Cai Harbinger

is creating Lost Chapters of Eschatology




per month


This is my final attempt at deciphering the device. All others have failed, and it is disintegrating day by day now – as am I. Through my microscope, I read the inscriptions too small to discern with the naked eye. Appearing and disappearing on its rippling surface they are presented before me in my mother’s tongue. The Sphere itself has the dimensions of a quail’s egg and weighs about the same; intriguing, considering it is made from a metal, hard and cold to the touch.

I obtained it in the capital from a collector of antique curiosities; whom, in turn, had bought it from a local in Tibet. The man claimed his grandfather had found a cave high in the mountains, and in it, an ancient creature weakened by time. It asked the man for a trade: to be burned alive and its ashes spread with the mountain winds. In return, he could have the wondrous device, found in the ashes.

As I went through the darkest days of my affliction, it made my life seem less painful in comparison. Birthed from fire and void its a monument of scripture built in their honor. A release for the tortured soul in its relentless pursuit of rest. An exorcism of my demons by their manifestation in text through countless sessions of automatic writing. I’m but a curator for these transcripts of transgressions, I sold my soul to witness. When I am awake, in my sleep, it calls for me. Whispers in my ears, flashes before my eyes. It reeks of blood and smoke. Wittering, withering my mind.

The seed that was to grow into this beast of a story, I planted many years ago in the fertile meadows of my childhood fantasies, naive and pure – watered with the beautiful lore of Tolkien and his apostles, it sprouted into something promising. But with time it grew ever more wild and twisted, fertilized by the excrement of me consuming the world. And so it became my chore to cut and prune it into something sightly – or have I created some Frankenstein’s monster; the ugliest pieces of tropes disinterred and collected from all over, sewed and riveted together with the crudest of prose?

Catharsis; from the Greek word “katharsis” meaning purification or cleaning – is the purgation of emotions, mainly pity and fear, through art or any extreme change in sentiment that results in renewal and restoration. This story is meant as a catharsis.

If you already have begun reading; I apologize, if you are yet to begin; I warn you, this is an exercise in depravity and certainly not safe for work, probably not safe for life. Anyway, it is a story about humans and their destiny – if we were to learn anything from our history; it is that depravity is our essence, and every cruelty you can imagine has already been carried out. I promised myself never to shy away from anything with the potential for bringing this project forward in the manner it needed to be – I wanted to find the boundaries of art and move them. I am not promoting the subject matters handled in this work; many of which are as far away from my personal values as could be. I searched the darkest nooks and crannies of my mind, looking for those things that truly scared and disgusted me – this was not something enjoyable, and I am afraid I damaged my soul in the process. Oh, how I long for oblivion.

The world is dying, and the gods are fighting the godless over its destiny. Woman or man, king or queen, warrior and slave alike. They will all play their part at the end of the world. Until the light takes them.

As the observant reader will notice, I consistently and deliberately bend the rules of language and grammar to their breaking point. I am not doing it out of pretentiousness, but because I believe it gives the story an archaic, eerie and maybe even visceral atmosphere. Fiction is not so much about conveying information as it is about evoking emotions. Hopefully, it will not be too distracting and will feel quite natural after a couple of chapters. The plan is to keep this work as something at the forefront of the experimental; a playground for my creative ambitions – my magnum opus.

If you read this, I have either succeeded, or I am dead; those are the only paths for someone like me. I did not choose if or how and on what terms I entered this world, but I will see to that I leave it on my own. That is the only expectation I ever had – the only request I ever had. Please let me have it. I have fantasized about it, dreamt about it so many times, for so many years it feels like it has already happened a thousand times over. I am prepared – more so than I have ever been for anything. Maybe if you put your entire soul into creating something, you will continue living through that thing you have created. I do not know if I would want that. Not that it matters; nothing withstands the entropy of time. Nothing is immortal – thank the gods! When the entirety of my heart is transcribed, and this is done, so am I.

Excuse my ramblings, I think I am slowly losing my mind. The borders between the world that I live in and the world in the device are starting to blur more and more as time goes on – it is the same with my thoughts; which are mine and which are its? I am not sure who I am anymore. Nevertheless, the device is in my possession now, and as a priest and scholar, I believe it is paramount I finish the transcript before my days are counted; and so it begins, the epilogue of a world.

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