The Crimbulmination

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Tammy.gif

You notice that something seems... wrong. The air around you takes on a greasy feel, and the hairs on your arms stand on end. There's a smell like electricity crossed with wet dog, and you can taste the fillings in your teeth (unless you don't have any, in which case whoop-de-do for you I guess, Mr.-or-Ms. Perfect Teeth).

From somewhere in the distance, you can... not hear, not exactly, but you can sense a drumbeat: BOM BOM BOM BOM. A moment later, you become aware of a high-pitched "eeeeeeeeee" sound. Tammy and the elves have started their nature ritual.

It occurs to you that maybe you should not have let things go this far, even if it was correct to do so, narratively speaking. You start to run toward the elf camp. As you get near, you can hear the elves chanting in their piping little voices, shriller than usual. The air feels thicker, and there's a gray haze to it. Unless maybe that's just your vision going. You can hear a tambourine rattling. The voices get louder. BOM BOM BOM eeeeeeeeee BOM BOM BOM. You're nearly at the camp. You hear what might be sound of a drugged stag waking up and wondering what the hell is going on. The rattling of the tambourine reaches a crescendo, then stops abruptly. So does the bellowing of the stag.

The voices keep going though. You can't understand a word they're saying. You're struggling to run, but you can barely shuffle your feet. The voices pause, as every elf takes a deep breath.

Then they all shout: Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej!

You think maybe you blacked out, for an instant. You stumble, catch yourself from falling. It feels like your blood is turning into tar. It feels like every bone in your body is trying to throw up.

Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej!

You black out again, and wake up when you hit the ground. You struggle to get back on your feet, but only make it as far as your knees.

Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej!

This time you wish you had blacked out, because now you hear a new sound: a deep, dark, rumbling sound, a bass note so low you hear it more with your bowels than your ears. It gets louder very quickly, and becomes a noise not exactly like the ground tearing itself apart. You can't quite see the elf camp from where you're standing, because of trees in the way. What you can see is the... creature... that pulls itself out of the earth where the camp is -- or was.

Lovecraft would have described it as "undescribable", but I'll give it a shot. A hundred feet tall. An uncountable number of legs -- legs like trees with muscles. A body of stone and chitin and pink worm flesh dripping and glistening. Teeth like million-year-old stalactites and stalagmites from a cave no human has ever seen. Jagged obsidian claws. Every kind of eyeball.

You start to draw your weapon, and discover you're already holding it. You put it away. What good would it do? You can barely stand; your vision is going blurry -- your brain refusing to see any more.

And then you hear a voice:

"Fascist!"

What?

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You blink, blearily. Everything around you looks gray, but... you try to pull yourself together, focus your nerves, focus your eyes. The monster's presence is like a crushing weight on your mind, but you squint and shake your head and you slowly regain the ability to comprehend what you see.

You see a hundred -- no, several hundred -- people in drab gray uniforms. "What gives you the right to rule us?" they demand, shouting at the monster in perfect unison. "The people will not stand for this oppression!" The creature roars and steps forward, and the ground shudders.

"Proletariat of the world -- UNITE!" they shout, with their fists upraised. After that you become even less sure about what you're seeing. At first, it seems like the Crimborg have started fighting themselves (themself?), with armlocks and grapples and various wrestling holds... but then you spot some human pyramids being formed, and more bodies climbing them, and then you stop even trying to understand and just watch dumbfounded as the masses of gray uniforms combine and link together into a single towering humanoid shape. A gigantic golem made of hundreds of living bodies connected by a single mind.

"WE ARE CRIMBORGATRON!" it shouts. "POWER TO THE PEOPLE!"

And then it pulls back a fist with fingers six feet long, and punches the elves' Earth Mother in the face.

Ahhhh!

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Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej is momentarily stunned by the attack -- wouldn't you be? Crimborgatron follows up the initial punch with a mighty left cross, and the ancient monstrosity staggers backward and stumbles, crashing to the ground, snapping trees like toothpicks. As she screams bloody murder and thrashes around to regain her footing, Crimborgatron steps forward for another punch. The attack is intercepted by a black-clawed tentacle that whips out in a blur of motion, striking the collective in the shoulder. The entire right arm detaches and falls to the ground, scattering into dozens of bodies on impact. Most of them rise to their feet and run back to the main body. They start climbing up the legs, racing to reform the amputated limb.

Another long, rubbery tentacle whips out, wraps around Crimborgatron's remaining arm, and pulls. The collective resists for a moment, and then the members at the shoulder joint simply let go. The tentacle snaps back like a rubber band, and the arm smashes into the creature's chitinous bulk. The individual Crimborg members instantly leap apart from each other and swarm across the monster's back, pulling knives from their belts and searching for openings and gaps in the creature's armored hide. Greenish-black blood sprays from numerous wounds. and Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej screams again.

Crimborgatron pulls back its now-reformed right arm, and swings a straight-armed haymaker punch at the monster's head. The creature leaps backward, dodging, then coils and springs forward, crashing directly into Crimborgatron and knocking it to the ground. Most of the Crimborg are pinned and crushed beneath the ancient horror's bulk. Those that escape this fate are scattered apart. They tumble in separate directions, then leap to their feet and swarm at the monster, cutting at its legs and tentacles with their knives, climbing up its back, searching for weak points. "Power to the people!" they shout again, in unison.

That shout finally breaks you out of your reverie, and you yank your sword from its sheath. (For the purposes of not writing a dozen different versions of this, I'm just going to assume you're using a sword.) You charge forward to where several of the Crimborg are wrestling with and hacking at a large rubbery tentacle, and grab the end. "Pull!" you shout, and you all haul mightily on the tentacle, stretching it taut. "...NOW!"

The tentacle rubberbands back with a SNAP as the Crimborg let go, flinging you into the air and sailing straight at the monster's face. You manage to catch the edge of a lower eyelid, and hang there for a moment, feet scrabbling to find purchase on the monstrosity's craggy face. An eyeball four feet across, red-irised and with a rectangular pupil like a goat's eye, swivels down to glare at you. You brace yourself and use all the leverage you can muster to whip your sword-arm around and directly into the eye, which bursts like an ichor-filled beachball. The "Earth Mother" howls, and the sound turns into muted static. You think maybe your eardrums have ruptured.

Half a dozen gray-uniformed arms reach down and help you climb up onto Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej's back. One of the workers is a reindeer, but not one you recognize, and anyway nothing needs to be said. You all start hacking at the monster's hide, dodging scythe-tipped tentacles and holding on for dear life as the beast shudders violently in an attempt to shake you off. The reindeer manages to get a grip on the edge of a plate of chitin, and wrenches it open far enough for you to skewer the glistening meat underneath.

This continues for an amount of time that you can't possibly quantify. The Crimborg are picked off one by one. Only a handful are left, and yourself, coated green-black and shining from the blood of the elves' abomination.

And then, despite your damaged ears, you again hear a voice. This one says:

"Stop."

Huh?

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Everything is bathed in a cool blue light. You draw a breath that tastes like a spring breeze. Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej stops shuddering beneath your feet, and the remaining Crimborg are still as well. You turn, slowly, feeling as though you're underwater.

Uncle Crimbo is here. He's seated in the lotus position, hovering in the air a few feet away and a little above you. You almost didn't recognize him what with the pure white robes he's wearing, though his beard is the same as ever.

"This is a day of peace," he says calmly. "There will be no more violence, no more death -- not even for Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej. This creature, though she is of the earth, should not be here in this place and time. And so, she is not."

You look around. You're standing on the ground. Gaia'ajh-dsli Ak'lwej has vanished -- in fact, she appears to have never been here at all. The trees are undamaged, your clothes are clean of her blood.

The Crimborg are also gone. You look up at Uncle Crimbo, who is descending to meet you. "They will be fine," he says. "They have been moved to a more appropriate place, where they can build their utopia without strife or interference. The elves as well."

"That's one heck of a deus ex machina you've got there, Unc," you say.

He smiles placidly. "Oh, I'm sure you would have won, in the end. But I seek a path of peace and prosperity for all beings, and today is my day, after all."

"Where have you been, anyway?"

"Meditating."

"...All year?"

"Yes," he says. "And I have been freed from the cycle of desire and despair. I have ascended and been reborn as the Crimbuddha."

"Wow," you say. "...Gosh!"

"I know, right? It's a real trip, let me tell you. Anyway, I must be off. There's a lot of people who require my assistance today. Merry Crimbo!" He taps the side of his nose, turns sideways, and is gone.

"Merry Crimbo," you say to the air, and then look around you.

It does in fact seem like quite a nice day.

Ahhhhhhh.
"What a satisfying conclusion," you think to yourself, as you go about the rest of your holiday business.