SKULLFLOWERS
JAZONDIONFLETCHER
BACKWOODSPRESS
Dedicatedtomyfamily
Withouttheirloveandsupport
Thisbookwouldn’texist
Thankyou
CONTENTS
Prologue
1. Don’tBreakTheOath
2. Apartment147
3. Skybox
4. Podcaster
5. Abracadabra’sArcade
6. WXTZChannel13
7. HouseoftheBlackWidow
8. SupremeCouncilResolution33
9. ZoharUniversity
10. IPTV
11. FleurDeLis
12. ClovenHoof
13. DeadMan’sCurve
14. ControlledSubstancesInc.
15. GoblinFarts
16. Panopticon
17. Hyperdrive
18. MistressLaReaux
19. TheLabofDr.Necropolis
20. PsyborgCorps
21. DetentionLevel213
22. CharmBracelets
23. X-orcist
24. ThinkTank4-2-0
25. Armory
26. ObservationDeck
27. ContainmentCube32
28. VaultBreaker
29. TortureGarden
30. TryptamineReactor
31. GravityBoots
32. StarGazer
33. IntoOblivion
Epilogue
People are like skull flowers. Some need no help to grow upright and
strong, others struggle, and need guidance along the way, some show
promise,yetarelostamongsttheweeds,whileothersperish,andnever
makeitpasttheseed.
—THEPRIESTESSOFOBLIVION
PROLOGUE
THEJEWELOFWISDOM
Beyondthefartheststarknowntoman,outamongstthedarknessthatknowsno
end, it is written in the Legends of the Old Wizard Bones that upon the
completion of the Magnum Opus, the Great Architect of the Universe, an
immortalandrogyneofinfinitecosmicpower,craftedtheJewelofWisdomwith
theaidoftheancientelectronicarts.Forhehadlearnedtoharnessthepowerof
thePrimaMateria,theveryessenceofexistenceasitwasthenknown.Withthe
JewelofWisdom,hecreatedthecosmosandplaceditinaperfectorderknown
astheGreatWorkoftheGreatArchitectoftheUniverse.
TheGreatArchitectoftheUniversecreatedtheHeavenlyBodiesknownas
the sun, the moon, the planets, and all of the stars in the sky. From these
HeavenlyBodies,hegavelifetotheFlowerChildrenintheGardensofEternity.
Created they were in the likeness of his image. It was unto these Flower
Children, because of their innocence, that the Great Architect of the Universe
lefttheJewelofWisdomforsafekeeping,forheknewtheywouldnotuseitfor
evil.Nouncleanthoughtnorwickedthingdweltamongstthem.Thisactdidnot
pleasethoseontheDivineCounciloftheGreatArchitectoftheUniverse,none
moresothanOblivion,theLordoftheVoid.ItwasOblivionthatmurderedthe
Elder Gods, the Old Ones, that had existed since before the dawning of time,
who in some tongues shall forever remain nameless. From them, he freed the
Sintari,araceofhumanoid-reptilianhybridswhocouldshape-shiftandresemble
whomevertheysochose.
Oblivionlonged to possessthe JewelofWisdom forhimself. Itwasat the
timeofits creationthat,Mystre, his mostloyal disciple, broughtbefore him a
servant girl named Psydonia, plucked from amongst one of his many faithful
covens,thatsaiduntohim,“Allowmetoputthepetalsofaskullflowerintothe
chaliceoftheGreatArchitectoftheUniversewhilehefeasts,sohewillbecome
intoxicatedandsleep,thatitmightgiveyoutimetodescendintotheGardensof
EternityandobtaintheJewelofWisdomforthyself,soyoumayriseabovethe
heavens,andbecomeaMasteroftheAncientElectronicArts,for,uponthatday,
thou shalt become even greater than the Great Architect of the Universe, and
havedominionover the wholeof his creation, so that all therein, will worship
youasagod.”
ThewordsofPsydoniapleasedOblivion,andsoitwasthatMystretookthe
petalsfromaskullflower,andthebloodfromablackwidowspider,anddidcast
aspelloverthemsothatPsydoniacouldplacetheminthechaliceoftheGreat
ArchitectoftheUniversewhilehefeasted.Witheachnewsipofwine,theGreat
Architectof theUniverse became more and more intoxicated untilhe excused
himself from the presence of his Divine Council, and left for his chambers to
slumber.AstheGreatArchitectoftheUniversefellto sleep,Oblivionandhis
disciplescamebeforetheDivineCouncil,andhesaiduntothem,“Ifthoudost
followmeintotheGardensofEternitybelowtoobtaintheJewelofWisdomand
swearupon yourimmortal souls an oath unto me, together,wewillriseabove
theheavensandbecomeevengreaterthantheGreatArchitectoftheUniverse,
forhekeepsitssecretsfromussothatweshallremaininservitude.”
ThewordsofObliviontemptedtheImmortalsoftheDivineCouncilofthe
GreatArchitectoftheUniverse.Themoretheypondereduponhisunholylies,
themoretheirimmortalsoulsfeltasthoughtheywereinbondage.Theirspirits
became destitute. So together, they descended from the heavens above, and
down into the beautiful meadows of the Flower Children in the Gardens of
Eternitybelow,wheretheysoughtaftertheJewelof Wisdomuntilatlonglast
theycameuponit,andtheJewelofWisdomwasinthepossessionofOblivion
andhisdisciples.
TheFlowerChildrenwerepureinspirit,peaceful,andtheireverywaywas
untaintedbeforeOblivionwalkedamongstthem.Theylivedinharmonywiththe
wholeoftheGreatArchitect’screation,inaferal,naturalstate,withtheanimals,
the birds, and the plants around them. Civilization was unknown to them nor
domestication.Nofowloftheair,norbeastofthefield,fearedthem.Thewhole
oftheGreatArchitect’screationwasholyandpreciousintheireyes,eventhat
whichwas covered by the sea. It was in their meadows, innocent to the plight
andevilswhichwouldsoonbefallthem,thatOblivion,withtheaidofnotonly
hisdisciplesbuttheSintariaswell,thereindidenslavetheFlowerChildren.The
SintariforcedthemtobuildOblivionaziggurat,uponthetopofwhichrestedhis
temple, where from his throne, Oblivion would sit with the Jewel of Wisdom
beforehim,andmeditateuponallthesecretsoftheancientelectronicartsthat
the Great Architect of the Universe had hidden therein. All he learned was
writtenintheScrollsofSkeletonBonesbytheDisciplesofOblivion,themost
secretofthatancientwisdombeingrecordedintheCodexMagickaandguarded
byMystre.
AmongsttheImmortalsoftheDivineCounciloftheGreatArchitectofthe
Universe,Oblivion dividedtheGardensofEternity andthereintheytooktheir
pickof slavesfrom amongst the Flower Children. Withtheuseofwickedand
ancientforgottensorceriesandsciences,theydividedtheFlowerChildrenfrom
their natural state into man and woman and bred with them. The Immortals
departed from Oblivion and from amongst their newly established kingdoms
they did give unto him tithes and offerings of all they found in the lands
bestoweduntothemashemeditatedbothdayandnightinhistempleuponthat
whichtheJewelofWisdomhadrevealed.
It was while Oblivion contemplated this most ancient wisdom that Mystre
summonedPsydoniabeforehisthrone.InOblivion’spresence,shebowedbefore
him, bathed in the light of the Jewel of Wisdom. After being baptized in the
blackwaterspulledfromtheriversthatrunthroughtheVoid,Mystrebestowed
uponherthetitleofPriestessofOblivionsothatshecouldbecomehisbrideand
sharewithhimthegiftofimmortality.Theirunholyunionbroughtforthmany
offspring.Butjustasherbeautyknewnoend,neitherdidhercruelty,foruntoan
open lovers ear, she whispered unto Oblivion, “If thou dost exalt my beauty
above all things and do love me, have those that once sat upon the Divine
Council of the Great Architect of the Universe, that swore an eternal and
unbreakable oath unto thee, have them cast forth their offspring into the fire
from amongst those they have mingled their seed and demand that as part of
theirtithesandofferingsthattheymustmakeburntsacrificesuntoidolsthatbare
yourimage.Havethemliftupthynameinpraisewhiletheykneelbeforeyouas
the Emperor of the Universe, and the ruler of all things, both known and
unknown.”
ThevoiceofPsydoniadidsoothethewickedheartofOblivion,andsoitwas
commanded,thattheImmortalsoftheDivineCounciloftheGreatArchitectof
theUniversebeforcedtokneelbeforetheThroneofOblivionandworshiphim
as the Emperor of the Universe. In screams of pain and demonic agony, the
Disciples of Oblivion grabbed the offspring of the Flower Children and the
ImmortalsoftheDivineCounciloftheGreatArchitectoftheUniverse,oneby
one, and offered them up as burnt sacrifices unto idols baring the image of
Oblivionandhislover,to celebratetheirdominionovertheGreatWork ofthe
GreatArchitectoftheUniverse.Fromthosethatdidnotfleefromthewrathof
Oblivion, they sacrificed all therein, except for those that the Immortals that
oncesatupontheDivineCounciloftheGreatArchitectoftheUniversekeptas
wives,concubines,mistresses,andeverytypeofpervertedsexslaveimaginable
whofoundthemselvesdefiledevenamongsttheSintari.Itwasinthesefiresthat
Oblivionforged,theMidnightSun,aswordasevilastheVoid.Inthepommelof
theMidnightSun,heplacedtheJewelofWisdom.Thisactfilledthebladeofthe
swordwiththecosmicpowertokillnotonlythosethatwereimmortalbuteven
the Great Architect of the Universe who still lay sleeping, dreaming of that
whichonlyagodseeswhentheyslumber.
ThecriesoftheFlowerChildrenwerenotinvain,fortheybrokeMystre’s
spellovertheGreatArchitectoftheUniverse,causinghimtoawakenfromwhat
feltlikeasleepdeeperthandeathitself.Astheirpunishment,theGreatArchitect
of the Universe stripped the Immortals of his Divine Council of their
immortality,andthetempletheFlowerChildrenwereforcedtobuildOblivion,
hedestroyedasthetwoofthembattledtherein.
ThefateoftheImmortalswasnottobeOblivion’s,forhehadbecometoo
powerfultostripofhisimmortality.TheGreatArchitectoftheUniverseinstead
strippedOblivionofhisheavenlybody,andofallofitsmagicalpower,thencast
hisspiritintotheVoidfromwhencehecame.Ashedidso,theMidnightSunfell
fromthehandsofObliviontothefloorofthetemple,andtheJewelofWisdom
dislodged from the pommel of the sword. Psydonia fled in terror as the Great
ArchitectoftheUniversefixedhisgazeuponherchildrenandstrippedthemof
theirimmortalityandherofhereternalbeautybutnothereternallife.
Alas,theseactscausedevenmoresorrowfortheFlowerChildrenwhodid
not mingle their seed with the Immortals of the Divine Council of the Great
ArchitectoftheUniverse.InthebeautifulmeadowssurroundingtheGardensof
Eternity,astheSpiritofOblivionwascastintothe Voidanddepartedfromits
heavenlybody,andthebeautyofPsydoniawitheredandbegantofade,theGreat
ArchitectoftheUniverseweptfor theFlowerChildrenwhen he sawwhatthe
wickednessofOblivionhaddoneashisspirittriedinfutilitytobinditselftothe
wholeoftheGreatArchitect’screation,andhowinthatfinalact,theGardensof
Eternity were given over to ruin and decay. It was while the Flower Children
weptandtheyfledintothewastelandsoftheGoldenTriangle,farawayfromthe
ImmortalKingdoms,thattheGreatArchitectoftheUniversefeltapainuponhis
side and saw that the blade of the Midnight Sun had pierced his flesh and
poisoned him with the unholy magic that Oblivion had invoked therein. It
seemedthatwhiletheybattledinhistempleforthefateofthecosmos,Oblivion
hadsucceededindeliveringuponhisformermaster,afatalwound,thatwould
sooncausethebreathoflifetobetakenfromthebodyoftheGreatArchitectof
the Universe and given up to the Four Winds of the Gardens of Eternity, for
therein would the descendants of the Flower Children and the Immortals that
once sat upon his Divine Council dig their shallow graves until they were no
more.Ashefelltohisknees,upontheflooroftheTempleofOblivion,theGreat
Architect of the Universe engraved his sigil, so that Oblivion could not easily
escapefromtheVoid,andwouldbesealedtherein.ItwasonlyoncetheSigilof
the Great Architect of the Universe was complete that he ascended into the
heavensandhidhimselfinanunmappedregionofthecosmosasthewholeof
hiscreationbecameafuneralpyre.
Itiswiththisinmindthatwebeginourstory...
1
DON’TBREAKTHEOATH
The Imperial City of Zohar was a dying whore. A sprawling city-state
swallowingupalloftheformerpastorallandsofwhatremainedoftheGardens
of Eternity not divided up amongst the Immortal Kingdoms. She was an
industrialwasteland,amidstarottingbayou,thatstretcheditselfoutforasfaras
the eye could see, whose streets moaned with the pleasures of her orgasmic
blasphemies.Tryptaminecrystalspowereditall.
Many of the descendants of the Flower Children sought refuge within the
capitaloftheBlackSunEmpireandwereinsearchoffreshfood,cleanwater,
shelter, and healing. The bones of the dead paved the roads so that the Think
TanksoftheImperialArmadacouldrollacrossthelandunopposed.Engravedon
thesideofeachThinkTankwastheSigilofOblivion,aninvertedfive-pointed
star,insideofacircle,atthecenterofwhichwasthefaceofablackmutantgoat
withonly onegianteyein thecenterofits forehead.Theordersof theirfutile
peacekeepingmissionintheGoldenTriangleweretoseizethetryptaminemines
theOrphansofDoomusedtocreatethemutagenNekrotek.
In great pain and sorrow, the descendants of the Flower Children brought
theirwomen,theirchildren,thesick,andthedeadwrappedinburialclothinthe
hopes that they might find some respite from their woe. There were boils,
infections,andpustulationsamongstthem.Someevenhadmaggotoidscrawling
underneath their skin. Nekrosis ran rampant. Unbeknownst to them all, the
resurrectionofOblivionwasathand.Manyfaithfulbelieverswailedbeforethe
ancient walls of the ziggurat their ancestors had built. The Occult Bureau’s
cybernetic drones guarded it day and night. Unmanned Scavenger UAV’s
patrolled the sky overhead like vultures waiting for the descendants of the
FlowerChildrentodiesothattheycouldfeastupontheirremains.
CenturieshadpassedsincetheGreatArchitectoftheUniversecastOblivion
into the Void. In that time, the Immortal Kings, those that once sat upon the
DivineCounciloftheGreatArchitectoftheUniverse,passedawayandmanyof
theirnamesbecameforgottenbythedescendantsoftheFlowerChildrenandthe
descendantsoftheoffspringofOblivionandPsydonia.TheLegendsoftheOld
Wizard Bones shared a similar fate in many of their minds. Here in this land
their heirs came together and united their kingdoms into an empire that now
reigned over every square inch of the Great Architect’s most beloved creation
andallthatdweltwithinit.
Mystre,knowntothedescendantsoftheFlowersChildrenastheHierophant
of the cults of the Priestess of Oblivion, chanted his prayers outside of the
entrance to the rebuilt Temple of Oblivion. Upon the Altar of the Sleeping
Virgin,theDisciplesofOblivionplacedoneofthetemple’sprostitutes.Mystre
cutthethroatofthewomanwithasacreddagger.Herbloodspewedeverywhere
as the Gateway to the Void slowly rose along the horizon and the sun set as
thoughitweredyinginthelastbreathofatempleprostitute’skiss.
“BringourcausebeforetheMostHigh!”criedthedescendantsoftheFlower
Children,yettheirsufferingwouldfallupondeafears,forMystrecaredforno
one,leastofallthesickandthedead.CenturionsintheOrderoftheTrapezoid
stoodbeforethemjustoutsidethetrenchworksoftheoldruinsthatsurrounded
theziggurat. Each centurion helda Widowmaker,a scythe-like weapon witha
laserforablade.Manyteemingwithdiseasecoughedandspreadthescourgeof
nekrosisasoneamongstthecenturionssaid,“TheSupremeCounciloftheBlack
Sun Empire has decreed that all except authorized personnel are forbidden to
enteruponthegroundsofthezigguratoranywhereamongstitsancientruins!”
Above the entrance to the temple’s innermost sanctum were engraved the
words, DON’T BREAK THE OATH. Inside, gathered before the Jewel of
Wisdom,satthemembersoftheSupremeCounciloftheBlackSunEmpire.It
was here, amongst the many relics of the old religion, that Governor
Champagne,the Exchequer of theBoard of Governorsofthe Imperial Central
BankoftheBlackSunEmpire,washopelesslypleadinghiscase.Hebelievedhe
wasrightinrefusingtofundanewanddangerousexperimentalnekrobioticand
thatit should notbe administered tothe inhabitants ofthe city withoutproper
oversightand testing beforehand.It was aplea that beforehe ever enteredthe
temple,heknewwouldbeawasteofbreath.
“ThepeacekeepingmissionthatthisempirehasragedintheGoldenTriangle
hascostusmorelivesandtreasurethananyofuscouldhavepossiblyimagined
andforwhat?Doesanyonehere evenremember?”saidGovernorChampagne.
He held up a copy of Zohars largest newspaper, The Imperial Times. On the
front cover, above the fold, was a picture of one of the tryptamine mines
occupied by the Orphans of Doom. It was in flames after an attack on it by
GeneralGrindcoreandtheImperialArmada.
Theheadlineread,WRECKERSOFCIVILIZATION.
“I’ll take care in reminding you,” continued Governor Champagne. “The
Orphans of Doom were labeled a terrorist organization by the House of the
Black Widow, upon the instruction of this very body. They did so after
confirmationfromtheOccultBureauthattheyhadseizedanillegalshipmentof
anextremelylethalweaponknownasNekrotekinourcity.Amutagenicmade
from the toxic byproducts of the tryptamine crystals mined and refined in the
GoldenTriangle.Theknowledgethatsuchasinisteranddiabolicalweaponhad
been altered to be even more deadly when carried in the belly of a lethal
cyberneticorganismknownasaNekrobytedisturbedmany.Whenthenewsthat
these Nekrobytes were being unleashed upon the inhabitants of the Golden
Triangleiftheydidnotco-operatewiththeOrphansofDoom,notonlydidthis
newsenrageourpeople,butitshookthemtotheirverycorewhenthosediseased
withnekrosisbegantofloodacrosstheborderoftheempireandintoZohar.The
fearthattheOrphansofDoomwouldunleashsuchaweaponinthecapitalwas
realandthattherewouldbelittlehopeofsurvivalforourwayoflifeifitcame
true.
“Inresponsetotheircries,theHouseoftheBlackWidowvotedunanimously
tocloseallimperialpointsofentryalongourborderwiththeGoldenTriangle.
This council ratified the House of the Black Widow’s vote and ordered the
ImperialArmada,underthecommandofGeneralGrindcore,toputanendtothe
terroristactivityoftheOrphansofDoomonceandforall.
“Controlled Substances Incorporated recommended that we inoculate our
peoplealongwiththerefugeesfleeing