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Kahnaahn: A Voidpunk Fairytale

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I had an idea that I was musing over in the Arocalypse Discord, about writing a voidpunk fairytale, featuring a civilization of humanoids with a magical conception of relationships and gender. I'm cross-posting the short story here as I work on it. It will have 5 sections, each of which are <= 800 words, and will become progressively shorter as the story continues.


I'm extra, made up a super simple language called Soh Ahnu, just for the sake of this story. Will be including translations of words section by section below:



Kahnaahn [kah-NAY-ahn]: Will to feed the springing from the will to spring -> Desire.


Section One


Kahroh Ihqsi [KAH-row ICK-see]: Will to feed the uncovering, the strength blunted by the split collection ->  Teaching Disconnection


Lohje Rahyubi [LOW-juh ra-YOO-bee]: One who sharpens stillness from hollow wisdom, uncovering will, condensed earth, and exploded strength.

Hsyohgof [h'SEO-gawf]: Drenching, condensing release/pacification, frozen drilled water  

Juntsuhp [JOON-tsup]: Hollowed one who has been sprung, crushing binds.

Tzabhaht [TZAY-bawt]: Ashen one, exploding smoke to heat

Kwehdre [KWEH-druh]: Feeding and burying creator, crossed by becoming uncovered

Silmihq [SEEL-mik]: Sharpened split metal/collection, hardening against blunting

Soh Ahnu [SOE AH-noo]: Split wielder of water, will wielder springing from the earth -> tongue mouth -> voice


tzupohi [tzoo-POE-ee]: Ashen wisdom, peace-bound strength

tzuohji [tzoo-OH-jee]: Ashen wisdom, peace-hollowed strength


Section Two


Kahroh Ehtsne [KAH-row EHTS-nuh]: Will to feed the uncovering, creation crushing springing creations -> Teaching Destruction


i/in/is/inself [EE, EEN, EES, een-SELF]: Metal one (pronoun for Isoh Ahnu) 

Sifohi [SEE-foe-ee]: Split metal one, driller releasing strength

Isoh Ahnu [EE-soe AH-noo]: Metallic split wielder of water, will wielder springing from the earth -> metallic tongue mouth -> metallic voice

Isoh ahnu, soh ahnu in [EE-soe AH-noo, SOE AH-noo EEN]: Isoh Ahnu voice pronoun "in" -> Isoh Ahnu use "in" pronouns


Ihsi [IH-see]: Metal-split metal -> being created by Silmihq

Doah [DAW-ah]: Water-crosser willing -> sea traveler


Paha [PAH-ay]: Willing binder to will -> I wish to form a connection-> greetings

Paah [PAY-ah]: Bound will, willing -> I wish to be connected with -> I am greeted


Section Three


Kahroh Uhkwu [KAH-row UH-kwoo]: Will to feed the uncovering, using earth to feed buried earth -> Teaching Fixation


o/om/os/omself [AW, AWM, AWS, awm-SELF]: Water one (pronoun for Osoh Ahnu)

Osoh Ahnu [AW-soe AH-noo]: Water split wielder of water, will wielder springing from the earth -> water tongue mouth -> water voice

ohso [OH-saw]: Water-split water -> being created by Hsyohgof

Hsohah [HSOH-ah]:  Drenching releaser-invigorator -> out-letting built-up energy everywhere -> proclamation; warning


a/am/as/amself [AY, AYM, AYS, aym-SELF]: Flaming one (pronoun for Asoh Ahnu) 

Asoh Ahnu [AY-soe AH-noo]: Flame split wielder of water, will wielder springing from the earth -> flame tongue mouth -> flame voice

ahsa [AH-say]: Fire-split fire -> being created by Tzabhaht

Tzua [TZOO-ay]: Ashed earth, willed -> destroyed purposefully; cauterized


Section Four


Kahroh Ohfgo [KAH-row OAF-gaw]: Will to feed the uncovering, releasing drilling (on) frozen pacification -> Teaching Aggression


e/en/es/enself [UH, UHN, UHS, uhn-SELF]: Wooden one (pronoun for Esoh Ahnu)

Esoh Ahnu [UH-soe AH-noo]: Wooden split wielder of water, will wielder springing from the earth -> wooden tongue mouth -> wooden voice

ehse [UH-suh]: Wooden-split wood -> being created by Juntsuhp



u/un/us/unself [OO, OON, OOS, oon-SELF]: Earthen one (pronoun for Usoh Ahnu) 

Usoh Ahnu [OO-soe AH-noo]: Earth split wielder of water, will wielder springing from the earth -> earth tongue mouth -> earth voice

uhsu [OO-soo]: Earth-split earth -> being created by Kwehdre


Jehnu [JEH-noo]:  Hollowed bark sprung earth

Kudi [KOO-dee]: Fed earth, crossing strength


ohjitu [oh-JEE-too]: Peace-hollowed strength, heated wisdom -> Intimate Guide in Destructive Magic. "Ohji" is derived from "tzuohji," which is destructive magic.


Section Five


Kahroh Tahtza [KAH-row TAH-tzay]: Will to feed the uncovering, heated willer (to) ashed will -> Teaching Repetition



The first section is done (pasted below for folks' convenience).


Kahroh Iqsi


Long ago, there was an island called Lohje Rahyubi, that became aware of its own existence. It became aware that it was made of rock and dirt, that it was below the sky and above the sea–but above all, Lohje Rahyubi realized that it was alone.


Lonely, the island wished for companions, but no companions came. Feeling intense despair, it decided that it no longer wished to remain conscious, and surrendered itself to the emptiness of no sensation.


From the empty body of Lohje Rahyubi, five beings arose. Each embodied an aspect of consciousness that Lohje Rahyubi gave up.


The first was Hsyohgof, the Aspect of Pacification. Hsyohgof understood its predecessor’s desire for release from suffering. With this realization, Hsyohgof gained its first physical form, a deer made of clear, glimmering ice.


The second was Juntsuhp, the Aspect of Creation. Juntsuhp understood its predecessor’s desire to bring life to a barren world. With this realization, Juntsuhp gained its first physical form, a tiger made of supple, interwoven branches.


The third was Tzabhaht, the Aspect of Invigoration. It understood its predecessor’s desire to overcome challenges through the power of will. With this realization, Tzabhaht gained its first physical form, a monkey with white, luminescent fur.


The fourth was Kwehdre, the Aspect of Moderation. It understood its predecessor’s desire to temper the pain of its loneliness. With this realization, Kwehdre gained its first physical form, a bear of jagged and moss-covered rock.


The fifth was Silmihq, the Aspect of Collection. It understood its predecessor’s desire to hold onto its experience of consciousness, even in the depths of its despair. With this realization, Silmihq gained its first physical form, a crane of polished, hollow copper.


These Aspects, upon become corporeal, became aware that their physical forms were impermanent Phases. These Phases would soon change–to what and to whom, they did not know. In the brief moment of time before their departure from consciousness, they shared their wisdom with each other, and wished each other peace, before surrendering themselves to the emptiness of no sensation.


From each Aspect’s emptiness, arose new Phases, each with no memory of the past, and a limited future. Over their lifetimes, the Aspects found each others’ Phases again and again, treating each other with benevolence every time. This friendship among the Aspects grew and manifested into a form of magic, known as tzupohi.


Using tzupohi, the Aspects aided each others’ Phases in creating new life forms. They gave birth to plants and animals, and eventually, humanoids known as the Soh Anu. To each new form, they taught the virtues of the Five Aspects–pacification, creation, invigoration, moderation, and collection–and how practicing those virtues were essential to the survival of the Lohje Rahyubi community. Without peace, there would be no place for creation. Without creation, invigoration would find no medium; without invigoration, moderation would find no meaning. And without moderation, collection would be an endless, dissatisfying pursuit. This, the Phases explained, was known as the Cycle of Generation.   


Living by the Cycle of Generation, the new life forms of Lohje Rahyubi maintained harmony among themselves for ages. Among them, some of great virtue even developed the ability to use tzupohi for themselves. But instead of seeing this magic as a gift to be shared with the world, some saw tzupohi as a means to gain personal power. In secrecy, they corrupted the magic into a destructive form known as tzuohji. Then together, they attacked and sealed the current Phase of every Aspect away in magical slumber.


The sealing brought unbalance to Lohje Rahyubi. The island slowly was swallowed by endless decay. Those who had magical abilities found themselves less willing and able to resist temptation, and began using their powers to torment and terrorize others. The fearful community, shocked by the ghastly transformation of their world, sought out the Phases for answers, but found they could only face their horrors alone. They became desperate, blaming each other for being the true cause of Lohje Rahyubi’s dying state. As the island continued to fall apart, the community waged war against each other, causing more destruction, until only a few living beings remained. Those who survived, realized their attempts to assert power would only be met with more aggression. But above all, they realized that none among them understood how to answer the aggression, with anything other than retaliation or despair.


So the survivors of Lohje Rahyubi wished. They wished to be released from their suffering, and to be protected from death in a violent world. They wished to have the will to overcome their fears, the wisdom to temper their pain, and the strength to hold onto what fleeting fragments of Lohje Rahyubi they still had. 


This was the community’s final act of collection.


The second section is done. CW for misgendering and binary language:


Kahroh Ehtsne


Thus all was heard when the twelfth Phase of Silmihq came into consciousness. And when i awoke, i was frightened. Although the magic that once bound i had since long passed, i did not know when is binders would return.


I rose, and studied is body. I became aware that i was made of steam and metal, and that, where is wings might have been, the space was hollow. I became aware that is name was Sifohi, and that i was Isoh Ahnu, the members of Soh Ahnu forged by Silmihq.  


Sifohi looked away from is body, and studied is surroundings. I became aware that i was in an empty hut, in an empty village. Wishing to find sanctuary among true friends, i left the village in search of other life, and came across two cranes, fighting over the last dead fish in a drying pond. “Paha, ihsi,” Sifohi said. “Why are you fighting?”


“Paah, isoh ahnu,” said the first crane. “We fight for survival. Many waters are poisoned, and there is not enough food to go around.”


“No,” spat the second crane. “We fight, because there is nothing the other did, to deserve more than i is spared.”


“How do I stop this?” Sifohi asked.


“End our hunger,” said the cranes, “and you will free us from suffering.”


So Sifohi took away their hunger. And in their new emptiness, they found satiety. The cranes flew away, leaving the dead fish and Sifohi behind--leaving Sifohi alone again.


I went searching once more, and found a group of beings like in, hiding inselves among the branches of trees. “Paha, isoh ahnu,” asked Sifohi. “Why are you hiding?”


“Paah, isoh ahnu,” said their leader. “We hide, because we are afraid of being killed in the war.”


“No,” snarled another isoh ahnu. “We hide, because others attack us for no reason, because we refuse to act like them.”


“The cranes told us you ended their hunger, and freed them from suffering,” said the leader. “Can you end our fear, and liberate us too?”


“That I may,” said Sifohi, “if you could carry me up with you.”


It was then, the isoh ahnu realized, that Sifohi had no wings. And it was then, that they became disgusted. They cursed in for tricking them to believe i was the same as them. Many suspected in of being a spy, merely dressed in imitation of the Isoh Ahnu. They struck at Sifohi with their spears and talons, driving in away.


Heartbroken and battered, Sifohi decided i did not belong in a world among company. I trudged further and further away, until i reached the shore at the edge of Lohje Rahyubi. But even at the edge, Sifohi realized i could not be alone. When i stepped onto the sand, i was greeted by beings that looked just like in, but made of flesh. They were standing in front of hollowed wooden vessels. Some of them were carrying metal poles, with flags i had never seen before.


After a moment’s hesitation, Sifohi returned the greeting. “Paah, doah,” i said.


“Is this what they’re supposed to look like?” said one doah, frowning. “I was told they looked a lot stranger.”


“I’re,” corrected Sifohi. “Isoh ahnu, soh ahnu in.”  


“What kind of splitter is that anyway? I can’t even tell if it’s a guy or a girl.”


Soh ahnu in! thought Sifohi. But i fell silent, knowing that the beings would not understand.


“I heard you’re supposed to look at its wings. Someone must’ve cut this one’s off.”


“Great, now how will we know how much it’s worth?”


“The rest of the body’s still good, isn’t it?”


“I don’t know, man. The wings are the most valuable part.”


They fell silent, studying in intently. I stood frozen, afraid.


“You know, there’s a legend that says, there used to only be five of these.”


One rolled their eyes. “Blah, blah, blah, and now there are only three or four left, insert pretentious moral about the failings of human nature here. Listen, are we gonna grab this splitter or what?”


One reached for his belt, and pulled out a clear tube, with a sharp point sticking out from the end. “Hold still,” he said, approaching Sifohi.


This was the community’s final act of creation.


Third section is done.  


Kahroh Uhkwu


Thus all was heard when the seventh phase of Hsyohgof came into consciousness. And when o awoke, o felt a piercing pain in os right eye. So o reached up to os face, and plucked it out.


When os eye-crystal fell to the forest floor, it split open the earth. From the opening, spewed forth a crimson geyser. The geyser bathed os body of stone and ice, painting o until it looked as if its shards were crying blood. And this was how o became known as Hsohah, the Harbinger.


Thus all was heard when the seventh phase of Tzabhaht came into consciousness. And when a awoke, a felt a piercing pain in as left eye. So a reached up to as face, and plucked it out.


When as camera-eye fell to the laboratory floor, it split open the stone. From the opening, spewed flames that burned as copper shell until it was black as night. And this was how a became known as Tzua, the Cauterized.


Tzua knew Hsohah was coming for am. And Hsohah knew o had to come for Tzua. So Tzua found the highest tower on the island, and started climbing, to flee from om. As Tzua ascended, a felt the winds getting stronger and stronger, and as flames flickering lower and lower. A passing phoenix saw as dying flames, and flew to as side. “Paha, asoh ahnu. Let me offer my body to rekindle you.”


Paah, ahsa,” a said, “but what could I give in return?”


“My kind is cursed to constantly change its form,” said the phoenix, “while others remain the same. I want you to give me your magic, so that I can become fixed.”


“I cannot give my magic to you,” said Tzua, “for you were not meant to be fixed.”


“Then you will not be rekindled,” the phoenix replied, flying off.


So Tzua kept climbing, alone. The winds soon killed as flames, and started tearing at as blackened shell. A passing dragon saw as splintering skin, and flew to as side. “Paha, asoh ahnu. Let me shed some of my scales to protect you.”


Paah, ahsa,” a said, “but what could I give in return?”


“There is a river in my region, that refuses to bend to my will. I want you to give me your magic, so that I can make it obey.”


“I cannot give my magic to you,” said Tzua, “for that river was meant to be free.”


“Then you will not be protected,” the dragon replied, flying off.


So Tzua kept climbing, alone once more. When a reached the top of the building, as burnt copper fell away, exposing as fraying wires to the cold. Across am lied Hsohah, whose legs had been frozen to the roof.


“I have arrived,” said Hsohah, “but I have not come to destroy you.”


Tzua blinked as camera-eye. “Then why have you come?”


“I want to know why one of us is always running, and why the other always follows.”


“Because if we stop hunting each other, the world will fall apart.”


Hsohah tried to step forward. Immediately, os legs shattered. Hsohah’s torso pitched forward, and shattered into pieces. When os shards settled, o stared into the foggy sky, with os fallen head and cracked eye-crystal. “Tzua,” o asked, “Will the world ever be free from falling apart?”


Tzua approached as fallen pursuer. “We can make it free, for as long as we have our magic.”


And a plucked out as remaining camera-eye, and put it into Hsohah’s empty socket. And where Tzua touched om, a blizzard erupted, ripping both Phases’ bodies to shreds.


And this was the community’s final act of moderation.


Fourth section is done.


Kahroh Ohfgo


“Thus all was heard when the fourth Phase of Juntsuhp came to consciousness,” whispered Jehnu to enself, moving es wooden finger down the characters of the scroll.

Kudi sighed as u walked into the room. “Are you going to spend the whole day on that dusty old tome?”  


E turned to es ohjitu. “Look at the line that comes immediately after. ‘Thus all was heard when the fourth Phase of Kwehdre also came to consciousness.’ There’s no expositional text between them. That means their births are linked together. But they don’t know that. Imagine, being bound to destiny with another, but living your life never knowing that you are. Thinking that you’re the one making choices, when actually--”


“We make the choices we can live with,” Kudi asserted, crossing to es side and rolling the scroll back up with us metal fingers. “Destiny is just another name for the consequences we choose. You are getting silly thoughts again. When was the last time you watered your roots?”


Jehnu sheepishly picked at es drying leaves. “I don’t remember.”


Kudi rolled us eye-crystals. “Let’s fix that, then. Come.”


The two left the room, and hovered into the garden. Kudi pressed us hands into the earth, opening a basin wide enough for us ohjitu to stand in. From the bottom of the basin, sprang metal pipes, spraying red water. Jehnu sank into the basin, and let es gnarled roots soak. But even as e drank, e couldn’t let go of the questions e had from the scroll.


“Did you know,” e continued, “that the Phases don’t even know that they’re Phases, when they get reborn? That means…I could be a Phase. Or you could be a Phase.”  


“Everyone would like to think they’re a Phase. But who would actually want to be one? All of them are missing a part of themselves.”


“Missing a part, or just built differently?”


Kudi looked at the space between us floating torso, and the ground. “Suppose we were indeed built differently. But the world thinks we are missing parts. Suppose our existence disrupted the very order of the world, like an intractable river disrupting a dragon’s domain.”


The water in the basin rose higher. Jehnu tried to rise, but found that the metal had coiled around es roots. E became concerned. Both e and Kudi practiced tzuohji, but they never practiced it in a pair without telling the other first. But e trusted Kudi. That was how they became ohjitu.


“Would the world miss a river?” Kudi continued, stepping closer to Jehnu. “If the destruction of one, was made to protect a greater force--a force, perhaps, destined to be of higher power...”


Suddenly, the pipes pulled Jehnu’s body underwater, painting es vision with swathes of muddy red. Frantically, e pressed es palms into the earthen walls of the basin, channeling violent waves of magic. The garden collapsed, and Kudi’s body along with it. The bloody water retreated, and the metal pipes released their grip. But for days, Jehnu remained rooted in place, weeping until es guilt had passed.


This was the community’s final act of pacification.


And this is the fifth and final section.


Kahroh Tahtza


There once was a child who could not fall asleep. So The Child asked their Guardian to tell them a story.


“Long ago,” said The Guardian, “there was a community, who was destroying itself because of difference. So the community created Islands: isolated worlds, with biomechanoids called Soh Ahnu, where they could research and solve difference.


“Among the Soh Ahnu, there were biomechanoids called Splitters, who were designed to be intrinsically different. Some Soh Ahnu persecuted the Splitters for their difference, while others worshipped the Splitters for their uniqueness.


“Many Splitters became doubtful of their true place among the Islanders. Some of them tried to deny their own differences, to better fit in. Some of them destroyed themselves, convinced they could never belong. Eventually, Splitters and their allies built ships and sailed to other Islands, only to find there was no Island where they could be fully accepted. Desperate, they tried to take over any Islands they landed on, without regard to the attitudes and characteristics of Soh Ahnu already there.


“Because the Islands showed full acceptance of Splitters could not be possible, the community decided that difference was meant to be stopped. After repeated testing on the Soh Ahnu, the community perfected a drug called the Final Solution, which could remove the desire to be different.   


“The Final Solution had a powerful side-effect--those who were injected with it, would be more hostile towards individuals expressing difference--enabling the community to neutralize violence and dissent among the Splitters and their allies fairly quickly. Having restored peace to the Islands, the community then used the Final Solution on itself, to do the same.


This was the community’s final act of invigoration. For after everyone injected themselves with the Final Solution, the community ceased to exist. And when the community left, it took its differences, and the conflicts over those differences, with it. All that was left of them was this tale, to serve as a warning ever after.”


The Guardian looked down at The Child, who had already fallen asleep. Smiling and shaking their head, The Guardian left the room with The Child, and stepped out onto the shore of Lohje Rahyubi. The beach was littered with empty syringes, and fallen Soh Ahnu, staring blankly at the sky with glazed eye-crystals and camera-eyes.


The Guardian picked up one of the discarded syringes. There was still enough fluid in it, perhaps enough for a small child.  


In the distance, The Guardian could see ships with familiar flags, sailing away.


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I absolutely adore this, thank you for sharing. I am such a huge fan on fairy tales, and your style is breathtaking.

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Third section's been completed.  In Soh Ahnu, instead of "I love you" we say


"we sacrifice our bodies in magical rituals together, then reincarnate to repeat the process again" and I think that's mildly concerning???


But I'll be damned if that isn't what sexual reproduction is?


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Fourth section's up. In Soh Ahnu, instead of "I'm in a relationship" we say


"we intimately guide each other in magic, destructively," and this is why we can't have nice things, you magical amnesiacs 


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And fifth (final) section's been posted. Yes, I am a big fan of fucked up plot twists, why do you ask?


Good news: I've been invited to talk on my friend's radio show about this short story, and voidpunk, either at the end of July or early August. Will be posting transcript/recording of it here, when it happens.



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