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CHAPTER XXX: 

The shattered ruins of an ancient Civilization: 

cut for effect  )The haunting understanding that even as countless voices incanted in praise, a voice would be forever whispering, a voice so hauntingly familiar she tried to recall whose voice it was spoke, but even as the recall came the words spoke and the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Force in form like that of a human being felt a chill at the base of her spine that no amount of syncophantic worship from her own creations could assuage:

Memento Mori.
 
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CHAPTER XXIX:

The Universal Emperor's towering bulk awed even the brothers who were some of his most tenacious foes. When he turned to them after his daughter's agonized question and told them: 

cut for length )

With a quiet smile on countless mouths he vanished in a thunderclap of tremendous power that rattled the very foundations of all existence, and the inhabitants of Chang'an awoke as from a nightmare......
 
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CHAPTER XXVIII: 

cut for length )Existence shimmered, rippled, and dissolved and a monstrously sized figure in green descended from the skies, a figure the size of the tallest of all mountains. Many tens of thousands of miles tall and equally wide in proportion, the awe-inspiring force that descended from the skies landed with an impact that crushed the battlefield under his sheer weight, and the surviving inhabitants of the Old World who had not been driven insane by the forces unleashed by the Azar called upon mountains to hide them and valleys to enclose them.

With a tremendous rumbling that was merely his breathing, the Universal Emperor opened countless eyes to gaze upon the world and upon the shocked faces of his daughter, the Dark God whose power had frozen in time, and whose enemies were now suspended in fear at the immense Power manifest before them. Before the tremendous Force that had taken manifestation in its fullest form, they were but ants gnawing on the teeth of a giant. The Universal Emperor then turned to his daughter, countless eyes focusing on her, as she felt even then that the immense power at her disposal was being reversed without so much as a conscious thought, and for the last time in countless millennia to come, the voice of Zazhalanazanai called:

Father, please, save me from that.........thing!

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CHAPTER XXVII: 

The Azar the dawn of the second day of the Battle of Chang'an stood calmly, directing waves of force that literally erased entire armies of the daemons that were starting to move back wherever she advanced with ease. cut for length ). Her only focus as she flew up into the sky, rings sparking, was on the Antigod and Daemon-King who struggled against the devastating fires of Chaos, howling in agony as the energies threatened the very fabrics of their own existence......
 
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CHAPTER XXVI: 
 
Within the mind of Zezhelanzunui, the whimpering voice of Zazhalanzanai, the child of the Universal Empire, fell silent for a times, a time, and a half a time that seemed an eternity for the forces that were to face her.cut for length )
 
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Chapter XXIV:
The Forward Operating Base of the Pandaemonium Armed Forces, the region formerly known as Ctesiphon:
cut for length ) To the inhabitants of the Great Tang state, the wars of monsters and dark gods were fantastic, garbled rumors of demons that strode the earth in armor, and of flashes of light and claps of thunder that were constantly drawing nearer.

Then in the wee small hours of the night, dreams were rent with nightmares of monsters of iron and silver that dyed the Earth in blood.....

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Chapter XXV: 
 
Chang'An: 
 
cut for length )
 Two more nights of nightmares and days of overpowering terror and increasingly visible hints that the visions of the few were to become the harsh truth of the many followed in Chang'An, before the onrushing retreating armies of Pandaemonium began to make contact with their reinforcements. Within the new lines, backed by a new force equal in strength to the full size of the armies thus far destroyed, both sides began to retool and to prepare for a new, great clash of arms.

Yet the thunderclaps that followed in the south, with flashes of light finally fell silent, to what purpose neither the captive humans nor the armies of Azarath nor the forces of Pandaemonium knew. But near the Himalayas, Deborah, Vincent, Zee, and the Shadow-woman were in the midst of her maneuvering between the assaults of Zee and Vincent, diving between and through columns of beam energy when she suddenly broke from the fight and headed north to Chang'an. As the three prepared to follow her, they felt a familiar presence telling them that their tasks had been achieved, and that it was time for them to return to their own time.

___________________________

The Citadel of the Universal Empire:

You have done well, my children, and I am well-pleased with you. The hour of destiny has struck, and now they shall encounter a foe beyond any of them.

He looked at them and they saw in countless eyes and mouths good humor, but with a sense of the magnitude of the decision.

This world has been ravaged sufficiently that when she would be driven off of it, it risks becoming Azarath in spite of all else that has been achieved. And I know now what the Lord of the Timeless Halls wants done with, and to her. And I alone shall go, for even Angra Mainyu and Indra together cannot hold a line against me. I owe it to your sisters to go myself.

They nodded, and then they went off to find the nearest tavern and get drunk out of their minds, trying to put aside all that they had seen and felt in the last few days.....
 
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Chapter XXIII: 
 
 
The outskirts of the Forward Defense Position, Pandaemonium Armed Forces:

cut for length ) The monster within it was no normal child of its kind, but something growing at an unnatural power rate. All of a sudden, Angra Mainyu began to wish he'd taken Indra's advice and sent a force three times as large as the one at his disposal.......

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CHAPTER XXII: 
 
 
cut for length )cut for length )Then, that evening, she arrived with her flagship over her army, which knelt before the Four Riders, honoring her with the ritual incantments to her name:  

I-nishi-Azarath! Zazhalanzanai!

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CHAPTER XX:

The Milan Line: 

As Deborah, Zee, and Vincent awaited the Azar's arrival, Deborah's nine eyes widened.

Oh, dear. That one's patience just ran out.


________________________

The Foscagno Pass:

The Azar hovered into the air, her armies kneeling behind her, incanting her name in a sonorous chorus of adoration and worship. The monster's eyes changed, first glowing a sickly green and then transforming into miniature visions of the night sky. Stars and galaxies moved in their courses as the Azar extended her arms outward, palms upward and open. A second head began to form beside her, bones appearing first, then nerves and blood vessels, muscles knitting upon them. Flesh congealed over it, and then the monster echoed with a resounding howl the antediluvian foghorn that was the herald of the new age of light without shadow. The foghorn echoed for a solid minute, and then the monster's gauntleted hands clenched, ten rings sparking.

A pulse of destructive force followed, the very air shimmering and warping around it, and then moving out in overwhelming power, annihilating everything in its path. As the pulse moved, the monster smiled and then in accordance with her will her army turned east. The Balkans awaited and there a confrontation with the remaining power of what military strength there was in this region. And from there, too, the real war. Pandaemonium. Destiny awaited.

__________________________

The Milan Line:

The annihilating pulse zoomed forward and Deborah formed a blade of mystical energy, jamming it into the ground and focused her Black Smoke around it. An acrid smell arose as with it rose an enormous pillar of cloud, a darkness that did not shimmer or weave so much as dispelled all light around it. The pillar formed an immense column that concealed the three warlords from their enemy, just as the annihilation pulse followed and swooped down toward it. Smiling, Deborah watched as the droning howl of the annihilation pulse fell silent, and the Black Smoke disappeared, the mystical energy-blade itself disappearing leaving only a deep hollow in the ground and the markings of the Universal Empire around it. Deborah turned to Zee and to Vincent:

She wants to fight Pandaemonium. Let them tear each other apart. The presence of that other kinswoman of ours, Zee, is going to be a problem. Between the three of us, we would be able to annihilate both factions and drive them offworld if we could draw them into a conflict. But she, I believe, has a different role to play.

With that, Zee, Deborah, and Vincent placed their hands atop each other and disappeared in a flash.

_____________________________

Tisse, Denmark, high noon the next day:

The priests of Odin and Thor incanted in the name of their Gods, calling upon the power of the Aesir to keep back a flowing darkness that had appeared when shadows were invisible beneath the sun. The darkness that moved was no natural force, more the rolling Void of outer space taking on a manifest form. The appeals and incantations and holding up of the hammers of Thor against the monster seemed to have no effect beyond what might have been read in a pattern of amusement, or contempt if an inanimate monstrosity could be said to have thus acted. But then the darkness rippled and began to fold into itself, the silence that marked the process more strange and disturbing than the process itself.

The darkness rose up briefly, towering over the city with a face the more terrifying for its resemblance to humanity, and congealed into the form of a young woman in reddish leathery tanned armor, the armor emblazoned with a sinister-looking two-headed dragon whose fanged mouths worried at each other's throats. Her armor glistened with a hue almost like blood, the black cape billowing in an unnatural wind resembling very much the darkness that had formed into this entity in a form whose resemblance to humanity was the more disturbing for where it stopped. Pointed ears might have inclined people in Tisse to see her as one of the inhabitants of Alfheim, but the dark brown skin gave her a resemblance to the inhabitants of the great land to the south taken as first slaves and captives and then some of them even akin to the lords of the Danish tribes. But the pure white hair that whipped around in an unnatural wind akin to the cape and the eyes that were white, pure, but showing no sign of blindness, those were not natural. Neither were the clawed edges on the armor that dug into the ground, as the being leaned forward, one hand on the ground, one hand extending outward, one leg drawn toward her, one leg extending outward.

The creature laughed and shouted:

There are no Gods who can contain those of us who are first and the last, the alpha and the omega. We are the masters of the light and the darkness, and in us there is no room for Lords of the Undead who decide in fickle fashion to throw their own followers to the wolves!


Removing her other hand from the ground, the creature hovered in the air, fingers splayed as she prepared to unleash a wave of force sufficient to scour the remaining lands of the Germanic tribes, a demonstration suit-as the thought formed she detected a portal forming near her and twisted, unleashing the wave in the direction of the portal, the ground near it blackening, the grasses browning and crumbling into dust. As the wave launched forward, a sword sparked and an immense column of Black Smoke arose and the wave shimmered and vanished as though it had never been.

As she watched, Deborah stood, extending a gatling-like weapon from her left arm, and opened fire with waves of spiraling acrid energy resembling smoke launching toward her, her voice booming: 

Always inclined to take too long and be too theatrical with the pure-bloods. The opportunity here is greatly appreciated, though.


The energy collided with the Shadow-woman, searing into and scarring her armor, the strength of the repeated impacts casing her to fall to the ground, leaving cracks on the ground where she fell. Deborah then strode toward her, Vincent guarding her right flank, Zee her left. As the Shadow-woman snarled and rose from the ground, she then extended one hand, fingers splayed, speaking a word of the tongue of Azarath as Zee countered by preparing a shield that rose up from the ground, the ground erupting into columns of light that crackled and seared toward the Shadow-woman, who disappeared into darkness and reformed from that immense column in the sky.

As she looked down, the Shadow-woman then pulled out from thin air her favorite sidearm, the immense autocannon seeming unnaturally large next to the form of someone who resembled a lithe teenager, but in her arms light as a feather.

Now, dear kin, bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh, behold the death that comes as a thief in the night!

The Avenger howled its fury downward as Zee formed a shield of the Omega Program's energy and blinked two eyes imperceptibly toward Deborah's own bi-location, even then moving upward to face the Shadow-woman as the great weapon in her hands began to crater the ground, transforming the Danish landscape to something that resembled the moon, each impact jarring bones with a tremendous seismic force. In the midst of it all, the Shadow-woman's laughter echoed with a resonance more than merely human........

_____________________________________

Ctesiphon, Forward Operating Base, Pandaemonium High Command: 

Great King, Lord of the Black Throne, the monster's taken the bait. Even now she advances to our forward line near Split. She expects there to meet merely the armies of the Caesars of Rome. We are prepared.

The Morningstar's immense face was marked by a fanged grin.

She's brought the Immortals. You were right, master. This is the beginning. I already know every clash, every blow that is to come, I see it. And it is glorious.............

Angra Mainyu smiled, and nodded.

Go now and command this first line. The war has come. And if a few million talking monkeys perish for the prize of the great glory of our realms, so be it.
 

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CHAPTER XIX:

The Citadel of the Temple of Azarath:

A monster on a great golden throne clad in garments of a dark reddish hue, the sheen of blood transformed into woven cloth, gazed downward at a spreading pool of darkness that had manifested from one of the side-halls of the Citadel and moved with a deliberate pace. cut for length ) the Azar standing amidst craters and the ruins of a second defensive line, before leading her armies, still moving over the skies, amidst a blasted and cratered landscape. Immense clouds of dust were already darkening the sky, and the Azar simply moved on with more determination. She smiled. After all, her enemies were unwilling to fight......

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CHAPTER XVIII:

The Foscagno Pass:
cut for length and graphic violence )

Then she turned the axe to the first defense line and a glowing crackling bolt of sickly-green light arced out in a duo of immense parabolas for the outer firebays, roaring in a bellowing sound that was less a normal sound and more the howling call of an angry dimensional nexus itself.

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CHAPTER XVII:
 
The Citadel of the Universal Empire:

Zazhalanzanai looked on in awe at the figure who spoke to her: 
cut for length )



Then she raised the axe and the Trombone of Death sounded, echoing through a silent and increasingly peaceful world where all was serene and silent.....
 

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CHAPTER XVI:

Classified Level-NOEXTRDIM NOFORN

Imperial Eyes and Ears Assessment, Universal Empire:

         Case Designate: Coman, High Magistrate of Azarath/the Monk/The Skullsplitter/the Dark God

First Reported Sighting:
 
While the Immortals have conclusively been proven to date to a Ceremony of Transformation in the area in the home timeline of Zazhalanzanai once ruled by a local monarchy, the specific origin of the most dangerous of the Immortals, a demonic champion of the Outer Darkness, has to this point been disputed due to the belief that it was not until the erection of the Citadel of Shutak in the ashes of another dimension that the Monk formally came into existence. Instead, exhaustive investigation by then-lieutenant Tahalavataru and then-Master Sergeant Nezshulhavakru has proven the alternative theory that in a cataclysmic incident near Toul recounted here in the local mythological tale known to the impoverished survivors and recorded in the dialect of the Nahua-speaking League of the Three Rivers: 

The darkness came upon us from the south, emerging from the Pyrenees in a great whirling cloud of smoke where a strange fire was at its core. The darkness was in a form of great birds which wore the form of men, azure in hue and clad in a strange shell like that of a turtle. Their eyes were fire and their voice was the howling gale. The great birds were shelled such that even their faces were invisible, though the eyes of flame were like and yet unlike those of men. Brave heroes who worshiped the Christ strode forth to combat them, sevenscore and five. The darkness appeared in turn as the sands of the seashore, moving feet above the land.

Among them there was one great, as a mountain with his head above the clouds, a being less a bird of the air and the Roc of myth, the great monster of the skies before whom all else quailed. Thrice he assailed us with words, insulting the power of the Christ, proclaiming that to save the cowards of the race of men from themselves he would permit our armies to assail him alone. Thrice did he damn our gods and insult our faith, his voice echoing like thunder in a sky grown dark in the light of day. As one, we assailed him sevenscore and five, and of us he allowed two to tell the tale, one blinded and one left with one eye to guide the other home.

As he stood tall and majestic among all the others, he spoke of a great God he followed, who split the Earth and who made anew the skies and the wind, and his body called to mind the Tonsured who were once the great ones who were closest to the Christ in the old times before the sorcerers came across the waters. It is from this that he developed the name of the Monk, though his clothing was as a shell as all the others, and his eyes burned with a savage flame that was beyond the ability of eyes to take. And it is in this sense that the once-venerable term of Monk became choked with horror and those cloistered now term themselves Acolytes, for they fear that to use this word openly would be blasphemy the Dark God would punish anew by forming of his enemies a great chariot that seemed to move of its own volition and release strange fire and smoke that scared our horses into fright.

_____________________________

Insofar as Imperial Intelligence has managed to decipher, due to the appearance of the High Priest Not to Be Described in the time-warped encounter enclosed within the descriptive file The Flame Imperishable, Coman was unleashed indeed for the first time in a battle alternately called Tours or the Loire. The legend records accurately that the first of the Immortals appeared in a modified form of something resembling the plate armor worn by some human caste-fighters in the futures of this region, wearing their typical blue cloak with a hood that resembles certain type of flying animals native to the planet Vishelniri. The Vishelniriku came against him and his army, which at first numbered an even hundred thousands, and he chose to step before them and spoke to his army that the fear of the newborn God they served would be the greater enhanced by a single Immortal falling upon his enemies and scattering them to the wind.

Instead of deliberately insulting the local Vishelniriku cult, he simply ignored the open prayers of priests of that cult  and marched forward against his targets, casting an act of Dark Magic that refashioned his enemies in a sub-molecular sense into an armored vehicle of a size too immense to be propelled by any conventional engine known to physics. This was the first appearance of the now-familiar Colossus-class armored reconaissance vehicle that serves as Shutaki standard equipment. For locals used to a kind of war intensely reliant on close-in-fighting and maneuver by means of domesticated local wildlife, the appearance induced severe panic, not least in the two survivors who babbled to all who would hear of strange demons that rode to war in a chariot of iron that spat flame. For this heresy, a local priest of the local cult blinded one and left one with one eye, but news came that the towns in the southern region of the local river had likewise been refashioned by Coman in a suitable demonstration of his full power.

Thus the first one hundred thousand immortals arrived in a force of three dozen armored vehicles near the Seine, where a hastily-gathered mass levy of forces personally commanded by a local warlord named Carolus was massacred in a brief exchange of singularity wave fire, and the local empire collapsed. It is here that Coman first entered a trans-dimensional nexus when he used the power bestowed to him by the Shuzan to found the palace of Bhikku, using in the first instance a language of another religion's monks, co-opted by the Shuzan as one of two bases for the pidgin tongue that some timelines mislabel Azarathi, and in practical terms should be seen as an overly elaborate criminal argot.

The creation of the Bhikku Fortress marks the formal start of the subject of the next phase of this document, the incident termed by the locals the War of Darkness where a Pandaemonium Joint Task Force and the infant Immortals of Shutak engaged in a colossal war of conquest that ended in the first instance in centuries where the Great Lord on the Cosmic Throne stepped into the affairs of mortals when the war reached its final stage in a place known as Chang'an.

It is, however, clear that the creation of this fortress indicates that the information provided in the Time-Warp caused by the High Priest Not to be Described was indeed accurate and that the Shuzan is the origin of the Chaos-Force of Destruction in the current Cycle. If so, this means that there is a need to reappraise strategic zones and to begin searches for any potential manifestations of the Old Ones, who would offer wild cards that would affect our need for accurate Information-Gathering. By all indications the Universal Empire stands at a strategic crossroads, as while our military effectiveness knows no equal, the emergence of both forms of Destruction at present necessitates the development of Counter-Chaos Forces a generation earlier than was previously held to be the case.

It is the considered opinion of the Imperial Eyes and Ears that Lieutenant Bat Omri shows promise in the long term as the Co-Ordinator of Counter-Destruction Operations, and we recommend that the Highest Authorities incline to increasing both her training and the amount of firepower at her disposal.

This document noted by the Imperial Eyes and Ears, to be submitted to the Universal Emperor as of completion in transcription.
 

 

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CHAPTER XV:

Kalakmul, Yucatan Peninsula:

As the Azar swept down like a wolf upon the fold, warhammer moving at blinding speed in an intended-to-be-fatal arc, Angra Mainyu's four eyes blazed with a blinding flash of light as four beams and the cumulative impact blasted the Azar on her back, the explosion crumbling those stones just outside the blast zone and altogether disintegrating those within. cut for violence and gore )

I-nishi-Azarath! Zazhalazanai!


As one the Immortals echoed the shout, and the look on the monster's face was beatific. The war for the Afro-Eurasian supercontinent had begun.

halialkers: Eternity, night sky in form of person (Ekshani Maugrin)
CHAPTER XIV:
 

The voice spoke in a sound that ear, mind, and soul each alike heard to the uttermost fabric of their being.

cut for length )

I understand that you, Zazhalanzanai, have a desire to be freed of the future that awaits you, to become a living virus in all of civilization in itself, and the fountainhead of all Cosmic Chaos? 

Yes.

Then let me show you what would be if your father's future mercy would be denied you.......


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Chapter XIII: 
 
For one of two last times on the Earth of her birth, Igna, child of the Universal Emperor, awoke in the body of the Azar.

Howling in pity once more, knowing that her Gods had granted her survival, she begged for death. She asked that immortality, the gift of her high-born kin from the stars, be removed that she no longer know of the misery and horrors unleashed in madness. cut for spoilers )
Yes, my child? 

She then knelt before him and whispered in a voice barely audible: 

What's wrong with me? Why am I becoming.......that thing? 


halialkers: Eternity, night sky in form of person (Ekshani Maugrin)

Chapter XII:

So was it to be said that in the chronicles of Azarath, the Ancient Ones, the firstborn of the Army, had indeed surged forth at the call of their Undying Flame and that arising of their splendor was like the armies of the Gods of Asgard and Olympus of Old. cut for length )

______________________________________

Paris, France:

Zee, consulting a Time-Oracle of the Universal Empire's armory, beheld these things and calmly completed the full refastening of her armor. Before she had been armored merely to contain the Azar, but now she would handle armies. Fair enough, and it would be poetic justice indeed to devour the children of the newborn monster of the Golden Realm with a device of that own monstrosity's fashionings.

Zee, pressing her feet together and moving her hands such that her outermost fingers extended, her thumb and her three inner fingers pressed together, and her eyes closed began to call upon that very Dread influence, now enhanced by the Fountain of their mutual homeworld. Everything changed, and the world became clearer as an odd wind howled to the west and a strange cloud seemed to rise from the East, a pillar of fire by day and a smoldering, sickly glowing column of smoke by night.......



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Chapter XI:

cut for length )


So was it that the Azar spoke for the first time properly in her own voice, and the world trembled:

Light has been separated from the darkness, fire has been lit upon the Earth and it is kindled. I am the firstborn of a new creation, the visible image of the invisible. Eldest and fatherless, before the suns were kindled and sky was dark and light dawned on countless worlds. How fitting, that in a city named by a conqueror of a new faith, I should lay low the proud and give voices to the humble.

Twin stars gleamed and the inhabitants of Constantinople remained within their houses, as the strange voice spoke not to their ears but to their very souls:

Whatever the outcome of the battle within the city, war has begun, on a great and a grand scale. My armies are formed, and I give them the signal now to march into Gaul, and then into Germania, then into Italy, then into the Balkans, then into the wilderness of the jungle country in the north and then finally into the Center of the East. Then, as my empire grows, the South, the Southeast, and the West shall fall as well. All under Heaven shall know one law, and every knee shall bow, each tongue confess that the glory of the Azar is before them and that in the eternal Flame that burns within me, they find solace.


Then the Trombone Sounded again, and in the ruins of the Pyrenees a marching army silently clad in blue plate armor, on each armor emblazoned a lighter blue dragon with two heads, one of which gnawed the throat of the other and worried it like a hound on a bone began to move. Often they marched silently, but at times their voices echoed in unity in a hollow and emotionless sound: 

I-nishi-Azarath! Zazhalanzanai! 

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