The Pantheon

Abyss 1: May the Flames in the Sky Wither and Die

April 07, 2021 Joshua White
The Pantheon
Abyss 1: May the Flames in the Sky Wither and Die
Show Notes Transcript

A mini series that I cranked out. I'm mostly having fun here, per usual, but you'll find some of my real ideas hidden in there. I hope they continue to worm their way into your heads. And I also hope that you ignore the baby chickens screaming in the background. The alternative was recording in a vehicle which would quickly turn into a sauna, and I for one do not like dying for podcasts. I hope you understand. 

Anyways, I think I'll be writing longer descriptions again. I don't think anyone reads them, but I like 'em.

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To my dear uncle,

I find it fascinating that you persist in arguing for the old ways, even as we have proven time and again that the new hegemony is far superior for bringing souls to our banner. You may over and over that the souls all have a qualitatively different taste to them, but we must abide by our logic. Numbers are the key. Sure, a more sordid soul may make for a tastier morsel on the banquet table, but how long does the feast last? In my experience, and doubtless in yours, too, the feast will never be longer than an hour. And then we are back here. The pain will wreak havoc in every centimeter of your carapace, just as it does in mine, and so the pleasures of the feast will be forgotten just as quickly as they are enjoyed.

There is hope yet for oblivion. Just this past year more than thirteen million individuals were cast down into the abyss. In my brief visit to replenish my energies I could feel the infernal power humming through the air with a stronger tune than I have ever experienced it before. Numbers, unlike angels or people, do not lie. Though I must admit our forces remain scattered from the counterattack, I fully expect our reign to be restored in the coming months, and the souls will continually fall into the abyss’s hungry maw. 

I understand why you have taken to falling for that ancient rogue’s ideas. There is a zeal to them that does not exist in our baroque, byzantine way of approaching the end. The moloch makes many promises, but I fear he will not be able to meet any of them. Sure, he appeals to your sensibilities by rehearsing the shriek, but then how many ages did my grandparents scream, hmm? Eight? Nineteen? Uncountable? The old ways could never match the heavens in terms of sheer numbers, uncle, and surpassing the light in those terms is the only way we will ever have our oblivion.

Yes, do not worry about that. I was as scandalized by Beelzebub’s revelation as we all were. But we must not let the emotions surrounding his betrayal cloud our judgment. We cannot allow that one singular virtue of Beelzebub’s life allow us to follow him into his traditional morass. That Lucifer meant, it seems, to hold onto to the world for power’s sake is irrelevant. We of his surface dwelling compatriots did not share his sentiments, and we have been providing the pits with the numbers to prove our conviction. We trust in the system, uncle, not the master. The numbers are lord, just as they always have been. Not our prize in the void, nor the bright armies of the Word. It is simply the numbers. If we turn ourselves to supplication of anything, it is to them.

Thus convinced, you must be pleased to learn that while the bright eyes did slaughter a good two thirds of the demons which roamed the surface, the institutions we established in our annexation were barely impacted. At all. It seems the heavens are as idiotic as they are snobbish, for they forgot that it is not our legions of flaming imps which grant us power, but the indelible sufferings of mankind. No matter how much bureaucracy we put in front of man’s good deeds, Fate will always judge them. It astonishes me, yes, but then the numbers prove it. Even when we force existence into being a nightmare, even when the humans have few rational choices ahead of them aside from lower level evil, they are judged by the same criteria as ever. And so we see that the Word is as pathetically stupid as his cronies. 

So it brings me to the real reason I am writing you this letter, uncle: I must call you to the surface. I understand that it is not pleasant, and you feel you have given more than enough to our cause throughout your myriad centuries. But we are understaffed. Severely. The departments still run, but slowly, and the imps are getting grouchy. I expect within a couple months we will have them protesting, feeling as though the ambient pain of eternal existence is more than a fair trade for the ludicrous suffering they must endure with their eighteen hour shifts. I know it’s distasteful and well below your station, but we need you up here, uncle, at least until the embryos are hatched. It may be imp work, but it is exceptionally easy, and, as I hope you now understand, of crucial importance to the success of hell. 

Did I mention the suffering? Of the humans, I meant. I suppose I should have started with that. It is not nearly so delectable as the joy you find when a husband is confronted by his spouse for cheating, nor as brilliantly lemony a taste as when a trained sniper blows the brains out a child, true. It is a small pleasure, but there is so much of it. All the way in line the humans will struggle with themselves, waging miniature civil wars over whether they should have done the actions they did, and whether they should be receiving compensation for them at all. But nobody leaves the line. People who waver get horrid stares from their compatriots. “You think you’re better than us?” They ask. And, for some reason, they are always right. Because the conflicted soul never leaves. They stay in line, sweat trickling down their brow and sometimes into their eyes. And then they take the check. Oh, what a moment of horror they experience when they take the check! In that moment they despise themselves and the world in equal measure, knowing that even though their life is terrible and the money will not fix it, that they deserve no better. And never could have. 

 A thousand moments like that a day. It is no ecstasy, mind, but it is enough pleasure to ward off the peeling pain of the sun. Of course, the lights are all artificial, and dress code is strictly enforced. Both measures ruin the human spirit further, and protect our kind from a bit of the brightness of that plane. Overall, with the countermeasures in place, the pain and the pleasure tend to balance themselves out, all while you’re contributing an important service to the cause of annihilation. 

Of course, you will find this entire letter snobbish. I meant it so, so as to bite you in your pride. I labored under your shadow for so many years, uncle. With your tactics outdated, it is only right that I, your former victim, have my chance to guide you onto the proper path. Although I do find joy in your wounded prestige, I must admit that I am primarily writing to save you, and thereby save hell. Why ought I to do otherwise?

May the flames in the sky wither and die,

Your beloved nephew, Alastair.