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Recent Statuses

9 mos ago
Current ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
1 like
10 mos ago
If you're not trying to romance the Pokemon, what's the fucking point?
7 likes
11 mos ago
Can't help but read 'woah' as a regular 'wuh', but 'whoa' as a deep, masculine 'HOO-AH!'
1 like
11 mos ago
That's patently untrue. I planted some potassium the other day, and no matter how much I watered it, all I got was explosions.
2 likes
11 mos ago
I maintain that if alien life observed earth from a distance, they would jack off to it

Bio

According to the IRC, I'm a low-grade troll. They're probably not wrong.

Most Recent Posts

Between the great stone trees of the Feasting Forest, a subtle tapping could be heard. Tk tk tk tk. It came from a sun-dappled, hidden little grotto, and it was Chopstick Eyes, working with a hammer and chisel to gently carve away one of the last Forest Shrines.

Above here, and beyond, crept a dense canopy. It was green and thick- could even be called lush, by the foolish or naive. But green as it was, this forest was not lively, only quietly, insidiously, alive.

No leaf of Phystene dwelt here, no bright river of Shengshi, nor any of Ashalla’s lively algs. None of Azura’s birds sang, and what few insects crawled were shapeless, odd-legged black things with no eyes. The foliage warped and clawed its way around the great stone trees of Vakk, with roots in the air and gnarled trunks bending down over the earth as if dripping. It was difficult to tell where the roots of one tree ended and the branches of another began. So densely covered were the twisted stone trees with hefty, drooping creepers, that somehow they seemed more alive than anything else in this mockery of a forest.

Tk tk tk, went the chisel on the stone.




Earlier.

Chopstick reached into her purse and pulled out a little centipede, held it in her bare fingers. She’d found it crawling around the lower levels of the Bazaar before she’d left. Maybe it and its like could do some good here.

She flicked it a few times, and it duplicated itself each time, each generation of duplicates acquiring more and more error and asymmetry. Then she set it on the ground.

The land was yet young and the soil was yet unspread, though some odd fungi had blown over from the Kick’s southern neighbor and started chewing up the rock, which was handy. Chopstick had covered her bare feet with some boots and swapped her neat dress for overalls, and was filling in a ditch when she came upon the thing.

It was brightly coloured, soft, and quite dead. Chopstick sampled it and found it to taste a little like snail, but not much, and mostly like Azura. She turned it around and around. It had a mouth, but only a little one.

Hm.

Chopstick lifted a finger and waited for a mote of ash to fall on it, which it did. There was a lot of ash around these days. Maybe that’s where all the stray souls had gone.

She rubbed it into the skin of the Phase Mote, and began to work.




Later.

The earth-worm had swum for hours through desiccating water and a strong current, and when it finally made landfall on the other side of the strait, it was exhausted. The land it left behind had been abruptly upheaved of late, forcing it to depart, but it was only a young worm, with little strength.

This place seemed calmer. The earth-worm crawled on, trying to crack rock; but this rock had a bitter and desolate taste, much unlike the other place. Perhaps there were easier meals. It crept on, into the forest.

A huge creature slid before it, and it stopped. Eyeless, limbless, but glowing with odd motes, the giant slug-beast didn’t notice the worm at all. It waved its tentacles and slithered on, along with a kind of trail. The worm waited until it had gone, though that seemed quite unnecessary, then continued in the opposite direction. It smelled food.

What’s this? Dead matter, but somehow different to the raw leaves. The worm did not recognize the fine pies, breads, and cakes that were before it, nor the stuffed duck, or the broth or the pork or anything else that lay on the shrine. But it recognized easy protein. Cooked meat was not so different from rotten meat, and it gorged itself, as scavengers do.

The worm did not notice the Phase Beast returning on the trail. It did not smell it, it did not hear it. It did not feel the tentacles reaching around its body.

But the Phase Beast saw it. The Phase Beast saw it very well.

And the Phase Beast was hungry.




Vakk had seemingly tuned out of reality as Choppy had done her work, almost in a trance yet very aware of what was happening immediately next to him. However, nothing happened next to him because life generally didn’t like him, or he just didn’t want to be bothered. Eventually, the Lord of Speech came out of his thoughts, violently shaking his head and flicking his tendrils around. He had yet to see what Choppy had done as he began to groggily speak, ”Are you quite done yet? I grow bored of waiting for you to..”

He finally took in what was going on around him.

”... Finish.”

Vakk looked at what had filled the forest of stone that he had created, merely inspecting it for a few moments before impatiently going back to Chopstick Eyes. He did not like how she had done so much more than he had, it upset him so much that he physically could not show it if he could. This was a transgression that could not go unanswered.

”You mock me with how much you managed to do as I… meditated.”

”You snooze, you lose,” Choppy shrugged, leaning on her shovel and watching the hapless earthworm dissolve in the translucent belly of the beast. Her flying-lantern shivered. She looked up and nudged Vakk playfully. ”Maybe you should’ve taken the shovel, ey?”

He frowned. ”Holding it is awkward,” Vakk complained, before he reached to pick up the shovel he had thrown aside. He looked at it, then hit the wrong end against the ground as he had before, clearly not having paid attention to how Choppy used it. He threw it away again, not wanting to hold the cursed object any longer.

”I can make this place better.”

”Oh?” Chopstick let her head rest on the backs of her hands, which were leaning on the shovel. She raised an eyebrow, smirking.

Vakk gave a light chuckle before he opened his mouth, seeming as if he were inhaling the air. His body relaxed and from from the small gaps between his teeth leaked a cloud before he exhaled, a thick fog spreading over Chopsticks and her creations. It was blinding, certainly, no mortal would be able to know where they were going. The fog blocked sight of the life Chopsticks had created, save for the translucent beings.

He let out a laugh as the dense fog settled. Revenge had been exacted.

”Much better.”

Chopstick stared at the resultant gloom, took off her straw hat and scratched her head. She harumphed and walked off into the fog. For a few seconds, she may as well have been in another Sphere.

”Well, this’ll get ‘em lost, alright,” she said from about five meters away. She reappeared. The flying-lantern crooned. ”But now they can’t see the shrines. I’ll have to… Hang on, I’m just gonna fix that real quick.”

Chopstick strolled over to her purse and rummaged, inserting first one arm, then the other, then several more, and then her whole torso into the accessory. ”Uh, hang on… Ah gotcha.” She retrieved a tall, wrought-iron lamp-post with a glass cage, and tk-tk’d to the flying-lantern, who approached.

”Just hold still for a second… There we go.” Chopstick lit a splint on the flying-lantern’s flame, then transferred it to the lamp-post. The post nodded to receive it. It blinked, the flame flickering momentarily, and looked around. It hopped out into the forest on stumpy little wrought-iron limbs, and was soon joined by several more of wood and stone; they vanished into the fog together.

Vakk cocked his head, ”Was the purpose not to get them lost, Chopstick Eyes? It seems you more want them to find that particular shrine.”

”I mean, I guess.” Chopstick scratched her head. ”I… I guess I do.”

He snapped his jaw before he raised his head above the treeline, he saw it stretch on for a long way. Eventually, he figured that it was not worth the time to argue the point, after all, Chopstick did help him raise this continent not too long ago. Vakk lowered his head back down to her level before he continued speaking, ”I suppose it is not too much of a problem. A minor detail such as this is fine for whatever purpose you need it to do.”

”Yeah. Whatever purpose...” Chopstick wasn’t scratching her head any more, but she still hadn’t looked up. ”Whatever… I need it to do.”

She stared into the mist.

”...Vakk,” she said, very softly. “Why did we build this forest?”

The Lord of Speech thought to himself for a moment, an eerie silence coming over the two as the fog stood between them. After those few moments of silence, Vakk spoke, his tone being comforting, ”We made this first because we wanted to. We wanted to do this together because we are friends, remember?” a tendril reached forward to shift her view towards him.

”...”

His words wrapped around her mind, around her very existence. They invaded her mind, gently persuading her that Vakk was truly someone she could trust.

”...Yeah. Because we’re friends.” She looked down at the shovel, gripping it with two hands. ”We made this place because we’re f͝r̀i̴en̨d̵s. And we wanted to. We wanted to...”

She looked up and watched the mutant phase motes patrolling the forest, delicately heaping their mouths with sacred meals. Nothing wholesome would ever grow here, and nothing good would ever thrive. It was a deeply cursed place, and it was good for one thing only.

“Ki̸ll̛,” she finished. ”We wanted to ̷k͞i̕l̶l͘ ̡toge̕t̕h͜e̸r.”

Vakk’s caring smile turned sinister at her words, his head drew nearer, ”Precisely.”

The words settled in. Slowly slowly, Chopstick ordered her thoughts and regained her lucidity. She shook her head, as if to clear it, and Vakk’s spell disappeared beneath the surface like gold in mud.

And then she stretched, yawning like a cat. ”Mmmrrnnrnaaah! Well, that’s fine by me. Time to wrap this one up, eh?”

Confusion hit the inner soul of Vakk, who was unable to properly process what Chopstick Eyes has just done. Had she simply shaken herself out of his words? Or had his words not had enough power to them? He could not tell and it showed when he simply stated, ”... What?”

In reality, that word was supposed to be more internal than it was as the sheer force of Chopstick Eyes suddenly changing tone made Vakk unable to properly think of what to do or even say.

”Aww, don’t be like that. It’s a beautiful day!” Chopstick spun around the shovel and skipped off into the woods, accompanied swiftly by her lantern. ”I’m gonna go snatch some cursed breakfast, so gawk or come with, up to you. Catchya~”

And she was gone.

He stayed there, uncertain of what just happened, but he refused to question it as that would probably confuse him even more. Vakk sighed to himself before he spoke, knowing that she may not even hear him through the fog, ”Goodbye, Chopstick Eyes.”






Just realised I described Swahitteh-Tendlepog as having 'straight energies' instead of 'strange energies', lol.


Chopstick had been gliding for some time. The winds that swept from the Blue, though rather inconsistent, were more than enough to hold her aloft if she was careful to follow them; it made for a swift and random journey and she had seen many things.

She saw islands with jungles, and birds of every colour, a sure sign that Azura had been nearby. Another was wrung with purple vines, vines that seemed tasty, if... very, very spicy. She saw bright colours rippling their tentacles on a hidden island just beneath the water.

She saw the continent where she had left the other Chopstick, now starting to brighten up with orange and grey-green, and full of all kinds of new scars. She saw the new continent, Pāṟa, on which a darker, dimmer green was forming. She saw the vast mass of Swahitteh-Tendlepog, flickering with strange energies, when she could see it at all.

Eventually she came back to the islands, one of which was oh shit oh fuck oh crap oh no.

Chopstick dipped the glider's wing as far as it could go, veering north to avoid the spectacle of an island burning at midnight. The Phoenix gobbled down charred meat and bone, and when it was done she could hear the crinkling sound of something chewing charcoal. If nothing else, the heat billowing from the island worked in her favour, and she caught an updraft and departed swiftly, hoping she wasn't followed.

Phystene would be pissed.

She was some ways north-east of the archipelago, now, and entering a dense bank of clouds. It was the first time she had navigated the like, but with a bit of divine oomph, she managed to climb to the higher-altitude winds without getting too wet. From here, she danced around the cloud pillars as through a landscape of grey, lit here and there by flashes of lightning that burned within the clouds.

Chopstick squinted. Was it just her, or was there a silhouette of something inside one of those clouds?

Something like... a ring?

...

Oh you BET I can make that. Descending again, Chopstick circled the ring one more time, then angled herself towards it. You bet I can hit that DEAD center-

The world disappeared around her and she crashed into a lake.

Chopstick Eyes fished her head out of the steamy spa, shook water out of her eyes and looked around. Her kite lay floating beside her. Beyond, a pretty little fogged-up landscape, and a manor house, well-maintained.

"...Huh."






Vakk was in glee, knowing that his mere words could break those who would be considered weak-willed like Li’Kalla. His crooked smile was as large as ever, the sickeningly joyous feeling coming from him was perhaps the most terrifying thing about him. However, his job was not yet done and now he could be found moving across Galbar, namely towards the continent that had arisen while he and that damned puzzle god secured his gateway from other gods. It was that riddle that continued to mock the Lord of Speech, allowing him to know that Eurysthenes could desecrate his home at any point. This thought angered Vakk, but not enough to overshadow the joy he had felt from watching Li’Kalla break.

His reflection ended as came across the northern coast of that continent that had arisen so quickly. It was bleak, at least to him, the only notable thing that he had seen being the exit of the river that bore Seihdhara’s ichor, but he did not concern himself with the blood river quite yet. Perhaps it was time to add his own touch to this bleak and desolate place, however, he knew that he needed to make a proper ally in this realm that the Architect had crafted, and so he began to search upon the continent for any god that he thought he could convince to be on his side.

Fortunately, in these early days of the universe, gods were cheap.

The big worm was spotted from a long way away and the slapping of bare feet on beach sand rushed up to meet him. The newborn sun glinted off the edge of a huge, curved knife.

“Way hey! What’s sizzling?” Chopstick Eyes, too, was grinning fit to swallow a man. A floating lantern accompanied her.

Vakk craned his head to face the god, silently staring at the being for a mere few moments before he broke his silence, ”Ah, Chopstick Eyes, the merchant goddess. It is… good to see you.” His massive form moved forward, his neck lowering his head to where it was a few mere steps away from Chopstick Eyes, who ran, jumped, and promptly booped his nonexistent nose with a fingertip. They stared at each other, despite neither having eyes.

”You are a strange one.”

”I am? Huh.” Chopstick smiled and shrugged. ”Didn’t even know I was a goddess, actually. But that explains a lot.” She stretched, looking out over the ocean, and cracked her knuckles. ”Snazzy place here, ey Vakk?”

”It is a rock I have yet to explore,” he looked to the continent proper before giving a disgustingly, raspy grunt as if many people were doing it around the same time. ”I do not care much for this boring rock, it hardly knows a good talk,” Vakk said, his gaze going back to the one wielding the curved knife. His wicked smile once more came back to him as he formulated his plan to ally this goddess.

”You know, you and I share similar purposes within this realm, Chopstick Eyes. Did you know that? To beings meant to convince others into making the best deals.”

”...I have a purpose?”

”Indeed, we all do, Merchant Goddess.”

”Oh okay,” she replied. ”I figure… That was why I made the Bazaar. I just had to do it.” She looked up. ”What’s yours?”

Vakk allowed a grin to come across his face, his deep voice letting out a small chuckle, ”I talk. A merchant’s best tool.” A tendril slithered forwards, out of the sand to boop Chopstick’s nose as he continued to grin at her. She leaned into the boop. ”As such, I imagine that we can become close partners, yes?” he asked, his form circling the goddess, inspecting the blade that she carried.

”Okay, sure! Ten hut!” Chopstick snapped to salute. Then she clambered atop her newfound worm-steed until she found a comfortable spot, followed by her flying-lantern. ”What’s our first project?”

”Well…” Vakk began by sending a tendril to wrap around Chopstick’s waist and pull her off of him, setting her on the ground gingerly. She let out a small ‘awwww’.

”I suppose we can work on creating a bit of land, establish our branch,” he suggested before his head turned to the merchant goddess, ”Or we could make something to proclaim our… association. Perhaps a forest to watch the mortals get lost in?” Vakk’s words held a certain sway, making his suggestions seem more like the obviously right one while clouding other thoughts. The Lord of Speech grinned at his own suggestion.

Chopstick thought it over. This didn’t take her long. ”Okeydokey,” she said. ”Let’s do it!” Whatever glaze of enchantment Vakk smeared over his words had quickly sunk in deep, and settled in so snugly that the merchant goddess did not even recognise that the idea was not her own.

And then the moon exploded.

Unholy fire seared Heaven, murking the blue air with broken stone and tar. The scream of a dying Sphere echoed down into their godly ears, and they watched, in slow motion, the shape of the rain of black rock as the cloudless storm of Verdax began.

”...” Vakk looked to Chopstick eyes then back where the moon had been. She was silent. Only the flying-lantern remained, hiding in her shadow.

”Is that the power of the Architect?” he asked, mainly to himself but terrified of the possibility that the one who gave them their power could destroy a moon with such power. His gaze refused to move from the position where the moon had been, and now he finally felt fear for the first time in this realm.

”Don’t know, don’t care,” said Chopstick Eyes. Her head was down. A slip of paper had emerged from her purse, and she was writing something, writing with a needle-sharp pen in black, black ink.

Vakk hid an expression of pure shock that she could ignore such an event, a face of indifference to mask his true feelings, not that many could tell. Legitimately curious, the god gazed down upon the strange goddess and began to visually inspect her and the oddity that was her body. ”You are not concerned that we could be vaporized within an instant?” he asked, poking her back as a part of his inspection. She wheezed a laugh, and slapped him off.

”After all I’ve been through? You couldn’t vaporise me if you tried,” she said, and folded the paper into an envelope. She fished through her purse until she found a fractal stamp, licked its back, and stuck it to the letter, where it iterated colourfully.

She held the letter to the wind in the tips of two fingers. A great gust blew from nowhere. She loosened her grip just slightly, and the letter vanished.

”Why does everyone else get to throw giant rocks,” said the Market Lord, ”And not me?”

”You can throw rocks, any being with the capacity to breathe can throw a rock,” Vakk commented, a bit of snark coming to his voice. He twisted his head to be in front of Chopstick Eyes to begin speaking once more, ”If you wish to throw mere rocks, then do so. But that is an act by those who rely on their brutish nature, you and I are not such.”

”Speak for yourself,” said Chopstick Eyes.

The wind became a gale, sweeping the long fronds of Chopstick’s hair out over the ocean. The little flying-lantern clutched her in dread. She folded her arms over her chest to keep from shivering as something passed over the sun.

Kites, gliders, parachutes, airfoils of every kind, hundreds of thousands of them, swarmed on the wind and swooped into the stone rain. Some were as small as condors, others as vast as mountains, and each dragged behind them a huge net, woven from steel wire. One by one the shards of Veradax were caught by Chopstick’s gliders, and the gliders carried them home.

Some were carried only a short distance, others far. But the kites were swarming, and as they swarmed they circled on a circular wind, depositing their stone in a wavering, messy, vast and solid pile, now here and now there, now in the ocean, now on land, until two great heaps of rock had arisen: a great mountain, towering up on the beach of Kirron’s Boast, and a little continent, a hundred times larger.

Chopstick Eyes beheld her commission. She brushed off the flying-lantern, and smiled. Then she crouched, paused, leaped straight upwards, performed a perfect spin in midair, and, sounding her loudest kiai, struck the mountain with her foot. The stone exploded, and its remains shot into the new continent with such force that the hunks of rubble fused into a single, solid landmass.

Chopstick landed back on the beach with a splat.

Vakk watched intently, watching as this goddess performed such feats of power that he did not think gods were capable of. He did not believe that they could form continents in such a fashion, it was simply astonishing. The gaze went to Chopstick as he sent a tendril to help her off the sand. However, now he felt a need to do something, mostly in an effort to show that he was as strong as these gods. He snapped his jaws in frustration as his lower half began to dig into the sand of Kirron’s continent.

”Rising ground,
All around,
A god’s power,
All is bound,
In this hour!”


Suddenly, the ground underneath the newly formed continent began to rise into the air, making large cliff faces that towered above Kirron’s continent. Sharp rocks came between the two continents, some of them digging into the continent Chopstick had made, many ending abruptly mere meters from the older continent. Below the water, large jagged pillars held up the small continent, yet still allowing for small spaces to swim around.

”Oh...” murmured Chopstick. ”Sweet.”

”Would you like to see what we have made?”

”Yeah! Let’s go build that forest,” said Chopstick, pulling herself up onto Vakk’s hide again. He grumbled as she did so, obviously not liking being a steed for her.

Vakk launched himself into the air, arcing his way down to the continent, just on the edge of the cliff. A faint ”Yee-haw!” was heard miles away.

The new earth was rough, though hot and solid with the energy of Chopstick’s kick. The waters of the World Sea had yet to fully boil off, and it filled deep crevasses and little rock-puddles alike, scattered over the jagged stone. Dead kites lay sealed into the orvite, some still flicking little lines of silk into the wind. Spires and valleys made for an uneven ride, though Vakk managed to slither his way between the cliffs with ease.
Chopstick looked at their work with some astonishment. Not a single tree to be seen, and already the land was hard to navigate. ”Wotcha thinkin’?”

”I am thinking that you get off of me before I throw you somewhere else,” Vakk growled, twisting his head to gaze at her before he pulled her off with a tendril to set her on the ground. She whined. His gaze shifted to the landscape for a moment before indifference came back to him. ”Not bad,” were the words he chose, though he probably would have liked it better if he hadn’t felt the need to raise the place up. However, it was fitting as this continent was clearly superior and thus must stand above the other.

”You better believe it ain’t bad. It’s awesome!” Choppy had recovered from Vakk’s rejection and was kicking rocks around a gully. ”We need a name for this place! It’s too good not to market. Got any ideas?”

Vakk thought for a few moments, ”How about Pāṟa?”

”...I was thinking Rockville Jaggedton,” said Chopstick. ”Or maybe Chopstickland. Trademarks are very important.”

”Those are terrible names. At least try to be subtle, Chopstick Eyes.”

”Rude!” She stuck her tongue out. ”Alright, fine, we’ll keep it simple. How about ‘the Kick’?”

Once more did the Lord of Talk think to himself, before speaking to Chopsticks ”Very well.” His form moved forward, along the rocks and slopes to make it to a particularly high part of the continent. He tapped the rocks for a moment before speaking once more, ”I believe this will be a good place for the forest.”

”Perfect,” said Chopstick, scampering around a spire with her lantern. Behind it lay several crates, some big saplings growing in canvas sacks, and two shovels.

She threw Vakk one shovel, and cracked open a crate with the other. It was full of soil.

”Let’s get to it,” she said.

Vakk merely gazed at the tool, letting it hit the rocks. He had no clue what it was or what it was used for, apparently the concept of a shovel was never present where he had come from. His head went back to looking at Chopstick Eyes before he finally spoke, ”What is this… thing?” A tendril poked the tool, before he picked it up and smacked the wrong end against the ground.

”Well, to call a spade a spade...” said Chopstick, who broke down cackling.

After poking the ground for a while longer, he eventually threw it away, annoyed that it didn’t do anything. Vakk then said, ”While you use that, I will do what I can.”

The god thrust his tendrils into the ground and from the earth erupted trees of rock, spiraling and splitting trees that in the end left a sinister mark on the land as they lurched towards the ground. He let out a sinister chuckle as his portion of the forest truly looked as if the trees would kill someone if they got lost within it. They cast long dark shadows against the sun that remained sitting in the sky, however, Vakk continued to tower above it all as the tree line continue to stretch along the uneven ground of the Kick. ”Now this is beauty,” he said with an evil glee in his voice.

Chopstick licked one of the trees. ”...Tastes like rock.”

”That is because they are.”

”Oh. Okay.”

She heaped another spadeful of soil onto the ground.

”Too. Slow.”

”Don’t rush me! All good things take time,” said Chopstick, patting down the soil with her foot.

”And yet, I have done much in mere seconds.”

Chopstick stuck out her tongue and kept on shoveling.




After sleeping for some time in the Bazaar's most luxurious hotel suite (an edifice of such decadence that the servants were required to salt themselves should a patron elect to eat them), Chopstick Eyes returned to her private design studio and started to think.

This took her several hours.

Once she'd started to think, the ideas came easily. Unfortunately, since they were all crap, she was forced to discard them in short order. Loose leaves of white paper fluttered around her desk, bearing scribbles of big monsters with sharp teeth that said 'rawr' in little speech bubbles. For all her strong points (she had at least two), Chopstick Eyes was not known for her finger-painting abilities.

"Rghughguughuruuuuugh!"

Chopstick slumped on the desk, drumming an amorphous mass of fingers on its surface. She had intended to leave some aspect of herself here, some secretary or emissary to watch over the place and ward off freeloaders while she was gone, but she really had no real idea of what such an entity should be like, or how to make it.

She picked up one of the papers and spotted a doodle of a big stick figure with lots of little sticks in its hands that could be knives, spoons, pens, candles, or who even knew what else. Fingers? Maybe that.

"Grnngggnrgnrgnrngrng."

...

"Fuck I'm out."

_____And

__________so

_______________she

____________________was.




Chopstick Eyes stuck her head out of the glittering waters of the world ocean and felt the sun on her skin again. It was nice, being out here in the Middle Sphere. Warm. Refreshing. Everything was bright and clean and filled with potential. She lay back on the surface of the waters and floated at her leisure.

There was a deep crack, and an enormous shadow rose on the distant horizon.

She sighed.




By the time the stain that had been Chopstick Eyes soaked through the stone of Kirron's new continent and reformed into the shape of a god, Melantha's meteorite and Asceal's garden were both long gone. The little god dusted herself off in blissful unawareness of the chaos that had preceded her.

All around there was smooth igneous stone, glinting with puddles of excess seawater that had been borne up with the landmass or had fallen back upon it after the splash. In the distance, some jagged mountains loomed where the rock had cracked and crunched against itself as it had fallen to earth. Crystal fragments of mysterious origin lay scattered loosely across the stone, some shiny, some purple.

A pretty impressive landscape, all in all. It was not the kind of terrain one would see without a god to throw it around.

"GrgnrngrgnrnrgRRRRRUUUUUUGH!"

So much to do! Chopstick Eyes had been of a mind to find her way up to Azura's Blue to thank her for her aid, or wander off to Narzhak's place to visit as she'd promised, but how could she pass up the chance to wander for a while on this nifty new land? How could she decide where she wanted to be?

Another idea came to her, this one much less terrible. Chopstick opened up her luxurious purse, pulled out the giant cleaver that had been lying on the uppermost layer, and started to rummage.




Yeah, this'll do it!

Chopstick's kite soared merrily in the winds of a young world, yanking at her wrists by its string. Below it hung Narzhak's big cleaver, tied and dangling like a plumb-line under the brilliant silk.

Her plan was quite simple. All her problems really just derived from her inability to be two places at once. Well, that could be solved! If there were two gods with chopstick eyes, she could double the rate at which she visited the outer planes. She could even leave one on Galbar, or minding business in the Grand Bazaar.

Heck, why stop at two Chopstick Eyes? She could make three, four, maybe even ten! She could be her own cheerleading team! All kinds of wonderful possibilities were opening up to her. She just needed the right shape of wind.

Ah. There it was.

The big kite slowly lowered on its string, chasing its master's will. Chopstick wound its remaining string around a spindle and stuck it under an unsteady rock, such that the pull of the kite would sooner or later tip the rock and release it. Then she ran further down the stony plain.

Before long, the kite came unstuck, and surged forward, bearing the great cleaver behind it, barely a few inches from the ground and advancing at great speed. Perfect! Chopstick chose her spot and waited.

The cleaver advanced. The tip of its blade struck sparks off the uneven ground as it flew towards her.

There was an instant of panic.

There was an instant of red.

Then, for a long time, there was black.




A stray flying-lantern wriggled its way out of an abandoned purse and inflated with a pop. Crooning softly, it floated about the newfound territory, flickering a happy light.

Here lay a downed kite, huge and silent, an instrument the lantern had never seen before but nonetheless found pretty. There lay a big knife, seemingly attached to it.

Beyond, there was a long, long bloodstain. It was very dry.

The flying-lantern followed the pretty red pattern until it came to the end, carrying the purse. It looked down and saw two vaguely familiar figures. Crooning, it set down the purse and lay its delicate streamers upon them, pushing slightly, testing for life.

Slowly, the two gods sat up. Each one wore exactly half of a black-and-white dress that had once been striking. Each one had a thin pink scar running down from forehead to groin, dividing them almost exactly down the middle. Each one had a single empty eye socket, and one filled with skewers. They groaned in near unison.

"...Never, ever-"

"-ever, ever-"

"-EVER again," concluded the first one. They both sat there, breathing heavily, knuckling their raw and leaky eye sockets until the chopsticks grew in. They looked at each other. One reached for the purse, the other turning to admire the lantern.

"Hey, little guy."

Mrurrrr.

The other Chopstick reached into the purse and pulled out two identical dresses, one black-and-blue, the other white-and-gold, and tossed her clone the latter. She washed the blood off with some puddle-water and dressed herself, then untied the Narzhak cleaver as the other clone folded up the kite. Neither spoke.

"...Here," said the one in the black-and-blue dress, offering the other the original cleaver, the cooking one. "You'll probably need this."

"Thanks," she replied. "I... Have the kite, so I guess I'm going on up to Azura's place, right?"

A shrug. "Works for me." They both wheezed a chuckle. The black-and-blue-dressed clone pulled a smaller purse out of their purse and offered it to the white-and-gold.

"There's not really much wind around here any more. I'm going to go find some."

"Happy hunting. Are you gonna take this lil guy?"

"Nah, he probably wouldn't last long at that altitude. Catchya."

"Seeya, sis!"

Chopstick Eyes wandered off, leaving Chopstick Eyes to look out over the empty landscape and wonder what was next.




On a whim, Chopstick Eyes sat down on her haunches and scraped off some of her dry blood with a fingertip, then tasted it. She smacked her lips.

"...Salty." But not bad, really, not by any means. In fact, the entire aesthetic was salvageable, red stain and all. Choppy put her ear to the rock and listened closely.

Yes, right there. Water, salty sea water, trapped beneath the rock where it fell.

She looked up. She looked out to the mountains. She could sense the trapped water out there, could nearly smell it. She set off.

"...Come on! Tk tk tk tk..."

The flying lantern followed.

Before too long, she'd reached a flat plateau in the lower reaches of the mountains. She put her ear to the ground again, listened closely, and could still hear water. She stood up and clapped her hands.

"Come on, out you get!"

But the water was not forthcoming, and she barely managed a trickle. She would need a bigger incentive. Chopstick Eyes sighed, reached into her purse for a blank cheque, signed it, and dangled it over the rock, whistling.

The brine began to flow.

"There we are," said Chopstick Eyes, watching as the hypersaturated water crept from mineral springs and slowly filled in the natural contours of the plateau, forming a vast, undead lake. Before long, the ground was covered in a thick layer of pure, white salt, dotted here and there with puddles of unrippled brine.

Chopstick knelt down and licked the salt.

Tastes like frying, she thought. I'll call it the Pan.

Standing up again, she dropped the cheque into a puddle, where it dissolved instantly. Then she reached into her purse. She'd had the soundness of mind to collect some of her own desiccated blood in a little vial, and with nothing more than a drop of spit to moisten it and a shake to stir it up, it came to life again.

"Have fun!" said she, upturning the vial of seething blood. Within a few seconds, it had leavened the Pan, tinting its puddles and pools with bright pink and red. Shortly after, the air began to fizz with brine-flies, and little crustaceans flicked across the water.

She tasted the salt again. Now things were getting spicy.

Still, even with puddles in red and white and reflected blue, something felt quite missing from the Pan. Chopstick Eyes knew enough about horticulture to see that nothing could grow here, at least not without copious amounts of magic. No plants meant no life. The bugs that lived here were probably the only things that ever would.

She stood and thought about it, until finally she saw her own kite lifting a tiny figure over the Pan. For a second she was confused, but things clicked soon enough.

Chopstick Eyes reached into her purse and rummaged around until she found some silk, and a needle.




In swarms and flocks, and loose v-formations, the wild kites twirled and soared and played on the wind. They danced and circled and swooped and zephyred, some blue, some red, some green, and some in every colour. All shapes and sizes, boxy, piscine, avian and crescent, were represented above the Pan, and reflected in the still, solemn salt puddles below. Huge gliders swooped Chopstick's flying-lantern, each as curious as the other.

The Pan had set her finances back considerably, it was true. But really, thought Chopstick Eyes as she unwound the string of an unliving kite and started to run, what was money good for if not this?

Some balance notes about the Bazaar so far, since we now have a market for humans that probably pre-dates humans by a million years.

Let me know if it seems good, GM lads.

-Everything is upmarked so high you can scarcely believe it's Chthonic. The primary benefit of using the Bazaar is because you can find everything there, but price-wise it's often more efficient for a mortal to get things themselves.

-Items in the Grand Bazaar can only leave it if they're purchased. Stolen goods dissolve into the void from whence they came. First rule of alchemy.

-Invisible hands have no soul and are not sentient. They're just a physical manifestation of the abstract market forces to which Choppy is bound.

-No heavy industry. If it can't be made in a cottage with a few years of experience, it's probably not in there.

-Nothing particularly supernatural or alien beyond what can be found on Galbar, or Earth five hundred years ago. At least not if your name isn't Choppy.

-Plants and livestock are sold. However, plants that aren't garden-variety and animals that aren't pets are mostly absent.

-Additionally, the price of species that aren't yet present in Galbar, or have no equivalent, is thousands of times higher than what it would otherwise be. This is the Choppy Tariff, that keeps you from introducing new species to Galbar for free.

-The writing is mostly illegible. Information traded in the Bazaar is mostly a copy of what exists on Galbar, or could be discovered with little effort.

-Art in the Bazaar never innovates. The style, and often the work, is a direct imitation of whatever exists. I think.

-It does have a pre-mortal local style, though, mostly in the form of traditional Chinese landscape paintings of Galbar.

-and

-fine

-okay

-no gunpowder.

-;-;


On an unmapped sandbar in the middle of an unnamed sea, clumps of beachy mud were seen flicking up and out of a hole that must have been several meters deep. Chopstick's naive and optimistic attempt at digging had started off well, but her progress had stalled once the seawater started to seep in from the side of the hole faster than she could splash it out. After a while (an hour? a day? eight years?), she poked her head out of the burrow to see what was going on.

"...Oh. Nice."

A new light was shining in the sky, glittering off the sea, hot enough to burn her skin. It was the first warmth above background temperature that she'd felt for some time.

A deep, distant crack ricocheted through the endless waters, followed by a cataclysmic crash. Chopstick Eyes turned her head to the horizon and saw a great surge of water approaching from one side. She turned her head and saw an equally enormous tsunami approaching from the other.

Oh, thought Chopstick, as her sandbar was annihilated, along with her plans for the evening. Shoot.

A few days later, her speck of a body finally floated up onto the surface, and there she stayed for a while, spread eagle on the still-tossing seas, looking up neutrally at what remained of the sky. But the warm blue had been overtaken by volcanic and meteoric dust, and the waters were now so turbulent that she had little chance of ever finding her way back to the chopped mountain, or really any other landmark, should any have seen fit to arise.

Well, screw that then.

With a kick and a paddle Chopstick Eyes made her way down into the depths where the waters were calmer. Unseen and unheard in these empty seas, she could hear for hundreds of miles of unliving depths; sensing that her body was caught in a current far larger than she could see, she curled up for now and let it do what it will.




Eventually Chopstick found herself bumping slowly along an igneous seabed, raising tiny clouds of dust as she scraped the ground with an arm or knee. Her environs were still vast and melancholy, but at least there were landmarks, such as they were: distant, uneven shapes in the dark, signs of godly interference and the first hint of what was to come.

The pressure here was crushing, but all Chopstick's bones were made of rubber and her only internal cavity was a stomach that had long since filled with seawater. Kicking along the seafloor to the highest ridge, she began to listen once again to the echoes of the constant, splintery wooden creaking that oh-so-quietly followed wherever she went.

Up and up and up, ever so slow. Up and up to the edge of the broken ridge.

Then down, down again into the crack.

She could sense someone's presence nearby, even after all this time, and it wasn't hard to tell who it had been. Ashalla was gone now, into the heart of the rift where this crack led, and Chopstick Eyes had no intention of following (just yet). She needed to find some other way down.

And she did, in the end.




Choppy fell for several miles once she squeezed herself (octopus-like) through the leak. At last she hit the floor of the enormous chasm, splattering a small puddle of water that continued to fill, one drop at a time, with seawater from the unseen crevice above. Vomiting up the last of the ocean, and her kite, Chopstick Eyes looked up, and watched patiently in a crosslegged position as the leaking droplets slowed, then stopped. Eventually the water soaked away into the dirt. Whatever route she had found into this world, it was transient.

She looked around.

No light, of course. Only black. Black air in every direction, not musty, but still. Without illumination, her god-sense took over, and she saw an endless plain of reddish hardpan stretching off in every direction, dusty and not quite smooth. No walls, no roof. Leaving her cleavers stuck in the clay, she walked as far as she could in one direction, until she came back where she started.

She was very alone. But it was a cosy kind of alone.

"...Time to set up shop."

Wringing out her dress again, Chopstick's first thought was that if she had some bamboo and rattan to work with, she could probably light a fire and make a rack on which to dry both that and the pretty kite. It came to pass, and some stalks and palms sprouted up nearby.

Sitting crosslegged in front of the fire with her things on the rack, she thought it might be a good idea to fix her dress, and maybe make some more later on. For that she'd need silkworms, which needed mulberry-leaf, and some bone for the buttons and needles. It came to pass, and soon her mouth was stained with mulberries as she sowed together a new dress and her surviving buffalo chewed up her bamboo.

With that done, it was probably about time to start building stalls. Soon there would be buying and selling (she Knew this), and that would require vendors, who would need lodging for their stock and ware. She could probably build most of it out of bamboo and rattan, but she'd need some sturdier wood too, and less labour-intensive fabric, and water, and nails. Chopstick Eyes surmised that she could make good use of the pine and cotton trees sprouting alongside a nearby stream, and refine some iron out of the ore in its bed.

So, she did.

With a mountainous supply of lumber stacked up beside her, rolls upon rolls of cotton, leather, rice paper and wool, and hundreds of crates of wrought-iron nails, Chopstick Eyes tapped her chin, looked out over the endless supply of clay at her feet, and thought. At this rate, and if she was thrifty with the available space, she could probably fit about a billion stalls in her Sphere.

So, she did.

As she stocked the last of the stalls with some bronze hair-curlers and nail-trimmers, Chopstick Eyes thought about how she would go about livening up the packed but still lonesome Sphere. All of these goods were made for mortals of the generally humanoid persuasion, and there would one day be such mortals on Galbar (she Knew this).

But Chopstick Eyes had not the faintest clue how to (responsibly) put together something like a human, or even if it would be appropriate for her to try it. In fact, she wasn't even sure she wanted mortals in this Sphere of hers (at least yet). This big market didn't necessarily need buyers and sellers. It just needed buying and selling. She could probably arrange that somehow.

So, she did.

Still, the 'invisible hands' solution felt a bit lacking. Without a human touch to them, the Sphere was missing something of the bustle and flair that defined a true market. Chopstick Eyes didn't know how to make humans, but she had a pretty good eye for fashion, so she could probably work something out.

So, she did.

Finishing the last stitch on the last glove and fitting it onto the last invisible hand, Chopstick Eyes looked out over her innumerable horde of impatiently muttering hagglers and wondered what it was she was missing.

What did a human need beside air, food, water, and a limitless thirst for liquid assets?

...

Ah yes.

The last flying lantern was released from the window of Chopstick's workshop, and she leaned out to watch its passage. It was a pretty thing, and she was proud of it, not least because of the papery patterns painted onto its side or the streamers billowing out below. It was bright with life and light and warmth, a little flame spirit just like the countless others she'd caught seeping through the walls; it oozed oxygen and ate smoke, burning in reverse, purifying the air and purring an ethereal hum as it bumbled across the canyons of trinket-shops. The invisible hands weren't always the gentlest market-goers, but these critters would offer a guiding light to anyone who'd stumble across the Sphere of Chopstick Eyes.

And with that Sphere now illuminated, it was finally done. Chopstick Eyes looked out over the assembled hands and picked up the big mallet she'd been saving for this occasion.

"I now declare-" She hefted the mallet over her shoulder. "-the Grand Bazaar-" teetering under its weight, Chopstick Eyes nearly fell of the stage, but managed to teeter her way back to where the huge bronze bell was waiting. "-to be..." She swung. "OPEN FOR BUSINESS!"

And it was.


Mount Chop was made from a single tiny island in a tropical latitude. If anyone's raising continents, you can choose to have either leave it in the sea or have it raised up with your landmass.

While I'm going nuts with the portfolios, did anyone have their hearts set on Cuisine or Lanterns? The former fits well with Chopstick's general themes, and the latter is just an aesthetic I'd love having, like Kites.

@Oraculum@DracoLunaris@Crispy Octopus Your characters are the only ones I think there's a risk of stepping toes on, with Knives, Kites and Lanterns, respectively.

Random object portfolios are the future, my dudes


Chopstick stood her ground as the Iron God loomed over her, secure this time in the calmness of Ashalla's waters, albeit only physically. She managed not to back up too much as the great feet came to a halt before her, and not lean back too much as the great eye narrowed above her.

"Hrrah, hah, ah... Are you looking for..."

She wiggled the cleaver.

The absurdity of what she had done hit her along with the tension and she winced back hard at the sound of an unsatisfied grunt.

It was a long few seconds that followed. Every subtle move of the Iron God's hands sent blood rushing into her headbones, striking her anew with the heart-stopping fear of instant annihilation. From below, she was unable to determine whether he was wringing his wrists in murderous frustration or charging up a blast of less insidious but substantially more lethal divine energies. By the time he lowered his finger silently towards her, she had shed eight wooden spikes from her eyes and retreated three steps, and was nearly in tears.

She kept her fists up, though.

The cleaver-scimitar hit the stone with a splash and she jumped back with an 'eep!', hair jolting in every direction as if electrified. But the tension was broken, and Narzhak explained himself, and Chopstick found that she really was crying, fishing up the giant noodle shortener with a messy sniff as gelatinous tears of marvel rolled down her cheeks.

"Thank you! I will!" she yelled, standing up after crumpling under the shadow of the leaping titan. Ashalla, Shengshi, Seihdhara, Azura, now Narzhak... for all its chaos, Chopstick realised, there was nothing in the world that was quite like family.

"...but thank fuck," she murmured, if only to herself and Ashalla. "I don't think I could've gone through with that."

An iridescent streak flashed off overhead.

"See you all on Galbar..."

"AZURA!"

Unwilling to let the macaw god go without thanks, Chopstick shed her weakness like dust and bounded on all fours after the bird, kicking water in a high spray with every landing until she hurled herself, like cannon shot, onto the dead center of a crystal platform.

Her stone followed Azura's with tremendous speed, and as Chopstick crouched and held on with her left hand, she found she could control its journey with the touch of her lower right palm (her upper- and middle-right arms were preoccupied with handling the cleavers). Still, Azura had a considerable lead. By the time Chopstick had accelerated enough to catch up, Azura had come to a halt in her Sphere, and the god-gremlin shot onwards, far far below, unable to stop.

Crap! Empty spheres flashed past her as Galbar grew ever nearer and Chopstick struggled to find some way to slow. Scratching around herself in brief panic, she grabbed her dress by the shoulders and plucked at it.

From its silk unfolded behind her a huge and glorious kite, sewn of many colours.

The speed of the crystal provided lift, and its plummet halted, and Chopstick Eyes found herself flying over the nascent sea with the wind in her hair and the strings of destiny in her hands. After a moment she stood, her dress still soaked and tattered, and stared, undaunted, into the wind.

Somewhere out in the void, she knew the Architect would still be looking back. She remembered her unasked question. It didn't matter now.

I know what to do.

As the air around her turned from black to morning blue, and she finally felt like something fully born.




It wasn't long before Chopstick Eyes located a mountain, jutting out from the shimmering waters in the distance. She tensed her cleaver-bearing arms. It was time to take Narzhak's gift out for a spin.

Bending her knees just enough to stabilise her body, Chopstick Eyes reached out with the pumpkin carvers, and turned the kite towards the stone. Closer, closer...

...In a blur of godly mettle, she struck off the mountain's head.

An instant passed before the second cleaver came down on the falling peak, slicing that, too, in twain. White columns of water shot towards the skies behind her as the pieces landed in the shallow sea. Chopstick turned the kite to survey the damage, and saw the base of the mountain, still standing as an island with a high plateau, as flat as a chopping-board.

"Hah!"

She stuck out her tongue with the sheer cheek of it. Her eyelids twitched, but were unable to wink over the skewers in her head. Still, she needed a pose to celebrate the occasion, and others like it; she settled for raising two fingers in a v-shape next to her head, a salute for anyone who might be watching.

Her elation lasted until she realised that she had begun to slow. Guiding the disc as she could, Chopstick Eyes landed herself on a nearby sandbar as the crystal petered out and dropped her on the surface of Galbar, the kite folding slowly up behind her.

"...Oops."

She knew her Sphere lay below her somewhere. With a fairly satisfied shrug, Chopstick put her knees to the dirt, scooped out a clump of sand and started digging.


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