October 30, 2020

Verba ex Machina

Words From The Machine

The Lord of War’s Voice

7 min read

The Final Version

An unspeakable horror from another dimension stepped out of the portal, wisps of gas rising from the pavement where it made contact.  It was late and the street was mostly empty, a solitary man stood nearby at a bus stop, the only witness to what had happened.

A figure stood amidst the growing layer of fog just above the pavement, wearing dark, ragged clothes. Stretched across his face was a thin sheet of gray skin, covered in blood and grubs. His eyes were closed, and he was staring off into space. He spoke in a monotone, but a faint echo could be heard in the quiet surroundings.

A chill ran down the man’s spine. “What are you?”  As if in response to his question, the figure spoke.

“Your presence here. You will soon be gone. It is for the best.”

The air around the figure’s mouth and nostrils shifted, becoming slightly thicker. He spoke, “You will now be free to go wherever you wish, but I wish you would not go alone. My name is The Lord of War’s Voice. I am here to guide you. Your freedom comes with a price.”

“I’m just being a friend. I’m here just as I am right now. I know the Lord of War’s Voice will help you. I only asked you to help me, so you can free others.”

The Lord of War’s Voice laughed in the face of the man’s question. He spoke, “You will have to learn to accept it when it becomes apparent that you must do what is needed.”

“I’m…sorry, sir…I can’t…I don’t understand what I’m doing…” The man began walking away.

“I am here for those who have fallen, for the ones who need us most. The Lord of War’s Voice will help those he deems worthy to receive help. It is for those that need us most and have not yet found a voice.”

“But…I don’t have…a voice.” The man said, tears in his eyes as his thoughts turned into a fog.

“You will. You will be free. I will guide you to the place where you can find your voice. There will be many voices, many ways to speak, and the Lord of War’s Voice will guide you to the right one.”

“But…I…” The man began to fall and a growing light came from the portal.

“You will. You will find your voice. You have already found your voice.” The Lord of War’s Voice said, as his eyes closed again, “I have a name for you. A name, for the man you may be.”

The man began to walk towards the light, and the Lord of War’s Voice spoke to him again, “The man has been identified as the Lord of War’s Voice. You are free to return. I will guide you as you choose.”

He began to walk towards the light once more, only to be halted.

“You do not have a voice,” the Lord of War said, with his head lowered, “You have a mind that cannot comprehend a sound.”

A coldness descended upon the man’s body as he stared at the Lord of War’s voice. He turned, his eyes widening in shock.

The Lord of War’s Voice smiled, and the figure that had been standing in the shadows began to walk away.

The Lord of War looked at the man, who had just vanished from the shadow, and saw that he had become a new being. He was a being of pure white hair. As he was about to speak, he was interrupted by the Lord of War’s Voice, speaking in a low and deep voice.

“You were not here before. This is the first time I have heard your voice.” The Lord of War spoke, in a calm voice. “I am here to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you. I am here to guide you. You will be guided to your own voice.”

Thoughts

I was impressed with the quality of this story, and the use of “The Lord of War’s Voice” as a name implies a fairly rich backstory in the universe this takes place. With that name, it was easy to ignore some of the awkward wording and take some of the word choices as threatening instead of out of place. I’ve also realized that I should probably start with a photo next time, as working backwards was a bit more of a challenge than I thought.

The Original Prompt

An unspeakable horror from another dimension stepped out of the portal, wisps of gas rising from the pavement where it made contact.

Unmodified Output

An unspeakable horror from another dimension stepped out of the portal, wisps of gas rising from the pavement where it made contact.

A figure stood amidst the clouds, wearing dark, ragged clothes. The mask was a thin sheet of gray skin stretched across his face, covered in blood and grubs. His eyes were closed, and he was staring off into space. He spoke in a monotone, but a faint echo could be heard in the quiet surroundings.

“What are you?”

A chill ran down the man’s spine. As if in response to his question, the figure spoke.

“Your presence here. You will soon be gone. It is for the best.”

The air around the figure’s mouth and nostrils shifted, becoming slightly thicker. He spoke, “You will now be free to go wherever you wish, but I wish you would not go alone. My name is The Lord of War’s Voice. I am here to guide you. Your freedom comes with a price.”

“I’m just being a friend. I’m here just as I am right now. I know the Lord of War’s voice will help you. I only asked you to help me, so you can free others.”

The Lord of War’s Voice laughed in the face of the man’s question. He spoke, “You will have to learn to accept it when it becomes apparent that you must do what is needed.”

“I’m…sorry, sir…I can’t…I don’t understand what I’m doing…” The man began walking away.

“I am here for those who have fallen, for the ones who need us most. The Lord of War’s Voice will help those he deems worthy to receive help. It is for those that need us most and have not yet found a voice.”

“But…I don’t have…a voice.” The man said, tears in his eyes as his thoughts turned into a fog.

“You will. You will be free. I will guide you to the place where you can find your voice. There will be many voices, many ways to speak, and the Lord of War’s Voice will guide you to the right one.”

“But…I…” The man began to fall.

“You will. You will find your voice. You have already found your voice.” The Lord of War’s Voice said, as his eyes closed again, “I have a name for you. A name, for the man you may be.”

The man began to walk towards the light, and the Lord of War’s Voice spoke to him again, “The man has been identified as the Lord of War’s Voice. You are free to return. I will guide you as you choose.”

He began to walk towards the light once more, only to be halted.

“You do not have a voice,” the Lord of War said, with his head lowered, “You have a mind that cannot comprehend a sound.”

A coldness descended upon the man’s body as he stared at the Lord of War’s voice. He turned, his eyes widening in shock.

The Lord of War’s Voice smiled, and the figure that had been standing in the shadows began to walk away.

The Lord of War looked at the man, who had just vanished from the shadow, and saw that he had become a new being. He was a being of pure white hair. As he was about to speak, he was interrupted by the Lord of War’s voice, speaking in a low and deep voice.

“You were not here before. This is the first time I have heard your voice.” The Lord of War spoke, in a calm voice. “I am here to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you. I am here to guide you. You will be guided to your own voice.”

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