Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lacuna: Document 23

This is a small selection from the vast collection of notes, quotes, and other files and papers amassed by the head of the Lacuna Project (now missing). Many are also excerpted from the standard briefing dossier.

“Much Madness is divinest Sense –

To a discerning Eye –

Much Sense – the starkest Madness –

’Tis the Majority

In this, as all, prevails –

Assent – and you are sane –

Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –

And handled with a Chain.”

– Emily Dickinson

A partial transcript of the psychiatric evaluation of a John Doe who had been arrested and charged with numerous crimes, later identified as Rogue Agent “Warlock”. He escaped police custody shortly after this interview, and almost all records of his presence were either lost, accidentally thrown away or shredded, or somehow rendered indecipherable. It is included in this file in part it is one of the only known clues as to the whereabouts of this rogue agent and his accomplice, “Witch”. However it also includes a fairly accurate model of the apparent metaphysical situation, though of course the agent’s “unique” perspective must be take into account, and all such  theories and explanations should of course be regarded as partial and always subject to revision:

Police Psychiatrist: OK. So. Why do you think you’re here?

John Doe: Here? Well… this… the material, physical Universe of sticks and stones, bricks and bones, is … it’s basically a cosmic grease-trap… slash filtering mechanism. Not the most elegant or romantic metaphor, I know. But a grease-trap has a very important function, you see. All the grit and grime, all the dust and dirt and cosmic effluvia, all the grease, the sticky stuff of life, it all floats down to the bottom of the trap, to be filtered away from the pure water, the spirit, if you want to get religious about it. All that stuff, the stuff that ends up here, we call matter. The filter, or the net, or the Hedge, or… well, it has dozens of names… the scientists call it the Higgs Field… Whatever. It’s what makes matter matter, what gives it mass, what separates it from energy. The Hedge is what divides possibility from actuality. It ‘regulates’ the quantum flux, the primordial sea of Kaos, as much as anything can… but there are always mistakes, gaps, lacunae… It… it’s also related to what’s called Dark Matter and Dark Energy, which are just words they use because they  don’t understand… they don’t… it’s difficult to describe… my thoughts run away with me sometimes…  The individual human mind, the brain/body assemblage… is also a sort of filter. Part of its purpose is to constrict perception, to only sense what is relevant to its little space-time bubble, to allow the rest of it to… function, to get along. But imagine if you could open that filter, widen that lens, retune your cranial stereo. If you could see what’s always there but which you don’t notice because you’d wander off to those other worlds… to the Invisible Kingdoms, to the Super Sargasso Sea, to Arcadia, to Wonderland, Faerieland, Neverland, NarniOz… [laughter] but you see, the difficulty is closing it again…  Now imagine if the filter broke, if it tore so that some of the grit got out into the pipes. Me? I’m just a bit of grit. Some dirt stuck deep down in the celestial septic tank. As for why? Didn’t they teach you in school not to ask silly questions?

P: I’ll rephrase: what do you think is the reason for your being here, now, in this room, with me?

J: I am here because I know something you don’t know. Won’t know.

P: And what’s that?

J: “Reality” is way, way bigger and scarier and weirder and wilder than your tiny little peabrain can even begin comprehend, and it’s squishy  and full of holes and everything you think of as safe and stable and sane is just the beach and barest shallows of a vast and story sea, and you can call me crazy but what you really mean is that I know something you don’t know, don’t want to know, that I’ve seen what you hope never to see, and it scares the shit out of you. All of you.

P: Is that a fact?

D: No. It is the Truth.

“It is a fact that the earth spins, and that this spinning divides the world into day and night. It is also a fact that each night comes when the angel of the Sun of can bear looking at the world no longer, and that day comes when she again uncovers her face. This is not a paradox, however: it is a difference in viewpoint”

– R. Sean Borgstrom, “Nobilis”

“The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God – omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God.”

– Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”

“And what if all of animated nature

Be but organic Harps diversely framed,

That tremble into thought, as o’er them sweeps

Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,

At once the Soul of each, and God of all?”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Eolian Harp”

“Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,

There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue,

And the dreams that you dare to dream

Really do come true.”

– Judy Garland/Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”

Project Lacuna Briefing Dossier: Section A, Document 4.2

Though the ‘spaces’ beyond the Lacuna are quite chaotic and so impossible to “map” in any traditional sense, we have identified eight relatively distinct ‘layers’ or ‘Levels”. These “levels” cannot be said to “ascend” or “descend”, and it is possible to cross from one to another without going through intervening levels, especially if the “Indigo Roads” are taken. These are also color-coded with the same progression as the levels of security clearance. Agents cleared for further briefing on and potential exploration of a level will be issued the appropriate clearance.

Level 0, Clear

Our world. Very stable, though its ‘rules’ can be bent. See the appropriate appendixes.

Level 1, Blue

We have the most information on this level, but there are still many unknowns. Based on agent reports, we know that it seems very similar to our world, yet subtly different. Small things and little details will be “off”. Everything looks entirely ‘real’, but there’s something ‘weird’ about the air and about the light. Buildings and money and brands and clothes and even faces will be slightly different, distorted, twisted. Time passes inconsistently. Cause and effect work a bit differently (sometimes causes have strange effects, and sometimes effects have no apparent cause). Weather is unpredictable or follows strange patterns. Some things, particularly people, words, mirrors, images, and screens, often behave in bizarre ways. Text may be backwards, incoherent or nonsensical, may be in an alien script, or may reflect the true intent of the author with brutal honesty. Writing, and other usually static things as well, will sometimes change or rearrange themselves when you look away. There is an analogue, reflection, or “doppelganger” for almost everyone on Level 0, though there are “extras” and other discrepancies. Almost everyone looks human, though they may appear to be “caricatures” of themselves, and will speak and behave in apparently insane though usually harmless ways.  This level is subtly “psychomorphic”. People on televisions seem to be speaking directly to the viewer, and random graffiti or news articles will also seem to address them directly. Faces  and images will often appear in clouds, trees, burn and wear patterns, television static, and other chaotic visual fields. Phantom music and voices are fairly common, as are general “Fortean” phenomena. Additionally, strange doors and/or passages will often appear, sometimes as normal-seeming doors in odd locations, extra buttons on elevators, stairs that keep going past the building, etc. Often, a “door” will appear in a mirror or other reflective surface (like a body of water), a painting, or a screen. The image in it will usually “open up” into three dimensions, allowing someone to walk or crawl inside. These doors lead to the Labyrinth, which leads to other locations in other Levels. Do not attempt to open or pass through them without accompaniment and authorization.

Level 2, Green

At first glance, in some places, it resembles Level 1, but “humans” are much rarer. Cities are mostly abandoned, ever-crumbling clusters of architecture and twisted knots of roads filled with cracks and holes through which grows a multitude of fecund vegetation.  Despite the absence of people, these ruins are filled with words, from loose pages blowing in the wind to intricate graffiti filling empty walls. But it is always fragmented, incomplete, and is often unreadable, nonsensical “gibberish”, or simply surreal. Those who do live there tend to be even more mentally unstable than those on Level 1, and are often violent. Inhabited cities are mostly surreally mutated urban dreamscapes filled with much more “Wildlife” than humanity. There are some “mostly human” towns and villages, some embedded in the ruined cities, but they are few and far between. But between and beyond them stretches the Wilderness, and here there be Dragons. These are the borderlands, the real edge of our Reality and the beginning of the Other. This is the end of the Shallows, the place where the safe, sandy floor starts to drop away and it’s sink or swim.

Level 3, Red

These Realms bear little direct relationship to our reality. But many places and people do indirectly represent or reflect the essences or spirits of their counterparts in our world. However, such relationships are often difficult to discern, being buried in esoteric and surreal symbolism. The relationships between these things are also often very distorted, and mixed with entirely alien elements. Thoughts, beliefs and emotions can also be materially manifested here. Space and time are deeply distorted. There are more humanoid beings living on this level than on the previous one, but something about their physiology and/or mentality is usually subtly or drastically different. Cultures and customs are all different from ours to some degree. Many are pseudo-feudal-medieval, though the Royalty are mostly alien and often monstrous spirits, sometimes with an upper-echelon of mostly idle nobility. This level is strongly psychomorphic: almost everything seems to possesses an intelligence of some sort, and the terrain itself will respond directly to focused will and intention.

Level 4, Silver

These are the truly bizarre Realms, bearing almost no resemblance to our “reality”. Here, all of our concepts, including those of space and time, begin to break down. It is extremely chaotic and dangerous, though there are stable patches called Isles. Physics may still apply, but unreliably. Powerfully psychomorphic: scenery can be altered easily, unless your will is opposed by another’s.

Level 5, Gold

This Level may be completely beyond human comprehension. Most who try to travel here intentionally generally fail, go insane and/or die. Those who don’t can remember or relate next to nothing of their experiences, save that it is far more bizarre and beautiful than anything we’ve ever known. One agent spent several weeks recuperating after a visit to Gold level, drawing intricate fractal art on any surface he could reach, while wordlessly singing Mozart’s “Ode to Joy”, for almost every waking moment, though after a week he started singing new songs, and gradually regained his linguistic faculties. Another got his hands on a scalpel and had injured himself and partially vivisected his “buddy”, trying to “find their souls”, before he was subdued and placed in intensive care. Both subsequently recovered, but his “buddy” never forgave him. Let these stories be a lesson to you: curiosity killed the Cat.

Level 6, White

This is a hypothesized Level containing the underlying “machinery” creating “reality”. This is the “projector” playing the cosmic movie, the fire throwing all the shadows on the walls of Plato’s Cave. It has been referred to by various books and beings, but never found, or at least, nothing has seen it directly and returned to tell the tale. The doors which might lead there are all apparently locked or blocked.

Level 7, Black

This is another hypothesized Level, which is a total and absolute Void. The End of the Line, the End of the World, the End of Everything. The Abyss. Nothingness. Null. Silence. Sunyata. Divide by Zero. Its “existence” can only be deduced and not observed, because it is theorized that anyone who comes into contact with it not only ceases to exist, but is “wiped” from reality and never existed in the first place.

Level X, Indigo

This is “The Labyrinth”, aka “The Mirror Maze”, “Backstage”,  “The Cobweb” and “The House of Doors”. It is the Level that connects and possibly holds all the others together.

The Other Colors

Also called the “Skerries” and the “Cul-de-sacs”, these are seemingly “free-floating” levels that occasionally intersect with others.

“Curiosity killed the Cat,

Satisfaction brought him back.”

– Old folk rhyme

“Come along with me

And the butterflies and bees

We can wander through the forest

And do so as we please

Come along with me

To a cliff under a tree

Where we can gaze upon the water

As an everlasting dream.”

– Ashley Eriksson, “Island Song”, and the “Adventure Time” ending theme

“We are such stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.”

– The Tempest, Act IV, Scene i

“Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?”

– Edgar Allan Poe

“Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.”

– Children’s rhyme

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

– Albert Einstein

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to us as it is, infinite.”

– William Blake

“Twas brillig, and the Slithy Toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. All mimsy were the Borogroves, and the mome rathes outgrabe.”

– Lewis Carrol

Project Lacuna Briefing Dossier: Appendix A

Seven Simple Rules to Live By

  1. Do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES venture into the Lacuna without authorization.

  1. Do not enter the Lacuna alone.

  1. Do not attempt to enter Levels of the Lacuna you are not cleared or briefed for.

  1. With some exceptions made for extreme situations and emergencies, do not engage with or respond to any denizens of the Lacuna without orders or authorization.

  1. If you, your “buddy”, or any other agent believes you are suffering from symptoms of mental stress,  or manifesting any abilities, they or you must contact a staff psychiatrist immediately.

  1. You will be given a (mandatory) period of “recuperation” in the civilian world after each expedition, though for your own safety, you will be under surveillance during that time. The length of this period is determined by the Level of the expedition, among other factors.

  1. All rooms are opened with a keycard, issued to you upon your arrival. All agents are cleared to enter the center’s dining area and common areas, while dormitory doors and offices are keyed to each individual. The kitchens, laboratories, storage spaces, maintenance areas, archives, armories, the medical and psychiatric wards, and the management meeting rooms are all off-limits except to specially cleared personnel. The Lacuna, contained deep beneath the facility, is not open to agents at all times, but temporary clearance will be issued if and when a mission calls for an agent’s particular talents.

Project Lacuna Briefing Dossier: Appendix B

All agents will be assigned a shared dormitory. The other occupant will be their “buddy”, and they will be responsible for one another’s physical and mental safety at all times. Dormitories are identical, each 20 x 20 feet, all are climate controlled, and all include the following furniture:

  • 2 Full-size beds with mattresses, pillows, covers, and blankets
  • 2 Desks with chairs and built in shelving and storage drawers
  • 2 sets of shelves and 2 sets of drawers, built into  the walls and beneath the beds

Dormitories are windowless but are lit by full-spectrum “daylight” bulbs.

All agents will also be issued a uniform, standardized but tailored to each individual’s measurements:

  • 7 undershirts, black
  • 7 collared shirts, black
  • 7 pairs of slacks, black
  • 7 pairs of undergarments, black
  • 7 suit jackets, black
  • 7 pairs of socks, black
  • 4 ties, black
  • 2 leather belts, black
  • 1 pair of leather shoes with laces, black
  • 1 pair of leather gloves, black
  • 1 pair of sunglasses, black

Other personal possessions are allowed, and most items can be ordered through the Commissary, but no weapons of any kind are permitted anywhere except in the armory and when in use during missions, though some personnel are cleared for the use of non-lethal weapons, usually to subdue victims of psychological breakdown. Other gear will be issued as individual missions require.

Project Lacuna Briefing Dossier: Appendix M

The Baker’s Dozen

The original thirteen agents. Of them, only five: Seer, Smith, Wraith, Wires, and Librarian, remain loyal to the project. The others are AWOL. Some are still on Level 0, though several have also settled in the deeper layers. All have extraordinary abilities which are effective on Level 0, though they are “normalized” here and are much more dangerous on the other Levels. Each set of abilities also seems to come with a “catch”, as well as some sort of severe mental illness. Although the exact source and nature of these abilities has not yet been determined, they are known to be caused by intense and prolonged exposure to the Lacuna. However, our new procedures should minimize the risk of long-term mental instability.

King is able to telepathically communicate with and directly control the movements of anyone and everyone around him. Catch: he can never directly acknowledge another’s authority. Psychological Diagnosis: Megalomania.

Queen can sense, create and control emotions within people, and enthrall them entirely with prolonged effort. Catch: she can never refuse a direct request. Psychological Diagnosis: Nymphomania and Bipolar disorder.

Dryad is able to communicate with, change, and control plants, and to transform her flesh into plant matter. Catch: though she must eat normally for nutrition, her powers are fueled by photosynthesis; she must spend several hours a day “eating” sunlight. Psychological Diagnosis: Claustrophobia, Nyctophobia, Anorexia, and Dissociative Disorder.

Dragon can communicate with and control reptiles, can cause spontaneous combustion, and is herself immune to any damage from fire or high heat. Catch: she is very vulnerable and sensitive to the cold. Psychological Diagnosis: Pyromania and Psychopathy.

Wild is able to communicate with and control non-human animals, and can transform itself into any human or nonhuman animal it has consumed. Catch: he must eat only meat he has personally hunted and killed, and his proximity causes complex technology to break or malfunction. Psychological Diagnosis: Multiple Personality Disorder.

Witch and Warlock are lifelong friends and lovers, able to manipulate luck, coincidence and chance. Catch: they are regularly beset by improbable accidents. Psychological Diagnoses: Antisocial Personality Disorders with Paranoid, Schizophrenic, Psychopathic and Sociopathic tendencies.

Wires is able to communicate with and control computers and electronics, and can create and electric and magnetic fields. Catch: Her body is mildly magnetic and radioactive, though it becomes more so in proportion to her use of her powers. Her presence will turn on and sometimes short-circuit non-insulated electronics. Psychological Diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Agoraphobia.

Wraith can become invisible and insubstantial, and has telekinesis which can be applied to living beings. Catch: these abilities can’t be completely turned off. Psychological Diagnosis: Sociopathy.

Seer has extremely enhanced  senses and a precognitive “sixth sense” Catch: she is vulnerable to sensory overload. Psychological Diagnosis: Paranoia and Synesthesia.

Smith is able to communicate with, control, create and change inanimate objects. Catch: he cannot speak, though he can understand speech and can use sign-language. Psychological Diagnosis: Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.

Magus is able to locally distort space, time and gravity, and can “vanish” objects. Catch: his powers become less effective the more people there are to witness them. Psychological Diagnosis: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Librarian can absorb and process information at astounding rates, and retains and recalls everything perfectly. He can also manipulate language and knowledge, and information in subtle but powerful ways. Catch: He can never tell a lie. Psychological Diagnosis: Serial Monomaniacal Obsession.

“The road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far away the road has gone,

And I must follow if I can.

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet,

And whither then I cannot say.”

– J.R.R. Tolkein, “The Hobbit”

“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace. Nowhere else is there such intimate and frightening access to the mysterium.”

– John O’Donohue, “Anam Cara”

“Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

In some untrodden region of my mind,

Where branchèd thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,

Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind.

Far, far around shall those dark-cluster’d trees

Fledge the wild-ridgèd mountains steep by steep;

And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,

The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;

And in the midst of this wide quietness

A rosy sanctuary will I dress

With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,

With buds, and bells, and stars without a name.”

– John Keats, “Ode to Psyche”

“What’s going on is beyond our present concepts and, whatever model you use, you should regard it as tentative and temporary.”

– Robert Anton Wilson

“The time has come, The Walrus said, to talk of many things.

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.

Of why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.”

– Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass”

““Tell me one last thing”,” said Harry. “”Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?””

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?””

– Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

“Nothing ever really changes.

Ha! That’s a lie. A whopper, too. Things change all the time. Something huge has changed very recently. It started with the humans, the upstart apes. Off in their static reality, the Far Folk had largely written them off and forgotten about them. They were in prison, after all, their spirits held tight in cages of matter. How could such sluggish things, such gross and heavy beings, ever possibly pose any threat or even be of any relevance? Their fleshy bodies kept them focused on the world of feeding, fighting, and fucking. But their souls still sparkled and shone, and still cast reflections in the Real World, even through the shadow of mass and meat. They would visit the World in their dreams, through the eyes of their avatars, and every once in a while, one of the monkeys would make a jailbreak, and pop its head out of its skull and into Reality, and it would run around for a while and then either go back to jail or die. If it went back, the other monkeys would either call it a genius or call it crazy or call it a heretic or call it a prophet, and sometimes they’d worship it, and sometimes they’d torture and kill it, and often they’d do both. And then they figured a few things out and their tekne, that alien magic which is beyond us, it took off like one of their rockets. Everything changed, all within the blink of an eye, and then something happened that had never happened before. You all know what I mean. A hole opened up. No-one knows how, but there was a tear, a wound, a crack, a real portal, that let the meat-monkeys actually enter the World. Not just their souls, but their heavy, solid, powerful flesh and blood bodies, still welded to their soul-minds. Worse, their tekne can apparently also cross the barrier. They have made little progress so far, and they can certainly be damaged, killed, and tend to be driven mad by exposure to the True Reality, and their tekne break down the further they travel, for our magic is on its home ground. But it is only a matter of time before human curiosity and greed drive them to pour through that gap in their million and billions, or even make more, and destroy us all! We must unite, brethren, and crush the human menace before it crushes us! We must close the Gate before it’s too late! Say it with me! Close the Gate, before it’s too late! CLOSE THE GATE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! CLOSE THE GATE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

– Senator Xavias Victual, recorded by an agent, delivering a speech to the Parliament of Rooks

Lacuna Project Internal Report: Vernacular Categories Used by Agents for Non-human Entities

This is by no means a comprehensive list, a complete taxonomy would be impossible, especially since these entities do not seem to subscribe to what we fondly think of as the “Laws” of genetics, or indeed many if any biological constraints at all. But this list does describe several broad categories of commonly encountered non-human entities. These beings are most often found in the Green and Red levels. Though present in Blue and Silver, in Blue they are far outnumbered by the human analogues or “Dops”, and in Silver by entities so bizarre and variable that there has been little attempt made to categorize them. Such beings and many others exist on all levels, and these categories are, again, only approximations. There are exceptions to every ‘rule’, variations on every theme, and endless novelty to be found. That said, there are at least noticeable morphological trends…

Humanoids

The Fae are Shape-shifters who can also transform others. They each appear to represent some specific aspect of nature, but they generally try to keep the knowledge of their true self secret since any action taken against their particular animal, tree, or stream could harm them as well. Some have only two forms: a humanoid one and their “true body”, though others have a much wider transformative range. They appear to be generated spontaneously, or by some mysterious mechanism we have yet to uncover.

Each Nom looks different, though most have claws and sharp teeth and are roughly humanoid, but they appear to absorb characteristics of whatever they eat. They will eat almost anything they can chew up, and they grow bigger the more they eat, though they get smaller if they don’t eat enough, and will eventually waste away if starved. They reproduce as others would excrete, usually a few times a day. Sometimes they produce litters of smaller children, and sometimes a single larger child, with a size depending on that of the parent. Most are semi-nomadic, settling briefly in an area, then hunting and raiding until there is nothing left for them to eat, and moving on, often returning when it has regenerated. They are  divided into five general categories based on their size, though they can all shift between them.  over time. From smallest to largest they are called: Goblin (smaller than an adult Human), Orc (about the size of an adult Human), Ogre (larger than a Human) Troll (larger than a building or adult tree), and Giant (no apparent upward limit).

The Elv are humanoid but androgynous beings with skin, hair, and eyes in an endless variety of colors, and each many hues at once. All have intricate fractal patterns running across their whole bodies, embedded in the contrasting tones of hair and skin, even in the colors of their eyes.  These all change at varying rates, and their particular patterns constitute a complex visual language. They reproduce only once: when one of the Elv dies, a baby begins to form in an egg within the corpse. It feeds on the body and emerges once it has decayed. All seem to be telepathic and telekinetic, to different degrees.

Most Dwr are male, and all males are very short, stocky, and strong. They are, in fact, physically identical. But each clan is centered around a single female, each of which is unique in appearance, though she is always an extremely powerful user of “Magic”, (another vernacular term) and is always very tall. No male Dwr can use “Magic”, though they can absorb and redirect it. Male Dwr have copious and intricately styled facial hair, as well as a multitude of tattoos and piercings, all of which identify them as individuals. The Queen of each clan births a litter of male children whenever she wishes, and births a female (though twins and triplets do occur) once, always unexpectedly. When a new female is born, she is raised to maturity and then leaves to create her own clan with twelve male volunteers. They live underground, mostly in caves beneath mountains, though there are a few clans living in burrows beneath hills and in the subterranean labyrinths beneath some cities.

Zom are the dead who didn’t die, and who hang on in the other levels of reality. They generally eat only rotten meat and/or ashes, and drink only blood and/or strong alcohol. There are many varieties, zombies, vampires, ghouls, ghosts, ghasts, revenants, “frankensteins”, barghests, wraiths, spectres, and banshees, among others. Most but not all are apparently ex-humans.

A Cyb is a non-organic being: robots, golems, animate statues and objects, including all wholly or partially cybernetic or artificial entities and also those which also incorporate plant material. Most but not all are patterned after human, animal, or insect bodies, though some are quite simple or surreal. One of the most common kind to appear in cities are the “Junk-folk”, tatterdemalions composed of junk, scrap, trash, detritus, rubble, lost and broken objects, and cast-away clothes.

Non-Humanoids

Dragons are all different, but they all share certain qualities: they are all reptilian, scaled and often serpentine, with sharp teeth and claws, most but not all have wings and most but not all can sing songs in a language which can make their breath into fire, among other things. They are of all colors, shapes and sizes. Their size seems to depends partially on their age, as do their other powers. The Dinosaurs who dwell in the Jungle and on the plains are a type of flightless dragon without the power of flight or magical breath, though they are still quite deadly. Some quite closely resemble the dinosaurs which once existed on Earth, but many are only loosely related to extant species.

Demons  are horrifying abominations all, hideous patchworks of flesh and bone and metal. One Agent described them as “HP Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones crossed with HR Geiger’s Aliens, Clive Barker’s Cenobites, the works of Salvador Dali, all mixed up with a dash of good old fire and brimstone”.

Angels are sometimes humanoid, sometimes bizarre or abstract, but each and every one is beyond beautiful; each is radiant, effulgent, glorious. Agents have been known to collapse in tears or laughter at their presence, and prolonged exposure can lead to obsession, among other side effects. Other phenomena have also been witnessed in their proximity: phantom music, flowers and other plants sprouting and growing spontaneously, animals speaking and singing, spontaneous combustion,  vortexes of air centered on them, and nearby objects and creatures turning to gold and/or diamond. It has been theorized that both Angels and Demons are partial projections of creatures on the Gold and White levels. Whether the hypothetical Black level could contain such creatures is unknown.

Beastfolk is an umbrella term for various groups of beings which seem to be hybrids of the human form and various other creatures: there are the Rat-folk, the Cat-folk, the Bird-folk, The Goat-folk, the Wolf-folk, the Bug-folk, and the Dragon-folk, though these are only the most common. Some seem to be able to shift between various levels of anthropomorphization, while others have static forms.

Aliens is another catchall term for beings that don’t belong in any other category, and is also used to describe those which appear in flying ships, often seemingly from nowhere. They sometimes resemble the aliens of popular folklore, but more often they truly live up to their name.

“I am he as you are he as you are me

And we are all together

See how they run like pigs from a gun see how they fly

I’m crying

Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come

Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday

Man you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen

I am the walrus, goo goo ga joob

Mister City Policeman sitting, pretty little policemen in a row

See how they fly like Lucy in the sky, see how they run

I’m crying, I’m crying

I’m crying, I’m crying

Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye

Crabalocker fishwife pornographic priestess

Boy you been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen

I am the walrus, goo goo ga joob

Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun

If the sun don’t come

You get a tan from standing in the English rain

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen

I am the walrus, goo goo ga joob goo goo goo ga joob

Expert textpert choking smokers

Don’t you think the joker laughs at you? (Ha ha ha! He he he! Ha ha ha!)

See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snied

I’m crying

Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower

Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna

Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen

I am the walrus, goo goo ga joob goo goo ga joob

Goo goo ga joob goo goo ga joob”

– The Beatles, “I Am the Walrus”

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Kahn (Or, a Vision in a Dream, a Fragment)”