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The Stories That (Never) Ended

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The calamity that befell Earth happened several decades ago, possibly even a full century, yet to Set, the dawn of the "Age of Darkness" seemed to have came just yesterday. It was something he would never forget, whether he wanted to or not. He wanted to forget all about it—the innumerable hordes of quasi-physical monsters, the nuclear detonations that spear headed the terraforming, and of course the maddening visages of the Great Old Ones themselves—but that would very easily violate his oaths and, needless to say, his own personality. Set (otherwise known as "the Wicked One", "the Astral Beast", "the Antichrist" or "Set Abominae") was a being of pure rage through and through, such as he had demonstrated when he had unleashed the Plagues of Babylon upon humanity which, sadly, failed to bring them to extinction; just close to it. Yet these beings—these things that predated Set's ancestors by aeons—had wiped mankind's smug faces off the Earth with as little as the swipe of a tentacle. The only human beings that were said to still live were the ones that the ghouls of Throk had kept as livestock, but they could hardly be considered human anymore. From what Set had seen, they had been redused to idiotic swine who wallowed naked in their own shit, which, to Set, isn't much worse than what they been before when they were "the dominant species", but somehow Set still rued their existence. He had been tempted on more than one occasion to sneak into Throk and simply kill the filthy humans, but Set would never do that anyways. Set wasn't the sneaky type, despite the fact that he had spent several thousand years orchestrating the demise of humanity from behind the curtains.

However much he hated mankind, though, he could never hate them as much as he hated the Great Old Ones or the the lesser Aristocratic Order. With as much hatred that weighs on Set's heart, it could never trump his love for Earth, Mother Nature, and his own species, the Setians. The Great Old Ones had desecrated all three of those with their very presence.

When they came, the Great Old Ones made it a point to vaporize anything and everything on Earth that didn't suit their purpose. Most of the natural biomes of Earth were leveled, (along with virtually all human constructs), which angered Set Abominae almost beyond reason. In addition, most of the secret temples of the Order of the Rose (the Setian brotherhood dedicated to exterminating humanity), were either destroyed and damaged in the Great One's coming and many Setian's were also murdered as well.

Mankind was no longer an issue (simply an annoyance), but the Great Ones were now a dire threat to all Set had ever worked to protect. Fortunately, the Great Old Ones do not see Set as an equal threat, much less acknowledged his very existence, which means they would never expect the Setian uprising that is to come. Would the Setian's have any hope of success? Set Abominae certainly thought so. His whole race was gifted with the knowledge and power of the Divine Architect himself. The Great Old Ones had similar abilities, but the Architect was beyond even the Old One's power to comprehend (or so Set believed). With that power, the Setians would inevitably triumph over the eldritch forces at work.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

"I think they're gone…" Obsidian whispered as she unfolded herself from her uncomfortable position underneath a fallen Tsathogghua statue. The sky above was the same monotonous gray color that it always was since the coming of the Great Old Ones, but just moments ago it was swarming with countless Star Spawn, making their routine patrol around the outskirts of New Innsmouth. Funny thing was that the outskirts of Innsmouth encompasses a two hundred mile radius outside of Reef Wall. Obsidian had no idea she was stepping into Deep One territory until the sky was literally blackened by any army of ravenous, flying octopi. Upon impulse, she hid.

Obsidian never really feared death, considering that her body was composed primarily of hyper-condensed light—and she had a history of killing other Gems, so death wasn't a very uncomfortable idea—but that didn't mean she was okay with dying.

For some reason, Obsidian never thought that the Star Spawn would have the wit to consider shattering her gemstone (which is the one act of violence that can kill a Gem), but she supposed they could potentially figure that out considering they're the servants (or maybe even a part of) Dread Cthulhu. Obsidian had a history of never giving anyone credit where credit was due, and she had no problem with that.

She took another look to sky, making sure the Star Spawn where far enough away for her to make an escape.

"Okay, we're safe. Let's get the fuck out of here." Obsidian signed. There was no with her at all. If fact there wasn't a living, non-eldritch creature within fifty miles of her. But her talking as of there were two Gems when she was almost always alone was a very, very common thing. Most humans or Gems would probably think this strange, black-haired-purple-skinned woman was insane. That may be true, but Obsidian never saw it that way. The one she always talked to was someone she once had a very deep connection with.

Indeed. Let's make sure we don't accidentally wander into anymore unpleasant places again., The voice inside Obsidian's head said. This passive voice was always there, sort of blanketing a cacophony of hundreds of other, more malicious voices, each one gained over her career as an executioner. It once belonged to a Peridot who had somehow snapped and gone insane. After accidentally murdering an Amethyst, the Peridot was sentenced to death, which was were Obsidian had met her. When she saw Peridot, Obsidian instantly sensed the mental hell she was going through and killed her, not because she had too, but because she knew death was preferable over being continuously cursed at by a million angry voices in your own skull. Since then, Peridot's ghost had always lovingly talked to Obsidian, drowning out the countless hateful voices. Aren't you forgetting something, though?, Peridot's voice reminded in a near sing-song tone.

"Oh! Right!" Obsidian exclaimed. She bent down and stuck her arm into the hiding hole she crawled out of and fished out a small, black container shaped like a diamond; the casket containing the gem shards of Peridot. She kept it with her ever since that fateful day she slew the green Gem and never once let it out of her sight…until now. Obsidian was relieved to have remembered it, but at the same time she was completely ashamed to have even forgotten at all. Holding on to the casket was her oath to Peridot, assuring that she will never forget her. That casket was everything to her and losing it meant she might as well kill herself.

Two mad Gems—alive or dead—must stick together.

Obsidian?, Peridot cooed.

"Yeah?" Obsidian responded.

You still love me, right?

"Of course." Obsidian hugged the casket to her chest. "I'll always love you."

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Across an ash littered plain, an oddly shaped vehicle, no bigger than a young Byakhee, raced, kicking up billowing clouds of dust with it's six, red-rimmed wheels. There was nothing worth noticing for miles, but every so often the vehicle would sharply swerve to avoid a small rock to a pile of implacable bones half buried in the ground; things just big enough to damage its relatively tiny wheels. The sky above occasionally crackled with ghastly lightning, forcing the vehicle (for indeed, the vehicle was alive and aware) to remain on edge, fearing that it was a sign that Shub-Niggurath or Unicron was returning to claim another sacrifice. Out in an open, endless desert was the last place anyone wanted to be when an Outer God showed up.

Suddenly, the vehicle stopped so abruptly that it nearly flipped over. It sat completely still, listening and feeling the world around it. There was nothing out of the ordinary and nothing to be heard but the low humming of the vehicle's Energon-powered engine. Then, as quickly as the vehicle had moved and stopped, it seemed to disassemble itself and reassemble into an upright standing robot resembling a bulky human form. It moved only the slightest as it surveyed the bleak horizon with its beaming, red eyes, looking for any signs of the beings it considered it's enemies. There was nothing for now, which gave the bot some relief, yet it knew that predators almost always lurked, if not behind the veil of Earth or sky or sea, then behind the veil of time and space.

The bot kneeled, pointing its glowing optics to the ashy ground and placing a large hand on it. He concentrated. There were always going to small tremors in the Earth for as long it exist. It was a sign that the Earth still lived in a way, unlike the metallic world that the bot hailed from. There will be tremors, but the frequency and magnitude of said tremors should be low, yet, lately the bot and his comrades had been detecting large seismic disturbances. Their own scientist ("Brainstorm" was what he was often called) theorized that it could be an upsurge of subterranean beings, possibly d'holes or chthonians. Most of the beings that inhabited Earth now were considerable threats to the bot's militia, but then again, those same beings never really gave a shit about shapeshifting, sentient, alien robots (or perhaps "Cybertronians" or "Transformers" would be better names to call them by) and never really saw them as a threat either. Nonetheless, the Great Old Ones and the lesser Aristocratic Order were forces to truly fear, despite their total indifference.

"Manifold?" a voiced chimed in through the bot's COMM system.

"Yeah, Bumblebee?" Manifold answered, keeping one half of his concentration on his commander and the other on his nightmarish surroundings.

"Anything new?" There was a trace of fear in 'Bee's voice.

"No." Manifold said plainly. He began shifting his digits absentmindedly through the dust. "Nothing new at all. Although I know these beings can hide in the darkest corners; turn invisible so to speak. They could be anywhere."

"That's assuring." Bee said sarcastically. "What about the seismic readouts? Optical scans? Infrared?"

"Nothing."

"Have you tried the ether scans?"

"Yeah, but I don't have the full results yet. But, from what I can see there's nothing much. Maybe a few Polyps."

"Even a few Polyps have their own dangers. Remember what they did to those Yith things?"

"No. I wasn't even there."

"Neither was I, but Coldsteel was, and that guy talks about them as if they were worse than Trypticon. Hurry up and get back to base and we'll run the full E-scans. We'll celebrate if you show with your mainframe intact."

"If I show up at all."

Manifold's fidgeting fingers brushed something round and smooth in the dust and he didn't think much of it, but something compelled him to pick it up anyways. He rose to his feet, taking a final look at the endlessly flat expanses of ash before looking at the thing in his servo. It was the bleached skull of a (nearly) extinct species: humans. Considering Manifold was not much taller than a normal man—unlike most Transformers—the skull fit very neatly in his hand, like a bullet in a gun barrel. He flipped the skull around to where he could look into the thing's sockets. It was almost relieving yet disturbing to see that it was the skull of a pure human and not one of those Innsmouthians or 'Tulu cultist.

"Bee…" Manifold called.

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Always."

"What were the humans like?"

For a moment there was only pure silence on the other side, allowing Manifold to listen to the wind blow over the ash-desert. He could tell that it was a mournful silence rather than a contemplative silence. Finally, Bumblebee responded: "They…they were a lot like us."

"Fighting until their home world was in shambles?"

More silence, and then a sigh. "Unfortunately, yes. But they had redeeming qualities, like us."

Manifold wanted to scoff and yell "bull-scrap" over the line, but he restrained himself and instead said "I'm sure they did." He then hung up. He assumed alt-form and sped away in the direction he came. He briefly wandered if he had seemed too sharp with the commander, but a part of him told himself he was justified. He and his late brother, Deadwind, had lived a miserable life all because Megatron and Optimus Prime couldn't settle their differences. When they both died, shit seemed as if it would get better. Nope. He and Deadwind had lived like hobos for about a century before everything went downhill again. Sentinel Prime and the leaderless former-Decepticons had restarted the war that seemed to have been going on since Primus was born, and will most likely go on until Primus dies, and with him, Cybertron and the entire Cybertronian race. He didn't really hate his own people, but saying he was disappointed didn't really do his feelings justice either. The denizens of Cybertron do nothing but fight, so therefore he had no feelings for a race that would inevitably kill each other, and the same could be said for mankind as well. That's why he and his nameless ensemble were here on Earth and not on the freshly re-ruined Cybertron: they wanted to escape the war. But unfortunately, they still have to fight, but instead of their opponents being Autobots or Decepticons, they're extradimensional, eldritch monsters.

If he didn't already have a reason to hate Primus…

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

The smell of the Goat Orgy was almost nauseating.

Rag hated orgies. She could never understand why humans (if humans they were) would fuck so much and for so long for no other reason than to give "praise" to Mommy. Rag knew Mommy (or Shub-Nig-Whatever-the humans-called-her) would never care about human sex—much the same as she would never care about anything else on Earth save for the occasional snack—so seeing all these weird goat-people spilling cum like wild was not only disgusting, but incredibly pathetic and even annoying. Maybe humans just like to fuck for fun?

Rag's feelings for humans—ever since being reborn in this dimension—had always been pretty cynical. In fact, Rag's distaste for mankind started in her previous life, which she only vaguely remembered. There were a couple of scattered fragments here and there, like a dream, but Rag could never fully recall her old life unless she did a remembrance spell by the "puddle". It was something she did every so often when she was bored or really missed the looks and smells of green trees and blue skies. The spell involved looking at ones reflection in a chalice of water and incense while speaking (or thinking) the proper incantations. Being only eight inches tall, Rag couldn't take a good look into a chalice that was almost twice her height, but she often substitutes this with a small puddle of water that's always outside her cult's den. Whether this puddle was magic or just connected to some underground spring, Rag had no clue but frankly she couldn't care. All she knew is that the puddle never went away it was a great substitute for the remembrance spell.

Now, driven outside by the monthly orgy, Rag found herself gazing into the weird, little puddle with her disguise cast aside. She stared deeply into her own hideous, abominable form with eyes that were blacker than the stars above Carcosa.

Mimikyu. That was the first thing she remembered. She was called a "Mimikyu" in her old life. She was a "ghost-type". She lived in a "Poke-Ball" She belonged to a human woman named Jane.

And then the humans went extinct.

That memory always baffled Rag. She knew that pure humans were extinct in this world, and have been for over a hundred years, but she always got the impression that humanity was somehow annihilated in her old world. Maybe her memories were getting all mixed up?

Eventually she found the memory she was looking for: Her old home in Twinleaf Town. She faintly saw the gently swaying groves of trees and drifting flocks of autumn leaves, dancing in the whistling breeze. She faintly saw the local pond and the multitude of little ripples that sparkled in the sunlight. The mossy boulders on which she and Nate(?) had climbed and played together. The little log homes that radiated the calming warmth of an iron furnace, billowing ghostly pillars of smoke that gave the most wonderful aroma of firewood.

And then she remembered more about Jane, that heartless bitch. With her, Rag remembered the Pokémon battles and the pain and suffering she endured. How the feelings—the broken bones, the deep cuts, the internal bruises, the blood in her mouth—made her cringe, bringing tears to her pitch-black eyes. The tears rolled down her slick, warped
face as she experienced the hatred and fear she had known too often in her last life. The memories became too vivid. Instead of seeing her gnarled visage the still pond, she saw Janes face again and the condescending look she always wore in her eyes. She heard the vicious words she spat at Rag in a daily basis.

Before the painful memories could completely consume her, Rag's tears began to drip from her face and plummeted to the pond below. The resulting ripples distorted her reflection, and thus broke the spell. All those vivid images and sounds broke away and became distant fragments again. It relieved her. Although she couldn't remember what had sent her crying and shivering, the pain was still there.

She donned her costume again, concealing her contorted form as it always had. She looked into the pond to see the face that became more familiar than her own. The stuffed, yellow head with crooked "rabbit" ears regarded its material counterpart with weird, scribbled-on eyes. As always, it smiled a crooked smile, from one faded red cheek to the other.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Dinner was awkward as usual. Neither Dith nor Saza spoke a word to each other as they munched on specially prepared man-cuts, occasionally eyeing each other across the candle-lit table at random.

Saza, being a Japanese ghoul, preferred her human meat fresh and cooked while maybe ground up a little so she could easily forget that she was eating human meat at all. As odd as she felt about it, she loathed eating humans. It was probably because humans and Japanese ghouls look so much alike, the only difference being their different colored eyes and a humans complete lack of a kagune (basically, liquid muscle cells that can manifest as tentacular hunting appendages. "Rc cells" as they were once called), but Saza believed it has something to do with the friendship she had developed with one of the humans in her father's farm. She was about nine then, and so was the human, so the vast world differences between them was something that both of them were completely ignorant of. It wasn't until her human friend was sent to the slaughterhouse one day and served as breakfast the next that she realized that ghouls were ghouls and humans were food. Still, she had as much difficulty looking a human in the eye as she did eating them.

Dith, on the other hand, had no problem eating humans. In fact he hated humans so much it was a pleasure to consume them. Being an Arabian ghoul, Dith preferred his humans served raw, recognizable, and two weeks putrified. In ghoul culture, putrefying a human corpses was sort of a way of "cooking" them, per se, but also like a culinary art form. It takes a surprising amount of skill to time and manage a corpses rotting pace. A two degrees temperature difference and an extra few seconds of fungus treatment could mean the difference between a corpse tasting like edible gold and tasting like absolute gug shit. Luckily, petrifying humans was Diths specialty. Perfect man-rot was the idea his farm was built on. He raised humans of all stocks, all ages, all races and carefully killed and putrified them according to a customers taste. Sometimes he would even preserve and cook a human corpse for his Japanese customers. New Throk—home of the ghouls—was a big city, and there were many that needed feeding, so Dith took immense pride in being the chief food source for both breeds of ghoul.

Dith, about nine years ago, had decided to adopt a child and raise him/her to be a man-farmer and, hopefully, he/she would inherit the farm after his passing (which Dith habitually assumed was always just around the corner). For reasons he couldn't explain then, and still couldn't explain now, he had adopted a ghoul of Japanese breed; a then six-year-old female named Saza. At first, she was an incredible pain in the ass to teach, being as young as she was, but in time Saza grew accustomed to the daily grind of raising humans, and executed her job fairly well. It wasn't until she somehow developed a bond with that fucking human pup that her attitude changed and her work suffered as a result. Against all the social norms of New Throk, she started feeling sympathy for every human she encountered. For lack of a better term, she became a hippie, or at least that's how Dith saw it.

"How old was this one?" Saza suddenly asked, timidly poking her food with her chopsticks.

"Hm?" Dith grunted, spooning a fattened piece of black meat into his dog-like maw.

"How old was this human? It taste young."

Dith shrugged, not bothering to look up from his meal. "Five? Six? Does that matter?" He asked, already knowing the answer his daughter will give him.

"Yes. You know I hate eating young humans. It's wrong."

"I don't care. Eat your damn food, girl. We've got a long day tomorrow."

"No. I already told you it's wrong."

Dith's crimson eyes regarded Saza. The contempt in his gaze unsettled the young ghoul. "And I already told you I don't fucking care! Now I done put up with this shit with you before, Saza, and I ain't doing it again!"

"Humans are innocent creatures! They don't deserve this!" She shouted across the table, gesturing towards the pastures just outside their house's walls.

"Innocent? Ha! Girl, do you know what veal is? Do you know how them humans make it? It's a baby cow that's been chained up and left to waste away until the humans decided to kill it and eat it! What about them loshter…lobser…what ever the fuck they call 'em? Them humans used to boil 'em alive till they're dead and eat 'em! How is what we're doing any different than what the humans used to do?"

"It's unethical!"

"It's the circle of life, Saza! Them humans just got put back in their places is all! Ain't nothing bad happening here!"

"What if the d'holes start hunting us again, huh? I guess that's okay?" asked Saza. Her eyes suddenly shifting to the ghastly pitch-black and crimson colors of which Japanese ghouls are known for.

"Let 'em! It's also part of the circle to fight back if you can. If ya can't…" he shrugged. "…oh well. World belongs to the strong. Them Great Old Ones will testify. The humans couldn't fight back, so they became food! Simple as that."

Saza gave her father a scowl overflowing with pure hatred. She then stood and stormed to the door that lead to the cramped space that passed as her room, leaving Dith brewing in his own resentment. Now was one of the hundreds of times he regretted adopting that human-lover. He was almost tempted to walk the ungrateful girl a few miles outside of Throk's borders and leave her there for the shoggoths to eat. But he didn't, and Dith knew the girl will make him regret it in the future again and again and again. What was more disconcerting, however, was that if she continued her human-loving, hippie lifestyle, she would never agree to inherit the farm and would more than likely strive to shut it down instead, which would mean an absolute economic disaster for all of New Throk, not to mention himself. But, he could always abandon her and adopt a new heir, but the sad truth was this: Dith loved his daughter far too much.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

The library was considerably smaller than most of the other rooms in the Shadow Gallery (which was nothing more than a slightly modified cave), yet, with the numerous towers of ancient books cast wildly about the confined space, it has always stayed very tightly closed, admitting room for no more than one person, and that one person was V. Despite the total disarray, V had always knew exactly where every tome and grimoire was, and could easily pick out and remove any book he chose without disturbing the seemingly unstable mountains of hardcovers. Most of these books—say, about eighty percent of them—were books that had completely lost their meaning to him a long time ago. They all had one thing in common: they were all considered controversial at one point or another and, in addition, banned or censored. Some by old and long forgotten regimes like that of Hitler, Mussolini, every Pope that ever existed, and especially Adam Susan (whom V had a personal history with a few thousand years ago). While most were banned for relatively stupid reasons—like being pornographic or featuring anti-religious themes—few were banned for more understandable reasons. The Necronomicon, The Book of Eibon, a few volumes of The Revelations of Glaaki, De Vermis Mysteriis, and The King in Yellow; These books were very ancient and very potent in their words to the point were they inspired madness and turned countless people to the secret cults of alien gods. The V of the past (which is to say: his predecessors) had very rarely considered the things mentioned in these books as an actual threat, let alone consider them at all, but a couple of thousand years ago, during the lifetime of V the Twenty-Fourth, a near apocalyptic disaster occurred in England (V's unofficial home) and it was quickly discovered that a race of beings loosely known as "The Great Old Ones" had caused it. V was trapped right in the middle of this eldritch hell as earthquakes, meteor storms, and human madness threatened to send Britain beneath the waves. It was then that V discovered that mankind wasn't mankind's only enemy. There were things that posed a near constant threat to the very existence of the human race, constantly lurking beyond the veil of reality. During that time, V swore to stop his own species extinction no matter what. So instead of fighting dictators with bombs and knives, he started fighting unnamable beings with knowledge. He spent countless years studying the hundreds of thousands of existing tomes and literatures concerning the Outer Gods, Great Old Ones, Elder Gods, and the then unnamed Tri-Kingdom Aristocratic Order, desperately searching for a way to defeat or at least hold back the forces of the outer spheres. However, all his efforts proved to be futile when the "stars became right" the Old Ones returned to wipe humanity out of existence. V only managed to save himself and a handful of people (who eventually begat hundreds more as time went on) by hiding underground. V continued his research, but to this day he has yet to discover any hope in his war against the gods.

"V?" Danforth, his protege, knocked at the door, breaking the trance that De Vermis Mysteriis had held him in. He took a quick look at the book that laid sprawled in his lap. He had managed to reread over half of its yellowed pages in just under two hours. All the horrible, grotesque images of ghouls, demons, and worm-eaten monsters had remained imprinted on his mind ever since the fist reading. Going through the book again only served to refreshen those visages.

V wondered, out of curiosity, if he had gone insane yet, as the ancient scholars promised.

"V?" Danforth called again. "Are you alright? You've been gone for quite a while. I was dreadfully worried."

"I'm fine, Dan" V responded through the closed door in his (amazingly) undiminished British accent. "I was just reading…"