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Thus begins “Wilderwitch’s Babies, Part 1: Decimation Damnation”, the prose sequel to a series of comic books entitled PHANTACEA, six issues of which were written, produced and published by Jim McPherson from 1977 to 1980. "Decimation Damnation" has approximately 68,000 words. This works out to slightly more than 300 pages, double-spaced and in Times New Roman 12-point type.
This backgrounder consists of the novel’s premise and a list of the chapter titles as well as pagination. Linked from this last, as a bonus, are synopses of the first three chapters. Some of the material that makes up "Decimation Damnation" first appeared in the serialized version of a now abandoned novel entititled "The Weirdness of Cabalarkon". Information on this serial can be found beginning at http://www.phantacea.info/synop5.htm.
In the PHANTACEA Mythos the gods and goddesses, the
demons and monsters of ancient myths and legends continue to exist. They survive
and, to varying degrees, are still worshipped in an Otherworld or Shadowland
known as the Hidden Continent of Sedon’s Head. Consider this Headworld
the Inner Earth, the rest of the planet, what we think of as ours, the Outer
1. PANHARMONIUM ENDS – pp 1-18
Panharmonium is the dream of many an individual living on the Hidden Continent of Sedon’s Head in 5980 Year of the Dome. The opening chapter of 'Decimation Damnation' is a dream sequence set in September 1981, some 10 months after 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express'.
Wilderwitch, the titular protagonist of these 3 or 4, novel-length, projected story sequences, is 9 months pregnant and due any day. She is described as a gypsy type. Among the others described are 7-year old Athena ‘Tina’ Zeross and her 12-sister, Helen ‘Paree’ Zeross. They’re described as human-Utopian hybrids.
(Pureblood Utopian men are always black whereas Utopian women are always white. Hybrids are ordinary humans whose skin pigmentation is either light or dark dependent on who their parents were. In the cases of the three Zeross daughters, their mother, Melina born Sarpedon, is a pureblood Utopian whereas their father, Aristotle ‘Harry’ Zeross, is a Cretan-Greek born on the Outer Earth in 1943.)
The other two described in some detail are John Sundown, a blind American aboriginal (apparently a Cheyenne) and Raven’s Head, his inhuman mount, part-raven, part-mare, part-unicorn, who flies via talarial wings (the wings of Mercury) on either side of her four fetlock-hooves. We’re to understand these last, Blind Sundown and Raven, consider themselves Creatures of the Cosmos.
The chapter ends with Wilderwitch suddenly waking up, thereby ceasing her dreaming. She’s giving birth. Other characters brought in at this point, though they’ve been mentioned earlier on, include Tina and Paree’s 16-year old sister, Persephone Zeross, their mother, Melina nee Sarpedon Zeross, called Mel-Illuminatus throughout most of the novel, and Fisherwoman (Scylla Nereid, Lady Achigan), Wilderwitch’s ever-fishifying sister in the Dual Entities.
The Dual Entities are Heliosophos, Helios called Sophos the Wise, the Male Entity, and Mnemosyne or Memory, his female counterpart. (Although mentioned in flashback sequences they do not appear in 'Decimation Damnation'.) Memory is a three-thing, part-machine (the Mnemosyne Machine or Machine-Memory), part-devil and primarily because of this last, part-human (Miracle Memory). The Entities are Gypsium (Brainrock) blessed. That’s why he in particular doesn’t die so much as is killed, time and time again. Whereupon he recurs.
Rather, he tumbles back into the time stream, carrying Machine-Memory with him and she carrying what amounts to their home, Trans-Time Trigon, with her. The last time he was killed, thus marking the end of his 100th lifetime, is what was scheduled to happen at the end of the PHANTACEA comic book series (#7, unfortunately never finished). His abiding obsession, lifetime after lifetime, is to destroy the Moloch Sedon, whom he and Memory helped create in his 5th lifetime. This Sedon is often mistaken for Satan.
Wilderwitch is giving birth for the second time that day, the Autumnal Equinox of Rudar 5981, the Headworld’s equivalent of September 1981. The first time that day she apparently gave birth to a Sed-son.
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In the original PHANTACEA comic book series, one aspect of it, ‘The War of the Apocalyptics’, ended with Issue #5. In Issue #6, which ended a second aspect of the series, ‘The Trigregos Gambit’, we learned that the 8 remaining members of the Damnation Brigade were rescued by Ringleader, Aristotle “Harry” Zeross, Mel’s much younger husband and the father of their 3 daughters.
Using his teleportive Gypsium rings, he took these eight to the Weirdom of Cabalarkon. Three, being in no shape to fight the more, were left behind. Rings, as Harry-Ringleader is nicknamed, took the other five to Hadd, the Land of the Dead. There they join with the forces of the Living to battle the Ambulant Dead and Undead forces of Nergal Vetala, the Vampire Queen of the Dead. This chapter we pick up on the story of the three Rings left behind: Wilderwitch, Gloriella D’Angelo Dark (Radiant Rider, Rainbow, Glory of the Angels), and D-Brig’s leader, Cerebrus David Ryne (Cyborg Cerebrus).
Relevant quote: ‘When Rings brought them hither, to Sedon’s Devic Eye Land as [the Weirdom of] Cabalarkon was sometimes referred to since the Headword was indeed shaped like a three-eyed devil’s head, from the left side perspective, Gloriel had been barely moving, the Witch barely conscious and Cerebrus barely alive. The other five, though, OMP-Akbar, Dervish Furie, the [Untouchable] Diver, [Blind John] Sundown and Raven’s Head, were not so much raring as willing to go.’
The Weirdom of Cabalarkon has a Master. He’s insensitive. The Witch, nigh on mortally wounded at the tail end of ‘The War of the Apocalyptics’, so badly so she may lose a leg, if not outright die, is insensate. She wakes up in a hospital room. She is being violated, from behind, by this Master, whose name is Saladin Devason. She hopes it’s a dream. It isn’t. Regardless, she passes out.
Sometime either the same day or a day or two later, Wilderwitch once again regains consciousness. Her right leg is about to be amputated when Dr Melina nee Sarpedon Zeross, the High Illuminary of Weir (Mel, Mel-Illuminatus), bursts into the OR and dismisses the Witch’s surgeons. [This happens only after the Witch, anaesthesia-drug-dripped as she is, fights them off, the Master and the surgeons, using her fearsome soul-self, of which more throughout 'Decimation Damnation'.]
Mel and the Witch were friends, pre-Limbo. [The Witch hasn’t aged in 25 years. Mel-Illuminatus has; though, being a pureblood Utopian of Weir, she hasn’t aged very much.] They quickly renew their friendship, Wilderwitch being particularly delighted Mel-Illuminatus manages to save her leg. [The ups and downs of the friendship between Wilderwitch and Mel-Illuminatus carries on, in howsoever many permutations, throughout 'Wilderwitch’s Babies'.]
Another thing we learn this chapter is Cyborg Cerebrus isn’t quite dead yet. His headplate, what makes him a cyborg, a cybernetic organism, has been badly damaged, however. Consequently, he’s been placed in a tub of Cathonic Fluid, in a crypt of his own, within the Catacombs of the Sleepers. This tub is more like a sepulchre, a stone coffin, albeit one with mirrored sidewalls and a dot-ditto under-top.
Cathonic Fluid suspends animation. The catacombs lie beneath the great central plaza of Cabalarkon City. He’ll remain there until the scientocrats of Weir can devise a replacement for it, his headplate. The only way he can be revived, more like reawakened, for howsoever long, is by someone dropping blood into his sepulchre.
As for Gloriel, Glory of the Angels, the third member of D-Brig Rings left in the Weirdom besides Cerebrus and Wilderwitch, she’s taken for a tour of Cabalarkon City’s great square by Persephone Zeross. She goes all Radiant Rider, all Rainbow, the moment something happens there. She rainbows to Skyrise and thereupon tells Wilderwitch and Mel-Illuminatus the good news.
There had been only 3 members of D-Brig in Cabalarkon. Now there are 7. Aside from the Elemental Twins, who were lost prior to Ringleader rescuing the others and bringing them the Weirdom of Cabalarkon, two are still missing. One is the Diver. The other, which would bring their number to 9, is Ringleader himself, Mel’s husband, the father of their 3 hybrid children.
[The Elemental Twins, Aires and Thalassa D’Angelo, Gloriel’s adopted siblings, do not appear in 'Decimation Damnation'. We do find out what happened to them, though. As for the Diver and Ringleader, they’ll be along shortly.]
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As its Master, Saladin ‘Sal’ Devason has great power in the Weirdom of Cabalarkon. He drips some blood into Cerebrus’s sepulchre and speaks to him telepathically. After explaining his plight to him, namely that his headplate is badly damaged but his scientocrats are working on fixing it, Sal tells Cerebrus: “You may wish to do me some favours. I have many enemies but, within the Weirdom, I am next to God Himself. Next to the Devil Himself rather, -- but only for the nonce!” [The Devil is the Moloch Sedon.]
Among those enemies count Demios ‘Dem’ Sarpedon, Mel’s black-as-midnight, on a starless night, twin brother. Demios has been exiled from the Weirdom for 30 years, ever since Sal won the Mastery of Weir in 5950. Dem is in Hadd. He was injured. So was his 27-year old daughter, Andaemyn (Andy). They’re both in better shape than Dem’s wife, Andy’s mother, Morgianna Sarpedon (Morg, born Nauroz become Somata, Sarpedon), who is a year younger than her brother, Saladin Devason (also born Nauroz).
Morg is dead, killed by John Sundown as she was trying to kill Wildman Dervish Furie. Presumably in order to prevent her corpse being possessed by a Haddazur and thereby have it, her, turned into a Haddit Zombie (one of the walking Dead), she wrapped herself in a cocoon. This cocoon was left where it fell, on Diminished Dustmound. Which, for reasons explained again this chapter, collapsed under the tumultuous rainfall that effectively won the war for the Living over Vetala’s Ambulatory Dead, who can't abide rain.
When Demios is sufficiently recovered he is taken, via an all-terrain military vehicle belonging to the Godbadian army, to where her cocoon was left. There, on Diminished Dustmound, he discovers it, his wife’s cocoon, has been replaced by a huge statue of her. The statue is too big and heavy to be taken back, in the ATV, to the Sraddhite monastery on Lake Sedona. Which the occupational forces of the Living, in particular the Godbadian army, continue to use as their headquarters while they finish pacifying Hadd. (Notes: Godbad is a subcontinent as well as a sovereign nation located to Hadd’s west. Hadd has already been renamed Haas.)
While there Dem spots a woman described as a Black Widow, since she is dressed entirely in black. Some days later, when he goes to retrieve the statue, with the aid of a Godbadian helicopter and crew, he sees her again. Moments later he sees her speaking to someone just as obscure, only his raiment reminds Demios of the Night’s Sky above the Headworld, aka the Sedon Sphere.
We listen in to some of their conversation; they being the Black Widow ‘Miss Murkiness’, he being the Night’s Sky epitomized. From the sounds of things her actual name is Gomorrah whereas she calls him Sodom. When Demios looks over again they’ve both disappeared. (Demios Sarpedon does not reappear in 'Decimation Damnation'. He is, however, an ‘heroic’ character in part 2 of 'Wilderwitch's Babies'.)
In the Weirdom Wilderwitch wakes up to the sound of Saladin Devason’s voice. He’s talking to someone. She doesn’t open her eyes. Instead she releases her fearsome soul-self, under an illusion of invisibility, in order to see who Sal’s talking to. As it turns out, although there are two distinct voices coming out of him, it appears Sal is talking to himself.
Meanwhile, also in the Weirdom, Cerebrus goes psychic walkabout. He’s in ghost-form, so is the ghost he meets, the Ghost of Cabalarkon. This one-eyed, black-as-midnight ghost, who allows Cerebrus to call him Cabby, is the Moloch Sedon’s father. Rather, Dark Sedon, the All-Father of devazurkind and the King of All-Demons, considers Cabby his father. The two ghosts have much to discuss.
During the course of their discussion Cabby tells Cerebrus how the Headworld came about: Sedon erected the Cathonic Dome out of his own essence in order to prevent the archipelago of Pacifica (Lemuria) being overwhelmed by the Genesea, the Great Flood of Genesis. This Dome, aka Cathonia, the Cathonic Zone and the Sedon Sphere, has kept the Inner Earth separated from the Outer Earth for nearly 6000 years.
The Inner Earth, Sedon’s Head, the Headworld, is the Otherworld or Shadowland found in the myths and legends of just about every ethnic or aboriginal group on the Outer Earth. However, Cabby claims, it, the Dome, will collapse the moment the last of the Sed-sons dies.
It collapses it’ll be as if there was a Second Great Flood. Whether the Head sinks or not, you’d be a wealthy person if you had property hundreds of miles from the then coasts of the North Pacific Ocean. Could sell said property as waterfront, because that’s what it’d be.
Sed-sons are deviants, he explains. Deviants are the mortal children of regular, equally mortal parents possessed at conception by immortal devils. Sed-sons, however, of which there have to be at least two, one on the Outer Earth, one on the Inner Earth, have to have regular parents or grandparents possessed by specific devils. The father or grandfather has to have been possessed by the Moloch Sedon; whereas the mother or grandmother has to have been possessed by a third-generational devil (a Master Deva) known by tradition as Pyrame Silverstar.
Apparently Silverstar has been cathonitized (atomized, rendered a star shining out of the Night’s Sky above the Head) since 5950. Nonetheless, as Sedon himself has told Cabby, right now there are only two Sed-sons still alive. In terms of the Inner Earth, the last Sed-son is Saladin Devason, the Master of Weir. This perplexes Cabby. Sal has had lots of sons so the grandparent rule should apply. Yet it doesn’t.
The missing ingredient would appear to be Silverstar. So why doesn’t Sedon just decathonitize her, howsoever briefly, such that she can possess another mother-to-be of a Sed-son? He has, Sedon has also told Cabby during his occasional visits to his crypt. Has done so many times since he first cathonitized her, but the magic’s failed just as many times. And he, Sedon, should know. He recognizes his own Sed-sons.
Might the magic ingredient not be Silverstar, who has been decathonitized as
a result of the launching of the Cosmic Express? Might it be the demon she possessed,
more often than not, until she was cathonitized in ‘50? As 'Decimation
Damnation' progresses, we’ll discover that is, indeed, the
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