The blind monk rings the bell. Time stutters. The sky turns purple – garish against the jade of the temple.
The assembled lower their eyelids in reverence and the chiming takes your head to a better place and time, unencumbered now by the sorrow and hardships of your quest.
Within the circular stone casket, something ancient coils and swirls.
You raise a closed fist to the sky and from the minaret a lightning bolt hits your wrist, flickering in patterns over the flesh that leave an intricate tattoo.
It reminds you of the electrical storms in the void – when you and your team were surfing interstellar waves. Those were the days. But that’s all over now. Now you have the mark of the initiated.
The mark of the damned.
You mumble a quiet prayer for anyone lost in the vortex tonight. The lights from this temple could shipwreck even the most bold and lonely of the space hulks. It’s not too late to jump…
The closing synth motifs fade out and the ceremony is close to being complete. In a slow, grinding motion, the lid of the casket gnashes into life and painfully begins to unscrew itself. It seems to take forever, and indeed, this is a lid that hasn’t lifted in one century – that’s a lot of moss to chew through.
Those wonderful antlers, plated in dragon’s gold. A fitting crown for the Great Worm. Her eyes are diamond hard and ruby red – her scales impervious to damage. Uncoiling skywards the great length of this ageless snake unfurls like a rope to the heavens. She slithers gracefully around the ancient stones and the rapture-anaesthetised bodies of the believers to where you kneel.
She turns her immense head and eye to eye you assess each other, and surely as evil an end as this is there can be no denying there is something beautiful about it. Her glinting eye says: Now, we understand one another.
You nod, and as your lower your head you close your eyes once again. The fangs feel like the kiss of a lost lover. As your veins alchemise into gold and your exterior hardens into an implacable metal statue, a tribute, you remember something that felt like happiness.
The gif is by Max Capacity. CFCF put out not one but two of the releases of the year with Outside and Music For Objects. Ampacity provided our favourite space rock album in a year that was already pretty space rocky! Silver Pyre‘s AeXE meanwhile is an uncategorisable piece of magnificence that seemed simultaneously ancient and futuristic. We missed covering Pantha du Prince’s Elements of Light in 2013 – a techno album performed on a carillon (enormous apparatus of bells) – but loved it anyway.