Disclaimer: I own nothing I write about. Just playing in the sandboxes.
"The plan has failed."
A shift, the sound of not-cloth rustling.
"Interesting. Usually, these parasites' curiosity results in their termination… Though, I am unsurprised. A departure from the dataset was inevitable."
"What shall we do?"
The stars burned brighter, yet the dark shadows shrouding the temple summit only seemed to deepen.
"…You imply that this outcome is not to my favor? That I somehow rely on your input?"
"A-Ah, forgive me, my Lord," the messenger pressed their forehead further into the unnaturally smooth floor, "T'was a slip of the tongue. I await your orders."
Another rustle of not-cloth, the messenger's Lord turning away.
It contemplated the events of the past moments.
Long had It hunted the parasites. They were aberrations upon reality itself, leeching off the entropic release of planets, of stars, across space, beyond the streams of time the Universe swam through. More program than living being, they were the final iteration of a foolish race that, many thousands of millions of galactic cycles past, blindly sought immortality.
'Be careful what you wish for.'
It was a sentiment It had planted in the minds of every conscious, sapient race hence. A warning. Do not reach, for the result is not one which would be palatable to any thinking being, be they Ghoul or Star-Spawn.
The parasites were a constant reminder of It's failure. That race sought immortality.
In a way, they succeeded.
It doubted the smallfolk of that long-changed species would agree.
Once mere flesh and blood, like so many other beings and species who were content in their momentary existences, now they were slaves to their rulers, who promised the smallfolk a way to transcend their fragile bodies.
A lie. One It could respect, but the end result irked It to no end.
Now those smallfolk were the basis behind esoteric functions of those kings and queens. They spiraled through the Ether, seeking out worlds with other conscious life. There they would attach themselves, though quantum entanglement, to the brains of their victims.
And then they would foster war. They would create works of stone and metal and plastic that would make even those of long-destroyed Yith weep with envy. They would direct their meat-puppets in dances both exalted and macabre that, were these events, these 'Cycles', of It's designs, would please and humor It to no end.
And when all was said and done, these parasites would collect their data, refine their slaves' abilities so they might better serve and feed their master's endless thirst…
And then they would wipe the slate clean. Omnicide, across realities and dimensions.
Ordinarily, It would care nothing for such actions. These parasites would run afoul It's brethren, draw the attention of the Others with their irreverent actions, and they would know how small and insignificant they truly were, before being obliterated for their hubris.
But this did not happen enough for It's tastes. So, It deployed It's agents. It watched the parasites ply their trade, though It's Thousand Faces.
And It realized, a very long time ago, that if these parasites were not culled, not exterminated to the least and last, they would either supplant the Others…
Or they would stumble upon a way to wake Father.
Either event was not something It could allow. For the first, well, it was not the place of the mortals to reach beyond the Old Ones to become Other. Their purpose was to exist, until Father woke.
Which led to the second possible event: Father could not wake before the appointed moment. Until that moment, It was required to keep Father's dreams from spilling forth into the streams of time, and it was It's brethren's duty to act as the lynchpins, keeping the full dream of Azathoth from collapsing before the moment was right.
The parasites threatened this careful balancing act, which the Others and their many glorious children and allies had tended to for time immemorial.
This could not stand.
So It began carefully removing these parasites from reality. Oh, it was ponderously, mind-numbingly boring, but It had eternity to contemplate all the ways in which It could fell each parasite.
Over time, as the parasite's dying screams of terror and madness slaked It's thirst, It found Itself in a predicament.
It was beginning to enjoy these little dances.
Carefully setting in motion events which would, ultimately, result in the annihilation of each and every parasite. Plotting how to accomplish It's hunt without alerting the other parasites. Even convincing the pair (for the foolish gestalts always travelled in pairs) to fight each other, their 'love' turned to jealousy and greed.
A meat puppet, used by one of the parasite's slaves, would stumble upon the Codex Necronomicon, or the King in Yellow, or any of the myriad tomes gathered over the endless eons…
And the door would swing wide, Yog-Sothoth would open the way, the Old Ones would issue forth, and the parasites, not prepared for this event, having not been forewarned, would die screaming in agonized horror.
The satisfaction that came at the end of each individual hunt… this was what It was coming to enjoy.
But now… The most recent hunt was of two entities, calling themselves The Warrior and The Thinker.
It had deployed one of It's favorite tactics: disguising Itself as one of the parasites, It would give one of It's prey a deadly virus, disguised as a useful slave, something that would aid the victim in it's endeavors.
Not that It needed to be there personally. No, such grunt work was beneath It.
However… It's worldly agent, while completing It's orders to the letter, had failed.
It would not abide failure. It never failed.
The messenger behind It screamed in agony and wailed in despair as his body was mutated and twisted beyond what any mortal, no matter the dimensional province, would be able to survive. The screams, while delicious, ended as suddenly as they began.
A glass of black not-liquid, from which the terrified wailing of a thousand million dead worlds issued, appeared in It's hand, for It's current focus was possessed of hands, more for appearance sake than any practical reason.
Though they were useful for gouging out eyes, or the odd vivisection, novel pastimes for a being such as It.
The not-liquid swirled as It considered the possibilities before It.
It could dispatch another agent… but that would take time and (in another fragment of reality, one of It's many faces sighed with one of It's many mouths) conversation, and dealing with Yog's brat or It's myriad cults was ever so boring. Additionally, despite young Whateley's exuberance and ability for mayhem in his efforts to please the Others, it was… not what It needed, not for this particular conundrum.
Besides, "thought" It, taking a sip of the screaming not-liquid, Whateley had already extinguished eight of the little parasites. Giving the brat the only one that'd ever managed to dupe It and survive…
No, not Whateley. But who?
Shub? No, the Great Goat wasn't exactly known for her subtlety, and convincing Her would take time It did not possess.
Carter? No, the lad was in the Dreamlands, and would sooner cut off his own legs than help It. Pity. He was the only interesting human –
What populated the world this parasite planned to harvest?
The only beings that'd ever managed to amuse It to no end, and the parasite had chosen them as it's garden. Foolish; for all that they are mere insects, writhing about in their brief lives, the little monkeys were equal parts inquisitive and resilient.
One would come. They always came, the heroes, to stand before the might of the gods… and fall.
But not always, and the parasite was no Outer God. Not like It.
So It looked into the future, seeking an appropriate agent of retribution. Humanity had those in abundance, true, but for a being as admittedly powerful as an "Entity", It felt that a singular champion was more appropriate.
It saw the conflict begin, grow worse, The Warrior, without it's Thinker, unable to attune the "Cycle" with any sort of subtlety. The parasite encouraged the childish dreamings of the populace, encouraged "superheroes".
'Perhaps…' mused It, seeing a possible agent for It's will, '…No. Too obvious.'
It moved on.
A child was born. A human female.
Born beneath a strange sign, she would be obsessed with the origins of language, always striving, with almost manic focus, to find the common root of aural communication, and how this thesis fit into the strange new world The Warrior was foolishly crafting.
But she would lose this dream as she grew and became morose, as she was stricken with grief and isolation, as she tumbled and fell into despair, as she became a meat puppet for the parasite's slave, and one of the other meat puppets would name her Queen Administrator.
Already, even as the babe suckled from her adoring mother's breast, her father looking on lovingly… It wondered why It's gaze had been drawn to this human. The languages issue, perhaps. It had done more with less.
Perhaps there was some potential, here…
Beyond her reality, It could already see the way she should be groomed, should It wish her to be an agent of It's will.
But… It looked further into time. Looked at what she would do, were It not to intervene. After all, assuming It's agents would carry out It's will without error was how It had ended up in this pickle to begin with.
There could be no half-measures taken, not even in the planning phase.
So It looked further.
It saw something miraculous.
This girl, this small, insignificant human female… drove The Warrior to suicide.
This would happen… without any input on It's part.
A twinge of jealousy flitted through It, and five thousand worlds died, their final, agonized cries of terror a balm to sate It's rage.
At the same time, It felt a sense of… kinship? No, this was respect.
An unusual sensation, to say the least; few were the number that could command It's respect, and none of those were mortal.
Still, credit where it was due; It had never managed outright suicide for these parasites! It was usually easier, cleaner, and far more entertaining, to have the moronic creatures spiral unknowingly into their inevitable demise.
But this child would slay one, and scar the genetic memory of her entire species, across multiple dimensions, with her beautiful name.
And her final reward? Two bullets in the head, then exile.
A shame, It felt, standing over the female's crib, her parents both asleep and within easy reach of their newborn.
A shame. Such potential and promise. A possible Old One, or one of It's many masks, tossed aside like so much trash, after a deed so beautiful.
But the means she used were brutish and unwieldy. That could be fixed…
Her desire for a root to all language drew It's attention once more.
It had done far more, far worse, with far less.
On the summit of It's temple, upon the Moon of the Dreamlands, with a glass of the collected souls slain over myriad eons by Cthulhu and his children…
The Crawling Chaos, Nyarlathotep, smiled.
In the maternity ward of Brockton General Hospital, swathed in a soft blanket and still feeling the mild aches of her first shots, her first breaths of air…
A newborn Taylor Hebert's dreams, at first abstract and inscrutable, changed.
Taylor Hebert dreamt of stars that whispered, and smiled in her sleep.