Late To The Party
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Ryngl'ax and its many unknowable faces undulated and surged through the emptiness of space. Ten-thousand tentacles each lined with one-hundred hungry maws writhed and gnawed at the endless abyss that surrounded them, salivating at the thought of a feast of souls. A fruitful bounty awaited in the far distance, the end of their journey, to one lonely arm of the Milky Way.

For nearly 3,500 years, Ryngl'ax The Devourer had lurked, locked away in the vast emptiness of space awaiting his call: Apakht. The Final Siren. The End Of Everything. And at last, its patience was rewarded and the sign had come as the lock was opened.

Endless eons of dreamless sleep shuddered and came to a halt as its eye, large enough to rival the Moon, fluttered open and took in the light of the universe for the first time in centuries. Infernal engines of corruption and evil, older than time itself, whirred to life within the beast as the dust of ages began to break away. A churning pit of white-hot plasma, hot enough to burn away the souls of Man, strained from within its form as it hungered for new fuel.

Ryngl'ax Hundred-Mouths, The Devourer, The Hungerer, they had called it by this and many other names in generations long past. When last its names were spoken, man was young and the skies were strange with god and myth. They looked to the heavens and saw the faces of their creators, the faces of their devourers, and they offered supplication and appeasement to their divine and terrible forms.

The tongue went to Gol'amphus The Gluttonous so that man might forget the evils they have spoken.

The eyes went to Am'ra'val The All-Finder so that man might forget the evils they have seen.

The testicles went to Bor-Xxyhtn so that man might forget the evil desires they held within.

But for Ryngl'ax, the most special meal was offered last: the heart. All of man's fears, hopes, and dreams lay within that seat of the soul. A strong soul, one good with the gods, would find the power within them to leave such trappings behind. The soul's of the wicked, the scornful, the cowardly, waited out their pitiful fate unable to escape. Ryngl'ax could only salivate at the thought of tasting such sweet meat again, his all-ending caress pulling the last organ from a desiccated corpse and tasting its sin. It was this thought and this thought alone that kept his maddening form propelling through the void.

Earth was so distant. Not even a speck on the horizon. So far away as to be a nearly infinite distance, yet but merely a stone's throw by comparison to the wondrous scale of creation. How long until he would finally arrive?

How long until his godly form would hug the walls of the Great Temple Spire of Ahp-Rakh Ka and feel it quake as it strained to contain his power?

How long until the dulcet screams of amassed humanity would fill the skies and soothe its weary mind?

How long until the Festival of Tears would be celebrated in his name once more as countless living mourned the evermore countless dead?

How long until home?

Time was meaningless to a thing such as this, but it was all it could do to count the seconds and feel them pass. Closer it drew, but Earth grew no larger, still but an infinitesimal speck in a distant backdrop of stars.

Closer it drew as it flew with great rapidity, but Earth grew no larger.

Closer it drew, but that which was far off only seemed…further.

Further and faster, Ryngl'ax sped through the blackness as desperation mounted. Further and further, until it all faded away but its goal; even the hunger within it cowed to the focus and sharpness of singular intent that now possessed this thing called Ryngl'ax.

Stray protons, lost asteroids, rogue planets. Like two ships passing in the night, The Devourer surged past them as the wake of its maddening presence churned the astral waters. It would arrive home. Soon. Home had to be soon. It had to.

They must have lost his invitation, forgotten to call. Must have left it behind. A mistake, of course.

Stars, planets, and stellar phenomenon that would mystify and entrance all but the least curious in creation passed beyond him like lazy set pieces; None of them were home. None of them were home.

The dinner bell had rung and its tummy grumbled at the mere memory of meals long since done satisfying. One seat at the table would be left unclaimed. The distance grew between them grew.

Hungry. Alone. Adrift.

It seemed as if Ryngl'ax would be late to the party.

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