The Story of Antediluvian

CHAPTER I
 
The Library in the Victorian mansion outside of town was dimly lit, but warm. Candlelight dances along the well-cared for leather bindings. Some of them are clearly quite old. 
 
Roses line the mantle, sit in vases on the side table and bar, and loose petals dot the room’s edges. They coalesce in small piles in the corner. The sweet freshness mixing with the smell of worn leather. 

“What is this place?” You wonder, your eyes drawn to a filigreed book binding boasting a florid word…

“Antediluvian.”

As you pull it off the shelf, dust and gold glitter clouds your line of sight.

 “And why does it feel like home?”



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CHAPTER II
 
"You hold the full weight of the Benefactors tome in your hands. It falls open to a gravure of a creature with a nameplate reading VAPULA. Lionesque but winged. You raise the gilded page to your eyes to examine the embossing. Once sated, you lower the book to see you’re no longer in a library…you see brocade red and gold curtains before you. Vapula, it seems, has asked you to accompany them to the Theater. As you enter the theater, you’re met with a smell of roses and glimmering gold, reminiscent of old Hollywood - all of the glitz and glamor. You walk up to the stage upon which rests a single glass candle. You pick it up and close your eyes. Behind your eyelids flashes complex formulas, schematics, and scrawled treatises. You draw your mind closer onto one of these images, and with a start, open your eyes to see that the candle in your hands is now lit. As you gaze up toward the stage, you begin to imagine the people, ideas, voices, and performances that have walked those boards. It’s almost as though you can see it’s construction through its function as a place for thoughts to become reality. As you walk closer to the stage, gold dust and flakes float from you to the stage. As the dust falls, the edges of the stage illuminate one lumen at a time. Glass candles crackle as rose petals and chamomile burn. "
 
CHAPTER III
 
 The Tea Room is alive with starlight as the night sky glistens from atop the glass ceiling. The scent of herbs, earth, stones, smoke, and, of course, tea, permeates every inch of the room. You find a teacup and saucer placed delicately upon a small table, beckoning you to drink it. When you pick it up, you find that it is empty. As you hold it however, you find your gaze directed back upward to the blanket of stars above. You’d swear that they’re shining a bit brighter, and because of that, you can see shapes, patterns in the brilliant sparks dotting the night’s shroud. They hold possibility, destiny, and self-awareness; you feel as though they’ve been guiding you all this time. With a deep inhale, you’re enveloped in a swirl of steam and the scent of chamomile. In your hands, you hold a cup of piping hot tea, its leaves swirling gently at the bottom. In the leaves you see even more shapes and patterns, this time reminding you of the ground beneath you, from which life springs, guided by an ethereal geometry.


 

 
CHAPTER IV
 
The Back Parlor is dimly lit, and you find yourself squinting to see everything in here. From what you can gather, there is little in here, apart from some side tables and windows that open to deep, dark woods. You find yourself searching for more light and finally stumble upon several sticks of incense. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any way to light them. As you grasp a stick of the incense, its smell holds in your nose, a smoky yet floral scent that holds both possibility and nostalgia. You close your eyes and think back to your childhood, remembering all of the ways you saw the world, and how they differ from your current sense of things. You find yourself replaying memories of all those times when you connected with someone, made them laugh and smile. You find yourself smiling too, and with a flash, find the incense in your hands glowing bright orange as smoke wafts from the end, swirling into different ephemeral shapes. Like a life lived fully, the smoke touches everywhere it goes and, somehow, begins to glow, illuminating the space around you. What was once concealed by darkness, is now visible - glimmering chalices, candelabras, and an ornate tapestry depicting a bull, a ram, a bear, a serpent, and a hawk.

 

CHAPTER V
 
A storm is coming, you can see ominous dark clouds gathering overhead, the Garden has an unusual gloomy atmosphere to it. The rabbit topiaries usually seem like children catching butterflies, at this moment they appear to be dancing in the thin rain. Somehow though, it feels warm and peaceful. You smile, amused at that thought. The air swirling seems to be carrying the sounds of quiet children’s laughter to your ear like a distant whisper. As you advance towards a hedge surrounding the fountain in the middle of the garden, you are intrigued by some reflection catching your eye on the surface of the water. A gathering of small black disks and colorful little odd shapes are floating in the bassin. Getting closer you realize they are gold flaked candles and rose petals floating all around them. The wind blows harder and disturbs the arrangement bringing some of them close to the edge of the bassin where you now stand. You pick one of the candles up and place it in the palm of your hand. The wind blows again and you hear that fainted cackle again, the gold flakes dance around the candle as the storm blows them off the surface of the wax. A blinding flash of light temporarily stuns you like a deer caught in headlights. A lightning stroke, right there in your hand and all the candles of the bassin lit up. They tremble and move around with the rising wind. And you sit on the edge of the water, place the candle to float back to its brothers and sisters. You feel like a parent letting go of their child's embrace before watching them run to their friend. You look at it move away in the water and in disbelief after what just happened you close your eyes and rub them with your thumb and index finger still covered in gold flakes.
 
 
CHAPTER VI
 
You open your eyes to quite the vision, you are in the Boudoir. Dimly lit, draped in red and black velvet, enveloped in smoke… the atmosphere of the room is enticing and luxurious.

Lounging in a meridienne chaise, a striking figure lies pleasantly. Their long copper-like hair catches your attention, the wavy locks adorned, here and there, some black feathers. Resting on the finely woven fabric of their shirt, just below the ribcage, a gold chain closed by two hands joining as a clasp.
Smoking from a long and slender cigarette holder, they fill the parlor with an intoxicating and amazing scent. They stand and advance towards you, humming and mimicking a waltz, as they turn around a plate of gold flakes and rose petals appears in their hand out of “thin air”.
A black glass apothecary drop bottle stands in its center of the receptacle. You press out a tear of the liquid it contains on the inside of your wrist. It smells absolutely divine, exhilarating. You get lost in the smell for a short instant and when you come back to your senses, the oil has magically spread to your whole body and envelops you with a delicate and intimate fragrance.

Enchanted and relaxed, you decide to settle in and accept to share a smoke they offer you. As you drag on it, you forget yourself again for a split second and wake up to a book in your hands.
In a puff of smoke you shut the Antediluvian book, releasing a final plume of gold dust.
 
 
CHAPTER VII
  
Blindly feeling through the gold dust you grasp at billows of golden air, finding nothing to grab. Slowly, you realize the clouds you’re enveloped in aren’t gold anymore, but have dissipated into darkness.  Peering into pitch black you realize it’s not a void at all. The familiar smell of roses and leather floods your nose. You’ve been here before.
Suddenly, you notice a faint flicker of light—surely, it was darkness before. Surely, there was no light to be found.
With careful steps you approach the flickering. As you take each step the light around you grows, unmasking the dim Library from the shadows.
The walls of stoic leatherbound books seem to stare down at you. You follow their gaze to the floor, where the Antediluvian book lies politely closed at your feet. Picking it up with tenderness you feel the powdery coat of gold dust against the filigree and aged leather. The book very much wants to assure you, this is no dream, but a journey.
As you slide the book back into its home you feel the sensation of hesitantly releasing a long-awaited embrace. How can such a new discovery feel like such an old lover?
It sits silently on the shelf amongst the deluge of leather and rose petals. You feel longing, and wonder when you again will find home.
 
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Thank you to Caretakers Tanooki, Kaelea, Mary and Jack for writing the story of the patron demons of Antediluvian.



Photos by Light Witch