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Old 10-23-2012, 03:10 AM   #1
Erebus Dirge
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Default BD 2012 Fall Write-Off - Story 4...

The Rise of Ithaqua

lt began in darkness, long before the transfiguration of the cosmos, and countless aeons before the Eye of Zog opened in the black sky, melting and burning away all It perceived with It's vexing green rays. ln this utmost darkness before light, the boreal winds and the stygian night would frequently discover unnatural ways to procreate inside deep fissures, and from these cyclonic unions there emerged black, howling things that were most often too blind and immaterial to exist for long. But from one of the deepest of these chasms -a crack so vast that it vented wild geysers from the frozen core of the world- there rose a swirling mass of bone and debris, a great pillar of tumultuous carnage made flesh, and thus was born Ithaqua.

He emerged prone, amorphous, having no knowledge of form or substance. But the penetrating winds blasted Him into a suitable shape, much like they had carved the twisted structures of ice which pervaded these frozen wastes, although those bizarre, lifeless sculptures had taken millenia for the winds to perfect. And so, no longer without shape, Ithaqua stepped out of the spewing womb and walked into the darkling world.

But to say that He walked is not quite true; rather He was carried along on the winds that seeded Him, while the blackness which bore Him granted His cold, red eyes the ability of dark-sight. ln this manner did Ithaqua observe the most frightful and glorious spectacles on His bleak homeworld. He saw the blooming of the poisonous glacier-ferns, which only sprouted every other tri-fex, and upon rot cumulatively formed a great cloud of noxious gasses which turned a whole quadrant of the planet uninhabitable for an entire epoch; He witnessed the toppling of Mt. Kranikxat, the longest tooth in the Mouth of the World, which had been hollowed out and molded into a castle by the evil wizard Yirxis, who subsisted there until a certain beast he had summoned on another plane of reality tracked him to this world and destroyed him in his spire; He glimpsed the slowly fading vapor trail left generations ago by the trans-dimensional vessel piloted by Yhtill, a strange, pallid being who timelessly scours the universe in search of the elusive Yellow Sign, a quest which very nearly ended on this world -but that is another story...

ln these, His primordial years -still many ages before the Great Alteration of space- Ithaqua also learned of the various species whom He shared this world with. Among these were the star-worshipping Voorla, a race composed primarily of light, whose talents at divining visions from the current set of constellations had become widely renowned, drawing many strange and curious denizens from all corners of the galaxy. There were also the ancient vampire-wraiths who dwelled in the frozen city of Groth at the central pole. lt was said that these parasitic creatures were not the original inhabitants of Groth, but that they sacked the city long ago from a much older race of beings, having since guarded some sort of terrible secret buried away in the deep, icy catacombs.

In His travels, Ithaqua also came across the Sha'nii, an insectoid race which had travelled here when their own planet had been devastated by plague. They settled in the southern wastes, only to eventually be subjugated by the Quorvid, an indigenous species of gigantic worms which had ruled the lower domains of this world for centuries from their vast underground lairs. The Quorvid would often attack entire tribes throughout the lands, enslaving many of the smaller, weaker creatures that inhabited the southern regions, and forcing them to make foul obeisances to their evil worm masters. The insectoid Sha'nii were compelled into such bondage, required to constantly propagate so that they could provide routine sacrifices, serving as sustenance for their monstrous thralls.

The Sha'nii endured such drudgery for what served as many long generations among their own race, breeding just to feed the enormous annelids, taking whatever quiescence they could find between the Quorvids' extreme nourishment cycles. In these rare moments of respite they would often beseech the gods of their old world for aid. One of whom they implored was Vizidrox, Carrier of Wings and Rider of the Solar Winds, an elemental deity whom some among the Sha'nii feared may have abandoned them long ago, since the plague which ravaged their homeworld had been delivered by a sudden and mysterious gust from space. But the winds of this new world blew much the same as those on their own dead planet long ago, though much colder, so the more partisan among the humbled arthropods hoped that the clickings and buzzings of their prayers would not be in vain.

lthaqua Himself heard no such prayers, but occasionally He was afforded visions of far-away things in the supreme blackness, while the wind whispered dark secrets in His ears. ln these glimpses of days to come, He saw Himself first as a king, then a god, and finally as something more absolute, with much more power than any lowly god would ever dare try to grasp. Among other glimpses, He saw the Sha'nii, supplicating and sacrificing in their honeycombed cells. But in this particular vision the arthropods were worshipping Him, their savior, Great lthaqua, and He saw Himself become more powerful through their admonishment.

And so it was that lthaqua rose up with full command of the winds, and came down in a great and terrible tempest. Wherever He passed the icy ground shook, while caves collapsed and mountains splintered. The great storm that was His wrath divided into a hundred whirlwinds, each of them howling like a pack of wild hounds hungry for blood. This legion of torrential blizzards assaulted the southern wastes, stabbing into solid ground with ferocious intent. Eventually the frenzied winds broke through the earth and seeped into the vast network of vermiform tunnels that had been carved by the Quorvid. Unable to escape the very Elements Themselves, the great conqueror worms were rooted out and destroyed in their lairs. lt was an awesome storm of genocide, driven by an icy fire that seemed as though it might never be sated.

But eventually the winds did calm, and during the tranquility which followed, lthaqua's name began to pass into legend. The insectoid Sha'nii, now liberated, revered Him as a god, thinking Him a more vengeful incarnation of their own Lord of Storms, Great Vizidrox. The Lorflugg, a race of crab-like beings who had been enslaved by the Quorvid for untold generations, now freely called lthaqua their master, and they performed obscene rites in His honor atop the most precarious and windblown peak in the Sea of Glaciers, where they made their home. Many were the religions that were formed in lthaqua's name, and many more the sculptures that were carved in His likeness. Though few had ever actually seen the mighty Wind-Walker, there were those that claimed they heard His voice in the strong gusts that blew out of the great northern expanse, or in the strange exhalations that issued forth from deep hollows.

Centuries passed, and lthaqua's reign endured. With the tundras for a throne and the frigid atmosphere for a crown, He ruled over His minions from afar, keeping them in check through secretive whispers and horrid deeds, while in turn they offered up their petty anointments to the foul efflations. And though these endowments did serve to swell His glory to superlative proportions, He began to grow weary of such menial honors. There was more power to be had, real power, not just the potency afforded from the scraps of lowly servitors. Somewhere far beyond this world, great ancient forces were gathering in preparation for events that would drastically alter the fabric of space and time. lthaqua, having never been outside the confines of His homeworld, knew that this sort of knowledge should have been beyond His ken, yet He felt a sort of calling, a tugging, as if something was compelling Him away from this mundane existence and towards a more sovereign state of being.

And thus it happened, that in the fifth epoch, the 23rd tri-fex, and the Year of the Seven Thousand Alignments, a great metamorphosis occurred throughout the cosmos; a profound disarrangement of all matter in space, as though creation had been suddenly recreated in order to suit some new god's whim. Entire worlds shifted in location, while others were destroyed or merely vanished, and yet new worlds were formed out of vaporous clouds of dust and flame. The stars themselves were repositioned in the heavens, forming new constellations that depicted sanity-blasting scenes of archaic decay. Whole galaxies were reengineered, laws of physics were written anew, and the very balance of nature had been reset. There was a certain delirious symmetry in this abrupt restructuring of the infinite expanse; twisted patterns that spoke of genius and omnipotent mastery, but even more so of madness and the dark arts.

lthaqua's own homeworld, His kingdom of perpetual night and ice, was acutely perturbed by the strange fluctuations of space. Whether the celestial bodies within it's normal system had all been scattered, or whether the planet itself had been displaced further along the aether, was unknown; but the Wind-Walker's domain had now been firmly fixed within the rapid elliptical orbit of a giant green star, the proximity of which began to take immediate effect on the world's climate. Mountains that stood frozen in time for millenia were now thawing, forming steaming oceans, and windswept plateaus were cracking open, releasing primal, toxic gasses into the air. The planet's very foundations were quickly being rebuilt as it was constantly blasted by the invading sun's brilliant emerald rays.

The entire populace of the world was likewise affected by the Great Transfiguration. The phosphorescent Voorla, who had spent ages trying to decipher the secrets of creation in the placement of the stars, and saw glimpses of the past, present, and future in the gloaming sky, were rendered blind and idiotic after the rearrangement of the infinite expanse. They died incoherently, in a series of vast resplendent flashes, as the melting icecaps extinguished their lambent flames. The Sha'nii, weary from many long eras of servitude, and having now beheld the true potential of divinity in the alteration of the heavens, abandoned the planet in a great winged swarm. lt was said that the elders among the insectoid race had made contact with some sort of primal being that existed somewhere outside of this new space/time configuration, and that they departed tracking a kind of piping musical resonance with their keen antennai.

lthaqua Himself was loath to remain on His homeworld, since the cold darkness which was His lifesblood had been abolished, and His very kingdom had been uprooted. As the climate warmed and His power declined, He retreated into the frigid vastness of space, traversing the lengths between the stars on mighty winds through an airless void. He drifted through black fathoms of the aether for an immeasurable period of time, discovering many strange worlds and partaking in a multitude of harrowing exploits, but such accounts shall not be described here. For lthaqua knew His true destiny lay far beyond these meager ventures enacted on dismal orbs, so He finally relented, allowing Himself to be pulled along the expanse by the same tugging that had long since been compelling Him onward from some distant, unknown point in space.

Another epoch had passed before lthaqua's journey was finally over. He had arrived at a terraqueous planet which outwardly resembled many others He had espied during His travels, though even His untrained eye could detect a certain radiance beneath the surface, powerful emmanations which could only hail from the very center of infinity. And it was on this potent, burgeoning world where He encountered other creatures of His ilk, great old beings that had sprouted from elemental indignities or other blasphemous affronts to nature, and who desired dominion over the forces at sway. These creatures had long since mastered the latent magicks of the spheres, and it was they who had refashioned the whole of space as if it were freshly dug clay. They were gods in a godless, indifferent universe, and their power was tantamount to supreme.

There was a place for lthaqua among the seats of these lords, and after many unspeakable rites of passage, He became privy to levels of science and sorcery heretofore unparalleled in His experience. He grew cognizant of the darkest knowledge of the cosmos, thus perceiving dreadful secrets unguessed at. With such incomprehensible endowments did lthaqua rule as a king among kings, choosing the northern polar wastes of this new world as His dominion. He was often called upon by His ancient instructors to act as a tool of destruction, eliminating entire stocks of their failed creations, or to enact vengeance upon their various enemies. And in return He was given the spoils of these clashes, and more conquered planets to add to His expanding kingdom. One of these worlds would later come to be known as Borea, from which lthaqua would reign in cold despair, as certain tales have already told...

But just as kingdoms wither with age, so do their rulers become complacent, and they are often dethroned, stripped of titles, land, and frequently their very souls. So it happened that the reign of these particular kings was ended by a Great Cataclysm, one that came with sudden and perilous effect. The cause of this event has never been discerned; some things are merely unknowable, while other secrets have been lost in the annals of time, or in the mistiness that pervades strange dreams. lt is enough to know that these great, ancient gods somehow lost their foothold on the universe, and that certain spells they had enacted were broken, causing the vast continuum to revert back to the shape it had assumed before being altered. Many of these creatures went into hiding, or were forced into a timeless hibernation, lest they perish by the designs of their own disordered enchantments.

lthaqua Himself, being an elemental entity, was mostly immune to the effects of this catastrophe, and so He remained in the frozen northern wastes of the core world. There He beheld the evolution of the frost-fungi, which were ultimately eradicated by plague; then He witnessed the dominance of the great lizard beasts, which was ended by a colossal meteor. Eventually, a lowly race of bi-peds inherited the planet, and they called their world Earth.

lthaqua recruited some of these foul creatures as servitors, and He grew legendary in their whisperings of Him, where He acquired such names as "Yeti" and "Wendigo". But most often, lthaqua merely waited...as He still waits now; waiting as the wind roars around jagged peaks, and the lulling ebon nights come and go and come again in maddening rotation; waiting for the time long ago promised, when the stars will become right once more, and He can retake His rightful place within the hall of kings, amid a chaotic torrent of malice and fear.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:30 AM   #2
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Okay read and vote here...
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Readability: Is it easy to read, does it sound like good grammar or how someone would actually speak? Did you have to go back and reread or stop to figure out what was going on? (Spelling and grammar count, but to say it hurts the story isn't always true.) It's up to you how readable it was.

Concept: Is it fresh or familiar. Is it a good take or rendition on the idea. Was it a great presentation, or too familiar? Character developement fits here too (tho yeah, seems odd due to the heading of "concept") But how well presented are the characters? Are they fleshed out, do we understand or sympathize with them?

Atmosphere: Dread, horror, creepiness, ambiance, mood, immersion etc. How well does the story draw you in? Do you feel the danger, the distress of the world? Are you glad you're not in their shoes? Do you feel for the characters, the world, and/or the situation. If this were a movie, how happy were you watching it unfold? Does the atmosphere suck you in, or like a bad movie, are you checking your watch to see how much is left?
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:12 PM   #4
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I think i know who wrote this story...
I love you descriptions and your ability to create this elaborate and deep history on a galaxy that my mind isn't even meant to comprehend. The writing is solid and considering all the lore and made up (or maybe they are from something else) names of species. The whole thing has a very lovecraftian flow to it ( based on my extremely limited exposure to Lovecraft) but i was able to follow. My one issue i have with the story is that it feels like it is the prelude to an entire novel or longer work, also i dont really get a feeling of dread or horror because the scope is sooooo huge.
Readability: 4
Concept: 3.5
Atmosphere: 3
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:46 PM   #5
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Readability - No errors which I could detect . Flow was great. Nuff said - 4

Concept - Anything Lovecraftian I love. This was brillant, it felt like an excerpt from the book of Ebon or the Necromonicon, where some dark prophet has been chosen to ghost write his masters biography. " Minds I have consumed, world's I have ended " - My life so far by Ithaqua. But, seriously It's great how you chose a cosmic horror as your protagonist. - 4

Atomsphere - Reminiscent of the short story - The Insects of Shaggi by Ramsey Campbell. The chronicling of an arcane alien horror as it travels through cosmos encountering strange worlds and beings before settling on earth. - 3.5

Overall - My favourite of all the stories - I'm a self confessed Lovecraft freak.
I can imagine Larry Fishburn's voice narrate this over some mad-ass trippy animation.
Seriously though, if you have'nt already then see about sending this or anything similar to http://www.strange-aeons.com/ they are crying out for this kind of stuff - 4.0
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:34 PM   #6
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Readability: Excellent flow, it somehow urged me to read faster and faster, despite my inability to do so. 4.5

Concept: Very nice, very alien, would not have been very good if not for it's other worldliness. Reminds me a bit of Michael Moorecock and the vaguer/wispy stories of Joseph W. Campbell. 4.0

Atmosphere: It started feeling pretty long, but was such an easy read. I found it easy to see and sense the vastness of space and time, and it's indifferent cold. 4.0

Overall: Very very well done. 4.167
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I met her, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and not even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this cow, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach her, and then another seven trying to keep her locked up because I realized that what was living behind that cow's eyes was purely and simply... evil.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:48 AM   #7
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Oh...How I love the way you write....

Readability- Flowed beautifully and painted a landscape I didn't want to look away from!-4.5

Concept-I'm a huge Lovecraft fan and this read like a story found posthumously. Great story to read and reread!-4.5


Atmosphere- you had me at the Eye of Zog! I love the way it whirlpools from the cosmos to the frozen wastes of Earth-4.5

Overall-4.5
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:26 AM   #8
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Rise of Ithaqua by Yoxodo
R: 4.25 C: 4.00 A: 3.75 Total: 4.00
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I met her, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and not even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this cow, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach her, and then another seven trying to keep her locked up because I realized that what was living behind that cow's eyes was purely and simply... evil.
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