Broken Horizons – Vol 13, Ch 10


There were several million reasons why riding up to a hospital on the shoulders of an building sized eldritch abomination with her entire team was a bad idea. Tessa discounted them all for one far more important reason though.

Her building sized eldritch abomination was just adorable.

“Intriguing,” Azma said, greeting them from a fifth floor window. “I presume this will serve as a guardian for the hospital after we depart?”

On the one hand it was kind of maddening that nothing seemed to surprise Azma. On the other though, it was a relief to be able to skip explaining her plan once again.

She’d brought her team, and Mel and Fari up to speed on the idea of using Kitty Cthulhu as a basically invulnerable guardian for the residents of San Francisco who’d made the hospital their last hold out. Kitty Cthulhu had been delighted by the idea and the others at least saw the wisdom in leaving someone behind after they left.

“We can stay here if you need us,” Fari said, “but Captain Okoro has detected several other escalating calamities that we can help with.”

“You should go ahead and deal with those then,” Tessa said. “We’ve got this here.”

“Any chance you can call in more reinforcements?” Lisa asked. “It’s fantastic that you can pitch in, but we don’t seem to have a shortage of disasters at the moment.”

“Our getting here was something of a fluke,” Mel said. “We were testing out a new warp drive and, well, you can see how that went.”

“Oh no, are you going to be able to get home?” Rip asked.

“”Probably,” Mel said. “If we don’t, the kids will come find us.”

“We do not want that,” Fari said, an unspoke ‘again’ plain in her voice.

“No,” Mel agreed. “No, we do not.”

“Too dangerous here for them?” Lady Midnight asked.

“Too dangerous for here,” Darius said, joining Azma at the window.

“You saw the kind of things I was doing?” Mel said. “They’ve got all my power and most of my control.”

“Some of your control,” Fari said. “If we’re being generous.”

“We shall direct them to you if they should appear in this realm,” Azma said. “At the present however, we are all running somewhat late.”

“We have schedule to keep?” Tessa asked.

“We’ve got a meeting to get to,” Hailey said. “Several in fact.”

“With who?” Lisa asked.

“The gods,” Hailey said.

“Which ones?” Tessa asked.

“The ones that can help us!” Hailey said. “Hopefully.”

“You know that I will stab you, have you healed, and then stab you again right?” Tessa said. Given the healing capabilities they had access to, it was not an idle threat.

“We’ve contacted the original developers of the game which linked you to the [Fallen Kingdoms],” Azma said. “We need to meet with them, so that they can examine you.”

“Examine us why?” Yawlorna asked, the scientist in the giant, formerly demon-ish lady leaping to the fore.

“They built the bridges between the two worlds without a conscious awareness of what they were doing,” Azma said. “With you to use as guideposts, they believe they can open the pathways so that they will be able to travel freely between the two realms.”

“And that helps us how?” Rip asked.

“Yeah, I thought the [Formless Hunger] and the other things like it were beyond the power of the gods?” Jamal said. “Tessa had ‘God Power’ in her hands a couple times and it couldn’t hurt the first Hunger at all.”

“Dealing with [Transcendent Entities] isn’t a matter of destroying or controlling them,” Azma said. “Tessa and several others have discovered a far more effective approach. [Transcendent Entities] cannot be destroyed because they do not exist. That non-existence protects them and allows them to destroy virtually anything else. What Tessa and others have done is to give them what they’re missing. Essentially ‘creating’ them as something real so that they become inexorably a part of the realm they seek to destroy.”

“Wouldn’t that mean that they would be free to ‘really’ destroy the world though?” Yawlorna asked.

“That seems to be what they’re doing now,” Lady Midnight said.

“That is what they are trying to do now,” Azma said. “There is a wide gap between ‘trying’ and ‘doing’, and in that gap is where our victory lies.”

“Where are we supposed to meet them? They’re not all in the area are they?” Lisa asked.

“They’re kind of everywhere at the moment,” Hailey said. “I wasn’t kidding when I said we’re going to see the gods.”

“Explain further please?” Starchild said.

“The metaphysics of it are complicated and likely not completely co-tangent with similar phenomena the Consortium has observed – there seems to be a high degree of variation in divine powers across different worlds,” Azma said. “The important, and useful, information is that the original developers were called to assist the [Fallen Kingdoms], just as you were. In fact it was due to your efforts that the [Fallen Kingdoms] were able to reach out to them at all. The [Fallen Kingdoms] couldn’t support their direct presence however and so rather than the Earthlings going there, their divine selves joined them on this world, in the process dragging the two worlds even closer together.”

“So they have unfettered divine power here?” Tessa asked.

“No. Far from unfettered,” Azma said. “This world is highly resistant to divine or other supernatural powers altering it. The [Transcendent Entities] are not bound by such fetters though and as they began to chew away at the fabric of this world, your Earth’s limitations began to loosen.”

“So how much can these gods do then?” Yawlorna asked.

“Within the Earth’s arcanosphere? Very little still,” Azma said.

“That sucks,” Rip said.

“No. That’s fantastic,” Tessa said. “It means the Earth’s still fairly solid and mundane.”

“We were tossing around some pretty unreal effects there for a mundane place,” Lady Midnight said. “Not to mention our new friend here.” She gestured down at Kitty Cthulhu who gave a small, shy wave of his massive left paw.

“But we’re drawing those powers from the [Fallen Kingdoms],” Tessa said. “It’s like the fence around the garden has some holes in it now so stuff that was being kept out can get in, but it’s still a garden and not a parking lot or something.”

“And the Developer-Gods want to knock down the wall?” Rip asked.

“A more accurate metaphor would be that they want to build an archway in the fence,” Azma said. “One suited to allowing them to pass through it.”

“Can’t they just use the holes that are already there?” Jamal asked.

“Not without destroying a great deal of the existing barriers around this world,” Azma said. “The divine power they carry is too large to fit through the fractures which already exist.”

“And waiting for those fractures to grow larger means letting the world wind up in even worse shape than it is now,” Tessa said.

“Worse than this?” Rip asked, gesturing to the quarter mile of flattened buildings around them. “Yikes.”

Tessa though Azma might point out that the destruction they could see, while easily in the billions of dollars, was absolutely insignificant compared to the fate that could befall the Earth. Strangely the ruthless and practical absolute overlord of the Consortium’s attack forces merely nodded in response, sparring Rip from a nightmare inducing accounting of the possible futures that lay before them.

“If the gods you mentioned are everywhere, why do we need to go anywhere to meet them?” Yawlorna asked. “Aren’t they here already?”

“They are, or at least fragments of their awareness are,” Hailey said. “To meet them in person though we need to go to a [Shifting Space].”

“I’m going to guess that’s dangerous,” Lady Midnight said.

“For anyone else, it would effectively be a death sentence,” Azma said.

“Why?” Rip asked.

“Because it we walk outside the boundaries of the world, there’s no guarantee that we’ll every make it back,” Tessa said. “[Shifting Spaces] are where reality gets a bit fuzzy, so any path we walk will change as we walk on it, both where it’s going and where it came from.”

“How do you know that?” Lisa asked.

Tessa blinked. How did she know that? The knowledge was right there in her mind, clear as day, but it wasn’t anything that had been stitched into Pillowcase or anything Tessa had ever read, not even in the lore for [Broken Horizons].

“Must be some passive knowledge that came with my [Void Speaker] levels?” Tessa said, feeling like that wasn’t the answer but coming up blank for what the real one could be.

“Your description matches the explanation the [Fallen Kingdoms] gods gave us,” Azma said.

“How did you talk to them?” Lisa asked.

“We got their cell numbers from [The Nightmare Queen],” Hailey said.

“You just called them? Just like that?” Rip asked.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Hailey said.

“Well, okay then,” Rip said. “Wonder what their ringtone sounds like?”

“Sounds like the real question is where we can find one of those [Shifting Spaces],” Lisa said.

“There are millions of them now,” Azma said. “At least one for every location where someone has traveled to another world.”

“We need to find one we have some resonance with though,” Hailey said. “Otherwise we risk wandering off into no one knows what.”

 “What would it take for us to have ‘resonance’ with a [Shifting Space]?” Rip asked.

“That is something we should be able to discover when we find one,” Azma said.

“We won’t need to,” Lost Alice said. “I know where we need to go.”

Azma didn’t look surprised at this.

Because of course she didn’t.

“So the next question is, who wants to meet my family?” Lisa asked.


Flying across the Pacific Ocean at wavetop level was ideal for stealth. That was also why Byron was holding his speed at subsonic levels.

Sure, he could have blasted straight up into orbit and descended like the fist of an angry god.

Or teleported there.

Why, exactly, hadn’t he teleported to the creator? Wouldn’t that have made for a better surprise attack?

No. Of course not. That would simply have been foolish.

Teleporting to an enemy who had already proven that she possessed arbitrary and undefined powers? No, no, no. Far better to approach her at unawares. Take the opportunity to observe her before striking the final, truly fatal blow. Learn her weaknesses. Strike when the moment was right. When she couldn’t strike back!

That did seem more agreeable.

Indeed. Far better than exposing himself to the risk of her corrupting presence turning him into yet another new, and lesser, thing.

He plowed face first into a wave that certainly hadn’t been that tall a moment before.

Why did he retain human nostrils if salt water would burn them?

He didn’t know.

But it would be a shame to give up such a fine nose. It was nearly perfectly sculpted.

You never wanted perfect features. Those looked too uncanny. And far too generic. Better to have some slight and acceptable blemish. Some mark of distinction and personalization.

This line of thought was leading him to the creator how exactly?

Oh, it wasn’t. It merely seemed relevant to his consideration of noses. Wasting time was not at all the plan, so back into the air and onwards.

On the edge of his awareness one of his armageddon’s failed. A school girl stood over the crumbling body of a [Master Vampire] with a broken baseball bat rammed through his chest.

So. No unstoppable vampire plague. That was a shame. Byron had been looking forward to the endgame of that scenario where everyone was a vampire and they had only themselves to turn on for blood.

He did have to commend the schoolgirl though. Even splintered as it was, ramming a baseball bat through a torso could not have been easy.

But there was no more time to consider his other armageddons.

He had arrived.

He was in San Francisco.

And his creator had already left.

Of all the cursed luck. How could she have known?

Perhaps she could sense him?

Maybe he should stick to sending minions against her? Ones she wouldn’t see coming?

A giant hand swatted him into orbit.

Ah. He’d gotten too close to his old minion it seemed.

Far below, Kitty Cthulhu glared at him, eager for Byron to return, so he could ‘play’ with Byron some more.

Perhaps minions were not the right idea.

Perhaps he did have to deal with this personally.

If only he knew where to find her?

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