TIMESLAYERS

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Submitted Date 04/10/2022
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Chapter 2

Another Time, Another Place

"The unconscious sends all sorts of vapours, odd beings, terrors and deluding images up into the mind – whether in dream, broad daylight or insanity; for the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the comparatively neat little dwelling that we call our consciousness, goes down into unsuspected Aladdin caves. There not only jewels but also dangerous jinn abide: the inconvenient or resisted psychological powers that we have not thought or dared to integrate into our lives."


Joseph Campbell – The Hero with a Thousand Faces


Thousands of years before recorded history - or maybe thousands of years after - the first storm gathered above his black citadel in the Land of the Duranki. It was a tremendous edifice of rumbling spires which became the focal point for all the forgotten power of the cosmos. Its slender towers rose majestically above the landscape, and the jagged silhouette dominated the skyline. No light escaped it. The accounts record how the very fabric of the building began to slither and hiss. Its imposing darkness appeared to absorb and conquer the light.


The skyline was dominated by four bulbous bell towers that pierced the night sky, constructed from the local pink porphyry and topped with spiky plant-like structures made from the finest crystal from Veneta. The geometric shafts of the towers twisted as they rose upwards. The main facade looked like a house of bones, with strange balconies resembling mouths, rows of teeth bared. The twisted, serpentine tiled roof resembled the scales of some unknown beast; the tiles were multi-coloured and in part blended with the sky. Smoke belched from the mosaic chimneys, cast by who knew what sorcerous fires. The great portal beneath framed heavy bronze doors, sculpted with scenes to strike fear into the mind of any visitor. This architecture was alien, obscene; it mimicked the geometry of nature, but also seemed to mock it. No wildlife grew or stirred anywhere near it. It stood in the centre of an ever-extending wasteland.


On the eve of the spawning, Ragnar of Roc, cloaked in the Sacred Ornaments of a Cosmic Wanderer sat in his study with a sense of justifiable pride. His hair was dark and unruly, and held in place with a multi-coloured scarf of the finest silk, topped by a broad-brimmed purple velvet hat. He was youthful and tanned, with a wispy moustache and a goatee beard. The robes of his Order were psychedelic. The Chapter of Cosmic Wanderers had been outlawed some years ago for practising the dark arts and misuse of the Great Work. In all purges of all secret societies, someone will always escape unnoticed with the odd hallowed grimoire and continue to study until they have risen as a Master. Thus, Ragnar of Roc had remained true to the unholy creed of his chapter.


He had been discreet and silent, revealing to no-one the fruits of his labours; the threat of ridicule, harassment and death had also been an incentive to move quietly. But the Great Work continued in the secret enclave of his study. The knowledge he had obtained could not be taught by the priests but gained only by repetition and experience.


For Ragnar of Roc, the world of everyday life was not real. For him reality or the world as we know it was only a description; a description that he could mould and manipulate.


To converse with the elements, the spirits, the devas, demons and animals, Ragnar of Roc and his kind made use of mind-expanding drugs. Using the sacred root from the forbidden hallucinogenic Ebogah tree, the warlock could chase the rainbow's end air- walking through many planes of the cosmos. An event sometime referred to as Dragon Dreaming that frees the soul from this mortal realm.


Ragnar sat in the centre of a huge rune at the heart of the chamber, a Black Egg before him. One hand skittered across a giant grimoire as he murmured incantations under his breath, his mind racing among the higher planes. His closed eyes were searching among the shadow worlds. A great whirlwind blew up within the study and books, potions and artefacts began to scatter around the chamber - except from the most precious tomes, which he had carefully nailed to their shelves. Ragnar of Roc's voice grew louder and louder, his eyes now wild and open. Concentrating his mind upon the true nature of his soul, his Inner Self, the Master of the vital energy, he was acquiring complete control over the elements of the manifested . It was like a great storm; flashes of light pierced the gloom like lightning. The Black Egg split with a rent of red light that ripped through the cosmos and across the now quaking earth, releasing the Divine energy. 'Kundalini', the coiled serpent; the three-fold giver of energy to the physical body, the mind and emotions and the Spiritual Self. The noise was deafening, rushing, hissing and shrieking. Ragnar of Roc was ablaze in his glory.


The great Theosophers of the day claimed that the transfusion of nature can change a man into another class of being. And yet, he had no idea of the power he had invited to this earthly shore. The shock wave circled the globe, the earth wobbled on its axis, and nature stood momentarily still. The whole cosmos stood still. But it didn't take long for the whiplash to send out particle waves strong enough to wake yet more sentient beings.


Legend has it that Ragnar of Roc was never seen again, and his citadel is believed to be empty. No one dares to go there, for it is said that in that very chamber lies the remains of a Black Egg.
The resulting fissure soon began to spread across the wasteland, cracking the surface of the earth as if it were glass. A giant, ever-widening crack mirrored it somewhere in the celestial ocean, renting the twenty-ninth plane of existence.


To the rest of the populace it seemed that a great fireball had torn through the sky, an occurrence that was familiar, though unusual. The Royal Astronomer, lesser Wizards and Sages were trying to predict and identify the omens - but they had no idea that this event was different. This was no everyday catastrophe, no natural visitor from the heavens, no ball of fire and ice or chunk of rock and iron. Gradually and unexplainably, the land which had once been fertile began to turn to waste, spreading out further from Ragnar's mysterious citadel. The dark shadow of pestilence stalked the earth. A plague festered and rotted the flesh of all living beings that crossed the path of the shadow of the serpent. The stench of death and brimstone choked the air, and liquid hell-fire flowed through the veins of the earth.

The shadow of a hideous, majestic beast's wings covered the earth. Its scaly tail encircled the globe. For forty days and forty nights, its wings blocked out the sun, reflecting its rays back into the cosmos. The earth dimmed. The temperature dropped. Life began to wither. The oceans froze, and those plants that did not die from the lack of sunlight died from the cold. Ice boulders littered the landscape. Perfect glass-like shards appeared, stabbing the sky as if trying to pierce the blanket choking the globe. The bitter wind blew across the landmass, and deadly venom dripped from the dragon's fangs, poisoning the rivers and oceans. Methane rain began to pour down, and dark channels carved paths through the ground, carrying their toxicity far and wide. Gaseous clouds rose from the poisonous oceans.


The beating of its gigantic heart, like a giant war-drum pounding across the globe, was virtually the only sound of life that could be heard. The dragon breathed, and the icy winds dispersed. Fire and brimstone poured forth and scorched the earth. The remaining forests burned and turned to savannah, the acrid smoke adding to the blackness. The earth's crust cracked, criss-crossed with deep crevices; it baked and eventually blistered. The ice melted and the oceans swelled, then began to seethe and boil. Lightning cracked amongst the fiery clouds, and two orbs stared down from the sky, observing the death and destruction.


But this was a dragon of consciousness. Among creators he is the Creator of Darkness, the Giver of Death. Among serpents, he is the Serpent of Eternity.


From that day on the Judge Eternal walked the globe. The great holy men and sages retreated into whatever sanctuary they had, for they knew the anger of the Great Destroyer would soon be let loose upon the remaining peoples of the world. No deity was a match for the Sentinel of the Cosmos, the Galactic Warrior Supreme. The world and the cosmos stood on the brink of destruction.

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