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nn5n: scp-3514 The Moment of the Mahdi and the Moment of the Mortal
SafeSCP-3514 The Moment of the Mahdi and the Moment of the MortalRate: 56

A 17th century painting of an SCP-3514-1 event.1

Item #: SCP-3514

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedures: As of 22/12/1973, SCP-3514 has come under the control of the Office for the Reclamation of Islamic Artifacts (ORIA). Access to and containment of SCP-3514 is therefore unfeasible at present. Due to the low threat level of the anomaly and the apparent competence of ORIA in keeping the anomaly hidden from the general public, the restoration of control over SCP-3514 is considered a low priority.

Following a cover-up operation in the late 19th century involving cooperation between the Foundation and the Sublime State of Iran, the exact site of the battlefield of Chaldiran in the public record has been altered; it is now commonly believed to be a site near the village of Gal Ashaqi, 10km away from SCP-3514.

The subsequent expungement by Foundation personnel of documents within the Qajar archives related to this cover-up has resulted in ORIA being unaware of SCP-3514. Preventing ORIA from learning of SCP-3514 is of paramount importance.

A perimeter 50m away from SCP-3514 is currently cordoned off with electric fences and has security cameras positioned at regular intervals in order to prevent unauthorised entry. Foundation researchers have set up a rudimentary research base to observe SCP-3514-1 events and interview SCP-3514-2; it is considered inadvisable to set up a full site, as this might attract the attention of ORIA.

Description: SCP-3514 refers to a 2 km2 area in northwestern Iran, corresponding to the location of the 16th century Battle of Chaldiran. SCP-3514's primary anomalous effects activate at approximately ██:██ each day, and continue until ██:██, which matches the time of day during which the battle took place. This activity is henceforth referred to as an SCP-3514-1 event.

An SCP-3514-1 event begins with the manifestation of intangible representations of the combatants present at the battle, arranged in a manner believed to match the armies at the beginning of the real battle. These representations are henceforth referred to as SCP-3514-2 instances. The SCP-3514-2 instances then engage in combat, apparently recreating a version of the Battle of Chaldiran. These representations can only physically interact with one another and are unaware or unwilling to respond to any external stimulus.

Despite this set-up, the course of the battle alters with each SCP-3514-1 event. Although some SCP-3514-1 events follow the course of the battle closely, at other times a radically different outcome occurs, ranging from the death of Shah Isma'il2 to the complete routing of the Ottoman forces. At times, SCP-3514-2 instances representing apparently supernatural or mythical figures have appeared, including the Shi'ite figures of 'Ali and Hosayn, and Shahnama3 characters such as Rostam, Gordafarid and Zal. At the end of the SCP-3514-1 event, the SCP-3514-2 instances all abruptly disappear.

Some examples of notable variations within the SCP-3514-1 event are detailed below. Note that the first three of these occasions took place before the development of practicable devices for recording sound or film, and the reports did not always possess the same level of observational rigour found in more modern reports.

Date Variation Taking Place
18/09/1886 First observed Safavid victory and first time a major deviation from the events of the historical battle was observed. Isma'il's forces attacked the Ottoman forces before the Ottomans set up their chain-linked line of cannons in the centre, cutting through their lines and killing Selim.4
20/06/1888 An Ottoman victory, and the first observed occasion upon which the SCP-3514-2 instance representing Isma'il was killed. During a charge into the Ottoman lines, an Ottoman bullet appeared to hit Isma'il "around the head or neck area", killing him almost instantly and prompting a complete Safavid rout.
01/04/1913 A "great celestial body", in the words of observing researchers, appeared above the battlefield. An "extremely tall and well-built" SCP-3514-2 instance descended from this object. All of the Safavid combatants then prostrated themselves before the instance, chanting the name "'Ali" repeatedly. The SCP-3514-2 instance then appeared to "destroy" all of the Ottoman combatants. Most of the remainder of the SCP-3514-1 event was taken up with "wild and extravagant celebrations" on the part of the Safavid combatants and the "'Ali" instance until one hour before the end of the event. At this point, the "'Ali" instance abruptly disappeared, and the Safavid combatants wept and beat the ground for the remainder of the event.
23/08/1937 First observed event where battle did not take place. Instead, the only SCP-3514-2 instances who manifested were the Safavid combatants, who repeatedly attacked and appeared to fatally wound the SCP-3514-2 instance of Shah Isma'il. The Isma'il instance appeared to suffer extreme pain, but did not expire from its wounds. The assailants reputedly chanted the words "false murshid!"5 repeatedly while doing so.
17/11/1965 Second observed event where battle did not take place. Instead, SCP-3514-2 instances representing all 9 Shahs of the Safavid dynasty prior to the fall of Isfahan appeared instead of the combatants. These representations all spoke continuously for the duration of the SCP-3514-1 event, giving what seemed to be accounts of percieved failures which occurred during their lifetimes. Most of the SCP-3514-2 instances were continuously crying ordinary tears, with the exception of the SCP-3514-2 instances representing Isma'il I, Safi I, Abbas II and Suleiman I, all of whom appeared to be crying red wine.6

SCP-3514-3 is an intangible representation of an individual claiming to be Shah Isma'il. SCP-3514-3 has the appearance of a man in his mid-30s with red hair and unkempt facial hair, ordinarily dressed in silk robes in a state of disrepair. This instance is separate from the SCP-3514-2 instances resembling Shah Isma'il as part of SCP-3514-1 events. It is classified separately as it appears to demonstrate awareness of external stimuli in addition to being present outside of SCP-3514-1 events. SCP-3514-3 is difficult to converse with, often speaking in incoherent fragments and only occasionally attaining lucidity.

SCP-3514-3 claims to be the creator and controller of SCP-3514-1 events. This has not been confirmed, but occasional utterances by SCP-3514-3 demonstrate an awareness of future SCP-3514-1 events. SCP-3514-3 ordinarily speaks in a 16th century dialect of Azeri, but apparently understands Persian, Gilaki and possesses at least some knowledge of Classical Arabic. SCP-3514-3 is located on top of the nearby hill of ████████, which provides an excellent view of SCP-3514-1 events. Ordinarily, SCP-3514-3 can be found sitting or occasionally pacing within the immediately surrounding area.

SCP-3514 first came to the Foundation's attention in 1886, when the Qajar authorities requested aid in the anomaly's containment. Based on the testimony of SCP-3514-3, SCP-3514 is believed to have been created sometime after the death of Shah Isma'il in the early 16th century.

On 22/12/1973, the Office for the Reclamation of Islamic Artifacts (ORIA) was alerted to the existence of SCP-3514, and swiftly moved in to contain it. It was discovered through documents stolen during an ORIA incursion into Site ██. Due to the limited Foundation presence in Iran, holding the anomaly against ORIA was considered unfeasible, and the Foundation withdrew upon ORIA's request without incident.

Interviewed: SCP-3514-3.

Interviewer: Dr. F██████.

Foreword: This interview was conducted 23/08/1966. The conversation has been translated from a 16th century dialect of Azeri, the native language of Shah Isma'il. Of note is the unusual level of lucidity in SCP-3514-3's responses.

<Begin Log>

Dr. F██████: Good afternoon, SCP-3514-3. How are you this evening?

SCP-3514-3: I am… well. Surprisingly well.

Dr. F██████: You- Er, good. Very good. Why is that?

SCP-3514-3: I… remember. Other times. The good days, before, before this. When I was a God.

Dr. F██████: …I didn't think that you believed that yourself.

SCP-3514-3: Oh, no, no, I didn't, but… there was a glory in it. There was something there that I- that we felt was true. That feeling of standing above the world, above one's followers, with all the strength of vengeance and righteousness pushing us forward- one felt like a God. One felt like the Mahdi. One felt like… like the expression of something greater.

Then came darkness. Then came mortality. One moment I was thundering down, the immortal head of an immortal army, the arm of God's righteous revenge. And then, a minute later, I was a man, a mortal king fleeing from mortal foes, ensnared in the mire and spitting blood from my tattered lips. I was human. I was normal. Do you know what that feels like, to lose that? No, no, of course not. You could never know what it is to be a God.

Dr. F██████: So- why do you do this? Why do you hurt yourself? Why not just stop doing this?

SCP-3514-3: Because I am mortal! Because I have to- I have to see it. To find a way to stop it. This was the battle that defined my life, my existence, my soul. This was the battle that, I have heard, defined empires and religions, created lines and contours that have echoed throughout centuries. I have to find a way to redo it and change history.

Dr. F██████: But you've replayed the battle hundreds of thousands of times. And I've seen you replay the battle in the same way it happened, make yourself die, conjure up impossible fantasies. Why do you still do it?

SCP-3514-3: It's the only thing that makes sense to me. Maybe it was the only thing that ever made sense to me. All I am is a memory, a faded ghost, an imprint of Isma'il's mind. A projection from beyond the grave, sitting here, forever, and ever, and ever. My lot is to exist in the past. To see the moment I was made mortal, again and again and again, trying to understand. To percieve. To understand what I am, what I was, what I could be. To understand myself.

Dr. F██████: What do you mean?

SCP-3514-3: I mean that I- that you- that 'Ali… that… that…

Hereafter, SCP-3514-3 reverted to its ordinary behaviour and speech patterns, remaining unresponsive to Foundation questioning. Dr. F██████ thus ended the interview shortly afterwards.

<End Log>

Interviewed: SCP-3514-3.

Interviewer: Dr. O████████.

Foreword: This interview was conducted 23/05/1972. The conversation has been translated from a 16th century dialect of Azeri, the native language of Shah Isma'il. Once again, SCP-3514-3 demonstrated particular lucidity throughout this interview.

<Begin Log>

SCP-3514-3: You do not know what it is to be dead, Doctor.

Dr. O████████: Wh- er, no. I haven't died. H-Have you?

SCP-3514-3: I have. I was sitting in my palace, dreaming of older days, drinking more and more wine as the world became red. And then the red changed, into black and blue and green, and I saw Azrael. And he took me away.

Dr. O████████: To where?

SCP-3514-3: So many places. I saw the halls of paradise, and the depths of Jahannam. I saw 'Ali and the Imams, I saw- I think I saw them, anyway. I forget. I saw the past, saw Kayumars and Kay Khusraw and the Prophet. I do not know if what I saw was real, if those kings truly roamed the earth or were merely real to me and the world I inhabited, but I saw it all the same. Then I saw the present, the Venetian ships plying the water, the dying emperors of old China, the screams of the servants as they found my body, the mourning of the my followers. I saw Suleiman's laughter and Babur's grave sighs. I saw the world in miniature. And then… and then…

Dr. O████████: You saw the future?

SCP-3514-3: I saw my son- not like me, but more bitter and far wiser. He knew from the start that he was not a god. He was a graver and a darker soul than I, but one who knew more than how to hunt, drink and kill. He made an empire. I saw brave 'Abbas, and the poorer men who followed him. I saw the land I'd conquered rise to heights unknown for a thousand years, and fall to depths seen only in the righteous destruction of the Mongols. And then I saw things I still do not understand… a red Shah, a living statue, and a darkness coating the world in silence. And I realised that none of it mattered.

Dr. O████████: Those sound like things that matter.

SCP-3514-3: They didn't, because then I saw myself. I was Isma'il. I was born and raised knowing I was a saint, a murshid, the messiah-king, the expression of God or maybe God himself. I was a divine instrument, a righteous warrior for vengeance. And then I died at Chaldiran. The divine part of me fled, and I was just a servant, a mortal, a dog that had been kicked from 'Ali's threshold and was forced to roam the streets. In an instant, I, a God, became a man. In an instant. A single day of blood.

Dr. O████████: That must have been… hard.

SCP-3514-3: I can see the doubt in your eyes, little man. I can see the scepticism. What do you know of religion? Of God? What do you know of the blood and the need for revenge? The righteousness of our cause? The clerics never got it, nor the sayyids. We were overthrowing the heretic temples of the Sunnis and establishing a new order, a just kingdom, a place free of the blood and mire of this world. We were heroes!

Dr. O████████: …I apologise if I offended you. It was not my intent.

SCP-3514-3: You didn't. I must give you apologies in turn. I thought time had turned me into a humbler man than that. You see, that is why God- or whoever I saw in the melting light- gave me this punishment. In life, I had been a man of arrogance, who thought himself divine. And so now, I must sit here, until I have learnt the truth; that the struggle was irrelevant. That this was no more different a moment than any other.

Dr. O████████: You mean- you're being forced to stay here? As punishment?

SCP-3514-3: Forced? Oh, no. I can leave at any time- but God knows I will not. I am here because I want to be. I must thank God, I truly must, for putting me here. An eternity of truth-seeking. You see, I never quite believed it. That I was not special, not a conduit for the divine. Even if I could only remember it in wine, I was still the Mahdi, the messiah, and when in my cups, Chaldiran was just a child's dream. I knew myself mortal by then, but felt myself more. So I stay here. Because I must. Because… because… then I will be free.

Dr. O████████: Well, why don't you just-

SCP-3514-3: Free, child… free… in the light of the sun and with the scim-scim-scimitar, beneath the noon of 'Ali, in the twilight, in the free light… they're coming soon, you know… the men of false righteousness, here to reclaim me… I have seen them talking each to each…

At this point, SCP-3514-3 began to speak incoherently, becoming increasingly unaware of its surroundings. Dr. O████████ ended the interview shortly afterwards.

<End Log>

page revision: 18, last edited: 25 May 2018 18:58
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