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Post news RSS The Music of Zilzal

One of many stories and lore making up the world of Karnage Chronicles.

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Zilzal was a clever old soul, and a clever old soul was he. The gnome gathered his pipe, chalk, and fiddle. Only it was no ordinary fiddle. Zilzal had it custom made, with thick strings that produced a deep bellow. It was large, too large for even a human to play normally, and it took him a quarter of an hour just to get it down into the darkness of his basement.

By the light of the candle, Zilzal drew the ritual circle. He wrote out the equations. Within the circle, he placed a caged canary that sang merrily. Then he placed the most difficult ingredient: a lump of ice. He had paid more than a little money to arrange a block of ice to be fetched from the mountain, and it was already mostly melted.

Watching the window of his opportunity turn to water, Zilzal stood the enormous fiddle upright in the center of the circle, planting it into the earthen floor with a large spike protruding from its bottom. The gnome looked into a mirror, noting the white hairs in his dark beard. He'd soon have more.

Zilzal began to play.

Standing on a stool, pulling the bow to and fro, Zilzal played a music of oddly curving notes, designed from an oddly curving math his people had outlawed a century ago. He bent and warped the resonating notes until they became the call of revenant whales, until they bent the lines and angles of the room, until the dimensions grew far past the number of three.

The little gnome began to see the wriggling things that lived beyond. They floated like the blurred growths that accumulate in the eye—always there, bur rarely seen. Zilzal tried not to see them too hard. If you see them, they see you.

Zilzal played the song that summoned the voice with no name. It had eaten its own name, in the long ago, for wisdom or for power or for no discernible reason at all.

Zilzal knew the Nameless Voice had arrived, not by seeing it, but by noting when the canary tore out its own eyes with its claws. The gnome then played the song that kept the voice from eating him out of his mothers womb right then and there—for what is time to the Nameless Voice?

Zilzal closed his eyes—kept them closed tight—and played a discord, and was answered by a bubbling stew of slimy jabbering. The gnome licked a finger and dipped into his pipe. He drew an ashen symbol over his tongue and into his ears. He did NOT draw the eye on his forehead which would give him supernal sight.

The chattering cacophony congealed into a sentence that might have been, ASK. ASK, MEAT MIND. ASK.

Eyes closed, Zilzal asked, "The ice giant approaches?" He did not say the words, but played the notes that formed the forbidden equation that made the sentence.

YES, said the Nameless Voice. A PLANET, FROM THE FAR ORBIT. CLOSER. CLOSER THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN.

Zilzal played another question: "And this event will bring extra-planar entities here?"

YES, said the Nameless voice. THE ONES FROM BEYOND WILL COME. BUT ONLY SOME. SOME WILL NOT HAVE TO.

The gnome played the single, shrill note meaning, "What?"

SOME ARE ALREADY AMONG YOU. THEY SLEEP IN BETWEEN.

Anger Management

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