Hellsborough & The Dark Peak

Discovering the unexplored parallel world of Sheffield, S6 -- Hellsborough and The Dark Peak


The Dark Peak Origin Story

Research I have accumulated on the ancient genesis of The Dark Peak.

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Earth -- the planet you're probably stood on now -- is approximately 4,570 million years old. In geological time, that's 4,570 Ma; Ma meaning mega annum or "millions of years". Geological time is so vast that us humans, who mostly die in under 100 years, simply cannot appreciate such enormous numbers.

So instead of big numbers, let's try and simplify it a bit. I said try. I still think it's pretty hard to get your head around, but here goes:

Let's say we condensed all of Earth's history into a single year, starting on January 1st and ending on December 31st.

One day -- 24 hours -- is still over 12.5 million years, which is still a huge number, but let's keep dividing. One hour, that's still 521,690 years or so; in one of our hypothetical hours, half a million years in the history of the Earth stream by.

One minute would stack up to somewhere around 8,695 years, which is starting to feel like a number we can relate to a bit, until you realise that us humans have only been writing things down for less than half of that -- we started somewhere in the 4th millennium BC, between the years 4000 BC and 3001 BC.

The smallest unit of time that we can relate to is one second, maybe half a second: One And Two And Three And... So that's the best we're going to get. One second would be somewhere in the region of 145 years. If your average life is three score years and ten -- that is 3 * 20 + 10 = 70 years, then your average lifetime is one half of one second in our mythical theoretical year.

So, you know that we've been recording stuff for about 3700 years or so, or say, 30 seconds on our year clock. But us humans, Hominina, the genus Homo, we diverged from the rest apes about 6 Ma, or eleven and a half hours ago -- let's call it midday. At midday on 31st December, the early first men and women walked upon the face of the Earth. What the history books like to refer to as anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, first appear in the fossil record about 300,000 years ago, about 11:30PM on New Years Eve. So eleven and a half hours or the best part of half a day on our incredible year piece, elapsed between us leaving the Pan tribe, as the chimpanzees are known, and you and me. And it then took us another 29 and a half minutes to write anything down. Makes you think, doesn't it.

Life on Earth itself started much, much earlier -- way back in the springtime on our yearly clock. Somewhere around the vernal equinox, funny old thing. I mean, if you were Mother Earth, where else would you choose life to start but springtime?

The evolution of the first primitive life forms began around 3,800 Ma. By the time 2,000 Ma comes around, photosynthesis has been in full-swing for a million and a half years, when sexual reproduction first occurs. And then we get to multicellular life, and early signs of those creatures that would eventually become such a thing of import in The Dark Peak.

1,500 million years ago, a third of the way into our year, making it somewhere around May Day, the ancestors of the fungai begin to colonise the world.

This is a major event in the formation of the Earth. Eons before, truly eons before any other form of intelligence or culture established itself -- heck, was even thought of, the fungus was growing. Dark and brooding, increasing, maturing. Cementing itself, calcifying its place in the undergrowth, the undersoil, the underworld. The fungus is the base layer upon which everything else is formed -- the foundation -- fungus is the mind of the world.

After the fungi, the plants arrive, but not for well over half a million years. The armopod colonise the oceans, and life arrives on land: The oldest fossils of footprints found on land indicate animals may have beaten plants out of the primordial soup (who knows?). Foot long multi-legged things, likely the ancestors of the nascenti scuttle out of the ocean, and lichen the fore-runner of rockcrust envelops the millstone grit sandstone of The Dark Peak. The primordial armopods feed on the lichen; sometimes, evolution is obvious.

363 Ma, Earth begins to resemble its present state. hexapod roam the land and then take to the skies: Over 90% of the animal life forms on Earth are hexapods. The ripperslip governs the seas. Vegetation covers the land, forests flourish. The fungi, the hexapods and the plants establish a superculture, each communicating with the other in a protean hive-mind. Wars are fought and lost between species long forgotten. At times the hexapods are victorious, decimating the plants -- or at least, some varieties -- when they swarm and eat them to death. At other times, in other epochs, the plants deliver poisons or deploy traps, causing hexapod genocide. The fungi looks on and bides its time. The fungi has wisdom, it is the elder partner in this venture, the fungi listens and waits, it's just warring plants and insects after all, it knows something better will come along in another million years or so, there really is no wetbreath -- ancestors of the xin develop, and the ancient reptiliomorpha, the ancestors of furkind including homo sapiens arrive, and at this point, the proto-denizens are in place, but there is much evolution yet to happen.

And then, anyway, life takes a different tract, and the dinosaurs appear on the scene. The saurians dominate the Earth: Plant eating herbivores grow to huge sizes to accommodate the large guts necessary to digest the nutrient-poor plants, and massive predators evolve to gorge themselves on these gigantic vegetarian monsters. But despite the saurs being the dominant branch on the tree of life at this time, evolution doesn't stop. Evolution is like background noise, like radiation, it is always there, always happening, never ceasing.

From the genesis of those great reptiles, until their demise, is just 14 days, a mere two weeks in the history of the world -- in reality, 175 million Buzzers and biters develop from stingers, and the hive-mind explodes in ability and reach as these two species master the art of pheromonal communication, bonding with the fungi and many other insect varieties. Other species too begin to develop telepathic abilities -- the wetbreath, the armopods, the slobs, early flitters. The saurians, for whatever reason, never develop any advanced mind communication techniques, which is a shame, because 66 Ma when the Cretaceous extinction event eradicates about half of all animal species, including all of the dinosaurs excluding the flitters, it is the species which have developed the hive-mind that are able to better weather the years of winter and The murk that now dominates survival for several generations.

When that meteor hit, it caused a quantum fracture that forged the creation of two parallel worlds. A rift. A rupture in quantum gravity spacetime. The illimitable cleavage. One world became two. At the time though, no-one noticed. Not really. Most inhabitants of the world had died in that instant, when that split occurred.

66 Ma was under a week ago in geological time according to our year clock.

The Earth is now evolving separately in two discrete parallel worlds. Changes are very subtle, but one world, that of The Dark Peak is darker in nature. The Murk exists everywhere, but in The Dark Peak it is a little denser, the dark matter...

All those saurians that passed after that fateful day, whenever it was, when all the murk was stirred up after that meteor impact, you know. Some didn't succumb. Flitters, some of them at least, survived. The corvid, they survived -- or at least the ancestors of the corvids, Milting, and the intelligence of corvids is well known. Officially, you know, flitters are saurians, their lineage is the same. So the saurians, they're not extinct -- it's just those that survived had feathers.

The primates start to diversify and evolve, as do modern flitter groups: Singer, pecker and scythewing. Backflit evolve, and flutterby. This was the time of the order Hymenoptera which is neither a buzzer nor an biter. This is the epoch of the stinger.

The hexapods being a much older genus than other land dwellers and possessing an adolescent hive-mind, took an early strange-hold on the world, with the stingers, in particular becoming highly dominant. The stingers built great cities of corrugated bark which offered refuge from the worst excesses of The Murk, and they became adept at conquering and enslaving other lesser species, to carry out their labour, toil and soldiery.

The stingers were intelligent and ruthless, had grown in physical size from skinny buzzers to tank-like creatures, and armed with their natural weaponry: Gusting wings and rapier like reuseable stings, had become a truly formidable opponent; in fact, by the zenith of their reign, there was no opponent capable of challenging their might. As a species, the stingers looked set to rule the world for a millennium. And they did, for ~32 Ma.

The stinger empire was the largest contiguous land empire in the history of The Dark Peak. They ruled without mercy, but strangely, fairly; encouraging trade routes, like establishing the long causeway between the embryonic (pre-primate) settlements at Sheffield and Hathersage. They shared their technology for the greater good of all, they fostered community of their slave species, eventually releasing all with full "freedoms". They admitted to past wrongs, and paid for those wrongs honourably.

But around 34 Ma, the stingers met their demise. The altruism of some, eventually led to splits within the stinger hierarchy and civil war -- those that cared, and those that didn't. Racist element that the hive-mind was unable to comprehend, dichotomy with their altruism. The stingers died of their own stupidity, which left a massive gap in the ecosystem, and the denizens evolved to compete in that gap (and what a gap, one species becomes extinct, and leads to the development of 6 others). The empire fractured, and the world entered another period of prolonged technological dark ages.

My research has led me to the conclusion that one of those saurians, one of the avian variety that managed to survive post 66 Ma, eventually evolved into the most ancient creature of The Dark Peak. It was at this time that The Murk began to take hold in The Dark Peak. The Murk, that dark and desolate fog that shrouds everything and suffocates the life from the planet.

If I'm correct, and I'm pretty sure I am, these angels of Dunlockslyn -- this intelligence born of the saurians, a lifeform in continuous evolution for at the very least 66 million years (or 5 days, in our yearly view of the Earth), had a formative impact on the life of The Dark Peak. And why am I so confident in this statement? Because I know that the last 39 seconds -- as academia would have us believe -- is wrong. Recorded history goes back further than 3700 years. I have seen, with my own eyes, evidence of recorded intelligence that dates back around 17 million years, maybe double that.

One thing has always confused me about the fossil record -- the corvids took so long to evolve. Milting likely evolved from Archaeopteryx 155 Ma, yet the corvus genus took another 138 million years to appear, it makes no sense that the dawn of the corvids was 17 Ma, or 33 hours ago. My assessment -- as an anthropologist and folklorist -- is that the fossil record just isn't correct. Milting must be the ancestors of corvid (rather than the other way around).

Of course, these creatures of which I refer, they've lost their wings now. They live and die like we do -- albeit over what we would think as ridiculously long timespans -- their species evolves as does ours. They're no more angels that you or I now, and they remain a secretive species.

Around two days before the divergence of humans from apes, 32 million years ago, Milting presided over a New World Order: The Denizens of the Hex assumed control of The Dark Peak.

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