PrologueGenesis Springs Chapter
Our story begins in Genesis Springs, a sleepy, isolated old town located somewhere in North America. Will Everetts, a nineteen-year-old college student living on his own, awakens from a horrible nightmare that has been plaguing him for as long as he can remember; many other characters, including several other students at the institution he attends, have been experiencing similar dreams throughout their lives, though none understand their significance as yet. As they go about their daily business, the characters are approached by a mysterious Man in Black who gives most of them curious black envelopes; these letters contain an invitation from a mysterious man known only as the Maharaja, telling them to come to his residence that night if they wish to learn the significance of their dreams, and a business card for a shop called Aut Omnia, aut Nihil
, located at an address that Will knows contained only a vacant lot the previous night.
Without anything better to do, the group decides to take the Maharaja up on his invitation and head for the address at the specified time; what they find is most assuredly not a vacant lot, but rather a curious shop lifted straight out of the Victorian era. As they’ve arrived early, the characters begin getting to know one another outside; the Man in Black invites them inside then, and they continue this process within an opulent reception room featuring a curious blending of aesthetic styles from across the room. As the group waits for the Maharaja to show himself, they continue to get to know one another and establish that they have all been having bizarre and unsettling dreams, a common thread which they seek to explain. At this point the Maharaja himself arrives, revealed to be a sickly, elderly nobleman of Indian descent; he explains somewhat cryptically that the reason they have been having these dreams is because at some point in their lives they were taken by mysterious cults and infused with the essence of an old god, one of the various deities, demons and spirits from the pantheons predating the rise of Christianity.
The characters are naturally sceptical of his claims, but his observations—particularly his in-depth knowledge of Will’s nightmare, a dream which the young man has never shared with anyone—lend enough ambiguity to his words that some begin to entertain the notion that he might be telling the truth. At that moment, however, things go straight to hell; the building begins to shake, the sky visible through the skylight turns black and fills with countless red eyes, and a globe in the corner begins to shatter and fragment. As the Maharaja informs them that they are experiencing the end of the universe, the protagonists are all overcome with a sudden pain as the divine essences sleeping within them awaken, and their bodies are twisted and transformed by this power into reflections of the deities they bear; some manage to remain conscious during this transformation, others pass out, and one person—a mysterious woman by the name of Aricrethiel, who was not sent an invitation and is not transforming—makes to open the door, despite being informed that doing so would consign them all to the void. She stops, thankfully, and eventually the shaking stops, but at that moment something vast slams into the Aut Omnia, aut Nihil
, shattering the skylight and causing the protagonists to get whisked out into the void of space...
The Desert Arc
Strangers in a Strange Land
Sometime later, the protagonists awaken to find themselves in a vast desert of bizarre, multi-coloured sand that stretches as far as the eye can see in all directions, and those who failed to remain conscious during their earlier transformations quickly discover the full extent of how they have changed; understandably, more than a few of them begin to freak out. After the characters take a few minutes to get their bearings, adjust to their (alternatively hideous or beauteous) new forms and try to figure out just what the hell is going on, the Maharaja appears; like them, he too has been transformed, having become something akin to a Dungeons & Dragons
-style rakshasa, and his manservant has similarly become a red-skinned demon. He explains that he had been searching for the protagonists for two hours, and that their current location, Metatron’s Cube, is an otherdimensional realm where they will need to gather the faith of mortal worshippers in order to increase their powers so that they may be able to harness the power sleeping at the heart of the Cube and create a new universe. He also cautions them that others have also been blessed with divine power as they have, and that they should remain on guard at all times for these other godlings will be competing with them for the faith of the Cube’s human inhabitants; finally, the Maharaja permits them to use his shop as a safe haven should they need it, and points them in the direction of a small human settlement some distance to the north to help them get started.
During this lengthy exposition, it is revealed that Aricrethiel is not the Inheritor of a divine essence like the rest of the protagonists, but rather an angel—a Dominion, to be precise, and one that has been wandering the world in a state of amnesia as a result of the cosmic upheaval—the so-called Reckoning in Heaven—which caused this mess to begin with. While she is incapable of participating in the creation of a new universe due to the fact that she is not an Inheritor, she decides to accompany the group anyway, as she understands that the time of her lord is over and she intends to continue fulfilling her function under new masters. For reasons unknown, this displeases the Maharaja, and before departing he and his manservant caution her that other angels roam Metatron’s Cube and to be wary of them; without the guiding voice of the Lord, there is no telling what they might do.
At this point the Maharaja leaves, and the group sets out for the settlement he had indicated; just before their journey gets under way, strange devices appear to inform them of the identities of their divine essences, and then disappear just as suddenly as they had arrived. With that little bit of confusion cleared up, the godlings depart; their journey, though long, is uneventful, and they get a good look at the otherworldly nature of Metatron’s Cube during their sojourn.
They arrive at the village itself—a ramshackle collection of a half-dozen huts, inhabited solely by two school schoolteachers and a number of children—several hours later, and the inhabitants are justifiably wary of this strange band; one of the godlings—a girl named Edith, and the Inheritor of the divine essence of the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu—decides to act as the group’s spokesperson and sway the kids and their chaperones to their cause, with limited success. She does not let this stop her, however, and continues her attempts to win them over, with Stephan Donnor—Inheritor of Thor’s essence—backing her up; her words appear to be getting through to them, but suddenly the kids and their teachers become frightened and flee into the relative safety of their houses.
The reason for their fear becomes clear a moment later, for a huge monster—a huge, rhinoceros-like creature called a karkadann—has snuck up on the group, and before the godlings can gather their wits the creature attacks! Unprepared for this beast’s presence, the protagonists are initially in disarray; some are willing to fight, others flee, and yet others are simply too stunned to react. Fortunately, with the realization that the children will be in danger if they don’t kill this thing they manage to get their act together, and despite some difficulties with the use of their newly-discovered divine powers the beast is slain in short order; Edith and Regg—the Inheritor of San Martin Txiki, the Basque trickster god—are the ones to strike the final blow.
Awed by this turn of events, the villagers come out to gawp, and Edith takes this moment to deliver a heartfelt speech that wins over, if not the teachers, than at least their charges; shortly afterwards, the godlings and the people they saved celebrate by roasting and feasting upon the dead karkadann.
These actions have not gone unnoticed, however, for far above a strange batlike creature has been watching the whole thing and relaying what it saw to a distant figure with jade green eyes. Amused by the protagonists’ struggles, he makes a number of cryptic remarks regarding the Maharaja; and upon noticing that one of them is his ‘brother’, he begins to chuckle ominously. Doubtless he has plans for our heroes, and none of them pleasant…
Out of the Pool!
The group spends the night at the village, beloved by all, with Will, Charlotte and Mokrus meeting their respective god (Teotl, Loki and Morpheus) as San Martin and Sigrun discuss their duties. Leo undergoes Heroic BSOD (due to discovering it not being All Just a Dream), cementing his status as The Load, and the group leaves the village and heads into the desert. They stop at an oasis to rest, at which point a snowman shows up, shortly followed by Sobek. They are revealed to be rival godlings, and battle ensues.
My Name is Bat
Sex, Drugs and Rock-&-Roll
The Forest Arc