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Chapter One: 
For the soul of the devil bought hastens not from its charnel clay but fattens and instructs the very worm that gnaws, until out of such corruption horrid life springs.-Abdul Hazred, Al-Azif
cut for potential triggers )
We screamed and a sense of weightlessness overcame us. We awoke in the iron citadel of Pandaemonium, seeing before us the awed and angered face of a monster clad in dark armor with four glowing yellow eyes and a snarling bestial face, complete with gigantic curved horns like those of a ram. He looked at Rachel and said: 

So you were sent home by her, then? Child of my heritage you may be but you are no spawn of my thought.

He then grinned at both of us in a fashion horribly reminiscent of her.

But now you shall learn the kind of things of which I am capable, especially when my foes deliver into my hands two such lovely pawns.

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 I learned from my first adventures my own fate, and my own destiny. I was given the strange gift that more than others of higher spheres, I was master of my fate, and captain of my soul, able to steer Fate into directions that I wished. I was a voice that could call from the darkness with mockery and horror, and I was a being that could embody the splendor of something more than human, a voice from outer spheres that flew with agility greater than the birds of the air. 

This I pondered in the ruins of the Gotham where I was born, where the city was slowly recovering from the Azar's massacre. I sat on the roof, blending in with the shadows, only two white eyes gleaming in the darkness and a hint of fanged teeth where I willed the light to catch them. Here I could not go home again, for what home there was had been taken in bloodshed and death, and to reclaim it from the grave offered too much risk, at least as I was then. So I remained, sitting in the shadows, wondering what could have been and how having the freedom to choose meant I would secure better options than what had gone before. 

Then, looking to the sky and the light of the moon, I stood up and hovered, going to the derelict and rotting hospital where I'd been born. 

Out of the nothingness of sleep, the slow dreams of eternity,
there was a thunder on the deep, I came because you called to me. 

I broke the night's primeval bars, I dared the old abysmal curse,
I flashed through ranks of frightened stars, suddenly on the universe! 

Eternal silences were broken, Hell become Heaven as I passed. 
What shall I give you as a token, a sign that we have met at last? 

For there lay my mother's body, unburied and unmourned, victim to the unhallowed evils of circumstance. 

I would break and forge the stars anew, shatter the Heavens with a song. 
Immortal in my love for you, for I love you very strong. 

Gathering to me the remnants of the woman who bore me and brought me into this world, I levitated them behind me, and then forming a shovel, I dug a grave and placed her in it. Using my abilities further to form a headstone in the old Gotham cemetery, I wrote on it: 

Susan Meir, 1938-51

Love is the greatest gift that can be given. 

And for a time, a times, and half  a time I stayed and mourned, grief coming freely, as omniscience showed me her life. And I vowed then that even if power be asserted from hellish realms beyond the Veil to act upon me and through me, I would honor as a goal, even if fumbling in the attempt, one who chose to defy a God and made the God bleed, and in so doing created an image to live up to in a vast and pitiless omniverse where all that is is subject to cruelty beyond the wildest dreams of mortals. 

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 Chapter XX: 

That day, I learned from the Hammer of Doom the past that she went through. I did not hear, then, the voice of the warrior who annihilated the Outer Darkness wherever it lurked and hissed and reared forth in horror amidst primordial slime. I heard the voice of Deborah bat Omri, and learned from her the strange secret behind the name. I learned that the Lightdancer had been once a girl who knew only that she could do strange things, who went to Azarath and learned there of her invulnerability to all that was, even within the flesh of a mad God. 

Zee then smiled and told me her own past, and that the creature I had come in contact with was named Cthylla. And I learned then of ancient and horrible secrets, of a group of monsters from the far-flung realm of Xoth countless universes over that began to build a great and a dreadful empire. Of a war amongst these mad Gods of ancient days, and of a tremendous warlord who emerged full-blown from them promising a shortening of the way forward, and another who emerged to oppose him. Yet this grand and terrible prince of light, the light-bringer who promised that great new secrets were en route for his followers, father of Ythogtha, Gahatanothoa, Xoth-Ommog, and the youngest of the family, Cthylla, came to the conclusion that the best secrets were to be found by ascending into the great Kadath, in the Cold Waste, to confront the realm of the Primordial Gods, the gateway to Halls outside Time and Space. 

The monster did go there, yes. He had sought all that he would find. But beyond that gateway lurked great and dreadful monsters, the greatest of which was Azathoth's soul and messenger, the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep. Often a trickster, in wrath the Artist-Smith was dreaful and terrible indeed, and with a surge of awful power the entire Empire of Xoth was banished into dreaming-death in a vast necropolis, the shattered remnants lasting for a time in a war with strange fungoid beings and still stranger ones that looked like cones with odd upper elements, the former the maker of the fiendish Shoggoths that burbled in endless time and space. 

Zee told me that she had found in me a worthy opponent indeed, who relished like her the very nature of combat, and was not afraid to extend power to its greatest levels, if such was required. 

Then I asked them: 

And our elder sister? Is there nothing we can do for her? I heard her crying, reduced to this sobbing.........wreck of a colossus there by the deed of the other-you. 

Zee and the Lightdancer looked at each other. And Deborah said: 

No, there is nothing. Here Fate is at its cruelest. Were it within my power to cleanse the Azar, to make the Undying Flame of horror one that would be a perpetual light for healing and restoration, this I would do in a heartbeat. The hardest thing to do is to accept that Fate is what it is. Yet alone of us you have seen into Fate, and it is beyond you, and you it. You are unconstrained and able to defy ordinary things by perceiving them. Fate is what it is, and it is to each of us to bear. And to you, Fate gifts the freedom to be and to do as you please. 

Now, as I speak to you, it seems a great privilege. Yet as time winds on down in the eternal river that flows through space and time, it shall be what you make of it. 

She smiled. 

And you have done all that I expected you would do, and used that armor well. For that, I give to you another gift. 

And she handed me an orb that glowed as I placed it in my hand. 

A power battery, dear sister, that will grant to your armor great endurance. You and I have an appointment in a few weeks' time with our elder sister, when we go forth to see Igna of Domdaniel at home to see what she was before she became the monster. 

As I bowed formally to her, she said: L'Chaim! 

I smiled, and darkness enshrouded me and the sensation of weightlessness between worlds greeted me as an old and a dear friend. I knew, then, at last who I was. 
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 Chapter XIX: 

Zezhelanzunui collided with the shield with a rippling sound that brought with it a pained shriek from her and a wave of rippling destruction that reverberated through Azarath itself. The monster that stood forth laughed, a squelching slopping sound as its claws dug into the metal environment around it, carving deep grooves. Cthylla then leaned forward, and in a great cloud of greenish smoke the monster from primordial times and elder days beyond the Veil vanished and Xaderavcal once more rose in her stead. Seeing the same figure I'd come into conflict with, my eyes widened. The resemblance to Zee was eerie, save that where Zee perpetually laughed and joked as a wild and ravening beserker champing at the bit, the eyes that looked out from that face were cold and calculating with a strange and eerie detachment. 

The monster's eyes, I realized with a sudden stab of fear, looked out from the face of Xaderavcal. Smiling, again speaking in that strange and I realized strangely-accented use of our Father's tongue, she said: 

You call yourself the God of this age? You are but a vain and strutting monster, aspiring to power beyond your reach! I have seen the kind of power you aspired to wielded by one able to wield it, no mere abomination of madness and quiet despair howling in madness and praised by the remnants of once-living beings left only their flesh as relics of who they were! 

Then the monster's eyes widened, and Xaderavcal spoke: 

And you are the one who took my mortal incarnation and made her into.....

Her hand thumped her chest and the mutilated flesh on her face growled with a strange kind of vibration that in another context might have been comical but here marked a sign of dread. 


Her eyes narrowed. 

I shall punish you properly, Azar of Azarath, Zazhalzanai, who takes to yourself a name not yours! Igna of Domdaniel, I bid you rise! 

Azarath changed with an eerie wind that howled through it for a moment, and the world around me glowed with a strange light. The vain and strutting monster that had been my sister was gone for a moment in time, and a shattered, crying wreck was left, curled in a fetal position moaning and begging for forgiveness and to never turn into the monster that she was then. 

Xaderavcal looked at her, and for a moment the rage and anger softened, and she knelt by the crying Zazhalanzanai. 

If I could release you from the curse upon your flesh and blood, if I could slough off the pieces of the monster without the result being something still more unhallowed than this, I would. You retain sanity amidst the chaos and death that surrounds you, and hold on to that. Your  destiny is yet to be fully written. From your evil is born the hammer of doom that scours the unholy, and from your evil is born the shadow that walks and clouds even the light of the moon that makes the night glorious. 

Fate is the cruelest and the sternest of masters. And it, my father learned to his cost, is the only master that matters. 

And she stayed with the crying wreck, who remained there for hours, until the sobs stopped and she then sat up. 

So there is no hope even with the spawn of the stormer of the Gates of the Gods? 

No, no hope. 

Please, forgive me for whatever I do, when I don't remember who you are. You at least tell me, as did my father, truth. 

And we stayed with her until the change began and then Xaderavcal vanished in a strange shimmering, as I did within a cloud of darkness. The cloud dispelled as I saw standing by me both Zee and then the Lightdancer, each of whom gestured to me to go over to them. And so I did. 

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 Chapter XVIII: 

The Azar laughed, a howl of stars kept in motion by mad gods that stumbled and shambled aimlessly and hurled her hammer into the onrushing hand of the Starspawn of Cthulhu, pulping the hand with a cataclysmic peal of thunder, a vile odor emanating from the impact, green gelatinous tissue splattering around us, though the Azar and I kept them off our person with a field of energy. Even as the creature reared back, the flesh began to recombine faster than it had fallen as another fist lunged forth, only for the Warhammer to smash through the monster's wrist, the tissue falling to the ground with a sickly squelching sound. 

So this is our Elders, the beings that were before ere the stars burned with our world? Forgive me if I am not unduly impressed. 

The hammer suddenly glowed with a sickly red light and its whirling in blinding speed at the hands of the Azar seemed to leave almost a thin and vile-smelling streak of blood along its trajectory, until the hammer collided into the Starspawn's face, smashing with a brutal strike that led the Starspawn to reel. 

Then the flesh that scattered healed still faster and the creature's consistency seemed to change, as six eyes burned like stars. Before the Azar could react, a wave of powerful blows struck her, throwing her back across miles. Moving slightly from my anchored position, I found that my freedom to maneuver was less than I expected or desired. Between the shockwaves and the anger of both entities, it was difficult to concentrate my own ability to do more than keep abreast of the forces at their disposal. 

Feeling pain and bruising, a sensation that had yet to lose its sense of novelty, I also felt an icy grasp of fear that without Deborah's armor I would have either passed out or had to learn how to rebuild a body from scratch. As I focused on all this, my eyesight also caught that the Azar's hammer glowed as she slammed it into the Starspawn as it attempted to crush her under its heel, and the blast threw the Starspawn back, the Azar's hammer then swinging toward the monster's knee. The creature reeled still further back and the Azar briefly transformed into a walking field of starlight and outer space within the familiar armor, hammer vanished, and flew forward. 

The impact knocked the Starspawn on her back, only for the creature to unleash a shockwave of her own that hurled the Azar off of her, the Azar now resuming her seemingly normal form of flesh and blood. The Starspawn reached out with a colossal paw and while striving to grasp the Azar, the creature that was my sister then bellowed once more the primordial foghorn-like sound that was her motif of sorts. This time, augmented by the full power of the many universes her presence had infected and absorbed, the impact did knock me unconscious, and as blackness swallowed me I saw the Starspawn turning a deep silver hue and rumbling in R'lyehian what seemed like extreme anger, and then both ran toward each other with the booming footsteps of Leviathans. 

It was not, perhaps, a long time as Earthmen would reckon it that I fell unconscious. But when I awakened, I saw that I had been dislodged from the ground by the impact of the brawling behemoths. The Azar no longer seemed a mere entity of flesh and blood, though what precisely made up her form I could not have specified then to satisfaction. She had risen to the size of the Starspawn, and her immense form seemed at times to be covered in mouths that roared challenges in the tongue of our non-human race, at times gelatinous and rugose, and at times diamond-hard and almost mechanical-seeming in appearance. Her flesh, if flesh she had at her disposal, changed with such disorienting swiftness that I was losing track of what was up or down. 

The blows each launched moved with a swiftness that an ordinary mortal, presuming that the shockwaves hadn't killed him and then disintegrated his body, not necessarily in that order, would have heard only in delayed fashion a set of blows that sounded like fell thunderclaps with the occasional booming sound and flash of light when the Azar summoned back her hammer or  a mace and smashed them into the flesh of the being from the other world, which in a straightforward brawl, skin now sufficiently hardened, was starting to prevail and push the Azar back. 

Sensing this and snarling, the Azar roared in pride with a thunderous sound that led to my deciding now was a good time to invoke the darkness that was my birthright and hope it would actually work. 

I am the God of this Age. No battlefield relic shall contend with me and survive the experience! 

With this, the Azar briefly transformed into something that had the vague semblance of a form about her, but emanated an awe-inspiring Malice that seemed almost tangible. Gestures like that of hands clenching followed and as I concealed myself in darkness a wave of such destructive force as to shatter anything it came in contact emanated from the Azar, and yet another planet was consumed in the wake of such entities as my family and this strange being that I now regretted very much having come into contact with. 

After remaining in the darkness with a rather frenzied debate with myself, I decided to see where the two monsters had gone, in hopes that as they fought that one or the other might kill each other. Besides, I had the feeling that having antagonized one of them, that if I did not do this, one of them would drag me anyhow so it was better to maneuver things and serve as recorder of what was in motion than to try to es-I realized I'd taken too long to decipher this when I felt the iron hand of one of the entities grasp my enshrouded form and yank me through the portal that one of them had made in the wake of the devastating blast, 

As I fell through, I realized the sickly crawling feeling beneath the skin that seemed almost familiar was familiar. The portal that had opened drew Cthylla and I once more into the hellish entity-place that was Azarath, where the Azar was thought and voice to a realm where existence itself was a choking horror of mangled dreams and twisted hopes and endless bleating choruses of "Glory to the Great one, the eternal one, who suspends existence itself in being!" I knew a wintry satisfaction in seeing even the monstrous Starspawn Cthylla seemingly disoriented by the place, keenly gazing around her/itself, 

It was then that I saw the Azar, seemingly human once more, hovering in the skies laughing with the fell laughter of a mad God: 

Here is my realm, battlefield relic! Here, I am the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and the end! I have the keys to death, and in my hands I grant immortality! Naught exists in this realm save that I allow it! Here all is an Undying Flame that shall burn now and forever, world without end! Know this that now, now I say to you, none are like the Azar! None may give me council! I was there when the stars burned into light and the sons of the Gods sang for joy! 

Here is the land of Azarath, where all that is or will ever be is one people, one faith, one ruler: the Azar, the Flame Imperishable who unites existence with an iron hand! 

And with a bellowing howl of almost nihilistic glee the monster swooped down toward the Starspawn, who seemed to have a detached and almost amused gaze in its eyes, forming a kind of curved metal dome to shield itself from the swooping monster that seemed to swell and grow in size and be human in size all at once in a bewildering rippling motion that pained eyes that strove to see it. 

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 Chapter XVII: 

When I awoke, I saw, dimly, that I was in a landscape that was seemingly barren and deserted. Next to me crouched a colossus that seemed mountainous, a vast and teeming bulk of greenish flesh. The creature gazed at me with its tendrils seeming to form a grim smile, the tremendous bulk not moving in a conventional sense but almost oozing forward. As I began to scramble backwards, the skies suddenly shifted over me. Seeing stars that I hadn't seen in what was in one way almost too short a time and yet felt an eternity, I began to try to invoke the force of a portal when I noticed the oozing bulk of the colossus was looking up to the strange skies, eyes widening. The moment passed and it extended an arm to grasp me, but I then paused and looked up again. 

Hovering in the now-restored skies was a heavily armored figure, half her face enclosed in armor with the eyes and the top of her head exposed. The armor was a dark and strange green, emblazoned with a light-blue and crude yet stylized dragon, one of the heads gnawing at the throat of the other. The figure's cape was the same bright blue hue as the armor. The Azar, my deranged elder sister, the mocking and laughing mad god that howled in guttural and inhuman fashions and was the very framework of the worlds it ruled. 

The being hovered, a small object next to two of the eyes of the monstrous Cthylla,, which had grown still greater. 

Cthylla's mocking voice echoed in what I recognized only in hindsight as recognizable human speech. Realizing this, of course, was not one of my happier moments but there it is: 

So the elder whelp comes to the aid of the younger. You have called yourself a God, the center of all that is or will ever be. My kind mastered existence itself many countless cycles before your universe was but the hint of a glimmer in the minds of the Ultimate Gods beyond the Veil! My kind are the elder race that was. We shall rise when the stars become right, and then yours shall be no more. We are the reasons Earth had the potential to draw such creatures as the eldest of your race to our world, and it is we who shall build these worlds in still greater ways anew. 

The Azar spoke in response: 

So speaks the battlefield relic, the last scion of elder days. Your kind are all dead, dreaming their death in a necropolis within the material framework of this world. Speak not of the glory of those who were once, for they are not now. The Stars for your kind are Wrong, but for us, they are Right! It is not your age now, scion of tens of thousands of lives divided amongst so many pitiful mortal frames in infinite space, but mine! Mine the hands that set the stars in motion, mind the hands that moves the lowliest and the highest. 

You glory in the deeds of a father who left you alone save in the few times when the necropolis is thrown up by the convulsions of the seashore, in a timeframe when the lands had not yet formed and the waters had not yet congealed from a cooling orb of lava and ash. Mine the hand that heals, mine the hand that curses, mine that unleashes the wind and the storm over the wine-dark sea, that unleashes the light of rosy-fingered dawn! 

You are the last sad relic of the Gods who were, I am eldest and fatherless of the Gods yet to be. Mine the hands, mine the will, mine the power! I am the Alpha and the Omega, first and the last, and beside me there is no other! I hung the very stars themselves that move in their courses, I bring to mankind fulfillment of ancient and primordial dreams! Yea, I make their dreams the nightmares that haunt them, that make them scream themselves awake at night! I offer them worlds without war and misery and death, and in fulfillment of their ancient longings receive my due. 

We are the Gods of this Age, for us the Stars are right and shine on us in comfort. So speaks the Azar, the Undying Flame, who gives forth the light and the renewal of the Stars themselves and sets all that is in motion! 

The Azar then unleashed blasts of terrible, hellish light from her eyes that seared into the monster, and it was during that time that I chose to seize the moment and call upon myself not the flayed hide of the archangel but the modified version of the Lightdancer's armor. Modifications made by assertion of willpower, and modifications that proved wise indeed as the searing lances led the monstrous spawn of Cthulhu to unleash an unholy whine before turning six glowing eyes on the Azar. Raising arms that seemed to swell with musculature as other parts of the being contracted, Cthylla's massive gorillaesque arms hurled down as the Azar formed a shielding dome of energy, the monster's arms colliding with the shield with a tremendous flash of light, followed by a colossal shockwave that I withstood mostly by my modified variant of Deborah's armor and anchoring my feet solidly into the ground, hands in front of my face in an attempt to brace the impact. 

The blast was followed by the eerie primordial foghorn with a rumbling undertone, a sound that led to my falling to my knees, clasping my ears to block out its magnitude. As the Azar roared, triumphantly, unleashing the Trombone and flashing the ten rings, bellowing after: 

Ten are the rings of the Azar, and in the Undying Flame shall all that is be consumed! 

Yet beyond the triumphant howl a mountain moved forth, aroused to a great and terrible wrath even as the Azar anchored herself and formed a massive warhammer out of nothing, and a clash of Gods made manifest in flesh and blood began with fear and trembling.....

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 Chapter XVI: 

I descended in what I assumed to be glory and honor and terror upon a world until I realized, as I landed, that my omniscience had vanished. The boasting and arrogance I had intended died stillborn as I gazed forward into an abyss whereupon I saw the creature that suspended it. The speech died, yes, but then came with it a rumbling and echoing call of a wrath beyond that of mere ordinary spheres: 

So, Zee, you're already here, then? You must be wiser than I expected to be here so soon. 

This too died stillborn when the creature walking toward me gave a hideous smile and then calmly moved with a deliberately slowed and shambling walk. A slopping and unnatural voice echoed in levels of sound different to my kind, a sound so alien to the geometries of the material plane that only by analogy could it be called sound: 

Quiet whelp. My race was here long before e'er your kind was. Your kind erect the first steps in a great empire and delve into forbidden secrets, and all kneels before you because your progenitor, like mine, is no longer a mere being of flesh and blood. He has become something other. 

I am not Zee, whelp, I am the Sovereign you offended by storming into mine own realm, inheritor of a Dark Dreamer whose father lies dead but dreaming in a necropolis that covers half the globe. Xaderavcal stands before you. You stormed into my realm and disrupted a plan a decade in the making as it was poised on success. And you have given to me proof that others since the Stars changed are initiating a return of Wonders not seen since my father's realm sprawled over much of Existence itself. 

Xaderavcal, said the being that spoke to me, was its name. But it was not the brutish and arrogant military despot who interrogated me. No, it couldn't be. The creature shambled and its voice was a slopping and hideous mockery of voice and sound themselves. With it seemed to emanate an ancient mist, and for the first time I noticed that people were either suspended by or dead of fright, and that the very ground seemed to ripple where walked the green mist, and then the booming slopping voice rose to a new pitch. 

I shall show you in full what it is that faces you. But that shall not be now, quite yet, no. 

First, I shall show you that gap between the power you esteemed when the virus gave to you a voice and a pretense of strength, and that which was when the Empire of Xoth was supreme o'er all existence.

The thing in Xaderavcal's face made her smile and for a moment her flesh wavered and a hint of something gigantic and green with a monstrous tentacle-adorned face leering with countless eyes appeared, and then the creature waved a hand, speaking two words in an ancient tongue that predated countless universes: 

Y'ktalvargadir Azathothikirirkill! 

And everything went silent with a sudden onrushing of darkness and I didn't even have time to scream. 

I awoke in a charred field of fine rubble, seeing only something kneeling in the darkness, eyes watching with contempt. A mountain watched, rasping with unholy laughter, six gleaming eyes of dark blue laughing as a figure not unlike a monstrous caricature of a human, a dragon, and an octopus opened vast wings and spoke again: 

N'hraklthk dhargun! 

And everything changed again as I once more fainted, mind overwhelmed by the unfathomable ancient energies of Something that was when my kind was not even yet a part of a grand design. I had only the time to wonder what it meant when someone aware of the nature of Story found oneself a cat's paw in an entity's hands able to overwhelm even this. Darkness swallowed me before the icy and unfamiliar sensation of true fear could set in..........

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 Chapter XV: 

As the monster came closer, I heard its rumbling breath and then she stood next to me. 

A voice that was silky with blatant menace hissed with the sound of a wind across tombstones: 

So, the bastard whelp is here to fight her superior. 

I smiled. 

Ah, Zezhel. No pseudo-prophetic meter to belabor those of us with actual lives to live? Pity, I was hoping to waste a few minutes with the soliloquy. 

Impudent mongrel....she growled and then raised her staff as the runes and gems gleamed with an unhallowed light and slammed it into the ground. A pulse of destructive force surged out, though I formed around me a barrier of darkness that sought to anchor me into the ground. The barrier did indeed keep the pulse from buffeting me, but it gouged a vast crater into the ground around me and elsewhere. 

The monster blinked, and then growled. 

So you can manipulate darkness then, after all. And it wasn't some illusion. 

Tell me, whelp, were I to offer to you the chance to gain access to weapons devised by a mind greater than most, divine or mortal, would you take it? 

I looked at her and the crater. 

As opposed to simply banging at each other without any logic other than your own bloodlust.....depends on the job. 

She smiled, a cruel grimace that bared her teeth. 

I would have you go to the realm of Ziharkano, to strike my enemies for me.It is not a cause worthy of direct presence and absorption of that world, and for it you are perfectly suited.

My eyes narrowed: 

How then am I to do this? Does strike mean to destroy the planet or those few unfortunate souls you deem targets? 

 The grimace widened, the dish-shaped face seemingly oddly distorted as she said: 

It means the former. Destroy for me that world, and you shall receive this. 

Her right hand pointed to a grimoire in her left hand. 

It is a book of mighty spells that permit one who wields it to command not merely time and space, but fundamentals of reality itself. With it, your strength shall be greatly enhanced. It is a simple enough deed. 

And as she vanished within that same foul-smelling light, I summoned to myself a vision of that world. 

To my genuine pleasure it proved to be a colony-world of a species my omniscience said would be dispatched with no mourners. Calling upon myself a cloak of shadow I felt the weightless sensation of passing within worlds to the crossroads of infinity.......
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 Chapter XIV: 

Thus was it that I gazed into his face in wonder and in awe. 

cut for length )

Decisions, decisions, as I formed around me the tanned hide of Metatron, the billowing black cape whipping in an unnatural wind as the monster strode forward, and I decided likewise to savor the moment. One seldom gets a chance to pulverize the everloving shit out of an old........friend.....or alternately deciding to milk what they have to offer for its worth. Grinning, I stood proudly, the haze of the growing beams beginning to cloud my vision. 

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 Chapter XIII: 

As I landed in my next world, I saw to my satisfaction that it was a lovely place, very well-drawn. And not an older, cheap kind of animation, either.cut for length )

One word more he spoke, and then my eyes, all of the, widened almost beyond belief: 


halialkers: Going up in smoke, Raven frontal view, smoke cloud behind her (Comics!Raven5)
 Chapter XII: 

As Zee lunged toward me, I simply called into myself the power of Arazakanu, the walking shadow, and the planet suddenly shook as Zee missed me by a narrow margin. Anchoring myself into the planet, my eyes glowed as I transformed into a towering figure of darkness lit by countless glowing eyes and mouths, and with each of the tens of thousands of mouths a roughly anthropoid form echoed with a voice of judgment and doom: 

Sic transit gloria mundi! Ada and Zillah, take heed to me, you wives of Lamech heed my speech. I have killed a young man for wounding me, a boy for injuring me. If Cain be avenged sevenfold, let Lamech be seventy-sevenfold! 

Then the monstrous form raised a leg that glowed with the light of the Outer realms from beyond where lurking daemons gibbered in wild and lonely places from beyond, and I slammed that leg down with sufficient force to create a tremendous flash of light and then a shockwave that reduced the whole planet to rubble. Such was the power of the strike that even the monstrous Xaderavcal, my adopted sibling with that cackling madness and battle-lust was shocked to unconsciousness, floating amidst a rubble field as one of the only intact corpses on the whole of the planet. Laughing with triumph, I then called around me the Outer Darkness and faded into the uncaring and pitiless Void. 


An alley just outside Times Square, Earth-126734121: 

A young sorcerer held a Necronomicon, and from its Eighteenth Volume began a chant very familiar to me, though then I understood not why: 

I call to the God that is and is within the darkness, striding in darkness as all like it stride in light. I call to the shadow-woman who turns the most sacred wonder and joy into fear and loathing. I call to the God that defies the ready gap of light and dark, of truth and falsehood. I invoke the thirteen-eyed one, the jade colossus that strikes fear and trembling in sifting forth the hearts of men. I invoke the destroyer of the ironclad, the corroder of the sacred, firstborn among the Darkness. 

Hearing the invocation, knowing then that it was myself within the text of the Mad Arab's Magnum Opus, I decided it was time to start phase two of the growth of the legend thus invoked. I cast forth the shadows from me, drawing into me all the light around him, save a circle where he expected my appearance, a circle of glowing eldritch light that would have confined lesser beings. As the light winked out, he fell silent, face turning white with fear. I spoke, the darkness magnifying my voice: 

I am the shadow on the moon at night, the very outer darkness given flesh and form. The God that now walks among you, making known that which is beyond you. You have called from beyond with the Al-Azif that which is greater than mankind, that which is newer than his Gods but greater than they shall ever be. 

Then, as my face broke out in a shark's grin, I opted to transform my clothing into a red and green sweater, to clothe my hands in gloves with blades, and to begin scraping them along the walls. 

I am nightmare made flesh, the land of dreaming entering the land of waking, the darkness made tangible. 

As I then formed my 'normal' fleshly form out of the darkness, deliberately slowing the process to instill terror, I laughed as the would-be sorcerer sought to run. Extending the shadows to throw him to the ground, I then strode forward, voice echoing with the mocking timeless malignance of that which lurked beyond the iron wall of sleep mankind made. 

I smiled as I then gazed forward, eyes glowing. 

You destroyed a city of my birth, Azar, to give my life its first step. So then is it appropriate that I give the same fate to this city, one among countless representatives, and do so to give mankind a new era. Magic is dawning here, children of mankind! Hell is upon you! 

And I rose, towering over the buildings as a massive collection of glowing eyes and mouths in an anthropoid figure of moving darkness, deciding then to shift it to the species of my father. Still more massive and almost quasi-reptilian in form, countless mouths bellowed in laughter and immense arms were raised and smashed into a city that groaned and disintegrated in a wave of concentrated force. From the ruptured crater was left oozing stones that glowed with a bright light. Giggling maniacally, a sound that carried over the wild winds of Earth from countless mouths, I then decided it was time to  take this show on the road and get a little fun with it. 

For finally, in that world, the full significance of a very deadly truth hit: nothing that I would destroy was real any more than I myself was. I was a monster, yes, a divine force of evil and doom.  But what then of the mind that brought creatures like this into being? I was an unconstrained force of destruction, a being aware more than any other of the puppeteer holding us all on strings, and in that knowledge came freedom, of a most terrible sort. In this, and in commanding darkness where all else, fair or foul, like me would wield light in its various forms, I was free. 

I have no strings for now I'm free. 

Taking briefly the form of a massive armored juggernaut equally barely human and vanishing amidst the blasted heath that had once been a teeming metropolis, I giggled. 

There are no strings on me! 

And as I vanished, I then saw my next target and grinned. This was going to be delightful. 

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Chapter XI:

The gathered Supers, some limping and bleeding, and others fresh and full of fight careened toward Zee, whose bellowed threat had drawn them as moths before the flamecut for length )

I made a beckoning gesture to my sister, who grinned again with that hellish smile and seemed to disappear in a blur lunging to where she expected me to be......

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Chapter X:

The fireball surged forth, intending to break my enemies before they could assemble together, yet once more Willpower and Fear negated the flames, the fireball surging around them and then being dissipated into nothingness. cut for violence, gore, and length )
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Chapter IX: 

Ah, Hal Jordan. Wielder of a Ring of Power that amplifies the power of anyone who can control it through willpower alone. The mightiest willpower in the Known Multiverse, at least your Known Multiverse. cut for length and gore )

As the flames began to ignite and the fireball formed in my mouth, I saw hurling down from the skies now a streak of red light. Atrocitus. My next target. It seemed that a mere manipulation of probability really was all it took to draw together the leaders of these corps......

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Chapter VIII: 

Guardians of the Universe! 

cut for length )

Hal Jordan, the first of my targets. Now is when the fun begins! 

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 Chapter VII:

cut for potentially disturbing content )
As I gazed out with contempt across the Central Citadel of Oa, I smiled.

The Guardians are known to take foolish decisions on a spur of the moment basis, so let's exploit that, shall we?

As I said this, I saw the panels of the two-dimensional surface I had entered, and noticed to my pleasure that now, for the first time, I was fully three dimensional in an otherwise two-dimensional space. This was going to be fun. I saw then a collection of small blue-skinned men and bowed before them in a semblance of humility.......

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Chapter VI: cut for violence, gore, potential triggers )

And as his beam fired, the shield of darkness concealed my grasping around myself a new kind of armor. A localized distortion of reality itself sufficient to make the Triune One's realm tremble. Metatron would find out that fate, ever cruel, is a harsh and a terrible thing and that even them condemned to greatness by it take no pleasure in what it is that they must do.....

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Chapter V: 

I awoke once more, enchained when I saw striding toward me the supposedly familiar form of Deborah. Only the form seemed errant, somehow. Taller, with streaks of dark blue running through her hair. Twelve eyes instead of nine and more human than non-human. Tcut for length ) My face lit up from ear to ear with a shark's grin as my opponent recovered in a rather short time, all things considered, from the sonic assault and propelled herself into motion as I chose to do the same. And this time there would be no trickery to imprison me. Of this I knew all too well.

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Chapter IV:

I saw walking toward me the familiar and indeed hateful form of Zazhalanzanai, or so it would seem on the surface. Tall and monstrous looking, the dished face with its seemingly swollen features that was neither anthropoid nor simian, but some hellish thing in between. Her form, but not her voice. The voice was deep and rumbling, the speech from other stars to our own:


cut for length )

I remained hovering, pondering these questions.

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Chapter III:

Space Station Fordin VI:

Hovering in space, I felt nothing when the plasma shells erupted around me, and even the building power of the eye-beams did not obfuscate the brightness, yet my vision did not blur. cut for length )

Xaderavcal then grasped her in a telekinetic hold that kept the Shadow-woman ramrod-straight, arms clasped against her body, legs together, and then took off in flight. Even as she did, she took a deep breath. This started easily enough as fights went, but she knew deep down that it was easier to start something like this than to end it.


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September 2017

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