Dodge cummins lift pump upgrade

[Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download

2023.06.10 23:32 AutoModerator [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download

[Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
➡️https://www.genkicourses.site/product/ry-schwartz-automated-intimacy/⬅️
Get the course here: [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
https://preview.redd.it/3js0aa0q5x4b1.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=a3598c2f6336e0e157edf5daf700737bf419d4c6

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
What You Get:
Automated Intimacy v3.0 – 5 Core Modules 6 Weeks of Access to the Private A/I Mastermind on Circle Extra Team License (for a business partner VA, OBM, marketer, etc.) Bonus: AI Alpha Launch Workshop. Bonus: Private Podcast Playbook & Fireside Chat w/ Chris Evans Bonus: Engineering The Enrollment Suite MODULE 1
The A.I. Revolution (aka Coaching The Conversion Reloaded)
In Module 1, you’ll be initiated into a revolutionary new way of thinking. You’ll move from a mindset of “closing clients” with blunt force tactics; to confidently leading and coaching their transformation between Point A and Point Buyer.
With this initial understanding; you’ll see how automation, behavioral triggers, and advanced segmentation allow you to identify and capitalize on the key moments of heightened receptivity where your prospects are most “coachable” towards the next conversion.
Highlights
Become initiated into the most updated version of the “Coaching The Conversion” messaging framework that’s been behind over 50M+ of course revenue for industry titans like Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman and Copyhackers. Learn the art and science behind Direct Response 2.0; and how to engineer profitable “conversion contexts” that exponentially increase your prospect’s ability to say “yes” Upgrade your messaging and channel strategy using The P.A.I.D. framework to know how and when to move a prospect from an automated sequence to a one-on-one chat How to use Advanced Touchpoint Theory™ to accelerate trust building and drastically shorten buying cycles Newtonian Marketing Vs. Quantum Marketing; and how the common sales funnel fails to measure up to the reality of how most prospects make empowered decisions MODULE 2
Empire Engineering
Most online businesses are built to win a single battle at a time; but ill-equipped to dominate an industry, let alone scale an empire.
In Module 2, we’ll walk you step-buy-step on how to engineer the tech side of your business for sustainable, exponential growth.
If you’re self-aware and energetically sensitive, you know that intentionality is everything. Unless you’ve built a powerful system that can sustain and match your vision; you’re not likely to get there.
Whether you’re in Stage 1 of building your empire; or ready to scale the sh*t out of it; we’ll walk you through the exact CRM systems you need to confidently double down on your marketing and enrollment efforts; knowing that every prospect that enters your ecosystem is well accounted for and given the best chance to convert.
Highlights
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about implementing an intelligent, growth-minded CRM that your current business coach was too afraid to show you. How to create a pro-level pipeline that gives you “real time” insight as to where every lead is in your enrollment process; allowing you to forecast revenue, identify opportunities; and finally feel like a real business. Why “lead-scoring” isn’t just for enterprise-level companies, but a must for reaching out to potential customers in the moment they’re most ready to receive it. Why configuring your sales and enrollment systems the way we show you; will give you crystal clarity over every lead in your business; allowing you to make smarter, more data-informed decisions rather than feeling lost, overwhelmed, and acting on impulse. MODULE 3
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 1): The Enchanting First Encounter
Back in 2009, subscribing to an email list meant something.
In 2023. urm. a bit less so.
In many cases, it’s a response to FOMO (of closing a landing page and not getting a lead magnet). The end result; prospects are more oversubscribed and under-committed than ever.
That’s why, In Module 3, you’ll be given two powerful playbooks for creating an enchanting first encounter that instantly sets you above any other coach or course creator they may be following or considering along with you.
Highlights
2 next generation “top funnel” conversion playbooks for accelerating trust, encouraging engagement, and amplifying resonance. The simple, 45 second protocol to do immediately when a new subscriber signs up that has been proven to boost opens, clicks and conversions by up to 300% How to seamlessly integrate your fb group with your email CRM to create a holistic view of EVERY potential customer in your business Why your traditional “welcome sequence” is dead, and doing little-to-nothing to ascend your lead; and what to do instead to accelerate the transformation from Point A to Point Buyer Why normal “engagement posts” do nothing but satisfy the algorithm; and how to create “ROI-Rich engagement experiences” that help you segment your list while synching valuable voice-of-customer data into your CRM. How to use Social Singularity™ to create a seamless experience between your facebook group and your email list. MODULE 4
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 2): The Ascension Amplifier
The second Automated Conversion Ecosystem you’ll be working through overlaps with what’s traditionally referred to as “the middle of the funnel”.
A murky, purgatory state that’s often the longest, most confusing, and challenging to do effectively.
Many coaches and course creators have a bulk of their email list who will sit in this “in-between” state for 2, 3 or even 5 years before either becoming a customer or unsubscribing from the list.
With the strategies and playbooks you’ll implement in Module 4, you’ll help “pre-customers” cross that chasm much faster; and come to clearer, more confident, and more empowering decisions about you and your program.
Highlights
Conversion Playbook #3 – Social Singularity Pt. 2 (Channels: Fb Group, Email, DM) Conversion Playbook #4 – Webinar Registration Rev Up (Channels; Webinar, Email) Conversion Playbook #5 – The Lead-Score Lift Up (Email, DM)
submitted by AutoModerator to GenkiCourses_Cheapest [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 23:27 KyleKKent Out of Cruel Space, Part 709

First
Capes and Conundrums
“Alright, watch and learn kiddo.” Deadshot says as he brings his gun into position. “Most people think that a rifle is a point and click answer to their problems. Point, pull the trigger and problem solved. Those people are idiots.”
“Oh?” The Merc beside him says. Since Deadshot was categorically a solo act and maybe on occasion has some mooks to do the heavy lifting having someone hang around close would be an issue. So the excuse was he was training another sniper. Franchising as it were.
“Okay, really quick out of character.” Silicon says.
“Yeah?” Pavel asks.
“How the hell are you going to cause half of that construction to come apart with a bullet? I understand it’s not massively up to code, but at the same time. A bullet is small. It has only so much kinetic energy it can carry and if you bring Axiom into this you’re setting up a flare.”
“Architecture and physics.” Pavel says as he adjusts the gun and then leans away from it. “Look down the scope. It should start to make sense.”
“That’s one of the main cables of that sign. But there’s at least one more and it only needs one to stay upright.”
“Look at the angle, also remember I’ve got a reinforced bullet for this one. It’s designed to stay intact and ricochet.” Pavel says and Silicon rises up to look at the back of the sign again and mentally trace where the bullet will go.
“You’re going to shatter one support and weaken the other.”
“Yes.”
“That is an absurd level of accuracy.”
“When the Undaunted claim to be better than the best of the best, it’s not idle boasting.” Pavel states as he takes a full shooting position again.
“So what’s the event in question?”
“We’re going to move along five positions and they have to find our ‘safe house’ in the point between them all. For that we’re going to need to leave some clues at each one. This first position to let people know they need to look is going to have the bullet casing, the bipod and of course the imprints we’re leaving on the roof gravel. For the next one we’re butting a type of polish on our boots that will get easily rubbed off so they get that, the casing and the imprint.”
“Are we leaving three clues at each place?”
“Yes. Some more obvious than others. Which reminds me.” Pavel says before digging out and tossing a wrapped bar at Silicon. “Eat that. It’s the third clue for the third location. Each one gets a bullet casing and the imprint of us hanging around.”
“What’s the fourth clue then?”
“A novelty sticker from a nearby business. It’ll let all the girls on the case know that Deadshot is staying nearby and has at least a hotel room, if not a full on base of operations.”
“And the last one?”
“Hardest one of all. Only two clues. The imprint and the casing.”
“And the ultimate place is in the middle of all of it...”
“Not exactly middle, but a place where you can reach all five locations without being spotted on a camera. Which is why we’re going there and then back out to relocate each time. So I hope you’re ready to take the stairs, because we got cardio in our future.”
“Oh joy.” Silicon says before a small timer goes off and Pavel grins.
“Show time.” He says as he double checks the wind, tastes the air and then slowly squeezes the trigger on his rifle.
The rifle is silenced and therefore the first sound that the danger makes is the calamitous clang as the grip of the frist cable is shattered and the still very active bullet goes careening downwards and slams into the base that holds the second cable. Cracking it ever so slightly.
Even from their position on the building, both men can hear the screaming groan as the metal slowly gives before the sign suddenly collapses forward and slams into the ‘civilians’ that Deadshot was hired to kill.
“Time to go.” Pavel says rising up as he disengages the bipod mount.
“Really? We’re just going down the stairs?” Silicon asks.
“The elevators have cameras, and the stairwells only have camera’s above the doors. However, the five buildings we’re using are in the middle of a maintenance upgrade that was massively overbooked as about fifteen different buildings decided they wanted the upgrades all at the same time. So these five are at the end of the list.” Pavel explains as he walks down.
“But the older security networks...” Silicon says.
“Pardon, I should have been more clear. The removal of the old equipment is already done for these five buildings, the actual replacement parts are not currently available.”
“And since the stairs are rarely used the security cameras in here are the last of the last priority.” Silicon says and Pavel nods.
“That’s right. Now we need to be able to get to our next location in a hurry. So time to skip some stairs.” Pavel says as he jumps down one flight and then flings himself down the next.
Silicon teleports down to the bottom but only has a few moments before Pavel arrives. He then waves for Silicon to follow him and then leads him through the building in a very strange, roundabout manner.
“We’re avoiding all the cameras they have left aren’t we?” Silicon asks and Pavel nods as he casually exits the building. He also points up and Silicon sees many Sonir in the air, a lot of them in Batman outfits of some kind and clearly scanning the upper areas and completely missing the two men casually walking around dressed like Deadshot with one of them lugging around a gun roughly as big as he is.
“Hey! Hey hey hey! You’re one of the actors right? Playing a bad guy?” A young Sonir girl asks flapping up to them. She’s tiny, dressed in all pink and clearly has gotten into at least a small amount of glitter lately.
“That’s right. Is there something you want?” Pavel asks in amusement.
“Can I take a picture?” She asks holding up her communicator.
“Sure thing little lady.” Pavel answers and she all but throws herself at him and turns in midair.
“Say boogers!” She exclaims.
“Boogers?!” Pavel demands before he hears the little camera go off a few times and she slides down with a giggle to examine her new selfie with the supervillain.
“Thank you mister badguy! Have fun!” She says rushing off with a laugh.
“Well that was adorable. Let’s keep moving.” Pavel states before they cross the street and make it into an a mall. A mall where he immediately leads Silicon into a side passage that’s lacking any kind of signs whatsoever.
“Where are we?”
“The building layout had some design fails. There are unregistered rooms back here. Well... not so much rooms as unused space, gaps between the stores. No security, no cameras, not even on the registration.”
“So is this tresspassing?’
“Even if we hadn’t informed the owners and legally rented the space? No. The place isn’t technically on the building plans so even if we squatted here it wouldn’t be a crime. But since we’re renting it, as is, we’re not only allowed in here, but are the only ones allowed.” Pavel explains as he opens a semi-hidden doorway to reveal.
“A sniper’s lair.” Silicon notes.
“That’s right.”
“This is an almost unfair test. They have to figure out that you weren’t spotted because you avoided the cameras, then look at a building’s blueprints and find out that there’s one place with none whatsoever.”
“That’s right. This is what level four puzzle challenge is about. If they catch us, it’s a win. But catching us is the hard part.” Pavel says and Silicon considers.
“I mean... this seems a little... I don’t know? Unfair?”
“It’s a riddle. Not every problem is solved by shooting things or using brute force.” Pavel replies as he fetches his replacement bipod. “Alright. Time to go. After I fire my shot the girls will all be given a warning about the second crime scene. They can then trace the bullet trajectory to our new location.”
“I still say it’s asking a bit much of people.”
“It’s far more data than Batman in the comic gets.”
“I don’t think comparing people to a person who’s superpower seems to be hyper-intelligence and a hefty dose of denial is fair either.” Silicon notes before Pavel leads him out.
“Probably not.” He admits and they’re shortly out of the mall and climbing up the stairs of another high rise.
•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•
She rushes to the scene of the next crime. It’s just like the last one. Massive collateral damage, one shot. A single attack, a single actioan and dozens of lives are done. It’s meticulous, it’s brilliant, it can only be Deadshot with that kind of aim and...
“Hey we got one too deep here!” Someone calls out and she’s pulled out of her head.
“What? That... I what?” She asks and looks around. The mannequins in a state of placement. The ‘explosion’ caused by the perfect unleashing of a gas valve that was sheered by a bullet. It blew out the front of a restaurant and left it a mess with all the mannequins in pieces.
“You were brooding girl! I could tell! You were forgetting to pull yourself out!” The other Sonir says and she holds her head.
“I was, wasn’t I?” Damn that’s not good.
“You alright there Batman?” The Undaunted playing the part of Jim Gordon asks.
“Fine, I’m... fine...” She says examining the area again. She lets out tiny pulses of sound and hears the place. The tiny hole where the bullet went through. The scalpel precise sheering of the pipe. No actual restaurants here used gas stoves, so it HAD to be part of the entire event. But still...
She lets out a little click and then imagines a straight line going backwards. Directly from the hole. She turns and sees the top of a large building nearby lines up nearly perfectly with it. “Up there!”
That said she takes off and gains altitude fast. Climbing upwards on the ash flecked wind until she crests over top. Empty already. She lets out a supersonic pulse and there’s a shape far different from the rest among the gravel atop the roof. A little cylinder. One that still stinks ever so slightly as she leans in close.
She steps around the slight indents suggesting where Deadshot laid and sees a slight smudging of some substance on the gravel as well. She doesn’t know what it is but...
“This... what is the puzzle?” She asks herself out loud. “There has to be some kind of answer to this.”
“There’s something up with you isn’t there?” Another Sonir asks as she alights on the landing. She looks back to where more are joining. “If you want it to stay private, keep it in your head. We all have good hearing sister.”
“I...” She begins before swallowing it.
“If you’re not up for these challenges then you’re not up for them and that’s that, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. These are for fun. No one’s lives actually depend on them. There’s no one getting hurt if you don’t do them.”
“Except maybe her ego!” One of the other Sonir calls out and there’s laughter from a friend that lands beside her.
There’s another indicator of the next part of the scene in just a few minutes and they all get the address. A police dispatch stating that a vehicle has had it’s tire shredded and gone wildly out of control.
She stays behind a bit as she thinks. Before sighing and deciding to fly away. Not really feeling her best today. Although completely unsure as to why. Something’s up, but she can’t figure out what.
She sends a message that she’s bowing out of the rest of the little context and will not be taking part of any more for the rest of the day. There’s a brief moment where she smirks as she confirms that no, it’s not something The Undaunted have done, she’s just not at her best.
She swoops downwards and lands at street level in a few moments.
•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•
“Excuse me miss.” Pavel says as he moves around the freshly landed Sonir woman and she outright stares at both him and Silicon as they move towards the next sniping positin. “Something wrong?”
“I bow out of the competition and I stumble on you moving?”
“Life’s funny isn’t it? Sorry, but I have to go.” Pavel says before rushign away with Silicon in tow.

First Last
PS: I really need to figure out what's killing my motivation. My mind keeps wandering and I just can't focus. I don't want to start guzzling caffeine again... but this is getting out of hand.
submitted by KyleKKent to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 22:32 AutoModerator [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download

[Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
➡️https://www.genkicourses.site/product/ry-schwartz-automated-intimacy/⬅️
Get the course here: [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
https://preview.redd.it/3js0aa0q5x4b1.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=a3598c2f6336e0e157edf5daf700737bf419d4c6

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
What You Get:
Automated Intimacy v3.0 – 5 Core Modules 6 Weeks of Access to the Private A/I Mastermind on Circle Extra Team License (for a business partner VA, OBM, marketer, etc.) Bonus: AI Alpha Launch Workshop. Bonus: Private Podcast Playbook & Fireside Chat w/ Chris Evans Bonus: Engineering The Enrollment Suite MODULE 1
The A.I. Revolution (aka Coaching The Conversion Reloaded)
In Module 1, you’ll be initiated into a revolutionary new way of thinking. You’ll move from a mindset of “closing clients” with blunt force tactics; to confidently leading and coaching their transformation between Point A and Point Buyer.
With this initial understanding; you’ll see how automation, behavioral triggers, and advanced segmentation allow you to identify and capitalize on the key moments of heightened receptivity where your prospects are most “coachable” towards the next conversion.
Highlights
Become initiated into the most updated version of the “Coaching The Conversion” messaging framework that’s been behind over 50M+ of course revenue for industry titans like Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman and Copyhackers. Learn the art and science behind Direct Response 2.0; and how to engineer profitable “conversion contexts” that exponentially increase your prospect’s ability to say “yes” Upgrade your messaging and channel strategy using The P.A.I.D. framework to know how and when to move a prospect from an automated sequence to a one-on-one chat How to use Advanced Touchpoint Theory™ to accelerate trust building and drastically shorten buying cycles Newtonian Marketing Vs. Quantum Marketing; and how the common sales funnel fails to measure up to the reality of how most prospects make empowered decisions MODULE 2
Empire Engineering
Most online businesses are built to win a single battle at a time; but ill-equipped to dominate an industry, let alone scale an empire.
In Module 2, we’ll walk you step-buy-step on how to engineer the tech side of your business for sustainable, exponential growth.
If you’re self-aware and energetically sensitive, you know that intentionality is everything. Unless you’ve built a powerful system that can sustain and match your vision; you’re not likely to get there.
Whether you’re in Stage 1 of building your empire; or ready to scale the sh*t out of it; we’ll walk you through the exact CRM systems you need to confidently double down on your marketing and enrollment efforts; knowing that every prospect that enters your ecosystem is well accounted for and given the best chance to convert.
Highlights
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about implementing an intelligent, growth-minded CRM that your current business coach was too afraid to show you. How to create a pro-level pipeline that gives you “real time” insight as to where every lead is in your enrollment process; allowing you to forecast revenue, identify opportunities; and finally feel like a real business. Why “lead-scoring” isn’t just for enterprise-level companies, but a must for reaching out to potential customers in the moment they’re most ready to receive it. Why configuring your sales and enrollment systems the way we show you; will give you crystal clarity over every lead in your business; allowing you to make smarter, more data-informed decisions rather than feeling lost, overwhelmed, and acting on impulse. MODULE 3
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 1): The Enchanting First Encounter
Back in 2009, subscribing to an email list meant something.
In 2023. urm. a bit less so.
In many cases, it’s a response to FOMO (of closing a landing page and not getting a lead magnet). The end result; prospects are more oversubscribed and under-committed than ever.
That’s why, In Module 3, you’ll be given two powerful playbooks for creating an enchanting first encounter that instantly sets you above any other coach or course creator they may be following or considering along with you.
Highlights
2 next generation “top funnel” conversion playbooks for accelerating trust, encouraging engagement, and amplifying resonance. The simple, 45 second protocol to do immediately when a new subscriber signs up that has been proven to boost opens, clicks and conversions by up to 300% How to seamlessly integrate your fb group with your email CRM to create a holistic view of EVERY potential customer in your business Why your traditional “welcome sequence” is dead, and doing little-to-nothing to ascend your lead; and what to do instead to accelerate the transformation from Point A to Point Buyer Why normal “engagement posts” do nothing but satisfy the algorithm; and how to create “ROI-Rich engagement experiences” that help you segment your list while synching valuable voice-of-customer data into your CRM. How to use Social Singularity™ to create a seamless experience between your facebook group and your email list. MODULE 4
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 2): The Ascension Amplifier
The second Automated Conversion Ecosystem you’ll be working through overlaps with what’s traditionally referred to as “the middle of the funnel”.
A murky, purgatory state that’s often the longest, most confusing, and challenging to do effectively.
Many coaches and course creators have a bulk of their email list who will sit in this “in-between” state for 2, 3 or even 5 years before either becoming a customer or unsubscribing from the list.
With the strategies and playbooks you’ll implement in Module 4, you’ll help “pre-customers” cross that chasm much faster; and come to clearer, more confident, and more empowering decisions about you and your program.
Highlights
Conversion Playbook #3 – Social Singularity Pt. 2 (Channels: Fb Group, Email, DM) Conversion Playbook #4 – Webinar Registration Rev Up (Channels; Webinar, Email) Conversion Playbook #5 – The Lead-Score Lift Up (Email, DM)
submitted by AutoModerator to GenkiCourses_Cheapest [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:44 beefy1357 Am I overloaded? /s

Am I overloaded? /s
Given our recent series of overloaded thought we could use a funny one…
So whatcha think… I am thinking I need to upgrade to the 250, I went over a speed bump so also thinking of getting the 4x4, a 3” lift and skid plates. Thoughts? /s
submitted by beefy1357 to f150 [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:32 AutoModerator [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download

[Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
➡️https://www.genkicourses.site/product/ry-schwartz-automated-intimacy/⬅️
Get the course here: [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
https://preview.redd.it/3js0aa0q5x4b1.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=a3598c2f6336e0e157edf5daf700737bf419d4c6

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
What You Get:
Automated Intimacy v3.0 – 5 Core Modules 6 Weeks of Access to the Private A/I Mastermind on Circle Extra Team License (for a business partner VA, OBM, marketer, etc.) Bonus: AI Alpha Launch Workshop. Bonus: Private Podcast Playbook & Fireside Chat w/ Chris Evans Bonus: Engineering The Enrollment Suite MODULE 1
The A.I. Revolution (aka Coaching The Conversion Reloaded)
In Module 1, you’ll be initiated into a revolutionary new way of thinking. You’ll move from a mindset of “closing clients” with blunt force tactics; to confidently leading and coaching their transformation between Point A and Point Buyer.
With this initial understanding; you’ll see how automation, behavioral triggers, and advanced segmentation allow you to identify and capitalize on the key moments of heightened receptivity where your prospects are most “coachable” towards the next conversion.
Highlights
Become initiated into the most updated version of the “Coaching The Conversion” messaging framework that’s been behind over 50M+ of course revenue for industry titans like Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman and Copyhackers. Learn the art and science behind Direct Response 2.0; and how to engineer profitable “conversion contexts” that exponentially increase your prospect’s ability to say “yes” Upgrade your messaging and channel strategy using The P.A.I.D. framework to know how and when to move a prospect from an automated sequence to a one-on-one chat How to use Advanced Touchpoint Theory™ to accelerate trust building and drastically shorten buying cycles Newtonian Marketing Vs. Quantum Marketing; and how the common sales funnel fails to measure up to the reality of how most prospects make empowered decisions MODULE 2
Empire Engineering
Most online businesses are built to win a single battle at a time; but ill-equipped to dominate an industry, let alone scale an empire.
In Module 2, we’ll walk you step-buy-step on how to engineer the tech side of your business for sustainable, exponential growth.
If you’re self-aware and energetically sensitive, you know that intentionality is everything. Unless you’ve built a powerful system that can sustain and match your vision; you’re not likely to get there.
Whether you’re in Stage 1 of building your empire; or ready to scale the sh*t out of it; we’ll walk you through the exact CRM systems you need to confidently double down on your marketing and enrollment efforts; knowing that every prospect that enters your ecosystem is well accounted for and given the best chance to convert.
Highlights
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about implementing an intelligent, growth-minded CRM that your current business coach was too afraid to show you. How to create a pro-level pipeline that gives you “real time” insight as to where every lead is in your enrollment process; allowing you to forecast revenue, identify opportunities; and finally feel like a real business. Why “lead-scoring” isn’t just for enterprise-level companies, but a must for reaching out to potential customers in the moment they’re most ready to receive it. Why configuring your sales and enrollment systems the way we show you; will give you crystal clarity over every lead in your business; allowing you to make smarter, more data-informed decisions rather than feeling lost, overwhelmed, and acting on impulse. MODULE 3
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 1): The Enchanting First Encounter
Back in 2009, subscribing to an email list meant something.
In 2023. urm. a bit less so.
In many cases, it’s a response to FOMO (of closing a landing page and not getting a lead magnet). The end result; prospects are more oversubscribed and under-committed than ever.
That’s why, In Module 3, you’ll be given two powerful playbooks for creating an enchanting first encounter that instantly sets you above any other coach or course creator they may be following or considering along with you.
Highlights
2 next generation “top funnel” conversion playbooks for accelerating trust, encouraging engagement, and amplifying resonance. The simple, 45 second protocol to do immediately when a new subscriber signs up that has been proven to boost opens, clicks and conversions by up to 300% How to seamlessly integrate your fb group with your email CRM to create a holistic view of EVERY potential customer in your business Why your traditional “welcome sequence” is dead, and doing little-to-nothing to ascend your lead; and what to do instead to accelerate the transformation from Point A to Point Buyer Why normal “engagement posts” do nothing but satisfy the algorithm; and how to create “ROI-Rich engagement experiences” that help you segment your list while synching valuable voice-of-customer data into your CRM. How to use Social Singularity™ to create a seamless experience between your facebook group and your email list. MODULE 4
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 2): The Ascension Amplifier
The second Automated Conversion Ecosystem you’ll be working through overlaps with what’s traditionally referred to as “the middle of the funnel”.
A murky, purgatory state that’s often the longest, most confusing, and challenging to do effectively.
Many coaches and course creators have a bulk of their email list who will sit in this “in-between” state for 2, 3 or even 5 years before either becoming a customer or unsubscribing from the list.
With the strategies and playbooks you’ll implement in Module 4, you’ll help “pre-customers” cross that chasm much faster; and come to clearer, more confident, and more empowering decisions about you and your program.
Highlights
Conversion Playbook #3 – Social Singularity Pt. 2 (Channels: Fb Group, Email, DM) Conversion Playbook #4 – Webinar Registration Rev Up (Channels; Webinar, Email) Conversion Playbook #5 – The Lead-Score Lift Up (Email, DM)
submitted by AutoModerator to GenkiCourses_Cheapest [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:31 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
submitted by A_Vespertine to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:29 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
submitted by A_Vespertine to stayawake [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:28 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
submitted by A_Vespertine to scarystories [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:27 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
_____________________
By The Vesper's Bell
submitted by A_Vespertine to ChillingApp [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:25 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
submitted by A_Vespertine to DarkTales [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:24 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
submitted by A_Vespertine to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:24 Awkward_Shape_9511 Dissecting the 1350w R15 PSU (into a R13)

Dissecting the 1350w R15 PSU (into a R13)
Hello friends.
Back at it again with another PSU dissection. If you havnt seen the previous post about the 750w and 1000w R13 psu, it can be found here:
https://www.reddit.com/Alienware/comments/128ivl7/dissecting_the_r13_psu_750w_1000w_r15_1350w/

We all know that the R13, 14 and R15 have proprietary power supplies. Although they are proprietary, it doesnt mean they are no "upgradeable." Luckily for us, a 1350W version exists. of corse, because they are proprietary, you have to pay for play. so you cant expect to spend $300 on something like a mass produced 1200w corsair ATX PSU. alibet, its honestly not that much more. My 1350w psu was purchased from aliexpress and it was $330. after tax and shipping, the total was $357. which in the grand scheme of things, is not much more than a comparable ATX PSU in the same wattage range.

So what are the reasons why you may want to "upgrade" to a 1350w?

  1. you run an aftermarket 4090. after market 4090 are 450w TDP, so a 1000w is enough. but if you paid nearly $2000 for a GPU, youre most likely going to want to overlock it. Thus, you will want to access its full 600w TDP. the 1000w wont allow you to do that but the 1350w will. the 1350w will be more than enough to accommodate any transient power spikes as well, where as the 1000w is still questionable.
  2. you want to run the power within its peak efficiency. Most PSU's peak power efficiency is around the 50-70% load. This is where you get your "80 plus platinum" rating from. running a PSU near redline will not give you that efficiency, and it will great a lot of heat and noise (from fans going bonkers).
  3. you want massive power overhead because you have more lights and gizmos and fans for your alienware. now they isnt applicable for most people but if you have 9x T30 fans, 4X server fans, 2x D5 pumps etc... youre gonna want to make sure you have extra power overhead.

So we'll first start with the difference of the 1350w PSU (compared to the 1000/750w).


https://preview.redd.it/z5wjxduwh85b1.jpg?width=2348&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=dfbcc1011f6ce52f6c8892140b14ae3a6426dc06
As you can see, this is a 12V ONLY psu. unlike ATX, it does not provide 5v or 3.3v. this means that the PSU is innately more efficient compared to most ATX PSU. There are 3 rails:
12VA (42Amps) - this is for your CPU. it allows for "up to" a total of 504w to be send to your CPU and its needs.
12VB (35Amps) - this is for your MOBO (that 10 or 12pin mother board plug). this is to power your acccessories, SSD/HDD, fans, lights etc etc. up to 420w.
12VC (72Amps) - This is for your GPU. thats 862w that that GPU can use. This is MORE than enough for any 4090 and prob 5090 or 6090. this is really what you got the 1350w psu for. add that with the 75w from the PCI-e slot, and you have a total of 937w of power that can be used for your GPU (862w+75w=937w).

For reference, the 1000w psu's 12VC (gpu) is only capable of 36A, which is 432w through the PCI-e cables. you will get an additional 75w through the PCI-e slot, making it a total of 507w for your GPU (432w+75w=507w). this is enough for a stock 4090 or ANY 40 series card. but not enough if you want to fully utalize the 600w TDP of an overlocked 4090.

The second difference will be the ATX pin connectors. the R13 only needs 2 while the R15 needs 3. The 1350w psu as 3. if you are using it on an R13, you will only use 2 (any two since they are pinned from the same source).

https://preview.redd.it/8xi5p9j3k85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b85393b616dd5d3b05ac2b9198ff02dd9bfc9422
The third difference is the motherboard pin plug. The R13 (750w/1000w) uses a 10pin connector. the R15's 1350w uses a 12 pin connector. The extra two pins are just PSU check plugs. You can still plug the 1350w into the 10pin R13 motherboard. you will just have two pins not in use. it works.

https://preview.redd.it/8v1jx2b5k85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=50dc8048729d19a691f3c6dfd2a051b9b804f959

for all you wondering, thats dielectric grease. It should be put on ALL connectors that plug in something.

https://preview.redd.it/vmb9ifuhk85b1.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ae676677179bee574ad1260a4f9293b9fec1e28b
The fourth difference is the PSU power plug. The R13's 480w, 750w, and 1000w use the same standard 3 prong (NEMA 5-15P to IEC-320-C13). The 1350w is different. It requires a NEMA 5-15P to IEC320 C19. and you have to make sure it is rated for AT LEAST 15A (15A @ 120v). basically it will need to be at least 14awg wire. if you live overseas, you will need to get a proper cable to accommodate for the 240v systems you use.

https://preview.redd.it/ogasvxsll85b1.jpg?width=1576&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=51e3ffc1f4f37db9ce9b836b2ab49db5e561901f
The fifth and final difference will be your GPU PCI-E connectors and wires. On the 750/1000w, you have two sets of 8 pin PCI-E connectors. each of those have a built in splitter for 6pin connectors. essentially, you have have 2 dedicated sets of 8pin cables. The 1350w and 4 dedicated 8 pin connectors. this is a huge difference is power delivery capability. you can safely use any 4x8pin to 12VHPWR adaptor to power your 4090 or 40series cards. Interestingly, dell still uses 18awg cables for all their PCI-e cables. each 18awg cable can handle 9amps. there are 12x 18awg cables for the 8pin plugs. thats 108Amps (1296w) that "can" be sent through those cables. thats why dell didnt need to use 16awg cables (like in most 12VHPWR cables).

https://preview.redd.it/s4h3ekj9m85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b25ae3a046b5974c858ead1bb11bcd8e4d7256a5

Next, lets look into the internals of the PSU. Here is what the internals look like:
1350w:

1350w internals
Im not an electical engineer that builds PSU, so i wont comment anything on the build quality. But from my observations, it looks very similar to the 1000w internals. Im sure it has much bigger components though (caps, ICs, etc etc)..
Surprisingly, the fans for the 750, 1000 and 1350w are all different. 1350w uses fome foxconn fans.

https://preview.redd.it/6ggxne5wm85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b3cfbfaf2345d5403d716b0a50e4ce5cfd14a1ca
The side panel that controls the mobo's on/off and status:

https://preview.redd.it/0wcpfcz1n85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6433cb21e7f4334ceba7e00f7ef2f7bbd1e99566

https://preview.redd.it/lso2di75n85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5191dfbc2f33fc3d1d7ea37385d45b103e981078

Here is the pinnout for all the 12v cables from the 1350w psu.

https://preview.redd.it/2epgm9gcn85b1.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=987078ab431e499f533efb42db9adb4ccd728afa

https://preview.redd.it/0d008bxdn85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9e2faa0dfc18a26acfdb25547f44c7fd9153375a
This is usually where the discussion ends. But if you seen my previous 1000w PSU mod, i dont do 8pin to 12VHPWR adaptors. i prefer a direct native connection. and thats what we will do to this.
First you will need to trace the wires according to the pinnout.

https://preview.redd.it/gbhvrr5rn85b1.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9b0855e9908d5de59de90c91741410a38a031826
Then you will have to choose your 12VHPWR cable. for me, i chose one from SEASONIC because seasonic is a known quality brand. quality 16awg wire in a quality outter wire casing.


https://preview.redd.it/cjda4k0io85b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4796a66f103b599dfac150abac46d69e98c0a207

Splice them and connect them correctly +12v to +12v; ground to ground. DONT SCREW THIS UP. if yo do you will blow out your computer and PSU. check, double check and then check again. i use marine grade heatshrink because the glue inside the heatshrink makes them waterproof (or as waterproof as possible). so no dust or stuff will get in and possibly short anything.
DO NOT SCREW THIS STEP UP

Then start sleeving everything because we dont do half a** work. not around here partner.


https://preview.redd.it/e891xgbip85b1.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7a06db9486f9b46d676fae8a36bcc23b0cf46f0e

more sleeving:
https://preview.redd.it/fkcejmgop85b1.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4d7d6e1b2105d41bbfe4a44e8b730bf957d20794
all 600w+ into the 4090. two things to remember:
  1. dont forget dialectic grease
  2. plug it in ALL the way. if you dont, you will become a statistic of a burn 12VHPWR connector.
https://preview.redd.it/npx71odrp85b1.jpg?width=2523&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ea5f14ca2b4f0339241654abafe924e1e2fce438
all done:

https://preview.redd.it/cn0n3op3q85b1.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=644fa4aebd8fbb7193a1e572f83fc44526457f1f

Before, i had the 1000wf or a few weeks, i was able to avg 490-500w according to HWinfo while benchmarking.

now it shows that my MAX GPU power consumption has gone up to 580w in HWINFO. so its a win for me.
My R13 still draw no more than 800w according to the power meter on my UPS. so i am right within the 60% power usage of the 1350w and am in the peak efficiency bandwidth of the PSU. PSU runs quieter as well. even under stress/bench, i cant hear it, and my system is also dead silent since both CPU and GPU is watercooled.
In warzone, i was able to bench +8fps avg on the same OC settings and game settings. This is definitely simply from the GPU able to use up more power.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask questions (keep in mind i am not an electrical engineer so if youre gonna ask me the difference between the farads between the various capacitors in the PSU, im not going to know).

james
submitted by Awkward_Shape_9511 to Alienware [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:23 A_Vespertine Souls & Scarabs at Mathom-Meister's Flea Market

“I’m sorry; we’re going to astral travel to a flea market?” Charlotte asked incredulously as she watched Genevieve and I set up a meditation circle under the shade of a towering old willow tree in my cemetery. “What if we want to buy something? How will we bring it back?”
“We’re not going there to shop, Lottie. Samantha’s finally had a vision about Emrys,” Genevieve explained.
The Veil between the Physical and Astral Planes is exceptionally weak in my cemetery, especially at night and on hallowed days. When I sleep there, my subconscious mind is highly receptive to all manner of revelations from the Spirit World. When I saw a Blood Moon rise on the night of May fifth, the same night as a penumbral eclipse, I knew that my dreams would be prophetic.
“I had a dream about him last Friday,” I expounded. “He’s at some sort of otherworldly marketplace, one that’s not connected to the Crypto Chthonic Cuniculi, so it’s mostly inaccessible to the Ophion Occult Order. In my dream, Emrys invited us to come and speak with him while we were lucid. He drew a sigil for me, the same one I’ve drawn in the middle of the mediation circle. He said that all I’d have to do is toss an Undying Rose – the earthly effigy of the rose Persephone used to steal a drop of his blood – into the sigil and it will become an astral portal to where he is.”
I held up the deep purple rose that I had cut from its bush earlier that day. I don’t know for certain where the roses came from, but my best guess is that they were made by the same Occultist who hallowed my cemetery to Persephone; Artaxerxes Crow. They have some connection to Emrys as well, since the only other time I saw someone else use one was when his avatar was summoned into the Physical Plane on Halloween 2020.
Knowing that Emrys wouldn’t dare to set foot in a place that was sacred to the Goddess who was ultimately responsible for his cosmic defeat, I gently tossed the rose into the middle of the sigil.
“He invited all of us?” Charlotte asked with an incredulous raising of her eyebrow.
“He said me and my coven. If he had just meant me or me and Genevieve he would have said that,” I replied. “You and Elam are coming too. I want as many eyes on this place as possible so that we don’t miss anything. We may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“And this is safe? Visiting some random flea market between worlds?” Charlotte asked.
“Samantha and I have visited the Underworld and come back no problem,” Genevieve reminded her. “So long as we’re bound to our bodies and Elam is bound to Samantha, we can come back anytime. Don’t worry; this is going to be a blast! Adventures like these are the best part of being a Witch.”
“The only reason you were able to go to the Underworld is because Samantha’s cemetery came with an astral portal in the back,” Charlotte countered, gesticulating in the general direction of the archway that was still partially visible behind the light spring foliage. “Other than that, when have any of us ever done anything useful with our astral projection? This is still a physical place, right? We don’t have any of our physical senses available to us when we astral project, and I get extremely disoriented trying to navigate the mortal plane with clairvoyance alone.”
“It is a physical place, but one saturated with astral energy and full of occultists and occult artifacts. It will be extremely illuminated to our clairvoyance,” I assured her. “Elam will also be there to guide us. As a ghost, he’s much more practiced at traversing the mortal plane in an astral form.”
Charlotte folded her arms over her chest and turned to look at Elam, who was leaning up against the willow tree as he waited for us.
“I don’t suppose you could go and scout the place out for us ahead of time?” she asked.
“I can’t go too far from Samantha, and definitely not across planes,” he said with a shake of his head. “But Eve’s right. Your astral bodies will be in no danger, and you can return here in an instant whenever you want.”
“But what about Emrys? Didn’t that book Leon gave you say that he’s some sort of soul-flayer?” Charlotte asked me.
“It did,” I admitted. “Keep in mind though, that book was written by his enemies. I want to hear his side of things before this conflict of theirs spirals out of control.”
“Any update from Chamberlin about that?” Elam asked.
“Yeah, he said that after he failed to purify the Sigil Sand, Ivy’s onboard with negotiating some kind of truce with Emrys,” I replied. “The Grand Adderman’s still reticent, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s running out of options. I need to find out if Emrys will agree to peace talks.”
“Um, I get that, but I’m still kind of hung up on him potentially flaying our souls,” Charlotte reiterated.
“If Emrys and the Ophion Occult Order go to all-out war, there’ll be a lot of collateral damage and innocent souls caught in the crossfire,” Genevieve told her, gently grabbing hold of her and looking her straight in the eye. “Samantha, Elam, and I are doing this because if there’s any chance we can put an end to this before it starts, then it’s our responsibility to try. You don’t have to come with us, Lottie, but you’re still a member of our coven. Samantha and I would both feel a lot better with you there to help us.”
“Arghhh! All right, fine! I’ll come with you,” Charlotte gave in, plopping her butt down on the edge of the meditation circle. “If we’re holding hands, that will help keep our astral bodies together too, right?”
“I believe it should, yes,” I smiled at her, sitting down and reaching out for her hand.
Genevieve lit the incense and her bong filled with the entheogenic Delphi Dream, before sitting down to join us. She took a hit from the bong before passing it to me, and then to Charlotte before setting it aside out of the circle.
“Start with taking a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, and holding it for five heartbeats,” she guided us as she took hold of each of our hands. “Exhale completely, and wait five more heartbeats before breathing in again. Eyes closed, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on the astral energies flowing through you with each breath, gently aligning each chakra until those energies are enough to lift you up and out of your body.”
In unison with one another, the three of us slowly breathed in and out, ignoring the material world around us and focusing upon the task at hand. Eve was first, as usual, and because we were all holding hands, Charlotte and I felt her eagerly tugging us up to speed us along.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the dull and muted Physical Plane through my clairvoyance, everything outshined by the radiant forms of my coven mates. I noted that Genevieve had eschewed her normal skyclad form when astral projecting and instead wore a cloak like Charlotte and I.
“Are you worried this place might have a no shirt, no shoes, no souls, no service policy?” I teased her.
“I just don’t want to risk a confrontation over it. I realize how important this is,” she answered. “Though I’m not actually wearing shoes, now that you mention it.”
“Christ, look at the sigil Samantha drew!” Charlotte said, pointing down at the meditation circle beneath us. The sigil wasn’t just glowing but flowing as well, churning the Aether around it in a misty, spectral vortex. “It’s an astral portal, isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. It’s not stable, though. Good for one trip only,” Genevieve said with a delighted smile. “And Lottie, since we’re Neopagan Witches, try not to swear by Christ, okay?”
“Jesus!” she swore, both in defiance and in genuine annoyance.
“Elam! Elam, come join the circle! I don’t want to take any chances of severing our bond,” I instructed, letting go of Charlotte’s hand and waving him in between us.
Faithful Familiar that he was, he obeyed without hesitation. Despite my concerns, I think that he probably could have stayed behind if he had wanted. The fact that he was willing to follow me to an unknown otherworld without complaint really made me appreciate how devoted he was to me.
“We step in together on the count of three, got it?” I instructed, each of them nodding clearly in response. “One. Two. Three!”
We all extended our right feet into the vortex together, and the instant we did we were swept away, falling out of our own world and tumbling between the cracks of countless others. They weren’t real, I don’t think. At least, not as real as our world. They were potential realities, or realities that could have been once but now can never be, or fantasies that are so persistent in the minds of real people that in some sense or another, they become real themselves. I only saw glimmers of them, glimmers in nebulas made of primeval chaos and uttermost void.
It was outside of time, that place we travelled through, or at least we had no sense of it there. Our souls were haphazardly spat out upon a surreal landscape of earth, sea, and fire. Hilly plains of volcanic ash, incandescent calderas of lava and bubbling hot springs all intermeshed in a chaotic mosaic that didn’t seem to abide by any laws of geology or geography that I was familiar with. A strong but slow wind pushed fractal formations of dark silver clouds through a pale silver sky, illuminated by a single white orb which could have been either a bright moon or a faint sun.
While our spectral feet left no trace upon the ash we now stood upon, our presence nonetheless elicited a response from some of the local fauna. We were just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of shimmering scarabs burrowing themselves into the ash to escape the four otherworldly ghosts that had invaded their territory.
“Holy shit,” Charlotte murmured as we all gazed out upon the strange world we had found ourselves on. “This really isn’t on the Astral Plane. This is a real planet. This a real, alien planet! This is unbelievable!”
Genevieve glided over to one of the bubbling pools and peered into it, looking for any more signs of life.
“There’s some kind of bluish-grey algae growing on the rocks down there, and I think I can make out some small arthropods too. This planet’s alive!” she announced with glee, smiling and looking up at the alien sky.
Conjuring an astral approximation of my staff, I plunged it into a small mound of ash beside me. I watched curiously as the scarabs shot out in all directions, moving too quickly for me to get a good look at them, before scurrying back into the surrounding ash.
“These bugs can sense our presence,” I remarked. “How and why would clairvoyance evolve in insects on this world, and why would their first instinct be to flee?”
“Samantha!” Elam called out. “I think I found the Flea Market.”
We all gathered around him and looked where he was pointing. On a distant dune, we beheld the moulted carapace of a colossal insect, gleaming a brilliant, lustrous gold in the broken white light.
“That’s impossible!” Charlotte claimed. “That thing must be hundreds of meters long! No insect, no animal period could ever get that big on the Physical Plane!”
“It could be the Incarnation of some kind of Titan,” Genevieve suggested. “But… it’s dead. I can tell that even from here. It’s dead. It’s the corpse of a dead god, and now it’s being used as a swap meet with a punny name. Either whatever killed it just abandoned it, or…”
“Or is running the place,” I finished for her. “Well, we should see if we can find Emrys.”
In an instant, the world moved around us until we were at the entrance to the Flea Market. The colossal carapace was hollow inside, of course, and had been filled with a bustling city that looked like it had been created in the most ad hoc manner possible. There wasn’t a single straight street to be seen, and they converged with one another at random intervals. Stalls and buildings varied wildly in both design and materials, all imported from a plethora of different cultures across the planes.
Enormous shards of luminous glass levitated above the throng like a thousand Swords of Damocles, any or all of them seeming capable of succumbing to gravity at any moment. In the very center of the moulted husk dangled a great spiralling chrysalis or hive woven of iridescent silk, its function not being immediately apparent to me.
There must have been thousands of people there, and hundreds of merchants hawking their wares. Most of those who looked human still seemed a little off, like they were members of ethnicities that didn’t exist in our world. Some of the beings were near-human in appearance, many seemingly some kind of Fey or Seelie folk. There was even a small handful of people that weren’t remotely human at all.
The only thing they all had in common was that none were native to this world.
“Most of these people are here in person, aren’t they?” Charlotte asked.
“It would’ve been quite a feat for them to have built all of this while astral projecting,” Genevieve agreed.
“But if this place isn’t connected to the Cuniculi, then how did they get here?” Charlotte asked. “We’re on another planet, maybe even in another dimension. If getting here is beyond the Ooo’s abilities, then what sort of ungodly reality benders decided to turn it into a Flea Market?”
“Ladies, gentlemen, and any beings either too ancient and alien or too modern and alienated to settle on one or the other, come bear witness to one of the most astounding and atrocious abominations on this or any other world!” a fast-paced male voice rang out over the din of the crowd.
We turned to see a short, skinny, old-timey sort of carnival barker standing on a literal soap box, placed next to a large object draped in a black tarp.
“For the paltry price of a single three-headed coin, you can peer beneath the veil and behold with your own unbelieving eyes the mangled and mutilated monstrosity that lurks beneath!” the carnival barker continued. “But I must warn you, it is not possible to truly understand what dwells underneath without seeing it first! I cannot guarantee that you will still retain your sanity or will to live after witnessing the proverbial Mountains of Madness, for this low creature is truly like no other and serves only as a grim testament to the cruel sadism of the Lord Above! Anyone plagued by even the faintest lingering doubt as to their spiritual fortitude should not dare to even contemplate what might lie before me! But, for those brave, noble few who are truly dauntless of heart and incorrigible of spirit, I am proud to share with you this rare, unfathomable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness sublime –”
The carnival barker was interrupted by a man yanking the sheet off the object beside him, revealing it to be a mirror.
“Whelp, that was a hell of an Im14andthisisdeep post, eh?” Charlotte mused.
Genevieve and I, however, were far too stunned to be amused; not by the mirror, but by the man who had unveiled it.
“It’s him, Lottie. That’s Emrys,” Genevieve whispered.
We had only seen him briefly once before, more than two-and-a-half years ago, but he was far from what anyone would call forgettable. He was tall and gaunt, with literal blue blood flowing beneath translucent skin. His long, receding hair and regal beard were pitch black, and dark miasma wafted from his eyes, nose, and mouth. He was dressed in dark sable robes with three overlapping Ouroboros’s tattooed on his forehead, with a pair of ophidian pupils lying in the spaces between them.
What stood out the most to us were the six silver Ouroboros chains bound around his wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. These were the chains the Ophion Occult Order had made to limit the power of his physical avatar, and it seemed he had not yet found a way to free himself from them.
“Are you still here?” Emrys asked in exasperation, tossing the veil back at the carnival barker in disdain.
“…Possibly,” the strange man replied evasively. “But not definitively, for purely legalistic reasons.”
“I believe Mathom-meister was quite clear when he said that your rather pitiful chicanery wasn’t welcomed here,” Emrys reminded him.
“And who is he to judge chicanery from cutthroat, capitalistic competition? Should not the Flea Market be a free market?” the charlatan demanded. “And while we’re on the topic of commerce, I don’t suppose you have enough three-headed coins to pay for all the poor souls you have so discourteously exposed to my exhibit against their will? I’d hate to have to start shaking people down to get my due.”
“Hard to believe your own circus threw you out,” Emrys said with a sardonic eye roll as he tossed him a small medallion. “You get one coin. Take it and get out of my sight.”
The charlatan flipped the coin in the air thrice, presumably to confirm it actually had three heads. Satisfied with its impossible dimensions, he shoved it into his pocket.
“It will cover the trolley ride home, at least,” he acquiesced, stepping off his soap box and turning to face his looking glass. “A shame though you can’t see the genius in my little avant-garde performance piece here, Emmy. Even I know that the monster in the mirror is often the hardest to recognize.”
As the man reached to pick up his mirror, his reflection’s arms shot through the glass and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling him in. Emrys immediately tried to chase after him, but bounced off the glass as if there was nothing supernatural about it at all.
“Bastard!” he cursed under his breath, before turning towards us and giving us a small apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you had to see that rather pathetic display. Unfortunately, the few meeting places I know of that are relatively safe from any Ophionic incursion also attract their fair share of other annoying miscreants.”
“If it didn’t attract a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t be a Flea Market, would it?” I asked rhetorically. “Thank you, Emrys, for inviting us. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.”
“And thank you for accepting. Samantha, Genevieve, it’s a pleasure to see you again, and a relief that you have not fallen under the auspices of the Ophion Occult Order,” he said with a gentle bow. “Elam, I remember you as well. Valiant but not reckless, you remained atop Pendragon Hill during my battle with the Darlings until your mistress was well out of harm’s way, and then you got the hell out of dodge yourself. Samantha couldn’t hope for a better Familiar. And Charlotte, any Witch that Samantha deemed worthy to induct into her coven is obviously someone whose acquaintance I am pleased to make. Welcome, all of you, to Mathom-meister’s Flea Market!”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding out the past two years?” Genevieve asked.
“Oh no. Far too Cosmopolitan for my tastes,” Emrys replied. “No, this is just a friendly place to meet those I consider friends – or potential friends, at least. I’d offer to show you around, but I know it’s difficult for you to astral travel for prolonged periods. Come with me to Mathom-meister’s house where we can talk freely, and we’ll discuss the situation with the Order.”
I gave him a small, single nod in response, and gestured with my staff that he should lead the way. He responded by pointing upwards, then vanished into his shadow form. When we looked up, we saw him waving at us from a balcony atop the great silken chrysalis.
We exchanged hesitant glances with one another, but ultimately followed him into the strange structure, moving from the ground to the balcony in an instant by will alone.
“How would an incarnate being get up here if they couldn’t fly or teleport?” Charlotte asked as she peered over the balcony’s teetering edge.
As though answering a summons, a humanoid creature apparated beside her in a flash of dark vapours. The hunched-back entity stood over six-and-a-half feet tall, and was clad in golden-brown erudite robes. Its squid-like skin was of a similar colour, and its entire face was a single gaping orifice that held a wispy, glowing orb in the center of its skull which I immediately recognized as its soul. A pair of long, fanged tentacles lined with pores and tendrils hung down from its head like a long, forked beard, and the seven digits shared by its two hands all bore wicked-looking talons, as did its two-toed, digitigrade feet.
“Not fly or teleport? What sort of pedestrian house guests do you think I entertain here?” the being asked wryly, its voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular.
Charlotte instinctively backed away from the creature and into the protective fold of our coven, but Emrys was quick to hold up his hand to plead for calm.
“Please, there’s no need for alarm. This is our host, Mathom-meister. He’s the only reason any of this is here in the first place,” Emrys informed us. “A year or two ago a companion of his unfortunately became one of the Darling Twin’s victims, and when he heard of my vendetta with them, he tracked me down; which is no small feat, I assure you.”
“It is for us. My people are a race of Planeswalkers. Traversing the many worlds of Creation is second nature to us,” Mathom-meister explained.
“I’ve… I’ve heard of your people, I think,” I said, softly and unsurely. “A friend of mine had an encounter with an artifact that gave her a vision of a race of strange and powerful sorcerers slaying their own god. I take it you’re the ones who slayed this Scarab Titan as well? That’s, that’s…”
“Horrifying, yes. That’s the idea,” he nodded. “You have nothing to worry about, young Witch. My people have no special interest in your world. This is purely personal. My friend is dead, and I want his murderers brought to justice; a goal which Emrys and I happen to have in common.”
“Feel free to share this information with the Ophion Occult Order, Samantha,” Emrys said. “I’d very much like for the Darling Twins to know what’s hunting them. Mathom-meister, please excuse me while I take my guests inside. We do have pressing business to discuss and their time is limited.”
The squid-cyclopes bowed gracefully, and my coven and I quickly scurried after Emrys as he led us inside through a towering hallway and into a large chamber that had been appointed as a living space.
I had thought that Emrys would want to speak with us alone, which was why I was surprised to see a young woman sitting cross-legged on a spongey yet chitinous object that I will for the sake of my sanity call a bean bag chair. Like Emrys, she was pale and blue-blooded, her choppy hair as black as coal. She wore a black robe and heavy black eyeliner, but these could not conceal the fact that she too had thin wisps of miasma emanating from her eyes.
“Is that your… daughter?” Charlotte asked, as baffled by her presence as any of us. The woman smiled warmly at the question.
“In a way. I was dead, and Emrys gave me new life. Now a part of the Outer Primordial Darkness he represents lives in me too,” she said serenely.
Hovering above her left palm were three small bluish-green orbs, lazily going around in a circle. They were translucent and held something inside them that I couldn’t make out, but the orbs themselves appeared to be melting and solidifying by the woman’s will.
“You’re Petra, aren’t you?” I asked as I cautiously approached her. “Chamberlin had mentioned that Emrys had taken an acolyte. I’m Samantha, and this is Genevieve, Elam, and Charlotte.”
“I know. The whole reason we’re here is to speak with you,” she nodded.
“The Ophion Occult Order calls me a soul-flayer, and I’m sure you were all wondering exactly what that meant before you came here,” Emrys said, standing proudly behind his acolyte. “Well, this is it. The Darkness Beyond is now a part of her, and a part of her now lives within the Darkness Beyond. She is not unchanged from what she was before, but neither has what she was been lost.”
“My interpretation of the term ‘soul-flaying’ was the complete removal of a person’s consciousness from their astral and physical bodies to be subsumed by your Darkness,” I countered. “They told me that what you’ve done with Petra here is just the limit of your power while you’re bound in their chains. Are you telling me that if your chains were broken, you wouldn’t be able to do any worse than this?”
“On my physical avatar? No. So long as my astral form remains chained and bound with the World Serpent, I cannot cleave a conscious mind from its astral substrate,” Emrys assured me.
“But that is your ultimate goal, isn’t it? Breaking the chains the Ophion Occult Order put on you is just a stepping stone to breaking the ones the gods bound you with?” Genevieve asked. “You’ve allied yourself with a literal god slayer. Do you expect us to believe that his people’s abilities aren’t something you intend to put to your own ends?”
“I don’t have an ultimate goal so much as I have a fundamental principle of opposing tyranny,” he claimed. “When I was a mere man, thousands of years ago, I was a tyrant. I believed that might made right so unquestionably that when my might began to fail me, the only thing I could think to do was to try everything in my power to restore it. This quest eventually led to me becoming one with the Darkness Beyond, which gave me not only the might I coveted but the wisdom I didn’t know I needed. It gave me perspective. It made me stronger than any human alive at that point but still let me realize how insignificant I was. It was humbling, and enlightening, and filled me both with remorse over my past actions and an impetus to use my newfound gifts to rectify them. I tried to overthrow the gods themselves which, in hindsight, was overly ambitious. I not only failed but had my soul devoured by the World Serpent, where it still resides to this day.
“I am not eager to bring the wrath of the gods down upon me once again. No, for now, I will be content to end the tyranny of the Ophion Occult Order. This is the message I’d like you to relay to them. If the Grand Adderman agrees to unbind my chains and step down from his post, I will spare his life. If he declines, I want the rest of the Order to know that I will show mercy to any who sides with me over him. I am willing to allow the Order to exist so long as it agrees to become more decentralized, democratic, and accountable. They will have to forfeit certain artifacts and individuals in their possession over to me, chief among them the Darling Twins, but I am willing to negotiate. If they aren’t, then I will overthrow the Grand Adderman by whatever means necessary and see the Order scattered to the four winds. It is entirely up to them whether or not the conflict between us escalates to full-on war. Have I made myself clear, Samantha?”
“I think so,” I said as I pensively considered everything he had said. “Why should they trust you to keep your word once your chains are broken? For that matter, why should we?”
He took a moment to consider his response, eyeing me over as though he was trying to divine something that would win over my trust.
“Samantha, you made a pact with Persephone to get your Spirit Familiar there; one where she swore by the River Styx. Is that correct?” he asked.
“It is,” I nodded.
“And in the years since, has Persephone ever broken that pact she swore to?” he asked.
“No, she hasn’t,” I replied.
“I may not be an Old God, but so long as my astral form remains bound by their chains, they have power over me,” he said. “Samantha Sumner, Hedge Witch of Harrowick Woods, I swear on the River Styx that I have spoken no lies to you today. I swear by the River Styx that I will abide by any Covenant that I and the Ophion Occult Order agree to in good faith and fair dealing that they do not break first. I swear by the River Styx that when my chains are broken, I will give you no cause to fear me or regret your trust in me.”
I gave a questioning glance to Genevieve, and then Elam, both of whom nodded in the affirmative.
“All right. An oath sworn on the River Styx is good enough for me. I’ll deliver your terms to Seneca Chamberlin,” I agreed. “I’m very grateful for the trust and respect you’ve shown for me and my coven, Emrys, though I can’t say I quite understand it. Out of all the guests that were there on the Hallow’s Eve you were summoned, why did Evie and I stand out to you?”
“The Ophion Occult Order deemed you worthy of inclusion in their cult, an offer you rejected on principle. You cheated Persephone, but you did it not to gain immortality for yourself but to save your friend from hell. You came here, thinking I could very well tear your souls asunder, but did so because you believed it was your duty to prevent needless suffering,” Emrys answered. “You are extraordinary in your craft, courage, and conscience, the latter of which especially stood out among the degenerates at that party. I do apologize if I frightened you at that event. I was a bit… irritable, given the circumstances. I’m glad we were able to meet again under more pleasant conditions.”
“So am I, Emrys,” I nodded. “I’m not sure exactly what this means or how relevant it is, but Seneca wanted me to tell you that he’s able to offer you the Dream Demon Red Ruck as a sacrifice.”
Pffft. Tell him it’s hardly a sacrifice if I’m getting rid of a boogie man for him,” he scoffed. “In fact, now that you mention it, Ruck’s one egregore that might be of more use to me alive.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but we were suddenly interrupted by the rapid pounding of a gong somewhere down below. It seemed to be an alarm of some kind, as we could hear the panicked shouting and frantic racing of people either battening down or forsaking the Flea Market altogether.
Mathom-meister apparated into the middle of the room, his facial tentacles reflexively raised in a defensive position.
“Were you outside the market?” he demanded of us.
“The portal we came through deposited us a few miles outside of the market, yes,” I admitted.
“Damn,” Emrys cursed softly, though he sounded more frustrated than angry. “Meister, it’s not their fault. I knew they weren’t experienced Planeswalkers, I could have – ”
“It doesn’t matter!” Mathom-meister interjected. “They need to leave, now!”
“Why, what’s going on?” Genevieve demanded.
“The scarabs are swarming,” Petra explained. “Don’t feel bad; it happens often enough that they’re prepared for it.”
I wanted to press for more details, but I could hear the humming of a vast winged swarm steadily encroaching upon us.
“Don’t worry. Once you leave the swarm will disperse… eventually,” Emrys told us. “We’ve said all that need be said for now. Return home, and I’ll reach out to you again shortly, Samantha.”
Again, I wanted to object, but the swarm outside was growing louder and louder, and it occurred to me that we might not be completely safe from a biblical swarm of insects that could not only sense but evidently sought out souls.
This occurred to Charlotte as well, as she was the first of us to vanish and awaken back in her body. We could all feel the weight of her reembodied soul tugging on us to return with her. Genevieve immediately grabbed hold of my right hand and Elam my left, both of them refusing to leave before I did.
I spared one final glance at Emrys, lamenting that we couldn’t have had more time.
“I’ll relay everything you said to the Order. I’ll make sure they know you’re willing to negotiate a truce,” I vowed.
He gave me a gracious nod, and just as we heard the swarm start to pelt the exterior of the market, I forced my physical eyes open and was back in my body, still safely under a willow tree in my cemetery.
I immediately looked beside me to Genevieve, and saw that she was awake as well, and then around me for Elam, who seemed to be suffering a bit of spectral whiplash from being pulled back with me so suddenly, but was otherwise all right. Sighing with relief, I turned lastly to Charlotte, and saw that she was looking down at the mediation circle in dreaded horror.
Following her gaze, I saw that the Undying Rose was gone – spent, perhaps, in exchange for our passage – and in its place was the inert, and hopefully dead, body of one of the shimmering scarabs.
submitted by A_Vespertine to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:23 Salmundo Daikin ductless: is there a better condensate pump?

We've had a Daikin ductless system for a couple of years. Generally, it works really well, but I'm hoping to upgrade one part of it:
We have four indoor units, three of them are gravity drained, one unit has a condensate pump. I tried to avoid having a pump, but in this one room, there was no option for gravity drainage, so it is what it is. The condensate pump that was installed is an Aspen Mini White 93939. It is really loud. The installer came out once and replaced it, and the replacement unit is slightly quieter, but it is still loud like a power tool going off. It's disruptive enough that we tend not to turn the unit on unless we're desperate.

I'm wondering if there are alternative pumps for this application that are not as noisy. Quiet would be great, but even "doesn't sound like someone drilling into the foundation" would be an improvement.
submitted by Salmundo to hvacadvice [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 21:20 Aiden-caster Rear Airbag or coil spring upgrade

Rear Airbag or coil spring upgrade
So I've put a bed rack rtt and a decked storage system in my box. With the additional weight there is a but of squat now in the rear end. Not so mich to where my bump stops are bottoming out( there's about 4-6 inches still) but it's noticible squat in the rear end.
If I were to install airbags in the rear end would I loose off road flexibility in the rear end ? I don't go crazy flex but I would worry about ripping apart the airbags.
If ibwere to upgrade my coil springs from the stock coils, which would you guys n gals suggest.
I've heard good things about the evo builds.
For reference. I have all the stock suspension on 2.5 inch lift level from mopar(which I plan to replace asap) but 1: I don't want to break the bank. 2: I don't really want to go over 4 inches for clearance issues in parking
All suggestions welcome. K thanks.
submitted by Aiden-caster to JeepGladiator [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 20:56 FuzzyBlonde34 How do you raise triplets? When you already have twins to raise

So I have a 5 year old boy and 3yo boy girl twins, my husband has recently come out of a coma and is doing well he has mobility problems with his leg so he has a cane and is doing physical therapy but he should be back to normal in a few months
We have recently discovered I’m pregnant again it was originally quadruplets but one died so now it’s triplets I’m 10wks and it is becoming really stressful, this is going to be nothing like twins, I don’t know how to manage the twins as is, they don’t want to play by themselves they constantly call for me to come to them they won’t do anything unless I’m there, we recently started locking their door at night to stop them coming into our room as we don’t do co sleeping and we never wanted to do it
As for the triplets I’m not sure what I need, I three seater buggy is just to big in my eyes but then if I don’t have my husband how would I push a single and a double, I’m going to need to change my car I drive a opel insignia at the minute and my husband drives a ford raptor but also has a few opel vans for his business I don’t even know what I’d upgrade too I’d want to keep Opels as I own an opel dealership
How do you feed 3 babies? With 2 it’s a breast each but with 3 I’m just going to have to let one cry till one of its siblings is finished, I breastfed my other 3 children until 1.7years I did pump but I only started pumping after 5 months
How do you interact fairly with 3 of them as they grow?
Is their any triplet parents out their with any advice? I feel like we are about to drown money isn’t an issue so any suggestions no matter how expensive are welcome
submitted by FuzzyBlonde34 to parentsofmultiples [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 20:38 ripcity1985 Pump setup help

Pump setup help
Hello,
Just got the Intex sand filter pump and appears I need more parts? Ive got a 16’ round Intex pool with the original pump and am trying to upgrade. Everything is laid out I’m just not able to connect the old hoses to the new bigger ones that came with the new pump. Appears I can shove the smaller hoses into 1 of the 2 but not the 2nd. That can’t be the answer. Also with the new valve that pushes water back into the pool how are people connecting that?
Appreciate any help / feedback Thanks!
submitted by ripcity1985 to AboveGroundPools [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 20:32 AutoModerator [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download

[Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
➡️https://www.genkicourses.site/product/ry-schwartz-automated-intimacy/⬅️
Get the course here: [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
https://preview.redd.it/3js0aa0q5x4b1.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=a3598c2f6336e0e157edf5daf700737bf419d4c6

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
What You Get:
Automated Intimacy v3.0 – 5 Core Modules 6 Weeks of Access to the Private A/I Mastermind on Circle Extra Team License (for a business partner VA, OBM, marketer, etc.) Bonus: AI Alpha Launch Workshop. Bonus: Private Podcast Playbook & Fireside Chat w/ Chris Evans Bonus: Engineering The Enrollment Suite MODULE 1
The A.I. Revolution (aka Coaching The Conversion Reloaded)
In Module 1, you’ll be initiated into a revolutionary new way of thinking. You’ll move from a mindset of “closing clients” with blunt force tactics; to confidently leading and coaching their transformation between Point A and Point Buyer.
With this initial understanding; you’ll see how automation, behavioral triggers, and advanced segmentation allow you to identify and capitalize on the key moments of heightened receptivity where your prospects are most “coachable” towards the next conversion.
Highlights
Become initiated into the most updated version of the “Coaching The Conversion” messaging framework that’s been behind over 50M+ of course revenue for industry titans like Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman and Copyhackers. Learn the art and science behind Direct Response 2.0; and how to engineer profitable “conversion contexts” that exponentially increase your prospect’s ability to say “yes” Upgrade your messaging and channel strategy using The P.A.I.D. framework to know how and when to move a prospect from an automated sequence to a one-on-one chat How to use Advanced Touchpoint Theory™ to accelerate trust building and drastically shorten buying cycles Newtonian Marketing Vs. Quantum Marketing; and how the common sales funnel fails to measure up to the reality of how most prospects make empowered decisions MODULE 2
Empire Engineering
Most online businesses are built to win a single battle at a time; but ill-equipped to dominate an industry, let alone scale an empire.
In Module 2, we’ll walk you step-buy-step on how to engineer the tech side of your business for sustainable, exponential growth.
If you’re self-aware and energetically sensitive, you know that intentionality is everything. Unless you’ve built a powerful system that can sustain and match your vision; you’re not likely to get there.
Whether you’re in Stage 1 of building your empire; or ready to scale the sh*t out of it; we’ll walk you through the exact CRM systems you need to confidently double down on your marketing and enrollment efforts; knowing that every prospect that enters your ecosystem is well accounted for and given the best chance to convert.
Highlights
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about implementing an intelligent, growth-minded CRM that your current business coach was too afraid to show you. How to create a pro-level pipeline that gives you “real time” insight as to where every lead is in your enrollment process; allowing you to forecast revenue, identify opportunities; and finally feel like a real business. Why “lead-scoring” isn’t just for enterprise-level companies, but a must for reaching out to potential customers in the moment they’re most ready to receive it. Why configuring your sales and enrollment systems the way we show you; will give you crystal clarity over every lead in your business; allowing you to make smarter, more data-informed decisions rather than feeling lost, overwhelmed, and acting on impulse. MODULE 3
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 1): The Enchanting First Encounter
Back in 2009, subscribing to an email list meant something.
In 2023. urm. a bit less so.
In many cases, it’s a response to FOMO (of closing a landing page and not getting a lead magnet). The end result; prospects are more oversubscribed and under-committed than ever.
That’s why, In Module 3, you’ll be given two powerful playbooks for creating an enchanting first encounter that instantly sets you above any other coach or course creator they may be following or considering along with you.
Highlights
2 next generation “top funnel” conversion playbooks for accelerating trust, encouraging engagement, and amplifying resonance. The simple, 45 second protocol to do immediately when a new subscriber signs up that has been proven to boost opens, clicks and conversions by up to 300% How to seamlessly integrate your fb group with your email CRM to create a holistic view of EVERY potential customer in your business Why your traditional “welcome sequence” is dead, and doing little-to-nothing to ascend your lead; and what to do instead to accelerate the transformation from Point A to Point Buyer Why normal “engagement posts” do nothing but satisfy the algorithm; and how to create “ROI-Rich engagement experiences” that help you segment your list while synching valuable voice-of-customer data into your CRM. How to use Social Singularity™ to create a seamless experience between your facebook group and your email list. MODULE 4
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 2): The Ascension Amplifier
The second Automated Conversion Ecosystem you’ll be working through overlaps with what’s traditionally referred to as “the middle of the funnel”.
A murky, purgatory state that’s often the longest, most confusing, and challenging to do effectively.
Many coaches and course creators have a bulk of their email list who will sit in this “in-between” state for 2, 3 or even 5 years before either becoming a customer or unsubscribing from the list.
With the strategies and playbooks you’ll implement in Module 4, you’ll help “pre-customers” cross that chasm much faster; and come to clearer, more confident, and more empowering decisions about you and your program.
Highlights
Conversion Playbook #3 – Social Singularity Pt. 2 (Channels: Fb Group, Email, DM) Conversion Playbook #4 – Webinar Registration Rev Up (Channels; Webinar, Email) Conversion Playbook #5 – The Lead-Score Lift Up (Email, DM)
submitted by AutoModerator to GenkiCourses_Cheapest [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 20:31 goatsahoy "What Animal Do You Lift?" is back online!

original post (from nine years ago): https://www.reddit.com/xxfitness/comments/27h7f0/what_animal_do_you_lift_a_web_app/
the calculator was offline for a long while but all the infra things are finally upgraded, you can once again track if you have progressed from squatting a svelte wildebeest to a fledgling pacific walrus!
why is this post-worthy?
  1. when this first went live, it had a delightful reception, and in this current climate, it feels even more important to offer moments of joy to people wherever possible
  2. there are no ads, there's no data tracking (much less selling), i am paying fully out-of-pocket for this app and it'd be great to know my money is going towards providing some fun to folks (i.e., the app is being used)
http://whatanimaldoyoulift.herokuapp.com
(sort of x-posted from fitness but it's still pending moderator approval)
submitted by goatsahoy to xxfitness [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 19:54 SwitchbladeLobotomy Always respect the forest when you go camping. (Part 2)

Part 1
It’s been a day, and still no sign of anyone coming by. I was really hoping to be writing this in the comfort of my home, but apparently there’s other plans for me.
I’ve been out of food and water, it’s all back at the campsite and I can’t rightly go back there.
I guess I’ll keep on reliving what was going on, maybe that’ll make time pass faster.
Ivy and I had dashed away into the woods, the late evening sun rushing through the trees alongside us. We heard the panicked yells and footfalls of our friends as they also fled, and we knew the ranger would likely be close behind us.
As fucked up as this is, I could only hope and pray that he’d follow after them instead of us.
We ran for what felt like an hour, but from the lack of darkness, I know it couldn’t have been that long. The sun was going down slowly, lazily, like it does in the summer. At least Ivy had killed the guy’s ATV, he’d have to follow on foot…
Although with how big the fucker was, his strides were probably long enough that was a negligible issue. Shit.
We stopped for a breather, the woods still eerily silent. We could no longer hear screams, or hurried footsteps. Just our breathing, trying as best we can to keep quiet.
After some time, we started moving again, slower now. The light was starting to fade, and we decided our best course of action was to try and walk back to the cars and go get help. Of course, there was hardly any signal at the cars, and absolutely none once we got into the woods proper, but we hoped we could get through to 911, if nothing else.
I looked to one side as I stood up, and on my left, I could see a phone flashlight cutting through the branches, bobbing with each step. From where it was being held, it likely wasn’t tall enough to be the officer. I squinted, and once it got a bit closer, I could make out the distraught features of Greg, Jeremy’s brother. His girlfriend, Loretta, was close behind. Both of them looked like they’d been crying, which was… understandable, I guess.
Greg looked at Ivy and I, squinting past his light. “You guys seen him?”
We both shook our heads, and Loretta rolled her eyes. “I told you we should just go, Greg.”
He snapped his head back to her, a glare on his face. “We all need to get out of here, babe. I don’t wanna leave anyone behind.”
Before Loretta could respond, the sound of metal scraping on metal was heard, like in a movie when a knife is pulled from a sheath. I turned my head again, and saw the large, imposing figure of the ranger.
He stood about ten feet off, holding a hatchet in one hand. “Hey, there, kiddos. Using lights at night in the forest can really disturb the local flora and fauna of this here forest.”
With that sentence that sounded straight out of a PSA, he Hurled the hatchet, the head of it finding purchase in Greg’s thigh. He let out a scream and collapsed to the ground, holding the handle of the small axe as he writhed on the ground. The ranger grinned, the last few rays of sunlight illuminating his face enough to let us see his sick joy at the turn of events.
Loretta screamed and bolted back in the way her and Greg had come, and he looked after her for only a moment, before looking at Ivy and I. “Go on, get the hell out of here! Go!”
Ivy hesitated for a moment, clearly wanting to help, but at the first footfall from the ranger, they nodded and took off, me following closely behind. As we took off, we could hear one last defiant shout from Greg.
“Fucking do it then! You goddamn freak! DO IT! Fucking ki-”
The word was cut off by the sound of impact on flesh, over and over. Eventually we ran far enough to escape the sound, and collapsed on the forest floor, breathing heavily.
We heard heavy footsteps treading, but not getting closer to us. They went parallel to us, eventually fading out into the night air.
We sat for about 20 minutes, listening for any sign of pursuit, or any sign of our friends. Right when we were about to get up and keep walking, we heard what sounded like a rope moving quickly? I can’t quite think of the words to describe it. It was close, we ran towards the sound and in about five minutes we saw Luke hanging upside-down from a tree, his bag resting on the ground near his head.
He looked at us as we approached, and quickly started shouting for help. Ivy and I both tried to shush him, but he wouldn’t listen, and we quickly heard the ranger making his way through the trees towards us again.
Luke seemed to realize what was coming, and he started screaming louder. Not for help, now, though. For Adam, for his mother, for God, anyone who could maybe hear him and send some giant eagles his way, so to speak.
The ranger emerged from the brush again, looking at his newly caught quarry with another grin. His uniform was stained with splatters of blood now, although his face was clean. His hatchet was tucked into his belt, now, and he was carrying a small bag on his back.
“Now, in this here forest we practice catch, tag, and release. These here snares are for catching, now I’ll tag, and then release.”
Luke tried to swing away from the man, but he reached behind the tree and pulled on a rope, and the snare gave suddenly, with Luke falling violently.
Due to his momentum in trying to swing away from the man, he didn’t land on his shoulder or have time to put his arms up to break his fall. He landed face first in the dirt, at a steep angle. His neck snapped, as did his back, and he folded over himself, his feet coming to rest near his head. His body gave one final shudder, and a wheezing, rattling gasp, before falling quiet.
The ranger cocked his head to one side, seemingly puzzled. I couldn’t help but think of a meme Ivy had sent me before this trip, asking why animals cock their heads when they see something strange.
What, does it make more sense at a 45 degree angle, bud?
The ranger coughed, still staring at Luke’s body. “Well. That, uh… Huh.”
He looked genuinely surprised, before shrugging and walking towards us.
Ivy, who’d been looking at Luke as well, a green tinge to their face, snapped their head up at the movement and bolted. I turned to watch them go, barely turning my head back to see the ranger swinging a fist at my head.
I yelped and dropped to my knees, barely dodging the swing. He snarled and tried to grab my hair, but I was able to dart between his legs and kick at the back of his left knee. He grunted and stumbled as I felt around wildly in the dirt. A solid stick, a rock, surely something here could help me…
The ranger stood back up, looming over me with a scowl. “Y’know, in this here forest we do our best to keep the paths clear. You’re not likely to find much that’ll help you bash my skull in, miss.”
He grabbed me by the shoulders and lifted me off the ground, dirt still between my fingers. Desperately, as he lifted me to his eye level, I ripped off his sunglasses with one hand, flinging dirt into his eyes with the other.
The ranger swore, dropping me and rubbing at his face. I took the opportunity and darted into the woods, in the general direction that I saw Ivy run.
Bedding down again for the night. Like I said, there’s barely any signal out here, all my calls have been dropping before they can get anywhere. Gonna try and conserve battery on my phone, keep my hazards on and hope that someone comes by.
submitted by SwitchbladeLobotomy to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 19:51 CavePrimeChariots2x Lily Chen + Down The Rabbit Hole

So I read somewhere that purchasing level 0 cards with DTRH still only costs you 1 XP, due to DTRH increasing the cost by 1 before the "minimum 1 XP" requirement comes into play. If this is true, that means you could, for example, have a Lily Chen deck where you start with 2x Vicious Blow, 2x Beat Cop and 1x Prepared For The Worst, then upgrade those Vicious Blows at a discount, then purchase 2x level 0 Dodge to fill your 5 level 0 Guardian slots back up at 1 XP each, then upgrade those at a discount next scenario, rinse and repeat?
I always thought DTRH was hard to use in EOTE investigators due to their deckbuilding, but this actually makes it way better than I thought.
submitted by CavePrimeChariots2x to arkhamhorrorlcg [link] [comments]


2023.06.10 19:32 AutoModerator [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download

[Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
➡️https://www.genkicourses.site/product/ry-schwartz-automated-intimacy/⬅️
Get the course here: [Genkicourses.site] ✔️Ry Schwartz – Automated Intimacy ✔️ Full Course Download
https://preview.redd.it/3js0aa0q5x4b1.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=a3598c2f6336e0e157edf5daf700737bf419d4c6

Courses proof (screenshots for example, or 1 free sample video from the course) are available upon demand, simply Contact us here
What You Get:
Automated Intimacy v3.0 – 5 Core Modules 6 Weeks of Access to the Private A/I Mastermind on Circle Extra Team License (for a business partner VA, OBM, marketer, etc.) Bonus: AI Alpha Launch Workshop. Bonus: Private Podcast Playbook & Fireside Chat w/ Chris Evans Bonus: Engineering The Enrollment Suite MODULE 1
The A.I. Revolution (aka Coaching The Conversion Reloaded)
In Module 1, you’ll be initiated into a revolutionary new way of thinking. You’ll move from a mindset of “closing clients” with blunt force tactics; to confidently leading and coaching their transformation between Point A and Point Buyer.
With this initial understanding; you’ll see how automation, behavioral triggers, and advanced segmentation allow you to identify and capitalize on the key moments of heightened receptivity where your prospects are most “coachable” towards the next conversion.
Highlights
Become initiated into the most updated version of the “Coaching The Conversion” messaging framework that’s been behind over 50M+ of course revenue for industry titans like Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman and Copyhackers. Learn the art and science behind Direct Response 2.0; and how to engineer profitable “conversion contexts” that exponentially increase your prospect’s ability to say “yes” Upgrade your messaging and channel strategy using The P.A.I.D. framework to know how and when to move a prospect from an automated sequence to a one-on-one chat How to use Advanced Touchpoint Theory™ to accelerate trust building and drastically shorten buying cycles Newtonian Marketing Vs. Quantum Marketing; and how the common sales funnel fails to measure up to the reality of how most prospects make empowered decisions MODULE 2
Empire Engineering
Most online businesses are built to win a single battle at a time; but ill-equipped to dominate an industry, let alone scale an empire.
In Module 2, we’ll walk you step-buy-step on how to engineer the tech side of your business for sustainable, exponential growth.
If you’re self-aware and energetically sensitive, you know that intentionality is everything. Unless you’ve built a powerful system that can sustain and match your vision; you’re not likely to get there.
Whether you’re in Stage 1 of building your empire; or ready to scale the sh*t out of it; we’ll walk you through the exact CRM systems you need to confidently double down on your marketing and enrollment efforts; knowing that every prospect that enters your ecosystem is well accounted for and given the best chance to convert.
Highlights
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about implementing an intelligent, growth-minded CRM that your current business coach was too afraid to show you. How to create a pro-level pipeline that gives you “real time” insight as to where every lead is in your enrollment process; allowing you to forecast revenue, identify opportunities; and finally feel like a real business. Why “lead-scoring” isn’t just for enterprise-level companies, but a must for reaching out to potential customers in the moment they’re most ready to receive it. Why configuring your sales and enrollment systems the way we show you; will give you crystal clarity over every lead in your business; allowing you to make smarter, more data-informed decisions rather than feeling lost, overwhelmed, and acting on impulse. MODULE 3
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 1): The Enchanting First Encounter
Back in 2009, subscribing to an email list meant something.
In 2023. urm. a bit less so.
In many cases, it’s a response to FOMO (of closing a landing page and not getting a lead magnet). The end result; prospects are more oversubscribed and under-committed than ever.
That’s why, In Module 3, you’ll be given two powerful playbooks for creating an enchanting first encounter that instantly sets you above any other coach or course creator they may be following or considering along with you.
Highlights
2 next generation “top funnel” conversion playbooks for accelerating trust, encouraging engagement, and amplifying resonance. The simple, 45 second protocol to do immediately when a new subscriber signs up that has been proven to boost opens, clicks and conversions by up to 300% How to seamlessly integrate your fb group with your email CRM to create a holistic view of EVERY potential customer in your business Why your traditional “welcome sequence” is dead, and doing little-to-nothing to ascend your lead; and what to do instead to accelerate the transformation from Point A to Point Buyer Why normal “engagement posts” do nothing but satisfy the algorithm; and how to create “ROI-Rich engagement experiences” that help you segment your list while synching valuable voice-of-customer data into your CRM. How to use Social Singularity™ to create a seamless experience between your facebook group and your email list. MODULE 4
Automated Conversion Ecosystem #1 (ACE 2): The Ascension Amplifier
The second Automated Conversion Ecosystem you’ll be working through overlaps with what’s traditionally referred to as “the middle of the funnel”.
A murky, purgatory state that’s often the longest, most confusing, and challenging to do effectively.
Many coaches and course creators have a bulk of their email list who will sit in this “in-between” state for 2, 3 or even 5 years before either becoming a customer or unsubscribing from the list.
With the strategies and playbooks you’ll implement in Module 4, you’ll help “pre-customers” cross that chasm much faster; and come to clearer, more confident, and more empowering decisions about you and your program.
Highlights
Conversion Playbook #3 – Social Singularity Pt. 2 (Channels: Fb Group, Email, DM) Conversion Playbook #4 – Webinar Registration Rev Up (Channels; Webinar, Email) Conversion Playbook #5 – The Lead-Score Lift Up (Email, DM)
submitted by AutoModerator to GenkiCourses_Cheapest [link] [comments]