All tagged chthonica

“Now, I could ask you how many moons the Earth has,” the professor began. “Wait for someone in the room to blurt the obvious answer of ‘one,’ then smugly rebuke them. It is within my rights as your instructor to do this, but I am not a jackass, and all of you are smarter than that. You wouldn’t be at this university if you fell for such banal tricks. You’d have suspected I was playing at something the minute I asked such a question. So, I’m going to be straight with you on this one."

Among believers, vaultgulls are said to possess golden feathers, as well as eyes of black crystal; then again, they are also said to have never before been seen, so such descriptions ought to be met with skepticism.

For these clever birds, all that is unseen is the sky; their wings slide cleanly through metal and stone as easily the wind. The only solid surface they know is the periphery of human vision, the greatest obstacle to their shimmering wings. The subtlest twitch of a single eye is enough to thrust them aside like a hurricane's gales.

For humanity, it is the earth that is solid, and the air that is permeable; for chthonity, the opposite is true. They wander just beneath our feet, as we do beneath theirs, sometimes even atop one another. Their world is an inversion of our own, one which rests within a sphere atop an endless sky. Our atmosphere is the soil upon which they tread.

“I’m telling you, the seismic readings are fairly clear at this point. It’s down there.”

“I mean, I believe you, but how?”

“From what I understand, the outer surface of the inner core is reinforced with hexagonal plates that hold back the sea of molten rock. There’s no external path inside- its body is armored in all directions.”

There are more than two-thousand species of bird present throughout the Great Agarthan Jungle, from the minuscule anteater hummingbird to the greater spherical penguin. Despite the extraordinary diversity present, however, all of their eggs, no matter the parent, are outwardly identical. Each egg is recognizably Agarthan by its signature gömböc curvature, gumdrop size, and transparent shell that reveals nothing but green jelly inside. If appearances are to be believed, there is no embryo within at all- just the same undifferentiated ooze.

If the tales of the old north are to be believed, when the gods created the world, they began by murdering a giant. Ymir, as he was known while alive, was disassembled into his most basic components, then used to sculpt the planet. Mountains were carved from his bones, forests were woven from his hair, and oceans were brewed with his sweat. Once this was done, his eyebrows provided just enough thread to sew the boundaries of reality shut. The last of these stitches marked the end of his usefulness, but also, the beginning of time.

Some mathematicians go so far as to call their work the language of God. In their hubris, they refuse to admit that they write in a language that is very human: one with its own idioms, clichés, and platitudes. In order to prove supposed mathematical truth, they routinely employ the same handful of phrases and arguments, yet are startled when these phrases and arguments are echoed back to them in the same language that they began with.

An ancient winter was buried in those caves, pressed between layers of geological strata. It was another kind of season from another kind of time, when the snow was luminous and refused to melt. After nine days spent lost in the dull, indigo glow of those tunnels, Thomas was no longer certain if the cold or hunger would kill him first. Almost all of his skin was numb, yet he could feel the outline of his stomach more clearly than ever before.