It begins, as it so often does, in the darkness, in the nothing, under a heavy blanket of silence.
There’s an almost epochal stillness between the breaths, or the screams, as old collapses into fiery oblivion and gives way to the new.
(It all depends on what kind of day the universe is having)
At first it is just void, then there is something tiny, yes, understandably so, but a fuck lot bigger than what was there three seconds ago. Three seconds ago, there was absolutely, bloody, nothing.
The something twists, and turns, and grows, and surrounds itself with an embryonic sac of light, and it is the first, of the first things, to grow.
Soon, others will follow.
It has become. It thinks. It thinks, ‘I am hungry’.
But there is nothing for it to eat because that has not been created yet. All in good time, all in good process. Strange fruit will sadly come to bear.
Then it cries. Loudly. And all hell breaks loose.
More light, more sparks, more creating, more, everything. Anything to shut it up. It smells the nourishment all around, as it darts its heads forward, pecking at the universe. It eats till it can eat no more, and then it retches.
The contents of its innumerable guts flow out into the spaces around it; stuffing vast, purple, cavernous stretches of emptiness, like deserts of midnight, with celestial vomit.
Spinning droplets are coalescing, becoming moons, becoming planets, just thrilled to be becoming something, rather than endless, nothing.
It grows, as it should. It is now fully formed and large in thought and kinetic deed. For what would be the purpose of tiny, inconsequential, creators? They must govern entirely, or not govern at all.
Its breath frosts in the cold, creating the stars, fixing the heavens.
It is now the largest being in existence. It comprehends its heft and finds it good. It cups its genitals and finds it even better. It is both light, and dark. The beginning, and the end. The taker, and the sustainer. It is life, and life begets life.
It shoots it seed out into the void.
Countless, glowing, spiraling spermatozoa, like shooting stars, are sprayed into the dark to seek the thrumming, squirming, eggs that lie at the centre of the planets. The asteroids scour the endless cold for the warmth of a liquid core; their tails corkscrewing them onward to fulfill what they were made to do.
And when the pulse of warmth is felt, when a planet displays its heated nucleus to the heavens, the asteroids adjust their path accordingly, and slam into that surface with the force of the cosmic rut that begot it. The space travelers winnow their way down through the seas and sediments, until they can go no further.
Of such dalliances, gods are made.
And when they are ready to be expelled (the gods, fully-formed, with a willingness to govern and have others follow) their planets explode, massively, sending them off into the universe to find another home and make a kingdom for themselves. A place to call their own. They leave behind naught but debris, and a hole so black and powerful that not even light can escape its clutches.
But they are jealous gods, and will often go to war, because they seek to become the dominant force and sole focus of adoration and endless, ululating, worship.
But who knows their ways and paths better than themselves? Not I, I wouldn’t dare, lest they smite as they see fit. It is not for me to report on that, I tell all I’ve been privy too.
However, what I can state, with a certain degree of certainty, is that not all asteroids make it all the way down to the swollen, vulgar, baboon buttocks, at the centre of a world.
Some die, flopping and gasping, like a fish out of water on the surface, or just below it.
Over time it fossilises, and is known as Aether, by the elves, Manna by the dwarves, Godsmack or Godspit by the clergy, and Angeldust by the humans. It is the most costly element in the universe. And it attracts all sorts of madmen and women to try and find it. It is hailed as a ‘God-in- a-bottle’ and its restorative qualities are legend.
It can be mined, like its poorer cousin gold, it can also be panned in the rivers and streams of the high places, lying there, glittering, glowing…
It is everywhere, you just need to know where to look for it.
One place it was rumoured to be, in abundance, was north of the Vergil Corridor, on the Highveld, in a small settlement called, Gulch. A rough and ready place if ever there was, and believe you me, if the fallen angels didn’t get you, the whores would…
People of Gulch
Gunther Glass: Mayor of Gulch and first known discoverer of Godspit. Ranger 5th)
Gunther Glass, a trapper, near death from parasites and bear trauma, rolls off his mule and falls head first into a freezing mountain stream. He goes under, several times, each one longer than the last. He feels the warm embrace of death on his august frame and is ready to surrender to its inevitability. His hands drop to his sides and rest upon the stream’s floor. Someway, somehow, he makes one last attempt to live, and his frozen hand grabs a nugget of pure Godspit from the bottom of the stream. He described it later to me, as if he had been hit by a bolt of pure lightning. He told me that he fairly flew out of the chilled mountain and onto the bank to thrash about blindly, like a trout on a hook.
He said he’d never felt so alive. Just by holding the glowing rock, he had given himself a new lease on life. He had the energy to build himself a fire, make a shelter, and hunt down a pair of klipspringers (rock jumpers) for his supper. In the morning he was up before the sun examining the element that had made him whole again.
The early morning light had robbed it of its ghostly glow, but it still shone brightly, none the less. It was verdant green, with flecks of mercurial silver, and banded by stripes of urgent red. There were many other hues to behold but his untrained eye grasped the obvious ones first. After he eats his breakfast he heads back to the stream to find more, and spends the morning panning but to no avail. There was none to be found. Six days later though, higher up the tributary, and using a rock pool to create a primitive sluice, he uncovers a chunk the size of the palm of his hand, and when he reaches out to grab it, he is rewarded by the familiar shock of pure energy, and the wild taste of sweating copper in his mouth. After several weeks of panning and primitive mining, he needs to frequent a town of sorts so that he may purchase enough supplies to see him through the upcoming winter, as well as aid him in further exploration for this most holy of minerals.
I do not know how much he got for those first few, fragile, ounces of Godspit, but he was wise enough to not flood a non-existent market with all he had. It was enough however, to see him return to that place with a wagon, mules, lumber, and suitable supplies for the task that lay ahead.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Gunther, far from it. The mountains are dangerous at the best of times, doubly so when you have your head in the ground seeking what the gods have cast asunder. Orc, ogre, wolf, both dire and timber, all tried- unsuccessfully- I may add, to snuff out Gunther once and for all, but the nuggets of pure Godspit he kept on his person had somehow managed to change him, to heighten his senses, and make him more than capable of seeing off any would be aggressors.
Once though he lost a great deal of his right thigh muscle in a savage fight against several wolves who were hunting below the snow line. He thought he was done for, as help lay many, many leagues away. But in his pain and delirium, he heard a voice as if coming from above, and it told him what to do. He crumbled one of the smaller pieces of the Godspit into a fine powder then added boiling water to it so that it became a paste of sorts. He plugged the wound with it, covered it with torn strips of cloak, and waited. Less than a week later it was if nothing had happened. His leg had not only had fully recovered, but had never been stronger. He truly felt as if he were getting younger, and stronger.
And so it went for at least two years, Gunther mined where he could and sold what he had, but always slowly, he didn’t want to give the game away. But the Godspit had entered society (albeit on the extreme fringes) and people talk. A loose tongue is more dangerous than an unsheathed sword any day of the week. The Godspit was sold by the local merchant (who had taken to grinding it up and sniffing it, to experience the most incredible sense of euphoria he had ever felt) to a wandering mage, who tried some in a fiery conflagration spell and nearly burnt down an entire forest instead of just roasting a horde of attacking goblins.
Godspit, like most things, should be used in moderation. But these were early days, heady times, where people were still in the experimental phase and paid no heed to the potential consequences, and believe me when I tell you, that there were consequences aplenty; with fallen angels being the least of them…
(To be continued)