The Lands Nobody Returns From
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rating: +36+x

Written by Ralliston and Uncle Nicolini

.

29th September, 2003 (?)

Thought I'd write my own thoughts in this journal. Might help me figure things out. Hopefully.

I woke up, having felt a call. I didn't know who or where I was. The call, that's all I felt.

Coming somewhere from above the hell I found myself in, it called me, like a lamp to a moth. It felt like I'd woken up from a million-year sleep among the endless skeletons I died alongside in the Endless War we fought down here. I've risen, moved by the message it broadcasted. I knew it meant only one thing: to fight.

Something deep within me told me I had to, knowing there will be no next chance after this one. After you don't listen to the universe the second third (???) second time it saved you, that's on you, I feel. And so I did, marched like an automaton towards the beacon of my Queen, only to witness her slaying the Beast that locked us in here, finding a path towards the Aboveground. With her endless hordes, I walked, climbing my way into the land of the Sun, digging the dark dirt with my comrades until we saw it ourselves, with our very own lack of eyes.

It was beautiful.

The city we emerged in was a sight to behold, crammed with people like I'd never seen walking among its streets. I knew what a human was, of course, despite my lack of memory, but tall folks with wings and big eyes and the Nightdwellers felt like something straight out of a fantasy book. But all of it was true.

The city was no different — I walked endless miles, lost among its fantastical Districts and alleys, exploring the unbelievable wonders it offered. It felt like a dream, being able to touch the buildings and architecture that felt like it was built by those Fae. It felt like their city, a place I was an intruder to. Before I could react, days passed, and I was once again alone, stranded by my companions, doomed to explore the shadows on my own.

Easterberg Esterburg Esterberg, that's what it's called. That's where I am, forever lost.

TO DO:

  • Figure out who I am;
  • Figure out what Esterberg is;
  • Figure out how to get out of it.

.

2nd October, 2003 (✓)

The city is absolutely gigantic. There's more to it than just the parts in the walls.

Turns out the entire city is built within (upheld by? nested in? no clue) a pocket reality next to an actual city in the baseline. Tshestochowa, it's called (I think; Polish pronunciations are weird), and it's much more normal than Esterberg. From what I could gather, it looks like I'm inside what's called a "Free Port" (in capital letters); basically, a safe enclave for weirdness. Which means there's more of them.

But I digress — if you leave the actual city city part, you can still wander for ages through plains and forests around it for hours. From what I've heard, there are even entire villages somewhere out there. The bubble of reality does end after a few tens of kilometers though. But it's not like it's worth leaving. Not yet, at least.

I tried to leave through one of the entrances to see where I actually ended up (there's five of them, one for each District),1 but to no avail. Was told I shouldn't leave unless I want to get caught. No clue by whom, but unless I want to get fucked again, that's a no-no. At least for when I still don't know who I am.

But I hopefully know where to search for help with exactly that: at Inventor's Ingredients (biggest tavern in town, set in the Market District, run by someone named Gwyneth; not sure of their first name). Folks 'round there probably have one clue or more about how this world works and how the Legion I came from operates (heard more and more rumors about Surratt — the name of our queen — taking over more and more of the city; maybe will get the chance to meet her there too?), so that might be a clue.

I found myself some new clothing; the robe with ten bullet holes (did I die like that? first time, I mean; potential clue, unsure, keep in mind) was not a good outlook, especially around the better areas. A bare skeleton walking aimlessly doesn't exactly give off a good impression. Got a coat with many pockets from one of the dumpsters. And I stole a wide brimmed hat from one of the shops in the District. It looks good.

1. Remember that.

TO DO:

  • Find more information about these Free Ports and what they mean;
  • Find myself contacts to potentially find more info about myself;
  • Figure out who I am.

.

4th October, 2003

Sidenote: It's spelled Częstochowa. (ę = eu, cz = ~tsch)

Felt the most peculiar sensation today. The feeling of vaguely remembering a dream, but the moment you try to grasp onto it, it fades away is one I'm very familiar with. Met a man at the Grand Market today. Black hair, white gloves (with runes on them? I think?), doesn't look a day over 30. Was walking alongside a red-haired woman somewhere. They talked about some "Mag" and some date. No clue what it meant. They wore weird coats with a three-arrow symbol (not the first time I saw it: remember to ask around about it) on it. Gave me déjà vu.

Point is, the moment I looked at them, something deep within me felt like it knew them. Something, just like that dream metaphor, made me unconsciously twitch my nonexistent muscles in a visceral reaction I shouldn't have felt. I don't know what it meant, but just seconds later it was gone as if it had never been there.

But the reaction and its lack of sense is not the most worrying thing about it, though. The worst part is that I don't know how I know that it's dream-like. I don't need to sleep.

Tried to shake it off with another walk around the city; found out more about Free Ports. Even got myself a map from one of the arrow-logo people (got just two more for good measure, will attach one of them below) and a brief explanation, I guess. This one's — Esterberg, I mean — mainly focused around what they call Sidhae and SCP-1000 (Fae and the furry folks, respectively) as their enclave in Europe. There's much more of them than I thought there was, each focused around something else1 but I still can't get to them without leaving the city first. Guess they'll have to wait.

1. Remember the big ones: Tree Three Portlands is the science-magic one, Eurtec is the cyberpunk one, and La Rue is the swamp (???) one.

TO DO:

  • Find out more about the arrow-logo folks;
  • Find myself contacts to potentially find more info about myself;
  • Figure out who I am.

.

nexusmap.png

.

5th October, 2003

Just realized something — I haven't lost my memory. I've lost my soul.

I still remember how the world works, even the stupid things like math and things. But nothing more personal. I'm a nobody now. There's no soul inside me, no memories of past hobbies, friends, family, nothing. There's just nothing. An instruction of how the world works, given to an infant, born anew the third1 second time, grounded enough to help me not die, but too abstract to allow me to truly accomplish anything.

WHO THE FUCK AM I?



I've come to terms I don't know, and the fact that I will never know. That's the point of a third chance, isn't it? You don't just look in the mouth of a gifted deus ex machina. I don't know anymore. I probably shouldn't try to become the one I was before, because, well, why? If I was given this life anew, there had to be some reason, right?

Frankly, I just have no idea.

On a different note though, I know who these arrow-logo peeps were. "The Foundation;" bunch of assholes only caring about putting the worlds to their little order. Even got one of their "Sites"2 around Esterberg I've heard. It was their 120th, I think? No clue.

Point is they're a bunch of fuck-heads with severe megalomania problems. But, hear me out — this also means they want to control knowledge. Which means they might know more about me.

I know I shouldn't, but I want to. Nay, I need to.

If all goes well, I'll try to follow one of their personnel and see what that might give me. In the worst-case scenario, I'll just have to get back to square one — aka planning on going to Inventor's. And hey, that's not that bad anyway, so why not?

1. For some reason, each time I type about this being my third second chance, something deep within me autocorrects it to "third".
2. Their name for their bases of operation.


TO DO:

  • Get myself to Site-120;
  • Find myself contacts to potentially find more info about myself;
  • Figure out who I am.

.

7th October, 2003

Tomorrow's the big day.

I have practically everything planned; all I need to do is follow that red-haired Foundation woman back into her little Site with just enough agility to not be detected, see what they've got in theyr database about me, and get back out. Easy, right?

Of course it isn't.

I don't know what I'm doing anymore, but, honestly, there's no other way. Either I live a nobody or become a person, and this is how I stop myself from never being anyone.

I got all the info I need with as much equipment as I possibly could get. Said equipment mainly being a paratech crossbow and a few knives and explosives from the same source that I stole from one of the traders from 3ports in case I'd need to defend myself. I'd ask the seller if they mind my little borrowing, but I don't think he even noticed.

I know where their Site is, I know how to get to it, I have all the things I need. All that needs to be done now is to follow that researcher in a way she won't notice, get into the building, read a few files, and get out.

Inhale, exhale. Except I don't need to.

Just be calm. Nothing good was ever done on a panicked mind. I can do this.

TO DO:

  • Get myself to Site-120;
  • Find myself contacts to potentially find more info about myself;
  • Figure out who I am.

.

8th October, 2003

I'm in.

I don't know how and I don't know how much time I have left. I'm near their terminals. Don't know how, but I ended up with something I think might be relatively important on my hands.

"Nobody"

nobody1.png

Overview: Little is currently known the collective known as "Nobody," with the only constant between its "hosts" (or manifestations) being the identity (or a lack thereof) of "Nobody," an unknown entity seeking hosts to deprive of identity for the sake of obtaining a singular goal, leaving them the moment it's fulfilled. At the time of writing, the Foundation is aware of approximately 23 such individuals throughout history; however, ever since Iteration-ל (23rd) death due to [REDACTED]1 on 22/12/2002, no 24th iteration (currently unnamed) so far has been found. The search for it is currently considered a priority. Any and all connections towards PoI-001-C ("Queen M

1. Literally read just that, [REDACTED]; not sure what it meant, but if I was guessing, the girl that previously used the terminal was not too important to know.

.

8th October, 2003

That's all I got.

That singular paragraph of information was all I had time to copy safely before they would notice me. I don't know what I feel.

I'm not nobody. I'm Nobody (god, that sounds so fucking stupid). I don't know what to do with that fact. If every one of us (us? me? them?) has some goal, what is mine? What must I do to… satisfy the true Nobody out there? Is that even a thing? Will I die after I do that? Who is that "Queen" listed in the dossier?

None of that is of value. What really matters is that there are more Nobodies out there, and we need to stick together, because that's all we've got. I'm no longer a lost soul, but a Nobody with a purpose; and if that purpose won't come to me, I will give one to myself. And it starts with me finding the rest of myself somewhere out there.

TO DO:

  • Find the other Nobodies;
  • Figure out what my true goal is.

.

9th October, 2003

I know where the rest are.

I went back to Inventor's because my trail went dim, and that's when I found her. I don't know who she was at the time — I still don't, frankly — but she reeked of power. Power and ancient knowledge, so differentiating her from the other thugs and smugglers filling its rooms. Her robes and posture were unmistakably that of someone that knew everything about the mysterious world I tried to gaze into. And so, I came closer with appropriate respect and asked her about my troubles.

At first, she didn't really react (after all, why would a powerful Fae mage care about a random barely-dressed skeleton bothering her?), but when I mentioned the "Queen" as a final resort, she was immediately interested, almost panicked. She asked me how I knew of her and who I was, to which I replied I'll only say if she answered my question. With a sigh, she did, telling me of "a banishing place of those I seek" (direct quote) and how she knew someone from within "the Forest." I raised my nonexistent eyebrow, but didn't ask, instead bringing forth the question as to how to get there.

When she replied with the want to actually know who I was and how I knew of the Queen as I promised, something deep within me made me say I'm "the Hunter" (it sounds dumb as hell, I know, but… it worked) and that "I seek the nobodies to unite myself with my lost people and end their misery." I was spouting nonsense, but she was visibly moved, as if I said something she thought to be important. She blinked twice, and told me she can lead me to them, but I needed to prepare, because "the Queen is still there, trying to end the prisoners of her hell even all those years after" (yet another direct quote).

I don't know what that means and what I fully got myself into, but I'm too deep to step out, and that's as much of a clue about myself as I'll ever get. Something… strange within me makes me want to go in. Butterflies in my soul, pushing me to meet my own kind.

Tomorrow, I go in.

TO DO:

  • Find the other Nobodies in "the Forest;"
  • Figure out what my true goal is.

.

Prepared like he'd never been, he walked into Inventor's for the second time in his life, heart full of many thoughts; of fear, of nervousness, but most importantly — of excitement. He took a deep breath, walking through its threshold, exhaling again only upon exchanging looks with the woman. He was ready.

It only took a few words between them to set everything up — most of the agreement remained unsaid, but one thing was certain: she couldn't help him within the Forest. There, he would be alone. She wouldn't risk that much for a stranger.

With just a snap of her fingers in an alleyway hidden from view, the fabric of reality momentarily shattered as a green line formed a circle within the boundaries of existence. It cut away its insides, playing with the strings that made the world what it was, and the gateway to his destination was ready. He walked through.

Where he went, Nobody didn't see his own people. Instead, he saw fear.

Hundreds if not thousands of broken people with their bodies twisted into forms that mocked them, forever trapped in a hell designed by their own queen. They screamed with not insanity or fear, but with sadness, tainting their green prison with world-shattering sorrow. Endless sadness of their lost world, pouring from every single one of them.

With a heavy heart, he walked along the path, piercing the shroud of their trap, trying to aid a single one of the lost souls, only to be met not with hostility. He felt like he needed to aid them — he wasn't sure why, but… something deep within made him care. He felt that, at a certain level, they were the same. Soulless vessels left by the universe to rot, forever stranded between life and death.

With each step he took deeper into the forest he saw more despair until sorrow was all he could feel. It overwhelmed him, trying to make him one of its prisoners. And that's when he understood.

The people trapped here weren't aggressive by choice; they were like an animal caught in a trap, desperate enough to chew its own leg off just to escape what awaited it. If he had eyes, he would weep. Not because he was an emphatic person, no, but because he could not bear what felt like his own people suffering.

For days he walked the only path there was, marching tirelessly to find something, nay, anything that would explain this place. But, for each time he looped around the endless road the path was, he did not understand anything more.

Only after his hundredth journey around the domain of the nameless did he realize that to truly become one with them and be able to help his people, he must become what they truly feel. With a heavy heart, he disobeyed the mage's instructions, stepping out of the only safe path into the forest to aid one of the hurt people.

At first, the entity that once had been a Fae was terrified at who Nobody was, screaming into the skies about how the Queen will never get them, trying to use one last-ditch effort to save themselves from a doom far worse than their current fate. But Nobody didn't double back; instead, shushed them, coming closer while attempting the skeletal equivalent of a smile. The only response he got was shock at the fact the Forest did not take him as a punishment for disobeying its sacred rules, but when he told them who he was, they immediately understood everything, calming down in a matter of seconds.

He asked what happened, pointing at their wound, only to hear a trembling voice speak of the Queen taking control of some of the inhabitants of her hell in an attempt to kill them, this time for good. He nodded with understanding, and asked one simple question — "Where is the Queen?" He did not know why, but something deep within him — deep within the soul of Nobody, the soul of the Hunter, and the soul of the nameless that felt like a part of their kin — told him he needed to go there.

And the Nameless showed him.

With his crossbow ready he walked where they pointed him to, approaching one diseased spawn of Mab after the other, pulling the trigger of his sacred weapon over and over until the accursed were free of her mocking touch. He purified every one of the unfortunate he met on his path, his bolts soaring through the sky like lightning smiting sinners. He didn't want to do this, for they were his people, but there was no other way.

In just a matter of what felt like millennia, they were gone. The Forest was once again free of the Queen's touch, making it the holy sanctuary it should be once again.

That was when he felt it — an entity he could feel was evil incarnate, seeping into the man-shaped hole in place of his soul. It told him of everything it could give him, should he simply provide it with a host. It told him parts of his real name and the stories about who he once had been, saying it could give him all of that back and more if he was kind enough to let it in for one simple second.

It showed him everything and everywhen in the void it was, shrieking the name of time itself in a final attempt to take him over. But it was all futile. With one final bolt of his weapon, he pierced its very essence. And then everything went silent.

He did not kill it, no; nothing nor anyone could fully kill a demon so powerful, but he destroyed all of her essence which remained in the Forest, freeing the forever-wandering from their pain. At least for now — he knew she would return, wanting to destroy them one more time. Their still-namelessness wasn't good for her. She needed more. And yet, despite all of this, deep within him, he felt his mission there was complete.

He came back to the fellow to whom he gave the promise of revenge, telling them of all that he'd done. At first, they did not believe him, thinking him a liar — but the scars on his bones and damage done to his coat were enough evidence on their own. They took a deep breath, and, as a sign of thanking him for what he'd done, they told him of his real name in a way a human could understand.

His name was Damien Nowak.

But that sentence carried one more message: a call to war with of a group he'd hesitate to call anything but the spawn of the devil himself. A group so foul as to wish to bring the Queen back into reality, to cast this fate onto every single living being it would find. Nobody shuttered, realizing what a threat this was.

Triumviraté.

He knew what had to be done. He swore to them he shall not rest until they were eradicated from this Earth, forever. As a sign of the truthfulness of what he said, he told the Fae they could take his name if they simply wished to. But, despite their situation, they refused, saying that the name he had was his and his only, telling him he now had a goal to fulfill.

.

12th October, 2003

My name is long gone, and I am no longer who I had been so long ago. I do not care who I was before, for what once was is now lost. The universe gave me a second chance, and I shall listen to what it told me. I am Nobody, I am the Hunter, and there is only one thing left for me to do, my holy goal to fulfill as Nobody Iteration-η, an objective I shall strive towards until the day I die.

TO DO:

  • DESTROY TRIUMVIRATÉ.




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