‘’ The Gorgoddon manifest themselves in various forms, all of them intricate and mesmerizing master-pieces of sculpture and stone-work. Vast nagas with a multitude of serpent heads and vast coils, pot-bellied demons with prodigious bellies and growling visages, angelic cherubs with breath-takingly delicate stone features and limbs so graceful one might almost think them alive…
They come in many forms, everyone of them an awe-inspiring testament to the once proud and majestic power that now languishes forgotten and plundered..
But stare into the their gaping stone eyes, and your blood will chill as you view a silent but ruthless determination to reverse centuries of humilation inflicted on an ancient civilization and culture. As the those exquisite stone hands close over your throat and crush your larynx to a bloody pulp, do remember that your exploitation of our poor nation has not gone unpunished..
Don’t sneer at me like that, you arrogant Lusoh. You may think I’m just another destitute native out to swindle you out of your money, but maybe you’d like to hear what the village head man has to say before you decide to have a look at the ruins of the Gong Thom yourself. That’s the great temple dedicated to the last great King of Monor, that final illustrious champion of our people who destroyed the invading armies of your rapacious nation more than once, liberating us from the scourge of your thieving kings. Ahh, Goya Varman, exalted one, noble seed of the blessed lineage of your fathers! See what the Lusoh have wrecked on the sacred ruins! Colluding with the puppet pretender occupying the throne that should belong to your blessed heir, they cart off our relics leaving us poor and destitute, even as thousand of them flock across the border to farm the most valuable lands, leaving so little for the unfortunate Monor peasant..
Don’t go! I apologize, Lusoh. Forgive an old man’s tendency to digress.. Back to the subject at hand now.
So you think the Gorgoddon are myth, eh? Well, they’re not.
We belief that the soul is immortal. And when a certain soul passed into the next world, part of it can remain behind in the physical realm of existence, even as the rest of it is swept away towards the Nirvana which awaits the one who has earned the right to become one with the divine nexus of creation again, freeing himself from the painful cycle of re-birth..
But certain vestiges of the soul can be detached from its infinite core to become part of the physical plane permanently if the dying one were to invoke the help of one strong enough to preserve the hold of that break-away remanet, a being powerful enough to endow it with new shape and purpose to live once again… In a manner of speaking.
A soul as powerful and remarkable as that of the great king, did not mind sacrificing a tiny portion its boundless strength to ensure that some fragment of hiss power would remain to point the way towards the nation’s salvation should any tragedy befall the Monor in the distant future..
Goya Varman, the Shining One, Eternal Lord Of The Thom, made a pact to ensure that his lingering spiritual essence would command a mighty army as it once had during his exalted existence alive, a force of potent warriors that capable of shattering the spines of all invaders and usurpers that would seek to put a chain on the glorious legacy of our nation. Much as his mortal army had flayed hordes of Lusoh scoundrels seeking to breach our northern borders and raze the Thom to the ground, so would this one.
But it would never rot and die unlike the previous one. It would never abandon its efforts to carry out the king’s task, or allow itself to be bribed into turning against the great one that commanded it. An army of eternity, it would be the defensive wall on which the bones of our foes would be displayed, a conch that would accompany their screams of defeat..
As the Exalted One lay dying on his bed, his final command was for his son rip out his own yet-beating heart out of his chest and offer it before the alter of the Mother Kalas, black goddess of death and destruction.
Eradicator of the human form, the ruthless one who slowly rends it down to rotting, maggot food, Mother Kalas is capable of things that none of the other gods would dare are even contemplate. For she who sends disease and time to ravage our flesh, understands the nature of death and life so intimately that she is in effective control of the strands of fate holding creation together. With the life she extinguishes, she creates new ones. As our dead flesh feeds the earth that will someday feed those that come after us.
But she is not the most gentle of divinities to work with, for she demands a price for every favour and boon that she grants. If she grants a chance at continued existence to one whose existence should come to a complete end, then that of another’s must be snuffed out for destruction is the only currency she accepts when invoked to to defy the usual patterns of fate..
In the dark brooding bowels of the Thom, the crown prince and his father’s councillors descended into the vast cavern that housed the shrine of Mother Kalas, led by their lord who cradled the gold chalice bearing his father’s slowly beating heart.
They prostrated themselves before the Mother, a vast immense sculpture carved from the very rock of the cavern itself to resemble a black, emaciated woman chewing on a human femur. In one giant hand the Mother held a vast garland made of withered human intestines, while around the wrist of the other hand, rested a gigantic bracelet made of intricately linked human bones. The king had often paid her homage with the mutilated remains of his mortal foes, but now, with his body still lying in a pool of its own fresh blood after having been eviscerated by his son, the Exalted One had sent his heir and servants to present a final offering that had come entirely from himself.
‘‘O Mother of death and life, eternal one who offers our dying flesh to the earth for its sustenance, heed our cry for the final request of this once mighty and peerless king among kings to be answered. death ahs claimed one of your mos most illustrious sons, but he begs of you that you allow him to remain behind in our world to safeguard the precious nation of your beloved Monor children. We pray that you accept his offering and grant him this boon, great mother’‘. With these impassioned words of prayer, the heir of Goya Varman seized the bloody heart of his late father and moved to lay it reverently at the feet of the goddess.
A moment later, his father’s slippery heart fell from his nerveless fingers as he collapsed dead at the very feet he had intended to honor with his father’s heart. And the vast stone lips of Kalas moved, animated by the raging energy of the Godess, endowing the ghastly stone titan with a blazing strength most blood-curdling to witness.
Their legs close to collapsing from beneath them and their faces devoid of all color, the horrified ministers huddled in a terrified knot as the goddess spoke.
‘‘Heed my words well, mortal children of mine. I cannot bring him back from the paradise of Nirvana to once again re-inhabit his ravaged mortal shell for that is forbidden even to one such as me, by the great forces of the Cosmic Balance too vast and sublime for your limited minds to imagine. But grant the boon he craved, I shall. From this moment onwards, a vestige of this great warrior’s mighty and valarous soul will linger, a small but still mighty spark that will find a new form to inhabit. Nay, more than one form. A thousand and more shells shall it have, all of them hewn from the same indestructible stone that lavishly decorates the great temples he erected in my name. Every statue he put up around my sanctuaries, every stone warrior he installed to screen my shrines from all possible defilement by evil spirits, every single one shall become a home to the vestiges of him that I permit to remain behind in the mortal world. Suffused with his essence, these stone soldiers will be undefeatable, with only the very forces of nature able to erode their stiff and unyielding flesh.
But I warn you, what remains of your king will be afflicted with a hunger of a new kind. I am not the mother who thoughtlessly showers boons upon her children expecting nothing in return. For prolonging its existence on earth beyond what nature should allow, I demand a price. In order to retain the frail foot-hold on your world that I have granted it, it will do my bloody work, snuffing out and destroying every sentient life that it deems the foe. His most favored son’s life I have claimed as the initial payment. The debt is yet large, but I shall be merciful by demanding only the lives of your foes this time. When the warriors of the Exalted One drain your foes of their life-blood, know that this potent fluid running in their in their veins shall nourish both it, and me. Blood is my price.’‘
And the lips of Kalash fell mute again. Their minds tormented by the horror they had just witnessed, the ministers fled the shrine, determined never to return again.. The next king that they installed, followed their example, too terrified to pay homage to the goddess that had taken the life of his brother, and did his best to quash news of the pact his deceased father had made. No point in exciting the people I guess, nor in provoking your accursed kings that would have found accusing us of practicing necromancy reason enough to annex our land then and there itself..
But the kings that came after him proved to be less firm, and tales of Goya Varman’s eternal army soon seeped into the legends of our land. But there are more than mere legends, are they not? As our kings grow increasingly weak, and yours progressively stronger, the warriors of Goya Varman became increasingly restless and enraged, motivated by their master to purge the land of all weaklings and traitors..
Leaving allready, Lusoh? Fine ignore my tale.. Ignore this doddering old man, and help yourself to the riches of the Thom. Go ahead and desecrate our scared relics.. See if Mother Kalas will remain passive as you ransack her shrines, you filthy thieving bastard..’‘
TWO WEEKS PASS..
The commander of the platoon screams in horror as the giant stone warrior clambers down from of its pedestal and leaps upon his cowering soldiers. Unleashing an eerie shriek reminiscent of gravel scraping against gravel, the unholy behemoth picks up a hapless young soldier scarcely more than a youth, and snap his body into two with a casual flick of its vast hands.
His minds swoons, as the demonic abombination greedily slurps up the blood gushing from the dismembered corpse of the boy. Then its monstrous craving sated, it dissmisively tosses his shattered and drained husk aside, even as it stares right as its next victim.
‘‘You should have heeded the old man, misbegotten Lusoh scum. He was trying to warn you not to violate the sanctity of my domains. But you ignored him, confident that your little army would meet no resistance at all from my people. As your blood rushes down this stone throat, you will know that the land of Monor still possesses an army, one that no blade forged by man can harm. Goya Varman the Exalted yet reigns, and the foes of the Monor shall know terror and death again..’‘
With a single bound the stone giant lunges towards him, and crushes him into a bleeding, mangled mass of flesh, reveling in the warm taste of the blood as it trickles down into its expectant granite mouth, feeling iself rejuvenated with every fresh drop of the pungent nectar..
The Gorgoddon are motivated by the desire of a long dead king to avenge the humilations heaped on his nation by the more aggressive state of Lusoh to the north. Fuelled by both his rage and his thirst for the blood that will cement his tenuous hold on the plane of physical reality, the stone warriors of Goya Varman ravage any armies of Lusoh that stray across the border. Lusoh settlers too, are not spared their attention, and many a village of immigrants has been forced to bear witness to the grusomely mesmerizing sight of a stone celestial dancer performing its sublime dance as it rips out the intestines of a screaming victims and chews them into a bloody mess.
Meanwhile, emboldened by the macabre tales of Goya Varman’s army coming to to their rescue, the peasants have begun to launch numerous revolts, convinced that the reign of puppet kings and Lusoh domination is over.