As said earlier, this cycle was not initially a thing when psatcwot started existing. the campaign that would become c2 was originally based on a simple premise : the players would go down an infinite mall, and fight god. let's call this proto c2 infinite mall btw.
so when i started the campaign, i had a very weak and vague outline of lore. an outline so weak it didn't exist until like, the 1st time they met the cashier, which was in session 2.
Eventually this lore became c1 : the players in infinite mall were told this lore directly from the cashier, in vague and cryptic hints. so lets go over this now fully formed lore in more detail.
1.01 : seven seeds
one thing is clear about c1 : despite being purely utilitarian in nature, it's still written with a lot of poetry. it gives me the feel of an old legend or an old fairy tale.
however, even that can't save it from how boring it is to read. some pages are interesting, but there are still pages like this one, which is just a long enumeration. yaay !
another interesting thing here is the names of the tribes. indeed, the tribes were originally named very differently in infinite mall. their names were simple descriptors of what they did. i have nothing better to do, let's go over them.
the argillacreantis were named the creators, because they created this world. argillacreantis comes from argilla (clay), and creantis (to create)
the pennalucis were named aerials. pennalucis comes from penna (wing or feather) and lucis (light)
the umbradesertus were the void-dwellers. it was only in the c4 campaign that they were given a name pre-void : the junkers. umbradesertus comes from umbra (shadow) and desertus (desert, wasteland)
the tesserelunae were the dream-dwellers. it was also during the c4 campaign that they were given the name of lunarians. tesserelunae comes from tesserae (dice) and luna (moon)
the magnacorona are a weird case. they were the first tribe i imagined, and as such they're the only ones with a non descriptor name : the magnelins. magnacorona comes from magna (magnet) and corona (crown)
the raninanis were the second tribe created. they were named the commutors, due to commuting being the void and our world - something they never did. raninanis comes from ranina (frog) and ani (nothing, annihilate, void)
the formutatios were always made to be digital beings. their proto-name is also used in psatcwot itself : the renegades. formutatio comes from forma (form, shape) and mutatio (change, shift). theyre my favourite tribe
and finally the pestincolis. they were named the swarmers. i have no idea what the ethymology is, but i see pestil like pestilence. they're also one of my favourites.
another thing is why the argillacreantis turn to stone. it's actually simple : they just don't want to see another war.
and finally, the geography. when psatcwot was written for realsies, the c4 campaign had already started, and as such i already had an idea of the map. the locations each tribe is stated to live in probably vaguely fits with the c4 map and with landmarks in c4.
1.02 : the monolith appears
so 1st of all : har har har monolith just like monolith (game) and psatcwot is a monolith fanfiction. no its not i just really like monoliths as a concept bc 2001 a space odditty was very influencial.
another thing is that, this monolith, is not, and will not be relevant for a very long time. i'm talking like a dozen of cycles.
truth be told, psatcwot was only going to have 3 main cycles. c2, c4, and the final cycle, with an undisclosed amount of time passing betweenf cfinal and c4. that time was occupied by an indefinite and potentailly infinite number of cycles. the monolith was to be relevant in cfinal. it will be relevant before that.
oh and btw, it's nature is already decided. it always was, just as it always was in this world. was it placed here or was the universe formed around it ?
also an illustration !!!! yay. can't wait to never see one again. i do like the colors on this illustration btw.
1.03 : humanity
i find really funny that the omniscient guys who created this universe decided to create life and then saw oh shit there already was life
it's also the first time this notion of power is presented. the power talked about here is of course psychic power, but this isn't precised here. various psatcwot come and go in psatcwot, as i never wanted to have a set definitive canon that was closed to interpretations
while i think they're interesting, i never really liked media that was obscure for the sake of being obscure : stuff like fnaf, where the point of the art is the lore and uncovering it, by looking through code and adjusting brightnesses and such. it's a really boring way to do things, especially because it only gives the impression of vagueness : in reality everything is already set in stone. it's not that there are multiple possible interpretations, it's that we don't know which one is right.
there's also something to be said about dreams. i really like dreams, as in the stuff you see when you sleep, and psatcwot is meant to feel like one. i dream very often, at least once every night, and so because of that dreams are extremely important to me as a Thing. psatcwot is meant to resemble a dream, with the slight inconsistencies and the obscure visuals and interpretations.
funnily enough, the most utilitarian cycle, the one that was written to be solely a lore dump, is also the one that feels the most like a dream.
1.04 : pennalucis crisis
this page serves as the backstory for the angels. it also ruins one of the later reveals. at the end of c2, when jhin and melissa face off against lekolekolekoleko, they start to think about who that entity is, and eventually find out that god does not exist, that what we call god is the whole of the angels.
this was not decided from the start, but it fit nicely and was interesting. i also remember that when this reveal was made, my players were surprised at this, because they had never thought that god didn't exist.
but this page ruins this reveal. it doesn't say "a higher being granted protection to the pennalucis and turned them into a hivemind" it says "the pennalucis turned into a hivemind by themselves".
the origin of their extinction is also... a moot point. the important part is that they are on the verge of extinction, and that communication is a desperate measure.
1.05 : winged law
when i started the campaign i was in my angel era. i was obsessed with biblical angels, could recite their entire hierarchy and desription... so it's no surprise the angels are Like That.
by the way, i also think that in the bible and such, god does not exist either. i think the angels are a hivemind that houses god, just like in psatcwot.
a strong idea at the core of the angels (in psatcwot) is that of fear. they themselves are scary, always being as menacing as powerful, but they are also scared. their main motivation is their fear of other and how they want to destroy everything that isn't them.
the descendant was never given a name. i mean they probably have a name in universe, i just don't know it. they also only serve a role of being a plot device. not even sorry for saying that.
i've also received feedback that it was confusing that the argillacreantis could see the world and could think despite having been turned into statues. that transformation into a statue isn't them stopping to think, a la kars from jojo, it's more like them hibernating.
the argillacreantis are thinking mounds of clay, so this is just them changing their metabolism to something where they don't need to think as much. they can still do it, but they just don't want to be here and to interact.
it's also the first time a notion of cycle is present in psatcwot. the creators flee to a new world, but realize they can't escape war and destruction, and let themselves be killed by their creation.
1.06 : banished
that page is probably my favourite. it's really well written, i like the symmetry between the void and dream dwellers.
as you can guess, each tribe except the angels is linked to an element. the void dwellers are linked to the nothing element, and the dream dwellers to the all or wildcard element (name pending and no longer relevant to think about.)
here we see how these tribes were banished from their own power. it's kind of sad i think.
1.07 : digital beings
now that i think about it c1 is a pretty damn sad cycle ! this is the 4th genocide in 3 pages.
this is also where the renegades assume their true form. i like the idea of creatures building a modern day server and just... going in it and waiting for thousands of years. it's so funny.
i'm not a fan of this dialog though. in idea it's good, like it's good to have a dialog between 2 renegades here, but also... cmon. it's so short and it feels very forced. it's as if i don't know how people talk about their emotions.
1.08 : hole in a sealed jar
to be fair... i can't picture what the pre-gate raninanis habitations are supposed to look like. i have vivid images of what it looks like post-gate, and i'd love to draw one whenever i have the time.
the raninanis are cute lil critters with terrible trauma. these guys are so stressed it's unbelievable.
1.09 : fated heir
so here it is, the sad backstory tm of the descendant. i kinda like that. my main creative vision with c1 was the idea of the descendant in a rural house seeing the angels come for them in the wheat fields.
it's a scene that is very well conveyed in my dream, and that i'm actually a bit sad will never happen exactly how i see it.
this page is also the namesake for this cycle. the fields are red because they are dyed with blood. edgy !
1.10 : peaceful wings
idk what to say about this page
di you know that the RAT was made outside of psatcwot and then repurposed ??? yeah i wanted a character to draw for the jack'o challenge when it was still going around, and so i made them up
and now, well, you know
1.11 : destroyed by one's own hand
here it is !! the first religion bad !!
well it's more controlling the mass isn't a very good thing but w/e
i don't really have anything insightful about this page either. other than : wow the angels are really fucking scared of the humans !!
1.12 : towers piercing the heavens
this is a primer for c2. the more i think about it, the more i regret publishing c1 before c2, as contraditcory as it sounds. maybe i shouldn't even have published c1 and left it as sporadic infodumps in c2.
i say this because this page spoils so so much about c2. it spoils the nature of the mall and everything.
a big thing that drove the players forward in c2 was the attract of the unknown : what was the next floor going to be ? what is at the bottom of the mall ? why was the mall created ? what is the mall
but c1 just... answers so many of these questions before they can even be asked.
this is also where c1 really reveals its utilitarian nature. i know where the story of the cycle will go, and i do very little to justify it. why did the angels chose to test the TOWERS in a sewer ?? because i have an event called the sewer battle.
yeah this cycle isn't great at time. overall i'd say it has an amazing form. the writing is really good, and the atmosphere it gives out is also very interesting. but the story itself is boring and shallow.
1.13 : waters turn clear
so, this isn't the first time i wrote (and described) the battle of the sewers. the album underground rebirth i wrote a while back is basically a walkthrough of that battle. the comment meta tag of each track describing the action. i don't expect anyone to know this bc 1 its really hard to read a track's comment metatag and 2 underground rebirth sucks and nobody listened to it.
that aside, the narrative of underground rebirth is basically the same as here. in fact, this page and the next were both inspired by the narrative of underground rebirth and based upon it, to make it basically canon.
in that narrative, written in 1st person from the pov of the rat, we go through the different camps of each (or most, rip magnacoronae) of the tribes
this is why the troops are layed out as such, because it means the rat can go see all of them with no problem.
also in that album the raninanis set up a whole city like bro wth this is a war
1.14 : but blood does no twash
this page is pretty cool though. the victory of the angels due to them being more organized was also present in underground rebirth. i think it's a cool page
Theres probably something to be said about the angels winning like that. maybe about the over bearing presence of the establishment, and about how fighting against it while disorganized will only hurt us.
i don't know actually (genuine)
these early cycles, c1 and c2, were just... made to be made. they were made as a cool story, and not much more. so it ends up being a bit weird for analysis. on one hand, i myself can't see anything in it, or if i can it was added haphazardly, and/or is so obvious to me that i don't register it.
but at the same time, them having been written as... freely, also means that they are, in general, a gaping wide doorway to my own psyche. have fun with that i guess !
of course this isn't true of everything in these two cycles. while some of these elements were added blindly as a cool story, a few other were added while fully conscious later on, when properly affixing this cycle in reality. in here, it's only the conversation between r17 and r25. in c2, these elements are more and more present, up until the end.
and now, whenever i write a cycle, i am careful about everything. the symbols, the motivation, the emotions....
over the last year (i write this close to the anniversary of writing c1 and making my site), i feel that i have improved a lot as a writer. but i also find that somehow, something changed. when i reread this cycle, i get a unique feeling.
a feeling of countless possibilities, of a naive and blind writer simply putting on paper what she sees in her mind. of a seaslug a year younger writing directly her mind, opening it's door to others.
i sometimes long for that naiveté. for that freedom. nowadays writing a cycle can be hard. it's still fun ! and i'm still very proud of the results. but cycle 7 had to be heavily amended, just as cycle 6, and every cycle afterward.
such is the life of a writer, i suppose. even if i were to go back to that naivete, i wouldn't be comfortable with it. this was my box of pandora, my fruit from the tree of knowledge.
anyway here's a cool art my friend STARDISCS made of the rat being forced to raze a city !