Updated: Apr 10
(or the writings and memoires of Egil the Shape-shifter)
‘I know I exist. I can feel myself existing, for god’s sake! How could I not be alive?’ is something I hear fairly often on this slump of a planet, Miskerland. But that’s really the question, innit? After all, nobody can ever really be sure they exist… Not since information’s come to light, proving that our very existence as a whole may be a lie. A hoax. Just a fib, from those who’ve, essentially, been keeping this from us for centuries. Information though… it comes with a heavy price; one I perhaps would not have paid if I’d known its actual weight. I should not let myself get distracted though.
For Miskerlanders, the price they have to pay is… their untimely demise. The Void always guarantees it. Well, if I’m to be fair, I should tell you that the Void guarantees the death of everyone and everything. It just gets to some harder than to others. One day it might even get to you. Although for the Void to set its target on you… you have to have learned too much for your own good. That’s how it is right now and how it’s likely always been.
Once the Void swallows you up, you lose it all: your thoughts, your memories, your hopes and dreams. Your mind’s erased and all you can do is run. That’s all there is to it. The Haar chases you endlessly. It’s a personal hell made especially for those who’re too nosy. Too curious. It’s not curiosity who killed the cat, not really. It’s the Void who’s done it in - since the Haar is just its way of punishing you. Demeaning you and showing you that you weren’t fast enough. Fast enough to escape his wrath. So you’re doomed to an existence of ceaseless pain and agony. ‘Sounds like the usual Monday for me’ you might be thinking, eh? Well, settle down! I assure you, this isn’t a joke. The Void’s been here since the start of the Galaxy. Hundreds of species have died at its… well… fog. All for the same reason. My working hypothesis for now is that the Void gets sicced onto those that have stumbled upon ground-shattering secrets, pieces of information, cover-ups, and such. His interference is only ever observed when hunting down the odd conspiracy theorist. But those people are, ironically, at times, onto something.
What’s that? How do I know about the Haar, if it’s, as I said, ‘an endless hell’? Thing is, you don’t have to be inside of the Void to see the Haar - Void’s oft transparent nature allows people to see what’s on his inside, acting like a window. And these very few people that have come into contact with the Void and survived all tell a story of a black mist-like substance floating around in there and tormenting everyone.
The beginning of my stay on Miskerland
Now that we’ve set this whole thing aside, reckon I should tell you all who I am. After all, why would you take my word for granted? You know scarcely about me. To trust me, you’ll first have to know how I got here and what’s tying me down to this pitiful little galaxy.
It was a day like any other. I, Egil, was cruising in my beautiful spaceship, the Amalthea, trying to abstain from smashing my TYP1 Radar to pieces. It’d yet again failed to warn me of the roadblock (or rather, airblock) up ahead. I was trying to get to Astenia’s spaceport, having just finished delivering some… ehm, scab ointment for my employers. I’m not sure how relevant that part was, but here you go, now it’s out in the open. Probably should have left it out. In any case, wanting to save time, instead of making a U-turn, I tried circling around the airblock, taking a side fallstreak, which is how I ended up (ashamed as I may be to admit it), getting shot at by local traffic airforce, thus being sent down, spiraling wildly out of control. This whole incident was peculiar enough, as it is against the Astenian law to fire on an unarmed, non-combative individual, especially not for something as inconsequential as getting slightly too close to an airblock. It only got more peculiar as time went on, because soon enough I found myself sprawled out onto a plain, in a place wildly unfamiliar to me, with my sweet, sweet Amalthea, nowhere in sight, thus also rendering me radarless and homeless, with presumably no means to get off the planet I soon found out was Miskerland.
The first two years went by quickly - as back then I had no care in the world. I would mostly walk around, checking out Miskerland’s vast landscapes, while hunting down the cactusfolk. Feared by some, seen as pathetic scum by most, I hunted down these slave traders until not one was left able to oppress another Miskerlander. And you bet your bottom dollar I’d do it again. And… you bet your bottom dollar I did have to do it again and will have to do it again. Turns out, the cactusfolk procreate much faster than other races. By present time, they’ve come back, even multiplied in their forces. In any case, back then, I was one of the select few hunters of cactusfolk, making me one of the most sought-after mercenaries around. Miskerlanders would always come to me, asking for ‘just a moment’ of my time, intending to send me on various dangerous, nausea-inducing journeys. Journeys I would, of course, always undertake. I’d become venerated, and although I was never one to yearn for such a thing, the accompanying cash did help me get settled in. I was hitting my stride again, getting accustomed to my life on Miskerland. Just then, one Rognaar comes around and throws a spanner in the works.
Not much is known about Rognaar’s past. His father’s work in building up Miskerland’s society gave Rognaar an unfair shot at running the planet right off the bat, something he, much as he would like to hide it, took advantage of. Leave it to Rognaar and his old man to try and prove to you that it’s a good idea for the fate of an entire planet to rest solely on the shoulders of a small, petty man. Although I suppose I should be less harsh on Rognaar’s dad, Modikrum. He was the one who gave me a few of my first contacts back when I was hunting down cactusfolk… His son, however, is a pest and a nuisance. He’s been attempting to reverse my efforts by signing a deal with the cactusfolk - deal which will be officialized as soon as Rognaar becomes supreme leader. So there you have it. Rognaar’s decision to put the Miskerlands into danger after I’ve spent the last two years saving them from the cactusfolk is what’s keeping me here. Well, that and the Void, which’ll soon surely attempt to swallow me for all that I’ve learned.
Rognaar managed to undo my effect on the planet quicker than I ever could’ve predicted. To play the devil’s advocate here, my carelessness towards cactusfolk’s speedy multiplication is what drove some of my associates towards Rognaar instead. The specifics of Rognaar’s deal have been played up greatly in front of the public to gain their support, promising to prohibit the cactusfolk from procreating at such a fast rate. Yet what the Miskerlands fail to see, is that, all things considered, the deal doesn’t get to the root of the problem. The cactusfolk will still be around. Without any measures taken, there’ll always be more and more of them. Countless more lives will be lost at their hands, and for what? We… We have to exterminate them. It’s the only way. Every single one must go...
Modikrum hopes to get his son elected during the Atmosphereosunatic Ceremony, which is already on the horizon. The Miskerlands have always been aware of the dangerously bright sun that rolls around every few years… they just hadn’t found what to apply the gimmick to until more recently. Then, as if wanting to endanger more of the Miskerlanders, the Council of Brains appointed this natural phenomena as the deciding factor for who will be the first official leader of Miskerland. The specifics of what the Ceremony entails have not yet been ironed out fully, hence my feeling on edge. How must I prepare for a Ceremony I know naught about? That’s why I arranged a meeting with Modikrum tomorrow. As much as he is a fan of nepotism, he’s also a fan of, well, me. Or at least… I hope he still is. He should be able to at least give me a few pointers for the Ceremony. He is a trusted advisor to the Brains after all.
You might be asking yourself: ‘Well, Egil, why don’t you just escape from Miskerland? It’d surely be easier than trying to face off against Rognaar in a game that’s clearly rigged!’ And hey, your words not mine, but when it comes down to it, you’d be right. I have thought about leaving Miskerland, and joining a stranger on their journey as a stowaway, or perhaps negotiating for a ship. But that doesn’t help me with the actual, more pressing issue: the alarming number of Void sightings near and around Miskerland. I believe Void has not come after me yet because of my recent inactivity. I haven’t been trying to get off Miskerland nor get back at him for a while, so he thinks I’ve gone soft. If I try to escape Miskerland and move further away from this planet, he might feel alarmed and forced to act then and there, ending my journey swiftly, albeit in an anti-climactic way. Which is why I’m attempting to become Supreme Leader of Miskerland - I could then procure a ship and a crew of soldiers, perhaps even other mercenaries - not too many, not too few either - having a back-up plan in case the Void wants to face me head-on. The Void thinks it’s smarted me, but, I say: I have smarted him instead!
Find out what’s next in store for Egil! What’s the plan going forward? Can he persuade Modikrum into tipping him off about the Atmosphereosunatic Ceremony? This and more in the next part of Egil’s tale!
Author’s note: The wavy gibberish at the start is me incorporating elements of ergodic literature. It’s not a prosecutably bad typo. Its meaning will be explained later on.