A Debate at Court

Is there some reason they need to know this? What is it that you hope to accomplish by relating all this?


“Bring ‘m ta me!” came the wail of an impatient tyrant. The unctuous lips of Garjgot were twisted into a sneer. His round fist came down heavy on his throne; the impact sent ripples of force and grease-snot running up and down his morbidly obese, naked frame. The Blubbering King did not wait. It wasn’t in his nature. “Li’il upshtart bashtard, that byshantine. Well, we ou’a give ‘em a warm welcome, eh boysh? Let’s shee wha’ he’sh made of!”

The tyrant’s anger twisted into cruel laughter. Below him, a million vermin scurried around, eager to perform their master’s bidding. They did not think – they received a command, and acted. Each one delved off into a Plane, scouring Existence for the one their king sought. Each one, a horror of all its own. A sea of infinities were drowned in an uncaring pestilence of bile and decay, each infinitely larger and more vile than the last. Just one of the Blubbering Vermin could suffice as Satan; but the nature of their own master was unreachably beyond even them.

Do you understand now, dear reader, who it was that called the Byzantine to his halls? Though I might find some words that suit my purpose here, they represent a poor facsimile of what I intend, and the true nature of the one I describe must indeed make me sick to my stomach. For, beyond the concepts that you or I shudder before comes the one whose very existence is putrid nothingness. Perhaps to find the feeling I wish to inflict, I should have instead asked you to think of your own inevitable death, and pointed to your chest when at last you succeeded.

The outcome, you may object, is not in doubt. The incident with the woman in white, though she be incomprehensibly below the likes of Garjgot, has done enough to sway your mind, has it? Well, perhaps the outcome was never the important part to begin with. After all, the point of fiction is often to reveal reality – and reality is exactly that which the Obscene One wished to test with his summons.

And so the one called ‘Byzantine’ appeared before the Blubbering King. The radiance of the two’s true conceptions flared the moment they met, the Byzantine’s arrival sparking with a purifying light that rancid court which lay beyond any talk of complexity or dimensionality in anyone’s poor power to relate. If the King, that absolute master who himself dwarfs the power of his Court, allowed the light to persist, or was not able to prevent it, I cannot at this moment really say. Those Blubbering vermin, however – snarling, scratching, suffocating – shrieked in a tone like a grieving mother, and to my great relief were at once annihilated.

“Ah hope… Ah didn’t imposhe,” jived the King, his toothy grin sending grease-snot flowing down his jowls.

“No,” the Byzantine said with a dismissive gesture, “I was the one who chose to come.” He spoke with the tone of one trying to ease an imposing grandmother. Garjgot gazed down at him, and, after a moment of smiling silence, howled with amusement, the rolls of fat on his legs and arms surging up and down with his laughter. It was some time before he calmed himself.

“Ish that righ’, boy?” The Blubbering King at last continued. His expression suddenly turned. He studied the newcomer closely, smacking his lips in concentration. A renewed horde of his Vermin ran between his mouth and nose, fleeing from the light of the trespassing Hero. “Ah-know wha’ it ish you’ve figuh’d out.” He said, peering at the Byzantine through the folds of his face “I’m a smah’t man, Nikiesh. Ah-know one like you doeshn’t make it to thish wi’out shome sherious … NONSENSE!” Garjgot slammed his pudgy fist down again, and jibbered nothingnesses as he again calmed himself down. Then, he continued, “But thish hope a-yor’sh not won yet. I-don care what shorta power you’ve go’ now. It doeshn’t change tha re-al-i-ty of the shituation.”

At that, the Byzantine raised an eyebrow. “You wanna argue with me?”

Garjgot’s expression was deadly. “Ah do.” The Blubbering King’s form shuddered, and the folds of his skin started turning in upon themselves. It writhed and condensed, and standing where the Obscene One once stood was a well-dressed man, his black hair slicked back. The Byzantine spat on the floor at the sight of it. In this form, he found the King infinitely more repulsive than his last.

“Now then, Nikies,” the renewed Garjgot began, “I believe it is a simple matter we must attend to. You have trespassed onto a level of power far beyond what should have been possible for you. I believe I have come to grasp what it is you’ve mastered, which makes a direct confrontation unwinnable. So instead, I shall convince you of the futility of your pursuits. Are you prepared?”

The Byzantine pursed his lips. His power was proof of his rightness for the foes he had faced until this point. For the woman in white, his utter lordship over her was sufficient to satisfy his inclination that her paradise was not the Good she believed. No doubt, he could make the same mockery of the Blubbering King. But, a debate? Where would this lead?

“Yea, I’m ready,” The Byzantine replied.

“Then let us begin.”

Byzantine: You’re the challenger. You do the opening.

Garjgot: We will debate the matter of suicide.

Byzantine: Suicide?

Garjgot: Is it always preferable that a human end their own life as soon as possible?

[The Byzantine understands at once why this topic was chosen. Garjgot means to attack his [archetype].]

Byzantine: Preferable? No.

Garjgot: I contend that it is.

Byzantine: Then, make your argument.

Garjgot: Human life is a fleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

text unavailable

Garjgot cackles, his smooth new exterior crumpling outward, returning to his former putrid mass. “That little stunt of yours told me all that I needed to know!” He said, his voice slowly returning to its earlier drawl, “You were too shcared to even let ‘em read my argumentsh! Hav’ ye got that li’il confidence in them?”

The Byzantine grimaced as the Blubbering King continued to swell, far beyond his original form. Having won the debate in his own view, the Obscene One had now turned his attention to battle – a doomed one, he knew, but such was his nature.

Now, I am afraid, dear reader, that I must take a moment for myself, before describing the conflict that ensued. Yes, this text now was written some time after that which came before, for in order to even describe that which I intend to relate, some considerable deliberation was required.

What truly is the Blubbering King, that Obscene One called Garjgot? Why evoke the imagery of disgust and filth to describe him? That vile thing, that creature called Garjgot… he’s the decision to keep the money for yourself. He is the betrayal of a promise wholeheartedly made, and He is that which comes afterwards. He is the bite from an unearned apple. He is that which strikes back from the bruised ego of an insulted narcissist.

All the combined forces of the Great Empires of Man at their strongest, forces capable of rending the Plane itself into nothingness, could have rallied their strength against him, in a surge of might out from the Third Wall like none seen up to that point, and he would have corrupted them all with less than a thought. Now, the last survivor of those wondrous Empires faced him down.

And, as for the ensuing battle? Perhaps analogy may be of some use. Infinity is a quaint concept in the Omniversal Plane and that which lies beyond. The Plane itself, encompassing the unthinkable sum of all those imaginative stories developed by the miracle of consciousness, and then those stories imagined by those within the stories, and so on, for a time represented the outer limits of what was known. The fleeting Rooms which sit at their impossible edge alone encompassed a variety of dimensions so vast in their randomness that not even infinity itself could hope to reach it. Even that Great Void that hosted the climactic battle of the Great War, that which is beyond these notions entirely . . . To the Blubbering King, it was all as nothing; less than nothing – conceptual chaffe for his unending, absolute stench to corrupt.

In their day, tempered by the somber knowledge of their own mastery, the Great Empires sought to fight with restraint, threatened by the prospect of their own mutual annihilation. Through some means, a man with a strength greater than that of the Empires he left behind found a way through, carried by the light of his own will. There, beyond the Plane, did beings thought unthinkable finally catch notice of things seeming below them. There, they were at last made to recoil at the thought of the one who was approaching.

Thus now the Obscene One was faced with an impossibility. He for whom all was naught was himself facing one like the Heroes of old, who had stared him in the face, and was prepared to triumph. As I have said, the battle is ill-suited for words. Would you believe it? Garjgot, for the first time spurred by a power greater than his own, even attempted to evolve in his rancid power – a reaction to the heroic light that he faced. He who had spurned the idea of growth itself had attempted to change, to overcome the righteousness he had recoiled from.

His jibbering, slobbering mass pulsed. His anger carried his own will onwards and outwards. Garjgot turned to see his own selves, each of a level unthinkably, entirely, insurmountably more horrible in their strength than the last, folding into each other, reaching one final eventuality incomprehensibly unreachable from the sum of its parts. He struck the Byzantine with the force of pure ??evi???pes?ngoth?mal?.

[But these, too, are just components of text symbols on a screen – it doesn’t matter what level he might attempt to reach and transcend. He can never overcome this final reminder. After all… one can write whatever they like to a foreign relative, but it is all moot without an [interpreter].]

Garjgot, every moment evil to a level which regards his previous will as naive, realizes at once the reality of his situation. He obeys his own former argument, hoping to deny the Byzantine a final victory. In other words, it was the Blubbering King who ended himself.

[Nikies] now regards the event with some curiosity. It was the debate that bothered him most. To be ‘out there’ is to accept some further responsibility, it seems. It would be better to let such things lie.

And so with the Court and its jibbering King brought to nothingness, the Byzantine was reminded of the image of a child choosing to share his last cookie, and smiled at the thought of the stars.