halialkers: (Default)
It's time to introduce the Omniverse Tales that will be succeeding it:

Lightdancer: The year is 1492. A young woman among the Sephardim, Isabella da Silva, of a family reputed to have tremendous power in the mystic arts vanishes under strange circumstances in the capital of the new Sultanate of the House of Osman, circumstances reputedly enshrouded in magic and in contacts with elder beings from beyond the stars. Then rumors come about her daughter, Deborah da Silva, whose chalky-white skin, unusual height and bulk, and nine golden eyes lead to rumors that the family was cursed. Yet when destiny beckons and a dark god descends from beyond the stars to take the youthful Lightdancer to the dark realm of Azarath lit everlasting light and in a false tranquility, Deborah shall find that the Omniverse always needs a hero, and that even in the most vile darkness a candlelight can dispel the utter gloom of the Void.

The Shadow on the Moon At Night: Karlee Meir, citizen of the multiversal and pacific realm of Azarath where all is at eternal peace knows only that her adoptive mother, Zezhelanzunui, the Azar herself, is deeply concerned about her exploring certain events said to have occurred in the city of her birth. As Karlee gradually begins to grasp the nature of a strangeness within herself, strange aeons begin to fall when even death shall die, and elder gods shall begin to walk among men, and the shadowless light of the Otherworldly forces themselves shall darken for the first time. Into every day, a night must come. Woe to the inhabitants of the Earths and of the Seas, for in the dawn of a new age of shadows familiar truths held self-evident shall be shaken.
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To be specific an excerpt from the Book of Azar, which describes the official legends of the founding of the Citadel at the center of the Throneworld of the Azarathi Empire, a world known as the Temple Azarath in some worlds:
"To those of us in the infinite existence that unifies all life is it given to unite a society forged in triumph and in sorrow, in joy and in suffering. Peace shall dawn, a peace where all avarice and greed and malice is ended. Put aside wrath, ruin, and hatred. Unite in the knowledge that One shalll create a new realm. One Law, One Ruler, One People, One State. Fire shall blaze undimmed by sorrow and light shall gaze unblurred by tears. I have come to light a fire on the earth, and now I kindle it from the smallest of sparks. From those small sparks shall blaze a light brighter than the brightest of Suns, eliminating shadow and dimmed space, providing no refuge for Sin and for Malice. A true light, the Outer Light that wars with Outer Darkness and annihilates it. I promise you that in saying these things I do so as a star of the morning, to herald a new world that shall be.

I ask only this, that you pledge a simple token and repeat after me these words: "All Hail Azarath! Zazhalanzanai!"

-The Azar of Azarath in the Book of Azar's tale of the Founding of the Citadel of Temple Azarath.

halialkers: Anzaea in brighter colors, blotches orange mouth, diagonal right arm/thumb, semicircle left arm (Anzaea)
In working on my Omniverse Tales and the Omniverse DCU, I've run into a fundamental irony that brings the Tales full-circle. Raven, daughter of Trigon, Azar of Azarath, and that whole interrelated storyline are essential aspects of the DCU in the Omniverse, but that entire set of Tales originated as an attempt to deconstruct Raven's storyline in the first place that in Tolkien's phrase grew in the telling. A major decision I've made is integrate in the DCU's multiverse so both variants of Raven, the comics-inspired and cartoon-inspired variants, are around. In the DCU Trigon is noted as having hundreds of potential children running around with only one born alive. In this case the Omniverse variant of Teen Titans/DCAU Raven is that she happens to Sin, daughter of Angra Mainyu, lord of Pandaemonium, who botched an attempt to kill Mainyu and is cursed to become the Gem and to live in Azarath in her father's vindictiveness.

But the in the actual Omniverse equivalent of the "main" DCU is based on *New* Teen Titans Raven, i.e. the Wolfman-Perez version of the 1980s. This one provides a textbook example (and an inverse version of what happened to the character after a particular point and infamous storyline) that bloodline is not destiny, and that evil parents can and do produce good children. In this variation, I intend both Trigon/Satan/Mainyu and Arella to interact with the Titans and Raven herself, albeit in this case as Azarath is the proto-Hell, it takes Raven, who in a direct homage to her NTT-era portrayal is almost painfully naive, a very long time to realize that Azar of Azarath is a fiendish creature who raised her as she did to deliberately set her up to fail in terms of her demonic parentage. But she realizes this and in a demonstration of that naivete heads into Azarath to confront the Azar who gives her an ugly little Hannibal Lecture, and then decides to demonstrate to her the power of a truly Godlike entity with no restraints by inviting Arella to not only enjoy free will and to strike her down with all her hatred. Arella inflicts on the Azar a truly brutal and humiliating beatdown which sets up the future of Azarath and points out a weakness in the system, yet after this Raven, again reflecting the NTT-era's pacifism chooses to go with her mother to her ranch and leave superheroing behind forever, not so much Achilles in his tent as a realization of how warped her earlier years actually had been and an attempt to live a normal life, where she becomes an advisor-figure of sorts.

Superheroing being what it is, the attempt to retire and use her healing powers to be essentially a medic and working out her past with her mother of course does not last, but the Omniverse being what it is, the trigger for the return is an unexpected one: her parallel Sin arrives in her Earth and begins to wreak the familiar pattern of murderous havoc characterizing that of an awakened Antichrist, and Raven has to resume her superhero guise to defeat her seemingly more powerful parallel.

However with the Omniverse Tales originating as a deconstruction of Raven and turning from there to a universe which takes great pleasure in using averting and subverting tropes more than playing them straight, it's only suitable to have not only Kal-El of Krypton (subject of the next Omniverse Tales profile and then Raven herself and Arella and the like upcoming after that) played straight in reconstruction style, but to have Raven herself be the same. What better way to adhere to the spirit of a deconstructor fleet that originates with a character than to subvert deconstructing certain icons and to play them fully straight as idealistic and positive, uplifting regular ol' heroes? 

The same holds true for the other members of the Justice League and the New Teen Titans as well.

halialkers: Self-portrait, right side of my face. Best drawing of me yet! (Vishori)
In some of the stories involving Zazhalanzanai/Yolanda Azania/Helen Vaughn (which she does use as an alias), she appears in both partial and full armor wearing massively oversized gauntlets. These represent further amplifications of the type of sorcery seen in the Azar's Rings of Power, but in a strategic/logistical sense over the tactical purpose served by the Rings of Azar. *Those* Rings amplify the Azar's power in a means to be used purely to attack and to direct attacks at others. It amplifies but has no storage or containment abilities, this is purely meant to be hurled and thrown at others. These weapons channel the Shuzan's power into a fashion where it can be stored and drawn upon, and where the very concentrations themselves are far deeper and more thorough than in the rings.

They're not purposeless armor, in other words, but very purpose*ful* armor. These weapons, as strategic mystical weaponry, serve the purpose of ensuring the Azar first and foremost calls upon a greater power in weaponry than had traditionally been so, and second that the Azar's power becomes a kind of feedback loop. This reflects the military dichotomy between the purely tactical (flashy and unable to strike deeply) and the strategic (more powerful but requiring a longer preparation, albeit fully able to strike in depth). A consequence of the Azar's dissipation of her power into her universe is that despite being very much more ancient than both the Shadow-woman and Deborah in terms of years and theoretically stronger than both, she's in practical terms weaker than them both and knows it because having dissipated that power she cannot hold too much of it or it overwhelms her.

In a sense this is a full reflection of the inspiration of the Azar in terms of the Azar being Morgoth: by nature greater than her enemies, she falls through cruelty and the desire to be the sole and only object of worship into the blackest and vilest of crimes. As with Morgoth a great and a powerful being falls into wanton cruelty and savage malice, and in the process takes the lonely path into destruction from pure willfulness.
halialkers: Self-portrait, right side of my face. Best drawing of me yet! (Vishori)
The most direct inspiration for these rings is the DCU Rings of Azar, wielded by the namesake of this fictional Azar whose sole resemblance to the DCU version is in this one name (the actual name more often gone by is the Shuzan of Shu-Tak). This reflects to a real extent the inspiration also of Tolkien, namely in that these Rings of Power (sometimes referred to by euphemism as this term) appear at least initially as simple golden bands (reflecting the tendency of Omniverse magic to rely on the obvious and the not-so-glamorous as a means of self-preservation and survival).

That is where the differences end from a storytelling and conceptual point (and it's worth reflecting that Tolkien's Ring drew quite a bit of inspiration from the Ring of Gyges and the Ring of Fafnir in the Nibelungenlied, as well as being an Asspull to eke out a sequel to the Hobbit within Tolkien's existing universe). The Rings of Azar serve a very different purpose in the Omniverse. They serve as amplifiers for the existing power of the Azar, enabling her to draw upon that Power without having to resort to the cruder method of deliberately sacrificing her servants for quick-term power boosts (which isn't, strictly speaking, an equivalent exchange, it's more the flip-side of being a villain inspired by Morgoth instead of Sauron, in that this Eldritch Abomination is able to reverse diffusion of its power to concentrate it with very lethal effects and then to restore the diffusion to prevent oversaturation). The result is that these are essentially WMDs that aren't strictly magical or scientific, instead representing a principle of concentrating the dread power of the Shuzan into the Rings, but doing so via a means that commands power derived from entire universes held in mindless thrall.

The crucial element that also differentiates these from Tolkien's Rings of Power is that it's not a weapon anyone can pick up and use, in contrast to Tolkien's Rings where at least the One tempted everyone in the books. If a regular mortal of any species, human, Humanoid Alien, Elf, whatever tries to use without inherent magical abilities the attempt disintegrates them to the subatomic level and doesn't even attract the attention of the Ring, though the attempt would start drawing the Shuzan's attention. If a mortal of say, Thing or the various High Elves of Tolkien's world, as well as the Captain Marvel-level superheroes tried, the same result happens over a slightly longer timeframe.

If the Hulk, Thor, Odin, Superman, or the various reality warpers of comics and like universes, including Haruhi Suzumiya tried, only the extreme ends of such beings like the Endless, Haruhi Suzumiya, the Living Tribunal, or the Cenobites would be able to tap into such a thing. And for them the result *still* ends up disastrous unless they're creatures like Dread Dormammu or the Endless who rule entire realms and as such are accustomed to the kind of power in the Rings. *They* can tap into them as weapons, and use them with devastating effect relying on amplifying their own powers, but too much of that draws the attention of the Shuzan, in whose presence the Ring stops working for them as she includes a power-nullifier so her own weapons cannot harm her.

The Rings also are tricky things in that while ordinary humans *can* activate the power by reading the inscriptions on there (as the inscriptions are in a human language, a Conlang combining Medieval Latin and Pali), they have no means to control the effects. The Rings don't have wills of their own, but if activated in this fashion can induce a low-level reality warp affecting anything in their immediate environs. Altogether very nasty weapons, and an attempt at a new take on the Ring of Power concept, part of a broader series of weapons that include other forms and aspects (as well as reflecting an aspect that differentiates Zazhalanzanai from Melkor the Morgoth Bauglir as a villainous creature).
halialkers: (Default)
As the world, so soon after the devastating bloodbath of WWI, starts to careen into the darkness of a new great war, there are other alien discoveries yet to be known. Of these the first and the most devastating in its power, outmatching anything else bar Jay Garrick's first experiments into the otherworldly dimension known as the Speed Force, is the thing known as the Green Lantern Ring. Discovered when it fell through a rip in space-time from the eerie planet of Oa by a man named Alan Scott, the Ring is able to do anything it wants, limited only by the willpower of its wielder. And Alan Scott, a devout follower of of his own moral code, is just such a man to wield the weapon.

Yet against a man who can do anything, it is only suited that his most dangerous nemesis should be the iron and implacable zombie known as Solomon Grundy. Unknown to the inhabitants of a world still yet from plumbing the true depths of the Fantastic, Grundy is the first contact with a new and terrible world, the brilliant and sordid otherworldly realm of Shutak, the Azar-ath. Grundy, a man who died and wound up in a brilliant world of ivory and gold, with streets of brilliant blue crystal, a world where he encountered a figure in a blue robe, hood, and cloak. From this died a man whose true name was henceforth forgotten. Awakening the next Monday, a full moon, Grundy's first memory was his favorite nursery rhyme, Solomon Grundy born on a Monday, and hence he was born anew. Grundy is now immensely taller than most men, immensely more muscular (though in his case it's more overlain with a layer of fat that gives Grundy a deceptively soft look), and his strength grows the greater the angrier he gets, as anger enables Grundy to tap into the otherworldly realm of Azarath, yet as Grundy is undead, injuries that would annihilate anything less are shrugged off without the least concern. Grundy, moreover, through his contacts with the Otherworldly Realm seeks an object whose nature is almost obscure save to the malevolent Dr. Mabuse, a simple golden Ring that fell with the Oan ring through the portal, and if Grundy should find the Ring then even the willpower of the Puny Green Man will be as nothing to him.

Grundy has only one not-so-minor issue to face with securing the Ring of Azar.......it is located in the alien and militantly pagan Kingdom of Themyscira, whose magitek civilization, fearing that the monster in the realm of Ivory and Gold will want its Ring back is constructing its own golem, empowered with the will of all the Greek Gods, to represent Themyscira itself and ultimately the power and might of women as a whole, reflecting the alien nature of Themyscira, an island without men rumored to be the long-lost Land of the Immortals.......

halialkers: Alucard with smoking pistol, brunette man with red hat, red cloak, red tie, moving gif (Nova)
Or Part II: This Time It's Description of a Premise.

Imagine a world that was without form and void, an emptiness and depth in a space without life. Enter a figure who separates the light from the darkness, and calls it good. Imagine a figure that brings for life in a human and an animal sense, and calls it good. This figure is all-powerful, able to direct things from the levels of planets and stars, to the sub-atomic level with impunity. This figure is all-present even as its main power is concentrated into a single locus. Anywhere and anything in this dimension, so is that creature there. This creature likewise is outside time and space as they are traditionally understood. Past, present, and future intertwine and mix in a single vision of what is, what was, what will be, all in one and one in all. Likewise, imagine this creature as all-knowing, not a sparrow falls in this dimension without its knowledge, not a quark or muon dares move from its assigned probability.

This creature also assigns rules it makes and allows people to break for the purpose of punishing them as a means of showing its own power, majesty, and glory.

If this sounds like the Christian God, there's a reason for that: Azar of Azarath/Zazhalanzanai/Shuzan of Shutak just so happens to be an evil equivalent of the Christian God in a dimension where all those abilities are exercised on a daily pattern, a dimension that is evolving into a prototype of Hell. Azar transformed Azarath from a wasteland into a central Warp in space, where the Otherworldly and the this-worldly merge, and with each conquest Azarathification transforms all its inhabitants into the mindless drones of the all-powerful Azar of Azarath. In this sense you might say also that Azar is a modern equivalent to Tolkien's Morgoth: everything in Azarath is the Taint of Azar, there is no artifact of it that can be de-Azared.

At least a part of this is to illustrate the nightmarish potential evident in the concept of God, as well as an attempt to do something akin to the original spirit of Tolkien's Morgoth, who made all of Middle-Earth his version of the Ring of Power.
halialkers: Victor in semi-profile position, civilian mode. (Victor)
The Zazhal would be born to a Jewish family in what was then the Kingdom of the Visigoths, during the invasion of Jibr al-Tariq culminating in the rise of Al-Andalus. Her father, the Universal Emperor, departed to wage war on a group of raiders attacking his empire but after his departure the Zazhal would find herself able to do strange things. Read minds, transform the dead into the truly living, not the undead. The ability to create and play with light, shadow, and even lightning. The power to fly, strength very far beyond that of any human being, the ability to control the will of others and to make them her own, even to change gender and species.

These abilities won her the reputation among the Christians as a witch, the Jews and Muslims both rejected this as impossible. Until one day when the Zazhal was attacked by a tough from one of the local taverns and her powers disintegrated him, and the Christians organized a mob to attack her. The Muslim governor stepped in to prevent a lynching until the Zazhal spoke and declared herself "I am Pan....." and using all of her powers she destroyed and annihilated the mob, and found herself summoning a portal to some distant, other world.

Entering an otherworldly realm she found it barren, desolate. The inhabitants unknown to her had destroyed themselves and done so in the equivalent of a total atomic war. Her power to build, to make, to create began to surge and she gazed fascinated as rubble receded and gold and ivory, symbols of wealth at home in the realm of what was once the Kingdom of Visigothia began to grow apace. In a century's time from careful and deliberate use of powers the Zazhalanzanai became an Eldritch Abomination that was indeed Pan, All. Then entered into Azarath, as she'd decided to call this world from a deliberate nonsense word a man of wealth and taste, garbed in white. The Zazhal was seduced by the creature who revealed himself to be the Angra Mainyu, whereupon she promised him solemnly to give him of her flesh and her blood. Mainyu accepted, knowing that no matter how this would be forestalled *her* flesh and *her* blood would mean that it would be his own captive Cosmic Horror in the cosmic scale.

The fear from this and from discovery of the Universal King led to the Zazhal building the multiversal Empire of Azarath, built around a powerful nobility and a military armed with stolen and reverse-engineered weaponry from the Universal Empire. Upon the Throne of Gold sits the Azar, watching and waiting, and knowing that her rise would be no less certain unforeknown, after all the creature that would hold her captive has a mole in his highest of high command.........

Edit-Just as Shadow-woman and Deborah are different permutations of Raven, so Zazhalanzanai is a twisted and malevolent version of http://www.comicvine.com/azar/29-66583/ who is becoming a Cosmic Evil in her own right and seeks to eliminate the Mainyu not as a force for good opposed to evil but as an intended first step to replacing Mainyu.........


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