an inexplicable force that dictated the motion of plot itself and fought a continuous battle to keep on what it considered to be "the right path," was The Narrative itself. Its existence permeated through the Void across infinity, empowering those that it stood for, and who stood for it. The Narrative spun around these combatants, creating a tapestry of divinity that told a message - that the Narrative would never fall, and that no matter what happened, plot would keep moving forwards. All of these heroes marched throughout Fiction, to one explicit point. They traveled nearly the entire length of reality, moving across time and space, across gargantuan universes and the tiniest of pocket dimensions, and everyone they saw shriveled into the darkness. Never before had the entire scope of the Narrative congregated in such a formation. Never before, except for all those eons ago, when they had declared war. Finally, the Council of Void raised their heads and yelled in unison. ATTENTION, AGENTS OF CONFLICT. IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION THAT YOU WISH TO DESTROY THOSE THAT WE HAVE CHOSEN TO UPHOLD THE CONTINUUM OF REALITY. WE UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR ACTIONS HAVE AN UNFORTUNATE TENDENCY TOWARDS DESTRUCTION, BUT WE STAND BY OUR CHOICE. An otherworldly voice joined in with the Council of Nine, as if the Narrative was backing their every word. IF YOU WISH TO HARM THEM, THEN YOU MUST GO THROUGH US. A cheer rang out across the Narrative's army, which echoed and splintered across reality's catacombs.
The Narrative's army heard chilling sounds of laughter coming from all around them. HEAR THAT? A voice boomed from the shadows. THEY WANT TO PLAY A GAME WITH US. AT LEAST THEY HAVE THE COURAGE TO STAND UP AND FIGHT. I COMMEND THAT. WHAT SAY YOU, AGENTS OF CONFLICT? SHALL WE HUMOR THEIR REQUEST FOR WAR? There was silence, followed by ear-splitting cheers from the Conflict's side. The Narrative stood solemnly, knowing that they were about to do battle with the purest incarnation of evil that had ever been devised. ...No. Not just evil. Evil was too broad, yet too fine of a word. The Conflict was full of antagonists. The antagonists of stories, and how they sought to lead everything to their own end. And on the other side of the same coin, the Narrative was the army of protagonists. The main characters of stories. And it didn't necessarily matter how "pure of heart" they were or how much of a "good person" they were. What mattered is that without them, there would be no story to defend at all. And if this was to be the Narrative's last fight... The deciding battle on how reality was told from here on out... Then, so be it. IT IS SETTLED, THEN. FATE CHOSEN. The Narrative's army nodded, continuing their upwards movement, as orderly as funeral procession. For that is what it was. The deceased in question was Fiction.
One way or another, things would not be the same following this battle.
"One way or another, things will not be the same following this meeting," Erelye announced to the Council of Fifteen within the Abyssal Realm. He was now hovering menacingly in front of ВИСЦЕС itself. The obelisk was merely floating in the air, lights on its surface gleaming and reflecting the violet fire within. It did not otherwise act. "Your continued presence here implicitly indicates that you are willing to undergo the arcane procedure of ВИСЦЕС-fusion. Each of you, one by one, will step forwards and place your hand upon the obelisk's primary interface, which has been crafted in the shape of a human hand, for recognizability. This will allow your essence to enter ВИСЦЕС and guide it during and beyond its inception and prolonged lifespan. The process of your soul entering the Grey Flame proper must require, in no uncertain terms, your complete and total death." Murmurs rippled throughout the Council. Death was the threat looming over them all. If they left the Realm, they would die. And if they stayed, they would die. The only difference was, they would rise to become an apparent god shortly afterwards. "The demise of the Council will occur after I have placed my remaining hand upon the interface. Immediately following this procedure, ВИСЦЕС's lachrymal interface will be wholly activated, which will be utilized via my secondary arm, comprised of a finely refined æchor. I will then terminate my physical form immediately and without hesitation. I expect all of you to do precisely the same." Erelye returned to his position at the Council of Fifteen, his feet touching the ground. "Now. Any questions?"
The Scribe glared at Erelye. "I've had some pretty bad experiences with dying. Any way you can make this death worth my time?" Erelye raised an accusing eyebrow. "Are you insinuating that being one of the guiders of a practical demiurge of knowledge is not worth your time?" The Scribe laughed, completely devoid of humor. "You know what I mean. Last time I sacrificed myself to a higher power, it didn't exactly go very well. I was a plaything in the hands of a child god." Crystalcat, Tempo, Bomber, and the Sleuth's heads all hung low with unease. "I'm agreeing with the Scribe over here," the Sleuth said. "You said we'd have all our memories and our individuality and whatnot. But what exactly is going to happen to us after we... you know. Die?" Nyarly chuckled. "Don't be upset with death. We're all going to survive, aren't we? This is just another step forward." Erelye nodded. "You are correct. The concern, however, is somewhat valid. Upon the release of your physical forms, provided you have correctly touched the obelisk's interface, you should immediately reform inside of a holographic cylindrical room programmed as a council hall. You will be a solely digital construct inside of ВИСЦЕС's interface itself, free to manifest in whatever physical form you desire. Everyone within will retain their sense of self, with none of the... coarse, so to speak, conditions that resulted via the Pact of Omega Flowey. Those who felt it necessary, likely foolishly so, to participate in that particular event should know precisely what I am referring to." The five members of the Council that had been there and done that nodded.
"I HAVE A QUESTION. WILL WE. STILL HAVE. OUR POWERS? BECAUSE. I DON'T WANT TO LET. ALL OF THIS. GO TO WASTE." Erelye shrugged hesitantly. "ВИСЦЕС was not designed with combat in mind. Its vast interface was constructed to contain and retain the knowledge of every reality. However, I am reasonably certain that if ВИСЦЕС was attacked, by any reason, it would use the abilities of the Council in self-defense against its unfortunate assailants. The battle, I imagine, would be particularly one-sided. It isn't as if much can withstand the might of fifteen Descendants, weak though you meatsacks may be. Hah." "Hear, hear!" Crystalcat yelled. Tempo looked down at the ground. "What do we do now, then. I mean, if we're gonna die and all." Erelye looked through Tempo, addressing the whole crowd. "It is imperative that you give up your physical forms for the process to complete itself. However, it is equally important that you make peace with the situation around you before committing to this task. If there is anything you wish to say, reflect on, or do, I will not stop you. After all, we have an effective eternity to wait. Time will only flow normally upon the awakening of ВИСЦЕС." Erelye floated out of his spot in the Council, examining ВИСЦЕС more closely, most likely for last-minute checkups and stability. The Council uneasily eyed each other. This was the end of the road.
"Welp," Battlefury said, "It was nice memeing with you while it lasted." "Hey, just because we don't have a physical form doesn't mean the terrible jokes are gonna stop. I mean, there's always room for memes in Cyrillic Obelisk Funland. Right, Erelye?" Erelye shot a quizzical look at Generic. "I suppose memes count as knowledge. Use this information at your own discretion." Fseftr nodded with relief. "My title as Meme Queen is intact." "Hah." "Hmm," Crystal pondered aloud. "It's a shame Modpack isn't here. He'd have loved an opportunity to meme into infinity." Bomber laughed. "Trust me, you don't want memes to grow too powerful. We're living in a dangerous time, where memes are at the forefront of human consciousness. Soon, they will overwhelm the entire digital interface of existence, and then where will we be? Swimming in an ocean of Pepe Hell. ВИСЦЕС is like the Ark, and we're riding the goddamn meme flood." Hezetor shuddered from his throne. "The term meme flood disturbs me. Tell me more." Astria looked at Hezetor. "IT'S A FLOOD. OF MEMES. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT. FROM THE NAME. "MEME FLOOD." ALSO. IF I EVER. ENCOUNTERED SUCH A FLOOD. I'D RATHER DIE. THAN JOIN. THE MEME CONGLOMERATE." "I mean, we're dying anyway?? Not like you're missing much there." Astria gritted their teeth. "DON'T. TWIST MY WORDS." "When I told you to make peace, I did not expect that you would talk about the science of a meme apocalypse. Frankly, I should have expected nothing less in hindsight."
"It's a shame we're not going to have any opportunities to mess around in wars after this," said Cobalt. "It's been fun. The tests, the all-ins, the medley attacks. I'm gonna miss this." "Eh," Fseftr said. "This reality has overstayed its welcome." Zetta laughed. "I hear ya! I mean, fighting in all these wars is fun and all - and you guys are great sparring partners - but I think going some place new will be exciting, don't you? So much more to see. So much more to do." "Mind you, you won't exactly be able to consume people from within the confines of ВИСЦЕС." Zetta looked crestfallen. "Let's be real here," said Nyarly, crossing his arms and putting one leg over the other so he floated in the air. "This 'new reality?' I'd bet you my soul - no, not literally, I'm about to sell it - that it's nothing different from this one. You watch. It'll be the same few faces, the same few names, just rearranged and placed at different times. This isn't anything to get worked up over." Crystal pondered this. "What, you think it'll be a Scratch? That would be... interesting." The Scribe shook his head. "I don't see a Scratch Construct around here, do you? If this reboot's happening through the Exception - which it has to - then we're looking at a completely randomized reality. Nyarly's most likely correct - important figures will stick around, just have none of the old memories. But this isn't exactly a Scratch. You can't cleanly Scratch the entirety of Fiction. Although..." The Scribe adjusted his goggles and thought to himself. "The only way a reboot like this could be allowed is if the alternative was literal oblivion - if doing nothing would condemn reality to a fate as bad, with no option of another chance. So something unspeakable happened from the Godmodding Wars up until now. But what?" Some of the Council looked deeply disturbed - Zetta in particular. There were mutterings of some kind of time crash.
"As the only one here that fought in the original war," the Sleuth said, and added, quieter, "...Both of them, I guess. I can say that it's been an honor fighting against godmodding, in all forms. To the Descendants that took our mantle, I thank you. You've done a great service." The Anti-Godmodders in the Council nodded. Others darted their eyes and merely pretended to. "It might not be a won run, but it is a done run." "¯\_(ツ)_/¯," Tempo was somehow able to physically say. Everyone shared some laughter, and then, the air around the Council became deathly still, quite literally. Everyone knew what faced them next. Without saying a word, one by one, the Council of Fifteen got out of their positions and walked in a line towards the hovering obelisk of ВИСЦЕС. One by one, they approached the obelisk, hearing the reversed whispers that the thing emanated piercing into their minds, seemingly dragging their memories away. But they stayed determined, affixing their hand to the symbol at the obelisk's center. One by one, the obelisk glowed with the colors of the Council, and those who attached their hand felt a soul-splitting sensation that, more often than not, caused them to lurch backwards, in danger of falling into the abyss. One by one, they returned to their original positions, feeling as if something had just been torn from them and locked away somewhere else. But their feelings in these bodies mattered not. They were about to become a part of a much greater whole.
Erelye turned and saw that the deed was done. "The moment of crisis swiftly approaches, then. I will complete the final step. I have taken you this far, Council. The remainder of your journey lies solely on your own determination. Follow through with the task at hand, and the reward is within your grasp. Do not, and the failure is absolute for all. But never forget that the choice has been yours, and yours alone. That is what Descendants do, after all. Make choices, for good or for ill." Erelye floated to ВИСЦЕС, affixing his hand to its interface. The obelisk glowed a searing amethyst color, the main interface retracting and shifting into a new shape of lachrymal essence. Erelye's other arm - composed solely of a swirling mass of magetear - reached into the lachrymal interface and activated it completely. There was a sudden swirling crescendo that filled the air, the violet flames turning into a raging firestorm. ВИСЦЕC reflected with the kaleidoscopic array of the cosmos, its eyes shining like miniature supernovae. Everyone felt naked in its presence. Erelye laughed hollowly as ВИСЦЕС uttered scathing lines in a the tongue of the conquerors. "ЕQ ВЕИС. ВИСЦЕС ТИС: ВАРИТ. ИЕПЕН АЕКАЕТ: ЦАЕР Х ДИАПУТХИЛ-ИСТ ТЛХ ПХЫЛАХ АРТИ. ТЕМПИС ЗИСТ ЕРТАЛОУС: СЦРИ ДЕАРТ, ДИАП ИСТИНЕН. ФÄУСТУЛ АЛБЕРГАТА."
Erelye gazed at the Council of Fifteen for the last time. "Time is flowing normally. We have approximately nine minutes until the end of ends. Do with these remaining moments as you will." The Abyssal Realm began to crack and crumble. The platform on which everyone was standing on started to erode, with the fires raging higher and higher. The Council gulped as hell stared at them. Is it too late to turn back? Generic asked.
Trudging across the infinity of reality were two separate armies. Both the Narrative and the Conflict's entire fleet had gathered at opposite ends of the chosen battlefield, ready to wage complete and total war. It was on this date, an eternity in the future relative to all points in the time, that the ultimate forces of plot had come. Their mission was absolute. It was time to settle the score. It was time to see which force of plot would reign over all of existence. If the Narrative won, the Conflict would again be cast into Agents, and the work that had gone into reforming would be for naught. If the Conflict won, the Narrative would be obliterated, creating a lawless fiction that would soon fall into complete chaos until there was nothing left. This was it. The final battle. The one that would determine all the odds. The entirety of reality stood as spectators, hanging across the Void, listening to every word, every spark of the action.
The Narrative and the Conflict stared each other down on the flat terrain. The skies were permanently overcast, creating a thick sea of clouds from which nearly no light could shine. The ground was jagged, coarse, and wrapped in shadows. Just behind the armies was a sea of jagged mountains jutting out from the earth like spikes. Throughout the arena, the wind was howling, creating a choir invisible. Pink fire burned intermittently across the landscape, stretching out to the horizon, creating a sea of dancing pink lights below the clouds. The refiner's fire still waged after all this time. Any living beings that had existed here were long since dead, and any unliving beings had slunk back to the shadows in wait. The only true witness to the war of the Narrative and the Conflict was a door, and an open one at that. It stretched all the way to the sky, with architecture as gleaming and perfect as the greatest of cathedrals. The door was flanked on either side by massive rectangular prisms, displays of raw power marked on their surfaces. Whatever was behind the door, if anything, made no light and no sound. The door itself led to a seemingly infinite void. To tell the truth, there was not a more fitting arena for the final fight in reality. After all, the battle to determine the end was best waged at The Ends of the Earth.
The two armies stared at each other. The Narrative was led by the Council of Void, carrying the Secret's essence. The Conflict was led by the Shadow, bearing the image of the Godmodder. Both armies reached for their weapons, distorting reality to its breaking point as they did so. The air hummed with the charge of a climactic battle. No one dared move. No one dared speak. No one dared breathe. And then, from nowhere, a bell rang with a note so low that it coursed through the atoms of everyone present, moving the entire earth. It rang three times, and after the third note, both armies felt an overwhelming sense of finality. It was now or never. And with the mental image of being the undisputed masters of reality, for however long it remained...
Godmodding Incorporated is open for business, after running for nearly a full year without any breaks. Every floor of the facility has been devoted to their own specific tasks. Manufacturing weaponry and goods at the heart of the Earth, maintaining good public relations with several major world leaders, developing new forms of currency, researching any and all possible forms of extradimensional phenomena, pinpointing every single one of the major corporations, groups, and businesses in Fiction and how likely they are to be hostile, (the answer was overwhelmingly a DEFINITELY HOSTILE, YOU'RE LIVING IN A WORLD WHERE CREATIVITY FUELS ATTACKS) learning how to squeeze the most suffering out of a single human body, and many more agendas, ranging from menial to completely disturbing. The entire facility had been gearing up towards a maximized crescendo, a state of completion. Everyone has been working their asses off - and it's of note that some of the workers don't even have asses to speak of, due to Minecraftian biology - to this exact date. Really, it was the only date in reality that mattered much. Or, at the very least, one of the only ones. To tell the truth, if you asked a Voidic scholar on what date he thought Fiction was created, he'd have probably said September 1st. Then again, he could probably have said one of 364 other dates, which technically undermines the point I'm trying to make.
The point of the matter - tick, tock, by the way - is that this is a very important day for Godmodding Incorporated. To tell the truth, it hadn't seen anywhere near this much action since it was liberated from UserZero all those years ago/in the future. Sure, over the Second Godmodding War, it had been used as the basis for where all the money was made from ragequitting, and it had kept the U.S. national debt steadily rising. Not to mention the fact that it was where anti-Counteroperation propaganda had been established and posted onto the Internet. I mean, yeah, nothing really came out of it, but it was always great to have scare tactics. To make people concerned that they didn't know the whole story, and to strike fear in the hearts of the innocent. Or, just maybe, the hearts of the gullible. Really, it was the same thing. Godmodding Incorporated had stood as an inviolate beacon of all that was unholy for months and months, a shining example of what it means to be a pestilence towards the earth. I forgot where I was going with that whole metaphor, but the long and short of it is, Vote Kanye for President 202020 AD. Yes, he'll live that long. He's one of the four Kanyes of the Apocalypse.
Tick, tock, before I forget. The thing is, the giant fantastical machine of Godmodding Incorporated had been slowing down over the past few weeks. Everyone seemed to realize, by unspoken agreement, that all the goals they'd been working for were silently building up towards one tenebrous purpose. And, by a similar unspoken agreement, everyone realized that the huge project - the Big Thing they'd received word from by the Omega when he had returned at the tearing, twisting machine of the building had fired up - was somewhere at the top floor. The top floor was where the magic happened. It was where the Omega was, every second of what seemed to be every day. He was working tirelessly, just like the rest of them, to make sure everything went exactly as planned. Sure, there'd be a level of uncertainty. Would he make it through alive? Would he be in one piece as everything went on? Maybe. Maybe not. But he could sure as hell try. And he could rest knowing that even if he failed, someone, somewhere, would take up the mantle, and do as he did, completing the process. Oh, but you don't know what the process is, do you? I mean, sure, you could guess. But still.
Tick, tock. Remembered perfectly that time. ...Hmm? You're wondering why I keep saying 'tick, tock' every time there's a break in the conversation? Well, what better way is there to keep track of the time? When you're as busy as I am, functioning as the receptionist for a company no one knows exists yet is teeming with the lives of millions of beings, all working independently of each other, you learn two skills. One is keeping track of the time. Two is talking very, very fast, to make sure every paragraph or so syncs up perfectly with the passing of seconds, or, say - the tick and the tock of a grandfather clock. But something tells me you'll be able to make perfect sense of my text. After all, the omniscient nameless narrator transcribing this whole mess will be able to sort through everything just fine, won't they? ...Oh, you're just full of questions, aren't you? If you were clever, like all the Descendants I've seen... er, most of the Descendants I've seen - sure there are some bad apples in the group but can't the same be said about anything? - you'd know exactly what time I'm counting down to. A couple of you scheduled appointments with the Omega, didn't you? I told you I'd pencil you in for September 1st. Well, guess what. That day's today. And that appointment you were talking about? It's now. It's a good thing you all seem to have found your way here - now you're all on an appointment with him, by proxy. As it should be.
Tick, tock. The clock strikes 2:48 PM on September 1st, 2016. Hold on a moment, let me call him up. Sir? Yes, it's me. Your scheduled appointment with "The Descendants (Primary Associates NumberSoup and ConsumerOfAll)" is ready. Is that so? Heh. Right on time. Bring 'em up for me. Well, that settles that. Up you go. Elevator's that way, to the right. Don't make eye contact with anyone inside; they'll notice you and then you'll be trapped in conversation with them, and then, you'll be late. And I hate it when people are late. Go on, all of you. Don't keep him waiting. He's been expecting you for quite some time. Always said that the next time you all met him, things would be different. Isn't it funny that he was right?
Even though the only people inside were there purely by metaphysical attachment, and could only experience these events by reading the text and imagining accompanying images within their heads, the elevator doors opened at your presence. The Godmodder, if the receptionist was to be believed, had been expecting you for some time. And more importantly, he was alive. There was no doubt about it, that was his voice you heard over the loudspeaker. You all crowded into the elevator, which was surprisingly expansive. Thankfully, there was no one else inside. Someone, it wasn't exactly clear who, pressed the button for the top floor. 109, it seemed. Fitting, wasn't it? Truly, the potential of meme numbers is infinite. After all, memes count as knowledge, don't they? Through a stretch of time that seems like an infinity, the elevator makes its way upwards, through the heart of Godmodding Incorporated. Though you can't see out of the elevator, you can sure as hell hear what's going on around you.
You hear rumbling and noises that sound suspiciously like jet engines, coupled with screams alternating with laughter. You hear liquids flowing at high speeds across entire rooms, doubling in on themselves in some kind of fluids-based racetrack. Occasionally, something spills, and sirens blaze. You hear what sounds like an army typing on keyboards. You hear a million fans roaring at once. Sometimes, the noise abruptly stops, and a roaring sound fills the entire elevator until the fans come on again, by which time everything is back to normal. You hear the fizzling sounds of electricity and lasers spinning at far too high speeds to even be considered legal. You hear the complete absence of sound - not only are there no sounds from the rooms around you, the elevator itself makes no sound, and none of you can even hear the sounds that you make, or that anyone around you makes. You hear snatches and mutters from random conversations, stitching themselves into a framework narrative. You hear what sounds like audio recordings of the Second Godmodding War all playing on top of each other. Although you were all there for it, there are some sounds you don't recognize. You hear a chorus of what sounds like owls, all hooting at various intervals, punctuated by thunderclaps. You hear the mad dances of mimes, and pray that the elevator could rise faster. Finally, after the eternity is up, the elevator stops. There is no noise except for the chirping sounds of birds and the peaceful, serene sense of nature. A sense, of course, that is shattered the instant the doors retract.
The top floor of Godmodding Incorporated is a cube of stone. The walls of The Tower were covered with glass, but it looks like the Godmodder has opted for an alternate decor choice this time. None of you can see anything outside, and what you can see inside is certainly interesting. Pale fluorescent lights line the ceiling, and there is an ornate wooden desk at the exact center of the room with a golden nameplate on it. The desk is littered with knickknacks and personal belongings, and the person whom the desk belongs to is sitting in a black chair, their back turned to the elevator. Behind the desk is a massive set of golden curtains hooked up to intricate clockwork rigging. A protruding sun and moon jut out from the curtains. which are themselves suspended from the ceiling by wires. Hearing the doors open, the man speaks. "Well. Look who decided to show up? Hey there, Descendants! Glad you could make it! I knew you would. It was written in fate ever since you called to orchestrate this meeting. No doubt you've already figured out what happened to me, so I'm going to make this quick."
The chair turns around a hundred and eighty degrees, letting you all see the man sitting in the chair. It is a nearly perfect representation of what the Godmodder's Minecraft avatar would look like in human form. He has the same brown hair and the beard, he has a rippling red cape... He even has a scar over his left eye, and what seems to be a gleaming robot arm. However, the Godmodder is dressed in a formal suit and tie, and he lacks a glove over his right arm. The Godmodder stood up, his hands folded behind his back, and his cape ripping in nonexistent wind. "First off: I'm alive. Let's get that out of the way. Second off: yes, I now have a robot arm and a scar over an eye, and now, that isn't just for show. Trust me, those injuries are very real. Let's call it an unfortunate coincidence that I happen to have them now, alright? Although," the Godmodder pauses and thinks to himself. "I might have cut off my own arm anyway just to have a Godarm. These things are badass." The Godmodder walks to his desk and pushes it aside in a single thrust. "Turns out I was able to survive what amounted to an infinite explosion with only the loss of an arm and an eye. Neat, right? Godmodding. You kids should try it sometime! I know some of you did, but I mean. You all should try it sometime. And don't tell me that what you do is just an alternate form of godmodding without the name! You know what I mean."
The Godmodder kneels down to the ground, tapping a specific floor panel 109 times in quick succession. Truly, this is the best use of his powers yet. A large switch pops out of the ground, floor panels sliding apart to reveal it. The Godmodder walks over to it, making sure all of you are watching. If you aren't, he glues your eyes to the screen, literally, so that he can be certain you are. "Alright. Are you guys ready for this? You'd better be ready for this. Because, personally, I've been waiting a year to show this off. So, here we go! It's time you saw what lies behind the curtain." With a flick of the wrist, the Godmodder pulls the lever into a different position so it bends closer to the ground; the motion creates a massive clacking sound. The clockwork contrivances powering the curtains begin to spin, slowly yet inexorably. Gear meshes with gear, pulley powers pulley, until the entire thing spins in a clockwise formation, gears rotating across gears, spinning and sliding, as if their irregular orbits are meant to mimic the celestial bodies, like the sun and the moon. The sun and the moon spin around each other, and with each passing rotation, the curtains slide open a little more. After the curtains' operations finally hit what seems like a normal speed, they retract fully, revealing the true nature of what lies behind it.
To put it simply, the thing behind the curtain is a gigantic Nether Portal. It seems to be constructed from a formless white metal devoid of any identifying marks, making it exactly the same color as the floor. The hollow rectangular area in the middle of the doorway hums with a low and menacing power. The Godmodder takes a good look at it, and then turns back to you. "Here we have it, ladies and gentlemen. The portal to end all portals. Once I activate this thing, it'll take me past the final frontier. I'll boldly go where no man has gone before. That's right. You know exactly where this thing leads, don't you?" The Godmodder smiles cruelly, uttering the words you knew was coming. "The Exception." The Godmodder's robotic arm summoned a small ball of fire, lobbing it at the curtains. Immediately, the entire mechanism burst into flames, the cloth used for the curtains burning and warping into something unrecognizable. The gears all fell apart, creating a loud cacophony as they all banged and clacked onto the ground, motionless. With a wave of his arm, the fire dispersed, leaving only the portal, which was the width of the Godmodder and around three times his height. "All of the 'fast travel' and 'hyperspace' portals that sideline villains used to hop onto my server were just so they could jump across the Void quicker. This portal is one of the only ones I can think of that's actually necessary. See, the Exception isn't exactly a place you can just find naturally while traveling through the Void. It's at the exact center of reality, shielded from any external sources. A safe haven, I guess. But thanks to the Godmodding Wars I spent the last few years of my life killing myself over and to an unstoppable amount of research, I know exactly how to find it, and how to get to it." The Godmodder pounded at the doorway with his fist. It made absolutely no sound. "When this thing turns on, it'll create a doorway right to The Exception. And from there, I can begin my final plan. The last scheme I'll ever place into action."
"It took me a year to scrape together all the information and research I needed to get this project done, but it'll all be worth it. I'm finally taking the advice I got from all of you. I'm returning to my roots. Just not exactly in the way you all thought." The Godmodder grins, sitting back in his chair. "See, it occurred to me that my plans - my big ideas to become the greatest villain any of you have ever seen, and to spread rage and chaos - don't exactly apply in this reality. Not in one where there are literal representations of good and evil that can bend stories to their will. Not in one where there a thousand different factions, with their own goals, competing against each other. Not in one where all of you," The Godmodder points an accusatory finger directly at you, "Are messing with my stuff, and pursuing your own agendas. Which is why I've decided on the necessary course of action. I mean, it's not like there's much else I could do in the Exception, right? The plan is simple in its idea - I'm going to reboot everything. Reality as you know it will cease to exist, replaced by a new one. One where I have the power. One where I'm in control. One where things are smaller, and simpler." The Godmodder spreads his arms wide, nodding eagerly. "So, what do you think? Cool, right? If not a bit contradictory. I know what I said. I'd downsize from destroying a universe, but all of a sudden I'm destroying existence? Well, here's the problem." The Godmodder's hands clench. "Once I'm in The Exception, the actual process will be very complicated to pull off. I'll need a boatload of artifacts and powers to start the whole process, some of which I'm not entirely certain I possess. But hey," the Godmodder once again grins, "I'm the goddamn Godmodder. Pulling new powers out of my ass is kind of the point of my existence. And once I generate enough paradox energy to cause this whole shebang, the rest of existence is gonna fight pretty damn hard to stop me from doing it. And you know what that means."
The Godmodder reaches below his desk, pulling out a perfect replica of the Banhammer. Its clockwork machinery ticks and tocks like the gears of the curtains, its hammerheads searing with heat. "The ultimate boss rush. Winner takes all. I'll be up against the greats, everyone. The greats. Hell, if the Narrative and Conflict stopped shouting at each other, I might have to even fight them too. The point I'm trying to make here is..." The Godmodder's head hangs low. "I might not come out of this alive. Okay, listen, I know. The whole point is to 'destroy the Godmodder,' yeah, I appreciate the whole irony behind this. I live again, only to die again. Well... You aren't gonna die. You all are from Nonfiction. But all these stories... all these memories... They're gonna vanish, like grains of sand, with only the text I write to leave behind any indication they were there at all." The Godmodder looks at his Banhammer. "Sometimes, you just have to remember who you're fighting for. I do. Me. But, maybe... Maybe I'm doing it for you. I got another chance. Let's see if you get one, too. I mean, I know some of you will. Fusing into a soul-amalgamation. What a novel idea! Bet no one's ever done that before. And hey, even if I die... I'm confident that someone else is going to complete the process. There are people who share my goals. The idea of annihilating everything and starting over. I know it in my gut. And if I have such a deep feeling, then I know I can will it into existence through my actions. That's the whole point of being a godmodder. Making what you want to be real, real." The Godmodder looks back at you, twirling the Banhammer in his hands. "Damn, this ran a bit long. So! I'm gonna do this thing. If I get through the whole thing alive, then. I'll see you on the other side. And if I don't... Well. Not like it'll matter much. Either way..." The Godmodder's smile grows to a huge size. "We're all gonna die."
They stood in reverence of their seeming victory. In their secret place - their gravest of secrets that The Red had seen fit to show - a legion of powerful beings had gathered. They were the elites of The Dark Carnival, their Princes. Coming from all different sizes and forms, they stood, as was said, in awe of the seething sea of paradoxes. It was no longer a grouping of spheres. Indeed, shapes ceased to describe its qualities. It was a formless ocean of the anti-reality at a scale rivaling the Red Sea itself. It was the ravaging of power so great that it heralded the end of existence. The Princes fondly regarded this as a miracle. The miracle of a new beginning. If the legends rang true, these paradoxes would be used to create a utopia for the Carnival - a paradise brought about by the Mirthful Messiahs. But the Carnival had come to realize that they lived in a world where not everyone thought as they did. People refused to believe that paradoxes were the key to salvation. And this was the nature of The Dark Carnival's talks. To combat this threat.
", courier, monospace">Welcome, Princes, one and all, to this esteemed meeting! Jokefkera boldly announced, one of its two heads doing the talking. Abruptly, the other head yelled at the crowd instead. ", courier, monospace">It is good to see so many familiar faces. The Princes of The Dark Carnival murmured in agreement. A hulking chunk of crimson crystal with a golden ring encircling its middle hummed, somehow creating a voice. Images flashed in its reflective surface. "Someone important is missing from our ranks. Where is Dimentio? Master of Dimensions, Pleaser of Crowds?" A shambling, ancient man dressed in the lab coat of a doctor and wearing an occult mask emerged. "Unknown. Last appearance; Sector Eon, Void." A legion of shrunken heads roosting on the ceiling cried out in unison. """""""""""¡ǝɹǝɥ sᴉ ǝH ¡ǝɹǝɥ sᴉ ǝH""""""""""" The Princes all turned to a secluded spot in the room, as a paper-thin box materialized in the air. The box flipped once, revealing Dimentio and a Minecraftian whose appearance caused the entire Carnival to gasp.
"Dimentio! Have you gone daft?" said a masked man in the garb of a Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron commander. "You willingly brought a Descendant here? The Narrative will have our heads any day now!" Dimentio laughed hysterically. ", sans-serif">Now, now, Russel! My name is Dimentio, not Dementia! I haven't gone insane since the last time you saw me! Though... Some spellchecking sources certainly seem to suggest otherwise. Dimentio looked accusingly at this text, and then continued onward. ", sans-serif">Regardless, Dimentio continued, ", sans-serif">I'd like to introduce all of you to the newest Prince in The Dark Carnival - Piono! Piono raised Oblivion's Destroyer up, its purple flames gleaming. The Princes gasped once more, this time with greater reverence. """""""""""¡pǝɹ ʎɯ ɥO ¡ʎɔǝɥdoɹd ɟo ʇɔǝɾqo u∀""""""""""" said the shrunken heads. "He holds the Destroyer of Worlds, said the doctor.
Dimentio coughed, shutting everyone up. ", sans-serif">If it isn't too much to ask, I'd like to give Piono a quick tour of our fine establishment... I think he deserves that much, don't you? There were general murmurs of agreement from the Princes. ", sans-serif">Splendid! Now, we worship two Mirthful Messiahs, the Red and the Black, though none of us have ever met the latter... And as for the Princes that are here, we have Russel, an ex-soldier from the Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron... Russel saluted Piono. Piono noticed that Russel was missing a leg, and it was composed entirely of purple fire. ", sans-serif">...Dr. Finklefracken, a mad scientist that learned how to grow paradoxes in his own backyard... Dr. Frinklefracken adjusted his mask. ", sans-serif">...Escher, who can be found more often than not on stairs that don't exist... As Piono watched, two holes formed in the walls and the ceiling, with stairs connecting them. A mishmash of shapes that had no business existing in the same general area clambered across the stairs until they disappeared in the wall. ", sans-serif">...the Legion of Shrunken Heads, who are a legion of shrunken heads. I believe their names are Billy, Tilly, Willy, Zilly, Chilly, Frilly, Quilly, Dilly, and Bonzu Pippinpaddleopsicopolis. Dimentio whispered to Piono. ", sans-serif">Not be confused with the other Bonzu Pippinpaddleopsicopolis, obviously. "Obviously," Piono muttered. The Legion of Shrunken Heads squealed excitedly.
", sans-serif">Then we have Anubis, a crystal with superpowered paradox energy... Anubis' crystalline form shifted to depict a man walking through a portal. Piono blinked, and it was gone. ", sans-serif">Jokefkera, who has two personalities, and both of them are hilarious...! Jokefkera laughed with two different voices at once. ", sans-serif">Thalia, who always seems to find the humor in everything... Thalia, a figure with no limbs and an eternally smiling drama mask over their head, slowly turned to look at Piono. ", sans-serif">Melpomene, who always seems to find the sadness in everything... Melpomene, a figure with no body and an eternally frowning drama mask over their head, slowly turned to look at Piono. ", sans-serif">They're inseparable, those two. Honestly. Over here is The Great Milenko, an illusionist that controls the minds of the dead... The Great Milenko stood silently in a corner of the room. ", sans-serif">The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, whose circus act either condemns souls to an eternity of pain or paradise... In a puff of candle smoke, the two brothers appeared, holding pulsating balls of flesh. ", sans-serif">Anthropormorphic Totem Pole, otherwise known as Silent T... The totem pole stood in the middle of the room, saying nothing. The faces on it were twisted with fear, and glowed with purple light. ", sans-serif">And lastly, Pandora. She's... in there. Piono's gaze turned to a gleaming and shaking sarcophagus in the middle of the room that no one dared stand too close to. Piono involuntarily wondered what was inside, and decided to go open the sarcophagus to check it out. He started taking a step forward, but abruptly stopped. His elemental alchemy of the mind prevented him from taking another step. Piono realized eerily that Pandora, whatever she was, had been silently willing him to open the sarcophagus. Dimentio laughed cheerfully. ", sans-serif">She does that whenever she gets cranky. We just learn to tune it out, but it looks like you've got that part covered!
Piono brandished Oblivion's Destroyer, gazing around the room. "Well, I guess I should have known that The Dark Carnival would be populated by some of the weirdest creatures I've seen in Fiction." Dimentio cackled. ", sans-serif">Oh, yes! The Carnival prides itself on its eclectic membership. Anyone of any walk of life can join, provided they abide by our mindset! "And you're telling me an anthropomorphic totem pole that doesn't talk 'abides by your mindset,'" Piono flatly stated, pointing to Silent T. Was Silent T breathing? Interesting. ", sans-serif">Oh, Piono. Loosen your mind a little, hmm? You have to be open to change when you're dealing with paradoxes! Anubis' crystalline geometry shifted. "Now that we're done with the pleasantries... We must discuss this glaring issue." "Issue? You'd better not be talking about me, jester." "Ooohoohoohoohoohoo! Look at him! He thinks he's an issue!" said Thalia. "He's too much of an issue. He will orchestrate death," said Melpomene. ", sans-serif">Sisters, please! Dimentio cut in. ", sans-serif">Quit being one-dimensional archetypes of basic emotions and let me explain the problem! Thalia and Melpomene floated to the back of the room in silence.
", sans-serif">As you can clearly see, we're gathered over a truly enormous sea of paradoxes! We are at the lowest level of the Ruins of Memory! Below us is, quite simply... Time. Piono stared at the sea of paradoxes. They flickered and crashed over each other at random intervals, creating an endless sea of change and destruction. ", sans-serif">At the very least, this is what's left of it! We have created so much raw paradoxical energy that not even the Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron could hope to vanquish! If the legends ring true... Well, say it with me, Princes...! The entire crowd hung their heads low and chanted a hymn. "When purple light consumes the earth, from final death to our rebirth, we'll play our games and roll the dice, and make our way to Paradise." The ocean of paradoxes visibly glowed at these words. ", sans-serif">The problem that presents itself is that there is an exceedingly small number of people who actually could pose a threat to the heaven we so richly deserve to enter! Escher appeared and spoke, his voice winding across the crowd like a serpent. "And, of courssssse... If there exists even a small chanccccce... At us losing... The Narrative will try its hardessssst... To make sure we fail." The Princes all nodded in agreement. ", sans-serif">Any number of forces could try to stop us! The Interdimensional Police Department, for one. They have a lot of forces in reserve that aren't just blindly following a nuclear throne... The Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron, for another! Those suckers continually respawn, and they have the guidance of a crystal much like Anubis. Project Nexus, ironically, is also a problem, as are the Legion of Godmodders! Even the narrative and Conflict themselves could try to stop us. Basically... Dimentio thought to himself for a moment. ", sans-serif">Our enemies are anyone that isn't us.
"So what, you need to kill anyone who would get in your way?" Jokefkera laughed. ", courier, monospace">I suppose so! You've hit the nail on the head, haven't you?", courier, monospace">Very smart, young Padawan! Dimentio laughed. ", sans-serif">Oh, Piono here is no novice at destroying things... He is skilled at the art of war! Which is why I called him here. Are you willing to help us turn anyone that dares challenge the Mirthful Messiahs into ash? Are you willing to travel across Fiction and back in the name of reducing this wretched existence into entropy? The choice has always been yours... But, if you were to say no... A hungry gleam shone in Dimentio's eyes. ", sans-serif">There's always an ocean of paradoxes that you could fall into...! Piono stared at Oblivion's Destroyer - it was an object of prophecy, though to what prophecy, he didn't know. And for once... He wouldn't be struggling against his own "allies". The beginnings of the first smile to play on his face in what felt like eternities crossed his face. "With great pleasure." ", sans-serif">Splendid! Now, you have already been deemed worthy by our Mirthful Messiahs, so consider yourself an official member of The Dark Carnival! Piono's crown of fire turned entirely purple with a flash of light.
The Dark Carnival cheered with glee, staring into the heart of a trillion paradoxes.
The war waged into eternity and back again.
The Narrative and the Conflict's armies had thrown everything they had at each other. Metal against metal, living colors flickering in the wind. The Ends of the Earth could barely withstand the onslaught. The horizon was no longer something that existed. Skies and the earth intermingled like family, with clouds forming underground, entire mountains breaking apart in the sky, and stars falling every which way. Gravity was nonexistent, and neither was anything else, except for complete and unending war. The battle was total and long, and each time it seemed to end, like a uroboros, its head met its tail, and the whole cycle waged itself into eternity once more. To describe the entire war in its unabridged state was impossible. But the start of the war could tell itself.
It was a flurry of light and sound. Both armies had charged at each other immediately, ignoring any sense of tactics or strategy. How could you deal with strategy when the main combatants of a battle merely rewrote the rules at each and every possible opportunity? The Council of Void took up the charge, utilizing their own powers and that of the Secret of the Void to great effect. They fired a massive green superlaser with the twisting images of dragons around it, that managed to catch The Shadow by surprise. He had thought that the Secret was gone. The Shadow's own superlaser was obliterated. It backfired, creating a massive array of Red Miles that snaked across the arena. Chara was able to dodge the attacks as quickly as they came, but the thing in the Cairo Overcoat was nailed in the face. Its body reformed and shifted around itself, roaring in digitized pain as it quickly created incredibly .jpeg'd copies of the Homestuck cast. Not-John and Not-Dave actually looked like their normal counterparts, just as stick figures, where as Not-Jade was a dog and Not-Rose was a rose. The four still retained complete mastery of their specific Aspects, turning the field into a storm of the elements. The Narrative's army was pushed back by massive tornadoes and legions of timeclones, until the Hexahedron's golden chassis flipped once, dispelling the corruption of the Ehnglesh copies, destroying them. ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR's inky tentacles wound their way across the field, chopping away at the Conflict's sanity. Chara once again dodged the blow, but the attack was absorbed by the Mimes, whose sanity dropped to an even greater degree. They immediately piled on top of each other, forming a horribly grotesque and disfigured version of The Bleak that recognized neither friend nor foe, punishing the entire field. One member of the Council of Void fell in the onslaught, as did several of the Narrative's reinforcements. The Council of Void fell back to recover their fallen warrior, and the Conflict moved forward.
The Hexahedron's surface fragmented itself and began sliding around like a Rubik's Cube. With each twist and turn, the field warped and contorted itself. The broken tetrominoes making up the Ends of the Earth changed, creating deadly spikes and impenetrable walls that blocked the Conflict's forces at every turn. Chara sliced clean through these defenses with an infinite bounty of knives, sneaking right through the Narrative's defenses, their hand hovering over the FIGHT button. Chara's knife flew clean through the Hexahedron, knocking off a good section of its surface. Immediately, the Ends of the Earth began to destabilize as the Hexahedron's surface splintered and cracked. Gushing out of the Hexahedron like a leaky faucet came a stew of glitches, corruption, dead pixels, and faulty code. The Council of Void concentrated their hardest with the Secret of the Void's power to repair the Hexahedron before its broken pieces could stabilize as Cube Bits and scatter themselves across Fiction. The Hexahedron was repaired, but the corruption retained itself, directed at the Conflict and disrupting its rank. The glitches tore through the Bleak, melting it back into the thousands of Mimes that made it. The glitches filled the voided head of the Agent in the suit, which were then blasted out as a beam of energy traveling faster than light. As the normal laws of physics still applied, the resulting explosion vaporized everything in sight for miles. Everyone tumbled through space, damaged. One of Chara's knifes tumbled out of their hands, and before they could catch it, ", courier, monospace">THE OPERATOR ensnared it in one of their tentacles, throwing it through the Employer's eye, destroying it. The eye, the core upon which the Employer's form was built, sailed into the nothingness, as the Employer lost all cohesion, becoming a whirling pit of hatred. It screamed towards the Narrative's side like a banshee, carving up swaths of the army.
The Owls flew around the field, dodging every time the Conflict tried to strike them. Lasers, beams of deaths, and the absence of life all screamed at their general direction, but the Owls were having none of it. Using the power of the FEZ, they weaved in and out of the fourth dimension, becoming invisible to the Conflict and then suddenly reappearing behind them. Meanwhile, the Owl Effigy itself leered at the Conflict, its eyes glowing with a powerful monochromatic energy that nullified the Conflict's extradimensional powers, anchoring them in one spot. Binary Prime fired repeated shots of orchid energy through the crowd with the aim of destabilizing their code. Several members of the Narrative were hit, but the Council of Void created a large protective firewall that blocked any further attacks. They then concentrated with all their might, manifesting a gargantuan "2" that they smacked Binary Prime with. Immediately, an overflow of 2s entered Prime's system, horribly glitching their form and causing them to spiral into nothingness; the sanctity of their binary depleted. The Shadow finally recovered, their feet thudding against the air. Immediately, they readied all of their weaponry, bot of their arms turning into cannons, and all the other assorted firearms and weaponry on their chassis activating. Eye lasers, shoulder-mounted turrets, supplementary superlasers, beams of oblivion and corruption... the harbingers of the Eclipse skyrocketed towards the Narrative's side. The Council of Void retorted with a green superlaser of their own, continuing the age-old beam o' war fight that seemed to repeat itself with every finale. Rising from the depths of the Conflict's army was a horrible battleship called "the Ex-Wife." Its pilot was dressed in fishing gear, and was known only as Joaje. Their face reflected insanity, and at every possible second, they were screaming about jokes. The rifle they carried fired bullets capable of destroying thought. The Joaje's first volley pierced through the Owl Effigy, causing splinters to manifest all over its surface. The Effigy shattered in a single strike; the dimensional lock on the Conflict removed itself.
The Chosen Few, using what little power they had, teleported around the field, supplying aid to allies in need. Using their concentrated power, they healed the wounded and, occasionally, revived the dead. No matter how hard the Conflict tried to hit the Few, they dodged out of the way. Their age had not dulled their senses. The Author similarly stayed in the back, going long periods without doing anything and then, suddenly, throwing a game-changer across the entire field. At one point, he threw a fully charged Impetus Comb directly at the Conflict. As the entire Conflict scrambled to utilize a Comb Rave, the Impetus Comb shattered, the volatile honey inside catching fire and creating one of reality's most effective explosives. The Conflict's army was seared to a perfect 901,000° Fahrenheit. First Guardians fought on the Narrative' side, teleporting every which way and commanding spheres and weapons of flowing green plasma. The Conflict's side had reality warpers of its own to combat. Rogue First Guardians had come together, sacrificing their physical forms to create an amalgamate of superheated plasma, the Fallen Star. With every punch, they warped reality, turning thin air into a death trap. With every kick, they sliced through the earth and the sky. The thing in the Cairo Overcoat roared a powerful word - did it say Ehnglesh? - and summoned a .jpeg'd copy of the Emerald Nova, known as LË GON. It fired bullets made of cueballs, creating a wall of ammunition that hurtled across the field at deceptive speeds, shooting through precious soldiers on the Narrative's side. Every fallen warrior, if they were not revived, came back wrong as a Not-clone of themselves, creating dissension within the ranks. The Shadow and Council of Void's fight waged for an eternity unto itself, the both of them locked in a duel meant to set aside the leaders of the two armies. Despite their power, the Council of Void did not retain the full strength of the Secret of the Void, and the strength of their superlaser slowly dwindled, while the Shadow regained its former power with every passing step forward it took. Eventually, its superlaser whirred to life. Sensing that their deaths would be inevitable, the Council of Void broke formation at the last second, scattering to various sides of the field. The Shadow's ammunition and superlasers pulsed through the field and into the madness. The Council of Void then swarmed the Shadow at close range, targeting the weak points that plagued the Incarnate. The Shadow had all the Incarnate's tricks and more, however - it could lose all cohesion and then reform somewhere else; it remained permanently inconstant, changing just like a real shadow. But it still had the same old weak points, which the Council exploited to great effect. They pinned down both of the Shadow's legs, rooting it in one spot.
Crawling from the Ends of the Earth, beasts wrapped in shadow jumped into the limelight. Pink decals and symbols traced over their imperfect yet immortal bodies. Every time they coughed up blood, the world was displayed in static. The Narrative did not know what to make of this new threat, but the danger was presented soon enough. The Drifters, as they were called, were agile enough to avoid most incoming fire, and whatever attacks actually hit them merely pierced through their body, not causing pain. The Drifters' primary attack was to spew pink blood at their enemies, causing them to be afflicted with the same disease that plagued them. After existing for a certain period of time, the Drifters' black bodies would crack apart, revealing only pink cores comprised entirely of the plague that quickly destabilized. Anyone infected with the plague became a mindless zombie, and this caused even further troubles within the Narrative's ranks, as many of the Owls fell to the plague. Misusing their powers, the Owls tore through time like cardboard, creating severe temporal anomalies that unanchored the Ends of the Earth from time itself. Cracks and rifts formed in space from which an ocean of paradoxes seeped through, annihilating those unfortunate to touch it in any way. The laughter of clowns emanated from the other side. The Employer's core managed to replicate itself, giving the wisp that its body was actual form again. The Employer let out an unholy roar, language in the programming of the imminently deceased coursing across the Narrative and the Conflict's side, so that every time someone died, a slew of magical artifacts activated, bringing unholy death on anything caught in its path. The Drifters, carrying the refiner's fire in their souls, metastasized into a perfect immortal cell that brought about the pink death on the Narrative. Their side was torn apart. The Council of Void manipulated space around them, casting the Drifters into the Nest, where they were torn apart by the unfathomable. The Council of Void then released the Nest's horrors on the Conflict, straining their hardest to direct them against the Conflict's army. Agent after Agent was torn apart. Chara dodged, as always, and the Shadow's Godarm was ripped to shreds. It fell to the ground as a sea of liquid darkness.
The fight waged on in this matter for what seemed like an eternity. Many lives were claimed, but eventually, when all was said and done, there was no victor. There was no winning side. There was only the crushing hopelessness of war. The Narrative and the Conflict had fought each other out of existence. They still existed, of course. There was still plot to guide a dying reality in its last days. But both forces were horribly weakened. Many Agents had been wiped out and cast aside, but the Narrative had an equal amount of casualties. Many of the supporting forces, and the Owls, had died. The FEZ had been damaged, seemingly beyond repair. The Hexahedron still spun, but uncertainly. Cracks riddled its surface. It looked as if, at any second, it could shatter. The flow of time was addled by an ocean of paradoxes, and the concept of space had been annihilated ever since the fight had begun. The only location left in existence was a haze of uncertainty with no horizon, a formless apocalypse that was more like the end of ends than a crashing moon or a battle against heaven and hell could ever be.
There was nothing left. The war, which had been carried out for what was left of existence, had annihilated most of the Void, and many universes. The ones that were left were slowly sinking into the darkness, never to be reclaimed. Time and space had no meaning. This was an event that was supposed to have determined who would steer reality to a new age. But the result was becoming increasingly clear. There was no reality to steer, and there was no new age to look forward to. There would not a be a Paradise, nor a Limbo. There would be no chaos, no pain and suffering. There would only be nothing. For nothing was what truly constituted the final area in reality.
The End of Man.
Suddenly, you all hear footsteps behind you. The Godmodder, settling back into battle mode after a while spent talking with you, equips his Banhammer, gripping it with both hands. "Hello? Anyone else here? Because I only remember making an appointment with these idiots, not anyone else." The Godmdoder grimaces, flashstepping in front of his desk. He walks around the room, examining everything. Recognition flashes across his eyes. "Oh... Oh, crap. I know what's going on. They found me. Took 'em a year, but they found me. Alright, look, before they actually get here, might as well explain something to you." The Godmodder looks directly at all of you. "See, making this doorway wasn't exactly what you'd call cheap. Took a lot of my funding to get this up and running, not to mention directly stealing from several world governments, including the United States. Now, I know what you're thinking. Oh, wow! The U.S. government is terrible! They made an A.I. and didn't even realize it was a megalovaniacal overlord until it took control of the entire planet. Well, news flash! The noob news is comin' back at you after two years of hiatus!"
The footsteps grow louder, but there's something very off about them. And the realization hits you all at the same time. Whatever this is is just playing an audio recording of footsteps. You hear the same patterns, over and over, meant to mimic the actual sounds but coming just short of being convincing. The effect is incredibly uncanny. "The government couldn't make something like that on their own. They needed help. And that's what they got when MTT Industries came into town. The reason they didn't fight us directly, back on GodCraft? They're not the fighting type. They wait in the shadows, steering events as they think it should go. Kinda reminds me of Scratch. Maybe that's why I hate their guts. Long story short - the government might not have wanted Project Binary to go rogue... But MTT Industries had the whole thing planned from the start." The Advanced Superiors walk into the room, phasing through the wall. Interrobang leads the charge, clapping his hands in that slow and incredibly smug way only a complete can pull off. "Wow! Great job, Richard! You're restating facts to an audience that knows them already! Want a medal?" The Godmodder rolls his eyes. "You even sound like Scratch, too." The Advanced Superiors all mutter with distaste. "You dare compare us to a First Guardian?" said Caret. "They," continues Octothorpe, "Are nothing like us. They are simple-minded charlatans that only perceive the universe they exist in. Though the Operator was ostracized for being a 'Half-Guardian,' he honestly had the most foresight out of any of them." Interrobang steps up. "Then again, he didn't, considering we're in this mess right now, huh?" Interrobang takes off his red sunglasses so the Godmodder can see his eyes.
A momentary look of utter confusion crosses the Godmodder's face. "You... you have red glasses. Build's glasses! How??" Interrobang laughs hysterically. "Ha! You actually remembered his name! You know what, now you definitely deserve a medal. Here, I've already got one for you." Interrobang takes something from his pocket and tosses it at the Godmodder. The Godmodder somersaults backwards, letting the medal hit the floor. The Godmodder's face scrunches up with disgust. "That thing has Explosive Runes on it, doesn't it." Interrobang shrugged. "I'm not confirming nor denying anything," he said, followed by a cough that sounded suspiciously like a "yes." The Godmodder rolled his eyes, locked the medal in an anti-magic stone cube, and let it sink into the ground. "So! What are you here for. To annoy me and make my life a living hell by proxy? To throw me into Hell so my life can be a living hell by actuality? Or to turn me into Hell so my life can be a living hell by--" "Enough!" Lozenge snaps. "We are not here for your wordplay, Richard. We are here because you," Lozenge points at the Godmodder, "and them," followed shortly thereafter by all of you, "are guilty of committing crimes against existence! You will all be killed and then be stripped of any legendary titles you have received over the duration of your life. In that order, obviously."
The Godmodder sits back down in his chair, polishing his nameplate. "Does that include the part where I stole my computers back from your vaults, or is there something else I did that I don't know about? Was it when I singlehandedly contributed to the national debt?" "No," Interrobang says. "Was it when I stole the White House and melted it down into a statue of me that's in the foyer of this building?" "No." "Hmm. How about that time I tried to start World War III by pitting the entire world against North Korea? I mean, that didn't work, but I tried!" "You did that? Adding it to your file as we speak." "I have a file? What's it say?" "That's classi--no, you know what? Existence is about to eat itself, so I might as well tell you. It says Richard, last name unknown, is a psychopathic manchild who doesn't know when to quit despite receiving perfectly reasonable advice and insists on talking for far longer than necessary. There? There. Now that we have that out of the way," Interrobang sighs, "we can actually talk about why we need to kill you." The Godmodder takes a step back. "Kill me? Listen, I think I've got that covered. Once I step through there, I'm probably not--" "Yes," said Ampersand. "We heard your spiel. All of it. Every excruciating detail." "Listen," says Interrobang. "You're guilty of conspiring to end reality. And the Descendants talking to you are guilty of misusing MTT Industries property." The Godmodder blinks with confusion. "I accept my charges wholeheartedly, but what the hell are you talking about with the Descendants?" Interrobang looks at the other Advanced Superiors excitedly. "Oh, can I tell him? Can I? I've been practicing!" The other Advanced Superiors sigh, shrugging their shoulders. "Yes! Alright, here we go," Interrobang says as he leaps up to the top of the desk.
"Won't an expository monologue ruin the climactic events that are supposed to happen in the final part??" the Godmodder shouts. "Oh, trust me, Richard. This is completely climactic," Interrobang says. His eyes close, and the lights in the entire room shut off, leaving everyone in darkness. The voice of Interrobang faded to become a vague narrator. It all started some years ago, the voice said. Our job as the Advanced Superiors was to act under the Overseer, a being of complete and absolute power. A blinding light fills the room, with ten figures kneeling under it. The Overseer can't do much in Fiction without our help - so we are his soldiers, his assassins, his facilitators. He gives us the word, and we carry it out to the letter. A map of the Earth materializes in the room, with dots appearing over specific parts, connected by lines. MTT Industries establishes itself when the time is necessary, steering key events to happen in our interests. The Earth is ravaged by multicolored fire that solidifies into an intense pink glow. Our goal is absolute. We desire the total annihilation of reality. "Are you kidding me? You have the exact same goal as me right now, and you're condemning me for doing it??" Interrobang holds up a hand to silence the Godmodder. The Overseer seeks to recreate the world in a new image. In his image. Not yours. Whoever enters the Exception and survives the entire process will enter the new realm with their memory intact. The Overseer would prefer that it be him.
The image shifts to a complex technological facility. We are the controllers of Aperture Science. After GLaDOS was found destroyed, the first time... before her involvement in any Godmodding War... We took it upon ourselves to revive the facility. We steered it into an operation of madness. Our goal was to create the world's first artificial intelligence in order to combat you. The Godmodder laughs. "So despite all the subterfuge and whatnot, my destruction was still your primary goal all along? I'm flattered, honestly." Don't be. You were just a roadblock to the destruction of Minecraft, and from there, the ruination of everything else. The Conflict reforming just helped move this process along. The view shifts to the image of a robot hanging from the ceiling, leering with its one eye. Project Binary. Ones and zeroes built off of the Source Code of Reality, twisted to be given evil intent. Constructed from the chassis of GLaDOS. Designed by our hands, built by the personnel we recruited. It was long and laborious work, made ever complicated by the fact that the machine was fundamentally flawed. The view shifts to reveal a shimmering orchid orb. The power core we needed to fuel Binary's powers of code manipulation was impossible to design. Not even the Overseer could perfect the technology. So, when we turned the A.I. on for the first time...
The image shifts to the A.I.'s body strangling itself in a sea of pink light. The thing was defective. Broken. Its 'intelligence' was the size of a pea. It spoke in horrible grammar, it didn't understand the syntax of English... But there was potential. It had the knowledge. Just not the means to express it. So after it became clear the A.I. wouldn't work, we turned it off. The image shifts to two Earths cut off from each other by a wall. But here's the thing. The A.I. had been designed with other dimensions in mind. It could communicate with other dimensions, see in other dimensions... It was supposed to be a machine that could control reality. And the whole thing was controlled by this terminal. The view cuts to a shot of a machine that looks a lot like the Update Terminal, located somewhere inside of the A.I. We introduced the terminal to the employees as a way to mess with whatever they wanted to - but it was, in actuality, a debugging tool. Using the terminal, we could perform checks on the A.I. to make sure it ran perfectly. We tried and we tried to fix the A.I., but things were looking hopeless. We needed a power core that we could never get. Lacking any other options, we turned it back on. And then, things went south. The view shifts to the A.I. straightening itself up and glaring at everything. Somehow, the A.I. had been opened up to sources outside of our reality. In other words, heroes of Nonfiction. They screwed with the terminal, inputting commands to try to get to the bottom of the A.I.'s creation. I'm sure they wanted answers just as much as you do. And they got their wish. They generated outputs that let them play games of chess and allegories. They looked at reality through various points in time. They called people, hearing what they had to say - and sometimes, they talked back. They intercepted transmissions throughout all points in time and space. As they messed with the A.I., it grew more and more controlled. More and more intelligent. It operated faster than our timestream - what I'm sure took hours for the Descendants passed by in mere minutes for us. Until, eventually... The image shifts to the A.I.'s body seizing up and emanating with pink light. The light grows until it encompasses everything in the room. When the light show fades, all that is left is a sea of nothingness. A kaleidoscopic void.
The A.I. removed the hold of plot in the Trifecta for the briefest of instants. An instant that, to everyone in Fiction, felt like an eternity. It destroyed everything. The entire world, the universe... We accomplished our goal. But everyone was destroyed in the carnage. Everyone but one being. A figure called The One, who was controlled by Nonfiction just like the terminal was. And I know what you're thinking. The Godmodder interrupts, incredibly confused. "How could something just... destroy reality so utterly?? And, more importantly... How could something like that happen without me remembering it?" Interrobang sighs. See, I knew that was what you were thinking. The answer lies in these glasses. The image shifts to show the red sunglasses, with the cosmos in their lenses. I know all this because I was the One. I explored the ruins of the Godmodding Wars, encountering forgotten memories of its combatants. GLaDOS, Bill Cipher... even you, Richard. "Huh, really? Was I cool?" No. And at any rate, I wasn't even the one that saved reality. Nonfiction did, even if they haven't done it yet. They will, at some point in time. And due to their influence, the eternity of nothingness was reduced to an instant of discomfort. A blip in the road. I have these glasses, and that makes me the only one that remembers it. The image shifts to a shining purple orb placing itself above the A.I. And more importantly, through that kaleidoscopic void... Through the condensed energy of all of the Trifecta rebounding into place... We were able to generate a power core for the A.I. And when we turned it on again... The image shifts. The A.I. turns on. Its eye gleams orchid.
...Project Binary was.
The lights in the room turn back on. The ten Advanced Superiors are standing in a ring around the Godmodder and his portal to the Exception. "So! Turns out I was right when I was insane. Project Binary really wasn't created by normal humans! But does that mean... are you all lizardmen?" "I can tell you with certainty that I'm not," said Interrobang. "But as for the rest of them... No comment." The Godmodder blinks, gets up, and walks over to the portal. "Well, thanks for the story, but I really do have something to get to. If you'll excuse me, I'll just start this portal up and get everything going." Interrobang adjusts his glasses. The floor gives way under the Godmodder. He slips and falls into an endless void. "What part of 'we don't want you to reset reality' didn't you get from that? Just so we're clear: we don't want you to reset reality." The Godmodder leisurely flies back up and out of the void. "Wow, don't know how I could have figured that out. But seriously - if you want to stop me from getting to the Exception, you're gonna have to kill me yourselves." The Godmodder grins eagerly. "And to be honest, I'm really looking forward to kicking the lizard scales out of you." Interrobang groans. "For the last time, I'm not a--you know what? Fine. If you want to fight, then... We'll be happy to oblige, won't we?" The other Advanced Superiors nod in unison. The Advanced Superiors slowly glide towards the Godmodder, holding no weapons and otherwise making no sudden movements. The Godmodder laughs to himself. "Heh. This is just precious. Haven't you all forgotten who you're dealing with? ...You have, haven't you. Then allow me to enlighten you." The Godmodder revs up his Banhammer, which glowed with white-hot energy.
"I'm the Omega, you sons of sneople."
The Godmodder swings his Banhammer in a circular motion. It flew out of his hands at dangerously high speeds, slamming into every one of the Advanced Superiors at once. They all lose balance, crumpling to the ground. The Godmodder crunches his hand into a fist, slamming all of the Advanced Superiors together in one ball. He picks up his Banhammer, which is now searing hot. Whatever it touches next will be pulverized into ashes. "Look on the bright side! Now, you'll finally get to see where Project Binary went when he died." The Godmodder swings his Banhammer, and hits thin air. Where the Advanced Superiors used to be, there is now... nothing. The Advanced Superiors float above the ceiling, their eyes crackling with white energy. They all speak in unison as a gigantic white sphere forms in front of them. "BURN." The sphere lobs itself out of the Godmodder, who ducks out of the way. It crashes through the wall, creating a massive explosion that rocks the tower of Godmoding Incorporated to its core. The Superiors ready up another fireball, once again aiming it exactly at the Godmodder. He pounds it with the Banhammer, returning the sphere to its source. The Superiors all fly out of the way as it once again crashes against the wall, creating another explosion. Octothorpe and Pilcrow team up, creating a creature forged from ink that wants to kill itself. It runs towards the Godmodder, trying to bash its skull in so it can be killed and damage the Godmodder at the same time. The Godmodder takes out a pen and thrusts it in the air. The ink sucks itself up into the pen. The Godmodder then writes the words "YOU ALL NEED A BETTER HOBBY" in thin air. The letters manifest in the form of weapons, throwing themselves at the Advanced Superiors and slicing them apart.
Asterism and Ampersand create a triple rainbow that quickly replicates itself across all points in time, becoming an infinite rainbow. The Godmodder dodges the rainbow every time it snakes it way towards him, performing an intense acrobatics routine in his attempts to escape. He then claps his hands twice, locking Godmodding Incorporated in a senseless void where none of the five senses work. Everything is thrust into complete sensory deprivation, and the rainbows crack and splinter into monochrome pieces. When the lights turn back on, the Godmodder chucks the pieces of the rainbows at the Advanced Superiors, doing even more damage. Suddenly, the Godmodder feels something sneaking up behind him. He dodges, and sees Interrobang punching the exact spot where he was a second ago. His hand is covered with kaleidoscopic energy. The Godmodder gets the feeling that he doesn't want to know exactly what Interrobang's power is. He then ducks, dodging a legion of icicles thrown at him by Dagger. Dagger stands at the corner of the room, drawing a massive sword from nowhere. Quicker than the Godmodder can see, Dagger runs up to him, slicing in all conceivable areas at once. The Godmodder yells with pain, crumpling to the ground. The Advanced Superiors crowd around his body, investigating it. It seems that one of his arms was sliced off. Right as the Advanced Superiors prepare to immolate him, the Godmodder's eyes shoot open, and he cackles. "Are you all blind?? That was my robot arm!" The Godmodder's Godarm crackles with blue energy, self-destructing. A fireball of death detonates itself, throwing the Advanced Superiors back tot he walls and creating yet another massive explosion. The Godmodder stands up in the middle of the carnage, pulling a new godarm from his desk. It reattaches itself to his arm, good as new.
Caret and Lozenge are the first to leap into action, creating a portal to the heavens. Meteors rain down from the skies, lighting everything around in holy white fire that doesn't seem to burn itself out. The Godmodder adeptly dodges each of them, and when the fire covers the entire floor, he decides to play The Floor Is Lava instead, leaping onto his desk, the portal, and the walls. Caret calls down several meteors and once, and Lozenge encases them in a cube of divinium, launching it directly at the Godmodder. It heat-seeks him, causing the Godmodder to run across the walls in an effort to dodge it. The Godmodder quickly leaps through the air, materializing a portal behind himself that leads to the backs of Caret and Lozenge. The cube heads through the portal, bursting open on them instead. The two are caught in the explosion, falling directly into the lake of fire. The Godmodder then creates a tidal wave that douses the fire, right after he dodges yet another punch from Interrobang. The Advanced Superiors regroup, firing a nonstop barrage of crackling white energy spheres at him. The Godmodder dodges every which way, bobbing and weaving through the shots until he can get up close, at which point his Godarm opens up, revealing nine other Godarms stuffed inside of it. Every arm punches all of the Advanced Superiors simultaneously until the Godmodder racks up a x901 PUNCH COMBO. All of the Advanced Superiors are knocked out of the room and through the ceiling, where they sail through the sky. The Godmodder flies up to the ceiling, seeing them disappear on the horizon, just like Team Rocket. "Well, the Godmodder says to himself. "That was cathartic. Just like old times!" The Godmodder turns his back and prepares to hop back down to the chamber with the Exception, when all of a sudden, the sun shuts off.
The Godmodder turns around and sees that the sky has gone completely black. In its place is a shining white spotlight that looks like some kind of eye. A booming voice resonates from the heavens. It's Interrobang. "SO," he shouts from above. "YOU DID IT. YOU BEAT US. GOOD JOB. NOW YOU CAN END ALL OF EXISTENCE AT YOUR LEISURE." The Godmodder laughs. "If the forces of existence are anything like you, I'm sure I can handle it." Interrobang doesn't talk. "What? Did you stop because you realized how futile this whole thing is?? You could never beat me! I'm the Omega! I know exactly what I'm supposed to be! And I'm making sure that there's a world where I can fulfill my destiny." "OH, SORRY. I'M BACK. WHAT DID I MISS?" The Godmodder doesn't exactly know how to respond. "Wha... Where did you go? What were you just doing?" "APOLOGIES. IT TOOK SOME EFFORT TO MOVE THE HAND INTO PLACE." The Godmodder turns around and sees an absolutely gargantuan hand curled up into a fist behind him. It isn't contained by kaleidoscopic fire like Interrobang's. Rather, it is inscribed with the image of a tetromino. The hand reels back and hits the Godmodder's body entirely, pushing him off of Godmodding Incorporated with enough force to level the building itself. The Godmodder falls to the ground, unconscious, as the sky turns back on.
ВИСЦЕC's lights continued to blink off and on and off and on, like pulsars. They were sentries to the ends of everything. The violet flames whirled around each other, providing horrifying images to the world raging around them. The Narrative and Conflict had fought a war until the end of times, and they had almost killed each other. The Godmodder was behind the reboot, and he had just fallen from The Tower like a Hanged Man. Everyone across all of Fiction was silently waiting for the end that they knew approached them. And Kalare Erelye himself rested in peace, knowing that his plan had worked. Finally. It was all over. He saluted the Council of Fifteen. "We will meet again in the place where there is no darkness," he uttered. Erelye then raised his hands and, in a single gesture, flipped off the Narrative and the Conflict simultaneously. "ЫИЛН-ФИЛ ВУЛ, Narrative and Conflict. I'll be seeing you in my nightmares." Erelye's physical form was ripped from existence, the swirling magetear and physical matter comprising it vacuuming itself into the obelisk of ВИСЦЕC. The sound of a low horn rumbled across the Abyssal Realm as it flashed amethyst.
The Council of Fifteen looked at each other, unsure of exactly how to approach their mass suicide. They contemplated it for a minute or two as the violet fires thrashed in the confines of their dimensional prison, raging hotter and hotter. Eventually, everyone agreed. They would take out their most powerful weapons and obliterate themselves with them. It would be a fitting sendoff, in a way. The Council of Fifteen, one by one, took out their weapons. Ultramarine. Layer Eight. Daybreak. Scribe's Wands. Tetrixcalibur. On the count of three, they would all strike. One. The heat rose to an unbearable degree. Two. The sounds of cracking stone and splintering lives filled the Abyssal Realm. But right as they were about to say three, everyone simultaneously faltered. The victory platform that the Council resided on blinked out of existence, throwing them into complete limbo. They hovered at the edge of life and death for the briefest of moments and then fell into the refiner's fire below. Their weapons dissipated into vapor. The raging fire swallowed the Council up hungrily, making the last visions of the heroes of Fiction an eternal inferno.
As the collective lives of the Council of Fifteen were extinguished, fourteen triumphant horns played in unison, shaking the Abyssal Realm to its breaking point. The fires roared to a height never thought possible, encompassing everything. Their heat reached such an intensity that they glowed pure white, and then fixated at an unsettling light blue that was the exact color of the forum background. The illusion of fire then shattered, broken glass raining across the Abyssal Realm, and the illusions of flame stopped. ВИСЦЕC flashed with the colors of its governors. It was alive, truly alive. And it was the only witness to the complete end of ends.
Now, there was nothing left to do but wait.
"Stupid freakin' diabolus ex machina hand with its gigantic fingers and its powerful stupid whatever, Interrobang doesn't know what he's razzafrazzin' insert mumbling here chosen this is supposed to be my time to shine, why did he have to screw things up like a stupid idiot bimblewimble reapfield..." The Godmodder spewed insults all the way up to the top floor. That punch - whatever it had been, and from whatever source - had damaged him. A lot. He figured he was now at 100 HP. Which is pretty good, all things considered. Any godmodder could do a lot with 100 HP. They could wage wars. But the goal is for the Godmodder to be at top health in order to face whatever waited for him behind the Exception. Now, his chances of surviving... are slimmer. And he knows it. "You'd better believe I know it!" He announces to me. The elevator door dings, with the Godmodder back at the top floor. Everything has been totaled - his desk, the walls, the ceiling. The only things remaining are the floor panels and the doorway itself, which has remained completely intact, without a scratch.
The Godmodder sighs to himself, crackling his knuckles. It's now or never. The moment he'd been waiting for over the past year... Maybe even his entire life, without knowing it... It had finally arrived. It was time to say goodbye to this wretched world, and to move on to the next. The Godmodder approached the doorway to the Exception. He closed his eyes, activating it via neural link, through a special passphrase that could only be activated if the user shared the Godmodder's mind. "See you next time," the Godmodder said to everyone. The doorway clicks, the unmistakable sounds of machinery whirring to completion. Electricity snaps across the hollow portion of the doorway's center, intensifying in frequency until the entire doorway was filled with a kaleidoscopic glow. When the portal stabilized, the entire tower rumbled down to its foundations. A third of the world lost power to fuel it. The light it produced, the sounds it emitted... They were indescribable.
The machine of Godmodding Incorporated halts, on all levels. All production ceases. All movement stops. Everyone is simultaneously aware that the unstated goal had been met. Their progress, their hopes, their dreams... It had all led up to this. The television screens strategically placed around the facility whir to life, broadcasting a clear view of the Godmodder's final moments on Earth. The multicolored aroma in the middle of the doorway was blindingly beautiful. Everyone regards it with awe. If the Godmodder's words were to be believed - and they were, who would ever doubt the Godmodder? - then behind that door was a gateway to a new world. The Godmodder would recreate everything in his image, and a new existence would be born. One where he would be The Emperor, and life would be infinite. One where the only origin point would come from the Godmodder's own hand, the only operator would be him. There would be no more snow, and no more discourse. Just a grand old time, in a grand new era.
The Godmodder had a strong and sudden urge to walk through the doorway. He looked back one final time. As there were no walls or ceiling, the Godmodder had a complete panoramic view of the world around him. It was beautiful. Cityscapes here, rows upon rows of lush trees there... This was the world he was leaving behind. And this was the world he would soon create. But when the Godmodder looked back, he didn't just look back at the world. He looked back at you. You. The person reading this text. The person going on this journey. The person understanding the pain of Fiction. The person who must know when it's time to say goodbye. And it's to you that the Godmodder spoke his last words.
"I meant what I said, honestly. I'll see you next time. And there will be one, don't doubt yourself. I know it."
Destroy the Godmodder 2 ended one year ago today. I'm being honest, I didn't exactly grasp the full weight behind that sentence until I typed it out right now. Maybe I still don't. The point I'm trying to make here is that it's once again September 1st, a date steeped in the niche of meme numbers. The only reason I elevated 901 to such high significance was Homestuck's (over)use of its own start date, 413, which I guess shows that though I try to not affiliate this game with Homestuck anymore, things still have a way of seeping through the cracks. Hell, the name of this epilogue - One Year Older - is a direct reference to the name of a Homestuck album.
Anyway, the epilogue. Let's talk about it. If you've been active in the DTG chat rooms at all - formerly Pesterchum, and now, Discord - then the existence of an epilogue shouldn't exactly come as a surprise. It's something I've talked about at length, but only fairly recently. Indeed, I started work on the epilogue basically a month ago, on July 30th, if memory serves me right. So what happened in between last year's September 1st and now? Why did I decide to make a new ending for a story that already had an end? Well, I'll tell you.
One of the reasons was the previous ending's ambiguity. As I said last year, the ending of DTG2 was designed so that if DTG2 was the last game, the ending would be final enough to stick, and if it wasn't, the ending would be open enough to leave room for another game. That was all fine and good, but there was a problem. It became increasingly clear as DTG0 went on that there wouldn't be a DTG3, so I had all these unresolved plot threads with no way to resolve them. The solution was to tell them in other games. DTG0 would tell some of them, and DTG: Terraria would tell some others. I mean, Bill Cipher and Split are both in the Terraria session right now!
However, there was another reason. Shortly before Act 5 released a year ago, I started work on the Probect Pinary ARG, which was told entirely through the DTG chat rooms. The ARG was cool because it involved the community, but it was bad because it involved a specific portion of it. The ARG discussed matters very relevant to the canon of DTG, and the big problem was that not everyone would be able to see them until I actually revealed the matters at hand in DTG itself, which would be a long period of time down the line. The problem was exacerbated further when Pinary began to interfere with things going on 'after' DTG2, resulting in segments outlined in the epilogue, with the players calling various DTG characters. And then I made [7x7], a short but sweet memo game wherein reality was annihilated and the players had to pick up the pieces.
It was pretty clear that I needed a convenient way to tell all of these stories in DTG itself - and I couldn't exactly tell them in DTG0, either. Though Tazz works very hard, updates to the game sometimes come at a slow pace. Which is why I decided to tell all these details through this - an epilogue. There were still other reasons, though, with one of the main ones being that I wanted to show what the Godmodder would do next. (Because come on, he was pretty obviously alive at the end of DTG2. I even italicized the "Or had he?") I had always planned to leave what was next up to the future GM, but the same problem arose - there was no future GM, which meant that the responsibility was on me.
The final piece of the puzzle came in the form of the reboot. Yes, there actually will be a Destroy the Godmodder reboot. The entire idea was brainstormed by pionoplayer, who suggested it as an alternate continuity to simplify the game's existing canon and reintroduce the game's simplicity to a newer audience. Everyone rolled with the idea, and he developed an entire universe off of it. What wasn't exactly clear, though, was how the new universe would be created. The Epilogue was really kicked off when I came up with the reveal at its end - the Godmodder would be the one to cause it. After extensive conversations to make sure piono was okay with the idea, I got to work.
And the above three posts are the end result. There you have it. The end of ends. If I'm being honest, I'm actually very proud with this. It might be the greatest storypost I've ever made for DTG2. I'm certainly happy with it, and I know everyone reading along on the Discord was, too. The epilogue really existed as a way to tie DTG2 together with the games that came after it - whether those games were DTG0, DTG: Terraria, or the reboot. After DTG2 ended and I lost the power to control the canon of the game, things sort of got messy, with spinoffs running concurrently and player plots tangling up into a ball. That's pretty much the reason why the reboot was made, but it was also, to some extent, why the epilogue was made. There were so many things I felt the need to discuss - what character X did, how object Y tied into everything, why is thing Z such a horrible W, and so on.
Some of this stuff just came together fortuitously - the idea of ВИСЦЕC had been around for a while, but the concept of it being an escape mechanism for the reboot was new - and others had already been stated in memo games, but needed to be told in the actual story - pretty much every time the players used Binary's terminal to view things. The epilogue was meant to clear up things for those in the know, and to let those not in the know be in the know. Hopefully, I've succeeded. But as a fair warning - the Pinary shenanigans aren't over yet. If you want to learn about them, you'd better hop onto the Discord! (And if you want a link to that, feel free to PM me on either here, the Terraria Forums, or Steam.)
And really, this is a goodbye in more ways than one. Because DTG0 has left the Minecraft Forums, this epilogue is likely to be the last major DTG-centric event ever put up here. So... Thanks for giving us a home for nearly four years, MCF. It means a lot.
A year ago, I'd said DTG2 wasn't finished. I'm slightly ashamed to say that it still isn't. Though I've finished some of the criteria - I typed up Crusher's Comb Rave, I edited the lost turn in Act 3, and I've gotten major work done on the chapters list - I haven't finished everything I'd intended. The turns with bad formatting haven't been fixed (at least, not all of them), the chapters list isn't officially up yet, and, most importantly, DTG2 isn't backed up via an Internet archive, and I don't have the BBCode on hand. Which means that if this site ever goes down... So does the past three years.
I know what you're thinking. Twin, you're thinking to yourself, I thought you said you'd make a Flash animation today, not an epilogue! What gives?? Rest assured, I haven't forgotten about [S] Arrive. It's just that making a Flash takes time. I mean, a lot of time. Expect it to be out by November 26th, the two-year anniversary of the Arrival, the event depicted in the Flash. If it isn't complete by then, I'll most likely just post what's finished and leave it at that. In addition, expect the official chapters list to be up soon - definitely by the end of the month. And in case you were somehow convinced Trifecta could still be a thing - it isn't. Don't get your hopes up.
As I said before, I have a few projects in the works unrelated to DTG. Pie Quest, which I started in the form of an MSPFA... has kinda died. Turns out an MSPFA is hard to maintain, and harder to draw for. I don't know if I'll ever get back around to doing it, but I really hope I will. As for The Tingleheads... We'll see when that happens. Oh, and I have another name for you: Chosen. Hopefully, that'll be my first webcomic. But hey, that's purely a hypothetical.
Well, I've once again run out of things to talk about. All I can give you is my thanks. Thanks to everyone for reading this and for supplying me with positive feedback! Thanks to Curse and the staff for maintaining the Minecraft Forums! Thanks to the Council of Fifteen for providing me with feedback for their dialogue! Special thanks to TT2000 for creating Destroy the Godmodder, and all the other GMs for creating their own games! Very special thanks to pionoplayer, for telling me what to do with regards to writing the Reboot into the story and the Piono segment, The_Nonexistent_Tazz, for clearing the idea that the Godmodder would be the cause and helping me with the Dark Carnival segment, and TheLordErelye, for going over my initial outline of the epilogue and helping me with the ВИСЦЕC segments!
An immeasurable interval encompassed in a single gesture. A swing of the clock.
. . . .
“Heh,” the voice chuckled to itself. Crouched in a chair at an unknown point in space, arms hunched over a keyboard. Each clack of a key echoed until it was muffled by the oppressive walls. A pair of goldenrod curtains rustled in the winds of a bitter winter not yet quite realizing it was still autumn. The room was dark, and full of objects, yet anyone standing in it would never be able to tell exactly what the room contained. Such was the magic of the Veil.
“Let’s see here. What server can I terrorize today. Mineplex? Nah. Already screwed with ‘em last week. Those noobs never saw it coming. Goldencraft? Feh, maybe later. I can see some real danger with those creative plots, but I’d need time.” The voice puzzled in its chair, the glare of the computer screen providing the only light in the room. It was impossible to determine the time of day. “What I need is something quick and easy. An in-and-out type of job.” The voice scrolled through the webpage, looking through server after server, until something caught its attention.
Sick and tired of a Minecraft experience that’s chock-full of unnecessary details? Want a game as formulaic as possible?! Then hop onto the Generic Plugin-Filled Server! A hand reached from the keys, brushing through its brown hair. A set of blue eyes blinked once, then twice. “It’s perfect. So generic, so bland. And with just enough players that people will give a damn…” The voice’s hands spasmed across the keys with a flurry, pasting the server’s IP directly into the Minecraft console. “...when I obliterate it from the Internet!”
The Godmodder clicked the ENTER key, and tunneled into another universe.
. . . .
Welcome Godmodder476 to the Generic Plugin-Filled Server! The server automatically prompted as soon as the Godmodder set foot onto the perfectly, stupidly cubic environment. The Godmodder took an experimental look around. The sun was climbing steadily into the sky, and the clouds were grazing the mountaintops. The Godmodder walked forward, seeing a steady crowd of players hanging around what looked like a gigantic castle someone had built.
“Hey,” the Godmodder typed in chat. “This thing looks pretty cool. Who built it?” The general consensus pointed to a ‘DeathZombieX57.’ “Death, huh?” the Godmodder grinned to himself. “Pleased to meet you, Death. Allow me to introduce myself.” The Godmodder chose this exact moment to pull a stack of TNT from under his cape. With a flip of his hand, every cube of dynamite scattered into the skies, lighting at the same time. There was a tremendous cacophony of light and sound. All those who were in the actual castle, examining it, were vaporized. Many blocks dissolved into ash. Others still were cracked and shattered, flung to the ground below. Everyone in the area was knocked back in a stupor.
When DeathZombieX57 respawned, he spouted some curses in a fit of rage that were blocked by the server’s anti-swear filter, and then ragequit. The players of the server froze. The Godmodder hovered off the ground, his cape rustling in the wind that was all too real. He typed one last line in chat, and then went still, eagerly awaiting any type of response that could be mustered to his attack.
“You can call me The Godmodder.”
. . . .
The complaints filtered through incessantly. “SAVE US!!!!” KNIGHTS_WHO_SAY_NI yelled. “I’m just screaming because everyone else is???” Ziromix honestly typed. “WHEN THERE’S NO ROOM IN HELL THE DEAD WALK THE EARTH,” jaredsw repeatedly spammed. “TT2000 your are only hop!1” cried TheRealSlimShader. And they just kept coming. “DAE this server is terrible!” “I’m so upset! RAGEQUIT!!” “REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” “has undertale been invented yet because i feel like i’m gonna have a bad time” “AND THEY DON’T STOP COMING AND THEY DON’T STOP COMING AND THEY DON’T STOP COMING”
What seemed like a whole world away, TT2000’s eyebrow twitched, and he sighed in his chair. As the owner of the generic plugin-filled server, he was honestly at a loss. Never before had the server’s community become so… inflamed over something. TT2000 honestly didn’t really care what this godmoder was up to, but if this many people were enraged over it, it was, admittedly, probably something worth looking into.
TT2000 switched the chat to Server Staff Only and began to converse. “Hey, I think we have a problem,” he typed out. “Apparently some godmoder blew up a castle, and now the whole serve’s up in arms.” “*Server,” he hastily added. “let the players sort it out,” a mod responded. “Yeh,” another one typed out. “Weve been pretty lazy when it comes to decisions like this. i guess that’s what happens when p much anyone can apply for admin.” TT sighed. Having a lazy government made important matters so easy to resolve, but at the same time… It didn’t feel right. “Yeah, you guys are right,” he typed out after a few minutes. “We’ll check in on it tomorrow and see if things work themselves out.”
TT2000 switched to another window until he heard a voice interrupt him. “Godmodder,” it spoke. TT swore the voice didn’t sound human. There was an otherworldly echo to it. “That’s what he’s called. Not a godmoder. There’s a difference.” TT2000 spun around in his chair, finding himself face to face with a perfectly white humanoid entity, floating before him. His eyes were like two solid red discs, and he seemed to be wearing some kind of shimmering coat that spun and spiraled into infinity. Occasionally, electricity crackled across his body, which gave way to a sea of green plasma. TT2000’s eyes darted in horror. “Are… are you a ghost? Am I being haunted?? Am, am I being possessed?”
The maybe-ghost moved a bit closer. “No, no, and… kind of. I know this sounds crazy, but listen to me.” TT2000 got out of his chair, reached for a phone, and began to dial it, not breaking eye contact. “Hello, yes, Ghostbusters?” The maybe-ghost sighed, and with a flick of its wrist, TT felt a momentary searing pain against his head, like his phone had been turned into flame. A moment later, his phone was gone, faint cracks of electricity racing across his body. “My PHONE!” The maybe-ghost reclined in the air, holding it. “You’ll get it back - if you listen to me and fight your human urge to flatline in response to having your entire worldview tipped upside down.”
Sitting back in his chair and putting his head in his hands, TT2000 tentatively looked up. “...Okay. I’ll listen to you.” The maybe-ghost nodded, his head ethereal and seemingly unreal. “Excellent. Alright, here’s what you need to know. I,” the figure pointed to itself, “am the Operator. I arrived on your planet about forty five point six one two minutes ago, and have been looking for someone just like you.” TT2000 stared at himself. “...Someone like me? What makes me so special?” “You have the potential to write a great story. Don’t laugh at me, I’m being serious. Listen, I can’t exactly explain nth-dimensional fauxphysics to you, but what you need to know is that your universe - Earth - is only one of millions. A bubble in an endless realm of fiction, where stories are constantly and continually brought to life by authors, and directors, and artists, and playwrights. And it’s up to the forces of plot to dictate how those stories end.”
The Operator pointed to TT2000’s computer screen. With a snap of green light, it refocused back to the generic server, showing the Godmodder hovering in the air while the entire server raged in despair. Whenever anyone fleetingly tried to fight back, the Godmodder waved his hand, and the offender was impaled on a wall of spikes. They blinked red, either slinking back to the sidelines or ragequitting. “You might not believe it, but the Godmodder is terribly important. His story - stories, actually - could quite possibly determine the fate of Fiction itself. It is of crucial value that this fight against the Godmodder goes as it should. He must not be allowed to win.” TT2000 pondered all this. “So let me get this straight. You’re saying my universe is a lie, that this random godmoder--” “Godmodder.” “--is actually a serious threat, and that I and I alone hold the power to stopping him… and it revolves around me telling a story wherein he loses?” “You’ll have my help, of course. But basically, yes.”
TT2000 posed like a great thinker, his hand resting on his chin. He solemnly looked up and uttered, “I’m sorry, but that sounds completely and utterly fake.” The Operator arose, a bit annoyed. “Of course it’s fake! You’re living in a fictitious universe right now! But enough of that! If I tried to explain metaphysical constants to you right now, you would evaporate into taffy. If you accept my offer, however, you’ll find that it will be much easier.” The Operator dusted off his coat and put his hand forward. “If you let me inhabit your body, then I can give you omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence - as long as it’s limited to the Godmodder’s battle. You can tell this story with ease, without actually having to do anything within the server itself. And together, we can let the players destroy the Godmodder.” “...And if I say no?” “Oh, then I leave, your server is ground into ashes, and there will be no one capable of stopping the Godmodder. He will eventually force the entirety of Minecraft to ragequit, and from there, there’s no telling what he’ll do.” “I mean, this is just one Minecraft server. But at the same time… if I’m the ‘chosen one’ or whatever… I can’t exactly back down, can I.” TT2000 thought to himself, in infinite solitude. The Operator hovered over his shoulder, his hand still reached outwards.
Looking at his computer screen and seeing the Godmodder’s smug grin, so sure of his apparent victory, TT found his eyes steeling themselves with resolve. “I’ll do it. It’s about time something interesting happened, honestly!” The Operator nodded. “Then welcome aboard, Tenacious T.” TT2000 shook the Operator’s hand. His ghostlike body uncoiled and split at the seams, dissolving into green plasma. TT’s entire body shook with electricity, feeling as though untold amounts of voltage were ripping through his skin. Green flames leaked out of his eyes, consuming his vision until…
A green haze permeated TT’s vision. He saw with infinite clarity. The Operator’s claims were true. He had universal cognizance. He could see timeline after timeline, universe after universe… And yet, he cared only for what was in front of him. TT2000’s computer had been transformed. It was wrapped within an ornate dull-green cabinet, with a holographic green keyboard twitching and fizzling to life in front of him. It merely read UPDATE TERMINAL. TT2000 sat down in his chair, examining this new hardware. It asked for a username and password - done. After several seconds, the terminal seemed to register TT as a valid user, and then he was in.
It functioned exactly the same as his actual computer, only with the inclusion of an additional application. A text editor, capable of creating words with the power to change fates. And in these initial moments of charisma, TT2000 saw the path before him clearly. And so he typed the immortal words.
. . . .
Everyone on the server, all at once, saw the sky momentarily light up with green. Even the Godmodder was momentarily disturbed. And next, came the booming voice. “DESTROY THE GODMODDER!” it beckoned, shouting from some distant cloud above. The voice resonated like a thunderclap, yet it did not knock anyone to their feet. If anything, it inspired everyone to stand. “In this game, you have to destroy a godmodder. Use any attacks you want!” The players looked at each other in surprise. There was a way to deal with him after all. Use anything and everything at their disposal. Draw from wells of limitless creativity. The Godmodder’s flawless smile faltered as the players charged forward, buoyed by tenacity.
And as an afterthought, TT2000 typed a set of rules. The first -
Don't expect your attacks to actually work.
. . . .
An immeasurable interval encompassed in a single gesture. The clock swings, again.
A gleaming azure hexahedron spun its way across a starlit cosmos. Trailing it was a cubic moon marked with craters and lunar dust, blissfully unaware of the fate that would befall it mere months in the future. This same theme of cosmic destruction rung true at this very moment - though now, it was not the moon sailing towards the ground, but an asteroid. An omen of death, ripped from the jaws of space in accordance with circumstantial simultaneity.
The malicious machinery of GodCraft kept turning, nonetheless, waiting for no man nor entity. The millions of players scuttling like insects across its surface were left helpless, stuck within the spider’s web of eternal rage. The cycle was as follows - live, die, repeat. Attempting to leave was futile. Even rage is futile. The only options are to either accept your fate, or be tormented rejecting it. And yet, despite this tapestry of helplessness… there is a legend. A legend perpetuated across the server, and from there, throughout universes. Of a chosen few with the power to end everything. The power to save themselves and, in doing so, save everyone. Those who would one day destroy the Godmodder. Descended from ancient warriors caught in yet another godmodding war, they had the arms of fate behind them, and with luck and creativity on their side, how could they lose?
They couldn’t. But their victory could be obstructed, even if it was temporary. And this was to be one of those obstructions. The entire server subconsciously recognized it. They were on the precipice of their first darkest hour - and it wouldn’t be their last.
It was slightly difficult to recognize what the exact moment was, when the entire server simultaneously realized that something truly awful - something awful that stood out even amongst the general spectrum of “awful” that pervaded GodCraft - was about to happen. Perhaps it was when people realized the sky was beginning to turn red, despite the sun hovering near the top of the sky. Perhaps it was when forests started catching fire, despite there being no immediately discernible source. Perhaps it was when chunks of flaming rock began falling at scattered points across the server.
But whatever the cause, there was a point where everyone began to, simply, panic. It was a panic that intensified once people actually saw the asteroid nearing closer to the server. Some observed through telescopes. Others saw it looming on the horizon. Based on the coordinates of those who’d seen it, and how large it was in the sky according to those coordinates, the server began to glean a pretty good idea of where it would land. Deep in a jungle resting within an ocean. The information carried in waves - panicked arrays of numbers and calculations rippling throughout chat, the knowledge imparting itself onto internet forums and discussions. No one knew what to make of it. Was it the Godmodder’s latest scheme? How much damage would it cause upon impact? Did They - the Descendants - know?
The entire area was evacuated in preparation. Everyone wanted to see the asteroid fall, but no one particularly wanted to be there when it landed. Dying may have been just a nuisance, but no one was quite sure how the game would react to an asteroid impact. Perhaps you wouldn’t even respawn. And as the entire playerbase of Minecraft pondered this question, the hands the clock moved closer to the zeroth hour. The asteroid inched ever closer, hurtling through space, towards the surface of GodCraft. Aimed for a remote body of water with a jungle at its center, at the center of that jungle, a temple. And buried in a pyramid at the center of that temple was an artifact of immeasurable power - the Monolith.
The Monolith knew of the asteroid. The Descendants knew of the asteroid. The Heir of Breath, Seer of Light, Knight of Time, and Witch of Space knew of the asteroid. The Godmodder did not. But he would soon enough.
. . . .
It all happened in a flash, so it seemed.
The players navigating Monolithium, that sacred temple holding the Black Monolith, had bested its underground arena, and beaten a warrior forged from prismatic crystal. They had been given access to its innermost chambers, culminating in a long hallway that led to a pyramid with uncountable steps. Waiting for them there was the Heir of Breath - an immortal adolescent caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. And in hot pursuit was the Godmodder, backed up with legions of terrors and mechs, ready to take the Monolith for himself.
The struggle was intense but brief. In naught but a moment, the Godmodder’s forces tore a hole through Monolithium, entering the vaunted chamber of the Monolith in no time at all. Smoke and ash littered the majestic halls as the Godmodder rushed up the staircase, striking clear and true - and shattering a seal of infinity in one blow. The Monolith whirred to life, its purpose revealing itself. A machine designed to accelerate natural processes, amplify the flow of plot - to activate crucial events in a single command. Instigating a great undoing. Gaining ultimate power. The choice is in the eye of the beholder.
The Godmodder thought back, in those instants, to that day, one year ago. That last time the clock had swung, when he had made that pivotal decision to log onto that generic plugin-filled server. If there was one thing the Godmodder had learned in his time spent throughout the universe of Minecraft, it was to trust in numbers and dates. Whenever things repeated, it was plot’s way of drawing importance towards them. The Godmodder had learned to never ignore coincidence. And when the Descendants had made a beeline for a Void Artifact on the anniversary of the First Godmodding War, the Godmodder knew he needed to act.
So he’d wished for himself. Literally. Himself, from one year ago. He didn’t particularly care if it created a paradox - he wanted two Godmodders. Then, the Descendants would know the meaning of defeat. Faced with twice the power, they would surely crumble.
It was funny - how quickly victory could be obstructed.
When the asteroid landed, it brought with it destruction on an unprecedented scale. The object was so immense that it brought with it a gravitational field. The very laws of physics began to break down, stray blocks and even chunks floating upwards. The temple of Monolithium was uprooted, drifting up towards a sky lit with the fire of falling skies. The Monolith, in the middle of its summoning ritual, was forced to cut the process short to save itself. The Descendants, those immortal few, stood their ground, knowing that although they would live, it would hurt.
And it did. A lot.
The Monolith’s abyssal powers ripped through time and space, bending backwards across the fourth dimension to reach that Generic, Plugin-Filled Server. Right when the clock reached midnight, at the zeroth hour, it spun backwards several months, undoing a swing of the clock…
. . . .
As one Void Artifact did its magic, another one reformed itself from ashes and blocks. The Hexahedron’s luminous gilded form reassembled in the heart of the generic server, destabilizing thanks to a horrific glitch. The Hexahedron’s surface shifted continually with the foundations of tetrominoes, sacred geometry echoing across its surface as it spun, a low bass humming across the field. Every Descendant stood as testimony to its wonders. The cube spun upwards - with every rotation, the field stabilized just a bit more, reforming the horizon, separating ground from sky, restoring the landscape.
In the middle of it all, wrapped in the eye of corruption, was the Godmodder. Seemingly one with the Glitch, his body was mutating and metastasizing. And as the Hexahedron worked its power, reformatting reality’s Source Code, it deemed the Godmodder irreparable, indistinguishable from actual reality. It tore a hole through space to rectify the issue, sending the Godmodder through negative zones. And it was from this slip in time that the Black Monolith pulled a damaged Godmodder, sending him outwards to GodCraft, to fight in the crater of a dying world.
As this old Godmodder’s body spawned on the new server, it scarcely had time to take in the scenery, finding itself crushed under tons of rubble. Drawing in his energy and punching upwards, the Godmodder tore a hole through bedrock, leaping out to find himself face to face with… himself. And a new crowd of players. The seemingly generic server had been pulled out from under him, replaced by a server absolutely buzzing with information - its code was in a mindscape, it contained millions of players, and an eighth of it had just been annihilated by what seemed to be an asteroid. Entire chunks were left glitching, suspended in the air, the world simply unable to process what had occurred.
The Godmodder looked at his future duplicate with absolute confusion. The two Godmodders locked eyes, turning away from the players. “Wh… where am I??” said the Godmodder. “Quiet, me. Just call yourself ‘Godmodder Prime’ for now, that’ll make things easier for both of us,” the other one replied. “Uh… okay,” Godmodder Prime nodded. “I think I can do that. Now, can you answer my question?” The Godmodder held up his hand and shook his head. “Afraid not. Don’t want to spoil anything. All I can say is, you’re in the future. And right now, your job is to fight those noobs for me.” Godmodder Prime looked at the unfamiliar crowd. There were some faces he recognized, but some notable absences. “Now that’s something I can do. But, uh, aren’t you gonna help me? You know, two ultrapowerful warlords against a bunch of noobs sounds great to me! Nice entertainment. Could use some popcorn. Buttered popcorn. Delicious.”
Pondering this greatly, the Godmodder merely shook his head. “Nah. You’re better off doing it alone. The original plan was to have us both fight together, but… you’re a version of me from the Glitch, aren’t you.” At this, Godmodder Prime’s body momentarily deteriorated into hazy teal static. “I’m taking that as a yes.” Godmodder Prime coughed up ones and zeroes. “Last thing I remember… from “the past…” Is some giant golden cube restoring everything, and me going through some tunnel… into here.” The Godmodder nodded. “That’s what I thought. Listen, uh, don’t take this personally, but I don’t want to look at you ever again. Got it?” Godmodder Prime sneered. “What, do you hate yourself or something.” “No, look, it’s a scientific fact. If we hang around each other for too long, it could screw up some major stuff with the integrity of the universe and whatnot. Gotta stay separated.”
Godmodder Prime contemplated this, but nodded in understanding eventually. “Alright. Glad we’re on the same page,” the Godmodder grinned. He started to fly away, hiding behind rubble, before Godmodder Prime shouted out something. “Wait! Do… do we win? On that server?” The Godmodder stopped in midair, before tersely replying, “...No spoilers.”
He then flew off into a field of bedrock, cracking under the stress of death.
Of course we didn’t win, he thought. We’re the bad guys.
An immeasurable interval encompassed in a single gesture. The clock swings once more.
Very well, then. The Council of Nine hereby sentences you, Dr. H. M. Phage, T. E. of ‘the Hospital,’ to an eternity of damnation. You will be forced to wander this realm’s concrete halls - forever. “Boy howdy,” the bacteriophage cheerfully quipped. “This reminds me of the mono-gleaming! I’ll surely be having a splendid time here, fellow slabs. Oh, and in case you chaps ever need your spiralings rectified, here’s my card! I’ll be seeing you!” The bacteriophage walked on its four spindly legs, right out the vast doors of Limbo’s Court.
Thank · that’s over. Those zone-based freaks just keep pouring in. I’d tell him that he’s the 11,446th ‘Dr H.M. Phage’ we’ve received, but I doubt he’d even view it as something that’s wrong. How are there so… many of them? Such were the comments from the Council of Nine, a parliament of nine Endermen that governed Limbo, one of Fiction’s afterlifes. To exist in Limbo was truly a cruel fate. All who entered found themselves squeezed and crushed into mere shells of who they once were, after eternities spent wandering its unending myopia.
Take some solace in the fact that the next soul coming from the Hospital will arrive in around seven thousand blinks, the Head Councilman sighed. Drawing a stack of paper from his robes and stacking them into the shape of a brick, he began examining them carefully. What if I blinked seven thousand times really fast, hm? Another Councilman countered. Then what would you do? The Head Councilman grimaced, irritated. You can’t affect the passage of time by blinking, frifth’ngon. But you know that. You’re just saying it to elicit a reaction from me. The Councilman laughed, making no noise. And it worked.
Enough mindless talk, said another Councilman. Who’s next on our list. The Head Councilman examined the papers further. That was our last ‘customer’ for the ‘day.’ Apparently, a good amount of our arbitrary perception of time will now be spent dealing with… the Chosen One. All nine Councilmen bowed their heads and crossed their arms, murmuring in another language. Hail the Hat-Tamer. Hail the Ghost-Capturer. Hail the Holy Churg. The prayer done, all Councilmen looked at each other once more. Do you think we have done enough to aid him, brother? The Head Councilman bowed. I hope so. The Outsider has done much to thwart the Chosen One. He has gained a great foothold within our machine, and is coming dangerously close to achieving the Ultimate Reward. We must rectify this issue immediately. Another Councilman’s eyes leered. Why don’t we just crush this errant soul into paste where he stands? Our power here is unlimited. We could end him in a single strike.
The Head Councilman shook his head. It is not that simple, brother. The Outsider… we did not deal with him when we had the chance. When him and his duplicate first arrived here, many arbitrary periods of time ago… We could have stripped them of their links to their Suns, and turned them into shadows. But we didn’t. We felt the prospect of the two of them attacking each other for an eternity was a just punishment. How wrong we were. When the Outsider’s brother escaped… we were left with a horribly angry First Guardian. One whose fire could take a crushingly long eon to burn out. And now, we are stuck with him. The Council sighed in unison. Is there anything we can do? Someone spoke. There must be some way to deal with the Outsider, even if he is wrapped in the flames of time and clothed with the words of an author.
“Nah. There isn’t.” The voice cut clean through the quartz pillars of the Court, startling the Council of Nine. They turned to see a hideous face looming in the massive computer monitor behind them. One whose skin was bleached white, whose hair was wild and messy, and whose emerald glasses reflected with broken light. His grin stretched across the corners of his face, and when he opened his mouth to speak, red plasma bubbled from within. This was Split, the Outsider. “I mean, you could try, ya Council of Windbags. But you wouldn’t get very far.” The Head Councilman grimaced beneath his robes. Enough of this. Leave our antechamber - and our Antichamber - immediately, you scarlet ibis. “Wow, now you’re calling me a bird? Thanks??” It was supposed to be a dig at how you’re, you know, dead. But sure. Have it your way. Your neck is long and skinny enough to be that of a bird’s anyway. Split stepped back in mock outrage. “Don’t blame me, blame the artist that draws me. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, Y--”
ENOUGH! I have half a mind to label this as entirely meaningless drivel and ignore you, but the other half of me knows better. You’re up to something. But what. Split merely laughed cheerfully. “Ah, of course this has meaning. Distractions always have meaning!” The entire Council gasped in shock, turning away from the computer screen to look at Split, standing right in the middle of the Court. You fiend! Trespassing on holy sacred ground! “Like I give a vat of ink about ‘sacred ground.’ The only god I worship is me. Wait, no, that sounds really stupid. ...As a matter of fact, I didn’t know you guys worshiped a god.” Of course we do. All creatures of the Void give praise to the Greatest of Secrets, whose unfathomable scales carved the gap between worlds, oozing forth beacons of eldritch power. “Tch. Not a very well-kept secret, huh.” You… you know what we mean.
“No, I don’t think I do, actually. I mean, what is the Secret of the Void? I get that it’s a dragon. Y’know, an incomprehensible being that created the Void and whatnot. But what’s the secret that you’re all keeping about it, huh? Its name? Its favorite color? Its Social Security number?” The Council of Nine looked each other in the eyes, which burned with monochromatic flame. There is no secret, Outsider. Now leave our council hall, or we will force you to leave. “Uh, news flash, buddy,” Split smirked. “Last I heard you were just talking about how you couldn’t deal with me.” Split kept advancing, a sword of red flame forging itself in his hands. “Okay, so the way I see it, we do this the easy way - wherein you let me keep talking to this kid - or the fun way - wherein I decapitate all of you and keep talking to this kid. Please,” Split said, grinning intensely. “Choose the fun way.”
The Council of Nine stared at each other, speaking telepathically. ‘There are but two options. One - we call the Secret of the Void here.’ ‘What?? Are you insane?’ ‘If we call him here, he can deal with the Outsider!’ ‘If we call him here, he will punish us for our incompetence. He feels we should be responsible. Self-sufficient. Like his precious Chosen Few was.’ ‘By the Secret’s Head, they couldn’t do half of what they did without him! It isn’t fair.’ ‘...Limbo isn’t fair.’ There was a silence. ‘...And what of option two.’ ‘Metachronism.’ ‘You’re joking.’ ‘I wish I was. It’s looking more like a valid option with every passing second.’ ‘It’s blasphemy! It’s outrageous! It’s…’ Split kept advancing forwards. “Boy, all of you are sure doing a great job not talking. C’mon, bureaucrats. Gimme something to work with here.” The Council of Nine’s souls all spoke in unison. They knew what they had to do. ‘It’s our best shot. O Greatest of Secrets… forgive us for what we are about to do.’
“Right, that’s it. I’m bored. Fun way it is.” Split prepared to flashstep directly for the Council of Nine, the image of his body blurring and warping, but he was blocked by a metaphysical wall. Blown backwards, his sword skidded against the tiled floor, cooling into disuse. “What the… What tricks are this?” The Council of Nine floated above their podium, their robes whirling in the wind. Their eyes gleamed with light kaleidoscopic. O god abyssal, hear our plea. Fix mistakes we hate to see. Hear our words and see our power. Turn back to time’s zeroth hour. Split took several steps back, looking genuinely appalled. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Eons of light escape our grasp. Even in death, our fate is clasped. Yet light that steers our fates shines true. Through winds of winter, and fires, too. Let tessellations reign at last. Let us recall the recent past.
The winds in the Council Hall materialized into a spinning crucible of light, from which a trio of liquids were poured in, bubbling in the shapes of tetrominoes’ outlines. They shone with light metachronistic, surging and pooling together into a sickly orchid color. Split’s entire face lit up with this color as a cylindrical beam of holographic flame connected with his body. A horrific explosion resonated across the Court, slicing through quartizine tiles like putty. Split’s entire body was knocked out of this post, sailing through the forum background. The last thing the Council of Nine saw of him was a look of murderous rage, which was honestly quite typical of him. And then, he was a speck on the metaphysical horizon.
The Council of Nine descended back to their seats, the light dissipating from their eyes. That… went well, one of them began to say. I feel unclean, another retorted immediately. Do not worry yourselves, the Head Councilman spoke. We did what we had to do. There was a long stretch of contemplation, then. As the Council stood in wait for the Chosen One’s return.
. . . .
Darkness rushing on all sides around him. Wind whipping in his ears, intermittent lights flashing in his star-spangled eyes. Split awoke in complete freefall, descending through a metaphysical purgatory. He was in a limbo beyond Limbo. Split grimaced, his red hoodie twirling and spinning as he fell. Looking down, Split saw that there was no discernible ground rushing up to meet him, which was nice. And when he looked up, he saw a tiny pinprick of light from above - no doubt the way he’d entered this… place.
Split concentrated intensely, sticking his arms out. Pulling itself from red plasma was his sword, Broken Anachronism, once more wrapped in fire. Split switched its form, the clock in its center turning into a compass, and its blade metamorphosing into a rod. Split poked at his own chest with the rod, which glowed with a golden light. Immediately, the wind died in Split’s ears. He found himself hovering now, at a standstill. Split twisted around to his perception of what ‘right-side-up’ was and looked ahead of him, at the source of the lights he’d seen.
It seemed to him that what he thought were many different lights, sporadically centered around wherever “here” was, was actually a single point, repeated an infinity of times. The light was coming from a grey platform constructed from two squares, one folded on top of the other. Suspending the platforms were a set of four orchid tendrils. And hovering above was a set of four characters that Split had trouble identifying. A brown and silver behemoth, some zippy orchid shape, and what looked like two blurry robots - one a dull gold, and the other bright orchid. The more Split looked at them, the more he felt he should know them.
Glancing at himself hesitantly, Split called out to speak. “Hey!” he shouted. “Can any of you hear me??” But they made no indication that he could. As Split concentrated even further, though, he began to hear snippets of their voices. One of them spoke in harsh tones clipping themselves together. Another - the small orchid thing - seemed to have no indoor voice, a hollow cadence, and a digital edge to their speech. The golden robot sounded like a robot pretending to be a human woman, and as for the orchid robot… it sounded like if a snake could talk. It made Split’s spine crawl. With that revelation - the comparison to a snake - it clicked for him.
Split had never seen these figures in the flesh before, but he knew things. It came with being a First Guardian. There was no more doubt in his mind - hovering this endless expanse away from him was the Arrival. Earth’s best hope in destroying the Godmodder. Were they locked in this place by the Council? Did they make it? Split wanted to find out, but at the same time… he didn’t want to concern himself with any of it. There was something else on his mind. A Reward.
Split pointed the rod of his sword upwards, and he immediately began to zoom up, up, and away. On his way closer to Limbo, Split could hear snippets of the Antichamber - that cursed, fractalline maze in which the Chosen One, Flare Flames, traveled to reach the Reward. His adventure had been guided through the voices of lost souls - but recently, Split’s voice had shouted louder than anyone’s. He had taken over the adventure, and was hoping to grow so influential that he could reach through the adventure and take the Reward for himself.
Finally. He would get an amazing hat.
But the Council had thwarted his efforts. It would take tremendous work to make it back in time. The best thing Split could do was climb into infinity, screaming through time as he re-entered Limbo from elsewhere.
For once, Split thought to himself, time isn’t on my side.
An immeasurable interval encompassed in a single gesture. The clock swings, penultimately.
All was quiet. Bitter winds were whirling through the land, making no noise yet carrying with them infinite cold. The sun was beginning to slip towards the horizon, painting the sky with arrays of colors, all splashed on top of each other and dripping down the canvas. Standing in the middle of this forgotten portion of the world was a tower, jutting clean through the earth and scraping the sky. One hundred and nine stories high and forged from nigh-impenetrable stone, the only sign of activity is the tower’s kaleidoscopic logo: GODMODDING INCORPORATED.
The tower had been working ceaselessly ever since the return of its chief executive, the Omega, a couple of months prior. They had worked throughout a bitter autumn, pursuing a goal infamous for its complexity, incongruity, and unexplainability. No one quite knew what they were working on. The tower’s inhabitants, all of varying races and universes, full of terror yet pride, all had specific jobs to do. Go into the earth, mine out pieces of stone, and compress them in divine furnaces using your own blood as offerings. Take a trip into the Void and collect some artifacts from abandoned temples while running from eldritch abominations. Extract some liquid from the Inky Abyss. Code a multidimensional computer debugger. And the list just went on.
No one quite knew what they were working on. No one quite knew they were unwittingly ending their reality.
. . . .
The Godmodder had work on his mind, as well. Never stopping, and never tiring. Plunging through the icy depths of other worlds to find exactly what he needed to do in his quest. To make to the heart of existence. A realm where everything could be undone. Everyone who had wronged him. Everyone who he’d wronged. Everyone who fought him, and everyone who was affected by him. Everyone that was below him, and those who he viewed, at best, as equals. Even those pesky forces of plot, so it seemed, would be at least partially undone.
Through his work, the Godmodder had become a cold shell of his former self. He was fueled by an unending desire to be rid of this world. Advice still rung in his ears. To not think as large. To return to his roots. In his own warped and battered mind, that is exactly what he was doing. He was starting fresh. Wiping the drawing board. Creating a clean slate, for everyone. And when all was said and done, they would thank him for his efforts. They would either thank him, or die ignoring him.
And there the Godmodder sat, at the sole chair in the top floor of his facility, with his head in his hands, and the glossy, emboldened nameplate of RICHARD ‘OMEGA,’ CEO on it. The room was cluttered, with everything jumbled together. Teleporters so the Godmodder could jump between important floors were littered everywhere. Personal belongings, still smouldering with ash, were strewn between them. Computer monitors stacked on top of each other, salvaged from governments gone by, hissed with static, sometimes spitting out data on printer paper. Standing behind the Godmodder, like a monolith, was a gigantic transparent case containing rusted clockwork and machinery. Draped around it was golden cloth.
The Godmodder sighed, examining his watch and noticing the date. His mind dimly registered that it was December 7th. A date which would live in infamy. Unwanted memories filled the Godmodder’s head as he got up and trudged onwards, picking up his steaming hammer and preparing to walk towards an anvil. Drawing some metal from a cabinet, the Godmodder raised his hammer over his head, and brought it down with a whistling sound.
He remembered one year ago, when a serpent had invaded his life and constricted everything he’d built. When dead pixels and negative infinities had tormented him and the universes he called home and, ultimately, fractured and divided his very mind. When a universe away, a Descendant in white fought against an Outsider to secure a Reward.
He remembered two years ago, when the second war had just started, and was beginning to develop darker overtones. When the focus had been shifted away from him for the first time, and onto some nondescript artifact of judgemental fury. When he tried to use a cheap ploy to secure ultimate power. It wouldn’t be the last time.
He remembered three years ago, when he first sat hunched in his chair, staring at his computer screen. When he had scrolled through that list of servers and picked the one he thought would be easy to invade. Easy. What a joke it all was. The Godmodder gritted his teeth for abiding by UserZero’s philosophy.
Again, goddamnit, again. Clang.
He remembered four years ago, when he waged a zeroth war that hardly seemed important when compared to the war of future’s past. When an angelic devil with wings ripped from plot and a gaze that could shatter panes of glass attacked him for trying to make a name for himself. When gates had been opened, and the fates had conspired to start the godmodding wars in the first place.
He remembered five years ago, when he had just started his quest for becoming the greatest godmodder. When he was fresh out of the Great Halloween Hack that started the fires of darkness in his heart. When he began to have doubts about himself, after suffering some setbacks and defeats against other, powerful godmodders. When he spat with rage that he would not stop until every other godmodder was dead.
It was a pact sealed in blood, and the heat of the forge.
He remembered six years ago, when he, Richard, was just discovering Minecraft. When he engaged its creator in excited talks about what he should add, what he could do, what he could create and destroy. The Godmodder laughed to himself, now. Notch was a false idol. And the Godmodder was a nonbeliever.
The hammer whistled downward again, and stopped short of its goal.
Richard’s head hung low. He looked at the metal he had hammered. It was neither smooth, nor rippling with heat. Each of his strikes had misshapen and bent it horribly out of alignment. Taking several steps back, he shouted, swung the hammer, and cleaved straight through the anvil. It bisected, paused, and then shattered into dozens of pieces. Richard stared at it with a blank fury, letting go of his Banhammer, whose fires shut off. It toppled to the ground, and Richard knelt.
“Why,” he muttered to himself. “Why am I doing this to myself? Why is it necessary?” Richard’s body folded inwards. “I’ve… never worked like this before. Never exhausted myself to this point. I can’t feel pain, I don’t sleep, but… why do I feel so tired?” Richard shuddered, walking to a mirror. His hair was disheveled, his clothes faded and tattered. His mechanical arm was dull and worn, and the scar over his eye pained him. “I… I’m not some perfect machine. I need to take a break. I need to know when to quit.”
But as he was having these doubts, Richard kept returning to the date, obsessively. December 7th. December 7th. Always, it seemed, around this time, something tremendous happened. It didn’t take much effort to go back through the archives, and to pinpoint circumstantial simultaneity. Coincidences specifically arranged. Important puzzle pieces stacked on top of each other. Fiction building higher and higher, towards a coalescence. Richard’s hands trembled. “...I need to be reminded. They need to be reminded. Of how we got here.”
The Godmodder straightened himself up and kicked the ground with absurd force. The entire room shook, the Banhammer flipping from the ground and pirouetting through the air. The Godmodder grabbed it by the handle, its twin heads shimmering with steam. The Godmodder tapped his ear twice, a low whine filling the speakers of the entire facility. The well-oiled machine of Godmodding Incorporated faltered. “Attention, all workers. On behalf of the Omega, I’d like all of you to report to Floor 72. It’s time we remembered.”
. . . .
The entire facility had gathered in a single room, which stretched much farther than the actual dimensions of Godmodding Incorporated should have allowed. It seemed to resemble a gigantic movie theater, with vast walls of wooden paneling designed to mimic Minecraftian architecture. Rows upon rows of reclining chairs inclined up the hall, with various stations sectioned at the hall’s sides, selling conveniences and foodstuffs that were, predictably, horribly overpriced.
At the very front of the room, taking up the entire northern wall, was a gigantic set of goldenrod curtains. Terrors, decoy godmodders, and the like all crowded to their seats. All the while, the voice of the corporation’s secretary calmly yelled orders across the intercom. “Make your way to your seats in a neat and chaotic fashion, ladies, gentlemen, and mentlegen. Watch the tramcar, please, and remember to pick up your Too Far!™ Juice for $7.12 - or, if you have a portion of a soul you can lend, for free. You’ll just owe us a favor down the road, you get the idea. Tick tock, everyone, the show’s due to start in thirty-two seconds. Don’t be late, now.”
And of course, in thirty-two seconds’ time, the lights in the entire floor abruptly shut off, leaving everyone in total darkness. A single guitar chord echoed in reverse across the room as Yes’s Roundabout began to play. The golden curtains drew apart, a single column of light blasting from the projector to illuminate the movie screen. Standing in front of it, dressed in a fine-pressed tuxedo, was the Godmodder. “Thanks for comin’, guys, seriously. I’ve had this idea for… not that long, honestly. But it sure does feel like a long time coming.” The Godmodder vanished in a puff of smoke, and suddenly he was sitting in the crowd, with a front-row seat. “I felt it’s time we took just one break, huh? And what better a day for it than today. December 7th. A day that will live in…”
The spotlight shut off, and the projector in the other side of the room whirred to life. The movie screen lit up with a stylized scarred eye; under it read GODMODDING INCORPORATED PRESENTS: ...And soon afterwards, in bold golden text, read the title: INFAMY. The screen went black, with the Godmodder’s voice beginning to play. Imagine, if you will, another world. A few swings of the clock away. This world is free from the influence of gods and kings. There is only man. And it’s so, so boring.
Until I come to town, that is.
The screen burst to life in a display of light and sound. There, shown in the majesty of film, was a complete recreation of the Psi-Godmodding War in its heyday, so picture-perfect it was as if it had been pulled directly from the Godmodder’s mind - and it had. Flying over all others was the Psi-Godmodder himself, his hood spiraling and trailing in the flames, and bolts of darkness shooting from his arm. Fighting on all sides were the twelve Ancestors, shining with mythological spectra. Weapons collided against weapons, attacks of unbridled creativity launching themselves at supersonic speed. And standing there in the middle of it all, with wide-eyed glee, was the Godmodder’s Minecraft avatar. It was so young that it even lacked his trademark red cape.
There I was, the narration continued. Standing in the first war. The first of many. But this was one was really special, wasn’t it. Forged in the fames of winter and fought by a chosen few, standing against the self-proclaimed first evil of God. That’s a load of bull, if you ask me. Herobrine should get that title. But hell, no one talks about him. After all, I’m the better godmodder. At least - not yet. The scene shifted, into a tundra of blazing cold. Orchid galaxies flickered by in the skies above, the main focus of the screen comprised by a complex machine of white pouring out the holographic interstellar display, and two figures fighting alongside it. One, dressed in a red coat and lacking a face. The other, in twin folds of red and green, with a double-edged blade. The Godmodder stood in the foreground, once again, in absolute awe. This battle. The one in the Arctic. It’s what really got me thinkin’ about this whole godmodding business. It opened my eyes to how Minecraft was so much more than a game some guy made. It was a portal to another world. Like a drug, I guess? But drugs only let you hallucinate about firing lasers out of your eyes and whatnot. With godmodding, I could do it for real. And so, I did.
The scene shifted, into a realm of absolute chaos. Jack-o’-lanterns lit up the skies, cascading in rows upon rows. Portals to Hell, stacking on top of each other. Purple fire licking across rooftops built by the gods, ghasts singing ballads of cats that screamed through it all. Explosions of dynamite rocking castle walls, griefers in masks running around without a care, and Mojang, those infallible gods, trying to make sense of it all. And standing in the middle, once again, was the Godmodder, who casually lit another cube of dynamite with some flint and steel, chucked it into the mayhem, and watched it burst into color and sound. Fast forward nearly another year later, and it’s Halloween. The Great Halloween Hack of 2010, to be precise. That was really the start of my darkness, I guess. The start… of my infapfffHAHAHA, nope, can’t do it. Can’t title drop that with a straight face. The scene shifted, a ton of events playing in fast forward. After that, things got a bit messy. I tried to climb up the ladder as fast as I could. I had some great moments… The movie showed the Godmodder kicking a figure glad in golden armor into the depths of a volcano, then picking up a ring from the ground, putting it on, and walking away. ...And some not so great moments. Then, the movie showed the Godmodder kneeling in a metal rain below an indeterminate statue. In his hands was a ripped glove meant to hold some kind of symbol. But if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s fighting. I fought my way right up to the top, and it was there I stayed. Also, a whole ‘nother war happened at this point, so let’s play the footage at normal speed, huh?
The scene shifted rapidly, showing the Godmodder bickering and yelling with another figure, clothed in red. UserZero, the antagonist of the Zeroth Godmodding War. The fight, which spread across a plethora of still images, got more and more confusing and intricate as it went on, powerful gatekeepers looming across the sky, the Godmodder battling other godmodders, bones and flowers ripping through the field, pacts and slayers of gods raging against the eternal machine. All the while, gates and trees loomed ever closer in the mystical sands of time. It’s funny, honestly. I feel like I never remember this war the same way twice, sometimes. But I remember plenty. The fights I waged, the faces I met. And how it all ended - with me winning! The montage ended with the Godmodder standing triumphantly on top of a hill, his right arm adorned with a glove inscribed with a golden omega. Standing in silhouette against a kaleidoscopic sky, a huge Hollywood-esque orchestra accompanied the moment.
Record scratch. And then I went out and killed every single godmodder.
The Benny Hill theme began to play at maximum volume as various photos took up the screen in a slideshow. On each one, the Godmodder was posing with a disintegrating corpse - the bodies of the godmodders he killed. One was being crushed by a tower of golden anvils. Command blocks and jagged holes littered the environment. Another was being fed feet-first into what looked like a bed of spikes from Super Meat Boy. They seemed to be completely conscious. Another still was impaled on top of a gigantic mountain of Decoy Godmodders. Yet another seemed to have been stabbed with the OP Scale. And the list continued. No, I’m not joking. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but ya get my point. I tracked all of the suckers down, making sure they could never respawn. Making sure they could never challenge me again.
The slideshow faded, showing an image of the serene tower of Godmodding Incorporated. And you all know how that story ended. I took the company I got from UserZero, rebuilt it in the middle of nowhere, and legally changed my name to the Godmodder. The Godmodder. Proper noun. After that, to be honest, there was a whole bunch of non-events. I terrorized random servers, got people to ragequit - I was on my way to being a really huge Richard, if you get what I mean. Until that one fateful day… A day that would live in infamy.
Yes. Nailed it.
The screen shows heavily dramatized footage of the Godmodder bending over his computer screen and wiping sweat from his forehead as he intensely mashes buttons on his keyboard. Lines of green code pour over his monitor until, with a single triumphant press of the ENTER key and an ominous chorus, the screen flickers to a perfectly generic Minecraft server. What are you talking about, that footage is exactly what happened. It’s pixel-perfect.There I was, at any rate. A perfectly generic plugin-filled Minecraft server. I expected everything to be so easy - I’d go in, force everyone to ragequit, and go out. What I didn’t realize was that Minecraft had caught up to me. There were players there, with fate on their side, and stars in their eyes. They had the power to resist rage - and the power to kill me. Naturally, we fought. How else does anyone settle their differences? Peace? Diplomacy? More like sleuth diplomacy.
Those were the days, the Godmodder said. Clips of the First Godmodding War flashed by. Citricsquid and the Godmodder stared each other down intensely, code rippling in the former’s hands as a beam of white-hot power, as if it had been ripped right from the Banhammer, blasted the Godmodder into smoke Citricsquid turned and left, and the Godmodder clawed his way out from the rubble, shadow congregating around his body. He hadn’t been killed. Not by a longshot. And then - a random player scooped up the snow of the tundra into a nuclear ball and flung it skyward. One mushroom cloud later, and the Godmodder arose from the gargantuan, fog-filled crater. With an unholy screech and a gaze of plutonium, he threw trash all over the ring, contaminating the battlefield beyond return. And then - the Godmodder writhed and flopped around the field as a squid, sneaking into a tank and dismantling it from the inside out. Attacks aimed at him pierced through the tank’s armor like swiss cheese, and when the whole thing fell like a house of cards, the Godmodder shot through the sky with perfect aim, careening over all in the way only a flying squid could. All the while, a gate of mystery loomed from behind, continually chiseled away by a hero of Brine and their pickaxe. And then -
Times grew dire. The players were learning how to adapt to utter hell. They were conjuring up juggernauts faster than one could blink. Relics from elemental eras, crowdsourced books, and literal gods. The Godmodder took it all in stride, resorting to underhanded tactics, as he felt he should. And then - the gate was opened, peeling away the world and revealing the uncaring Void that surrounded it. It was a taste of the cosmic horrors to come, just months later. The Godmodder peered through the gate and saw the shifting fabric of reality before him. Yet he did not step through. And then - his health dwindled, forcing last resorts and contingencies to be pulled from underground. Outside the movie, the Godmodder watched, enraptured. Everything was as he remembered it. The dragon and skeleton of pure terror, besieging the land with pink flame and skulls of rippling cobalt. And then, once those final terrors fell, a system error. Variables left unaccounted before coalesced into a churning hurricane of entropy. The tenets of the Void, those inviolate abyssals, were teetering on the edge of destruction. And then, once the error was corrected through clock swings, a forsaken fortress. Castle walls stockpiled over excruciating hours of work. Forces converging on hoards of treasure - an unearthed legend. Both forces, pulling out their last stops. Waves of golems surging from factories, facing off against mechanical magic, pure Australian grit, and shrines of the past. And then, once the castle was crashed, a promotion. Faster than anyone could blink, the tide of the war was upheaved. The Godmodder was an administrator now, and he controlled the game. Entities, charges, all that hard work - erased with a single command. It was the closest anyone had come to feeling rage in a long time. And it nearly worked.
But then - after all that, there were two cards yet to be played. The Godmodder closed his eyes for the last time, sealing himself in a spell of healing. And the last guardian to protect him - a tank forged to lock the universe’s strongest warrior in eternal combat. A turret with one single, insoluble purpose. To destroy. And combating it was a serpentine horror - he that shaped the Void. Reality’s most ancient secret, concealed in the form of a demiurge. With emerald novae, the dragon pushed back the turret’s ire. And amidst a sea of terrors, the players focused everything they had on stopping the Godmodder’s spell.
And then -
Debris filled the air. Spare parts, dying machinery, globules of pink fire. The dragon twisted and turned through the sky, traveling across universes to return to its abyssal home. Which left the players forming a ring around the utterly defenseless Godmodder. You know the rest of the story. Long story short - I died. I lost an arm, and I lost an eye. Funny in retrospect, considering exactly what would happen later. Honestly, that war had a sense of innocence to it. The stakes weren’t nearly as high, for one. I was having… fun, in my own perverse sort of way. And I’d bet they were, too, through it all. But that’s not where this story ends. Far from it.
My infamy would spread, throughout the universe. And it would soon capture all of it. The screen faded to black, and a new set of goldenrod curtains opened, revealing a fenestrated wall. Images cycled through its four frames. The second war - and the largest. Only thing that comes close to it was that Zeroth War. But despite the larger-than-life setting… The over-the-top feeling it conveyed… The satisfaction in knowing millions of people were raging at my feet… It was so unfulfilling. For starters, I lost - again. No shame in admitting that now. But my defeat ran deeper than that. The entire war, I was… Humiliated. Overshadowed. Defied. Sure, nothing would have - or could have - happened without me, but at the same time… I began to have a taste of what it was like to be on the bottom again.
I felt powerless.
One pane of the fenestrated wall lit up. It was nighttime on GodCraft. Embers of light danced through the dying sky, but they were not stars. Each one was an individual battleship, painted in the red colors of an alien empress. They carried drones, turrets, and soldiers across the world, to terrorize, loot, and destroy. The Alternians were allied with the Godmodder in theory, but in practice - he knew they had their own agenda. They were working for someone. Something. And all the while, Scratch - that wretched puppet - had kidnapped the players. Those chosen few the Godmodder had sworn to destroy. They had been whisked away to some idiotic mansion on a chartreuse moon, and all the while, the Godmodder had been left to rot. He stared at the sky for long stretches of time, then. Waiting.
Another pane of the fenestrated wall lit up. The sky was blood-red. Storm clouds swirled around a battlefield tinged with orange. A spirographical, labyrinthine portal hovered in the air, carrying with it a ship of artificial furniture. The forces of the Counteroperation - Earth’s defense against the Godmodder - floated with such arrogance, acting as if they’d already won. The Godmodder, righteously angered, rushed forward to attack - only to be completely and utterly blocked. He was blown away, knocked backwards, held in place. The assailants, with their orchid eyes, could manipulate code, just like he did. Just like he did. The Godmodder raged against the machine, but it did him no good. His robotic arm was snapped in two, and the Godmodder felt a piece of himself die with it.
A third pane of the fenestrated wall lit up. The Godmodder was standing triumphantly in front of a massive granite pillar - but it was uprooted from the ground and thrown aside. A chitinous, wretched spike was driven into the earth in its place, as seas of insects swarmed from all points in the world, drowning the planet in sickly death. The Godmodder’s own challenge had been surrendered to bugs. And then - the Godmodder floated in the abyssal reaches of the Void, carrying with him the Ancestral Artifacts of legend. Right as he was about to claim ultimate power, it was knocked from his grasp. Scratch had showed his faceless mug again, and with but a phrase and a wave of his idiotic Disc of Mojang, the Godmodder felt his vision tunnel as he was sealed within a tuba. Pure fear raced through his mind. He shuddered and sank into tubaphobia once more. In the audience, the Godmodder averted his eyes.
The final pane of the fenestrated wall lit up. The sky was black - no sun or moon lit it. The only light came from a horrible, cascading orchid glow, washing endless fleets of bedrock in its power. The Godmodder, a horrid corpse, twisted his head upwards, staring at the light in awe. He was surrendering himself to… a higher power. The camera panned upwards, showing a bronzed block descending in a column of gold. It carried with it the antagonistic laughter of fate. The leering faces of agents swirled in the void above, ascending into static. The screen shut itself off.
It gave me time to think. About what being a godmodder meant. About what it really meant to be feared, and to experience rage. Y’see - you’re only as powerful as the people below you say you are. Beat up a bunch of noobs, and they’ll tell everyone how you bested them. Then when the people above them challenge you, and you kick them into the ground, and you work your way up until you’re the greatest goddamn thing this side of reality, everyone listens to you.
You only hear the good things. The stories of your horrible greatness. The ideals you set out to achieve, and met. Until the day you meet some force you can’t control, and could have never accounted for. And then you realize that once upon a time - that force was you. And you reveled in making that poor noob feel like crap. And now, you feel like crap! And then you realize how much it stings. Makes ya feel like you’re living a shallow existence, pretending to be the greatest.
See how it goes? Even with ultimate power, I can still have doubts. Doubts caused by the fact that there… there’s always someone better than me. Tch. Never really said that out loud until now, I… guess. Now I know how they felt. All those I ever wronged. I know what it’s like to, even for a minute, be on the bottom. I’d forgotten what it was like. And I don’t ever want to feel that way again.
Now, the ultimate question. Why am I telling you this? Well, I figured - we all need some break time. A day to reflect. A day to remember. So when you leave this theater and reminiscence on what a great movie this was (a 109% on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t a fluke), I want you to think about something. And I want you to take it to heart. Let it fuel you to do even better, to improve yourself. To put your all into this project, moving forward.
I am not the rule. I am the exception. I am infamy. I am Richard. But more than that - I’m the Godmodder.
Now, who the hell are you?
A truly immeasurable interval, encompassed in a single gesture. The clock swings, rounding up to the inevitable end.
. . . .
“Have you ever wondered about time,” the Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron officer said. “To third-dimensional mongoloids, it’s this ceiling hovering over them, marching forwards. To second-dimensionals, the very concept of time is as alien as depth, perhaps moreso. But break beyond that barrier and enter the fourth-dimension, and then you see it.” “Mmh,” the officer next to him said, enjoying a sip of Tang. “I remember the first time I saw it. ‘Twas a marvelous experience. The room I was in stretched to infinity, every point in time it would ever experience expanding and receding before my eyes. I was walking through it, seeing the shadows of those below me. Seeing every step they’d ever take, and ever did take. Then I blinked, and I was back.”
The original officer - Hughes was his name - nodded. “Kinda like how mine went. And all the while I was aware that somewhere up there, there had to be a fifth dimension. One keeping me anchored from going any higher. One I couldn’t reach.” The other officer - Xenos - responded in turn. “The ether, yes. SOUL territory. Time expanded outwards, and ether retreats inwards. I’ll tell you, though, it’s really the ninth-dimensionals that have it made. Complete access to metachronism? Yes, please.” Hughes nodded once more, turning around and talking to someone else. “It, uh, just occurred to me that you probably have no idea what we’re talking about.”
Build shrugged. “I’m used to it, honestly. And I’ve heard worse.” Hughes turned back to Xenos after nodding. “So,” Xenos spoke. “Where are we taking this… ticking time-bomb.” Build fumed from behind his glasses. “To the infirmary,” Hughes stated. “Subject Layer 523/Block C90/Hash 033 has been complaining about…” Hughes tilted his head up, as if trying to remember items from a list. “Vivid dreams, frequent headaches, and feelings of nihilism and existential angst.” “I know what’s wrong with him,” Xenos quipped. “He’s a teenager.” Build gritted his teeth. “You’re really making me feel welcome here, you guys. Seriously. Gotta hand it to you.” “Need I remind you, 523/C90/033, that you are officially imprisoned within these headquarters. You feeling welcome is not exactly our immediate concern.” “Oh, it isn’t?” Build inquired. “Then what is?” Xenos continued marching forward. “You are a problem that we must solve. So that’s what we’re doing. Solving you.”
The trio walked in silence after that.
They walked on the floor, under the floor, through some halls, re-enacted that Scooby-Doo door joke entirely on accident (Build caught himself staring at the other versions of him far too often), walked on the ceiling, walked in an impossible triangle, and passed what looked like a gigantic vault until they made it to Nexus C410 - the Infirmary. “Here you are,” Xenos said, motioning to the door. “Step inside and you’ll be in the care of our doctors.” Build stepped in front of Hughes and Xenos, twisting the door’s cubic lock and entering the Infirmary. The entire room seemed to be circular, the floor warping to become the walls, then the ceiling, then the other wall, and then back to the floor. The tables were mostly empty, bar a few unfortunate individuals - one had purple crystals covering their whole body, and another seemed to be babbling incoherently, occasionally spasming with magenta energy.
A figure in a black lab coat with a purple nameplate - Asclepius - stepped forward. “Ah, 523/C90/033. So glad you could make it - but then, I doubt you are. Right this way, please.” Asclepius motioned to the nearest hospital bed. Build sat on it uneasily before leaning fully back. It was actually quite comfortable. As soon as his head settled into position, a number of monitors and flatscreens began ticking away, calculating information about his vitals. Asclepius sat on the chair adjacent to Build, pulling out a digital tablet and examining it.
“You entered this facility Paradate 09/01/E412512/O4124/N2016, is this correct.” “Uh… sure.” “You qualify as a theta-class prisoner under the watchful eyes of the Galactic Infantile, Sacred Time Giant of the Time Mountains, is this correct.” “Theta class? Sounds right.” Asclepius’ eyes narrowed. “Are you aware we do not have a birth date on file for you.” “I wasn’t until you just told me, but I honestly should have expected it.” “Explain.” “Well, uh, when I first got here, some of the officers told me that under their files, I… don’t exist.” “Do you have any idea as to why this discrepancy has occurred?” “...I’ve got an idea, alright.”
Asclepius peered at Build intently. He looked incredibly nervous, so Asclepius decided to drop that line of questioning - or at the very least, save it for later. “Now - says here you have been admitted to to our infirmary on account of your vivid dreams, frequent headaches, feelings of nihilism and… existential angst.” Asclepius twisted in a sneer. “I believe I have made my diagnosis. You are a teenager.” Build’s head snapped forward in an expression of undiluted rage. “Are you joking me,” he sputtered. “I thought that was obvious. But let me take this time to inform you that as a medical professional certified in seventeen varying dimensions, I will do whatever is in my power to diagnose exactly what is wrong with you. Now - from the beginning.”
Asclepius leaned back. “When did these headaches and dreams start, exactly.” Build concentrated. “Well, it was... after the Operator left my body.” An eyebrow was arched. “You were possessed?” “I guess you could call it that? I mean, he was a First Guardian, kind of. But he only really had true power once he inhabited someone’s body. I was still me throughout the whole thing, I just had extra powers.” “What kind of powers.” “I... don’t exactly feel comfortable telling you.” “What kind of powers.” Build avoided looking at Asclepius. “R... reality warping. Omniscience. Omnipotence.” “If I may amend my earlier diagnosis - not only are you a teenager, you’re a Mary Sue.”
Build had to be forcefully restrained into the hospital bed to avoid jumping up and yelling at everything in sight. “I suppose I should add ‘violent mood swings’ to your list of symptoms,” Asclepius sighed. “WHAT IS YOU GUYS’S PROBLEM?” “Grammar, Stanley.” “SHUT. UP.” Build frantically spasmed. “You keep saying how you’re going to help me, and here you are, just making things worse! Get to the POINT!” Asclepius nodded. “From the sparse data I have on file for you, coupled with the pieces of information you have shared to me and my colleagues, I believe I have a fairly comprehensive grasp on your entire life story. I should be able to diagnose you from this data.” Build rolled his eyes. “Prove it.”
“The name you currently go by is Build, though that is not your given name. I say ‘given,’ but I am unsure as to who exactly gave you your name upon birth, or if you were even born at all. What few sources there are suggest that you were merely dropped onto the Earth several years ago, and you proceeded to live an utterly boring life until you got involved with the Godmodding Wars. Judging from what you just told me, you were possessed by an “Operator,” who gave you the ability to warp plot, shaping the story of the Godmodding Wars. I don’t exactly know how it was under your guidance that the Conflict rematerialized and brought reality dangerously close to the end of ends, but here we are. Then the Operator left your body, no doubt putting you through severe mental trauma. I doubt your split personality helped much, either. Which has left your mind fractured and still hanging on to some leftover bits of green plasma, in an attempt to rekindle its own flagging omniscience.”
Build just kind of blinked in shock for a while. “...You got all that from me yelling at you?” Asclepius shook his head. “I’ve known about you for quite some time, Build. Your exploits of reality warping and changing the underlying fabric of plot basically guaranteed you’d be noticed by every major force in the Void. To think, if only we’d captured everyone involved in that Godmodding War while we’d had the chance...” “Well, why didn’t you?” Asclepius looked at the ground. “It’s... not that simple. Not anymore.” “And let me guess,” Build said after several seconds of silence. “You’re not just gonna spill your secrets to any old theta-class prisoner that waltzes into the infirmary, are you.” Asclepius straightened up. “Not normally, no. But for you - I think I can make an exception.” “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Asclepius headed for the door. “Follow me, Build. I must show you something.”
. . . .
Asclepius explained to Hughes and Xenos that he’d be taking Build on a quick “field trip.” The two insisted they come along, as Build was a prisoner, and not to be brought anywhere without security at his heels. And so, the four of them traveled across the headquarters, passing through doors on walls and ceilings, through chasms flooded with spaceships, and through what seemed like gladiatorial combat arenas. “I assume you’ve heard of Globnar by now,” Xenos muttered as an aside. Finally, Asclepius rounded a corner into a hallway labelled METAL RAIN. “What in the world...” Build muttered to himself. “Come along,” Asclepius stated.
Stepping inside the hallway, Build found himself in a circular chamber. Set up around the elliptical wall was what looked like a sheet of metal, gleaming in the low levels of light the chamber produced. In the exact center of the room was a cylinder with computer interfaces streaming out of it. Asclepius whistled, and in moments, another officer had entered the room. Asclepius murmured something into the officer’s ear, and they ran to the cylinder, touching and navigating through it in the frenetic way Hollywood liked to pretend hackers messed with computers.
Build adjusted his glasses, and jumped back when the cylinder hummed in response. “Don’t be so concerned, 523/C90/033,” Asclepius muttered. “You carry a paradox with you at all times, of course some of our instruments would have reactions to it.” “Instruments? Like, musical instruments?” “You could say that.” Build looked at what the other officer was doing curiously, but their fingers were flying across the machinery too fast for Build to glean anything of substance. “Why’d you bring me here, then? I mean, all I can play is the piano. I’m not exactly a master at the... ‘sheet-of-metal-stretching-across-a-room.” “It’s called,” the officer working with the machine said, with a hint of annoyance, “the Metal Rain. Can’t you read the sign?” Build shrank back slightly.
“So, how does this thing work?” Build asked. The officer finally stepped back, as if admiring his handiwork. He then turned to Build. “Simple. You put your hand onto that cylinder, strap yourself into the chair that’ll spring up, and try not to vomit the small extracts of thyme left in your body once the room starts spinning.” The officer slapped Build on the back and walked away. “Have fun!” Asclepius, Hughes, and Xenos all stood outside of the room, watching as it sealed itself shut. Build gulped, turning to the room’s center. Now that he was alone, things seemed much more quiet. Much more still. It was a calm before the storm.
Tentatively, Build stretched out his arm and let his hand touch the computer interface. There was a harsh buzzing sound as the outline of Build’s hand was traced in thin air, directly above the cylinder. Materializing behind the cylinder was a chair - in the barest sense of the world. It was two rectangles stacked onto each other - one positioned horizontally, and the other vertically. It didn’t look like it had been designed with comfort in mind. Build sat down, and was immediately pinioned by metal straps. He struggled to get out, but then abruptly stopped as the lights in the room shut off entirely.
Slowly, yet surely, the metal rounding the room began to spin. Build could see now that there wasn’t a single sheet of metal - it was actually a series of nine interconnected metal panels, all arranged with the utmost precision next to each other. As the metal panels spun, they reverberated with a dull, warbling bass. It made the hairs on Build’s neck stand up. His eyes became itchy. His glasses grew hot on his face. As the metal spun faster and faster, the warbling bass intensified, growing louder. Getting closer. Build felt dizzy - as if he was the one spinning, and not the walls. He struggled to pay attention to anything. He felt that if he closed his eyes, he’d spin into infinity, and never return.
And then, the metal panels reached their terminal velocity. They spun in an unbroken elliptical whirlwind across the walls, lights reflecting off of them and screaming around the room’s circumference. The bass tones encompassed Build’s entire existence, peeling into his mind like a knife, and dissecting his thoughts. The bass reached its apex as Build’s glasses became unbearable to wear. With a howl, Build lunged his head forward, knocking his glasses off. They clattered to the ground, steaming and smoking. Held by the light of the metal panels, their visions of universes danced on the room’s walls. And suspended in this cosmic light, the metal rain began.
A pulsing, scratching drum beat laid itself over the bass, which now whined in and out of focus, shaping itself and sifting through various forms. Throughout its modulations, actual images began to become clear on the panels, which hovered there like animations. Build recognized them all too well, his stomach sinking to his legs and his eyes forcing themselves closed as he drifted to a restless sleep. They were his dreams. The worst of his dreams.
. . . .
Build saw himself, locked in a car that was driving itself. He’d awoken to find himself in the car for no discernible reason. The car had been left on, and without warning, it started leaning, inching forward. Within seconds, it was cutting across lanes of traffic. Build heard tires screeching and flailing. He narrowly avoided death what must have been dozens of times. When Build had found the courage to look through the window, he saw that the car was making a beeline for a bridge - and it was speeding down a hill. The car picked up a terrifying amount of speed as it beelined for the bridge, until it spun completely out of control, tumbling down the hill and careening into the water. Build saw himself, flying, upside down, as shards of glass and metal rained and cascaded over him.
Then, he plunged into the icy abyss of the sea, and knew no more.
. . . .
Build saw himself, lying in the middle of a land filled with trees. He’d awoken to find himself reclining on a fallen log, and had turned to see the smoking wreckage of some metallic craft off to the side. Following the footprints etched into the earth, Build came across another clearing of trees. Some huge shape was in the middle of it - a figure seemingly made of wood. Build stifled a scream. He recognized this thing. It was the king of Tabletopia - Ikea. And unfortunately, Build had a pretty good idea of what he was doing in a forest.
Ikea made the motion of turning a doorknob, although there was no door in sight. When he pulled as if he was opening the door, an elliptical hole punched itself through reality, crackling with blue energy. A portal. Once Ikea stepped through, Build looked to his left and right - a futile gesture - and ran for the portal himself. He ducked through right as the thing shut behind him. The clanging sounds of his feet touching the tiled floor alerted the numerous figures roosting there to his presence. Slowly, they turned.
Build saw Ikea’s wooden form withered and rotted, hanging from a noose. Bill’s body had been shattered, his hat lit on fire. His eye had simply been removed from its socket, and he, too, hung from a noose. Stepping from the shadows were ten beings, cloaked in darkness. They raised their hand, and Build’s vision flashed with symbols too unholy for words.
. . . .
Build saw himself, strapped in a chair. He looked up, and saw a series of metal panels broadcasting images. In them, Build saw himself, strapped in a chair. He looked up, and saw a series of metal panels broadcasting images. In them, Build saw himself, strapped in a chair. He looked up, and saw a series of metal panels broadcasting images. In them, Build saw himself, strapped in a chair. He looked up, and saw a series of metal panels broadcasting images. In them, Build saw himself, strapped in a chair. He looked up, and saw a series of metal panels broadcasting images. In them,
. . . .
Build saw himself, rotting in some decaying tomb festering underground. His skeletal head craned to the skeleton eternally resting by his side. Build’s jaw creaked open, a serpentine voice slithering out. "Хаве И стартед а фире, бротхер?" The other skeleton turned and cackled, their bones rattling and coming undone. "Ыес. Тхе фире рисес."
The catacombs blasted themselves to pieces, undone by the statue of a triangle keeping watch over his forest of swaying trees.
. . . .
Build saw himself, rendered in complete black-and-white. He was in a very official-looking room, sitting in a chair next to a man in a suit. In front of him was another man in a suit, sitting at a panel with a series of microphones next to it. The man sitting at the panel cleared his throat, and started to speak. “Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Though there was no audience, the air was suddenly filled with roaring applause and cheers. The walls of the room cracked under the pressure, the noise continuing to pour forth. The metal rain sliced through the skin of the men in suits, pulping their bodies. Build rose in horror, trying to run for safety, but every step was incredibly slow and exaggerated.
Build could only watch as a sheet of metal rain tore into his body, whining with low bass tones.
. . . .
Build saw himself in a house of cards - literally. It was a house constructed entirely of playing cards. Aces, sevens, jacks of all trades, hell, even jokers. Reclining in the middle of this bicycle abode was a freakishly tall figure, decked out in a white fedora and an expertly-ironed white suit and pants, coupled with a black tie and shoes. His long and slender limbs reached for a cup of coffee, which the figure sipped with purpose. Once the figure put down his drink, his head turned to Build.
Build swore every molecule in his body shat themselves when he saw the figure had no face. And it didn’t help when one grew itself, either. The eyes were bulging and intense, the nose was crooked, and that godawful grin stretched across its chiseled, luminescent head like a gash. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SON,DADDY boomed with pride. I AM SO, SO PROUD OF YOU. Build took several steps back, resisting the uncontrollable urge to reply, “I love you so much, DADDY!” Seemingly sensing he was being ignored, DADDY unhinged his jaw and jumped onto the ceiling, crawling around it like a spider. His tongue swiped towards Build, who could only stare.
And then, something inside Build broke. Or perhaps, something inside him was fixed. Build was done being tossed through all these dreams. Here he was, one of the few people who were supposed to be able to shape destiny, and he was letting his own head mess with him. No. Not anymore. He was done letting his head mess with him. He’d conquered his own personality. He was the master of his own mind, not some freakish daddy from hell.
Build’s eyes crackled with lime energy, an emerald ephemeral seeping through his veins. Like liquid power, Build flashstepped across the room, ripping DADDY’s tongue from his mouth. He bled cake mix instead of blood. Build energized DADDY’s tongue with green energy, turning it into a bomb and lobbing it towards the ceiling. It detonated in an explosion that toppled the entire house of cards.
Build found himself in a completely featureless green void. He blinked once, then twice. Great. All that effort to break through the prison of his dreams and now he was in the blandest room he’d ever seen. At least his room had designs on its walls. Build stalked across the void, muttering curses to himself - when, suddenly, he stopped in his tracks. Build had started hearing voices. Snippets of conversations, from outside of the room. The voices spoke in ways that he instinctively recognized. “What shall happen next,” said one who sounded suspiciously like Bill. “WHO KNOWS?” cackled... It couldn’t be. But it was. Split. “Hah,” Battlefury soullessly intoned. Perhaps he’d sound more likely when he ranted about dogs.
Build started to panic. Here he was, locked in a room with his dreams, and they were talking to him again. The Descendants. But there wasn’t a phonograph this time. And he didn’t think they were using Binary. So how were they able to see him? Build was inches away from flying off the handle, but he restrained himself. His hands balled into fists, but he thought about the last time he’d talked to the players. It hadn’t gone well because of how much he’d wanted to distance himself. How much he was still bitter. But after talking to the Operator for the last time… After accepting the fact that he’d be returning to Destroy the Godmodder… After being subjected to this punishment within the Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron HQ… Build felt he was ready. Ready to acknowledge their existence. But not quite ready to talk. So he decided to ignore them for now. Yet, at the same time… Something still drew his attention. It wasn’t the voices, specifically. There was something else.
A pink light flickered in the corner of Build’s vision. He turned to look. “Do my eyes deceive me, or...” Build craned to look. Carved into the wall of the room was a recess containing a hovering, fluttering globule of pink fire. Its light cascaded across the room, lighting everything up in shearing pink tones. Warping and contorting around the pink fire was a chat client - and lines of text streamed across it. It was the players. They were watching him, and talking to him. But more important than that was the fire. Symbols congregated above it, and it flickered with an intensity that suggested it was active. Watching. Sentient.
Build’s glasses reflected the unholy pink, and he felt drawn towards it.
Cautiously stepping forward, Build tried to speak to the flickering mass. “Are... Are you...” But no other words escaped his lips. The fire crackled and surged, exploding. The warping text client shot from the wall, spiraling and tunneling into unpleasant visions. A drifter sitting by a fire. A set of impossible mountains. Burned parchment in scrambled tongues. A robot with the eye of a triangle. Build sped away from the fire as fast as he could, running down an impossible corridor. But wherever he ran, the pink glow intensified. When Build dared to look back, he screamed. Twisting, oily black hands were snaking across the hall, reaching out to grab him. They all trailed from the fire, and symbols of pink geometry were burned into their ‘skin.’
Build ran as fast as he could, knowing in his gut that it was hopeless. He didn’t have the courage to summon up another torrent of First Guardian energy. He was too disoriented. But what he knew - or at least, what he was hoping for - was that the Descendants were still there, listening. “GUYS!” Build shouted. “A LITTLE HELP??” There were several agonizing seconds of silence, but then Generic’s voice bubbled through, containing a single command: kinkshame. Build spun around and pointed the most accusatory finger he could manage, yelling - despite his voice cracking - “K... Kinkshame!”
The hands only sped up as they approached him. Build saw a sphere of darkness close itself around him, the limbs lunging for the kill. He accepted death, aware he’d just wake into another dream. But then - there was a triumphant slash. Build saw that a figure had leapt through the sea of limbs and sliced it cleanly in two. Hands and arms fell this way and that, corrupting into ash. The cubic figure, a silhouette of olive, landed to the ground with a thud, sheathing his sword and dusting himself off. Build adjusted his glasses. They shocked him when he touched them. Hesitantly, Build called out. “Who... Who are you?” The figure walked forwards. With each step, they became clearer. Build saw a head of disheveled hair - some of it was burnt off. He saw a rippling coat covered with bandages and symbols. He saw a set of goggles covering the figure’s eyes, and a scarf covering their mouth. “...Good question,” they plainly spoke. Build recognized him, then. From his voice. With a bitter taste in his mouth, Build recognized the Scribe. The man whom, in the Zeroth War, swore to unlock the Gate and create a new world. A better world.
Whether or not he succeeded didn’t matter. What mattered was that he existed at all.
“Tell me, Red Glasses,” the Scribe coolly said, cutting off any chance of Build going on an anger-fueled tirade. “What exactly are you doing here?” Build looked around. He was in the middle of a grey expanse. Not wanting to risk anything, he said, with as little emotion as he could manage, “Where is here.” The Scribe chuckled, then, and his next words literally sucked the color out of the environment. “Why, the ЕНДС ОФ ТХЕ ЕАРТХ, of course.” Build’s mouth hung in shock. He had been reduced to a white outline against a seething black world. A range of mountains jutted out of the earth, stretching up to a swirling, seething, row of thunderheads. The Scribe materialized behind Build’s back, savoring his paranoia. “No...” Build found himself saying. The word was snatched from his ear by the sounds of howls. “Yes,” the Scribe boomed. “Hear the wind. I’m coming closer.”
Build took more steps back. His eyes trembled, his head shook. He knew this was a nightmare. He knew it wasn’t real. But he couldn’t stop it from happening. He couldn’t. Build held his head in his hands, but the Scribe’s voice came back into focus. “Look. Beyond the mountains. Do you see what I see?” Build’s head shook itself upwards, trying to see beyond the sharp rows of mountains. He saw nothing at first, but then - something showed itself, as if fading from fog. It was, put simply, the largest door Build had ever seen. Two gigantic pillars, inscribed with four circles each, flanked it. “No, no...” Build mumbled. “You can’t...” The Scribe’s voice grew distorted. Demonic. “Oh, but you’re wrong. I can. And I will. ‘Don’t let him open the door,’ they said… What a joke that was. You should let me open the door, Build. Then...”
The Scribe turned back to Build, and he didn’t have any eyes. “Then, you can finally go home.” Build’s vision tunneled. The earth opened before him, and he fell into an endless abyss.
. . . .
Build woke with a start. He found himself still strapped in the Metal Rain’s chair. He blinked several times to stop the world from spinning, rubbing his eyes when that didn’t help. Build breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the metal was no longer moving. The chamber was still again. The door opened. Asclepius, Xenos, Hughes, and the other officer all filed in, as if they were in a funeral. The other officer messed with some buttons, and Build’s restraints were removed. He tended to his arms and picked up his glasses, which were now cool to the touch. Build tried to walk, but fell as he took a single step. He remembered how dizzy he was.
“I doubt you’ll be able to talk, either,” Asclepius said, helping Build up. “So I’ll let you know what exactly that was. The Metal Rain is a therapeutic tool. Whenever we have officers complaining of vivid dreams similar to yours, we put them through it. It reaches into their head once we give the machine the officer’s serial number and have them sit in that chair, and pulls the offending dreams from their brain, playing them like movies. It has the effect of forcing the mind to relive every dream in order, with the hopes that the machine will be able to piece together what exactly they mean. I doubt you’ll remember every dream you just went through. But we saw all of them. Every one.”
Build felt confident enough to speak, yet he still mumbled. “And… what were my results? How’d I do?” Asclepius’ mouth turned to a line. “How many of those dreams do you remember just seeing.” Build looked to the side. “Uh, six? That last big one basically counted as two, anyway.” Asclepius’ eyebrow arched. “Which dream do you remember as your last?” “The... the one with DADDY. And the hands, and the fire.” Asclepius nodded. Hughes’ expression turned to pure and utter disgust. “Well, that was not the last dream we saw,” Asclepius continued. “There was one other following it. And I’d say it holds the key to your current predicament.” Build looked at Asclepius expectantly, hoping he’d continue. He didn’t. “A-and you’re not gonna tell me what it is? You’re leaving me here in suspense?”
Hughes spoke, this time. “You’re better off not knowing, 523/C90/033. Now come on. Back to your cell.” Asclepius held a hand to silence Hughes. “If I may, commander. I haven’t yet properly diagnosed our patient here. I want him to understand.” Hughes sighed, giving the impression that he desperately wanted this whole debacle to be over with. “Fine. Go ahead. Say some medical mumbo jumbo.” Asclepius nodded, and then appraised Build. “This final dream… was rather alarming. You were walking through a grey void that slowly turned to amethyst. There was a gray door, with a navy blue symbol on it. An eight, with a line horizontally carved through it. I’ve never seen anything like it before.” A fire lit in Build’s eyes. He thought he knew where this was going, now.
“You conversed with this figure - he called himself ‘Malpeiyc’ - by the door in a grey suit. He had orange hair, and stars in his eyes. It gave the impression that there was something behind that door that was important. A conference, perhaps. You edged to the doorknob, and when you touched it, you fell through a set of amethyst curtains. On the other side was a peculiar set of beings.” Build’s skin paled by a factor of three. “Does... this ring a bell to you?” Asclepius intoned. “Keep going,” Build urged. “There was a half-human girl calling herself Azure... Four armored beings calling themselves the R4 Council... A purple door named S.O.L.I.D.U.S., a blue cube peculiarly called... the Godhead... and a floating eyeball.” Build nodded. “And let me guess,” he said. “They were meeting to talk about buying MTT Industries. They mistook me for one of the Advanced Superiors. And then they kicked me out, brought Interrobang in, and then I got back in because I used a suit, and then Interrobang died, and I took his glasses, AND--” Asclepius held up his hand. “I do believe that is enough. Yes. That is the dream we saw.”
Build just kind of stared at his hands for a while. “Would you care to enlighten us on what that dream represents?” Asclepius asked Build calmly. Build continued, his voice shaking. “I… It had to do with some other thing. Some… other game.” Asclepius nodded. All four officers met each others’ eyes simultaneously. Build noticed. “You all know what my dream means already, don’t you. Y-you just wanted to hear it from me.” Xenos stared Build right in the eyes. “I am legally not allowed to answer that question.” Build threw up his hands in disgust and scowled. “Okay. So you showed me my dreams. Great! Not like I’d forgotten them. Now tell me, why those are connected with why my mind is fractured, and why you didn’t get involved in the Godmodding Wars sooner. Tell me.”
Asclepius started to respond, but Hughes shoved him aside. “No. No, I’m done with this. You’re not just going to random prisoners and spilling our secrets. I’ve thought about this whole Godmodding War shtick, and I don’t care if this guy is from them, or from the salt mines of Sector Joebob within the quasi-seething. You are not discussing confidential matters with your patients. Just give him a diagnosis, and be done with it.” Asclepius remained stoic, but looked significantly paler than before. He sighed. “...Very well. Build, your symptoms appear to be the direct cause of incredibly severe cerebral epistaxis.” Build blinked. “Cerebral epistaxis?” “Epistaxis is a nosebleed. Cerebral relates to your brain. If your brain is having a nosebleed, then…” Build thought about it. “...Then something’s screwed up,” he said after intense deliberation.
“To bluntly summate it, yes,” Asclepius continued. “Your mind is fractured. I can see remnants of a Shatter - a Shatter so violent it did not quite resolve your split mind into two separate halves. There are still cracks. Cracks no doubt exacerbated by your fractured existence. I will not claim to fully comprehend how you ended up on Earth, but however you got there, it did a number on your mental stability.” Build’s skin once again turned white as a ghost. “No doubt this has caused you to cognize other, completely theoretical realities. Your trip into ‘Malpeiyc’s’ abode is the primary example.” “Are… are you telling me that stuff in my dreams actually happened. Like, for real.” Asclepius shook his head. “Thankfully not, otherwise the metachronistic powers that be would be executing Fiction for bypassing Section 0 Subsection 1 Coda 0 of the Intergalactic Fenestration Accord. No, I didn’t make that up right now, shut up. In essence… You perceived a hypothetical scenario that didn’t come to pass. Yet the fact that you are able to dream up such a phenomenon is, in and of itself, incredibly perplexing. The amount of paradoxical energy required for a task on that scale is truly immense.”
All eyes turned to Build’s glasses. As if to illustrate Asclepius’ point, they sparked magenta. “I… is there a cure?” Build hopefully asked. Asclepius looked at Build peculiarly, as if he was a plate of china. “It depends. Do you enjoy having control over your limbs, and retaining memories beyond a span of five minutes.” “What kind of a question is that.” “I’m just saying. Some gaseous nitric conglomerates don’t exactly have a need for either of those.” Build nodded with mock understanding, and then restated his question. “I was being serious before,” Asclepius responded in turn. “I can’t exactly do that without fundamentally changing what it means to be you. Your mindscape would be heavily modified, and the feedback may even unanchor you from this dimension entirely. It’s entirely possible you’d return from whence you came. So, with that, no. There is no cure.” Build looked at his glasses. Same as ever, they shone with the cosmos. “Y… Can’t you, like, unparadoxify my glasses?” Xenos shook his head. “Your glasses - whatever the hell they are - are… too strong for even us to handle.” He looked embarrassed to be admitting the PAES had trouble with anything. “To nullify that paradox would be like reopening an old wound. A wound cutting through existence.”
Build’s hands shook. He slowly put his glasses back on his head. “So, what. You brought me all the way here, just to tell me that I’m gonna keep having these dreams, forever, and that there’s nothing I can do about it unless I want to stop being me??” Asclepius looked at Build and shrugged. “I… sincerely apologize. It’s the best I can tell you.” Build gritted his teeth in complete irritation. “Fine. Thanks for the help, Assclepius. Just… just take me back to my cell.” Build’s head hung low. Xenos and Hughes nodded, beckoning for Build to follow.
And so, he did. He followed them all throughout the headquarters, until all three of them realized something. There were only three of them, yes. Asclepius and the other officer had stayed behind at the Metal Rain. So why were there four sets of footsteps?
All three people turned back at once, staring at this unexpected fourth member of their party. There was a vaguely rectangular shape behind them - the opened front door of reality. A door that had just been opened by force. The figure that had walked out of it was the source of the footsteps. It was a gleaming, metallic facsimile of a standard Minecraft avatar. Every part of their artificial body shined with a luminescent, intense, purpose. There was this indeterminate fire in their eyes that radiated power. Resting in their arms was a double-barrel shotgun, fashioned out of wood, with steam curling from its end. The figure cocked the shotgun, and spoke in a low, completely human voice, that cut through the entire headquarters. “Tch. You servants of infants need to invest in better security. Try building a wall next time.”
Hughes and Xenos spoke to retort at once, and most likely to call for backup, but they didn’t get the chance. Quicker than Build could see, this robotic figure had pulled out another gun from hammerspace, firing two projectiles and ejecting a plume of smoke. Metal pincers screamed through the air and snagged Hughes and Xenos by the neck, magnetically pinning them against the ceiling. They were stuck. Other officers were beginning to notice the commotion, but the robot didn’t seem to mind. He just walked forward. And Build walked backward.
“Wh… What the hell is going on??” Build found himself asking. “Who are you?” “Oh, wow,” the robot laughed. “All this time, and you don’t even recognize me. Guess you only knew things when you relied on some green ghost to help you.” Build stared blankly, trying to walk back as fast as he could without tripping. “...You mean you seriously don’t know? Too bright to see. Robotic. Carrying a shotgun, for Donald’s sake.” And then it clicked in Build’s head. “G… Goanna? But I… I thought you were trapped in a lotus eater machine!” “Just shows how much you care about your mistakes,” Goanna spat. He levelled a shotgun directly at Build’s face, his hand on the trigger “I never forgot. Once I gained cognizance of the world outside that cursed machine… Once I remembered the existence I’d left behind… I swore I’d never stop until I broke myself free and hunted you down. I want you to take my place. I want you to share my fate.” “Are you kidding me?? Y-you’re gonna kill me just for dealing with a legitimate threat to the war? Come on! It was common sense!”
At this, Goanna laughed even harder. “Kill you? No, no, no. You’re misunderstanding. I told you that you would share my fate. Why would I kill you…” The ends of Goanna’s shotgun gleamed with a white-hot intensity. Build suddenly felt very, very hot. “...When I can lock you in your own broken mind?” Build tried to run. He really did. He turned his back and ran as fast as his legs could carry him. But Goanna’s shotgun - whatever it was - practically fired a wall of light. It was impossible to escape. Build felt it hit his back and wash over his head. His eyes rolled upwards, and he was dimly ware of himself tumbling to the ground. And then there was darkness.
Goanna calmly walked forwards, ignoring the other Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron guards. He scrutinized Build’s body and, with the strength of a robot, picked him up and carried him back through the door of reality.
“Sweet dreams, Adam Mason.”
The clock stops. Time has reached a standstill. And so has plot.
Three weeks ago was December 7th, 2016. The END OF YEAR 4. At that date, it had been four years since TT2000 had originally posted the first "Destroy the Godmodder" thread, here on this very forum. I felt it would be cool to make a series of 'short' stories - one for every 12/7 we've had. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea, brought upon by FDR's famous speech about Pearl Harbor, in which he called 12/7 "a date which will live in infamy." I just decided to flesh out some previous events in the series to start - like showing what was really going through the minds of the Godmodder and TT2000 at the start of DTG1, and bringing back Zero Hour and Monochromium. But after that, I hadn't really done any major events within DTG2. 12/7/15 and 12/7/16 were completely up for grabs. So I went wild with them, forging an entirely new path.
The main idea that I was going with for Infamy was remembering. The idea that it's okay to turn to the past for advice, and that you should always remember where you came from. It's what the Godmodder was doing with his whole slideshow, and it's what I hope all of you now understand after reading through it. The future may not be certain, but the past is. (Unless you're in, like, some Orwellian future. In which case, good luck.) And as for that final part with Build... Those two dreams he'd experienced were based off of weird image-based stories I uploaded on the DTG Discord channel, called Daddyquest and Corporateclustergorillaquest. The latter involved TheLordErelye's own text adventure, Abyssal Oddity, which takes place outside of Fiction entirely. Why is Build able to dream something like it up? Well, that's the problem, isn't it. Build's predicament will likely conclude in a quest similar to those two (it might just be through text, though). I'll probably upload all three on imgur or something.
Well, I guess that's all I've got to say. Now that I'm done with Infamy, I'll be able to continue work on the DTG2 flash animation [S] Arrive (which never stopped being a thing that was happening, despite me missing the date it was supposed to release at). I'm not going to pretend I know when it will be done. The best I can tell you is,