Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Topographical Anomaly: Empty_Map

Spaces that should be empty get a bit stuffy and quite uncomfortable when they're suddenly full of people. They lose their charm. Usually to the eighth plague of Egypt, rain of tourists, who are a lot harder to clean up than frogs since they are 50% plastic and clothing fibers.

People have an energy. The presence of people is a distinctly loud energy. When it disappears there is a void which is filled through osmosis by a quiet energy. The energy of emptiness. It's like the low buzz of an electric wire. When it is present in a normally crowded place we are put on edge by that energy. It has invaded a space that doesn't belong to it. The energy of emptiness is a lot more alien to us than the energy of people.

Art by Arthur Chaumay
"Empty_Map" is the classification label of a bizarre phenomenon that could occur in post-apocalyptic settings, modern settings, but really in any kind of setting. It's a large cityscape that is in tip-top condition, as if under permanent maintenance and impervious to erosion. In Empty_Map, it is always sunny but not warm, there is never any wind, and there is always the sound of cicadas. It is also completely and utterly devoid of any animals or humans. You can hear those cicadas, but you'll never see them.

Empty_Map does not look as if it has been recently used or left behind in a hurry. There's no signs of a sudden immaterialisation of the populace, like car crashes or clothing piles or anything like that. It's perfectly orderly, dollhouse-organised. Clothing is all folded and in drawers, sorted by colour. Cars are all perfectly parked. If you find a basketball court, the ball is sitting still exactly in the middle of the court.

Empty_Map has a kind of homeostasis mechanism. If you change something, like move the ball, leave a door open, something like that, it will seemingly have reset when you come back to it. When you alter something from its original configuration, it'll return to it once you are either far enough away, asleep, or otherwise not observing it for a prolonged period of time. If you take something from Empty_Map outside of it, the same rules apply, but the unobserved time it needs to disappear is a lot shorter. Any dead bodies in Empty_Map disappear as soon as you take your eyes off them, but bloodstains will require standard ignoring time to vanish.

Art by Arthur Chaumay
When you create a serious imbalance in Empty_Map, either by causing mass disorder or staying there for too long, it'll try to remove you actively.

Chambermaids are called this because they are kind of Empty_Map's maintenance crew. They don't speak, but they have to look at each other to communicate it seems. They'll show up randomly outside of your immediate field of observation. They have guns. They will shoot you with their guns. Then you'll vanish as stated above. If you kill them, they die and bleed like normal humans. But they'll vanish too. They wear white raincoats and hazard masks. Touching them, alive or dead, will give you a severe electric shock.

Art by Yun Ling
Empty_Map can come into existence spontaneously in a place where it shouldn't be, like in a desert. Or maybe, an area could have been converted into an Empty_Map version of itself: you could be walking through a derelict post-apocalyptic ruin, and suddenly stand at the border of a perfect and pristine Empty_Map.

What is Empty_Map? A reality glitch? An experiment of some kind, either being conducted on it, in it, or by it? A sort of weapon? The fallout zone of something? An alien lifeform? 

Hard to tell. There's just nothing to go on, really. It's just there. Any instance of Empty_Map seems to have been there forever according to locals, and has never been and is still not there according to any official documents or testimonies.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Miracularium Two: Demons are Divine Revolutionaries

I'm not quite mad enough, yet, to make something called Miracularium Two, without having first made something called Miracularium One. You'll need that to make sense of this. Find it here.

First of all a small addendum to the previous post. Someone asked me what exactly the metaphysical aspect of a God was, given that I meantioned it as a metaphysical being while mainly talking about ethics. Well, the end product of the process to create a god is not so much the resulting physical device, but rather, the metaphysical entity that results from it. That's the God's self, the sequence of code grafted onto universal ontology which defines the God as a being. When it is born, a God is nigh impossible to destroy (though some try very hard and sometimes succeed, see later) because its metaphysical self is independent. The destruction of its physical aspects matters little because its metaphysical aspect is still there: it must exist, so in some form or another it will simply regenerate.

Another example is a God's ultimate weapon for when it decides you're simply incorrigible: its ability to inflict EGODEATH, which means that it overwrites your metaphysical self, with its metaphysical self. You cease to be an individual being and lose everything that makes you different from the God. There is no more distinction between you, and it. Your free will is destroyed. You are enslaved to the morality, like it is, and you also cease to be human in the categorical sense. You've been turned into a Godhead.

A God's name is absolute. It is synonymous with its metaphysical self. When you speak its name you cannot lie about it, cannot describe or imagine it in any way that is inaccurate from it. When you hear its name, you immediately know exactly what it is and therefore (because it is perfectly moral) exactly what it expects of you. You also immediately know the appearances of all its Godheads, because they are it.

Art by René Magritte, 1937
Okay, that's out of the way. Now then, it's time for demons.

If you remember my post about the Orkus, you'll know that incredibly powerful beings can arise as avatars or embodiments of thinking creatures' sentiments. In the Orkus' case, that's the terror risen from the fear of decay, creating an apocalyptic formless boogey man of rot and filth.

The case of demons is somewhat similar, only instead of one entity they are manifold due to the more divided nature of what lies at the heart of their progenitive element. Demons are produced by the sentiment of rebellion and revolution. They are the want and the need for the establishment's destruction, the beheading of the king, the death of God, the burning of Olympus. They are the Rage Against the Machine.

Demons are not like Gods. They have a free will, and a personality. They are effectively a race of  highly divergent individuals self-malleable in both mind and body, which is after all appropriate since they embody the angry desire for freedom, specifically from the Gods. However, this also means that they possess the core trait inherent to all anarchists and revolutionary philosophers: that while there's one basic idea to which they all subscribe, they don't agree on anything else. The why, the how, the what happens when we have actually done it.

Art by Jean-Francois Millet, 1874
Demons are, essentially, made of synphysical soul fire. In the higher spheres, this flame can exist as a form in and of itself. In the physical world it must fill a receptacle, so it forms a carapace of flesh and chitin and many other materials, according to what accords to its sense of self. They are natural shapeshifters, being able to change their carapace as they wish, but most of them find the need for self-expression to be stronger than what benefits a covert or mimic form can offer them. Some however are notorious masqueraders. The flame's identity cannot be concealed, only the physical carapace's.

There are demonic "factions," which amount to a handful of demons (it is never more than this) happening to agree enough on their worldview that they decide to act in an organised way. However, these factions constantly form, fall apart and reform at a higher speed than rock and roll bands. It should come as no surprise that demons do a great deal of infighting. 

There are definitely demons who act in tricky and puppeteering ways with regards to their peers, but this can't really reach further than a few individuals. Demons are so wildly divergent in thought that there isn't really much of a common denominator to manipulate them en masse with. Manipulating a demon requires careful individual attention to the way they think. This is why being a daemoniac or demon summoner is such a difficult branch of wizardry: aside from great technical understanding of the thaumaturgy, you must be a cunning socialite as well.

Art by Annis Naeem
Demons can be killed, by destroying their flame. Damage to it, since it is also their soul, may alter their personality altogether and warp their identity, much like brain damage would do to a human. Destroying their physical vessel means that they lose their ability to exist physically, until they get a new one. The new carapace may be forged in magma, may be virgin-birthed from some devout priestess, may be grown from a lonely date tree in a desert, may explode out of a random noble's head, as long as there's some way to form the new body.

A new demon soul is not created, like a God, and is also not born like a human by a reasonably understandable biological process. There is a something, which is the thing that originally arose from the collective sentiment of human rebellion, a mysterious and unknowable entity with a status like a demonic Kaaba. Once every demonic year (their year count is based on this cycle), a new demon emerges from it, with great intelligence, but a blank slate in terms of ideas and opinions.

The way this situation is handled is that around the something, a gigantic colosseum has been built (perhaps the only recorded instance of large-scale demonic collaboration) to which each demonic school of thought sends one or multiple emmissaries when a new demon is about to be born (given how divergent demon thinking is this means that usually as good as the entire species is present). Once it emerges, something much like a bidding on an auction starts, where each speaker tries to outline its ideas in the hope the new demon will choose to join them. This takes a big long while and usually there are some fights between the speakers, and sometimes even with the new demon.

The result is practically always that the new demon doesn't fully agree with anybody, and goes its own way which leaves everybody stumped and sort of angry. This is right and good according to the freedom-obsessed demons, but well, it never hurts to try.