Dr. Evingston finds the Errant Thoughtseed Physical / Metaphysical Law in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong

Dr. Evingston finds the Errant Thoughtseed

The beginning of the end

Content warning: Themes of disassociation
Am I thinking these thoughts, or is something else thinking them for me?
    Five years ago, when her hand picked specialized team of operatives returned to her in an unremarkable field in the middle of Hansun, Dr. Evingston was given the object that'd change her life and the course of Cathedris forever. Fifteen of them had been sent out days prior to a mysterious complex of caves beneath Caed's Island -- seven of them returned, Errant Thoughtseed in possession and chaos in their minds.

Gifts from the Sky

The Errant Thoughtseed was the first Gift to be found -- written about in a cryptic text found in a strange room within The Comprilith. Its discovery kickstarted a rabid search for any and every other object similar to it located anywhere upon Cathedris.

Her first step

  The itching inside her mind started innocuously at first; in the beginning she didn't even notice it. There was just a slight, small, barely noticible feeling of otherness -- as if there was something she forgot to do, but even that itself was forgotten. A memory of a memory.   And for a while, that's all it was, as well.   Anabelle tried to remain patient. But it was hard not to become anxious and excited when years of impossible work are about to pay off -- when you are about to take ownership of something amazing. She constantly scanned the horizon for any sign of her team returning; without knowing exactly how, she knew they'd arrive soon.       The early morning mist of the open field drifted softly around her, and even though the air was still, she tightened her long coat around herself. It caught momentarily on her thigh holster -- just for a second. Just long enough to remember the gun was there. Normally her coat keeps her warm in even the most windy of weather, but this time she was aware of the cold. Perhaps the mist was getting to her. Or perhaps it was the cold hunk of metal strapped to her thigh that sapped the heat from her body.   She idly scratched the back of her head.   The scene of sending the fifteen operatives off played through her mind again, souring her mood slightly. It had been an absolute nightmare assembling the team. Finding people she could actually trust with this mission. People that could handle being a part of the future. The worst was trying to convince Helen to join; she might be the most trustworthy of the group, but gods if she wasn't overly cautious -- always protesting. She'd been like that for as long as Anabelle had known her.       A low rumble gradually became present in Anabelle's awareness. At first she thought it was only in her head; but as she looked out across the field she quickly picked out the small black dot moving along the horizon.   Her brows furrowed at the discomfort in her mind.       That asshole Helen, honestly. This mission could have been completed weeks ago if it weren't for her. Anabelle loved Helen, truly -- they'd gone through everything together. But she could be so frustrating; and these days that frustration often turned into proper resentment, as Helen's natural tendancy to slow Anabelle's plans and push for caution more times than not caused massive setbacks or costly changes to their operations within the Legion.   She'd have some words with Helen when they got back with her prize. The thought swirled around in her mind; finally telling her friend the words that had been building inside her for years. Finally putting her in her place. Taking control of this relationship just like she'd taken control of the Legion. Just like she'd do to the world.   The last thought swirled and tumbled through her mind, the itching and rumbling twisting and overlaying with it, seemingly etching it on the inside of her skull. She'd take control of the world. Over and over. Words for Helen. It was all she could think about as the impatience threatened to overwhelm.   Am I thinking these thoughts, or is something else thinking them for me? Wondered Anabelle, not for the last time.   The transport grew closer.       The cacophony in her mind grew to a crescendo. Words, feelings, discomfort, all in a jumbled mess, each trying to make itself the focus of her brain.   With a slam, silence. The transport stopped in front of Anabelle -- one of them had just gotten out, and the slam of the vehicle's door broke Anabelle from her restless thoughts. Now her mind was silent; almost a void, yet full of anticipation and that incessant itching feeling.   The anxiety returned in a new form, and the feeling of otherness began to swell.   Her operative didn't say anything, after exiting the transport and closing the door. He didn't even approach Anabelle. In fact, he seemed frozen to the spot, staring at her with an odd, blank expression on his face. Soon, more joined him, as the remainder of the team exited the vehicle, each coming to stand near the first.   Six of them stood in silence. Only six had returned when she had sent fifteen.   I don't pay them to survive, I pay them to succeed. As long as they've brought what's mine, I do not care how many I lose. The thought came to Anabelle suddenly, and the harshness of it surprised her. And yet... it wasn't wrong. She had forever maintained that sacrifice is required for grand ambition. Am I thinking these thoughts?       "Ana!" The voice rang out from the back of the transport. It took Anabelle a second to realize it was Helen calling out; she hadn't even realized her friend wasn't standing among the six in front of her. More importantly, she hadn't even really cared that Helen wasn't there. If it weren't for the incessant itching and discomfort in her mind, that realization would have worried Anabelle.   "Ana I think this is a bad idea." Helen's disembodied voice drifted across the mist. Anabelle looked expectantly, but Helen still hadn't come out from behind the transport. "Please don't make me give this to you." Her voice was strained. "Please."       The itching feeling tore her patience to shreds. The otherness filled up every nook and cranny of Anabelle's mind, leaving space only for frustration and desire.   How long am I going to let her hold me back?   Anabelle's anger grew.   How long until she respects my ambition?   "Do not start this, Helen." Her voice oozed out, slowly. Full of venom. The hate was palpable. Years of frustration self evident in those five words. "Do not deny me what is mine. Not now. Not while I can almost touch it." Quivering rage crept into her voice. Spoken in a tone she'd never used with her friend; a tone that comes from an anger that she'd normally rationalize away long before it left her subconscious. The sense of otherness within her mind died, and in its place grew an overwelming feeling of righteous indignation. The itching was unbearable but she no longer cared. The lump of deadly metal strapped to her thigh grew heavy.   She's always going to be this way.   Helen came out from behind the vehicle, covered head to toe in blood. Her face was stricken with grief and terrible knowledge of what was to come. Her eyes were glazed over, unfocused, as if trying their best to look away from the horror that was reality. "Ana please." Helen whispered.   She carried a large open topped wooden crate. Inside it was the item that was to kickstart the rest of Anabelle's life. Inside that simple box was the artefact that could teach her how to reshape Cathedris's future. That which came from before. As soon as it entered her view, Anabelle knew it was the source of the itching -- the longing, she now recognized it as. She was being drawn to this item. She felt her mind opening. Deep memories unlocking, connections forming. This was just the beginning. This was The Errant Thoughtseed.   The knower and teller of things which should not be known by people weaker than I.   Years of work had led to this moment. Countless hours spent pouring over old books. So many lives poured into the Comprilith just to find any scrap of information on it. Untold wealth spent on bribes, equipment, and failed missions.   This should be the first of my many triumphs. Instead I'm face to face with my snivelling failure of a friend that couldn't even come back with her full team.   "Give me the box, Helen." Deadly calm accompanied the venom in Anabelle's voice. "I will not ask again." She lifted the gun. How did that get in my hand? flashed through her mind for the briefest of moments, before being replaced with seething impatience.       "You don't know," Helen's voice was barely audible. "You don't know what this does. What it did." Silent tears streaked down her bloodstained face.       "You don't know what it made me do, Ana." Wordless sobs racked her body.       The box trembled in Helen's hands. Like she was at war with herself; as if a part of her, something inside her, was trying with all the force it could muster to give Anabelle the box. And yet Helen remained rooted to the spot, trembling.       "If you could hear the things it's telling me right now. What it wants me to do. Ana please." A choked cry escaped Helen's rigid body.       All Anabelle could see was weakness. She felt as if she was clearly seeing it for the first time.       She's not strong enough to give me the Thoughtseed. She's not capable of serving my ambition.       "Ana."       She'll never be strong enough.       Anabelle lifted the gun.       She's never been strong enough.       Her finger rested on the trigger.       Am I thinking these thoughts, or is something else thinking them for me?       The thought crossed Anabelle's mind for the last time.  


Cover image: by Gabriel


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Jul 11, 2023 05:46 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Well. XD That was bound to happen :p Really great writing there to show how Anabelle's mind is not so slowly changing and succumbing to the errant thoughtseed!

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Jul 11, 2023 20:01 by Stormbril

Thank you! :D Anabelle was the exact kind of person that should have *never* gotten close to the Errant Thoughtseed

Jul 11, 2023 07:40 by Catoblepon


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Jul 11, 2023 20:01 by Stormbril


Jul 12, 2023 10:07 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

OH NO HELEN.   Beautifully written and terrifying.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 12, 2023 19:20 by Stormbril

OH NO x2   Thank you Emy! <3

Jul 12, 2023 18:21 by Morgan Biscup

More prose!   Also the obligatory never trust the Legion. And poor Helen. Poor Helen in all the ways.

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Jul 12, 2023 19:21 by Stormbril

Yessss, this was the big one I was excited to write! :D   Poor Helen :'(

Jul 12, 2023 21:16 by Aster Blackwell

Devastating! I love how Annabelle is convinced the Helen is "not strong enough" to give her the Thoughtseed, when in reality Helen is stronger than Annabelle, as she's RESISTING giving up the Thoughtseed even though it wants her to. Such a tragic bit of prose. My mouth is dry after reading it. Poor Helen.

Jul 18, 2023 18:00 by Stormbril

Yes!! Exactly! :D Poor Helen indeed :'(   Thank you for the comment <3

Jul 17, 2023 16:32 by TC

god damn

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jul 19, 2023 17:13 by Reanna R

Oh goodness that ending, though! Your prose is just so good!!

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Jul 19, 2023 19:27 by Stormbril

Thank you!! <3 That final line was such an evil joy to write >:)

Aug 13, 2023 02:09 by George Sanders

Brutal and engaging. Now, give me the box.

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Aug 14, 2023 16:09 by Stormbril

That's what I like to hear! Thank you George :D

Aug 13, 2023 02:32 by Chris L

What's in the box?? I like how this is the destructive event you chose to portray in your world.

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Aug 14, 2023 16:10 by Stormbril

Thank you! :D To me it's such a fun way to think about the world, with this story-line in mind -- as this moment where she receives the thoughtseed absolutely sets off the chain of events that will turn out to be incredibly destructive >:D

Aug 27, 2023 09:19 by Annie Stein

Such an ominous vibe. I really like this snapshot in time, that we get to experience this pivotal scene through Anabelle's eyes. She's such a fascinating character. This scene sends chills down my spine.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Aug 28, 2023 02:35 by Stormbril

Thank you nnie! <3 Anabelle finally got her time to shine after being teased last year, and I'm really happy with the reaction that both she, and her scenes, got :)

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