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Chaeya No Uta

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Deafen your ears to the whispers of the Abyss

Bite your tongue and never answer the call of the Abyss

Blind your eyes so you could never gaze into the Abyss

And most importantly, never ever fall into the Abyss

For you never quite know what it is that climbs back up

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Bread and water, taken hastily from the pantry in one hand. The other holds an old dagger secure inside its sheath. There is only snow as far as the eyes can see. Blinding whiteness, tinted red and orange by the setting sun.

And the lower the floating orb goes, the redder the sky and snow become. A battlefield of blood that is hallucinated by the eyes only. Wolves howl from the distance. And the air grows colder as the sky darkens further, scarlet turning purple in the far horizon.

Quickened steps. Need to keep on moving. Before the cold sets in and freeze the blood inside the veins. Before the wolves caught up and starts hunting. Faster. Hurry up. Need to find somewhere to shelter, somewhere to rest.

Gaits turn slower with each passing minutes. Exhaustion seeping in, cold sapping heat and strength. Need to keep on going. Keep on moving. One foot in front of the other. Left. Right. Left. Right. Le-

Nothing. There is nothing to step on but open darkness.

Fall. And keep on falling. There is no end to the darkness. Fall and keep on falling.

Down. Tumbling down and down. Lower and lower. How long has he been falling? How deep the darkness does go?

Down. And down. And roll over.

Weightless. Limbs splayed out but could not reach. Floating. Weightless. All alone within the darkness.

No, not quite dark. There is some light. Pinpricks in the distance. Getting closer. Closer and Closer.

Dim and shimmering. Twinkling. Stars in the night sky. Had he fallen so deep that he falls through the earth and back out again?

Is he now falling towards the sky?

No, not the sky. Because something is not quite right. This is not the sky that he knows of. Not the star speckled darkness that he spent so much time gazing at.

It is not a sky. It is an ocean. The ocean of stars. The Abyss.

And something is whispering. Something is calling. Something is looking back. Something is reaching out.

He opens his mouth, and screams his name into the Abyss.

The Abyss answers.

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Do you know what is it that climbs back?

Do you? Do you really? Do you even want to know?

DO YOU???

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His legs are unsteady, stumbling through the thick snow. Gone are the bread and water. And the dagger is rusted over. Three months, Skirk told him. It feels like a blink of an eye.

The moon is round and heavy in the still night sky. A red bloated orb that drips, bubbling with blood.

The stars are twinkling. So different from the ones in the Abyss. Fractured facsimile of the real things. Their lights mockingly cold and uninterested.

There are sounds. Garbled screams that sound distantly like his name. He turns to the source as several forms burst through the thick thicket of undergrowth that ringed the small clearing he is standing on. The small clearing where he had clawed himself out of that ocean of stars.

“4j4X!” the voice is grating to his nerves, a mixture of gurgled syllables and wailed whistles. Voices coming from people that are no longer people. At least to his senses.

The largest one has tentacles for a face, long wriggling tendrils dripping with slimes. One of the arms is made similarly, tendrils wrapping around each other in mimicry of a limb. The other two smaller ones are almost similar. One has the face that is just a mass of eyes, the other of ears. But he recognizes the coats they wear. His mother’s and his sisters’.

“If you think what you’re seeing now is bad, wait until you’re back where you came from. It’s even worse there,” Skirk had told him, her gaping maw full of fangs dribbling out globs of black tar. And he had to agree. She looks downright beautiful compared to these three horror freaks that are closing in on him.

“Grit your teeth and never let them know, boy. Not if you want to live, if you want to survive,” she had cautioned. He agrees with her.

And when they touch him with their hands and fingers, he grits his teeth to prevent from screaming.

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“B!G Br0th#R!!!”

Ah, that shrill squeak must be Teucer. Anton’s voices are more of a growl. He turns to his youngest brother and smiles.

“What is it, Teucer?”

Smile, strained, but still a smile. Keep up the charade. Nobody has to know.

“D0 y0u r#aLLy h$v3 t0 G0 and j0!N tH3 FaTu!?” there are puss dripping from the empty eye sockets of his youngest brother. The youngest that used to be his favorite. Now, whenever he sees Teucer, whenever he hears Teucer calls him, all he wants to do is rip the abomination into shreds.

Easy there. Deep breath. Remember Teucer, baby soft cheeks, cute little fingers that curls so innocently at your bigger hands.

He wants to puke.

“Dad says that’s the best course of action,” he smiles again, wide and placating, “Maybe I can find better things to do there.”

Like try not to maim anyone who comes within his hands’ reach. He did not even recognize the squirming sack of flesh with hands and feet that he is stabbing into until his father pulls him off the body. A body that belongs to their neighborhood’s drunk. And that had been the last straw. His father had accepted Mr. Pulcinella's terms without any further hesitation.

“Don’t worry. I’ll come back as soon as possible,” he pats at ginger hair. It feels like he is touching squirming earthworms. “I’ll write as often as I can too.”

“Pr0m!S3?” he nods to keep the little abomination happy. He almost flinches when his pinkie is linked with a smaller one.

Teucer does not let go of his pinkie until Mr. Pulcinella comes to get him. In his heart, he is glad that he does not have to keep on touching that thing anymore.

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What he hears is no longer the same. The Abyss has tainted his ears.

What he tastes is no longer the same. The Abyss has tainted his tongue.

What he sees is no longer the same. The Abyss has tainted his eyes.

What he feels is no longer the same. The Abyss has tainted his heart.

What he is is no longer the same. The Abyss has tainted his being.

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He does his job well. He follows the orders given well. He is respectful to his seniors. He is helpful to his juniors. Everyone likes him. The power hungry ones see him as a useful tool. The softer ones think he is on their side. He wants to kill them all the same.

But they already give him more than enough things to kill. People. He reminds himself. Morning, day, and night. They are people. But he sees his reflection in the mirror, he sees how similar to them he looks, and he wants to slice his own jugular.

The mirrors in his room are all cracked. He shaves using the blurry reflection in the water that his Hydro Vision summons. His hair is permanently tousled. He has not seen his face in years.

And he keeps on gritting his teeth.

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“Come now, Tartaglia. Eat up!” the voice sounds like chalk dragging through blackboard in his ears. At least, he is better at picking out the words through the sounds that everything, everyone, he reminds himself, makes when they speak nowadays. He is better at blending in now.

He looks up to see Pulcinella ladles more food onto his already overflowing plate. He smiles and thanks his sponsor, now his senior in the Harbingers. “It’s not every day that the Tsaritsa hold a banquet to celebrate the inauguration of a new Harbinger.”

He thanks Pulcinella again. And tamped down the urge to summon his hydro blades and cut off the offending hand that is placed on his shoulder in an attempt to be friendly. He looks down to his plate instead.

There is his steak, infested with eyeballs, and the carrots growing clawed fingers. The sauce is a sickly green blue color. The potatoes are full of blackened blisters. He closes his eyes and puts a spoonful into his mouth.

The food wriggles in his mouth. He gnashed at them. They wriggle more. He swallows them whole. He is good at swallowing large mouthfuls nowadays. Make the food goes down faster. So he can finish his plate faster. Food is just to keep him alive. He needs the energy if he wants to live. That the food is still wriggling, still so very much alive, is proof of their effectiveness.

“Oh ho, look at you. Such hearty appetite,” Dottore, another of his senior, laughs from across the table.

He made the mistake to look up into the part of the other man’s face that is not covered by his mask. His eyes twitch. Dottore is especially bad. His red eyes are especially bad. He would rather look at the pulsating boil that grows from the side of the man’s neck than his eyes.

He gives Dottore a weak smile, a cautious smile.

“Growing boys really are always hungry, hmmm?” Dottore grins at him. The mouth is an empty cavern. Just black void. Still better than the eyes.

He smiles again, and swallows another mouthful. Cloying sweetness from the sauce combined with the iron taste of blood from the steak. He wants to puke. He wrestles his body into keeping it down. He always wins. He might not feel good, but he always wins. Skirk had made sure that he will have full command of his body before he left the Abyss. To keep him alive. To make sure he survives. He wants to live. So he will have to survive.

He wants to puke. But he grits his teeth and swallows down another mouthful.

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Liyue is a disaster. And now Signora has claimed two Gnoses and he none. The order for relocation is expected. The Qixing is already keeping a very close eye on him. He needs to lay low. Waits out the heat.

Mondstadt is a surprise though. But the Tsaritsa’s order is absolute. And the Anemo Archon needs to be watched, Gnosis or no Gnosis. He is not sure why, but he can tell there is something else that runs deeper. Something that belongs to the gods.

He is but a mere pawn. And despite his ambitions, some matters need to be handled carefully. So to the land of the free wind he goes, met at the gate by the handful of Fatui delegations that Signora left behind in her hasty departure. They give him the lowdown. Their standing here is not exactly a bed of roses either. The Acting Grandmaster of the Knight of Favonius is not entirely welcoming.

That matters not. He is here on business. His cover order is to establish a branch of Northland Bank here. See if they can get a piece of the wine money that flows like water here. Pulcinella had made all the necessary groundwork after all, he is just here as executor.

His entourage is met by the Acting Grandmaster and the Captains, or what is left after the absent Grandmaster brings the rest on some long-term expedition, by the entrance of the Knight’s headquarter.

And he stops in his track from shock.

There, to the right of the Acting Grandmaster, stands the most beautiful thing he has ever seen in his life. There is one eye that reminds him of the twinkling lights in that ocean of stars that he was lost in years ago.

This person’s whole appearance is just downright angelic, pure and untainted by the malformations that are present in everyone that his eyes had perceived ever since his escape from the Abyss.And for the first time in years, he does not feel like wanting to stab out his eyes when he sees someone.

Then the man speaks, voice low and sensuous, timbre that makes his whole body heats up, words clear and concise in a way that nobody else’s voice ever sounds to him now. And for the first time in years, he does not feel the need to shut up anyone when they are talking.

There he stands, half dazed by this perfection of a being, a sight that he had given up on ever seeing again. He is mesmerized by the siren song the other man sings, collecting every word as if they are the most precious gems in the world.

And when the man finally introduces himself as Kaeya Alberich, Cavalry Captain of the Knight of Favonius, he very nearly drops down to his knees in worship, wishing that he can scream to the world that he does not deserve to witness such magnificence.

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His next few weeks pass by in a daze. His clear favoritism of the Cavalry Captain ensures that said man will be the one assigned to him for ‘Harbinger babysitting’ duties. And he makes no efforts whatsoever to hide his infatuation.

A giggle, tinkling sounds like that of the stars of the Abyss, and he is graced with amused split of the lips. “You know, you’re an interesting one.” Another giggle, a gift from the Abyss itself. “I can tell that you know. And that you can see. Yet, here you are where others would have fled.”

And here he is, buried so intimately inside the one he is worshipping, body working to please this creature from the Abyss, giving his everything in fulfillment of the wish and hopes of a world that is not his yet had become an integral part of his being.

Wishes and hopes that he will gladly bring to fruition regardless of the prices he has to pay.

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“Where’re you going?” he inquires, voice full of confusion. His lover has climbed out of the bed they shared and is putting on his clothes.

“To hunt,” is the answer he received, the Captain’s teeth gleaming in the moonlight. “My sources tell me that there is a gathering of Treasure Hoarders scheduled for tonight. They have plans that I would rather not see become realities.”

“Want me to help?” he too makes to climb out of the bed. However, a long limb stops him, pushing him back into the bed.

“Sorry babe, but if my source see you with me, I’m going to lose my legitimacy with them. Just rest up for the night, you’ve worked hard.” He is given a slow blink that is accompanied by the minute tilt of a head, a version of winking that only his lover could ever accomplish.

And his body heats up from the thought of what they had been doing just hours earlier. How many times had he come? Inside and outside of his lover, drenching the beautiful form in his liquid seed, each and every drop consumed without waste, licked clean like a cat washing itself.

He falls back to the bed, watching until his lover is gone before he goes back to sleep.

And of the congregation of Treasure Hoarders, he heard nothing more of them.

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“Eat.”

It is a command, voiced out in addition to a laden plate being placed in front of him.

“I have specificallypick out these choice cuts myself. I believe this will be more to your taste than the bland things that pass as food in this place.”

He eyes his plate. Its contents are surprisingly appetizing to him. Meats drenched in some kind of red sauce, big slabs that make his mouth waters, sprinkled generously with cartilaginous petals formed in pair, resembling artful depiction of hearts. That day, he eats like a man who has not eaten for years. And in a way, that is exactly what it is for him. The taste of the meats exquisite, one that he had not encountered for years ever since his fall into the Abyss.

And from that day on, he eats only what Kaeya hunts for him.

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“Why did you choose me?” he had asked one night, when his lover had cleaned both of them of any physical evidence of their copulation.

He is given a calculating look, one that tells him the Captain is trying to figure out just how much he should be told. Then lips part to show gleaming teeth and once again he hears the melody of angels.

“Because of your unique composition. I’ve tried with numerous others from this world, but none could ever satisfy me. None of them can provide me what I seek. You on the other hand, one who is born here, yet drenched in the essence of the Abyss, you fulfill me in ways that I could never imagine. Here I thought that it will take me long to get what I want, but with you, I’ve reached heights that I could never imagine.”

He captures the lips that spill forth the words, heart warmed by the knowledge that his life finally has another use other than being a weapon of war lost in a world that is no longer his. The heat spread to his body at the reciprocating licks, and they spend the night lost in more bliss.

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It is Dottore who is dispatched to inspect him when the junior members of the Fatui delegation fails to report back in a timely manner. It is an annoyance that is easily taken care of, just like all the other junior Fatui in here. His lover’s natural charm and ways with people ensures that the good doctor is unaware of just what he is stepping into.

At least, not until it is too late.

Now, his fellow Harbinger is nothing but a mass of flesh, splayed immobile in a corner of the Goth Grand Hotel’s basement, the building has long been claimed by the Fatui as theirs and now it belongs to him and his lover. The numerous eyes peppering the pulsating pinkish surface of his previous co-worker blink at him accusingly. He just laughs.

“It’s a good look on you. At least you’re nicer to look at like this.”

And his lover agrees, hands caressing the squirming form with mirth. He pulls the Captain away and fucks into his holes right in front of the helpless thing that can only stares at them.

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“Why did you do that to him?” he asks his lover, tone flippant, not truly expecting to be answered.

The reply is immediate, and he is surprised at the honesty behind it.

“I need to see if I’m ready, if I can finally fulfill my duties. With you by my side all these times, I can feel the Abyss nearing, your essence bridging the gap that would have taken me years to do alone. I have finally been able to properly get a feel of humanity, of the beings that inhabit this world.”

“Does this mean…?”

“Yes, the time of our separation is near.”

“NO!”

“Please, Ajax….”

NO! Take me with you! Let me stay by your side!”

“Ajax, what I’m doing, what I’m about to do, is irreversible. What you see now, what you can see now, is not yet how I truly look. I do not wish to taint your image of me. I wish for you to stay in love with the me now. The me that you have first laid your eyes on, one that has taken your heart. I… I too have fallen for you, Ajax. I am so deeply in love with you despite my own misgivings. Yet, my duties remain. And in fulfilling that, I shall return to my true form that belongs to the Abyss, a form that your eyes will find to be nothing but repugnant.”

“Try me, Kaeya. Try me.”

And for the very first time, he sees teardrops fall from his lover, glittering like frozen diamonds in the red tinge of the moonlight.

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The both of them run. And the both of them fight. The Knights give chase. The winds howled around them. The guardians of the nation of the free wind seeking to impede their progress, to prevent them from reaching their destination.

Yet, they are all too late. Much too late.

His lover had been clever, had been cautious, and had been able to disguise himself so well that the Archon that rules this land sees him as nothing but a refugee from a fallen nation, unaware of the Abyss that brews underneath. Unaware of his lover’s status as a Herald of the Abyss.

And it was only at the eve of the epoch, when the Abyss become too much to contain, seeking to finally burst forth, that they had an inkling of what is about to happen. And they finally acted.

Much too late.

The ground rumbles underneath his feet and lightning flashes above, signaling that the Archons of neighboring nations are joining in.

But they are already near their destination.

The still beating heart of the dragon that once belongs to the Abyss calls to them, ready to resume what it had been charged to do, a function that it has been denied centuries ago, when it had been struck down mercilessly, its role unfulfilled.

Yet, its failure had taught the Abyss valuable lessons. This world has its own protectors, ones that do not look kindly towards the corruption that spills forth from the Abyss, seeking to consume another world into its own. And this world is capable of fighting back, its beings rejecting the corrupting force, preventing a proper assimilation.

So, they had sent Kaeya this time.

If Durin had been a grand gesture, one that will rain down destructions and corruption upon an unaware world, then Kaeya had been the shadow that follows, one that hides under the cover, waiting for an opportune moments, studying and inspecting, trying to integrate into the very fabric of this world, until enough knowledge had been gleaned to combine the genetic of this world with that of the Abyss.

And he had helped along. His own corrupted essences, those that he spills unreservedly into his lover, had facilitated Kaeya in his learning, propagating within him the means with which to turn this world into one that the Abyss can consume.

Now, all they need is the necessary Abyssal energy for Kaeya to develop properly, energy that his disguised form is incapable of producing. So, what better source than the very thing that is once another Herald of the Abyss itself?

The ground cracks as the rumblings intensify, sending Kaeya’s gravid form tumbling. But he is nothing if not vigilant, easily collecting his lover into his arms as he run on, Kaeya’s limbs wrapped securely around his body.

They are so close now, the blood red hue that the gigantic heart gives off coloring the mouth of the cave. Kaeya’s limbs disengage from him and he reluctantly let his lover down onto the ground. He watches as Kaeya’s form crawls slowly towards the heart, wanting to follow, but knowing he will be consumed along if he dares near.

So he waits at the mouth of the cave, their promise of forever engraved into his finger by Kaeya’s own claws. Then the chasing noises grew louder, and he turns to block their passage, calling forth everything that he has to buy just another minute, another second for his lover.

He fights them, weapons and fists, hands and feet, claws and teeth. He gives everything. But he is just one against many, a mortal against what pass as gods in this world.

An arrow made of pure Anemo energy struck his right breast, followed by a polearm made of stone slicing his left knee away. He falls to the ground, but he is not done yet. They step over him, thinking him no longer capable. And he takes this opportunity to call forth the Abyssal form of his constellation to drown them, washing them away from approaching his lover.

Another minute that he buys for Kaeya.

They return, advancing with intent to kill directed at him this time. He collects more energy, saturating this world’s natural power with his own Abyssal corruption, ready to unleash all that he had left to stop them.

And they stop in their tracks, and fall to their knees, wailing and bleeding from every orifice. Their skin bubbles, new fleshy appendages bursting forth, eyes and mouth and ears and fingers and hair and genitals and each and every other organ grow unchecked, forming new ones in places where they should never grow, washing away all the imperfections that they never quite lose even in his eyes tainted by the Abyss. Finally, finally, he can look at them without feeling like gouging out his eyes.

But he had no time to look at them anymore, because he can feel himself changing too. Searing pain runs through his body and suddenly he can see what is happening in the cave despite him still facing the other way. He is evolving, his body contorting into something that truly belongs to the Abyss, finally sloughing off the human features that he had so loathed all these years.

And he looks through his newly formed eyes to the magnificence that is his lover’s true form, one that has successfully unified himself with Durin’s heart.

The limbs and torso had been absorbed, leaving only one beautiful face, the one that he has always loved the most. The lone star eye blinks, followed by the other non starry one around it. And then lips, only the one on the face is left now, split into a grin, showing off those rows of glistening fangs he always adores.

Kaeya blooms.

An appendage, a long and fleshy pedicle, burst forth from the back of the pulsating flesh that is his lover, splitting into smaller flattened discs akin to feathers made of sinews, not unlike the one-sided coat that his lover is so fond of wearing. The new limb flaps, and his lover’s form disengages from the frozen pedestal that has kept Durin’s heart captive for all these centuries.

Kaeya floats over to him, the form bulky yet moves so gracefully.

“Ajax.”

His name is called, the lips unmoving, yet the voice is loud and clear in his head, drowning out the screams and wails of the transformed people all around them. He wants to answer, but his mouth has fused into something that bears description no longer. So all he can do is watch, witness in awed silence as his lover’s rounded lower abdomen split right down the middle and expels tiny little forms that resemble beings of Abyssal origins, some even taking the appearance of his Foul Legacy form. Each of these forms radiates a form of Abyssal energy, the kind that is capable of infecting everything that is around them.

“Our children.”

His lover’s voice is proud, loving, hungry for more.

He reaches out with hands that are no longer human and embrace this most beautiful being that he has been so fortunate to be allowed to love, ready to fulfill his own role in the consummation of this world with the Abyss.

Yes, let the corruption burst forth, let the Abyss transform this imperfect world into the magnificent replica of its own form, one that he had witnessed and fall in love with all those years ago, the ocean of stars that has called out and reached out to him.

This time, it will be him that calls out. This time it will be him that reaches out.

And the world of Tevyat drowns in darkness, becoming another star that twinkles helplessly within the Abyss as the Harbinger and the Herald entwine together in its eternity.

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Open your ears and listen to the whispers of the Abyss

Open your mouth and answer the call of the Abyss

Open your eyes so you could gaze into the Abyss

And most importantly, reach out to the Abyss when it reaches out to you.

-FIN-