Finding a void god in this reality was difficult for me at first. The majority of research was done by a Frenchman named Hector Allaire, my ancestor. It is well-known that during the storming of the Bastille in July 1789, many valuables were stolen as well as prisoners freed. Among these valuables was a journal written by an ‘insane’ revolutionary, which was confiscated during his incarceration.
A peasant found the journal and brought it to Allaire, who paid well for it. Allaire became obsessed with this journal, famously so, but his interest did not spread far. A book was of little value to the common rabble that sought their freedom more than obscure, dark knowledge. Allaire’s research was passed down through his family until it eventually reached me.
As far as I know, nobody in my family was interested in old documents and books. It was an obsession, then a profession, of my choosing. Still, having Allaire’s research wasn’t enough, which is why I took a holiday to France and made my way into the countryside, finding Allaire’s grave. The journal rested on his chest. Even in death, he could not part with it.
The knowledge in that journal gave me all I needed to pass from this reality and enter theirs, however briefly. There, I learnt more than I ever thought I would, saw more than I had ever seen. I discovered the true importance in my work. I am now responsible for protecting people from this...evil, for lack of a better word.
“However, I am only one man,” I concluded. “The knowledge I found has cursed me, given me this burden and I am afraid to say I cannot bear it alone. I reached out to all of you not because you could help me snatch a possessed or acquire information, but because you have all experienced evil in some way. You have reasons beyond money and I ask you now to realise it.”
I placed five vials of the silver solution on the low wall between me and my team. Even Julien eyed them with suspicion.
“I fear grim times are approaching and if you have read the papers you have the same fear, so consider this an ultimatum,” I continued. “Joining me now will constitute a permanent partnership, as you will be just as trapped and freed as I am.”
Once more I paused, observing their reactions. Eliza didn’t seem so cool under such pressure, but she stood fast like everyone else.
“Those who do not join me will close their contract. You will receive your promised pay, but you will have nothing more to do with this work. Choose now.”
To my surprise and delight, this was the signal they needed to act. Julien Wright, Riley O’Dunn, Bill Watts and Elliot and Eliza Ward took their respective vials and drank with me. The cold chemicals flooded our system, feeling like smoke as it seemed to rise rather than fall and freezing like ice. It was almost numbing, but the exact opposite was true. Our minds were being strengthened and our senses heightened. It was a solution I feared to drink the first time I drank it, but after that time it was rather enjoyable.
Once downed, the solution made the cold night by the lake feel truly frigid. Yet, we didn’t shake, not even a hair raised. A powerful calm indeed.
“What now, Mr Edwards?” Elliot asked.
“Now, you can call me ‘Morgan’,” I replied with confidence. “We are all bound together now, which I believe makes us friends.”
We all exchanged semi-confident smiles before I turned to the lake.
“Here, cultists sacrificed hundreds of villagers to Remilotka, a void entity comparable to a god,” I explained. “I say ‘void’ because Remilotka cannot exist in this reality, not yet anyway. Despite their gory deaths, it wasn’t the blood which made this lake a shared point between this reality and theirs, it was simply the mass killing. Remilotka sensed it and used his power to tear a hole in both realities.”
“And the...formula?” Eliza asked.
“The formula is one of the two things that makes it possible for us to see their reality,” I explained. “It focuses our mind, strengthens it. Without it, we sense nothing out of the ordinary and even if we could, we would most likely be driven as mad as Maurice.”
“And the second thing?”
“Darkness. Make no mistake, these gods are the monsters that go bump in the night.”
I walked from the car to the edge of the inky lake. The night was as bright as could be, with the stars shining and the moon full, but the lake was basically opaque.
“Follow me, call their names, question them and get out when you need to,” I told them. With one last look before I entered the lake, I saw a determination in each of their faces.
These were scarred people, people who wanted the same answers. For whatever reasons they had, I knew that by the end of the night, they would have the same feeling of responsibility as me.
We would be united by the same fear.
I plunged quickly into the lake as if pulled and was soon wrapped in a cruel mixture of sensations. The water took away any warmth, restricted my breathing and soon I felt one with my body.
The darkness twisted in my vision as I walked along the lake floor, the water feeling less restricting as I walked, sound shifting in the same manner. It felt less like water by the second, till I could finally move freely, hear normally and even breathe. I had passed to a different reality, in almost every respect.
“Remilotka...I know you can hear...I know you can see me,” I spoke into the darkness. “Now, make yourself known.”
I sensed movement in the darkness. It wasn’t the slight movement of a humanoid figure, it was the movement of a colossus. A creature of unimaginable magnitude had been disturbed. It made sense for Remilotka to be so close to a shared point in our realities, but I was still surprised by its presence.
Unlike Gaurloskoth, I didn’t hear such an abnormal voice. Instead, I heard the familiar voices of all the important dead in my life speak in unison. A grim chant in the distance, almost a song of calling. I did not respond the way Remilotka expected.
“Gaurloskoth...I spoke to him,” I murmured. “He told me that you’re ‘waiting’ for me. I’m here now.”
The chant grew louder. I heard children amongst the voices and I felt a warmth run down my cheeks. Still, my mind was unyielding even if the rest of me wasn’t. Remilotka saw this and the chant disappeared into nothing. It’s remaining echoes reverberated around me for a moment, till at last there was silence.
I closed my eyes, recognising the voice. I heard the footsteps, the heels and even her breathing. Opening my eyes again, I saw a figure in the darkness, a woman in a polka-dot dress. Her face showed loving concern, it made my heart warm, but my mind did not crumble. I stared with the same measure of determination my team showed before. The figure smiled cruelly and I watched it rot, melting into the darkness.
“Our reach is growing,” her voice echoed around me. “You cannot stop the Second Visitation.”
“You sound so sure,” I muttered. “I wonder if you thought the same of the First Visitation?”
“We are undying, our time is inevitable.”
“Undying...it must be a curse when you are stuck in oblivion.”
There was no response from Remilotka, but another shaking movement in the darkness. I could see for the briefest moments the pale surface of a wall of skin.
“Silence...if only it were always this way,” I murmured. “Doesn’t matter, I heard enough. Remember this, monster, your prison is of your own making. Your kind is meant to suffer an eternity of darkness and I will make sure it stays that way.”
As I walked in the direction of the lake edge, I felt a tug as something tried to pull me back. I paused.
“Their kind is meant to cleanse,” my mother whispered behind me. “They’ve seen other realities, destroyed other realities. Morgan...oh, my dear Morgan...submit.”
Tugging my shoulder free of Remilotka’s grasp, I sped onwards, feeling the weight of the lake and it’s cold embrace. For the briefest moments, as I broke the surface of the lake to breathe the night air, I had the childish fear that I would be pulled under. That I would be kept in his realm of horror, to drown or be driven mad.
I snapped out of this grim mentality as the rest of my team broke the surface of the water. I saw in their wet, disturbed faces the same sense of fear I felt the first time I came face-to-face with the eldritch beings. Their collective terror seeping into my body, breaking my courage down piece-by-piece until my mind broke with it.
We all stumbled back onto land, our wet clothes clinging to our bodies. With our dripping forms and new perspective, we were born again. Although, there was nothing holy about this rebirth, quite the opposite.
“Everyone...you have seen it for yourself,” I announced. “The powers that threaten our world, our children, their children and so on until the end of time.”
“H-how...how can we fight?” Riley asked. “These beasts, they’re beyond you or I and that’s an understatement, if I do say so myself and I do!”
“No, Riley, you are wrong. It’s been done before and it will be done again. I don’t know what it is you all saw, but no doubt you heard the same thing. You heard this fight is pointless?”
Each one avoided my eyes, staring at their feet or staring off into the distance.
“I see it in your eyes,” I whispered, an anger filling my voice. “I see the crippling fear that breaks most weak minds, that destroys one’s spirit, but believe me when I say I know that won’t be you!”
I grabbed Eliza, whose eyes had stared too far into the darkness of the forest behind me. Shaking her as I spoke, I saw her gaze refocus on me.
“You have all seen hell before!” I continued. “It did not take you and neither will this. Eliza, Elliot, you saw the horrific death of all you held dear at your weakest and you didn’t falter.”
I turned to Julien next.
“You ran across the bodies of those who fought beside you, through a rain of death for what you knew was right,” I murmured, next turning to Bill. “You experienced the cruelty of a mad mind and it fueled you to bring justice. You saved me when I was so young, I know first-hand you have no fear..”
At this, Bill smirked, the others smiling with him.
“And you, Riley,,” I spoke confidently. “Despite being the youngest of us, you are no stranger to evil. You may not have known it then, but you were beaten down by these monsters. You got up and said-”
“An O’Dunn fights till his last and you best believe it,” Riley grinned, his roguish personality showing itself once more. “So, what’s the plan, boss?”
The answer wasn’t an easy one to give. We would never get answers from a void god, nor could we risk going mad by entering their realm so many times. We would need to fight them from our reality, which meant finding out how they were combatted in the past. Unfortunately, our side of the fight hasn’t done well in keeping that history intact.
I knew what we needed to do, but the time wasn’t right.
“There’s nothing we can do now,” I told them. “Not in this climate anyway. War is on the horizon and no matter where any of you end up, realize that you have another mission. I will call on all of you again. I don’t know when, but all I ask is that you be ready.”