Fragment #23: The tale of Krystal McGinnis, the many-limbed martyr

There was once a town called Anarquo, sat on the disputed borderlands between the newly-formed nation of Pacifica and the remaining federation of Fifty States, a country which was more commonly becoming known as The Mid, before it was absorbed into the future nation of Bolvenzilia. The people of The Mid were deeply devout and many of their kind lived in Anarquo, alongside others who followed the Three World Faiths. But the people of Pacifica were non-believers, for they followed science and reason, and hated that way of life that was structured around superstition and tales.

In the year 800 YS, a woman came of age in Anarquo. She had been raised by her grandparents in their recycling yard, for her mother had died from the quiet virus and her father had taken his own life, and in this year her grandparents sadly died too, from ancient poisons in the water. This woman was called Amisha Krystal McGinnis-Graham, though she adopted a shortened title simply of Krystal McGinnis. She fell into the willing business of touch, of massage, progressing into selling her body to all the itinerant workers that passed through Anarquo, in desperation but also in rebellion. In the course of her work she came to meet and know all the peoples of the world, and she came to love them all as well, despite the hurt that they caused her. And her name, Krystal, became spoken of with awe among her closest companions and those who took her business.

For she spoke of means of ending the hatred, between all folk, but especially between the followers of the Three World Faiths. She could see how all differences could be reconciled and she spoke of this to any who would turn an ear towards her words. And her followers began to grow and to grow, and they began to call her the Fifth Coming. But other prophets, three in the last two centuries, had been declared false and had brought low the faiths they tried to represent. And most people were cynics and cried foul.

But the talk of prophets and of reconciliation and of love began to spread far and wide, across the world, but especially across Pacifica and The Mid. And the worst of their kind travelled to Anarquo, twenty-one of evil heart, from the non-believers and the believers of the Three World Faiths. And they together found Krystal and took her to a ruin in the desert. There they inflicted upon her body and her mind such torments and atrocity that none should read of it for all eternity. And they did their deeds over six night and six days, only leaving Krystal McGinnis alone on the final day, because they thought her ravaged remains were no more.

But they did not understand the horror they had done, for they had recorded it, across all the senses, so full of wrath and full of hate were they, thinking that others might feast upon this act as they did so. And so it came to pass that the business of those six days and six nights were shared across the world, and the world was sickened and called the non-believers and the believers such names that had not been heard for centuries.

And these recordings were shared with the followers of Krystal, who used them to find her, out in the ruin of the desert, to find the ruin of her body and to give her sacred burial. But in her mind there was still life, and they called it a miracle, for they brought her back into Anarquo and all the town bowed down before her shattered remains and offered her all they could, for they remembered the love she had held for them all.

But she was no longer whole and her followers cried out to all the world for their aid. And the world answered, for thousands of folk from all over the world travelled to Anarquo and offered their own body for Krystal McGinnis to have. And the physicians of the world travelled there, and took the offers of bodily aid, and re-made Krystal McGinnis, such that her limbs and her inner organs and her skin and her hair and her face were no longer those that she had been born with.

And she arose, after many months of pain and healing and hardship and struggle, and was called the Many-Limbed Martyr, the Patterned Prophet, the Tormented, the Tortured, the Reconciled and the Many-Chambered Heart.

And she preached her words to all those that heard her, bringing millions to her cause, ending the wars of faith across the world, ending the hatreds, for a few short years.

But her words caused — as all words of strength do — deep enmity and wrath in those others who hold power. And the non-believers of Pacifica, and the remaining Ropan confederacy and the remerging alliance of Jikta, drew all their hidden forces on her and, in deepest secrecy, conspired to have her destroyed.

So it came to pass, in the year 790 YS, that drones the size of a head of a needle, came into her chambers in Anarquo and dropped the worst of all toxins into her bloodstream. And her many-limbed body was poisoned, allowing her only the smallest of of all moments to whisper to her consort, Kasida the Speaker, her last words.

This was the story told by the Janites.

But the story of the Stelites is written that Krystal was walking the high passes of the northern borderlands between Pacifica and The Mid, where the snows still fell and the wild cats roamed. And that she walked, with her small band of followers, along an icy ridge, and that she lost her footing, for she heard the worst cry, a cry of terror and horror, in her ear, and she fell onto the jagged rocks below. But Kasida was there with her and she climbed down to be with her, so she was able to hear her final words also.

This was the story by the Stelites.

And Kasida went out to speak these words to all those that followed Krystal, for the non-believers had failed to understand, for all their education and reason, that the strongest of tales must be told. And billions listened, for all the centuries that followed. And Krystal’s name, and her words of love, live on, passed from parent to child, from teacher to pupil, from the old to the young, as they will do until we all reach the moment when time has finally stood still and the disorder is stilled.

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