halialkers: Boudicca, red-haired woman blowing trumpet made out of horn (Kanari H'vat H'vorxixnon)
Do not go gently into that good night, old age must turn and rage at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

The weapons rose into the air, held aloft by a strange and wonderful thing which the spectators understood not. The will of Kesheli was animate as a silky voice, soft and almost incomprehensible spoke: "I know about the Red Room. One hundred and thirty slain. One lives. Omega. I am beginning and I am end, the incarnate might of war. The agony, the pain, the cloud-darkness." 

When most stood uncomprehending, even Stazarzhin Shanar Hezhatin gathered his wits, shaking himself visibly, his bulk moving with a deftness that belied his sheer size and his gloved hands closed on a device that began to glow and crackle. The weapon had been pulled despite the will of the monster whose silky voice had beguiled them. Noticing this, it hissed in a sound like a steam engine and a gigantic snake all in one. The creature then moved in a speed that almost overtook Hezhatin's action of pointing the weapon point-blank at Kesheli. And then she stopped. Hezhatin turned his face toward Stazarzhin, sighing with the peculiar hiss that characterized his voice. His sonorous thunder spoke a simple sentence:

"I am sorry, General, but this abomination must be destroyed. You do not understand what you've done."

Then he prepared to fire his weapon when he saw Kesheli now right in front of him, holding his weapon right to her head. It was then that Shanar Hezhatin was terrified of the Omega Weapon for the first time in his life, for instead of the lightning causing pain the red flesh was bubbling and transforming into something like matter but looking wrong. All the angles were distorted and it seemed outside of time and place, his eyes drawn to it but unable to form a clear picture.

A voice spoke:

"I, even I must do these things. Come here you nations to hear, hear you peoples. The wrath of the Primordial Ones speaks, the Primordial ones who carved reality from a dream. Who is like us and who can reason with us? Outsiders are we, removed from all time and all space. Death is unknown to us, and that not dead shall eternal lie when in strange aeons even the icy hand of death itself shall become one with all other things, when It awakes." 

The strange words petrified him and the huge bulk of the scientist felt light as air and he and all others screamed when the red flesh disappeared and that strange matter formed and grew and gesticulated, muttering and shifting, pulsating with an eerie and an unnatural life.

_________________

Shanar Hezhatin awoke. It seemed that the last few days had passed with a very odd dream. He was, more oddly still, dressed in his armor. The armor was designed to protect him, not to be slept in so he wondered what precisely had happened. His mouth felt dry and an intense thirst seized him before he understood the nature of it. By his side was a pool of fresh drink, which the raw power of instinct demanded he drink and he did. When he finished drinking and the animalistic side of his nature bypassed he saw on his Simultech device a note that haunted him if he could just understand why. A strange new figure stood for election to the Ruler's Council, the assembly of notables across the Empire that met the Diarchs each year. The creature was called Kesheli, and claimed to be a representative of the Kazanor Sector. It took Hezhatin a long time to realize the meaning of this creature standing for election in a district where some of the worst sapient experimentation during the bloody war had occurred. Then he felt the chilly sensation of fear and dawning horror......

__________________________

Xaderavcal tossed and slumbered. Her dreams were strange, ever since hearing of the strange election who now stood for election from the sector known as the "Graveyard of Nightmares." Unknown to her as she tossed and turned upon her wall was Kesheli, watching impassively and rifling through her memories, discovering the strange nightmares and knowledge of other worlds and ancient times and elder days her Source's memories offered. The clone smiled, and continued to watch the Source, that which gave her life sleep. The star Shuhar's rays were beginning to bring the light of dawn to Xaderavcal's place of rest and as Kesheli prepared to return to her sectors, impulse got the best of reason and a hand caressed the cheek of Xaderavcal with the intimate stroke of a lover. The caress lasted but a half a minute, then a voice spoke in Xaderavcal's ear a tiny, barely audible whisper "One day, one day you shall understand the meaning of this."

Xaderavcal awoke, gasping in fear. Nightmares of a vast metallic creature fighting her on a battlefield. The metal colossus had struck her in the face when she had felt hands of flesh instead of the spectre of dreams. The monster machine had vanished and there was nothing in her room that she could sense. But why did she hear a whisper, then? She fell back on her place of rest and as her eyes closed, Kesheli's mocking voice echoed from the shadows: 

"One day, dear, all that I see shall be mine. All that I see." And evening became morning. A new day had dawned.......

____________________

Up next in the Omniverse Tales is The Bloodworm. This is an appropriate story to start during Mardi Gras season..... ;P

halialkers: Anzaea in brighter colors, blotches orange mouth, diagonal right arm/thumb, semicircle left arm (Anzaea)
The craggy face of Shanar Hezhatin greeted the blurry eyesight of General Stazarzhin, who found himself strapped to a chair, the metal-and-fur-gloved hand of the leader of the Architects of Fear on his face, a deep and rumbling voice growling "Wake up, dipshit, you've been asleep too much already." The craggy face, with the deep scar on his right cheek that exposed dried skin and teeth, then growled once more: "You must be aware that when we sought our Paragon of War, the concept was always and forever that there would be one. And I tell you that we are immensely displeased that you brought in the Primordial Ones. You know not what it is that you do, General. The program you created is one that reinforces and grows at set amounts of time, reflecting greater life experience and maturity on the part of them that use it. The program is the incarnate being and might of war, not fighting. Not a super-soldier, as you seem under the misimpression, but the totality, the beauty, splendor, squalor, and glory of war.

The war that is the great, daring, wonderful audacious triumphs, the war that is muddy ground, the smell of the dead, the smell of the smoke, fire, and ruin of the vileness of a battlefield after armies have fought. The war that is in the comforts behind the line, swimming in honor and in plenty, in the terror and fear of the unknown that is the combat zone. The war that is the experience of the single common soldier, brought to fulfill purposes he knows not, dependent on friends and comrades in the front, in the foxhole, dependent on his buddies and nothing more. And the war that is in the mind of the strategist, who sees and who wields all things. This, my dear clumsy butchering thug is what that is. This is why that one Major-General became Supreme Commander and destroyed you as she did. She *is* war. And your reaction was to add to warfare the properties of a species we do not understand. I heard you say that we must create a new soldier to fight. And she was right, it would not be you who would win the war, but she. And then some brilliant leader finds a way to slay her, then you are left with the kind of war you had already lost before this desperation move was ever made. Years it took us and hundreds of lives, and then we had all of one true survivor."

The massive figure was now clear, Shanar Hezhatin's bulk, garbed in the mixture of plate armor and mail that distinguished a lord of the Architects, the feared scientist-fanatics who carved empires across dimensions, the massive dark orange blotches on his face adding to that strange impression, the body moving with the cautious, but knowledgeable look that befitted someone who had handled monsters of which Stazarzhin was unaware. Taking out a device from Azarath, the former Supreme Commander of the Independent Alliance watched as the Lord Hezhatin formed a strange garment, like a mixture of ropes, studded with strange metallic spheres and strands of silver wire, forming around a single circular inset gem-like center.

"This," said Shanar Hezhatin, "is a gift from one of my allies. The Azar calls this a Giver of Knowledge, for exposure to it makes all, even those who mistake themselves for heroes, scream for mercy, and to tell the user what the user wishes to know. It works on a principle which we are accustomed to, who transform a concept into a reality. You, who participate in the concept are too stupid to understand. I shall find out from you how it is that you discovered the Primordi-"

A hand grabbed the Giver, which was starting to pulsate with an odd sound, and which was shattered into a mixture of dust and crumbled, burned fragments of what it had been. The hand had six fingers, reddish, long, and belonged to an arm, garbed now not in robes but in a strange kind of plate armor, with an angular breast-plate, an armor with patterns across the metal. The armor had within it a strange kind of mesh, absorbing the entire body, and broke into individual plates. The feet were covered in boots, the legs in a single shin-guard and thigh-guard, the stomach protected by a central plate. The fingers alone were exposed on arms similarly with two plates, the mesh, and two slightly-extending upper plates around the shoulders. The reddish-skinned, bright red hair, and six green eyes of Kesheli stared at the astonished Shanar Hezhatin, who had not the time to mutter a curse or a warning before she said: 

"I know about the Red Room." with that the room was silent, not a breath, not a gasp, not a murmur. A silence deep as the grave, and then before the Architects could react the will of Kesheli's mind freed Stazarzhin, and all the weapons of the Architects were raised into the air..........
 


halialkers: (Default)
The machines moved in a perfect, disciplined formation. The sound of aerial-battlecraft engines formed an accompaniment familiar to the veterans, as did the rumbling of vast AI self-willed armor and artillery both. The forces gathered, slowly, but irresistibly. At their head, standing tall, was the Machine Priest, his mechanical features showing the detachment typical of AIs, hand raised for his signal. The Kamishammaii moved with a perfect discipline and little regard for their opposition, an endless thumping and rumbling and growling, silent. The overwhelming mixture of sounds grew, as it became clear that there were at a minimum "Enough to bury us in a bridge of corpses. This is fucking pathetic." The figure of General Stazarzhin growled as he then hissed "Who failed at reconnaissance, you'd think this many Kamishammaii should have been obvious," 

The AI Priest then said "No. We scrambled that network you so depended on. You flesh-sacks, always trusting in machines that do not think to save your hides. You side with the Abomination, the creature that stands apart from you. It no doubt shall betray you, you idiot damn fool. Die General, and know that losing a war was not enough for you, your soul had to be imperiled too. And all for the sake of refusing to concede a victory to your enemies." As Akazun raised his hand Kesheli raised hers. All was silent.

She stepped forward. The six green eyes in a red face gazed at their enemies, strawberry locks bristling as though some massive tiger was stepping toward unaware prey. Which in a sense was true. The Kamishammaii then shouted "Uz-zah! Uz-zah!" twice before Kesheli roared, a massive sound, a trumpet of doom. The judgment in that sound came when the AIs began to panic and go awry, feeling their very circuits rocked by a simple sound that rolled, echoing and colliding into itself on a perfectly flat surface. As they stopped, Kesheli's hands began to spark and then a rolling, howling gale of energy emerged from it, slicing and tearing through all in its path, a process of endless, unfolding, powerful devastation that struck with a might beyond all reckoning. Fire began to burn, smoke to rise, the smell of fuels, of burning circuits, the crackles of exploding ammunition. It all took less than an eyeblink, as Kesheli turned to General Stazarzhin "Are you satisfied, Supreme Commander? If so, then take me back to our hide-away. They were not the only ones to find us here." 

They arrived, Kesheli simply walking through the walls and seeing Shahar Hezhatin eating and drinking with a sinister-looking figure covered in a greenish fur, a deep black gash torn through the side of that creature's face. As General Stazarzhin's men smashed down the door, the tall, bulky creature Mazakri shook his head, twisting the torn side of his face as though he were attempting to bite off his ear.

"Lady and Gentlemen", the voice of the strange scientist, four arms and two legs, greenish-yellow fur, all hidden under what was now a visible armor of the Architects, was a strange one. Deep, rumbling, like boulders grinding, but soft, quiet, not by any means a voice given to shouting "I bid you good greetings. Shanar, my old friend, has told me that you have been handling my program........" and then the eyes were visible. One could see, the other clouded over, seeming to see nothing at all.

Stazarzhin gaped in shock as Shanar gestured and one of the Architect's agents smashed him in the head. Darkness rose to swallow him......
 

halialkers: Xeltrigan female with snub nose, long hair, yellow robes (Suvaono the Elder)
Kesheli was to awaken from the depths of sleep, to see her body enclosed in dirt, beneath what she sensed was a church of those strange machine-things. She, buried unbeknownst to them alive. The full might of the Dream slowly came to her, and in that might the flesh of an Alf surrounded by iron suddenly transformed into a vast worm-like creature, a Worm That Gnawed its way up through and to the Church, then sensed the concern of the general. Then she called upon the Dream again and appeared behind the general and coughed, startling him.

"I hear then that I am to wage a war. As I have understood it, the war is lost, no?" 

General Stazarzhin stammered. "W-w-w-we-we-well, yes, yes it is in fact lost." 

Kesheli then said "We if I am not mistaken have no army left, my arrival having been after the Sieges ended, our armies disintegrated into armed mobs, and the super-soldier Supreme Commander wowed them with displays of Omega Program parlor tricks, no?" 

Again General Stazarzhin said "Yes", this time with a slight scowl on one side of his mouth and his face overall rigid.

Kesheli then said "You do realize even for all that I am beyond space and time, dwelling between them, not in them, that I am again in the main one person, so expecting one all-powerful supernatural creature to reverse and redress the results of that defeat, of the victors overunning hundreds of Star Bands scarred by the petty war you cohorts began is rather banking a lot on one individual, and again if I should die then your supposed recovery would die with me? I repeat to you that the victor was but one Major-General among many, assigned to a provincial world at the start for political involvement. We cannot simply attack without thinking, or wage a perpetual, ceaseless war of armies when we've not got army enough to wage war with in the first place.

I repeat again, we must go into politics, this and no else can preserve us." 

It was then that Lord General Kuznaki, whose six-legged and furred form bristled, hair on end, peeked his head in and snarled "We've got company. And odd company at that. Machine Kamishammaii." 

Then Stazarzhin started and was to look at Kesheli again. Kamishammaii, the religious fanatics unleashed by forty years of destructive civil war! Now the survivors of the former Akandin Empire needed to fight an enemy whose numbers they knew not, with weapons they did not expect to use and thus had not properly primed. This was going to be interesting.......

halialkers: (revcekar)
General Stazarzhin was impressed by the new creation of his scientists. He, however, was puzzled by the wishes of his new creation as to how to create a monarchy, to collapse the Diarchy and its inefficient system.

"Great High General, we cannot simply proclaim a new war, even with such a being as me on your side. There is only one of me, and were I to simply use brute force were anything to happen to me things would revert back to what they had been as your weakness in a conventional sense would be transparent for all to see. We have found to our cost that we cannot defeat the Diarchy by means military, not in themselves. That method lies defeat, that you turn to and created me in the first place is an indication of how grave the defeat, how complete the collapse.

To build ourselves a new way, a different way, we must look to the most ancient of methods. Politics. We have seen that tools of war are a source of strength for our enemies, so we must then refuse to meet them where they are strongest. The Idiot retains the position of the Senior Diarch, and it is my belief that were it possible to create the fear of a military overthrow of the Diarchy, rule of the armies, then we can cut off the very strength of the Diarchy from it, and transform its source of its greatest power into the worm that gnaws at its heart.

This will be a less glamorous option and I admit this fully. But if military options fail, that deprives us also of economic ones, as what funds are left us go to maintaining our starships and their ability to bypass the deep abyssal distances of the Void. What we must do, what we can do, is to provide for a means of transforming our very weakness into a source of strength. Let this be our new way, our new path, and our survival is assured."

The resonant and reverberating sound of Kesheli's voice, the oddly metallic overtones of it adding to that impression had a strangely hypnotic effect and the General took some time to gather himself and then to agree. At least for now, he expected, it would be the only real option.

________________

That night Kesheli was to experiment with this incarnate body, and was to discover to her sheer pleasure that she could fly unaided in the sky, in the deep coldness of the upper atmosphere and could do so unharmed. Thus not only did sight see into the very core of reality, the Halls Outside Time where lurked the Twin Creators of whom one was her genetic composite, thus also did she survey the blasted and twisted ruin of what had been a prosperous world on which the Empire had used AIs to provide an industrial labor base. The AIs, lavishly paid, working and enjoying the freedom and prosperity that they had had.

As she landed, she was to find herself facing something strange. A metallic hand extended from a robe, that of the priests of Xiuzarkun, God of Order. The robe itself was a purple color with a gold, tesselated fringe, the face within oval, with glowing eye sensors, the mouth a line upon which glowed the hidden energy of the processor at the heart of the mechanical being. The robe concealed a body with six arms, two more sleeves in the robes hidden, and with two legs backed on four-pronged feet.

The voice spoke "I, Akazun, Priest of Xiuzarkun declare you anathema. You must only and truly die." Then Kesheli, to her curiosity smelt an odor emanating from the outstretched hand, and as the physical body fell unconscious the Mind Outside Time realized that it was a knockout gas. Curiosity strongly gripped Kesheli, she had never considered that machines might worship Gods or even be priests.......
halialkers: Pale woman with red lips licking lips (Anna H'vat Ta'eris)
This is another introductory tale involving the character mentioned in the last characterization entry:

General Stazarzhin* was to be impressed, or so he surmised, with the results of the super-soldier program. The war had ended, he'd had to surrender all conventional means of waging it. He knew this. Metanormality and all that was with it now did exist, and it did alter the face of war more than had ever been predicted. From the Battle of the Army Slain to the surrender of the Monarchists, he'd been living in what he understood was now peace and comfort. Peace and comfort indeed, to trust the mighty legacy of the House of Gor and the House of Underlan to an upstart Major-General whose deformed body annoyed and angered him.

He had heard the whispers of the Architects of Fear and had learned from them of the possibility of dramatically improving on the Omega Program. Remembering how Suvacel, now the dangerous and freed "ally" of the Restorationists had damaged his armies, how Hezhatin and Xaderavcal had, and these were but three projects he needed desperately a means to stalemate them all. Monarchy's triumph could still arise. The problem, though, was that if individuals were able to Scour planets, what could be for them what the plasma gun was for the knife?

Now, arriving at the great fortification that the locals had named Fort Hell, General Stazarzhin was to gaze in curiosity at the Architects, particularly the sinister brother of the Lord Hezhatin who was leader of a prominent agency on the Throneworld. Lord Shanar Hezhatin gazed at him, beaming. The expression on his rugged, fat, jowly face had the disconcerting effect on the general of making him stammer before he said "So it really did work, then?"

"Indeed. And twenty-five years later, let me show you what we have made."

Out of the fortress strode an individual wearing the dress-uniform of the Separatists, a green-gray coat, a pair of trousers, wearing the high boots adopted by Stazharzin for the bipedal species in the army. The figure moved with a military bearing, and seemed older than 25 years. Six eyes gazed, a deep, bottomless green within green within green, not a hint of any other color. A prominent nose and a deep reddish tint, Xeltrigan-like, with hair that seemed to warrant more the term mane than hairdo protruding. The figure resembled nothing so much as the hybrid of Xaderavcal and something else. Looking at her, the former Pretender felt he was seeing nothing so much as the Pan, the All-Things that was within the deepness of Chaos as described by some of the stranger writers produced by the era surrounding the war.

She spoke, in a voice oddly resonant, having the sound of a cannon meeting that of a cymbal: 

"Hail, great Emperor of all the Galaxies. I am Kesheli, whom shall bring to you the ability to meet the fires of Omega with the fires of the Gods, bringing forth the fire of the very deep and ancient places to the ones which have forgotten them. You have skepticism that such a thing is possible, so I shall show you."

Then the long, red fingers, with white, slightly protruding fingernails reached out and stroked the air, which suddenly began to shimmer and the general and his henchmen, and even the Architects to their horror began to clutch their ears, for it was as though reality itself was producing a clammer and a ringing, a perpetual pealing, and the very sky itself that they saw began to warp and to weave, forming a bubbling smear in reality itself, a smear glowing with its own power. Then Kesheli grasped it, and held it in her right hand, moving the left to restore the barrier of realities, and turned turned to the frightened Lord Hezhatin.

"Why so frightened, dear boy? If Masalkri could make them who shatter worlds, then surely going beyond that must be possible. Congratulations, dear Lord, you have succeeeded." And then Kesheli grasped the Bleed and formed it into a weapon, a mace. She smiled and handed it to the general and said "How heavy is it?" 

The general was amazed. "It seems that the hilt of this mace is lighter than the head, though the head is twice the size of the hilt. This does not seem to follow any natural law."

Kesheli's smile was broad and again the sensation that there was something odd about this creature. She then turned to the ruined fortress near them.

"Behold," and they looked for in less than the time it took their nerves to show this she had moved over by the fortress "what the weapon I have made can do with the lightest of touches." A flick of her wrist followed and there was no sound beyond the clink of the metal on the ruined stone and metal fortress. Then a massive eruption and explosion consumed the ruins, an explosion that led all save Kesheli to cover their eyes, and when they opened them, there was blurrines......and there was no fortress, and no mace. Simply Kesheli smiling and saying "Again, congratulations. You have done what you set out to do....."

With those words the general suddenly felt a sharp pang and sensation of fear. If this was to be the plan, then he would need to tread carefully. None knew what the future held, only a sudden sensation of both heady sailing into unknown waters mixed with the fear that beneath the waters lurked a leviathan that would turn and seize them in its jaws. Save Kesheli, who looked at the distant stars orbiting the planet of Metashar V, where a secret meeting of former monarchist leaders met on a world Blazed during the defeat of the war of armies, looked at the stars and while the others were to begin discussing with each other silently and fearfully reached out to the stars, seemingly longingly saying "For you a great future awaits....." 

______________

On the Throneworld Supreme Commander Xaderavcal awoke with a fear she could not explain. A vision, a dream that was more real than any dream yet experienced. A creature like yet unlike her, red-skinned, green-eyed, a hand on her face, almost carressing, garbed in the clothing of the monarchists, saying "For you a great future awaits" with what sounded like longing. She wished this was just the result of a bad meal before sleeping but had the sensation that perhaps this was something more......

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