Retcon Heir

There are few things worse than a loved one gone missing. At least one of those is not knowing if there was anyone to miss in the first place.

This is a tale of tales. Of gods, memories, mythtellers, a Muse, an Author, and the friend She seeks in the world She helped knit into Being.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/974474?view_full_work=true

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3. Chapter 2 Part 1

You squint behind your hand at the sun. From what you can tell it’s smaller than the one you grew up with, bright yellow tinged green.  

It’s also stupidly hot.

Sighing, you look at the surrounding town. The structures are simple--the nephilim are not quite up to modern Earth standards yet, but they’re getting there. Even so, this town is rather sparse and old-fashioned-seeming. The most prominent feature is the building that occupies the center: a temple with a tall spire tower at its front. From its walls hang familiar emblems: the symbols of Breath, Light, Time and Space.

Experience would suggest you stay as far away from it as possible.

So of course, your foresight is saying the exact opposite.

You sigh.

 

~ ※ ~

ROSE: Hello?

Your voice echoes. The inside of the building is cool, dim and empty--you didn’t see any nephilim outside, either. Perhaps it’s some sort of townwide siesta period?

Undeterred, you walk forward into the main chamber. Small chairs carved of wood are arranged in circular rows round a platform, raised very slightly off the ground and engraved with a series of lines which you realize form the logo of Sburb. Caught up in your curiosity, you don’t notice the footsteps until they’re far too close.

???: Hello.

ROSE: Ah-

The last time you were this close to a nephil, they were attempting to convince you to let them wash your feet. At least this one seems friendly, even with the mask.

Only their eyes, slitted pupils on white scleras, are visible. Small, pale yellow horns peek out from behind the mask--between that and the gray skin, they could almost be trolls. With any luck, your pulled-down hood and the dim lighting will create the illusion of a skin condition.

 

ROSE: Hello. I’m sorry to disturb you. Are you the...person in charge here?

???: Oh, no ma’am, I’m just studying here at the moment. Though I would like to rise to be Head Mythkeeper someday!

COYR: My name’s Coyr, by the way. I’m just looking after the temple at the moment. Our Head Mythkeeper is out of town, looking into some disagreements about the old canon texts.

COYR: Oh...did you need to speak with them?

ROSE: No, no, that won’t be necessary, I just...

ROSE: I’m looking for someone.

 

Your lip twists in a half smile.

  

ROSE: Have you seen the Heir of Breath?

ROSE: Tall, black hair?

ROSE: Wears a ridiculously long blue hood?

  

Coyr looks at you oddly.

  

COYR: Is...that a joke? No one has seen our Heir of Breath, or any of the Vanguards, since they appeared to the first followers of OurMuse .

ROSE: Yeah, I thought s-

COYR: Unless...unless this is some sort of metaphor?

ROSE: Excuse me?

  

Coyr is practically vibrating with excitement.

 

COYR: D-do you wish to accept Our Heir of Breath into your life??

ROSE:

ROSE: I

ROSE: I guess technically I do? But that’s not-

COYR: It’s okay, miss! You don’t have to be ashamed- many don’t start the path to enlightenment until later in life!

ROSE: I’m not THAT old-

COYR: I can recommend texts, give you a schedule for our sessions, and I think we have some pamphlets lying around back here!-

 

Oh hell no.

 

COYR: Blah blah blah acceptance blah blah blah even the less fortunate,

COYR: blah blah blah lack of horns blah blah blah donation plan...

ROSE: Well, Coyr, it sure has been nice speaking with you-

COYR: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah readings...

ROSE: But I really should be on...

 

You pause.

 

ROSE: What are readings like, by the way?

 

Coyr stops for a moment.

 

COYR: Uh, well, we just recite the ancient texts, basically! Sometimes we have sessions in which mythtellers meet from across regions, one recites a tale, and then in response the listener tells one not told in their region, as a way to keep the myths alive!

 

You hum thoughtfully. The things John had written had been erased, but would things ABOUT him be erased?

Against your survival instinct, you decide to experiment:

 

ROSE: May I hear a story about the Heir of Breath, please?

 

Idly you wonder if it’s possible for one's eyes to bulge so much they get caught in the eyeholes of one's mask.

 

COYR: I...I would love to tell you a story! Ah, please, sit down!

 

The excited nephil guides you to a chair, and then practically soars up the podium, pulling a small book from their robes. Once there, their barely repressed excitement melts into a dead serious bearing.

 

COYR: Ahem.

COYR: By breath, by light,

COYR: by space, by time.

COYR: I weave my words,

COYR: I spin my rhyme.

 

The poem goes on for several stanzas, and you can’t help but feel yourself being drawn in. You always were a fan of the dramatic, and the dramatic is an element Coyr is clearly familiar with.

 

COYR: ...Receive,

COYR: reflect,

COYR: remember.

  

~ ※ ~

 

 

The Beginning of the First Cataclysm

 

 

 

In those days, our Seer sought a companion to join Her in Her quest to initiate Sburb. Great tempests and fires threatened both our Seer's home and internet connection; nevertheless, She was determined to commence the Trials. But nary a willing nor capable soul could be found. The Witch would have happily accompanied her, but the means had not yet presented themselves. The Knight had no desire to partake in the quest at that time, and advised the Seer to call upon the Heir.

Our Seer inquired whether our Heir had possession of what was heralded as "The Game of the Year" and was told (after sound advice not to constantly beguile contemptible perjurers or whatever) that He had yet to claim it from His father, who had collected the Mail that day. Being particularly bright in mind and knowing of character, our Seer ascertained that our Heir had "donned one of thy disguises, hasn't thou? Thou art typing to me at this very moment whilst wearing something ridiculous."

Our Heir, being mischievous and the Master of Pranks, replied thus: "nay, wherefore wouldst thou believe that? that's so ludicrous." 'Twas only after Her suggestion to confront His father that He revealed that He, indeed, was wearing a disguise most ridiculous. "hehehe"

After battling through mountains of cakes and paternal affection and pranks, our Heir gained access to the disc that would allow Them to escape the First Cataclysm. Our Seer and Heir made a connection, and thus, the Heir's home became free to manipulate. She proceeded, verily, to wreck the shit out of everything. After expanding our Heir's room, She deployed Three Great Machines throughout the house. In our Heir's room, she placed the Totem Lathe; the Cruxtruder was elegantly placed into the front door*; and the Alchemiter was placed upon the balcony.

*At our Heir's request, The Cruxtruder was moved away from the door, for He had not yet achieved powers of Wind nor Appearifying and Disappearifying, and so required use of the door.

 In our Seer's great wisdom, She displaced the Heir's Chest of Magic upon the roof and tore toilet and bathtub alike from the floor. Now, the great tempests and fires had not yet stopped being Things That Existed, and in our Seer's pursuit to transport the bathtub to the driveway, the internet connection was momentarily interrupted. And lo, the bathtub did crash upon the floor with a mighty rumble.

 

Our Heir heaved a great sigh and spake: "thou art able to gaze upon me, correct? i bid thee pray tell, what is amiss within this scene?" Our Seer apologized and explained the wireless signal was weak, and feared seeking a stronger one because of the risk of an encounter with her mother.

Our Heir then attempted to open the Cruxtruder with His Sledgehammer. He was too weak to lift it, so our Seer gave the required assistance through Her cursor. And a Kernelsprite did burst forth from the top of the Cruxtruder, taking the form of a Flashing Blue Ball. A countdown of four minutes and thirteen seconds appeared upon the surface of the Cruxtruder. With a sense of urgency upon Them, our Seer and Heir began to finish the final steps of Entry. The Kernelsprite was prototyped with a maimed Harlequin Doll, and our Heir used the Alchemiter to create His entry item: a blue Apple.

A meteor gleamed in the sky above our Heir's home. Moments before direct collision, our Heir bit into the Apple and entered His land.

 

  

~ ※ ~

 

Coyr looks so eager that you don't have the heart to tell them that while the tale certainly gets several points down, it, er... misses others. Still, it's close enough to the actual events to give you some hope that they can help you yet.

 

ROSE: Do you have any other records of him? Perhaps a little more recent?

 

Coyr hmmms, flipping through pages.

 

COYR: None that I can find here. It may be in your best interests to advance to the next town where the lore is kept!

 

You nod and thank them.

> Rose: Advance.

Grey skies and dim sunlight cloak the next town. It's small with narrow streets and rounded buildings laced in ivy. The temple is not hard to find; it's something of a presence here.

Your footsteps echo throughout the ornate hall as you wander in. It's dark and quiet (perhaps everyone has convened to other rooms?) and you would call for someone - but they beat you to the punch.

 

NEPHIL: May I help you?

ROSE: It depends, I suppose. Could you tell me anything about-

ROSE: Um. About the Heir of Breath, and where he may be?

 

It disconcerts you how the second half of that sentence nearly slipped away from your tongue.

 

NEPHIL: ...Ah.

NEPHIL: We certainly would have records of a Breath Player. You are certainly free to peruse our tomes in the room over there.

 

They point over to a large room at the top of the stairs. You thank them, and carefully ascend. A thick, intricately patterned book sits upon a wooden stand. You brush your hand over the cover and open it up somewhere in the beginning.

  

~ ※ ~

 

How Our Seer of Light Saved the Land of Wind and Shade and Freed the Fireflies 

 

Our Seer of Light possesses many a Mystical Artifact for focusing Her all-encompassing vision. One of these tools is Her Crystal Ball. During the Vanguards' Session, She alone could divine the movements of the Planets throughout the Medium, and the actions of its inhabitants, and the courses of even the Horrorterrors writhing in the Furthest Ring, in its clear violet depths. One day - Four Thirteen, the blessed day Our Seer of Light, Our Knight of Time, and Our Witch of Space entered the Great and Terrible Game - She sat with Her Grimoire, poring over its runes with Her shrewd visage illuminated by Her Laptop, and Her Crystal Ball resting alongside Her.

 

All of the sudden, the Magic Cue Ball flared a brilliant orange-red, aflame with the image of the empty Planet, the Land of Wind and Shade, blazing with vermilion fire. In the midst of doing battle with the Guardian of Our Knight of Time, the Universe B1 iteration of Our Prince of Heart, the wrathful Sovereign Slayer had loosed the Red Miles upon the Land of Wind and Shade, and set the empty Planet's tar-black oil rivers and lakes to burning. Though the Land of Wind and Shade never housed any Player, it was peopled with Salamander Consorts, and with Fireflies, and with the Denizen Typheus in its core, and the various and sundry household accoutrements that might have proven useful to a Player were strewn and floating across its slick black face.

 

Our Seer of Light saw this and was troubled. Though the burning planet's image did serve as a splendid reading light, She could not abide the destruction of the Land of Wind and Shade, useless though it appeared. And so, She reached out to the Breeze that flowed through that planet, which possessed a life and soul all Its own, and which bent to the will of Typheus Himself. She urged the Breeze to quell the fires that threatened the Land of Wind and Shade. However, the Breeze could not understand Her words; only a Breath player, which their Session lacked, could make Their words known to the Breeze.

 

The flames grew; furthermore, they turned from red to brilliant green; for Our Witch of Space prototyped her Guardian on accident. So, the Sovereign Slayer acquired the canine features and omnipotence of her Guardian, and began to draw his fearsome powers from the Green Sun. The fires set there by the Sovereign Slayer continued to devour the planet; and the Seer feared that the adorable Salamanders would be burnt to a crisp.

 

Luckily - and luck is ever on Our Seer of Light's side - She is well versed in magic, and clever, and powerful, beyond the most distant hopes of any god or mortal. She took up her Thorns of Oglogoth and conducted the movements of the Breeze Herself, as if directing a grand windy orchestra, so that It swept across the surface of the empty Planet - sadly, the Cosbytop sinking into the oil's depths was not saved - and extinguished the flames presently. So, too, were the thick grey clouds obscuring the empty Planet's surface swept away, and the Fireflies trapped within the clouds were liberated from their prisons, and gratefully fluttered down to reunite with their Salamander friends. The horizons of the empty Planet grew bright, befitting the noble deed of a Hero of Light, and the empty Planet became peaceful, and the Salamanders feasted on juicy grasshoppers in Our Seer of Light's honour, and all was well.

 

 

 

~ ※ ~

 

It's... wrong, it's all wrong. You shut the book (you nearly tear the cover). There must be something wrong with this copy. Someone must have pulled a really elaborate, really shitty prank. That's all. You're certain if you check another temple's copy, then it will make sense again. You’ll just add some notes in here so everything is set right, and you’ll be on your way.

Okay. Good.

 

 > Be on your way.

 

The next book you encounter is weighed down by thick, Gothic letters and tiny paintings that frame each page. The nephil there tells you there is no chance anyone could have - or would have - vandalized it in any way. The text is precious to them.

  

~ ※ ~

 

 

 

The Seer’s Descent into Darkness

 

 At that time, the realm of the Gods continued to be wracked by war; and though the Gods sought to bring peace, they faced many difficulties in their quest. For they were even now pursued by the Usurper, the False Queen, who sought chaos and destruction, and death above all else.

In pursuit, the Usurper came across a golden Fortress in the world below the clouds, the gleaming capital that housed many great texts of wisdom, and entered it; and saw there the near kin of Our Gods, she who had raised the Seer, and he who had taught the Heir; and there the Usurper drew the sword and slew them at once.

Though she was far away, the Seer witnessed her kin’s death with her gift of far-sight, and swore revenge against the Usurper. But she knew she had not yet the power to act against the Usurper, for she would surely fall to that deadly blade. So the Seer consulted with her Power, and her Power spoke true: that she should seek help from the Elder Gods, that they might grant her that which would lead to the Usurper’s defeat.

And so the Seer opened her mind to the voices of the Elder Gods, and they did speak to her, and their words were comprehended by the Seer’s great power; and so the Seer took the gifts of the Elder Gods, the power they granted her to defeat the Usurper, and the ability to speak in their tongues, and thus the Seer did ascend to a new level of holiness.

Then the Seer sought the Fortress, and, finding it, descended upon it in a tempest of darkness and chaos, equal to that which the Usurper had brought.

In her descent, the Seer met with the inhabitants of that Fortress, and each were blessed with her presence, though it was not yet Light that she bestowed unto them. And the Seer read from the holy texts within, and her wisdom grew immensely.

But the Seer still had not found her prey, though as she descended further into its depths she grew closer and closer to whom she sought, and the need to avenge her kin burned deep and dark within her heart. The Seer knew she drew close; for as the Usurper had slain, that sword had become covered in their blood, and it was that blood, her own blood, that the Seer followed into the depths of the Fortress.

The Seer then passed through the heart of the Fortress, and there walked through the Six Acts for the first time; and she understood them, and knew what was to come. And at its very heart which had been untouched by the Usurper, she walked through the final Act, and there she found that which she needed, though she had not yet realized she had been searching for it.

And so the Seer led that which she needed through the Six Acts, and ascended together to the peak of the Fortress once more; but as they ascended, tears of sorrow were wept, for the Usurper had passed in the Seer’s wake, and slaughtered the inhabitants of the Fortress, black and white alike, so that no mortal remained alive in that now-cursed place.

When the Seer had ascended, and the light of the world above was visible to them, the Seer was spoken to by that which she had found, and was told thus: that she had eternal gratitude for freeing this one, and for lighting the path outside, where a quest could be continued. And as it had been spoken by the oracle who divines in blood, so it was that they were united for the first time, and they were to be married, and live in peace and happiness for eternity; and thus the Seer spoke her assent, but the words of the Elder Gods yet remained on her tongue, and she could not be understood by any but the Elder Gods.

Then the Seer left the Fortress, and there she discovered the Usurper, who had lain in wait for her, knowing their final confrontation was forthcoming.

So the Usurper began their fated battle, and raised that blood-covered sword against the Seer, but it caught only the breeze, and the Seer escaped harm.

Then she raised her wands against the Usurper, and called upon the power of the Elder Gods, and she struck the sword that had brought so much death to the world, whereupon a shining crack split the sword in two, never to be repaired again; and, raising her wands once more, the Seer struck into the heart of the Usurper, and thus the Usurper was defeated.

At that very moment, a ray of light broke through the clouds above, and the Seer was restored to the world of Light once more. The voices of the people were raised in celebration of their saviour, the Seer of Light; and in the midst of the celebrations the Seer was married, as had been foreseen, and Light reigned in the world once more.

 

 

~ ※ ~

  

...

You take exactly seventeen seconds to recover from the revelation that, apparently, you are married to eldritch gods. Obviously, some things got lost in translation. They got really, really lost in translation.

You remember asking the horrorterrors a question, and going grimdark. Finding your mother and... his father, you will never forget. Then you stormed through the castle in a cold fury, swearing to find Jack, to get vengeance and not finding him. You found someone else who said that Karkat thought the both of you were supposed to get married. He told you this the first time you had technically ever met and he was a little nervous. So were you, but you didn't express it in so many words. It was more dread than nerves, anyways.

(You brought him to the rooftop. He cried, and you said nothing. He fell, and you screamed.)

You write this down.

 

> Rose: Find something that is true.

 

The nephil at the next temple you visit - Maex - insists that you need their guidance to properly understand the tales' complexities. Unable to dissuade them, you follow them to the library.

  

~ ※ ~

 

The Seer’s Miraculous Revival

 

Black rain spilled over Skaia, over the tattered and crumbling remains of its once opulent castle; the Seer, wrapped in shadows and speaking a monstrous tongue, beheld her earthly stewardess and her gentlemanly companion struck down and bloody at the rogue Archagent's paws.

The Seer shrieked in rage and grief to see the sight, and lunged with her wands and ghastly magic once more. Alas, she too was shown the Sovereign Slayer's stabs, and fell lifeless alongside her bloodless elders.

All was not lost: the Seer's communications headwear sprang to life, singing into her unhearing ears the messages of her treacherous fellow Hero of Light from across sister universes. Her jubilant words were these: the Seer could yet revive as her dream self on Derse, the violet Core of Darkness where she slept nightly. This could be so if only a Prince or Princess of Prospit or Derse kissed her back into the world of the living.

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