The Ziggurat Cycle

by Shadowbrother

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***Psychedelic Doom and Proto-Metal***

This track is a 5 part cycle about a young man from a small village who becomes an Emperor.

***Part I: The dawn

The young man's day begins at sunrise, embracing his family and playing with his children before departing for the hunt. He goes out the front door of his home and breathes in the crisp air. The rising sun fills him with joy, as his breath condenses in a visible cloud before him. He surveys the great plains to the North and the forest to the West. Birds chirp merrily in rhythmic calls and responses to one another.

He straps his belt snug, along with his quiver and bow. On his belt is a water skin and a short knife. In his pouch is a small meal of jerky and fruit, and a length of rope braided elegantly by his wife.

He departs into the forest, enjoying the majesty of ancient trees tall as the sky.

***Part II: The Henchman

A murder of crows darkens the sky like a storm. They land on the trees and roof tops, align on fences and still themselves as if waiting. The people of the village are in wonder at them; some women try to shoo them with brooms and children throw stones at them. The black birds disperse in small bursts only to settle back into position.

As the people gather in the village square in a hum of nervous discourse, an old man appears from the East, his eyes covered by bandages, and he approaches the village elders and the crowd.

He warns them of blood running over the mountains to the East and staining the plain; of the tiny skulls of children; of an impossible mountain made of giant bricks bigger than any man; of a green man taller than any other.

The villagers are silent but aghast, unable to comprehend such bricks and green men...

The sound of Earth quaking to the East. As the Earth rumbles and pounds, a village warrior who surveyed the East at the words of the old man runs back to the center eyes wide and tells of a multitude of ugly men riding on four-legged beasts with spears and hooks, nooses on poles.

The old man with the bandaged face shouts in terror, "it is he, The Henchman of the Evil One; of the Green Man"!

The villagers scatter to their homes. Women hide children under beds and tables, warriors and many women and children take hold of whatever weapons they can: bows, knives, clubs and spears.

The warriors gather in formation against the onslaught.

A man with blank eyes and teeth sharp as a mountain beast's leads the stampede of hulking brutes and beasts into the village, carving the center of the warriors into bloody piles. The warriors rain down arrows onto the brutes, which only blunt against their armor, harder than stone. They swarm through the village over rooftops and into homes, through the fields of vegetables and stalks, noosing all who they subdue.

Man, woman and child alike are thrown into cages sitting on circular stones- two on each side. The cages are pulled to the East behind the majestic four-legged creatures, leaving clouds of dust behind them, as the captured reach hopelessly through the cage back to the village.

The many who fought the onslaught and lying dead or too broken to be taken away are thrust onto spits, taller than any man, some hanging silently, some screaming in terror. The Henchman surveys the burning village as his brutes stand sharp wooden poles in the village square, into narrow holes dug into the Earth.

As the last villagers are raised into the air like flags of conquest, the Henchman with his arms crossed against his chest, smirks a corner of sharp teeth.

He turns from the village and departs East with his cadre of brutish men atop four-legged beasts

***Part III: The Dead Village

The man returns from the hunt to a burning village and the impaled corpses of the village's finest warriors, and even the women and children who had resisted the slavers. He scours the village for his wife and children, but they cannot be found.

Anguish engulfs him... then hate...

He knows only one thing can be done; he seeks an ancient statuette he discovered as a child under the village temple. It once spoke to him as a youth, and filled him with fear and fire.

He prays before the statuette for vengeance; for the power the gods, spirits, demons and angels alike, to find and slay the perpetrators of this atrocity... and to save his family.

The eyes of the statuette open. They burn bright as many suns, and speaks ancient words, spits fire into the man's soul. Agony and power fill him. Rage and joy, madness and clarity.

He sees the truth in all things with a rush, from the creation of the stars and earth, of comets and galaxies, of infinite universes of dark and light...

...of a stone in this cave imperceptibly different from the others. He places his palm on it and it sinks in, revealing a hidden compartment behind the stone . He reaches inside and pulls out a long object.

It is a blade. Long as a man's arm, straight and sharp on both sides, a tip pointed and gleaming cold blue. The handle and pommel are blacker than black and fit his palm with perfect precision; it balances in his hand with nary a squeeze of his fingers and thumb.

This blade is his vengeance, this blade is power.

His muscles pulse with strength and his lungs with might. His roar shakes the foundations of the temple, and he walks out as it crumbles into the Earth like a mountain falling upon itself.

He drops his bow and stone arrows, and sheathes his blade into his quiver and sprints from the village, following the tracks of these slavers, who are so arrogant in their strength they do not bother to cover their direction.

He sprints for days, his heart never failing. His body never thirsting for water. His legs never tiring.

***Part IV: The Ziggurat

The young man crests a hill, and peers into a valley unknown to him, witnesses the Ziggurat. The monstrosity staggers him; never has he seen something so large; never has he seen so many people, or felt such fear and evil. A procession of thousands trail the ever upward steps circling the construct. The cracks of whips, muffled screams and cries echo from its distant summit as figures pull and push the slaves to an altar...

A green figure sprawls on a golden throne, wearing nothing. It is taller than any man; its belly protrudes, and its eyes are large and blank. It has many fangs, and blood runs down its chin.

The young man's stomach churns in horror, as he watches this green figure devour these sacrifices, their offal and bones tossed over the far end of the structure, with as much care as a man would discard the bones of a grouse.

The young man stumbles onto his hands and knees and cries out, his chest heaving without control. His eyes glow bright red, as if the fires of mercury had filled them.

He rises into the air and roars like the king of all thunders; lightning crashes into many peaks surrounding the valley, sending stone and dirt into the air. The earth shakes, and the eyes of the valley turn to him, with mouths dropped open.

This man; this warrior and hunter and father bears his blade, which gleams with blue fire, and descends into the pit with violence.

***Part V: Rise of the Emperor

The warriors and magicians of the Demigod meet him to be reft from their heads, or to be spilt and soaked into the Earth by his blade. Their cruel axes and hooked spears break against his skin; their spells of fire and magic shatter into worthless dust... they begin to run, eyes wide like so many trapped rabbits.

The hunter grins...

He leaps to the Ziggurat above the heads of the enslaved, his hands divoting the stone as he scrambles up its sheer walls.

He summits its peak. He flays the high priest through his ornate robes, from neck to hip; a blood soaked heap. He laughs as the honor guard of the demon attack him fruitlessly, and mad with fear they leap to their deaths, screaming, meeting hell as they smash against the bones and offal of the remains of the devoured.

He turns to the Demigod, who's eyes are filled with fear and confusion. The monster writhes in its throne, attempting to rise, but its distended belly, full from the meat of the innocent, pins him like a boulder.

The man raises his sword to flay this demon, but is blasted against the altar.

The Henchman leaps at the young man. The man thrusts his blade and it folds into useless scrap against The Henchman's chest. He launches the being off himself with a mighty heave and stands to face his attacker. The Henchman smirks and snorts a laugh, then thrusts towards the man with a mighty fist. The man dodges inside the blow, and like a Cobra catcher, sinks his claw into the throat, lifting him into the air. The Henchman's smirk turns into a mask of terror as the young man's fingers and thumbs squeeze into his neck, causing runnels of blood to squirt out. The Henchman opens his mouth to scream but cannot, and the man slams him into the stone platform causing a mighty quake; cracking the Ziggurat through its center, and smashing the Henchman's skull into a flattened mess. The slaves scramble to flee the shaking structure.

The man turns to the Demigod, who is crawling across the dais, desperately searching for escape, dragging its belly and tearing it against the cracking stone floor. The creature turns to the young man, eyes wide in disbelief and terror... its hand thrust forward in beseeching mercy.

The man grabs the demon by its throat with his left hand, and with his right hand, rains mighty blows to the monster's skull, caving its face in, rending bits of brain and pink blood. He smashes the demons skull with all of the hatred, rage and pain of a thousand human sacrifices; of a thousand mothers and fathers and children; of a thousand villages culled.

The Demigod gurgles and dies.

The young man raises up to survey the scene. He forces a mighty heel into the demon's stomach; it is still dead. The Henchman lies there, disfigured and motionless as before. The Ziggurat cracks again and trembles. The people- and servants of the now dead monster alike- are scrambling through the valley below, as the Ziggurat sinks, and the orange blood of the Earth spurts from many fissures and puddles, consuming earth, stone and flesh with primordial heat.

The man sprints through the valley searching for his wife; for his children. He runs in the direction of their village, and finds these brave souls fighting earth and stone to scramble out of this pit of evil.

Joy fills his heart as he sees them- woman, boy and girl- and he scoops them in his mighty arms, and carries them at mercurial speed over the crest of the infernal hills to safety.

He turns back to the pit and sees many mighty men, of many villages doing the same, their eyes filled with light, the power flooding them.

Over the crumbled Ziggurat a translucent figure hovers in the sky, larger than any mountain. A figure of a child; its eyes opened wide. Sitting legs crossed in the air, the two fingers of its hand to the right of its cheek, pointing to the stars...

It seems to smile, then disappears...

...That day of evil and destiny, the tribes of many thousands and ten-thousands were gathered on a great plain, the late sunlight destroying the shadows of a distant mountain valley to the East.

The man who scaled the Ziggurat, filled with holy fire, and slew the abomination was crowned their king; Emperor of all known worlds.

He lived long years, and was strong of mind and body even on his deathbed. When he passed from life, his wife and children, grandchildren and their children mourned him deeply. And when he was buried in the ancient ceremony, all of the known worlds mourned him deeply.

His line, sons and daughters alike, ruled for ten-thousand years, and mankind grew in wisdom, inventing many wonders with their hands. Peace reigned, and knowledge flourished.

lyrics

***LYRICS***

The Ziggurat rises,
Eclipsing the moon,
Ancient construct; the Chieftan's pride,
A thousand slaves plucked from the womb,
To build the monstrosity,
The lame demigod sprawls on the dais,
Awaiting his meal.

Ancient rites of Shaitan,
The Henchman rises from the earth,
Prophesied by the eyeless man,
Agent of Creator cast out by human kind,
Rulers of the Earth; Your master has arrived,
Unknowing oaths of fealty sworn,
From infancy the seed,
Implanted in the chosen fiends.

Silent creator,
Have you turned your back on man?

credits

released October 10, 2013
Clutch Bronson: words and music, guitar, mixing
Lurch: bass, equipment and sound engineering

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