Savek supplicates before the obelisk. It looms over her, listing from the cave entrance into the bruise-colored sky. Its black metal surface writhes and undulates like wormflesh. It whispers of victory and transcendence.

<<To claim evolution one must be unmade.>>

The throb of Ether courses through her prone form. She can feel the longing itch of her arm stumps that yearn for regrowth. Sickly sweet Ether leaks from her body, mixing with that of her crewmates.

<<Flesh and mind are but cages—become unbound, or remain ever unworthy.>>

Savek's claws dig convulsively into the grainy dirt as her body ruptures. Her skin gives a grisly rip as her viscera expands beyond its confines. The thick glow of Ether is joined by another more ravenous force. Plasm spurts from connective tissue as her body swells, molting and regrowing in an eruption of chitin.

<<Your prison of the flesh is being unmade, your mind freed—such glories do not come easy.>>

<<Allow the flesh to give of itself, that it may surrender to the coming evolution.>>

There, kneeling before her new god, Savek's mind is broken and remade in continuous motion. She watches as her memories are deconstructed into images without association. She observes her identity dissected into the unknowable motives of a stranger. She watches herself transform from She into It.

<<You will know—through the pain, through the fear—there is no longer a you that was, only what comes next, and all the pain to follow.>>

<<As the old self falls away there will be only suffering.>>

It raises its head for the first time, and finds the tower likewise transformed. The black spire opens like a birthing cavity, yawing forth a new realm. The breach draws the creature into a massive cathedral hall with malachite suns roiling overhead. Here, the whispers are all-consuming.

<<As the old self falls away there will be only suffering.>>

<<There will be only suffering.>>

<<Only suffering.>>


Category: Book: Call of the Cryptolith