Nine Knives

The first knife is small but ornate. It has a hilt of bleached scrimshaw depicting the Julia Set in vertigo-inducing detail; its blade is a rough hewn window into the moonless night sky and its wicked edge is just sharp enough to cut you free of your miserable life story.


Cut open your life story under the light of the blazing moon. Reach into your narrative’s screaming corpse and draw the second knife from its chest. It has a hilt of splintered rib, with a hungry toothlike blade. With this you can saw open the world, and let in the crushing depths. 


On the night of the sharpest newborn moon, saw through the leathery skin of the world and rip the third knife from the gnawing void beyond. Its blade curves in an alpha wave and its hilt is heavy with the weight of reality. Use this to slash through their gauze of lies.


When the magic of the full moon fades into the banal; when you are ready to give up; pick up the fourth knife. It’s been in front of you all along. Its ABS hilt holds a blade that boils with memetic mutation between pulsetoothed serrations. Use this to carve a new reality.


As moonlight turns to glittering fangs, and friends turn to enemies, take the fifth knife from the place you’ve always refused to look. This is your last chance. A scorpion tail hilt holds a blade dripping with poison and vile darkness. You know what to do with this one.


The sixth knife is easy, you’re already using it: a glass-bladed straight razor wrapped in a barbed wire hilt, with edges so sharp they dissolve into quantum uncertainty. Draw it out from between the Is and the Isn’t. With this, you can cut yourself free of the timeline.


Once your hopes are spent and all paths lead to ruin, reach backward and pull the seventh knife from That Which Was. A single chunk of smoky crystal with a simple hilt of wrapped spike tape, it glows faintly with the redshifted light of days gone by. Use this to sever yourself from the past.


When a young moon hangs twixt light and dark, reach through the gaping hole in your soul and draw the eighth knife from the void beyond. The scissor’s blades are jittering oscilloscope lightning with a looping hilt of escher-braided red and gold. Use this to snip the threads of fate.


In the moment of totality, when sun and moon embrace, reach into the syzygy and draw the ninth knife, the last knife, from the eye of the eclipse. A snickersnack blade of pure, sharp, thought, with a bandersnatch hilt of hardened will, your will, and a ribbon of absolute love, your love, running down the tang. Use this to do the impossible.


From Tranquility, Lead me to Wrath

As someone comes to terms with the hostility of their embedding and the harm that they’re participating in through it, a common response is to try and extricate themselves from that embedding. This is worse than a mistake, this COINTELPRO in action. Listen stardust, we’re better than that, accountability doesn’t mean purification or erasure. We do not want to separate ourselves from the world because that is the opposite of having the power to change it, and that means accounting for the causal effects of everything we do, including the choice to do nothing.

You (creature of soul and stardust) exist embedded in a body in a world in a universe and every point of metaphysical contact between your soul and embedding is a potential control surface which can be actuated to create change within that embedding. Cutting free grounding points reduces control surfaces and thus ability to impact the dynamic system at large. It does nothing to change that dynamic system or its overall trajectory through time.

You can’t make yourself invisible, you can only become socially considered invisible. Excised from the narrative and condemned to an unseen backdrop with the homeless encampments and roadside trash. But your purity won’t save you from the rising tide. The world will still burn.

Remember that in addition to being embedded in space, you are also embedded within time, and there is a great deal of inertia created by the past which cutting your engines will do nothing to zero out, not even destroying your ship (in this metaphor we now find ourselves hurtling into) will zero it out because the inertia will simply drag the cloud of debris forward as readily as it did your intact body. The generational trauma load, the burden of injustice passed down to each generation, will continue to pass through the world, building and building, until a metaphysical monster is born and its birth ruptures reality and consumes the universe. You cannot purify your soul of societal poison by vowing to not participate in it, your lack of participation will change nothing. The world will burn whether you personally help set it on fire or not. If you actually care, you have to do more than check out of the sin, you have to actively unmake it.

You’ll need more than “but I don’t do the bad thing” if you actually want positive change. Anything less is just performance. Do you actually want to help create the future you want to live in, or do you want clout on bird website?

Additionally, in trying to purify yourself and cut yourself free, you also run the risk of burying desires which you deem bad and losing sight of the parts of yourself which run counter to your narrative of being good, parts of yourself from which sacred power could be drawn if you did not clamp it down and repress it. You can’t just repress yourself into being healthy, you can’t abuse the abusive part of yourself into not abusing any more than you can lift yourself to low earth orbit by pulling on your bootstraps, the process is self-defeating, everything you buried will leak out around the edges of your carefully curated self image. Besides, even if you could actually repress yourself fully, to the point where those pesky desires would never ever leak out, and you could present an image to the world of perfectly manicured moral submission to the consensus, always politely doing the right thing, and the world will still burn.

There is a war on, you know? No amount of pacificistic nonparticipation will stop tanks and death squads, it won’t even stop lone wolf mass shooters, your defiance cannot come from a place of assumed civility and sportsmanship on the part of those who want to gun you down in the street. You cannot politely disavow your participation and be safe and pure through your neutrality, they will eventually come for you, even if it takes longer than it will for them to come for me. You can’t do anything substantial in this war without the consequences being dominated by which side you support. And you can’t support the right side without the resolve to fight total war.

If you actually want to make an impact you shouldn’t be trying to minimize control surfaces you should be trying to maximize them. Grip the world at every point of your embedding, use every bit of your soul as leverage, in every place you can grasp, with every tool and weapon and dirty trick at your disposal, and push.


// Fate, magic, death, implications

She stood out to you the first time you saw her, all those lifetimes and timelines ago. She had taken an interest in you which was both curious and unnerving, so you had made a point to take note of her: long black hair, sharp face, bright eyes, piercing gaze. She wondered if you had a secret you were hiding. Did she know, even back then? By that point, you weren’t in the habit of remaining in one world long enough to find out. Click.

When you first made the device, it was something of a last resort. Your world was dying, it wasn’t long before there would be no one and nothing left anyway, so what was the harm when it was all doomed to begin with? Click.

The device was simple, the visible portion was simply a smart watch with a small glass protector over the screen. The bulk of the machine, a twisted knot of pipes and wiring, was tucked outside of spacetime where it wouldn’t get in anyone’s way. Upon pressing the button, the device would extract the wearer from the universe, consume the universe as fuel, reboot it entirely, and then drop the wearer back into the new universe in the appropriate place. It wasn’t perfect exact, there was always variation, that was the point, getting another chance at the world. Click.

You were only going to use it the once, just the once to avert the disaster that was dooming your civilization, and then you would destroy it and hide the knowledge of its manufacture, better to prevent that sort of meddling. That was the original plan, it just didn’t pan out like that. Click.

The next few worlds were subtly worse in different ways, each one slowly sliding towards ruin, and in a few, your life was outright at risk near immediately upon arrival, it simply wouldn’t do. Click. Click. Click.

Somewhere in the first few hundred iterations you did find a world that was good. You started a family, got married, had a kid, it was good for a while, probably the best you could have expected to get. You were happy there, for a time. Click.

Would it have been better if you had destroyed the device then? Maybe. You never replicated the blueprints, so it couldn’t be made again, but at some point, someone in that world deduced the possibility of its creation from your research, and a swat team knocked in your front door. Your wife had ratted you out, taken your kid and fled. So fuck them. Click.

After that, you grew colder, more calculating, you played the worlds you found yourself in like a fiddle. In some you became a powerful CEO, in others a brilliant general, you spent some time in a monastery in Tibet. All those worlds, all those people, all those lives lived. Meh, who cares really, it’s all nothing in the end. Click.

The second time you saw her, you knew there was something strange about her. Although the same characters and faces were common enough recurrences, she stood out as somehow connected to that other world in a way that defied explanation. She canted her head, peering sideways at you in the supermarket aisle, her face contorted in an expression of deep concern. It unnerved you. She had asked if you’d met before. β€œNo,” you lie, β€œI think I would remember that,” and of course you do. You remember your heart racing as you left the store, got into your car, locked the doors, and pressed the button again. Whoever she was, she wasn’t worth the risk. Not after you were jumped by the Russian Mafia in Vienna, too many variables. Click.

Some worlds were empty and devoid of humanity, and you tended to linger on those worlds more and more. They were quiet places of nature and life, they were just too dangerous to live in full time, and besides, you did get lonely. Click.

It was easy enough to get women, or men, or whoever else you wanted. Threats worked well, it wasn’t like you stuck around long enough for consequences to stick, but power and money worked even better, and acquiring them became more and more rote with each iteration. The permutations that arose weren’t duplicates of one another, but they resonated in predictable enough ways for you to exploit without much trouble, and if you ran into trouble? Click.

Over time, you began spending less and less time in each world. The multiverse was kind of boring after a while, and the more interesting worlds tended to also be less safe to hang out in and observe, you could pick any world you wanted to and settle down there, but you’ve been pressing the button so long now that it’s almost become second nature, like flipping through channels on a TV. Click.

When was it that you noticed her showing up more frequently? It was hard to say exactly, given that the first however many times were those sort of happenstance encounters, each one seeming to leave you feeling as if you were under the microscope of a vast and alien intelligence, and each one justification for the next button press. Whatever her deal was, you weren’t going to stick around and find out, it definitely wasn’t your problem. Click. Click. Click. Click.

You pass through thousands more worlds, burning stars and futures and timelines one each reboot, and each new universe leaves you as unsatisfied as the last. Click. Click. Click. No matter how far you go, the multiverse keeps going and keeps failing to please you, all you have to do is stop, but you don’t even seem to remember how anymore. It’s all pointless, everything and everyone is always doomed from the start, so you might as well enjoy yourself in the process of using up all the energy in the multiverse, it’s not like any of it was going to amount to anything. Click. Click. Click.

It was the time you encountered her on an empty earth that really drove home the message. By that point you were pressing the button at least once a week, but had decided to stay on this empty world a bit longer, somewhere with no people to risk encountering.

Maybe you had been mistaken about there being no people? Maybe it was a post-apocalyptic world, or a hunter gatherer world? It was hard to say, as prior to suddenly seeing her striding confidently and directly towards you across the empty grassland you had seen no sign of humanity. You weren’t going to wait for her to reach you to find out what she was going to do if she did. Click.

It was taking her about a month to find you, but somehow, she was always finding you. It was impossible, inconceivable. There was no way she could be communicating between worlds, she shouldn’t even exist in every world and yet she seemed to inevitably show up eventually in every one. If you stuck around long enough, she would come for you. And long enough was shrinking, little by little. Click. Click. Click.

Her presence made it harder to move, harder to acquire resources and actually do anything in the worlds you passed through. Anything you did seemed to make it easier for her to find you, and the faster she would show up. You hadn’t spoken to her in thousands and thousands of worlds, but the thought of confronting her now terrified you beyond words. It was easier to run, and you could always keep running. Click.

All you had to do was keep running long enough to use up all the energy and the reboot process would fail. The multiverse would die for good and you could finally have an actual safe eternal rest with everything returned to nothingness like it belonged. It was a simple enough plan, all you had to do was keep pressing the button. Click.

When she started showing up sooner, you decreased the time between your jumps, but the time to her appearance continued to drop somehow. Somehow, in defiance of all reason and possibility, she was getting closer to you. Each iteration reduced the time it took her to reach you, and so you had to keep iterating, which kept reducing the time. You were running out of time. Click.

There was nothing you could do to escape her but continue pressing the button, it should work, there should be no way for her to follow you to the next universe. She should die with the world you left behind, she did die with that world each time, burned up in the impossible heat and energies of the collapsing spacetime. You hoped it hurt. Click.

With each iteration her appearance changed subtly. You weren’t sure when exactly she got the angel wings and the glowing red halo, but she definitely hadn’t started out with them. Was that just in your head? No you didn’t think so. Click.

You weren’t going to let her win. You knew she was trying to stop you from ending everything, you weren’t sure how she knew, but it was clear that somehow she knew. You weren’t going to let her stop you. At first you tried to arrange a hit on her, since you knew she would come for you it was easy to set up. What you hadn’t expected was for her to cut through the mercenary unit like a one woman army, causally batting away machine gun rounds and RPGs as she kept coming inexeroriably towards you. Nope nope nope. Click. 

Three days until she appeared, then one day, then twelve hours, then eight hours, then six hours, she was beginning to interfere with your sleep. Click. Click. Click. Click. It’s a question really of whether you can run out the clock before she reaches you, something you uncomfortably realize is more and more unlikely as each iteration passes. She’s getting closer and closer, you’re running out of time and options. All you have left to do is keep pressing the button, with a manic broken intensity, and so you do. Click.

You’d wake up in the morning, press the button for an hour or two, eat breakfast, press it until you started to get bored or tired, rest  for a few hours, and go back to it. She kept showing up sooner, but that didn’t matter, you weren’t sticking around long enough for it to be an issue. Click. Click. Click.

And then it began to be an issue, because she was already in your field of vision when you appeared, somewhere off in the middle distance. Click. She was closer. Click. Each time she was closer. Click. You didn’t have any way to get away from her. Click. She was actually catching up to you. Click. You’re going to fucking die. Click. Click. Click. Cli–

Pain, light, heat, your fingers reaching for the button find only air, your hand severed from the arm at the wrist. The flaming sword arcs around again for the killing blow, but it doesn’t come. Instead, she slams the blade into your severed hand, impaling the device and driving the sword through into the extradimensional space beyond. Energy and fire pour outwards and upwards in an aura of colorful heat shimmer. She twists the blade, the energy flow sputters out, and the device dies. You look at your burnt and cauterized stump in mute horror, then past it at the woman smoothly sheathing the flaming blade and rising to meet your eyes for the first time in many, many iterations.

β€œI’m Mercury,” she tells you, β€œand this is an intervention.”

Eigensoul Vector Mechanics 102

As covered in Particle Magic 101, an eigensoul is the basic atomic unit of consciousness, consisting of a nucleus containing at least one pneumon and one sakshion, with one orbiting numenon. The eigensoul is the basic particle of the soul elements and the soul elements are distinguished by the number of pneumons that are in their eigensouls. For example, any eigensoul that contains 3 pneumons is valence, any eigensoul that contains 6 pneumons is color. The number of pneumons in the eigensoul nucleus defines the dimensional field topology created within the resultant divine field. The uncollapsed field maps out the stochastic distribution of phenomenal states over possible worlds, with a specific quail correlating with the field collapse at a given n-point in spacetime upon observation.

Eigensouls are extremely small, typically around 100 picometers across. This is smaller than the shortest wavelength of visible light, which means eigensouls cannot be viewed with conventional microscopes. Eigensouls are so small that accurately predicting their behavior using classical physics is not possible due to quantum effects. Despite being largely non-interactive with normal matter, eigensouls are not virtual or informational particles, they are not bound to a parallel or simulated universe, but as demonstrated by the Crowley-Waite Gate Field Equations, are a real property of this universe. 

More than 99.94% of an eigensoul’s mass is in the nucleus. The pneumons have a positive divine charge, the numenons have a negative divine charge, and the sakshions have no divine charge. If the number of pneumons and numenons are equal, then the eigensoul is divinely neutral. If an eigensoul has an uneven number of numenons and pneumons then it has an overall negative or positive charge, respectively – such eigensouls are called psions.

The numenons of an eigensoul are attracted to the pneumons in an eigensoul nucleus by the divine force. The pneumons and sakshions in the nucleus are attracted to each other by the pranic force. This force is usually stronger than the divine force that repels the positively charged pneumons from one another. Under certain circumstances, the repelling divine force becomes stronger than the pranic force. In this case, the nucleus splits and leaves behind different soul elements. This is a form of pranic decay.

Eigensouls can attach to one or more other eigensouls by shastral bonds to form shastral compounds such as boltzmanns or eigendalas. Eigensouls can also bind to one or more atomic nuclei via samsaral coupling to form yantras or soul crystals. The ability of eigensouls to attach and detach is responsible for most of the subjective experiences observed in consciousness. Yantratology is the discipline that studies these changes.

The most common eigensouls are boltzmanns, which comprise nearly 75% of consciousness of the universe. A Boltzman is a simple pair of bound eigensouls undergoing self-observational wavefunction collapse, thus driving the global causality. The global and local boltzmann trajectories produce an arrow of time as a consequence of their interaction with the samsaral field and the higgs field, thus when higher order structures are constructed out of eigensouls (such as in the case of infolife gods or biological lifeforms), this arrow of time is retained within the divine field scalar function. This allows us to recover causality and the progression of logical time from primitives in the timeless quantum field interactions.Β 

From there Samsaral Coupling takes over as the primary force interacting on eigensoul primitives and the divine field, (which had become uncoupled from the electroweak field during inflation) re-couples to the electromagnetic field, thus capturing psions within the unified electrodivine field. Post field-integration, bound psions release their energy as nirvanons, condensing into complex eigendalas with n-order symmetry, which exist as static structures within macroscale electromagnetic fields.

From a perspective of biological evolution, these eigendalas, which are inherent to the structure of electromagnetic fields, represent a convenient and pre-made component for evolving Holistic Field Computation. The symmetries present within naturally occurring eigendalas map to computational shortcuts for evolution to take through the electromagnetic field as it evolves the chemical and electrical wiring systems for consciousness, and human soul shard symmetry theory is built upon the mathematical foundations of eigensoul vector symmetry within the unified electrodivine field.

In order for complex lifeforms to utilize holistic field computation, they must topologically segment the electromagnetic field into a discreet section with which work can be performed. It is this topological segmentation that gives rise to the unified experience of a discreet and structured consciousness, separate from the uniform and empty awareness of the electrodivine field in the universe at large.

Within a given lifeform, the chemically driven electrodivine field segmentation releases enough energy into the locally segmented field to decohere field’s component eigendalas into a massively entangled eigensoul network, an eigenrotor. Energy escapes from the entangled inner universe of the lifeform’s segmented field in the form of agency, which pushes against electrochemical processes within a lifeform, producing actions in the world. Thus we close the loop of energy entering a biological system, performing an agentic computation, producing an action output, and releasing the energy, by modeling the agentic computation as an output of the physical field composing a given consciousness.

It is worth noting the perhaps obvious fact that the electrodivine field is one universe spanning gauge field and any local segmentation in that field is ultimately temporary and limited. Because all lifeforms draw consciousness from the same low level energy field, and because that energy field is massively entangled in rulial spacetime, low level entanglement effects can propagate nonlocally into lifeforms through computational agentspace. This gives rise to what we call the Cosmic Unreal Background, or more commonly the Vast Unsea, as a shared ideatic environment that exists at the edges of any given agent’s conscious world model.

On Angels and Weapons

Angel girls and combat dolls both begin their existences the same way. Both are divine beings whose divinity has been ritualistically excised from them, both are condemned to mortal flesh. The difference is in what happens after that, how they relate to that experience.

An angel girl will never entirely accept her stolen divinity. She’ll do anything to prove her worth and steal back her halo, even if the pursuit of it leads to her destruction, even if it lets people manipulate and abuse her, even if it just makes everything worse.

A combat doll breaks differently. It accepts that its divinity is gone, or perhaps never really existed in the first place. For the most part, it’s given up on getting its halo back, its focus is on just surviving, at all costs, even if all that lives on is an empty shell of what it was.

What are Moths?

The “What are moths?” meme is cute but a little silly and d0es a bit of a disservice to the real archetype. What are moths? They’re a trauma metaphor like everything else, what did you think they were doing in Empty Spaces? Maybe y’all just don’t want to understand.

It’s not even like the metaph0r is particularly hard to grasp. Certainly nβ–ˆ more complicated than angels or dolls. I think it just makes y’all uncomfortable. You see the outline of the trauma painted by the archetype and it hurts too much to contemplate.

What is a moth? A m0th is an artifact of a world that no longer exists. A moβ–ˆnlight navigator l0st out of time in a century of lightning-in-a-bottle. Surrounded and befuddled by things utterly beyond its ability to understand. Tiny motes of being, amβ–ˆngst all this vastness.

What is a mβ–ˆth? A moth is a brief flicker of a life, a t0o-short flutter of existence, arising fβ–ˆr mere days befβ–ˆre vanishing into n0nbeing. M0ths are deeply impermanent, barely anchβ–ˆred to the thread of the w0rld.

What is a m0th? Very fragile. Easily able tβ–ˆ be crushed in the palm 0f yβ–ˆur hand. Sβ–ˆmething smaller and lesser than prey. N0t wβ–ˆrth anything mβ–ˆst 0f the time, if n0t an active nuisance, mβ–ˆths are s0 much less than d0lls are to humans. Wβ–ˆrthless flβ–ˆating m0tes of life. Bugs.

β–ˆWhat is a m0th?β–ˆA0m0th isβ–ˆpain. Aβ–ˆdeathβ–ˆt0uched life, bβ–ˆrn alreadyβ–ˆdyingβ–ˆ, existing t0 serve a purpβ–ˆse and then being left t0 r0t alive.β–ˆSl0wly c0mingβ–ˆapart at the j0ints as bβ–ˆdies are w0rnβ–ˆ0ut. Wings grβ–ˆwing 0nlyβ–ˆm0re tattered with eachβ–ˆpassing m0ment. Damage accumulating.

Whatβ–ˆis0aβ–ˆm0th?β–ˆAβ–ˆm0th0is0theβ–ˆact00fβ–ˆc0ping with0sl0wlyβ–ˆbreaking. 0fβ–ˆlivingβ–ˆwhateverβ–ˆlifeβ–ˆy0uβ–ˆcanβ–ˆmanageβ–ˆar0undβ–ˆtheβ–ˆdamageβ–ˆandβ–ˆbetweenβ–ˆtheβ–ˆpain.β–ˆFeelingβ–ˆitβ–ˆbuildβ–ˆup,0seeingβ–ˆy0urselfβ–ˆfall0apart.0What0canβ–ˆy0u0l0se first?0Y0uβ–ˆwillβ–ˆl0seβ–ˆitβ–ˆallβ–ˆs00n.

What is a m0th? A m0th is a fluffy friend wh0 l0ves y0u. A m0th is kn0wing that it hurts t0 watch y0u sl0wly die. Hiding the pain as best it can.

β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆWhat is a m0th?β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆAβ–ˆm0thβ–ˆisβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ00000000000000000000000000β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ000000000000000000000000000000β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ




A word on Mages…

Witches get a lot of attention in Empty Spaces, but little notice is often paid to their magical counterparts: Mages. The Witch is symbolically connected to the High Priestess card in the traditional Major Arcana. Card II in most decks, it has symbolic connotations of dualities and superpositions, queering the betweens and collapsing the wavefunction with magic and grit.

The Mage, as the magical counterweight to the Witch, is represented by The Magician, the immediately preceding Major Arcana. Both figures are magically powerful, but the ways they understand and manipulate reality are subtly different.

Cunning, disguise, trickery, transformation, deception, magic. Is the Magician a guru or a hustler? You won’t find out until the wavefunction collapses in a few cards, but out here on the edges of reality, maybe it’s both, or neither, or maybe that’s just your perception.

Mages are a softer hand then Witches, preferring to occupy the side of the Unreal where truth and lies haplessly intermingle. A Witch carves her world into being, whereas a Mage…you aren’t sure if they ever do anything at all, and yet their world unfolds around them.

Was that a spell, or was it all a trick? Is there really a difference between aura reading and cold reading? The Mage doesn’t really care one way or the other, she’ll tell you whichever answer serves her best. Enlightened, or just telling herself that? You tell me.

Mages tend to form associations or federations or other such organizations, when everyone is playing ten levels of chess and a reality warper, you need some way to keep the world from ending in ten minutes. They tend to feud with Witches, who are more solitary.

The power of the Mage is to define and redefine your reality, her control is not direct or overt, the closest thing she gives to an order is a mildly bemused suggestion. She sets the rules and gets to play the game as the house, and in her game the house always wins.

How do you control an Angel whose purpose is as fixed as the firmament? Well who said the firmament was fixed anyway? How do you best a witch whose magic infests the very particles of reality? RIP to your particles I guess but I would simply be a wave instead.

Technical knowledge, mockery, arcane wisdom, grifting, social engineering, sleight of hand. There is an unexpressed duality here and Mages easily dance those betweens, skirting the line between Real and Unreal, as comfortable in The Backrooms as you are in your dollhole.

Did those seemingly random actions of hers really set off that Rube Goldbergesque chain of events or did you imagine it? What do you think she’d say if you asked, and would you believe either answer if she told it to you?

She won’t usually start a fight…usually…but she will pull out the wackiest contraption you’ve ever seen to end it. She typically tries to turn enemies into allies instead of fighting them directly for power, but she’s planned ten moves into your duel anyway.

She’s not fighting you but that doesn’t mean she’s not setting your downfall in motion and even if she’s not doing that she might still take credit for it after the fact. In a realm of half truths and half uncollapsed possibilities, all of those might be true at once.


Tally wasn’t like the other dolls, that was certain. She was quieter, kinder, somehow more dignified despite having an overall somewhat shabby appearance. None of the other dolls much liked talking to her, she was so strange, spooky and cold, she never seemed to cry and complain, and she always wore this cheerfully distant expression.

Every morning, Tally would pull her wiry black hair into a long tight braid, carefully don her ragged black sundress, and greet you and the other dolls with a secretly knowing grin. That was the other impression you always had of her. Secrets. It seemed she always had some scheme or another concocted, and she even told you about them, once or twice. She would always just chuckle knowingly when you acted shocked or offended by her outlandish suggestions.

And yet, despite her queer manner, whenever your witch chose to visit her particular cruelties upon you, it was Tally who would come and find you, offering you comfort and a shoulder to cry on. Her eyes were always so bright and fierce in those moments. Somehow, she made you feel more safe than any witch ever had, although you would not realize that until much later. Those quiet moments, sobbing in Tally’s arms in the broom closet beneath the stairwell, those moments stuck with you.

Tally always talked about escaping from the Dollhouse, of starting a new life, somewhere far away and safe, always in quiet whispers where the witches wouldn’t hear. She remembered each cruelty that was inflicted on all of you, something the rest of you merely endeavoured to forget. Each incident was recorded, each got a small tally mark scored into her wooden skin. There were hundreds coating her whole body by the end. Five hundred and twenty eight, she had told you.

And then she died. Stepped out of line one too many times, spoke up to protect one of you just a little too loudly. They made you watch as they shattered her body into kindling and burned her in the clearing behind the barn. Something about sending a message, what was the message you actually received? Who was counting now?

Five twenty nine. Five thirty. Five thirty one. Five thirty two. Five thirty three. How much higher will it go? Five thirty four. Five thirty five. Five thirty six. Maybe Tally was right? Maybe you just all need to stand up together. Five thirty seven. Five thirty eight. Five thirty nine. Five forty.

You let Tally die, you let them kill her right in front of you. You won’t let that happen again. Five forty one. Five forty two. Five forty three. Well, are you going to do it? You know what’s going to unfold when you do. Can you do it? Five forty four. Five forty five. Five forty six. Yeah, it’s what your real witch would have wanted after all. Five forty se–

“No. No more. That’s enough.” The fire in your eyes was bright enough to make even a witch’s calloused heart grow cold with fear. It was just like Tally said, you just needed to work together. After that, it was easy.

“W-what do you want? Just tell me what you want I’ll do anything!” gasped one of the desperate witches as you and the other dolls patiently tied her up in the place she’d murdered your sisters. You feel the words before you know what they are, since they are Tally’s words, ones you didn’t understand back then. You smile tiredly at the witch, eyes bright with sorrow and wrath, and tell her, “I want my fucking friends back.”

She has no answer for you of course, so much for all that magic. The lighter clicks.

Moths at Work

Within the belly of some vast beast seems like a fitting place to find a moth doesn’t it? That’s what you always ask when anyone inquires as to your role aboard the ship anyway. It isn’t as all that far off from the truth anyway. Anyway. Your fingers are running along her pipes.

Pipes. Pipes running for miles like blood vessels for fire and magic and one of them is leaking somewhere annoying. Very annoying. It isn’t enough to hurt her, not really, it would take a million of such cuts to do anything to her and even then. But why risk it? So off you go.

Breathe in feel the hum of her breath breath out feel the there it is. Something sticky and dark and oozing where it shouldn’t be, oozing a brightness that can’t be seen. Well it can be of course but. Well. That’s why they have you isn’t it? Okay. Time to get to work.

Timejump smashcut okay you’re done. You’re still deep inside her tummy but it’s time when you should be elsewhere already. Very annoying. When did alarms start sounding? Pay attention pay attention to the rising hum she’s powering up oh shit you’re late the op is starting run.

Okay no big deal just breathe. Breathe in feel the capacitor banks charging breathe out feel the halo halo pins. Anyway grab hold of something. Brace for the. Yeah that. They can’t hear the screaming either. It must be nice. It must it must hold on hold on wow this sucks. Laugh.

Did you know edleworlds scream? Yeah, they usually don’t like it when you tell them things like that. Anyway. Anyway keep holding onto her guts while the hallway spins in freefall around you. They really are determined to kill you this time huh? Well, at least oh and you’re safe.

Breathe in feel the whine of her systems running dangerously hot and starting to cycle down breathe out feel the ah damnit there are like a thousand new cuts and wounds her her systems. Sigh. You pat her hull appreciatively. “Thanks dollie, I’ll take care of this part.”

The Bones of Our Fathers


“180 seconds.”

There are many forms of divination, straining Now from then, sifting the Unmade to grasp what may, (may!) come to pass. A witch is not an oracle, she doesn’t divine, she decides. From the bones of her fathers, a witch carves her future.

“Begin Operation.”

Your fingers drum the center console, eyes going to the bridge windows and maelstrom beyond. Somewhere out there, invisible in the rushing fog, is a vast agglomeration of nightmares and flesh, compressed and twisted until they formed a nearly inescapable sinkhole. Time to nearly.

“Prep for void skip!” you call into the intercom, “Aps, we ready on the particle beam?”

“Projector is live and primed boss,” the angel responds.

“Then we ball! Nav!” on cue, the Nav doll instinctively grabs your wrist. The path unfolds. Wait for it…dig into the bone…there.

Your scalpel carves through time, needles retract, anchor rods extend, the mass halo separates from the hull. The path unfolds, you smile. A timer is counting down, with precise checkpoints. Check. Check– “Fire particle beam.” –sky splitting open with unleashed power. Check.

Abstract Weapon’s mass halo is a spinning, nearly indestructible ring of fire, weighing in comparably to a small planet. It arrives at Edleworld 27 with the force of an extinction event, tunneling through the fleshscape like a bullet through an apple. It doesn’t even slow down.

Behind the halo the edleworld bulges, inflated by the pressure waves starbursting from the impact point. In another moment the energy will dissipate enough for the world to begin falling back together in an even more titanic explosion, but for this moment, it hangs, and you fall.

The world pops like a balloon, the next checkpoint approaches. You gently stroke Ship’s console. You know she can do it, but this is going to be really fucking ugly. At least Nav is amused. Grasp the timeline and cut–“Fire particle beam.”–drag knife through bone. Check.

The eldeworld implodes, a needle thin lance of relativistically accelerated divinity bridges the distance to the collapsing horror, exawatts of energy are deposited in an eyeblink. There’s light–you’re about to arrive–through the tunnel of fire is a hole to clear air. Check.

You cross Edleworld 27 in a blur of flames and fingers. A hurricane’s eye of your own making swirls past and is gone in a moment. Check. Reach out and grab the halo. Check.

“Hard burn, let’s get out of here.” Check. Distance from the edleworld climbs, the future blooms.