Dagon

One month ago

Randwulf floated in the air where he was suspended by Davy Jones’ power, ragged clothes rippling in intangible currents. He drifted like a man underwater, only his head above the surface. He dropped the armful of supplies he had scavenged from the Anchor Boys’ storehouse, letting them drift down to the floor.

“I found you stealing from my men. Why should I not kill you now?” demanded Davy Jones, heavy chains clanking around his shoulders like bandoliers.

“You have drunk from the wellspring, I see it,” gibbered Randwulf. “Your line is cursed.”

Davy Jones remained silent, turning away and inspecting the Anchor Boys’ storehouse Randwulf had been pillaging- black market weapons and munitions scattered across the floor. A handful of his men watched silently, anticipating the spectacle of Davy Jones’ retribution.

“You are other than human,” clarified Randwulf.

“I am,” said Davy Jones.

“Your children will be Other, and your children’s children,” Randwulf continued, ignoring Davy Jones. “I’ve seen them, the Three, but only one looked back. Let me show you.” Awe came into Randwulf’s tone and his eyes became unfocused and distant. “A field of grey, the blackest pit, the sky, aflame. Vast beyond imagining! Brought to ruin by time, and in time he will consume all- the death of gods!” Randwulf’s voice grew louder. “Oh, the sun is so tiny! But don’t look! Don’t look!” He laughed. “A man looked into the sun once, they say.” He shook his head sadly. “He went blind, they say. Not I! Not I! I almost fell in, but I didn’t. Ha! And now I know that I can show you how. You could be the Avatar of Ocean, Reflection of the Abyss. I am your prophet- I- I can build, I must build… build you such power.”

“Power?” asked Davy Jones. Randwulf’s eyes widened, and he spoke with exaggerated care.

“Of a god.”

Davy Jones turned to face Randwulf.

“I’m listening.”

***

One week ago

“I can give you a taste of the power,” said Randwulf. “A glimpse half-seen of a picture of an imperfect reflection. But enough. Oh, it is enough.”

“You’re babbling,” snapped Davy Jones. “I’ve waited two weeks while my men gathered together the materials you said you’d need, and now I expect returns. What can you give me?”

“My mind is gone but eyes can see,” sung Randwulf mindlessly, head rocking. “We shall see what cannot be.”

“Do you want me to kill you now?” Davy Jones intoned,

“Yes, but that can wait. Look, I’ll show you.”

Randwulf pointed to what appeared to be a projector screen, with a heavily modified slide projector resting on a cart. A massive heat-sink had been cobbled together around the projector, evaporating coolants curling off into the air.

“Is that it?” asked Davy Jones, impatient. “A slide projector?”

“Just watch,” Randwulf said.

Randwulf shambled over to the projector and screwed his eyes shut. Davy Jones rolled back his shoulders and looked towards the screen.

“Are you watching?” Randwulf asked, hand on a switch.

“Yes,” Davy Jones said, tone becoming impatient.

“Just watch,” Randwulf repeated.

He threw the switch wired into the projector with a loud click. There was a flash of what looked very much like light and a glimpse of an indistinct blur. The image disappeared after less than a second, but it seemed to linger, burned into Davy Jones’ retinas. Davy Jones stumbled back, an arm thrown over his eyes. The screen was left burnt and twisted, and the gutted slide projector sizzled and crackled as it belched foul smoke.

“What was that?” Davy Jones said. His voice shook, and a sheen of sweat appeared on his forehead. “What did you do?”

“Just a taste of power. Try it! Try it!”

Davy Jones threw an arm out towards Randwulf and threw him off his feet. The air filled with scraps of metal and tools that were carried along with the invisible current. Randwulf laughed madly as he and the cart with the slide projector slammed against the far wall.

“What did you do?”

Randwulf just laughed. “Look and see!”

Davy Jones released his power and stared as the debris pressed to the wall clattered to the ground. Randwulf landed atop it with a grunt of pain.

“My god.” Davy Jones

In the corner of the room, a radio crackled to life.

“Jones, Blackwell is assaulting the Maven Shipping building. We’re holding them off, but Paragon is interfering. He’s looking for some guy named Randolph or something.”

Davy Jones curled his hands into fists.

“I can deal with him.”

Davy Jones climbed into one of the minisubs that transported the Anchor Boys’ elites to and from the city.

***

Today

Davy Jones looked down into the pit Randwulf had constructed, pupils dilated, breathing ragged.

“What… is it?” he rasped.

“Ocean,” invoked Randwulf reverently. “The Abyss.”

“It’s… beautiful.” Davy Jones’ legs shook, and he put his hands on the sides of the circle for support. “I-” his voice caught in his throat. His body shook with effort as he tore his eyes away from the shape. He stared at Randwulf, face contorted. “What did you do to me?” he gasped.

“Me? Nothing.”

Davy Jones struggled for breath and failed. The water around them splashed as he fell to his knees, gasping for air. His back arched and heaved, and water began to pour from his throat. He turned to Randwulf again, eyes pleading as he convulsed.

Randwulf watched as Davy Jones spasmed and shook his head.

“Another failure,” he sighed under his breath. He bent down and lifted the limp form of what was once Davy Jones. “What to do with you now?”

***

Davy Jones stumbled to his feet and looked around himself, thoughts clouded with confusion. Great towers of dark stone rose around him, piercing the sky with jagged fingers.

They rippled like fronds in an ocean current. A dark, flat eye drifted past, the glare off its surface blinding him for a moment, and the rest of the creature followed- yellow and bulbous, glowing with sinister light. Recognition tugged at the back of his mind for a moment.

A taxi?

But a moment later, it was foreign again. He tried to shy away, and found his body responded only sluggishly. One of the nearest obelisks exploded, showering him with shards of stone. He shook his head, trying to clear it, and a roar filled his ears. He whirled, panic starting to creep into his fractured mind.

What’s going on? Where am- Randwulf! What did he do to me? Where is he?

Davy Jones stumbled away, lost and confused, into a world he could no longer comprehend.

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24 Responses to Dagon

  1. Sorry about the shorter-than-usual chapter. I’ve been having some difficulty writing of late. The final chapter of this has given me more trouble than I care to mention, so I’m actually thinking I might leave it until the end of the next arc- I’ll show what Will was doing during this chapter, then show the conclusion of this from his perspective, unless anyone objects to waiting approximately nine weeks to find out how they take down Marée du Ciel. I’m at least going to do a segment of interludes before then.

    This went fairly well, I think – writing an arc from Sean/Guardian Angel’s perspective, that is – but I doubt I’ll be doing it again for a while. I don’t find the character as engaging to write, and as such (as I’m sure you noticed, given the overall negative feedback) he’s not as interesting to read.

    • mousefu says:

      Yeah I just can’t can’t relate to shaun, he just doesn’t hold my attention. That is Not to say your writing is bad as I love some characters Will among them. It’s just shaun doesn’t interest me hence the lack of capital letter for his name

    • Mian says:

      Sean works best in small doses. I think the last chapter you did from his perspective was priceless and dead on target. Most of the stuff in the boat wasn’t… He’s got a little too much… Sansa in him — stuff happens around him, but he’s not a /thinker/ like Will is — at least not yet.

      If he wants to succeed in this leadership thing, he’s going to need to learn to be a thinker, at least somewhat. Which should make him a vastly more interesting read.

      • This arc was mostly an experiment- I wanted to see if I could write an entire arc from his perspective. I could, and it did work for a few things, but I’ll probably be sticking with Will for a bit.

  2. Michael says:

    So, superpowers are all pale reflections of elemental forces, and Randwulf can create memetic patterns and symbolic pieces that magnify the influence and power of those elemental forces, tailored to specific heroes? It looks like every Nightmare is the result of Randwulf magnifying the influence of that elemental force until it consumes the mind of the host, trapping them in a mental prison symbolic of their force. He seems to be searching for someone capable of becoming an avatar for their force without losing their mind and turning into a Nightmare. Moreover, it seems that the force a power is derived from runs in families – so the Denizens carry a seed of Night, Shadow, or Darkness; Sean’s family has Sky, Protection, Divinity, or something along those lines; and so on.

    • No comment. That does seem to be the line of reasoning Randwulf is following, though, doesn’t it?

      One thing I can outright say, not all of them are a result of Randwulf. You’ll get some more explanation of that when they talk to the ITAB.

      • Michael says:

        So, Randwulf is just a piece of the puzzle. However, if his perception even borders on the real behind-the-scenes stuff, than there should be others with different perspectives. Powers in this world seem to have a heavy focus on thematic elements, and that’s the lens Randwulf seems to be viewing it through as well, with a focus on elemental thematics and family lines.

        I’ll guess that Metatron never saw Randwulf. All the others seem to be roving destroyers, on par with natural forces, but Metatron has set up his own little dystopian plutocracy (I love the mechanically-enforced socioeconomic gap in New Tokyo, by the way). Tinkers are truly the most terrifying of powers, as, regardless of that stress-based power-boost mechanic, their tech-inforced influence expands exponentially with their societal influence and ability to mass-produce.

        Not enough information to judge one way or another on the others, though I’d guess that Gom Ziggurat, Dream of Tomorrow, and Rose of Thorns are all Randwulf’s (or someone else with a similar power)

        So, the trick now would be to find another power-booster, power-manipulator, or power-diviner and get a description of what they see. Or just stick with Tipping Point until he gets an augmenter ability, uses it on himself somehow, and becomes the first Nightmare-class Joker.

        I’m joking of course. Don’t make a Joker Nightmare.

        Holy crap that would be terrifying.

      • Mian says:

        Joker nightmare would be fun to read about, I admit.
        IRL, Jokertypes die quickly and painfully — and would probably be the case with precogs in this setting.

    • mousefu says:

      How the hell did you get all that from little piece of chapter. Consider me impressed

  3. Michael says:

    I wonder if Randy is perhaps restricted to influencing the first of a given metahuman-seeded family. He specifically said to Davy “YOU have drunk…”, but that might just be a coincidence.
    Funnily enough, Dagon was originally a god of farming, which gradually came to encompass fishing, and then the fish themselves.

  4. Michael says:

    So, the Three… The field of gray, the blackest pit, the sky aflame. I’m guessing that the sky aflame is the one Randwulf received his power from – it drove him mad. I think that the Sky is what the prophetic, oracular, and causality-based powers come from. There are things like Phenomena’s freakout that suggest that. The abyss seems to deal in more physical things, such as Davy Jones, Guardian Angel, or Pyroclasm’s power. The grey field would then have to do with perception and cognitive powers, like Cleaner’s, Dr. Mind’s, or Commandant’s.

    I might be barking up the wrong tree here, especially because some of this directly contradicts my earlier theory, but I think it might be partly right.

    • No comment on this one either. Much as I’d like to!

      • Michael says:

        Gooooood. Brandon Sanderson has a handy little acronym for this kind of speculation. RAFO – read and find out. Don’t tell me, show me!
        Mostly I’m throwing wild theories out because I like picking through these kind of behind-the-scenes elements. It’s delightful when I’m wrong, because that means that the author was thinking differently then I was.

      • Michael says:

        If you can’t tell, by the way, I am really intrigued by your story. Just something that made me chuckle the other day: I don’t know if you read Drew Hayes Super Powereds, but there’s a clause in that story – the sins of the father act – that essentially does the exact opposite of what the law by the same name in your story does: it makes it illegal to discriminate against people with supervillain parents in the training program for heroes, there.

      • I read it a while back, but not for a long time.

  5. mousefu says:

    wow Michael your theories have really gotten me interested in the big picture.

  6. Am I the only one who thinks that Randwulf’s bla-bla mumbo-jumbo ramblings are just an act? He’s acting like a mad prophet to convince others to let him experiment on them. He’s not just selling a chance at more power; he’s selling a chance at godhood. The effects are real, but the presentation is like a snake oil salesman who needs to see what his potions really do (before he tries them on himself).

    Hg

  7. Michael says:

    Y’know, that thing Myriad said in Precipice seems relevant here. What was it? Oh, yeah. “One Wellspring to another.”

    So, Myriad’s power to bring people into her subconscious is a constant, regardless of her other power? Or has everything simply happened during the same phase of her power?

    • Yes, she has that ability persistently. Some Jokers have that- one or several ability(s) that they always have.

      • Michael says:

        Damn, that’s even scarier. It takes away the main disadvantage of their power, because even if they don’t have the experience to apply their current power properly, they still have fallbacks. Tipping Point doesn’t seem to have that, but he also seems to have a pretty good instinctual use for his power, plus a voice in his head to coach him and suggest strategy. He’s also ridiculously unstable, so he can bring a new ability to every fight if he needs to, and seems to be able to draw on powers across the spectrum – even physiological changes, which could screw him over if the shift is too painful and distracting.

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