The adventures of the old god Dar’goth continues! This time Dar’goth is in need of desperate help to pass his code inspection so he does what any sort of ancient-evil-trying-to-navigate-modern-times would do: he opens up a portal in time & space to summon his most loyal follower and architect of his temples.
I stood before a temple of ruby and brimstone, mortared together by the blood of human sacrifices. A temple dedicated to the true ruler of the ages, nay, all of eternity, the one and true Dar’goth the God of Madness and my one true master. The Final Temple I had called it, my grand creation, took the form of a giant helix twisting itself high into the sky past the cloud line and into the heavens where the Mad Pyramid stood, built our of the darkest obsidian my men could find. A scarlet ribbon made of surplus blood poured down the outer rim of the helix’s steps and down into the Crimson Well. A marvelous piece of engineering that would hold to time immortal. And like all my designs it passed with flying colors through the city’s code department. Not many eldritch engineers could make such a marvel and satisfy the bureaucrats, none except me, Kiria the Builder.
I awaited at the foot of my creation with a bottle of sparkling blood in hand while the congregation of madness waited in anticipation for our god to come. I peered past the crowd which filled the entire city’s streets of devotees and prisoners alike looking for the tentacle appendages and slithering worm like body that was Dar’goth. It was not every decade that the old god would shed himself of one of his many avatars and come in his true form, but he assured me that he would come in his corporeal form to the ceremony of my grandest creation.
We waited for a long time. To say that he was late would be heretical of me, for Dar’goth is never late, nor is he early, he always arrives when he needs to. Even if that meant skipping five meals and a whole night of sleep like we had done for our ceremony. At last, after another growl of my stomach, I saw the twinging of a tentacle on the horizon. Before I could perk myself up I felt the ground beneath my feet giveaway. My heart jumped and my stomach churned. The first thought that went through my head was that a worker had screwed up and planted a trap to embarrass me before my master. But as I fell below my suspicions of just a minor betrayal were shoved aside a replaced with something far worse. Before I crossed the horizon of whatever had given way beneath me I saw the ethereal lights of the holy swords that belonged to those of the Banishers. And then nothing by darkness.
I fell for what felt like decades if not centuries, perhaps even a millennia or two. Suspended in an endless void trapped with nothing but my own thoughts and anxieties trapped within an agonizing loop of wondering the fate of my god. A personal hell created by my own unstimulated mind. And then for my first time in eternity I saw the light beneath my feet. The first stimulus I’d had in so long. My mind a broken mess. I wanted to scream. And I did. It felt good reacting to something other than thought for my first time in so so long.
I hit a solid surface feet first. No longer familiar with my own extremities my legs gave way. My body collapsed onto a white floor. I lied there in pain, happy to feel anything at all. I let the cool floor soak away my heat as I groaned. My body, unused in so long contorted into a manner it was not made for as I rolled about the surface taking in all these long forgotten sensations. Above me a flat ceiling made of a substance I did not recognize: white with gray speckles divided into perfect squares by glossy bright white strips overlapping one another. A hideous design devoid of any inspiration. Bright white strips of light within rectangular boxes also hung above me. Whatever magic illuminated me must had been that of the Banishers for no sane human would ever subjugate themselves to such harsh light, only that of fire and magma were enough to make a man happy. I let out another groan and then I heard the most comforting sound.
“Are you just going to lay there or what?” A familiar voice said. Snarling and gargled like a man being drowned and strangled at the same time I knew I’d recognize those sounds anywhere. Dar’goth!
I fought to remember how my limbs worked as I squirmed on the ground trying to right myself up wriggling like a freshly dismembered tentacle or a surfaced hell worm blinded by the sun’s light. Within in due time I manage to sit myself upright taking in the strange surroundings.
Sky blue walls sandwiched between the white ceiling and flooring of the small room I found myself in. Across the walls various pictures of what looked like small malnourished wolves the size of a rat hung on the walls. It took me a moment to realize that they were all of the same brown coated tiny beast. Before me a strange desk made of matte gray metal and a top that resembled wood but not quite. A large rectangular tablet sat onto of a neck dark rod that extended from the desk. And behind the desk sat a woman not much older than me dressed in a black robe with crimson cuffs, exactly like the one I wore.
“I don’t have all decade,” the woman said. It was not a feminine voice at all but the scrambled vocals of my master.
“Dar’goth?” I said. Or at least tried to. Instead my voice came out hoarse and choked as I coughed on each syllable. But I suppose even in my ineloquence my master understood me as he nodded and pointed to the seat before the desk. I struggled to get to my feet using the chair for support as I sat myself upon it. Once I did Dar’goth handed me a glass of water.
My mind had forgotten what do with such a substance but my body did not. I felt my throat open and close as it took in the clear drink. A rush of life followed not long after and for my first time in a long time my mind felt clear. When I sat the glass back on the table my master spoke again.
“Did you enjoy your trip?” He asked. Hearing his voice come out of a woman’s face, nevertheless one with such kind eyes that lacked the emptiness filled with eternal grief that each follower carried with them, was disorienting. I knew that in past times before me that Dar’goth had taken on many avatars from his most devout followers from men to women alike, but during my brief human lifespan with him he had only taken on the forms of large imposing men. During wartime he did not subject himself to feeble figures, and this woman’s looked like I could snap her spine with a hug. Not that we followers hugged one another.
“What trip?” I asked amazed at how smooth the words came out of my lips.
“Your trip through the void. I always enjoy a quick century or two of eternal self-suffering during my trips. Really makes the time fly by.”
“I found myself in an loop of regret and sorrow wondering what fate beheld you my master,” I said. “Soon that became the only thoughts I could think. I had forgotten that I was even human. Not until I came face to face with whatever hideous substance that makes up that floor.”
Dar’goth chuckled. “I see your taste hasn’t changed at all, Kiria.”
“How long was that trip?” I asked. “And why did you bring me here? What happened to you and the Banishers? Where’s the Final Temple?”
“A quick millennia and a half,” Dar’goth said. “Not even long enough for a bathroom break.”
“A millennia and a half?” I said. “That’s enough to make a man insane a thousand times over. Why would you do such a-“ I held my tongue at that last statement. Who am I to question my god? “I apologize my lord for overstepping my bounds. Please forgive my snappy tongue.”
“You’ve always been a loyal follower,” Dar’goth said. “I appreciate your restraint. As for your second question you’re in the same space that you were in when you left. It’s not a matter of where, but when.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I’ve brought you to the future. Which honestly answers a lot of my own questions. After the Banishers brought me to the foot of your beautiful temple to send me away to my void for the next few millennia, I felt so betrayed by your absence. I thought you had ghosted me.”
“You know. Died, and had your soul eternally trapped in limbo on Earth. I couldn’t find you anywhere within the nine abysses. I thought you didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. My feelings were hurt,” Dar’goth said. His expression looked that of a genuine betrayal. I had never seen such a look upon an avatar’s face. His face shifted to one of forgiveness after that. “But it appears I was wrong. My freaking future self, I guess that’s me now, pulled you away from me when I needed you most for something big, really big. All if forgiven.”
“Where did the final temple go?” I asked. “You said that we’re where it once stood, where did it go? My neigh-indestructible magnum opus?”
“Well, the Banishers tried to destroy it but they struggled to even make a dent in the thing. It stood here for probably a thousand years or two living through a multitude of new city governments and regime changes. At one point it became a mall for witchcraft.”
A mall. What an insult to my architecture, and for witches too? I nearly threw up right there but I held it in.
“Eventually people forgot about magic and the old gods,” Dar’goth continued. “‘Technology’ reigned supreme,” he emphasized with air quotes. “Blah blah blah a millennia later the city lost the building permit while uploading their documents to the ‘cloud’,” again with the air quotes. “Eventually they thought that aliens built the Final Temple due to some bureaucratic mixup and since code forbids any alien structures from being built within the city limits they tore it down and a hundred years later this building popped up. A blocky apartment complex that I just cannot wait to hear you tear apart.”
“Aliens,” I said without realizing it. “They attributed my grand designs to aliens? I’ve seen what they build on Mars and they got nothing on my work. What kind of insult is this? I’d rather it have been a mall with a freaking Infernal Topic for those godforsaken witches for the rest of time rather than be mistaken for the gaudy architecture of the Martians or the dysfunctional abominations of the Venutians.”
“Hey, don’t shoot the messenger,” Dar’goth said holding his hands up. “I was busy being trapped within the void until my only living follower brought me back into the body of his landlord.”
“Aliens…” I said again, this time beneath my breath. We sat in silence for a good while before Dar’goth spoke up.
“If it’s any condolences, I have a new project in mind for you,” he said.
I looked at him.
“It’s not Final Temple,” he continued. “We don’t have the funding or sacrifices in line to construct another, at least not yet. But what we do have are the rent payments of the many residents of this building and the backing of one devout attorney.” He reached into a drawer and produced a rough sketch drawn like a child’s. I recognized the crudeness instantly. Dar’goth was many things, but an artist he was not. The drawing depicted a disproportionate rectangular building with what appeared to be windows scattered about it in a seemingly random order. On top of the rectangular building a dark dome sat upon it with jagged spikes shooting out of it in every which way, fire and blood spat out of their tips.
“You like it?” Dar’goth said. “I call it The Cap of the Dammed. It’s designed to sit atop this very building we’re in,” he pointed up. “After all I- well technically my avatar, is the lord upon this small patch of land. I can do anything I want, as long as it’s up to code. And I don’t want to deal with those pesky code inspector again. Not after the last two times…”
“I’d build anything for you my lord,” I nodded eagerly. It was no Final Temple that was sure. But it was a start.
“Perfect, now let me show you around the place. Or age,” he said standing up. I followed Dar’goth out through the door behind me and into my strange new future.