Sunday, June 11, 2017

An Introduction


I am an amateur writer with no formal training. I have degrees in history and philosophy but, in retrospect, I should have focused on creative writing and am currently searching for classes where I can better myself as a writer. My hope is to become a professional writer, as I've always had stories in my head and I am a bit limited now with regards to my choices of employment (chronic illness problems). I have done some writing under the name Metaphysician for the SCP Foundation, for those who wish to check it out:

Masquerade's End is a weird fiction alt-history setting in which the 'veil' is abruptly lifted following a series of catastrophes beginning on December 22, 1863. The degree of this veil lifting is something I am not entirely settled on and has limited my ability to really move forward with a proper narrative. My initial idea simply involved a world in which alchemy and the "occult sciences" are actualized, ultimately ushering in various technological, scientific, and cultural changes.

Other times I consider leaving the veil down, where only a few glimpse what lies behind it. My ideas for those stories generally follow a weird fiction/horror/detective noir.

In time I will have to make a choice on this, but here is a full list of potential events and alterations that set this Earth c. 1900-1920 apart from baseline reality. It is entirely possible that I will not stick to all of these or will end up creating things not currently listed. These are different factors that may or may not shape the finished world.

  • A Global Cataclysm: The end of the world arrived unannounced. There were no dread harbingers on horseback; no angelic choir or trumpet’s blare. 22 December, 1863 was a date never forgotten but a day few could recall with much clarity. Those that did remember were locked away in asylums or otherwise removed from 'polite company'. The event (known by many names, including the Naufragium, the Rupture, the Lost Day, the Shattering, and various apocalyptic terms) could only be understood through its aftermath - including a quarter of the population either dead or missing without much rhyme or reason.
  • The Deluge: Floods arrived without rain, occurring both globally and simultaneously, destroying many coastal cities. The truth was not to be discovered until years later as the oceans contained no more water than they had before - the water had merely been displaced by the emergence of new lands, some seemingly lifted from the abyssal depths while others lacked any scientific explanation whatsoever. These lands include places such as Lemuria, The Coral City, and the Drowned Kingdoms of Mu.
  • The Aetheric Bleed: Aether composes the structure of a dimension that binds reality to a local level, separating it from dimensions that would otherwise overlap. Scientists believe that recent events are tied to a weakening of this structure, allowing dimensions adjacent to our own to 'bleed' into ours. This 'bleed' includes the terrain and lifeforms from these other worlds, resulting in trans-dimensional refugees. Many of these refugees have been assimilated, suffering many of the plights associated with immigrant life. I hope to explore these people in a later post. It is suspected that the Aetheric Bleed has always existed at greater or lesser strength than it currently does.
  • The Scramble for Subterra: Powerful quakes have caused the earth's surface to rupture, opening paths to the Great Below - a realm of massive caverns, subterranean seas, and where the only light is the sickly glow of bioluminescent lifeforms and pools of magma. It is home to strange fungi and troglodytic fauna, as well as the ruins of civilizations far older than man. Despite its inhospitable nature, the deep colonies of various states can be found throughout the Great Below and it is where the first esoteric elements were discovered, leading to the development of working alchemy. Native denizens include the Pale (which stand as evidence that the deep colonists are not the first humans to descend below), intelligent parasitic fungi (who view human corpses much the way a hermit crab does a shell), and leviathan sized nudibranch.
  • Anathemas: Humanity was forced to once again broaden their definition of disease. Anathemas produce anomalous, debilitating symptoms tied to individuals, objects, and places. A noise, an image, even a thought can serve as an anathema’s vector. The Pariahs’ Fellowship was created in order to provide support groups for afflicted individuals. Entire regions can develop an anathema, often leading to their abandonment with the unforeseen benefit (depending who you ask) of allowing nature to reclaim the land. Such environments are commonly referred to as "blighted".
  • The Nevermeant: A failed and fallen creation - an amalgam of stillborn realities; a cosmic abortion that seeps into our world. It is distinct from the rest of the Aetheric Bleed by virtue of its sheer destructiveness and dreamlike qualities. Various parts of the world have been consumed by the Nevermeant, including the city of London - resulting in the collapse of the British Empire. 
  • Hexenborn: A minority of those born after the Aetheric Bleed are anomalously gifted. They are naturally able to wield the occult, altering reality by force of will. They are feared by many, revered by some, and different cultures respond to their birth differently - some are removed from their families and trained to serve the state, others are killed at birth, and in a few places, they have become the dominate power.

Some Prose:

A corpulent doomsayer spewed forth another dread portent. Gaunt disciples sift for meaning among the vomitus. Sallow blindfolds fail to hide the weeping wounds of their hollowed sockets. "Eyes plucked by their very own hands," went the rumors. "Saw something they shouldn't have." They cry tears of ichor, ignored by all.

German war-zeppelins rain down fire and brimstone from the sky. Those below rasp profane litanies from their sulfur soaked lungs, cursing God more than any man. The wounded drown slowly in puddles of blood, mud, and excrement; there would be many lies told in their name - lies of glory, honor, and martyrdom. The British charge from the trenches, a row of privileged officers stay behind - ready to open fire on those that refuse. They charge into the fetid yellow fog but the war is already lost. Black robed mystics gather around a mountain of corpses. Laying hands upon the dead, they chant words belonging to no human tongue in accents thickly Russian. The mountain trembles and shambles and feeds and the dead soon outnumbered the living.

Industrial transmutaters redefine matter and form, bathing all in its elemental fallout. Workers cough up blood, lungs ravaged by unseen silicates. There are shadows burnt into the brickwork and radium touched eyes glow in the twilight. Desires for better lives disappeared with time, their leaden minds dulled and stupefied. Shouldering the cost of progress, never knowing its reward.

He left a gift of candles and scrolls outside the windowless monastery. The Jesuit only wished to understand the heresy. "Take off your mask," urged the bandage wrapped Perfecti. "And shed that cloak of Demiurge flesh. Its seams have already begun to fray - a soul eager to be born." Those within walked on phantom limbs and spoke with phantom tongues.

An ill omen goes ignored in the night. Blame falls on the watchman, who is swiftly flayed and hanged from the bow. It would be enough, the sailors thought. The crew is silent, anxious; several prostrate themselves in prayer. Echidnean spines pierce the hull. Water floods the vessel, rivets burst from pressure. Straws are drawn. Again. Blood on the wind. Again. Screams that never seem to end. Still they pray. Another straw is drawn. It is not enough. The Drowned Kingdoms call. A gunshot rings from the cabin and the captain is missing. Throats are slit while others swallow cyanide. There was no escape from Her Undulating Vastness - Her Eternal Embrace.

Life was cheap in the Great Below but its denizens breed quickly in the darkness. Labyrinthian ruins were known to inspire strange blasphemies throughout Earth's hollow, distressing the Churchmen of the world above. "The deep colonies were a mistake and the same can be said of this mission," lamented the Bishop in his letter to the surface. "Not even the Lord's Light reaches these depths. There are structures here older than Adam, I shudder at the thought and refuse to consider its ramifications." Few remembered the Sun but the deep colonists claim to have found another. It was said to be beyond the fungal forests and the Abyssal Sea - beyond the Pale and their hideous familiarity - and somewhere beyond that terrible blasted city and its numberless, unspoken crimes.

[Children from Grayshade Enclave, an American (U.S.) deep colony c. 1899]

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