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Edited to add a little color to my text.
"And in the evening the outlook is cloudy with a chance of rapture.”

And thus after ninety years of ghosting her every invitation Beleth had a front-row seat to Beth’s very last show, playing for one night only: The Death and Rebirth of Bethany Lavaeux.




As all births were want to be, with his third-eye Beleth saw the trillions of years behind preparing this ritual, stretching forward in time then twisting backwards until the heart of it beat like a drum beneath their very feet. He saw Narcissus scattered during his battle with the war maiden Christina. He saw Keith running for his life. He saw Mire, and Colossus, and Soran.

He saw the end of an era and the birth of a new one.

He didn’t bother to answer Bethany when she asked him about his motives, because it didn’t really matter, Beth as he knew it would be dead in a matter of moments and any answer he gave her would only raise more questions at this junction. There was no solace for her in death; she had committed too many sins to die quick. Her only peace of mind would come if she could accept that in dying she was to become part of a greater whole, and when she refused to accept that for an answer, she dumped a dead possum across his carefully arranged fortune table until his brow furrowed with frustration and his already bloodshot eyes bulged for a brief moment.

“Well now, there’s no need to be dramatic about it.”

Then she was gone, the thing that had been Beth stared at him with lust in its eyes, licking its hungry lips. Dangling one bony leg over the other like a pair of rusty hinges laid over each other and saying without speaking that it was curious beyond words about what a man who walked around in a three-piece suit and a giant stuffed teddy bear head might look like beneath the cover of night. Horrible was his answer; Skinless, raw, and red. Shared in the lidless blink of his bulging white eyes before Narcissus drew his next breath and became intoxicated with something else then something else again, swirling in half-remembered sensations until he was gone too, and Beleth realized with no small frustration that this was going to take a while…


Like most celebrities, there had been no shortage of rumors about Bethany’s involvement with the occult during her long and lurid career. Unlike most celebrities there was a somber air of truth about them. Where other A-listers flirted with the headlines amidst stories of cryptid sightings and new age sciences she dealt in human trafficking, mysterious disappearances, and in grand conspiracy. Beleth had not told her to do so. Rather, at some point she had deduced the true nature of her life’s great benefactor for herself and had made moves to follow in his footsteps, whether she believed this would someday wind up with her standing by his side like a lovestruck puppy or some instinctual part of her could feel the bars of her life’s cage closing in around her with every passing year was something even she did not know for certain.

All that could be said was that without ever having any children of her own the Leveaux Family was very large and the evil they had brought into this world was very real, they gathered now, standing on the beach praying in their robed whispers as the ocean heaved a great monolith out from the deep blue.

The non-believers, those who had gathered from the beach and the resort and its surrounding town, could not stand the sight of it and so began to devolve into the madness that had defined humanity’s time in this fragile cosmos up to this moment. But not the trueborn. As the sound of blood pleasure echoed through the air all around them the faithful remained penitent until finally their ascendant goddess was reborn in all of her glory, a coiled beehive of honey blonde hair atop her head, twirling with a song in her throat and her arms wide open. That one of their own had died to see her reborn did not register in the least. And as one they began to chant over the din of chaos, a loud penitent chorus that drowned out the chaos around them, that spoke to the very core of human nature and quelled the beastly instincts that had driven them into madness in the first place. And it went:


Louder, and louder, and louder still until the walls of her chateau rattled. Until Beleth could feel it sinking its claws between the wrinkles of what remained of his gray matter, bulging at his temples and behind his eyes with every gross brainy throb until his fist slammed down on the table.


The meat, bones, and viscera of some distant endangered island ancestor of the opossum shot from his table. Humans caught in its path collapsed in heaps riddled with a thousand small and not-so-small holes where the gore had passed through them. Any material that reached the dually named Apparatus struck with so much force that they quite literally atomized on contact, doing no damage to the casket or the body within, and that which missed splattered against the walls of her home. All at once the world seemed very much smaller now. Bethany was standing on a stage before Beleth, the mighty Apparatus beside her the size of an obedient dog, her family on their knees like many small children set to watch a play staring up with wide eyes and in a voice of forced calm he said two words: “Sit down.”

And, some distant part of Bethany that still lived on inside of Narcissus listened.


“If I had it my way, you would still be rotting in the deepest pit of hell, Theo. But it is not my choice. I am but the messenger for something greater than us both," Beleth went back to shuffling his deck. “You may have heard of him, or maybe not, my boss is Beramode Aurelius Pendragon—King of the Night, and he has heard of you. Before you ask, I don’t know why he’s interested in you. You don’t ask a man like Beramode things like why. You ask what you can do for him and what he will do for you in return, in this case, he went through all the trouble of bringing you back to life so he could send you on a journey…”

“And I am your guide.”

It was during this speech that Beleth laid down the first card, a smooth vantablack rectangle with round edges, with an abstract assortment of monochromatic color as if several cut-outs from the same sheet had been arranged to form an image. An image that seemed to move whenever the eye was not looking directly at it. Upon this first card there were white stars. Just a few of them sitting against a wide canvas of perfectly black space staring up at him like little eyes that winked closed when he wasn’t looking and added new ones when he was: The Night.

He placed that card closest to him.

“Here he is, waiting for you at the end of the road.”

He placed another card right beside that one. A lone gunman with his mouth covered by a bandana and the brim of his hat pulled low, standing idle before a kneeling man in a blindfold and flirting with the hammer of his gun every time Narcissus was not looking directly at him, his eyes could not be seen but the audience would know without knowing they were bloodshot: The Executioner.

Placed just beneath The Night, tucked up against its right-hand corner.

“This is me.”

And a third one, a jester with a wide r grin, jingle bells hanging from the ears of his hat and the tip of his shoes. He was pranced proudly as he approached the long winding trail ahead of him unaware of the mocking crowds beside him, unlike a normal jester, he wore an odd out of place blue suit. How appropriate for The Fool.

It slid into place right in front of Narcissus.

“Would you look at that, it’s you, your road is long and treacherous.”

The first card of the first layer was upside down, facing towards Beleth, a bold knight cut in sharp pinks with flowing hair. A woman with her sword drawn against the darkness. The Paladin was always ready to stand against evil, wherever it may manifest next, with bright beams of light radiating from her sword and nary a shade of black on the front of her card.

But not entirely missing either.

“Now that would be interesting, unfortunately, she’s busy as far as I can tell. Another time?”

The second card showed an oriental dragon with its long body twisting around a mountain’s peak. Thunderclouds were clutched beneath its claws and fire thundered out from the inside of its maw. The Dragon all but spoke for itself and even Beleth seemed to have pity in his voice before he said.

“I do not think you are ready for this one quite yet, let’s see what awaits you a step below.”

The second layer had three cards all facing Narcissus. The King haughty upon his throne. The Beast tromping down the street with pride in its eyes, unaware of the damage it caused. And The Quiet lake sitting there with nary a ripple as tiny flower petals surfed across the reflection of a wide blue moon.

“My oh my, they’re all so eager to meet you, I’m almost jealous. But they’ll have to wait.”

The first card was green, an old skull stuck in the muddy ground with worms crawling through it, the dying leaves stirring occasionally in an unseen wind when Narcissus blinked and an eerie silence carrying into the room around them on behalf of The Forest.

Even Beleth was at a loss for words.

“. . .”

The next two cards fell together, pink and gold, The Prince may have been young but his grandiose ambitions could be seen playing out in the long shadow he reflected upon the wall in front of him. Adventure, women, fortune. Beside and beneath him was The Liar, or maybe it ought to be liars, judging by the number of masks hanging on the wall. Each one wearing a different expression with a hesitant hand reaching out for them from below that retreated any time Narcissus looked at him.

“Isn’t that cute, they drew themselves together. I hate young love.

With a snort he wrenched them apart and hung them upside down.

“They’ll learn their lesson, but not from you, moving on.”

The Pariah crouched silver and cowardly in an alley while The Hound stalked down muddy streets. Each one cast their hateful gaze towards Narcissus, one born of fear and one born of rage, but were waved away with a gloved hand before he mused long and quiet. Looking first at the cards and then at his guest and then back again before he finally drew a line starting with The Forest up to The Beast and ending with an inevitable clash with The Dragon.

”For the crime of over consumption I sentence you to walk the path of Nature’s Wrath, Narcissus. Should you make it back in one piece then perhaps my master will be willing to tell you of his greater purpose, or maybe not, fail on your journey and hell will seem merciful compared to what I have in store for you.” Somewhere inside the hollow teddy bear helmet cracked lips audibly peeled away from moldy teeth as, for the first time in ninety years, Beleth smiled. “Are you ready for your journey, Theo? I will give you an hour to prepare but when the clock strikes midnight the stars will take you away whether you want to go or not. I do not think you the cowardly sort though. I think you very much want to go.”
It had been nearly six years since the people of Neo Babylon had defeated The Enemy and there were still so many unanswered questions; Where did he come from? What did he want? Where did he go? Together with The Dragon, champions from a thousand different earths had felled the great beast, but even in death he had scarred the last leaving great gaping cracks in reality through which many a wayward soul continued to stumble to this very day.

And if you searched deep enough into those cracks they say you could wind up in The Nether.

This grimy underlayer of the multiverse was toxic to all forms of life; man, machine, or otherwise inclined. Even the gods were careful not to tread for over long in that place where ideas went to die. Nearly but not all forms of life, for there were always exceptions to every rule, for every trench there was a bottom feeder ready to sift through the filth for treasure. Enter the Krillians. As simple a species as ever there was in this vast multiverse, appears in every conceivable way as bipedal shrimp, waddling through the collected detritus of a countless universes on stubby larges with bowed backs, stubby arms, and elongated faces. They’d no mouths to speak of. Only ominous black beads for eyes and long fu man chu style whiskers that seemed at once brittle and exponentially more useful than the flailing-flapping things they called arms.

The amazons of Asteria had encountered them many a time, soaring through space in their junkers, each one an uninviting gray planetoid as terrifying in its simplicity as they were boring but there was little value in these galactic crustaceans. If they had discernable genders it did not matter over much. They were incompatible with humans of either gender through sheer force of apathetic will, unconcerned with carnal pleasure, each one devoted to the service of their endless mission to scavenge the scourings of reality and peddle them for prices as confusing as they were oft esoteric.

Sometimes the amazon’s stopped them for trade.

Sometimes the amazon’s stopped them just to see if they could get a reaction.

Never before today had they done anything stare--


--Where now one crushed the nose of a guardian.

Somewhere board the loading dock the Queen’s Guard had encountered what was very obviously not a shrimp, but a man wearing the coveralls of a Krillian Shrimper, gaudy yellow boots and gloves. And a big shrimp themed helmet what made him look like he’d just torn off the top half of a Krillian’s head and decided to wear it as a hat instead. Human or at least humanoid. Six foot two and well built beneath the baggy orange sweater to be working a job like this with a face that was ridiculously handsome for the splatter of grotesque purple nether that covered it, a gaudy kind of good looking, with ephemeral blooms of starlight born into the air around him only to die soon after even as he struck what one onlooker would politely describe as: ‘a very fake kung fu pose.’

“Why is there a man aboard your ship,” the Captain asked of the Foreman.

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“I thought you were all…”

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“He just broke the nose of one of my finest soldiers, the Queen will demand compensation.”

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“. . .”

The Foreman stared at her in what might have been a shrug.

“How much for the man?”

Now they were doing business.

Power begets power.

It was such a fundamental concept, borderline obtuse in its execution at times, and yet it alone was responsible for keeping the multiverse from collapsing under the weight of its own nonstop growth. Power begets power. How else to explain the improbability of two beings infamous in their own circles for near omnipotence running into each other by mere happenstance in this vast supposedly infinite cosmos but three simple words. Power begets power. While the yeomen of the multiverse slept comfortable in their beds believing magic and gods to be the mere stuff of legend fate tugged at the strings to guarantee that those most likely to corrupt the balance found each other in isolated locations such as this, solving the problems they themselves created away from innocent eyes. Power begets power.

That rule was why they were here today, if not directly responsible then at least guilty by association. It had been a long time since Beramode had been subject to the whims of Fate. Many an age had passed since he had conquered her chosen champion and freed himself from her endless schemes, but like all spurned lovers she found indirect ways to interfere with his schemes from afar even now.

Enter Krü, with two pithy accent marks sitting atop the last lonely vowel in his name.

Krü who appeared to him not unlike like a bipedal shrimp one night cap away from looking like he was trying to lull Red Riding Hood into a false sense of security. Whose sharply alien appearance was a stark reminder that even though humanity had become the most populous species in existence, after Gaia shattered the original Earth into a trillion shards and scattered them across the greater finite curve, they were not the only species with ambitions on greatness.

Krü, whose agents had been running into his like errant pieces on a chessboard for thirty years now. Fighting. Bonding. Fucking. But mostly throwing a wrench in carefully laid plans until we once again return to the scene at hand, two beings of incalculable authority agreeing to meet on a dying world, as gentleman were won’t to do. All over one stupid city. Beramode stood at a serviceable six-two, tall without towering with long limbs and broad shoulders as he made his way out through the folds between dimensions. Appearing without fanfare where once he was not. Wearing a three-piece business suit of charcoal grays and blacks, trailed by curling smoke with every step, a black mask with no discernable markings cover his face and shoulder-length white hair swept along his scalp. He wore black gloves, black shoes, a black tie, and everywhere he went the light was swallowed up by the twisting fingers of shadow that cackled in his wake.

And though he stood on an island some fifty feet from Krü’s own, wearing a mask with no mouth, Beramode’s voice carried perfectly over the distance.

“So, I suppose this is the part where we start throwing galaxies at each other.” Beramode drolled. Snapping his wrist and summoning a deck of cards from some hidden place upside his sleeve. “Sounds like a fun time, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve got things to do and they don’t involve dying. However improbably that might be. And you seem like the kind of guy whose fun to keep around. How’s about we mix things up for once. Tell me, Krü, do they have card games where you’re from?”


For nearly thirty years the world had buckled under the weight of one name, empires had crumbled, but the South Americas had remained untouched. A shining jewel hidden amongst the rubble. Hector Cabrera had gotten his start as a minor drug lord, selling through the mayor of Neo Babylon, using his global connections to spread into the great yawning emptiness left behind when the Russian Mafias and Chinese Triads faded. Little more than an attack dog for the New-Age Gilgamesh. But that was before he had found it, hidden in the Titan’s Range, an artifact of some distant age that had never come to pass in this version of the universe sunk improbably into the deep stone. It told him the truth of this timeline and all the lies that had peddled to him by his patron, and then it had promised to make things right…

The man who had once been Hector Cabrera had been reborn, a neon blue skeleton in a glass case, his every thought a flicker of electronics across the surface of his containment unit and another lash of electricity against its prison. When he spoke his voice was hollow and digital. Naked jawbone only moving to exhale another pall of steam across the space in front of him and his face never shrinking, blinking, nor showing any emotion before the gaudy alien thing before him.

“Very we—”

Light flooded the favella from above along with the distant crackle of reactive camo coming undone. Casting all those things that would rather remained hidden into view. Crooks, goons, and cronies. Not a one of whom had not been modified in some way by his experiments, twisted mutants, tumorous growths covered by the moldy green plant life from which The Narco lich gleaned his name. Each one of them quick to reach for their weapons only to find drop them to the ground with a hiss and a thud as an invisible wave passed over their position, but not over him, above and around him.

But never over him.

“Hector Cabrera, Mano de la Muerte, Lich of Rio. Put your hands in the air.” It was a familiar voice that greeted him, pronouncing his name and title with an exaggerated flare, before returning to the familiar comfort of the English language. It was accompanied by the all too familiar sounds of rifles being trained on him and bodies shuffling into position moments before he appeared, tall and strong, larger than any man had a right to be with black coattails trailing him. “You know as well as I do that trade with unregistered aliens is forbidden by the League of Nations. You’ve fucked up big this time. I’ve been itching to send one of Solmon’s lap dogs to Tartarus on a stretcher, just give me an excuse.”

“Still pretending to be something other than a glorified scavenger, Rodrigo? I’ve been waiting to do this for a very long and I’m glad you could be the first one I say this to…” If he’d lips, he’d spit. If he’d eyes, he’d glare. Somehow even with the perfect monotone of his electronic voice the anger filtered its way through the cracks in the static until the whole neighborhood buzzed with static. Ignoring the firefight that started as soon as he turned, the sound of bodies that belonged exclusively to his men hitting the floor and the occasional crack of thunder as another high velocity shell buzzed off his defensive barrier, he scribbled his name on that piece of paper. Enunciating each word with another outpouring of hate from the wrinkled neon blue folds of his perfectly preserved brain, “Fuck you, Rodrigo. Fuck the Black Dog Mafia, fuck Solomon King, but most of all… Fuck Neo Babylon.

Beleth never understood the concept of mass sacrifice, why was it that quality was only better than quantity until the moment you were committing heresy, and who was going to clean up afterwards? Certainly not his standoffish master and certainly not his incompetent underlings. No point in going through all the unnecessary pomp and pageantry when you could get the job done with just one untainted soul.

One doe-eyed daughter tempted by vanity.

One would-be prom queen spurned by jealousy.

One aspiring starlet willing to do anything for the approval of others.

One shining star basking in the glory atop it all.

One withering old woman grasping at glory.

Beleth sat across from Bethany just as he had ninety years ago when she had been a little girl easily wooed into the tent of a travelling fortune teller on the wharf by plastic stars hanging from the roof and a fog machine. He had looked so much more glamorous back then. There was something haggard about him now sitting there in his mustard yellow three-piece suit with hints of a black bodysuit peeking out from beneath his sleeves and a tie pulled tight like a noose around his throat. It had not been strange to hear prophecy spill from the hollow innards of the yellow teddy-bear head that covered his entire head, it had been easy to ignore the frayed fur and torn ear, the way his bloodshot eyes stared out from the great gaping pits where colorful cartoon eyes ought have been.

It was only now that Bethany realized she had never seen him blink.

But who was she to judge? Time had been kind to her but even kindness had its limits and it seemed in some strange way that as glamor faded from his appearance that it had begun to fill her life like one bucket emptying another, the only times she’d failed the ones where she doubted him, countless surgeries had rendered her a modern mummy with more plastic than flesh stretched of a fading frame. With black sunglasses and gaudy makeup to distract from her encroaching mortality. The curtains of her villa drawn shut and only the flickering candlelight to highlight the host of her life and her guest for the evening.

“Oh Beleth, you’re the only man who never betrayed me.”

“You have bad taste in men, Beth.”

“Not so bad, just picky.”

“Seven husbands picky?”

“I get bored easily but I’ve high hopes for the eighth.”

“. . .”

“You never told me why you did it, why you picked me, I know you did. It’s okay to be honest with me. I figured out what you were long ago, what you really are, I’ll never understand why you like to dress it all up in a veneer of falsehood when you’re are the only real things in this world.”

“You like to hear yourself talk too much.”

“Oh that’s just the actress in me, you’re so mean, you always were. I thought you’d lighten up now that I’m old but I guess I like that about you. My only regret is that you never showed me your face. Can’t you do this silly old girl a favor an—”

And for just a moment she felt her heart stop.

“I suppose that wouldn’t be possible.”

“Not even if I wanted to.”

“All the same, I don’t regret it, I even brought you a gift to express my gratitude to you.”

“Is that what that is…?”

“Yes, I even wrapped it for you.”

“In its own flesh.”


“You didn’t have to do that.”

“It’s nothing between friends. Don’t think I’m trying to obligate you to me either, I lived a full life. Ninety years is long enough for me, I’ll pass the spotlight onto someone else, but you know I’ve finally got my first great-grandchild and I wouldn’t mind another ten or fifteen years just to see them grow. I didn’t get much opportunity with my children and…” Beleth wasn’t the sort of man to repeat himself. Not even for the sake of clarity.

Well, Beleth had come too far to back down now, with a sigh he turned his attention back to the ritual. From his sleeve a remote, the wide-screen television flicked to life with the last faded recording of a one famous newscaster. From beneath the table, the flame-scarred handgun of an ill-fated hunter. And from his inner pocket, a string of teeth collected from a ravenous beast. A gloved finger to the curling ursine smile of his ursine helmet to signal her silence followed by the same reassuring ‘whatever you want’ she had tried to use to seduce him since she’d been old enough for such a thing. That last fateful forecast predicting an incoming storm buzzing every time he tossed one half of a deck of playing cards into another but no such set had she ever seen, dragons and kings and faeries peeking out between shuffles with an ominous eye flat on the back with such detail it could be felt peeking out from the second dimension.

“You were always so obedient, Bethany, that’s why I liked you. Always doing anything I asked of you. You only have to do one more thing for me and eternal beauty will be yours, don’t hesitate now, you’ve come too far and you’re too beautiful for hell.”

“I never doubted you,” She said with love in her voice. “But what a strange ritual.”

“Three objects, Bethany, three objects to recall undying vanity from its scattered place in the stars. Three objects and one silly old woman to act as an anchor. Say the magic words, Bethany, don’t lie and tell me you’ve forgotten them now.”

“Are you sure?”

“The words don’t matter Bethany, it’s the spirit behind them. Hurry now. The storm is ahead of us, the clock is ticking, do not miss the sacred hour or the opportunity will never come again.”

Beleth had never been much of a talker but when he did the world moved, she could hear it now, battering on her windows with sheets of rain. Rattling her old bones with thunder. She could feel every injury creaking in this old joints as she steeled her resolve and she spoke, into the empty ether, across the multiverse with a conviction that made the world bend at its seams. Once upon a time, Bethany had been a pure untainted soul but after ninety years of grooming she was wretched, bloated with corruption until she was nearly unrecognizable. What hadn’t she done in that time? Now she was ripe, like a cow waiting to be slaughtered, arms spared out to her sides as she offered her body, her soul, her mind gleefully to something beyond her comprehension.

The flesh sack oozed.

“Ooh Eeh, Ooh Ah Aah, Ting Tang Walla-Walla Bing Bang!”
This is a narrative driven fight between me and @Odium.
In Neo Babylon 24 days ago Forum: Arena Roleplay
Uuuh, this is the continuation of a long-running setting, think of it as one big sandbox with heavy exploration, intrigue, and combat elements. If you’re interested in joining shoot me a message. Otherwise, everyone involved already knows what I’m about and how I like to do things.

@Liaison told me to post it in the Arena.
In Neo Babylon 24 days ago Forum: Arena Roleplay

The year is 2042, after nearly three decades of war with the forces of darkness the world is finally at peace, but the scars remain. Japan, Taiwan, both Koreas, and the bulk of mainland China simply do not exist. Europe has been ravaged by constant land wars, some states like Germany are nigh unrecognizable ruins, others like England and France have fared remarkably well. While the United States perseveres as always, ready to take advantage of a world where its two largest competitors have been wiped off the map, and what of those continents and countries where evil’s heavy hand did not fall? The so-called Third World, the Arfricas and the South America, nature abhors a vacuum and a massive one has been left waiting for someone bold enough to fill it…

None of it matters, not to you, because you live in the center of the universe: Neo Babylon.

Five years into their thirty-year war with the forces of evil, the gods raised lost Empyrea from the ocean, the wellspring through which all magic flows into the world and they surrounded this newborn paradise mountains taller than the sky, they filled the sky and the land and the sea with monsters, and they trapped the whole thing in a never-ending storm. It’s said that all the world’s miracles come true on Empyrea. Plants that cure any disease and metals that never break, and then there’s its crown jewel is Neo Babylon, where heroes from a thousand different worlds gathered to stare evil in its unblinking eye. A miserable city where life is cheap and the only currency is power. Whatever the gods had planned for Neo Babylon, it became something else entirely, a thousand different interests from just as many universes have turned the city into a veritable dystopia ruled from the top down by a flesh-eating oni and the mega corporations that have managed to worm their way into his good favor.

Good job Hero, you made it to the frontlines, unfortunately the war is already over. You can go back home if you can find a way there but while you’re here you better find a way to make yourself useful and fast, you’re a commodity and your greatest resource is that you’re an unknown-unknown, but nobody stays a mystery forever. Maybe you fancy your chances better outside. On the inland sea or the great forests. Think you’re one of those nomadic types who can spend their time searching for inner peace in the master’s dojo but trust me when I tell you this, power begets power, trouble is gonna come looking for you sooner rather than later so you best prepare while you can.
Edited for missing punctuation.
I am playing Alice Ansegisel, she does not have an up to date profile, I may or may not write one.
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