Once upon a time, a long, long, long time in the future, there will have been a… man? Sure. Let’s go with that. There will have been a man who, according to several sources, will sing the song that ends the world.
His name is Koen, and on the day we meet him, he is wandering alone through a small, nameless town. The town is nameless due to a particular quirk of the linguo-existential fields surrounding it that prevents any name from, well… sticking. People keep trying to name it, but nothing ever seems to last for more than a few moments before it’s forgotten. This struck Koen as rather weird, and as a connoisseur of High Weirdness since the day he appeared (alone and bloodied, in an abandoned field deep within a pocket dimension located in the town square of another city), he decided to have himself a nice friendly visit and see if he could learn something new. The nameless town was a mere half-day’s travel from where his friends were now, and, let’s face it, whatever schemes they were cooking up would probably take up the rest of the day, so off he went in search of weird knowledge.
Koen liked learning new things, you see. He also liked learning weird things. The more he learned, and the more his new weird knowledge changed him, the more he became his own (weird) man. At least, that’s the idea, and Koen has embraced that idea fully- to the point of ingesting, grafting, and otherwise modifying his form until he has become almost entirely, but not completely, different from who he was before. The sharp, giant quills that cover his back (including his arms and legs, and if you’re wondering how he puts on a shirt and pants, the answer is he doesn’t, he just wraps a lot of fabric around himself a bit like a full torso diaper and calls it a day. He’s convinced it’s a good look for him. No one else agrees) are now made of a strange bio-crystal. His originally destructive powers have been harnessed and twisted to heal instead of harm. And the less said about what he’s done to his digestive system, the better.
And so Koen arrived at the nameless town one blustery morning, nose all but twitching at the scent of high weirdness in the air… only to find the town, other than its unnameable nature, to be completely, and utterly, normal. He wandered the streets for hours, ate at several food stalls, ate at several non-food stalls, and, eventually, found himself in the village square as night was falling.
“I think I’ll take a nap and then head back to the rest of the group.”, Koen thought to himself, and checked his pockets for his shins.
Unfortunately for Koen, he’d just spent the last of his shins on a bowl of mystery meat (“It’s as unnameable as the town!”, the food vendor had said, and that was enough for Koen.), so instead he trundled off into a dark alley to curl up into a spikeball and sleep a couple of hours before heading back.
As soon as Koen fell asleep, though, it was like the entire little town let out its collective breath. No longer being directly perceived by its spiky visitor, the quiet streets and alleys shivered and melted, flowing back into the prototypical malleability of pure quantum potential. Endless fractal vistas of unshackled possibility cascaded around Koen’s sleeping form, cradling the erstwhile world-killer in a swaddling blanket of infinity.
Infinity, it turns out, is not great on your back.
An amount of time that could have been infinitesimally short or infinitely long coalesces suddenly into precisely 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 29 seconds as Koen opens his eyes. And like the seed crystal in an ice cube, the town around him freezes and clicks back into a single, observed, possibility. And as ice has cracks and imperfections within it, so too there are tiny differences where reality froze at different rates.
Koen stood up, groaning as he felt a twinge of pain at his back, then looked around, smiling. He began to walk, heading towards the road back to his companions, and as he did, his smile faded. He’d thought of a name for the town as he slept, and he had been so pleased to have done so- except now that he looked at the town again, the name he’d chosen clearly wouldn’t do. Had that flower shop been there on his way in? And he could have sworn the shingles on the roofs of the buildings were slate gray, but they were clearly red clay now. Besides, he couldn’t even think of the name anymore.
He sighed to himself, giving up on that, and, disappointed, headed out and away.
And the little town? Well, I suppose it remains nameless to this very day.
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