The Great Arising

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The Great Arising was far worse than anyone could have imagined, how can one comprehend the forces that can wrench an entire continent from deep beneath the murky abyss until it's twisted green-black spires towered over even the highest of mountains known to man? When R'yleh arose, millions returned to life, but billions of others died. The geologic upheavals, the shifting of plates swallowed whole countries and ground mighty cities to dust. Tidal waves swept hundreds of miles inland, wiping away much of the world as if it had never existed. Those who survived were in chaos, of the major world powers, only Russia retained some capability to strike back, and a hail of nuclear warheads struck the mighty walls of R'yleh, accomplishing nothing but achieving Great Cthulhu's disfavor, and Moscow was struck with such force by the mighty priest's weapons that an inland sea now sits where one of man's greatest super-powers once stood.

America fared no better, the entire west coast collapsed beneath an earthquake of unthinkable magnitude, from California to Mississippi river, the east coast was left in ruins by what later scholars would term a "worldquake" . The shattered survivors, staring into the dust filled sky, watched as great, bloated creatures with dragon's bodies and tentacled faces swarmed across the earth, eager to reclaim their world. Of course, there was resistance, in the early years, men struck out at the Star Spawn with every weapon at their disposal, and always the result was the same, the Star Spawn could not be injured, as they existed in multiple dimensions at once. Cthulhu's other servants, however, were more vulnerable. Human cultists could be easily killed, and the amphibious Deep Ones, though hardier than men, were only flesh and blood. Man soon learned, however, that such small victories brought attention and terrible reprisal, so much so that humanity finally ceased to fight, struggling to simply survive beneath the feet of a race that barely even noticed their very existence.

In truth, Cthulhu was not malevolent, simply amoral, beyond human concerns and desires. He neither desired nor caused most of the devastation wrecked upon humanity by the Rise of R'lyeh. Had he control over R'lyeh's rising and falling, it would never have sunken to begin with. The sidereal clockworks governed R'lyeh and it's inhabitants. When the stars were 'wrong' they had to sleep, when the stars were 'right', they wee free to walk and fly and crawl. It was that simple. Humanity had suffered the simple misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, nothing more. Those that fought Great Cthulhu and his kin were minor irritants at best, his worshipers, useful beasts, of a little more import than Shoggoths, and a little less than The Brood of Dagon. The rest, simply another breed of animal that had flourished during his long sleep. Insignificant creatures which could be used to further his grand designs. Bizarrely, despite this view of humanity, Great Cthulhu had several children by human, or once human, mates, via some of his more humanoid avatars, of course. The children of these unions were known as Half-Bloods.

This was fortunate, in many ways, for mankind. Great Cthulhu and his minions saw humans as useful pawns, if they saw them at all, so mankind was able to regroup into a primitive society, surviving under the radar. The Star Spawn rarely noticed the affairs of men, but the Half-Bloods did. The Half-Bloods, more often than not, hated their human side, feeling the need to be excessively cruel and brutal toward the people whose blood they so despised within their own veins. Some, however, were kindly disposed toward mankind...

Torren-Wraeth was the son of an avatar of Great Cthulhu and Te'ree, an outcast woman of the Rapa Nui people, born on the island of the same name, which the Europeans would later re-name 'Easter Island'. In form and mind he took more after his mother's people than his father's. In many ways, he was attractive, even beautiful by human standards, though his striking Polynesian features and lithe swimmer's build were offset by a eight small tendrils, three on each side of his lower jaw and two on his chin, his skin was emerald green rather than his mother's warm brown, his almond eyes yellow and cat-like, and slender, bat-like wings that spread from his shoulders. His straight black hair hung long and loose around his pointed ears, though occasionally he would braid it, for special occasions.

He did not hate his human side, rather, he embraced it. His name, given by his father, loosely translated as 'Spirit of the Raging Waters', but his personality was far different, though his mother's people were fierce warriors and his father's, cold, calculating and unfeeling, Torren-Wraeth was gentle. He befriended humans, or tried to, both before and after the Rise of R'lyeh. Te'ree still lived, she had been transformed into something more than human, but less than Star-Spawn, another of his father's many concubines.

As a Half-Blood Torren-Wraeth possessed abilities his True-Blood brethren lacked, while they could only communicate with human minds in sleep, Torren-Wraeth could communicate mentally with humans sleeping or awake, and, unlike his kin, he possessed vocal chords capable of actual human conversation. This, combined with his attractive appearance and gentle manner, made him a frequent messenger between his father and the humans who worshiped him. The Elder Sign, bane of his father and those like him, even other Half-Bloods, held no power over Torren-Wraeth. He did not know if this was a sign of favor from the Elder Gods who'd crafted that mystical defense, or due to some innate part of his human nature.

Rapa Nui... The people had all but died out long before the rise of R'lyeh, a combination of factors had led to their demise, systematic deforestation, a genocidal internecine war, followed by starvation. The final nail in the coffin of the Rapa Nui was the arrival of the Europeans in 1722, who brought with them disease, mistreatment and slavery. Torren-Wraeth had wanted to help them, even though they had rejected his mother, rejected him... He had implored his father to intervene, but to no avail. They were not servants of Cthulhu... Torren-Wraeth had never truly forgiven his father...

The island itself, with it's famous Moai statues, now rested in a low valley on the Southwestern portion of R'lyeh, if such directions could be applied to the non-euclidean, extra-dimensional hyper-geometry of the dark city. It's few inhabitants, mostly descended of mixed Rapa Nui and European blood, now lived literally in the shadows of R'lyeh . Torren-Wraeth visited often, protecting his mother's people. He erected again the fallen Moai, many toppled by the Rapa Nui themselves during and after their horrific civil war, moving tons of stone with his bare hands. It was important to him, so much human blood, sweat and tears had gone into the making of the Moai, they symbolized the pride of a people, his people.

Torren-Wraeth flapped his leathery wings lazily, mainly gliding along the strong winds that whipped through the black city whose structures loomed higher than the eye could see. Occasionally one of his massive half-siblings would glide by, surprisingly graceful for their incredible size, or stare impassively out from the portals of their stone domiciles. He knew they neither loved nor hated him, they merely acknowledged his existence even as they acknowledged their own. A cold, unfeeling people, the Cthuli, H.G. Wells' description of his Martian 'Minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic' aptly fit the Star Spawn . Far below him, Torren-Wraeth could see the slithering shapes of near-mindless Shoggoths, and he strained to see if, by chance, a Deep One, a Gyo-Jin, as his dearest friend had called them, lurked below. At least they had some feelings akin to those of humanity. He saw none. He was utterly alone in a city of millions.

Then the loneliness, the aching struck at his heart. Japan was gone, destroyed in the tectonic cataclysm of The Arising. Though Rapa Nui was his birthplace, his heart had been in Japan. Many years ago, his father had sent him to that land to forge an alliance with the Emperor. The alliance had been refused, but while in Japan he had met Goro. Goro had been assigned as his personal servant during his stay, and the two had become fast-friends, once the seemingly insurmountable barriers of 'class' were broken. He had healed Goro's troubled mind, entering his dreams, soothing his nightmares. Goro had lived a life of suffering and loss, and his nights were filled with terrible nightmares and even more terrible realities, something that touched Torren-Wraeth's heart. For the first time, he truly felt human suffering, he truly understood that side of himself, all the hopes and fears and pains... Such pain...

When he left Japan, he took Goro with him. They traveled the world for over 200 years, Torren-Wraeth drawing on his father's power to keep Goro young and healthy. They truly cared for each other, like brothers born. Torren-Wraeth even allowed Goro to call him Torren-kun, no one, other than his mother, could have referred to Torren-Wraeth like that. But Goro was different... He would even have accepted Torren-chan, though Goro never could shake off his shackles of low-self esteem to be so familiar with the son of Kami... He'd never truly understood, Torren-Wraeth needed Goro far more than Goro needed him. Goro made him feel... Human...

He'd truly loved him, not in the way of ... Shonen-Ai, was it called? Even if Torren-Wraeth had been so inclined, Goro had already suffered far too much of that kind of 'love'. It was difficult for Torren-Wraeth to describe in the terms of either of his parent's tongues, a blending of souls, perhaps? He was a companion, a friend to whom he could open up his innermost heart without fear, and he strove to repay such care in kind. But time takes it's toll, and Goro simply began to lose interest in this life, he yearned to be reunited with his long-dead family, and, finally, Torren-Wraeth let him go. He visited him often, watching in his ageless agony as Goro raised a family, grew old, and finally died. Death, even Half-Bloods had little concept of death, such loss was unknown to his father's people. He had experienced loss for the first time in his young life, and this foreign agony crushed him. The pain he felt had never truly gone away, it had left a gaping hole in his soul... A void as deep and dark as the gulf between worlds. He had wept and raged and screamed to the heavens, angry at himself for letting Goro die, angry at Goro for wanting to live as a normal man, for wanting to die. But he came to accept that forcing immortality upon Goro would have been cruel, forcing him to live a life he no longer wanted just for his own sake would have been selfish. He had finally come to peace with himself,but God, did he miss him...

Goro's descendants were safe, though, even if Japan was gone, Torren-Wraeth had saved them, guiding them for decades, preparing them the best he could. He finally took them to the relative safety of Canada as the end became certain, gave them the signs and words to ward off any of his kin who might do them harm. It was the best he could do, under the circumstances.

The jumbled spires of R'lyeh fell away, opening onto a gloomy sea. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. Africa lay ahead, just a short jaunt on his powerful wings. The survival of Africa was almost as miraculous as the survival of Australia (which was directly adjacent to R'yleh), buffeted by tsunamis and earthquakes, rent and torn almost beyond recognition, but still there.

He turned to look back, and the greenish-black stone of R'lyeh blocked his view for as far as he could see, blotting out horizon and sky with it's incredible bulk. It was unnatural, in more ways than one, R'lyeh was less a continent than a great, graven image to Great Cthulhu and to his god, Yog-Sothoth, The Key and The Gate. Torren-Wraeth knew that, someday, R'lyeh would simply fade away from it's earthly presence and re-appear on some other, more desirable world. They were, after all, only temporary residents on this planet, R'lyeh was little more than a great city-engine to leech all it could from earth before leaving for greener pastures in an endless, soulless cycle of domination and devastation. He hoped silently that humanity would live to see that day when Great Cthulhu and his hordes left their world forever. He often wondered, if, when that day came, he would go with them...

But he knew the answer to that. He would go. He had to go. The humans had a saying, at least before the Great Arising "Hell is other people", but they were wrong, oh so wrong. Hell is being alone...

To be continued...

Notes:

This story is set many years in the future.

About Torren-Wraeth:

Height-5'8"

Weight-182 pounds

Age-Unknown

Clothing: Usually a simple red loin-cloth, if anything. Occasionally blue jeans or a black, late 20th century Japanese school uniform tailored to fit his wings.

(On special occasions) Red toga with a metal pauldron over left shoulder in the shape of a tentacled creature attached to a short red cape that drapes his left side.

He can appear as a human, but it's difficult for him.

In D&D terms:

Alignment: Chaotic Good

Class: Divine Proxy of Cthulhu

About Goro:

I was unsure what honorific to use for Goro, kun seemed too formal, (From Torren-Wraeth's perspective, anyway) but chan could be misinterpreted as belittling.

Yes, he was a prostitute, though not by choice. He was not 'involved' with Torren-Wraeth in that way. He was selected through some form of divination as the best candidate with which to honor the visiting Divine Messenger. Cthulhu caused him to be picked, as a way of trying to appease his son after his inaction towards the Rapa Nui, as he realized Goro's potential with Torren-Wraeth.

He was also a commoner and an orphan, thus he had no family name. He presumably took one after returning to the human world, though.

I would write his story, but my ignorance of Japanese culture would either make it inaccurate or offensive, or both. I don't even know if, at the time it occurred (Late 17th century), the Emperor held the power to negotiate in behalf of his country, or if that power belonged to the Shoguns. If anyone wants to (And can) write that story, feel free.

Others:

I found Te'ree in a list of Rapa Nui women's names. I don't know what it means, but it stood out to me...

Cthulhu does love his children, including Torren-Wraeth, it is hard for them to relate, however, as their minds are so different.