Friday, June 15, 2018

Page 1826

Every Vanguardian knew the basic tenets of Abolish’s various religions. Though they differed in minor ways, they all followed their ancient tripartite mantra of “Pursue Chaos, Sow Destruction, and Reap Death.”

He knew that certain sects added in further bits about “Peace at All Costs” or “True Equality for All” or “Salvation in Brimstone”--as if any of that made sense.

It was rare to know details beyond that, however. Parson had been passingly interested in it, at times, if only as a means of better understanding his enemy, but they were such confusing and disorganized bastards that it was difficult to make heads or tails of what most of them actually believed.

If anything at all. Mostly, Parson was of the opinion that all of their religious talk was simply a means of either concealing or excusing their own madness. It was no secret that Abolish attracted the violently insane, after all.

However, Parson had asked Damian and Feromas to explain the Morgunovian religion to him, once. It was called Mawtalla, though it was more widely known as the religion of Chaos.

There is the Void, and there is Chaos,’ Feromas had said. ‘While the Void is the ultimate, collective consciousness, Chaos is a specific subset within the Void. It is difficult to explain in a way that makes material or even rational sense, but you can think of Chaos as a “region” within the Void where “dreams” occur. Dreams. And nightmares. A volatile battleground of creativity, if that makes any kind of sense.

At the time, Parson hadn’t thought much of that explanation. It was just one more thing that made Abolish crazy. Not really worth thinking too deeply about.

Now, however... he was feeling less certain.

His right hand wandered up toward the pulsing sludge pile.

This was a terrible idea. He absolutely knew that.

But he wanted to know. He didn’t even know what he wanted to know, what sort of answer he was hoping for--or even why he was so curious. But it didn’t matter.

He hesitated one last time, right as the freshly regenerated skin of his index finger was about to touch the sludge. He was already resolved to go the rest of the way, but a part of him in the back of his mind was still warning him not to do this, telling him what an idiot he was.

As it turned out, however, his finger didn’t have to make the rest of the trip.

The sludge stretched suddenly to meet him.

He didn’t even have time to jump or react in any way. His vision flashed to darkness, then to lightness, then back to darkness.

And in an instant, he witnessed more things than his mind was capable of perceiving. A hulking beast with a million faces. A white tower with a million windows. A blue star exploding a million times. A million harps playing in perfect harmony. An army of snakes and an army of angels, all dying a million deaths. A million kings. A million heroes. A million explorers. A million sages, wizards, clowns, virgins, lovers, rebels, mothers. A million. A million? More. Uncountable. Imperceptible. Yet there, in his mind, all the same.

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