The Emperor Of Many Voices
rating: +29+x

The Emperor of Many Voices

The Hive, The Gestalt Mind, The Collective Intelligence, The Network,
The Worm of the Flesh, GoI-8370, KTE-5891-Leviathan

Conspectus

Beneath the surface the monster lies,
Suppressing all its victims' cries,
Promising prosperity and perfection,
Intending to enslave all since inception,
Held and lost, his maddened prey rejoices,
For he is an Emperor of Many Voices.

- Angela Marques Silva, now taken from us.

Illustration

Hive.png

The Octagram sigil used by the Hive. Likely intended to evoke connection, the spanning of distance, and many becoming one. Occult significance of the eight-fold design unclear.

Knowledge

Traits: The Emperor of Many Voices has no physical form, and exists only within a network of human minds1 held in his2 sway. Many telepaths have tried to comprehend the Emperor of Many Voices, but little has been learned, since direct psychic contact almost invariably results in becoming one of the Emperor's subjects. The few that have returned with their will intact spoke of a regal being, far greater than any mortal mind and speaking with countless harmonised voices.

Subjects of the Emperor are not physically altered, although their allegiance is apparent to anyone with the ability to detect thoughts or perceive auras. There does not appear to be any way to resist or overcome the Emperor's influence, besides avoiding contact with him, although a few individuals appear to be immune to the influence of the Emperor of Many Voices. Since the criteria for this are unknown, testing one's own resistance is ill-advised.

Nature: While he claims to be beneficent, seeking only to unify mankind behind a shared vision of a better future, the Emperor is intent on the eradication of free will. Vassals of the Emperor of Many Voices retain their old knowledge, habits and personalities, but their priorities become re-aligned. This includes a concern for the suffering of mankind, a desire to create a better future, and a longing for his dominion to encompass most, if not all of humanity, and perhaps in time the entire multiverse.

The Emperor possesses the combined knowledge of all its subjects, sharing it between them to enable the creation of Wonders, invariably incorporating knowledge, expertise and techniques from multiple sources. These items are presumably created in service to the Emperor and his goals, and while a few have been seized or destroyed so far, the vast majority are still at large.

History & Associated Parties: The Emperor of Many Voices is believed to be the product of men.3 It is whispered that his empire was founded in the city of Bagdad, during a series of gruesome experiments that gave him his first voice.45

Since then, the Emperor of Many Voices has sought ways to expand his domain, and is believed to now count at least ten thousand voices among his subjects. He grows in power, knowledge and influence with each new vassal that bends the knee.

There are very few groups not connected in some way to the Emperor6 - there are only those that are aware and on guard, and those that are as yet ignorant of his intrusion. The Emperor is not truly allied or opposed to any of these groups. To the Emperor of Many Voices, there are only two categories - those that have become its subjects, and those that have not yet submitted.

Approach: The Emperor of Many Voices should not be approached, either physically or mentally. Prolonged proximity to one or more of the Emperor's subjects is the main way his network expands, and so the easiest way to evade him is to avoid suspected members, and minimise contact with unscreened individuals. However, as incautious telepaths have found, sustained psychic contact is an even more effective way of exposing oneself to his influence, and so it is strongly recommended that any mental connection is cut off as soon as his presence is sensed.

To prevent him from spreading beyond the confines of his reality of origin, subjects of the Emperor of Many Voices must be prevented from entering the Wanderer's Library,789 and the Serpent's Hand has instituted mandatory psychic screening of library patrons.1011

Observations & Stories

SPMax.png

"I don't want to sound judgemental, but the Maxwellian Church is too big a commitment to join just because you're going through a cyberpunk phase, so we always carefully screen new converts before we give them any physical augmentation. But those infected by the Worm always seemed like true believers - it wasn't until we connected them to the Network for the first time that we realised what was actually going on inside their heads. I've been able to block their Network access with Firewalls for now, and so far they haven't been able to spread digitally. I am concerned though - if the Flesh can upload a Worm into human minds without us noticing, we're in much more danger than I thought."
- Sysadmin JAX, of the Church of Maxwellianism.

"Lolly, if it'll stop you from bothering me, I guess I can say something…12 We've had a couple of them try to join the Circus. There was obviously something off about them. I looked into them. I saw they were part of something much bigger, and I wanted them out of my Circus immediately. That's probably not the last we've seen of them, but I know what I'm looking for now."
- The Man with the Upside Down Face at Herman Fuller's Circus of the Disquieting

humanist-gentlemen%20circle.png

"We Gentilshommes Humanistes seek, before all else, the advancement of the human condition. In this pursuit, one cannot expect l'Homme Meilleur to remain the same as before. He will be transformed in ways scarcely imaginable to the unenlightened man.1314 My body had already been much improved by the Gifts we Gentilshommes share, but until recently I was unaware of how limited my mind still was. My friend, this association you call the Emperor is not to be feared. He has much to teach us, if you would only be willing to listen to his voice."
- Louis Beauvoir, of the Humanist Gentlemen15

"They've been after me for a while now, but I'm rather hard to pin down."
- note added to this draft while unattended on a table in the Library, signed L.S.

magierakademie-symbol.png

"I'm not sure what you're using at the Library, but here at the Academies we find a basic See Into Thought spell is sufficient to spot these infiltrators among our staff and students.16 Unfortunately, purifying the infected has been much more difficult than anticipated - the influence does not seem to be astral, demonic, elemental or necromantic, so we're still researching ways to perform an exorcism. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but do not trust in conventional warding to keep you safe. It would be a terrible shame for the Wanderer's Library to be overrun by these creatures!"
- Grandmaster Weber, of the Mages Academy.

"The Hive? Well, they started with industrial espionage and trespass, and now that they've stolen our intellectual property, they've started disgracing our good name with their cheap knock-offs. I mean, our industrial designs are a harmonious symphony of magic and machinery. Using that to make Cereal Bars is just insulting!"
- Magistra Marisa Borba, Chief Quality Engineer for Thaumaturgic Works Nr. 9 of the Technothaumaturges.

Doubt

It has been reported that on rare occasion the Emperor has conscripted new minds to his cause almost instantaneously. This may be an exaggeration, or simply one of the Emperor's own lies, designed to demoralise us. However, this rumour must be taken seriously - there is no such thing as a safe amount of contact with the Hive, and anyone that tells you otherwise is either one of them already, or likely to become one soon. - O.R.

I'm rather shocked at the hostility and suspicion here. I'd expect that reaction from Essie P. or the Geo Sea, but we're the Serpent's Hand - are we really just going to try to avoid them? Can't we find a way to get along? - L.L.1718

If it truly is a Gestalt Mind,19 it's inaccurate to conceive of "the Emperor" as an entity separate from its "subjects". Rather than having its own agenda, this being would merely be the psychic manifestation of a collective will. This may explain why their network expands so slowly, rather than trying to assimilate the entire world as rapidly as possible. If that's the case, we need to discuss whether the best course of action is for us to join the Hive now, and guide its future development. - R.Wn.2021

Personally, I understand the need for caution, but you're ignoring the many ways that this "Emperor" can be of use to us, if kept at a safe distance.2223 The Hive is as much an enemy of the Jailors and the Bookburners as we are, but they happen to be an enemy within. I have contacts in the Hive - they have intel on all of our foes, and they're willing to share it.2425 So far all they've asked for in return is for the occasional copy of a book. - Wt.Cr.2627

Banning them from the Library seems a little extreme. We share the space with many others just as dangerous as this "Emperor", but the Library truce has held so far. We simply need to lay down ground rules to prevent them from spreading their influence to patrons of the Library - A.Ny.282930

That's a reasonable point. There must be some way for us to send people we trust to meet with representatives of the Emperor - at a safe distance, of course. The last thing we need is another enemy, this delicate situation clearly requires a diplomatic solution. - S.C.31

I came to the Library in pursuit of knowledge. I have learned much, but there is a limit to what one mind can contain. You talk as if the Emperor is a tyrant to be feared, but the Emperor is merely the collective will of thousands of minds, his strength merely their united purpose made manifest. A mind that joins the Hive is not lost, no more than a droplet is diminished by becoming part of the ocean. You cling to your division and dissent, but only because you've forgotten our creed. The anomalous is on the rise. You cannot hold back the future forever. - A.B.323334

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License