The city of London sprawled before his eyes. It was not the same city. But the change had been gradual enough that it still was familiar to him. The decay of the world started off quite innocently. A natural disaster or two, here and there. Perhaps a little more severe than usual - a volcano somewhere had erupted extremely violently, and the resulting ash cloud wiped out all life on the small continent it was situated on. Refugees flooded into other countries, and the cultural and ethnic clashes laid a fertile ground for conflict. There was war, but nothing more than what one had come to expect, having seen most of human history already. But he was not ready for nuclear war. The blastwave tore him apart. In the microseconds after the pressure and heat front tore his skin from his bones, he reconstructed himself over and over, drawing from hidden reserves deep within his body. The liquid in his eyes boiled away as he struggled to recapture the vapourized gel that was being broken down into something even more intangible. He faltered in the wake of the blast, falling to one knee, staring straight into the epicenter even as the gamma rays sent his cells haywire. Eventually he recovered from the giant cancerous tumour he had become, but that took a day or two at the very least. A grim smile crossed his face as he regarded the wasteland before him. The lore that he treasured for so long was wiped away in an instant. Humanity no longer had any need for crosses, holy water, scriptures, magic, or any holy artifact to hurt him. All it had to do was throw reality in his face, the reality of science negating almost any purpose he had for existing. He burst out into laughter, but it was swallowed completely by the vast emptiness that surrounded him. He walked. Only bricks and stones, concrete and pipes, bothered to keep him company. Eventually, he arrived at the city of London. It sprawled before his eyes, and it was not the same as he had left it. He immediately knew a significant time period had passed. But the sheer amount of it staggered him. He remembered: gazing down at his hands, stripped of skin and muscle, charred tendons flapping off his bones, themselves burned yellow by the blast. Dark circles grew at the edges of his vision and he passed out. For how long? The city before him was alive. The buildings themselves were entirely black, but they were covered in all the manner of brilliantly coloured mosses. There were fuzzy and slimy varieties, which crept slowly along the buildings. Neon green and yellow gases hung in fog around the buildings. Iridescent liquid poured from drainage pipes into the sewers. The city was a storehouse of fusion power, the last shepherds of this world marshaling everything this world had left to offer in this city. Massive wires spread from the edge of the city, ten times taller than he was. He could feel the thrum of the energy they carried even out here - a deep hum that resonated in his gut. Apparently, he had arrived at just the right time. He glanced around. He did not have to strain his ears, for they already told him all they needed to know: there was nothing left here. *** Day and night passed. Night and day exchanged places. He learned the secrets of the city. What else was there to do? *** He became god of an empty domain. There wasn't much that needed to be done. The cities took care of themselves. He indulged his madness to the finest, commanding the cities to produce horrible, wild feats of the imagination. Lakes of blood, skies of blood, a sun of blood - you get the idea. He emptied city after city, the moss in them dying, the liquids ceasing their flow, until only London was left. Unfortunately, he was not aware that the cities were alive for a reason. Not that he would have cared anyways. He finished his latest masterpiece. It was unspeakable. He stepped back to admire his work. The sun set. But this sunset was different from the others. As the rays from the sun disappeared, no light came to replace it. No moonlight. No starlight. No fireflies. An inky black void. Now this was something new. He tested the ground beneath his feet; it was solid. He swung his arms through space and could feel the wind. So far as he could tell, he was here, but there was nothing here. "Hahahahaha!" He had not spoken in a long time, and the action of laughing cut his throat, spilling precious drops of blood. "What a dull end!" He sat down on the ground, but not in a meditation posture. Cross legged, he leaned forward, cupping his chin and resting that elbow on his knee, the other laid across his lap. He sat like this for at least two years. This he knew, for he counted the seconds: all 60 million of them. It had seemed fun at that time, and after the first 30 million he did another set, just to see what it would be like. His body rusted from the lack of nutrition, mummifying itself. His skin grew parched and leathery, his muscles withered away, and his clothes now hung loosely off his skeletal frame. This he could only infer - there was no light in this place, no matter how much he strained his pupils. Some more time passed. A glimmer of light, the dullest light, signaled in front of him. It was so bright, so blindingly bright, but he was already rusted into his posture, and could not move. The darkness parted like the surface of water, and a mask slowly emerged from its depths: He struggled to move his eyes to watch it as it paced a slow circle around him. A small slit of light opened - from there emerged a small vial of red. Red! It tilted every so slightly, and dribbled the liquid onto his mouth, frozen in rictus. The flesh filled out in his cheeks. Muscles regrew along his fingers, and he flexed them, pulling himself into a standing position. The skin underneath his hand had long since withered away, but the frayed, tattered ends of the skin knit themselves together, muscle and sinew regrowing underneath to cover the exposed canine tooth - still white, still long, still sharp. He had been waiting for this for a very long time. "I knew it! Humans gave birth to science, and you must have given birth to us! What else? So there is a god afterall. Or maybe, it was just an alien... my god, I'm just an alien baby!" His laughter was grainy and cracked, but it conveyed the same light hearted humour he had expounded all of his life. "Not quite. Those may or may not exist, but I'm a different sort of person." "Oh?" "I am the long forgotten lord of the world you used to inhabit. It has become unsustainable, so I have briefly placed you in stasis. Do you remember who you are?" He threw his head back in laughter, his hands on his hips. "What a damned silly question! Do you think a few years of limbo could have done anything to me? I am him! Rastul! Theodore! Of Malkavian descent, one of the final Elder Kindred to inhabit this mortal world!" He cut his flourish short and frowned. "It was mortal indeed," and giggled to himself. "That is good. I have negotiated another plane of existence for you to inhabit - " "Don't play games with me!" Rastul threw his arm out. "That is not the purpose you have been assigned. For a while longer, you will be the subject of my observations." "Hahahahahahahahaaaaa!!" He missed laughing like that. "I will ruin whatever world you place me in! The structure will crumble in my fist, it will collapse into sand, dust, ground glass! And from these motes of existence I will rebuild the world to my liking. Whatever you do, wherever you put me, I will become king of that world! It will fall to ruin, just as your world did upon my hand. This is just another brief interlude in my aeons of existence: what could you possibly hope to do to me?" The mask seemed to smile. "Not that you would have been able to do anything anyways. The transfer will take considerable time. Meanwhile, let me teach you what the meaning of time is." It shrunk back into the black void, the watery darkness covering it. Rastul ran forward, throwing his power at it - but with the absence of the mask there was no light, and his command over the shadows failed. It was punishment, it seemed. Time meant nothing to his body: it just reentered hibernation. However, with the many extra years in the dark the voices in his mind grew louder. He tried talking back to them, but after a year or so his vocal chords failed and his lips ground to a halt. He crumbled into a heap on the ground, falling stomach down onto the featureless black ground. By trick of landing, he was just able to keep his head up, and gazed forward defiantly into the darkness with shriveling eyes. In this posture another period of time passed. Even the voices in his head grew quiet. He feared that he was about to be broken. A wink of light in the distance. It grew. It was, in fact, the sunrise. The rays of light illuminated an entirely new landscape. A large sign garishly stood in front of him. "WELCOME," it said, "to IWAKU." Another joke in a long line of jokes. Rastul waited patiently until a rat crossed his passage. He drank from it and stood up, body swaying with the wind. The joke had ceased to be funny a long time ago - but it was a still a joke, and it still had to be carried out. He set out. To ruin the world. To make it his. The voices in his head woke up - whispering hesitantly, slowly resuming their constant conversation. Much needed cacophony. "Welcome," he muttered, for the world to hear, "Welcome to the Order of Mayhem."