Saturday 13 February 2021

13 Items

A world in 13 items. A very soothing exercise by way of Archon Smarchon, who further gestures to its origins.
  1. Tartan patch. Too small for a toga, but a bath towel, rucksack, picnic blanket, shawl or very fetching kilt
  2. Reel of tape. It's sticky, it's strong, it has a thousand and one uses.
  3. Flashbulb helmet. Works great on rats and roaches.
  4. Spring boots. Five minutes winding for one extremely unpredictable bound.
  5. Harpoon and winch. Clockwork gearings and polymer line ideal for climbing, hauling, whaling, skyfighting and more.
  6. Snail harness. Lots of nasty little barbs to stop it withdrawing.
  7. Pin rapier. Could be used for sewing, as well as swordfighting.
  8. Bug-in-a-box. A terrifying fire giant painted on the front, but the bug appears to be sleeping.
  9. Baked bean(s). The old beans used to take two hands to lift, but these new canned ones look like... small beans.
  10. Thimbleful of milk. It's as rich, creamy, heavy, heady, soporific as all the stories
  11. A brick of snuff, and a tiny, beautiful tin knife with which to cut and crush it.
  12. Elegant brushes of human hair, and stolen paints.
  13. Ampoule of perfume. Barely larger than you are, blessedly easy to carry but enough for a town.

Thursday 11 February 2021

the manteion

 For Patrick's dungeon poem challenge.

1. MASK ROOM. Hundreds of different masks hanging on the walls. You hear muttering if you press your ear to the door, but it goes away once you open it. Putting on a mask slowly drains your personality and leaves you open to outside influence.

2. CHANGING ROOM. Benches and towels. Rows of wooden shelves containing moldy clothes, rusty weapons, purses with a few coins in them. A few dark smears across the polished floor. A naked corpse, missing its legs, collapsed in the corner.

3. THE GRACES. From left to right, a featureless pillar; a blocky, abstract humanoid; a naked woman; a skinless woman; a skeleton; an empty plinth. Each carved from stone. An altar in the centre, darkly smeared. Ritual oils and short knives.

4. MIRROR. Shadows lurk in the depths of a bronze mirror, taking up the whole eastern wall. They whisper riddles, telling you only the blind and faceless can pass onto the bridge. The weaker the light, the easier it is to hear them. While it's dark, the door is open.

5. BEACH. Bones scattered over the river's stony banks. A pale, wrinkled figure squats on the shore, trying to pry the smiling mask off his face. Skinless pink things like cave salamanders stir in the oily water. They attack if you try to help him.

6. ANOINTING HALL. Stepwell leads down to bubbling black water, edges worn away from years of pilgrims descending. Lengths of thick rope with a noose at one end, a heavy stone tied to the other, piled against the wall. Smells like gas.

7. LIBRARY. Papyrus scrolls piled in scroll-racks, holding thousands of cryptic prophecies. Not ordered or catalogued in any way. Skinless pink things slither among the racks, their masks the only indication of where their faces should be.

8. HALL OF PROPHECY. Naked corpses everywhere, slowly decaying. Water drips onto their upturned faces. Beetles scuttle in the dark. A pregnant woman in red rags wanders among them, holding a torch, singing to herself. She flees if she sees you.

9. SIBYL'S CHAMBER. Intensely hot. Volcanic gas bleeds from a crack in the floor, inducing nihilistic delirium and visions of the future that replace your memories. Hidden door leads to a stage. Finger-scrawls on the walls seem imbued with terrible meaning.

0. SANCTUARY. A cot with sweat-damp sheets. A few dried fish, a chamberpot and a bowl of water. A hidden window that looks out into the hall. A baby-sized golden mask under the cot, its cheeks fat and its eyes closed. The pink things won't let you leave with it.

Tuesday 2 February 2021


 HADEAN EON (4.5 bya)

  • Solar system forms from cosmic dust.
  • Intelligent life develops on the lost planet Nibiru, beyond Neptune.
  • Annunaki civilisation flourishes, begins to colonise gas giants.
  • Presence of life attracts extrasolar predator Tiamat.
  • Oort cloud infested by Tiamat. Hadean War begins.
  • Annunaki scientists relocate Nibiru to inner ring of solar system.
  • Nibiru collides with Earth. Moon formed. Collapse of Annunaki civilisation.
  • Tiamat slain by Marduk, last king of the Annunaki. End of Hadean War.
  • Late Heavy Bombardment caused by distintegration of Tiamat's corpse.
  • Most surviving Annunaki retreat to lunar tomb-cities, enter cultural stasis.
  • Tiamatic material, seeded by meteors across inner system, evolves into first prokaryotes.

  • Earth cools below the boiling point of water, allowing oceans to form.
  • Microbial mats populate the slimy shores of Vaalbara, the first continent, and begin to develop rudimentary self-awareness.
  • Great age of stromatolithic architecture. Psychic reefs and dreaming mountains play host to anaerobic shoggoth ecosystem.
  • Vaalbara fuses into one vast prokaryotic brain.
  • Quasi-human time refugees from the Anthropocene terraform and colonise Noachian Mars.
  • Martian seas run dry. 
  • Attempts to steal Earth's water lead to catastrophic war with Vaalbara.
  • Empire of Hungry Stone conquers inner system. 
  • Shoggoth legions begin the process of converting all matter into cognition slime.
  • Last of the Q-men infect Earth with blue-green bacteria bred in Tharsis plague pools. 
  • Vaalbara destroyed by Oxygen Holocaust.
  • First eukaryotes appear.
  • Chthonians evolve from subterranean protozoa.
  • Q-men descendants colonise newly-oxygenated Earth.
  • Surviving shoggoths retreat to bottom of sea, which remains anoxic.
  • Q-men cope with Huronian glaciation by evolving into photosynthetic yetis.
  • Frozen earth converted into temple. Ice mandalas etched on moons of Saturn.
  • Yetis pass a billion years in silent meditation upon the beauty of barren continents, then peacefully go extinct, except for handful of sorcerors who mummify themselves to await the dawn of a new eon.
  • Emergence of complex multicellular life.
  • Elder blastoids populate Gondwana's warm, shallow seas.
  • Arrival of the Great Race, emigrants from a hostile future who project their consciousness into the bodies of hallucigenian worms.
  • Blastoid explorers make contact with the last shoggoths, lurking in sulphuric vents.
  • Foundation of Pnakotus, the basalt library-city, where worm-scholars write the history of the universe by kidnapping witnesses from across time.
  • Mi-go arrive from the Oort cloud, having evolved from cosmic parasites attracted to Tiamat's corpse. They colonise mountaintops and begin to experiment on fish.
  • Shoggoth army conquers Pnakotus, unleashing the contents of its time dungeons.
  • Early amphibians haunt the clubmoss forests, worshipping the god Pan in the form of a horned centipede.
  • P-T extinction event caused by blastoid-mi-go war.
MESOZOIC ERA (252 mya)
  • Amphibians evolve into serpent men.
  • Serpent men tame dinosaurs, build solar-powered cities in the desert.
  • Kardashev Type I civilisation developed.
  • Slave race of Q-men cloned from yeti gene banks.
  • Dyson swarm constructed around sun.
  • Kardashev Type II civilisation developed.
  • First contact made with Nordics and Zeta Reticulans.
  • Serpent men explore the galactic core and discover the singularity Azathoth.
  • Earth abandoned to breed new intelligent species for Azathoth's consumption.
  • Kardashev Type III civilisation developed.
  • Emancipated Q-men establish dinosaur kingdoms, start work on spaceflight.
  • Improperly maintained Dyson swarm component falls into erratic orbit and causes Chicxulub impact.
  • Last dinosaurs preserved by chthonians in Hollow Earth.
  • Reanimated yeti sorceror founds Hyperborean empire.
  • Maps of past and future discovered in Pnakotic ruins, providing hard evidence of causal determinism.
  • Hyperborea declines into nihilism and sexual decadence.
  • Puritan cult of Tsathoggua sparks civil war.
  • Surviving Hyperboreans enter Hollow Earth, adapting to subterranean life.
  • Early whales develop collective dreaming capacity, begin to sculpt oneiric dimensions once occupied by Vaalbaran consciousness.
  • Continents settle into their current positions.
  • Atlantis and Lemuria grown from crystal seeds, colonised by primitive Q-men.
  • Zeta Reticulans make contact with Atlanteans, trading technology for a promise to guard their cetacean ancestors.
  • Earliest hominids evolve in Africa.
  • Multiple intelligent species attempt to guide human evolution, leading to the Ape Wars.
  • Atlantis and Lemuria destroyed. Survivors flee to the Americas.
  • Human civilisation develops in fertile river valleys, subtly guided by serpent men.
  • Rings of Saturn constructed as means of social control.
  • The present day.