Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Introduction to Zalchis

"It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere."
Andre Breton
This entry is in the process of being substantially revised and will be re-posted to Hereticwerks.

Zalchis is the incredibly ancient and thoroughly rotten core of a dying universe that is on the very last throes of its prematurely (and artificially) terminated existence.  Composed of a scarred and pitted ring accumulated from the debris, detritus and dust of countless lost worlds and forgotten solar systems, Zalchis encircles an intensely compressed and eternally ravenous inverted star --the Central Anti-Star--wreathed in the whorls of a decaying Maelstrom that grows more diffuse with each passing decade.

The universe of Zalchis is nearly dead, cruelly murdered by a mad and now nameless Tyrant.  Entropy stalks the outer perimeter of Zalchis like a great wolf, slavering in anticipation of the inevitable, inexorable end that everyone knows is coming.  Darkness permeates everything.  Even the few lingering suns that reel and roll along the circumference of the Great Ring, those few that haven't been captured and enslaved by the Seneschals, grow dimmer as they waver betwixt and between a death transfixed upon the black spires of the servants of an Absent Tyrant or the final spiralling descent into the Maelstrom and ultimate extinguishment at the very center point of what remains of their cosmos.

Eight Archons--whom some refer to as 'Carceraiads' or 'Carcerchons'--colossal beings who were once the Absent Tyrant's most faithful and loyal servants, writhe in agony deep within their gargantuan prisons, each one impaled upon an exquisite spire of smoky crystal. They maintain the energetic workings of the Great Ring and strive to hold the dread black anti-sun in its place so that the final, ultimate doom of Zalchis takes place as foretold, foreseen, and foreknown by the Veiled Harridans of Kashtoom, those wicked and depraved witches who once were the cenobite-concubines of the Absent Tyrant.  The Carcerchons are so single-minded in their suffering and their nihilistic struggles that anyone uttering the least of their Truenames is made to share in their terrible labors.  One does not call upon the Carcerchons, though sometimes powerful sorcerers have been known to trick their enemies into performing this very act of sheerest folly.  For this reason alone, it is not wise to blindly read the scrolls, tablets of codexes of the Adepts. 

But the Carcerchons and their prison-spires are ranged along the Inner Circumference of the Great Ring, each one precisely calibrated and arranged so as to face directly into the very hear of the black anti-sun they surround.  Few ever visit these forlorn and dismal places.  Fewer ever return.

The Outer Circumference of Zalchis is a vast and jagged wasteland lit only sporadically by the guttering rays of those suns that have been captured by the Seneschals who prey upon them.  The Seneschals command tremendous forces and possess awesome appetites as well, for they drain the captive suns of their energies and their vital essence and then cast them aside so that the smoldering embers to fall into the gapping maw of nothingness that awaits them at the very center of the Great Ring, past the swirling Maelstrom of debris that surrounds the black anti-sun.

Time is coming to an end in this accursed and doomed place.  Less than a thousand years remain to it.  Everything is finite here, fleeting, ephemeral, ending.  The universe of Zalchis is not only dying, but the final foretold date of its ultimate collapse into nothingness is known by all who remain in this place.  The calendar of Zalchis counts downwards to zero as this doomed, damned and mostly abandoned cosmos contracts and collapses bit by bit into oblivion.

The end is a certainty, a known thing; measurable, palpable, assured and as inevitable as death itself.  Those who could escape, have left.  Only the lost or the forlorn linger in Zalchis.  It is a cursed place, a fantastic curdled nightmare and a fatal abomination.

There are no cities here.

There are no safe places either.

Dreams stalk the dreamers and shadows walk freely with no one to cast them.  Science has collapsed under the weight of too many impossibilities, giving birth to strange new forms of sorcery and mad technologies rooted in nonsense and improbability.  What gods remain, one would be wise to avoid.

What manner of people remain in Zalchis?  What beings have any business traveling to this dying realm?  Who would brave the unnameable horrors of this penultimate sepulchre of a black void, this festering cesspit of cosmic horror--what fabulous and terrible things do they seek amidst the jumbled ruins of ten thousand-thousand worlds dashed to bits by the vortexes and aethyric currents that seethe and swirl just beyond the turbulent and dangerously broken skies of Zalchis?  Who is out there and what are they waiting for?


  1. Wow, how inspiring! It reminded me of Kult, but it sounds way cooler.

  2. We'll have to look into 'Kult,' is it a book or a movie?
    we're still working on stuff for Zalchis, but most of our short-term focus is over at hereticwerks, where we are building the pieces that dove-tail into Zalchis, like Bujilli, Wermspittle, and the Kalaramar Drifts...even Jalamere, eventually, if one knows the Way or find the Connection...

  3. Kult is a Swedish horror rpg, but I think there is an English translation available.

  4. Yes there were four U.S editions of the Kult RPG. You could say it is bleak gnosticism, heavily influenced by Clive Barker. The Demiurge has gone missing, and his Archons are running the show in his absence. This world bleeds into the Demiurge's ur-city of Metropolis, as well as to multiple Purgatories and the Inferno. As if all that wasn't enough, the Lictors - cenobitic servitors of the Archons - are charged with maintaining the Illusion, so that humans do not become enlightened and try to take charge of their own destiny.


  5. Okay; now I will have to see if I can track sown a copy of this game. I wasn't thinking of Clive Barker's stuff, but it definitely fits. Each of the Eight spires anchors an that's really parallel with the Demiurge's Metropolis. The Missing Demiurge also parallels the Absent Tyrant in more than a few ways, which is fun. Multiple Purgatories and Hell-pockets, check. The central vortex is far more of an Inferno than anything Dante imagined, so that could possibly be another parallel. But the business about illusions maintained to keep the inmates ignorant and unenlightened is about as opposite as you can get. There are no grand illusions left in Zalchis. Reality has been stripped bare and bleeding. the whole place is crashing, inexorably and irretrievably into oblivion and everyone left among the fragmented ruins gets to watch it happen right before they very eyes in real-time.

    The Carcerchons (Imprisoned Archons) are trapped, doomed and too much a part of the Great Ring--components in a monstrous machine--to be of any real influence outside their respective Uropolises, most of which are ruined, deserted or compromised by in-falling debris, in-fighting factions, or other micro-apocalypses and roving cataclysms.

    Zalchis bleeds, but mostly into an empty void. The vast majority of gates, portals and connections that once led outside are closed, shattered, broken or destabilized...and consequently extremely dangerous to attempt to they are collapsing one after another and eventually none will be left in operation as the whole place drops down the terrible gullet of the Anti-Sun bound into the central axis of the Great Ring...