Meditations on the Void
She sat, her legs crossed, on the floor of the temple. Her body was faced towards the rippling void that sat where the altar should be in such a place, but to the denizens of this shrine, it was a deliberate decision. Of course the best showing of their God’s power and divinity should occupy the highest place of worship among the Null. She had given all that she was to the void. She had been raised amongst this order, it was all she had ever known, and all she wanted to know.
As a child, she was praised for her single-minded devotion. She had given herself over to the void. Not in the simplistic, physical way that many followers did. They would sacrifice a finger, a toe, perhaps even a whole hand, into the void, having it consumed by divine power, living on with a part of them inside the void forever, joined to their God’s power. She envied those chosen by her God to devote themselves in their entirety to him, who leapt, body and soul, into his divine destruction. She had not yet delivered a single part of her body to her God. That was not her path. At least, not yet.
She had prayed daily to her God, seeking his guidance, praying that he may guide her to give herself to him. When her God spoke back though, the voice in her mind only told her it was not her time. She had more duties to perform in this world before she could be joined unto him.
She had grown with this conflict inside herself, striving to earn the Great One’s favour more so that she may become chosen. Over time, her devotion had proved itself in other ways though. She now found herself the head of the Order of the Void, the highest priestess in this temple. She, like the leaders of the other temples, only bowed to the High Priest and the Great One himself, and the High Priest was so ancient and detached, he hadn’t issued a decree to the other temple leaders since their predecessors praised the Great One.
Her acolytes and priests praised the void in her temple. The absence of all things, and to them, the truest form of divine power. Unlike her followers who gave parts of themselves physically, she had given herself to the void in other ways. Piece by piece, she had given her griefs, her passions, her loves, bit by bit, until everything inside her except her faith had been fed into the void. She was only known as the Priestess of the Void now, for she had given even her name. She cared not though, she only cared for her God, and for the swirling purples of his destruction before her eyes. Though she believed she had given all of her hopes, part of her still longed, for one day… one day she would join the void.
“Your duty is not done. Not today.”
But one day it would come.
Perhaps today was the day. The Priestess of the Void sat in meditation before the swirling void. She felt her mind entering the void, the voice in her mind slowly talking, guiding her meditation, her faith feeding back into her God, communing with him.
Then the world itself shook. Not the ground like an earthquake, but as though every piece of consecrated ground wavered, as if it may all become part of the void all at once, before stabilising. Her God’s voice stuttered for a moment, its pitch changing, no longer the calm guide to his devotee. Something had changed. Then her God’s voice went silent.
It only lasted a moment, but to the Priestess of the Void, it was like an eternity. She froze in place. Her God’s voice never left. Her eyes snapped open to see the terrified eyes of her congregation staring back at her. She opened her mouth to reassure them, but without her God guiding her, she could think of nothing to say. She was not so heretical as to speak her own words without guidance.
Then her God’s voice snapped back into her mind. The world returned to how it should be. His voice was now filled with rage, but it wasn’t directed at her. She could see in her congregation that He returned to all of them now.
“There are heretics entering our sacred realm,” His voice boomed through the consciousness of all in the temple. “Go forth in sacred glory and expel them from wherever they seek refuge from the Faith.”
The Priestess of the Void knew how heretics were to be dealt with. She stood, as guided by her God, and her priests stood with her. They followed her, out of the temple, marching on the path she knew to be where her God wanted her to step. She had walked these grounds around her temple in meditation and pilgrimage a hundred times before. Cresting to a plateau above the temple, she could see out across the Null’s domain. In the distance, the horizon was different though. Instead of the swirling black and purple that was the sky of the Null’s realm, in the distance the sky had a great tear across it. It felt wrong for this world, so curated by a higher power.
She halted, as guided by her God, as did the rest of her priests gathered behind her on the plateau, awaiting further guidance. Then she felt the gathering of power all around her. Not the power of destruction, the face of her God that she most worshipped, but His power nonetheless. The plateau on which she and her priesthood stood broke from the ragged mountaintop. She watched as another section of the realm repositioned itself below them to take the plateau’s place, as the plateau, with the priesthood along with it, shifted miles ahead, closer to the rift in reality ahead of her.
A cloud of dust burst up as the plateau settled in front of the shattered edge of the world. All around, the power of the Null grew only further, forming together into tendrils of divine power. Many of the priests dropped to their knees in praise of the divine power on display, prostrating themselves before the godly made physical.
Then the tendrils burst forth, rushing into the shattered rift, and disappearing into whatever was on the other side. The Priestess knew her duty, and began her march forward again. She felt a moment of hesitation as she reached the rift, but continued forward as commanded. Crossing the rift brought a strange sensation with it, but only lasted a moment before she burst out the other side, tendrils flanking either side of her. It was bright here, as though she was inside the High Temple with divine light shining through on her. She blinked until her vision cleared. The sky was a strange bright blue, and the ground below her feet was blasted earth. Ahead of her, she saw a great hulking piece of machinery, scanning back and forward. It was focused ahead of her though, across that raw dirt. Beyond it were strange fortifications of earth and steel, wires covered in barbs, and heavy obscuring metal shapes. Even further, a series of holes and bags of dirt obscuring a swarm of beings. None of them were dressed in the garb of the Null, and she saw no holy symbols among them. The strange metal contraption in front of her shined light and added new metallic shapes to itself as if from nowhere, though none of them showed any signs of the Great One.
She bared her teeth. Finally, she had found true heretics. A loud bang echoed out, as if announcing the start of a new era. The Priestess began to run forward. To her sides were tendrils of the Great One. Behind her, her priesthood. She would rid this world of heresy, and any other world that dared show such heresy before the true God.