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So it holds true ever again and again in reality and rhyme, love's ever new as the morning dew, and hate is as old as time-Kirby and Simon, Boy's Ranch

The Lightdancer hovered in the skies over the Fortress of Eternity, watching Vincent calmly sleeping and enjoying this link to his humanity. Nine eyes set in a chalky-white skin turned to the creature on her right, whose olive skin, white hair, and white pupilless eyes in turn turned toward hers.

Your payment, as requested.


Handing her both her original armors, Deborah then smiled and turned to the first of the trophies in her trophy-room,  a gift from the Shadow-woman herself. Namely an image from a past of hers that remained yet in Deborah's own future, a youthful girl of thirteen who was healed in the Fortress from the horrors of a dimension whose very name was unspeakable and given life anew and the vision to transcend limits.

I owe you that I see my nature as a means to transcend boundaries dear kinswoman. You are the woman of tomorrow, beyond humanity altogether. Our dear sibling in the citadel is but all too human, the epitome of human tyranny on a monstrous scale. You give a chance to them who think that they have none, and in your hands is the destiny of mortals to watch the fall of the iron curtain around them, the wall of sleep that permits us to walk among them unknown and unconcealed. I am the great wild card that entrances society as it is yet to be, and you? The woman of tomorrow stands forth to herald the end of one aeon and the rise of a new and a  greater one. Even moreso than Azarath, time has no meaning in the Fortress. Here is a tree whose fruit produces healing for the tears of nations and species that are yet to have been and which are, and which were.

Smiling with a shark's grin, the Shadow-woman clasped Deborah's lower arm as Deborah did likewise.

Farewell, dear kinswoman, and know this: that humanity has found in you that which will be best-remembered. In the darkness of the clouds of smoke that you produce, you have brought liberation, and a new destiny.


The Shadow-woman vanished into a flash of light blue light, and Deborah continued to float, glorying in the new sensations she'd begun to understand at long last. Now, she understood what would become the core of a new and a grand life, waging war against the darkness that infested countless universes to bring forth renewal. Order had found its signal-bearer. Quietly, Deborah landed in the Fortress of Eternity and then looked at the photograph, and found tears coming to her eyes that she could not explain at the pattern of injuries thus seen......

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Chapter XXIV: 

“You are just in these judgments, O Holy One,  you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets,
    and you have given them blood to drink as their due”-Revelation 16:5-6.

The Azar smiled as the combatants landed in the Citadel of the Temple, the Shadow-woman throwing a massive blow into Whateley's face and toppling him even as his brother sought to activate once more his cloak of invisibility and found the attempt unavailing.

Welcome to the Temple Azarath, O Immortals, who now enter into the realm where I live, I the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. I am the one who hung the stars themselves, who separates light from darkness! All shall kneel before me!

Whateley, rising from the thunderous impact of his body on the golden pavement, growled and then unleashed a spell from the Al-Azif, invoking the name of his dreadful father, and was gratified when the egotistical monster before him was blasted heels over head, landing on her face. Then, smiling, Whateley began to launch lightning from his fingers only to see a vast wall of black smoke absorb the lightning and then as the smoke failed the rising and angered face of the Azar absorbing a sudden blow from Deborah's fist that led to her being hurled toward the Whateley brothers, who in the event were smashed together by the impact. Grinning, the Azar then rose and prepared to unleash the Trombone again only for Whateley to grasp her leg and hurl her downward, face impacting her own citadel, causing it to jostle with the impact as the Shadow-woman began to form ribbons of darkness about the vast multi-mouthed egg-like form of the younger Whateley brother. Hundreds of mouths gnashed and spoke rumbling blasphemies in choked-up voices, but found themselves incapable of biting the darkness, which simply seemed to dissolve the teeth that sought to bite into it. As the same corrosive aspect began to work its way into the vast ropes of tentacles, the darkness then pooled on the ground and from it began to form the vast cape of the Shadow-woman and armor of gold emblazoned with a symbol the Azar did not recognize, her skin once more a light olive and her hair white with her eyes white.

The Azar then turned to Wilbur Whateley, gaping in astomishment at what was happening to his brother, and kicked him into the walls of her citadel with a sudden blow that led to him impact with a rubbery bounce that astonished her and led to him moving right back to her and throwing her against her own throne, at which point the right on her ring finger of her left hand glowed and Whateley withdrew his hand, screeching in an inhuman voice of agony. When he withdrew his hands, the Azar then willed that the very Throneroom itself began to assault the Whateley brothers, the younger's body nearly healed altogether from the corrosion-effect that had dissolved the teeth altogether in three dozen of his mouths and now screeching anew as rolling energies began to slice into him. So, too, did Wilbur. Yet both Deborah and the Shadow-woman merely proved to stumble at first and then both turned toward her, eyes unleashing waves of light that arced toward her, slicing into her armor with sufficient power to disorient her and then to halt her unleashing the rippling waves of destruction. Meanwhile, Vincent had quietly anchored his feet into the ground and prepared a specialized type of mortar to unleash a shell that gleamed and held the Azar rapt with fascination and fear, before it landed on her with a glowing brilliance that led all Azarath itself to likewise be veiled in light.

The Whateley brothers yelled now in anger at being blinded, but the Lightdancer then called to the Azar,

"Behold! The form of humanity shall be that which ends this futile struggle! All that you have done, O supposedly omnipotent one, is delay and further enhance the egoes of those beneath us, and all you have done likewise is wear yourself down to a point that you flee once more to this charnelhouse beyond space and time. No more,  O egotistical Godling, shall this be done!"

Azarath itself responded with an unholy dissonant clamor that echoed from all that was or would ever be within it: 

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the greatest who has ever been or will ever be. You speak of humanity? Humanity is but the maggots that swim on Putrescent Filth, we are their superiors, and to them we shall dictate!

Deborah then  smiled and as the Azarath itself began to force an overpowering wave of immense force, called upon her shield and sword. As the immense clouds of the immovable object collided with the unstoppable force, Deborah spoke once more:

"Now we shall see who of us is the greater! Just as we did on that day in the desert!"

With a savage roar, the colliding forces impacted with a wave of force that caused blackness to swallow everyone in the throneroom, all save the Azar vanishing as though they had never been...........

____________________________

Three days later:

The Azar of Azarath awoke and saw that in her Empire all was darkness and remained so. Once more the great immortal warlord felt an unusual feeling that would begin to become a common aspect of her life: fear. Because she knew, instinctively, that all her foes lived. The Whateley Brothers, fortunately, had all memory of their latest quest driven away, yet she, the omniscient center of many universes sought to focus on the Fortress of Eternity, a mere atom in a vast and unrelenting Omniverse, and saw nothing. For the omniscient, to discover that her power had limits made her also begin to long for something she had been told once in a dream was impossible and might even be possible: perhaps the Azar of Azarath could die, and with strange aeons, Igna of Domdaniel could be restored and gain access to all that she had once her body had altered.

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Chapter XXIII: 

The friends I left that parting day, how changed as time has sped! Young childhood grown, strong manhood grey, and half of all are dead-Abraham Lincoln, My Childhood Home I see Again.

Whateley emerged before the city from a miasma of horrid light-green mist that carried with it the chill odors of the crypt, sickening to the point of vomiting those unfortunate enough to catch the full blast
As her foes prepared to continue their fight, the Azar then called forth with her Trombone that sent them all, save Deborah and the Shadow-woman, reeling or disoriented, and then called forth a portal that grasped each of them and hurled them headlong through the disorienting sensations of being bodiless and weightless. In the process, Deborah quietly transformed her frame back into her human form, smiling to herself as she knew the reaction that would ensue when the Azar saw that form once more.

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Chapter XXII: 

Now Nimrod was a mighty hunter, a mighty hunter before Adonai, such that it is said like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before Adonai-Genesis 10:8b-9.

Colonel Jacobs looked up into the sky with astonishment, ducking down back into his Abrams tank. "Uh, guys, we got company. We need to get the Depleted Uranium Rounds in the turrent, now!" As tanks frantically loaded, two civilians looking said, "Look, up in the air! What is that thing? A bird?" 
cut for length and potentially disturbing content )


For fifty years Europe had become an armed camp, and none could say when these bristling armies might erupt in war against each other. The appearance of strange omens did not help matters, entire cities screaming in nightmares of a sinister goat-like entity, an immense metal half-human monster that fired strange energies that seemed to disintegrate whatever they touched, and two armored half-human daemons of eldritch nature falling from the sky in mortal combat, even as the vast goat-thing was thrown from the city across the Dardanelles, into the lands of the Bulgarians in a single strike. Above them, the skies were changing, too. Even in the furthest reaches of the world strange colors streaked through it and marred it, and the winds seemed to whisper with the mocking laughter of descending daemons of elder ages.........
 

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Chapter XXI: 

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did  on the day Jerusalem fell.  "Tear it down,” they cried,  “tear it down to its foundations!”-Psalm 137:7


Wilbur Whateley, intently focused beneath his glamour on deciphering whether or not the text he was looking at on Project Gutenberg was the genuine John Dee translation, modernized, or one of several convenient hoaxes and lesser copies that had appeared, was indeed satiated. He realized this and was awed and troubled alike by the existence of the hidden book, Book IX, which described New Ones That Are And Are Yet To Be. Then, as he saw in awe one text, he realized only in the wake of the devastation of New Brunswick why these words disturbed him so much: 



A drone sent to observe as a vanguard of the soldiers and Marines caught only flashes and tremendous sounds like fists of inhuman nature, two not concealed in any kind of armor, four concealed in armor. The flashes were unidentifiable, the speeds of such tremendous nature and produced such unholy gusts of wind that the drone wound up shorting out relatively swiftly. Yet even as the three entities carried their rolling swathe of destruction through the city and the droning of airplanes and thrumming of helicopters marked the arrival of the first airstrikes, the airplanes suddenly began to careen downward, their electronics shorted by a strange phenomenon briefly marked in unrecoverable radio transmissions.

Above them the skies had begun to change and for a few minutes the Sun was completely darkened as alien stars formed above the Earth, a formation that instilled fear across the planet, awakening the sleeper and terrifying those awakened, some of whose eyes would never see any such thing again, and as the skies changed flashes of glowing energies appeared, flashes that transformed into a figure in greenish armor whose visage was seared into the eyes of mortals, even as the brawling gods in the midst of the city callously walked through a plane falling on them and the clouds of smoke and flame with no ill effect, Whateley's tentacles, as he discovered, displaying an ability to produce a deflector effect he was starting to use with great skill to spread destruction for the fun of it. Looking at the immense cloud of dust and the devastation that was already following in its train and the arrival of the armored division sent to the city, the Azar gazed with serenity and then began to swoop downward......
 

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Chapter XX: 

Doom has come upon you,  upon you who dwell in the land. The time has come! The day is near!  There is panic, not joy, on the mountains
.-Ezekiel 7:7

If Outsider-2, the supposed Lightdancer of the Dreamworld, is accurate in describing that these entities do not age like humans or identifiable life, then these entities have understandings of time that indicate that certain theories that past, present, and future are illusions may in fact be true. In such a case, we must accept, finally, that there is no protection from these entities, and that at any moment cities of millions may be reduced to blood-strewn rubble and millions of people slain without warning without any protection whatsoever. This, above all else, must be concealed as the consequences of panic and avoidable fear would outweigh any potential gain of noting something on this scale could thus repeat itself, in hopes that mass violence of the sort that followed in the last two weeks and led to the first large-scale violation of the Posse Comitatus Act as a last-ditch measure can be restored.

As one last note, the Commission Of Extradimensional Affairs has agreed that the Cult of the Undying Flame must be destroyed at all costs, regardless of First Amendment rights. The concept of humanity serving such a creature as in the green armor, which if the reports of the cult are accurate is indeed the Azar, is one too horrible to contemplate. This last provision will not be declassified for some 100 years after the release of this document.

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Chapter XIX: 

The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?-The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe.

The Monk's brutal voice bayed as he stared into the Lightdancer's twin fingers.

cut for length )

The wait would not be a long one.....

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Chapter XVIII:

Clarke, in the deep folds of dream, was conscious that the path from his father's house had led him into an undiscovered country, and he was wondering at the strangeness of it all, when suddenly, in place of the hum and murmur of the summer, an infinite silence seemed to fall on all things, and the wood was hushed, and for a moment in time he stood face to face there with a presence, that was neither man nor beast, neither the living nor the dead, but all things mingled, the form of all things but devoid of all form. And in that moment, the sacrament of body and soul was dissolved, and a voice seemed to cry "Let us go hence," and then the darkness of darkness beyond the stars, the darkness of everlasting.
-Arthur Machen, The Great God Pan.

The outskirts of the region of Yhoundeh, Hyperborea:

 
 

By the everlasting flame, the undying light that cleanses, the dragon of the Chaotic wastes beyond the wall of sleep around mankind, I call upon the
-then he was silent as a gauntlet seized his throat and held him up before the city, the other gauntlet forming a position where the thumb was across two fingers and two were pointing upward, glowing with an eerie mystical light. Deborah bat Omri spoke:

Do go on, it was just getting interesting........

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Chapter XVII:

Her foes have become her masters;
her enemies are at ease.
-Lamentations 1:5a.

Yolanda Azania stood before the crowd, which was compelled by a Will greater than their own to gaze into her eyes and to hear that increasingly inhuman and resonant voice:
cut for length and gore )

In the Fortress of Eternity, Deborah soon called to herself something like a screen that charted their sister, lying on her throne feverish, blood streaking her face and her dimensions trembling. Then Deborah's nine eyes widened as she saw the Whateley brothers entering a dimensional nexus that would take them to distant times when the works of the Sorcerer Eibon who'd vanished in a long-distant time when a servant to Dark Gods that predated mankind were directly written and formed the basis of early black magic cults. The Shadow-woman nodded and as they prepared to form a portal, Deborah grinned. The future was beginning and it would be a grand and glorious one. The rider had his bow and was moving forth to conquer......

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Chapter XVI: 

The ruined city lies desolate;  the entrance to every house is barred.-Isaiah 24:10


The Nameless City, Yemen:

 


_________________________________________

The city of Beiping, Empire of the Great Ming:

The locals of the city were disturbed at the spectral-seeming entity with hair of straw that strode among them clad in garments of a sheen of blood that glistened in the sunlight, blue eyes casting a balefire glow. Her voice echoed with a thunderous clamor, an echo that hinted of dark power beyond the gates of the world, past the wall of sleep erected around mankind to ensure that no Gods struck with overpowering force and thus none expanded their power in a given dimension from beyond the others:

I am come to light a fire on the Earth, and now it is already kindled among you. The Judgment of the skies above I bring with me, the fires of the everlasting Light from on high I have called to me. Come here you nations to hear and heed you peoples, fire has fallen from Heaven among you, and death rides with me!

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Chapter XV: 

This is the purpose that is loosed upon the Earth, this is the hand that is stretched out on the nations. For Adonai Sabaoth has sworn, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass, and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?-Isaiah 14:26-7.

The Azar swooped down before them and it was purely the product of his mostly-boneless anatomy that Whateley managed to spring up as he did, swinging his massive fist toward her.

_____________________________________________

The Nameless City, Yemen: 

It was the witching hour when two figures appeared in two separate portals outside a strange and forgotten city concealed to less keen eyes by shifting sand dunes more often than not. One, lighter in skin color than the other and with white hair, nodded to the taller being whose keen eyes surveyed the ruins with an engimatic smile as the two walked toward the ruins. Wards suddenly materialized as an ethereal labyrinth. The taller being formed clouds of black smoke and then the wards shivered and with an audible wailing like the cries of the damned vanished into thin air. The two nameless entities then strode forward, calmly, heedless of the growing stormclouds in the distance and the cries of ghouls and monsters.

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Chapter XIV: 

How you are fallen from Heaven, morning-star son of the dawn! How you have been cast to the ground, you who would rule the nations!-Isaiah 14:12.

Wilbur Whateley stood in towering majesty over another city this time. His first attempt to find the Olaus Wormius edition in a Vienna in one world had failed, and this time he had both his brother with him and was prepared to attack no less a city than Rome itself, center of learning in the West.

 

 

The Azar grinned and then launched herself at the invisible monstrosity whose invisibility wavered when the glowing gauntleted fist collided into him, hurling him likewise as far as his brother. The Azar grinned likewise and appeared just as the elder Whateley landed in the southern coast of Africa. As they looked up, they saw her hovering, shield gone, one knee bent, eyes glowing with a terrifying light, cape whipping in the wind, fists clenched and ten suns burning their eyes. The monster laughed, and they heard in the laugh the chilling sound of a figure of immense power, one unfamiliar to them and the more terrifying for carrying with it the fear of the unknown. The Azar swooped down toward them.....

 

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Chapter XIII: 

What shall I give you as a token, as a sign that we have met at last?-Rupert Brooke, The Call.

The gambrel-roofed town of Dunwich had shuddered for years in the wake of certain fantastic events involving the Whateley family. A boy named Wilbur had, or so it was said, proven to be monstrous beyond reckoning and an enormous invisible monster had rampaged through the city, shattering all that it surveyed. Tcut for length )

No, this time we both shall go. A being like this cannot be confronted with lesser means than absolute destruction, and seeking what he seeks is all too likely to make the quests more dangerous.

Deborah then smiled, the Shadow-woman disturbed by how her sister's human glamour worked perfectly where hers did not, and the two disappeared in a strange shimmering set of light blue crackling ripples.

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Chapter XII: 

Nor is it to be thought that man is either the oldest or the last of earth's masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, they walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.-The Dunwich Horror, H.P. Lovecraft. dl

The city of Vienna, were it to be asked about the darkness that fell when the sorcerers dueled and the plains around the city were broken in an otherworldly nightmare, would have attributed it to a prior three nights of dark and blasphemous dreams. A titan haunted their imagination, a demon of a beast with a goatlike face, a massive beard, and vast horns the more horrible for the hints of degenerated human form stretched beyond any logic.

The Citadel of Temple Azarath:

The sulking figure on the Skull Throne had stirred when the darkness first began to gather about Vienna, and then for the first time in some years moved with power and precision upon seeing the goatish colossus rising from decaying forests and trading tremendous blows with her high-born kinswoman. Her cheekless smile grinned with serrated fangs from ear to ear. After countless years of awaiting and rebuilding her strength, here was a first foe suited to her strength, a child of Yog-Sothoth. Songs would be sung of the day when a child of the newest Cosmic Force overthew a son of the eldest one, the Gate and the Key, to whom all space and existence itself were as naught......

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Chapter XI: 
They came from beyond the stars and brought their images with them.-The Call of Cthulhu


Is she all right?

Isabella da Silva nodded to the tall alien with red skin and six black eyes with shale pupils and black irises.

"You did well, Zee."

The alien smiled and then walked off, whistling an elaborate and ornate melody.
 


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Chapter X: 

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
-How Great Thou Art.

The Citadel of Temple Azarath: 

On the Skull Throne a being in a red sari of the sheen of blood hammered into a silken-looking dress heard footsteps that echoed with thunderclaps in the ivory and gold of the citadel. cut for length )The very skies gave tribute to the glory unleashed. Waves of asteroids and countless blasts of gamma rays marked a spiral that grew and erupted with an ever-increasing and unchecked rate of destruction, until the very fabric of existence trembled again as  the shadow witnessed a new portal opening and Something descending from it.....
 
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Chapter IX:

Far away his shape is flying; Still in haze the eyeballs glare;Horses pull us back in motion,Little bell goes din-din-din...I behold a strange commotion:Evil spirits gather in -Sundry, ugly devils, whirlingIn the moonlight's milky haze:-Devils, by Alexander Pushkin

 

The Red Room: 

 

 

I know then what it is that I must do.


 
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Chapter VIII: 

Why do the nations conspire  and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up  and the rulers band together  against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”-Psalm II, 1-3 

The Crystal Sea, Realm of the Triune:


cut for length )

The pain was infinite, and as Xaderavcal struggled against it, a strange darkness entered the room, smothering and ancient and remote, a sensation of unfathomable time beyond time with it. The darkness seemed to embrace her even as it whispered words to her, words of comfort and safety and how in chaos would be deliverance from fear and tyranny and sorrow, and in the future revenge against a tall monster in green armor, a sinister walking abomination of light without shadow.......



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Chapter VII: 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
,-The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats.

 

Five Years Later: 

 

 



A blinding flash of light came and Deborah disappeared.......

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CHAPTER VII: 

I am Ozymandias, King of Kings/Look on my works ye mighty and despair.-Ozymandias, by Percy Shelley
 
Deborah, moving between stars and planets with bemusing speed, saw countless worlds and species that knelt before the Azar, heard the endless praises and mewlings of helpless slaves pleading to the grim and unholy entity that they sought to placate lest she turn and seek to rend her creations and then restore them anew. cut for length )
As she stood and gestured to the portal, the very fabric of Azarath shivered and groaned. Then she vanished through, the Azar standing for hours silently, resentfully gazing at fortifications scarred and in two cases obliterated wholesale into jagged, charred ashes even as the charring and ashes disappeared and the ammunition was renewed and the security protocols around it were recreated. From blasted craters arose anew strongholds. And anger simmered within the heart of the dark god, a heat that the greater with disappointed malice.....
 

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