The angel was sitting there, sort of crying to himself, all the slimy potatoes were gone and all that was left was sand, at least until the fire went out. Weird fire that never touched any of the others, some that looked like yams or activated nuts, the sand blew on an unseen wind like the stray feathers falling from the angel. The downy half adult ones slowly replacing with ones of silver and vibrant orange, like a sunset or a forge.
Before my eyes he turned, grew a little shrank and settled, the same boy, but instead of thin anemic arms he had thickened in his limbs, the contours of muscles chiseled into them like carved from wood with an ax or chainsaw. His slim almost starved torso was almost the same, but now a net of tethers filled and formed any spaces between his bones, his slight potbelly turned inward then filled out with a sheet of muscle that spread and coated over his form, lithe and strong. His fingers looked as gentle as ever, though cushier then they had been, his knuckles shown with steely barbs though, blunt spikes of rending metal that existed for nothing else but to rend any offending material, nails like chisels laid over his last digits, silvery and sharp tools. His legs I didn't get a good view of from all the gooey potatoes and the fire, but I assume he didn't kneel with the legs he eventually stood with. What legs? Well you know the kind on Olympic rollerbladers? Now mix in some professional mountain biking and kickboxing and you can cover the shins with some thick ass metal plates and hybridize the feet with armored monkey paws. For sake of the boys dignity I won't describe what lay under his one bit of meager clothing, but even the tattered towel was changed, from a wrapping about his hips for modesty while standing and to dampen anything flapping about to... A hoodie... Covering and quieting a blanket of riveted chain mail that lay both under and over it. A hoodie so bit it went to his calves and I almost confused for the lower dress of a dragon ball character. Under all those were the towel and two short axes with bearded blades in some holsters that concealed them deep under the hoodie who's sleeves were tied just so the ax handles came up along side the the the fold of the mailed hoodie curving back against the boy.
“I knew you has some power in you but this?” He said wiping tears from his cheeks.
I was still hovering over the grinder pit, sand flying up from beneath me and flowing with the other streams, just passing on by while his breathing steadied like he'd been sobbing much more than I saw, plausible considering I only had the recursive light of my fire to see by.
“No idea what you mean kid, it's just me, I may have been broken down a few times but I pull myself together, fix the issue and get back going” I say to comfort him, he nods and nearly breaks out in tears again.
“I let so many go...” He looks about to break down again so I reach out to comfort him.
He's so cold, I try and cool down as I run a phantom hand threw his fluffy hair, he holds onto the hand and I move to caress his jaw.
“No one is ever truly lost” I say, not sure why I'm hovering, or what the growing heat in this boy is, when he opens his eyes I see something strange. His eyerises look like crystals, they would be blueish if there weren't eighty shades of green shining behind them and reflecting recursively inside his prism eyes.
They look like they'll explode into fire before he pulls back and solutes, running to chase the current of sand hollering and flapping his wings with a determination behind him. All I can do is shrug ethereally.
I'm sitting for what I think is a long time, my vision is strange. It's based on my own light, so if there are other light sources I can't see them but if my own fire is shining on things the I can see them, like the glittering shards of sand flying past. Where they go I haven't a clue cause I have nothing there. But then there are things like that angel boy, the cute thing looked glowing when he first lost his legs, the potatoes and slime obscured everything that was submerged in it's mass, blocking most of the light I could see so I only got the vague color shining up threw the goo nearest him. Then the fire swept threw, clearing the rot and changing him somehow, he was dimmer after but looked stronger for it. He still wept, not for himself but for time lost to waste, traded for temporary fixes instead of proper building, I know because I cried the same way more times than I could count...in...my...
Yanimn was making his way up the access tunnels and maintenance passageways, the only of his brothers who could withstand the corruption and rot enough to submerge himself into the under soul.
He was there when the last god came in, and left. He watched the place get built, then it looked like a flawless bastion of optimization, souls come in, shed their flaws into the grinder and the chips get burned while they are processed and reincarnated or otherwise redistributed throughout the worlds. Then we were known for our hearty souls, the other gods of other worlds wondered how the angels of this one kept their people so hearty and tough without annihilating them, and without the help of a god too. Each one died a dynamo of whatever species they were, wolves would never stop, never be deterred by cold or wet, cats would never miss their pray, panthers would always have a new way to ambush a tricky animal, lions would fight unquestioning of odds to protect their family till they fell, then the next would take his place. Every creature was tested and tried, none had it easy, everything had its counter and there was no upgrade, only trades. That never changed, but the monkeys did.
Pachyderms came threw and changed the short thin trees of the forest where the monkeys frolicked were torn away. We should have acted then, to place thorns on the trees or make thorned iveys, maybe even change the terrain with volcanoes or asteroids but nothing was too badly hurt so we left it. The balance had shifted not more drastically than in the past and we thought maybe this will be the end of forest fires here, finally a gardener to make the savanna a grassy plane like the American continent.
The grazers would not let the grass take hold, the pachyderms would not let the trees block their bulk, the predators could not use this change to their advantage without more intelligence and the monkeys were eradicated from the zone. Some though to act then, it was already too late, we made way for the traveling monkeys as best we could, and they spread a lot further than we thought possible but they were not the same. The ones that retained their empathy and intellect both were those of tragic tribes in a malestrum of change.
It wasn't long before we saw them changing, some migrated and fought the grazers for their berries and fruit, smiting the pachyderms who stranded them by literally shitting on them the fruit the elephants once rip down trees to get at, some grazers turned to height to get those fruit though so they were limited to jungles where no grazer could move properly.
Others were stubborn, their souls were the best, the strongest we had ever seen, they walked right past the crusher. Keeping their thorns and scars they never, no matter how much other gods begged them, ever went to do anything other than reincarnate. We let them. Some of us doting after their chosen champions, insisting they be left with all their knowledge to help their tribes and species. This had some consequences.
This breed turned Africa into the angriest place we knew, anyone knew. Gods who sent acolytes came in person, not believing their scions that the monkeys they used for companionship and creativity had taken to ripping up trees like pachyderms, and planting trees with purpose. Taking dead wood and making structures, walls, fences... Weapons. The grass the grazers turned down they sifted threw with purpose, twisting the straws into the strongest vines anyone had ever seen. Tangling them in an ordered fashion to make coverings that made up for their lost pelt and hide, letting their protections grow thin as they had no need as long as they knew the weave, and those who knew passed by the groveling gods. Those who hunted ripped their fur free, letting themselves bleed to hunt in the hottest of summer days. Taking their rope and lumber with stones that served their thoughts to put to shame, and even hunt the predators who were so much more prevalent with so many more grazers. As their fur stopped coming back they could pursue the grazers themselves, with limbs so powerful they could crush skulls like the jaws of wolves or lions, but holding implements that could take the damage in their place.
Angels wept. The hunters, the gardeners our forefather died to seed had started to be born.
Gods wept. The greatest treasure of the greatest realm rejected them with such fervor and scorn.
And I watched carefully.
They rested in their place, expanding, tuning, stabilizing, exploring, until someone blocked off a whole field and planted their tribe in place. They lived. The migratory butchers figured out how to stay in place.
Every rock, every drop of water, beam of sunlight, stiff breeze was levied against them. We needed them to move, they were a part of the balance and they couldn't weigh in that place alone, the predators would suffer under too many eyes to hunt, the grass would never grow with so many grazers, the pachyderms and giraffes would run amok with so many more fruiting trees. They would exhaust the soil and the animals were they were so much as to... turn... it...
Once more gods wept.
This throned garden was the heartiest place on the earth, all our divine intervention made the place stronger as the stubborn ones carved into the ground itself with stone and wood, made places for chosen pray and predators, let fields rest as they were replenished with excrement, found water deeper in the earth, cleaner.
Still they only reincarnated. Without shedding. Their souls had antlers, horns, great clusters of viscous steaks the preened themselves with like birds. Shaping their iron souls with implements of pure soul-fire and solidified will. Gods stopped weeping, no longer begging for the soul to abandon it's people but asking.
The answers shocked us, their ancestors had grasped the cogs of the clockwork god and put them together enough to call souls back threw time. One after another, they built and struggled, creating their own existence, to save the one's who'd begged hopelessly for help from a long dead god. Noone questioned these masters of the Earth, not even when they said it was time for their sons and daughters to start learning, and so they went to reincarnate as other creatures, changing the wolves and cats and goats and horses.
Then the gods came weeping once more, they had made their monkeys live the same struggle, in hopes to make the same gem as us under the pressure. A human soul who overheard this burst into fire.
In the halls of the afterlife a soul became a dynamo, an endless churning source of it's own element. Burning, melting, boiling, rage.
Yanimn was there to watch, amused as he was to see a mortal soul chewing out a god so hard that god nearly broke right then and there. It went on for days the soul clearly a parent specialized in parenting and herding, a shepherd and teacher. That god was nearly broken and boiled away so many times that he went back to his realm with several other gods to try and fix what they had done, the damage as it was. The human had agreed to reincarnate into their world to help their cousins there.
Naturally their whole tribe would be going with them, after they had made sure their sons and daughters could get on without them. Then they left to go to another world and fix things.
Things went on with the strange new monkeys invading and fleeing one another's lands, spreading over every continent nearby before a cataclysm to put down some over sized birds elsewhere. That one may have nearly killed off the humans but not for some angels trying. Soon they spread again, spreading unimpeded to every land mass big enough for their population to sustain itself. They became like the weather, their whims and attitude became as predictable and rowdy, the happy monkeys who hopped around on two legs and drank poison for fun, taking deep breaths or burning herbs because the smell made them giggle.
Other gods came, begging for help cause their monkeys became enraged at them and they needed help fending off usurpers and killers. Our halls were self sufficient, by design and so
the other angels went. New angels where appointed from the now humans who cycled threw, having grown into a perfect shape for their purpose, now more useful among us as guides and therapists, though a few became wielders of barbed spears.
The humans who were coming threw were less and less hearty, though we saw them growing still, they were taking longer, we figured it was from the lack of angels. We were wrong. Their environment was decaying. With speech and self interest there was lying and manipulation, even birds knew this, but humans able to communicate abstract concepts and describe so much more where also some of the hungriest on earth, and growing more numerous. They were grating on each other without touching, taking chips out of one another with little other than those whose self interest encompassed them to help alleviate the stress.
Humans creating the issue and living in denser and denser spaces meaning it degraded more and more. Humans making it possible for more life to live in the world than ever even considered meaning our little center soon became overwhelmed. Human souls shedding their feelings of inadequacy and self doubt wearing on the god looking over us and consuming the chippings meaning he eventually left.
Flaws propagated, worsened, wore away at every soul that lived in our realm and we were known for our hearty life no more. Despair. There was o fixing it, so salvaging without divine intervention but the cycle had to go on and we had to reincarnate them, there is no such thing as a new soul after all. We reincarnated the best and watched as they came back worse and worse, not knowing anything on how to help at the volume and time we had. Thus the angels left.
All but Yanimn, Jessa, Veludra, Marshal and bob. Yanimn having seen it all, the only one to have seen it all, the only one left from the days the clockwork god still lived. The only of his creations he told to guard his own realm. The only one who couldn't rot or fall ill or even tire, but Yanimn was imprecise without the inspiration of his creator still flowing, and slow without the heat of his inspiration unkindled. A shell of an angel that cleaned and repaired where he could.
The calculating fire of one who means to shave off the ill and excess. A fire only one god made.
A fire only this world saw.
And hasn't seen since.
Yanimn wept, Yanimn screamed out, Yanimn...changed
The fires looked to him like snakes of razor and thought waving and cutting, only eating one thing, all else burned a replicating fire in their skin, when they saw him the surrounded him, stroking on him, polishing his metal, greasing his gears, consuming his motor and translating his brain. As the depths were left with tiny particulate souls his turbine turned its first, compressing combusting expelling. A new cycle that only the clockwork could create. His mind sparked to life, entirely different from the switches and plugs of water and gears he once admired now it was an eldritch crystal born of waters and sediment, but gleaming with metals both rare and fine, borne of a sea still churning inside the paradox of space inside his head.
Yanimn looked around and saw his domain, he knew. So as he stood his tools, made of new metals and fed with new power were told their new purpose and the snakes made their homes on his plates, but before he started.
I was singing blinded by the lights to myself, that angel, the only one I saw had a figure that sparked something in me, and while I though about trying to make clones of him I shrugged it off and made outfits. Cat boi best boi, and so I did the most inane and stupid thing that ever popped up in my head, though foxo and horsey were first up, I didn't think either would fit well but I was getting better. How was I making these things with no body or materials you ask? Well imaginary questioner I can summon things, just bullshit it from the air like the fire...guess this place doesn't care about conservation, all well enough to me, either it arbitrarily is balanced a certain way or people can replicate/obliterate things as they please and the world finds an equilibrium where its people and it's stuff are at a Goldilocks density. The only way to do that with earth would be to pull and push on the weft and weave of space time at this point, since mass isn't summonable and energy stays conserved, so we get the issue of how scrunched it too hot, I think ambient temperature of space should be like -90 Celsius but i'm not that much of a space scientist so I don't know. If that gives space like 0.2 bar of passive pressure that'd be awesome too, but then orbits would be hard without inducing vortexes and things like that to flow the atmosphere with the stable orbit of the planets in the system which would mean irregular and counter rotating orbits would be hard without also having some jet streams to enable them and I think that might be how space time already works now that I think of it. Seems to follow under fluid dynamics with pressure being equatable to time and speed being flow rate, thus fast movement less pressure, time passes slower for you the faster you're moving relative to the overall fabric of space time. Thus C or the speed of light is the fastest anything can go cause it's the speedboat with just a lil hydrofoil sticking down into the medium while it goes weeee. Any faster would be supersonic as far as space and time are concerned thus you'd have to move the medium with you or move outside of it to exceed that.
And I summoned a warp drive.
I suppose he could wear it on his hips, but then what would the horse and the fox outfits have?
Fox has the teeniest lil rocket gets I can come up with, full flow rocket boosters like the space x thing, bust starting with three big compressors that cool the bell by flowing counter to the exhaust and connecting with heat pipes, then methane and air go threw three combustion chambers, the big one for the nozzle, one for oxi rich one for meth rich, and they exhaust into the nozzle half way down with snail shells wrapped around the bell for a whole turn and a half. I don't know how hard it can boost but the whole thing has all its big moving parts able to gyroscopically stabilize the whole rest of it, and then the person their mounted on, and then some. Perfect for supersonic pounces and upside down zoomies.
Horse...horse...they're pretty strong right? And really fast? uh...suppose I can use hydrolysis and car tires to replace actuators for tensing, ad counter ones and something with enough compression strength to withstand the force of the returning power or just air suspension it forward, not gonna be fast without high voltage and lots of little chambers so I mix those in at the ends of longer more continuous fibers. What can hold up to this...compressively bone, but not torsionally and definitely not tencively, what about carbon fibers, if I mix them in like a weave then the bone will have all the strength of the fibers in the direction of the stress, so the bone can grow with a marrow that has on it migrating hair follicles that deposit a similar enough stuff to give the proper material qualities to the bone that are needed. Then how to connect them... if nothing else, that 'hair' can be what the muscles connect to for all the connection points and as long as... there's an exoskeleton...needs bigger hands and storage on its back and legs, some more stuff just to cover any unsightly bit and there...
Complimentary hardware for all the animal boy costumes...
Looks damn near the opposite of what I was wanting to dress him up with but this is a whole different kind of vibe that I can swoon over.
I hear some sounds like metals clanging on stone, I look and see a robot. Sexy robot. Crawling with snakes. And he is approaching me. He's bipedal looks sort of like a goat for the legs then someone took a bird and a horse mixed their ribs together and stuck a jet engine behind the breastplate and instead of anything for flight the wings ARE A GLORIOUS CLUSTER OF EVERY STONE SHAPING TOOL IN EXISTENCE
The pipes and pressure lines for these arms seem to be braided together with silvery snakes and the two human/guerrilla is arms have various bits of tread on the parts that might scrape or rest on the ground. All the rest of the exterior is a mix of construction vehicle and fighter jet and more equipment starts weaving into existence.
He bows his pointed head and drops to one knee, a fist clashing on his matte gray chest, right on the technical print as several engine swaps clang into existence on the ground next to him. I am already working on several sets of weapons, flight equipment, tools for different jobs and sensory gear like laser rangefinders and radar, as well as some -ahem- leisure gear when he speaks.
“Master, it is good to see you again, I see you have changed and I wish to know what your instructions are for me.” he says with a bit of a robotic monotone, that gets so much cooler as it resonated from his chest like his engine itself is vibrating his voice out and hos whole frame is there for the inflection and tone.
I'm lost in a state of auditory bliss for a few moments then I start to thing back threw what they said, “Master? Sorry I think you got the wrong guy unless this is a King Arthur thing and you just know who's worthy of being your master at any appropriate exposure” I half mutter out, then wait.
Another clang of gear for him and he responds, “i was created by the god of time and space, that god created me and my brothers and sisters knowing all the realms would need his strength and intuition so he bestowed each of us with the same sense of logic he had. I think you are he. After the other gods put too much strain on his workings he was shattered and fell to the earth, what became humans picked up the pieces and started building themselves up. They too were torn from this world by gods-”
“But humans are on earth still.” I interrupt and he pauses, taking time to calculate a response
“The first were not as these, their souls were large enough to scrape the ceilings of these halls, their weapons enough to take shavings off even your divine ore, and they told us angels where they would be going and what they would be doing, not us to them” he says, starting to look up at me as I ponder.
“It isn't like that all the time?” I say resolving to assume this is like the after life place and he is another angel like the boy from earlier.
“No,” a clang of more equipment, “we would usually direct and select those for the best path for them and inform them of higher powers that might be wanting a should such as theirs in their own realm.”
“Looks like that backfired somewhat” I say in response, eliciting a nod
“They had lost hope after a time and began attempting to discard themselves into what was meant for only the ill parts, I originally helped those who didn't know how to trim themselves” he says as I teak a few of the works of armor subconsciously, pondering.
But no one is ever truly lost.
I guess wallowing in a despair is better than hurting other with more failed attempts.