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Thread: Pantheons of the NeSiverse

  1. #41
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow The Search

    Highemperor floats gently down from the sky of Venus. Around himself he casts a shield to protect his physical body from the sulphuric rain that pours from the permanent cloud cover that shrouds the rocky world beneath. He casts his eyes to the unusual flora of the world, looking like gigantic rock mushrooms. The sentient beings of the planet are docile rock-creatures, typical of the humanoid configuration - two arms, two legs a torso and a head. He sees some of them lumbering along a sulphuric river, while others are sheltering under the mushroom.

    Somewhere above the clouds, now orbiting the planet, would be The Quantum Pantheon. Returning to his homesystem is something of a glorifying triumph, showing off in his super spaceship is quite a pleasure, knowing the spacefarers of Earth would be well aware of his presence.

    He reaches the desert and proceeds to glide along the river. As he passes the mushroom the rock-people look up in shock at him, staring with their big, bright blue eyes that shine like torches through blue gems. He ignores them but is quietly satisfied that his mere presence can have such an effect on sentient beings like this.


    Eventually he senses a distortion in reality and slows his movement. His boots settle upon the desert and he looks around with both his eyes and his his other faculties - there's no magic here, no temporal disturbances, no portals. He sees something on the ground. An old, worn-out converse sneaker.

    He stands over it and shakes his head.


    Highemperor: "Too easy this time."

    He holds out his hand and draws the shoe up. He doesn't touch it.

    As with the times before he reaches out, now, with his mind. Psychic planes are not his go-to area of expertise, preferring the tangible and affective forces of the NeSiverse. He can use magic to affect reality. He can use time to affect reality. He can use space to affect reality. But the psychic has little to no affect upon the physical world, only upon the minds of individuals. Controlling others mind came naturally enough but he found his methodology was thanks to his powergaming and not his skill in the mental field. Since chasing his current quarry he has has to up his game.

    He reaches out psychically and feels out towards the shoe. It's then that he senses everything at once - another world layered atop of this one. The shoe, in this case, acts at the physical anchor and allows Highemperor to leave the physical world and step into the psychic realm. When he opens his eyes - the world looks exactly as it had.

    He's disappointed. He'd expected spectacle. Grandeur. Paradise. If you're going to create an imaginary world why make it look just as boring at the real world?

    But this doesn't surprise him. He's been down this road before.


    Now that he's in the psychic realm he pulls with his mind, attempting to draw in any other minds that exist in this world. When nothing happens he pulls harder. Then he feels his mind tugging at something, reeling it in like a fish. It lasts just a brief second - he must have caught his target off-guard. The sudden repulsion is extreme, almost knocking Highemperor out of the psyhic-realm. Out of his target's imagination. But he refuses to be rebuffed. He decides a more subtle approach is best. He tugs again, this time more gently - requesting an audience instead of demanding it.

    He senses the world around him become mildly irritated with his presence.


    Highemperor: "Get angry all you like. I'm not leaving. I will make you my *****!"

    Zhuge: "I have explained before, your path is a rewardless one, human child."

    Highemperor:
    "And I've told you, I'm much more than a human. And I'm not a child. You will address me as Highemperor."

    Zhuge: "I will not indulge you in grandiose titles. If you wish me to name you, then give me a name I am willing to use."

    Highemperor: "High--"

    Zhuge: "Denied."

    Highemperor: "You cannot de--"

    The shoe drops to the floor and Highemperor staggers back. He had been ejected from the mind. He glares down at the dirty, old shoe and wonders if there's a way to force an army through it. Fitting thousands of soldiers through a little shoe seems a little unlikely.

    He raises the shoe again.


    Zhuge: "No need. I don't want you to sully my mental faculties again."

    He turns and drops the shoe. He should have sensed that the god had entered the physical realm but he'd been focusing with his mind too much on the blasted sneaker.

    Zhuge is a short anthropomorphic bird-creature. He has white feathers for his head, while the feathers of the rest of his body are tan coloured. His beak is yellow and his eyes steel. Though his arms have feathers, they aren't wings and they end with hands just like any mammal. He wears a simple, though very clean, brown robe over his body. It is sans sleeves and he wears no shoes, preferring naked talons. Hanging around his neck is a beaded necklace with huge, wooden orbs.


    Zhuge: "I have said no to you three times now. My answer will forever remain the same."

    Highemperor: "Then I'll force you!"

    He grits his teeth as a sign of aggression but he does nothing more. He admits inwardly that he isn't certain of success. The creature, Zhuge, appears weak and flaccid. Old, worn and tired. Meek, quiet, introverted.

    Yet Highemperor knows his former identity. God of universes, an empire that could easily rival the High Empire itself. But now he seeks solitude in the NeSiverse.


    Zhuge: "Force was my mistake too, human child."

    Highemperor: "I'm not a h-- urgh. I don't use force unless I have to. My people are happy. They love me."

    Zhuge: "Until they don't."

    Highemperor: "They always will."

    Zhuge: "If you say so."

    Highemperor: "I do say so!"

    Zhuge turns his back on Highemperor and walks slowly across the rocks. Highemperor almost attacks the old buzzard for the affront of the action but keeps himself in check.

    Zhuge: "Are you telling me that there isn't a single modicum of rebellion in your wondrous empire?"

    Highemperor sulks.

    Zhuge: "And what if it spread?"

    Highemperor: "It wouldn't."

    Zhuge: "But what if it did? What would you do?"

    Highemperor: "Destroy it."

    Zhuge: "And if others continue to rise up against you?"

    Highemperor: "I would destroy them all. Once they're destroyed, it can't spread."

    Zhuge: "Then you are as foolish as me."

    Highemperor rolls his eyes.

    Highemperor: "Is that it? Is that your big secret? Your people rebelled against you and you had to kill them? So now you're all miserable and sad? Pathetic."

    Zhuge chuckles. It sounds more like hooting.

    Zhuge: "It turns out just because you have the power to rule, it doesn't mean people want you to rule them. They came at me. First rival gods. They banded against me. All of the powerplayers of the universes--"

    Highemperor: "And you defeated all of them?"

    Zhuge: "I did. I defeated them all as they came. I took the offensive. I destroyed their worlds. I destroyed their galaxies. All with a thought. And then... I realised I was alone... Nobody wanted to be ruled, so I destroyed them all."

    Highemperor: "Sounds like victory to me."

    Zhuge: "Victory? Are you sure about that? What did I want? To win? No. I wanted to rule. After every living thing was destroyed... there was nothing left to rule. I was alone. How is this victory?"

    Highemperor muses. He couldn't deny the story but his lust overcomes common sense. He likes to toy with the idea that he could become the melodramatic old sage with such a tale of wisdom to tell, but his desire for power and control is too great to overcome. No matter the truth of the words of Zhuge, Highemperor would never succumb to them.


    Zhuge:
    "Do you know what the mark of an ultimate warrior is?"

    Highemperor: "The ability to conquer all of his enemies."

    He smirks.

    Zhuge:
    "You are the ultimate warrior when you don't need to conquer your enemies..."

    Highemperor: "Your sagely wisdom will be most useful when you serve me, Zhuge."

    The bird-man shakes his head.


    Zhuge: "I will not help you destroy yourself, human child. I have warned you now and I shall continue to do so every time you seek me out."

    Highemperor: "That's where you're wrong. You will serve me and--"

    Highemperor lifts his arms. He had been about to cast a field of powerful containment around the alien god but Zhuge is gone. Highemperor had barely blinked. He looks down. Where the shoe had been there is now nothing but a rock.

    Highemperor: "Buggery..."

    ----------

    Highemperor: "I know he's on this world. I've finally got him this time."

    A squadron of the High Empire's fleet has blockaded a small world named Ledus, located within the Perseus Arm. According to readings there's a small group of humans hiding out in a big building there. Aside from that, nothing. However a trip planetside revealed yet another out-of-place object - a pink bloint, sitting in the middle of a frozen desert. No doubt Zhuge knows he's here but there'll soon be nothing he can do to escape.

    Powerplayers working for Highemperor have combined a powerful shield that will keep everything contained - not even light or time is able to pass through, placing the planet in a kind of stasis. Highemperor passes through it, however, because he's awesome like that. He feels like he's floating through butter as he finds the bloint. He reaches out with his mind.


    Zhuge: "Yet again, you disturb my solitude. You know, I do find these visits pretty annoying..."

    Highemperor: "Then prepared to get really pissed off because you're totally trapped on this planet! If you do not bind yourself to me, I shall leave you forever trapped here!"

    Zhuge nods enthusiastically.

    Zhuge: "That sounds perfect. Thank you!"

    Highemperor: "Uh... ... ... bollocks!"

    Zhuge: "You cannot threaten anything dear to my heart for I have already done that myself... I know that's how you have cajoled many a slave."

    Highemperor:
    "I have no slaves! I just... force them to... serve me..."

    He purses his lips.

    Highemperor:
    "I pay them!"

    Zhuge: "You pay that quantum god you pressed into service? What need has it of money?"

    Highemperor: "I-- shut up! If I can't trap you, I can't threaten you then I shall destroy you and steal your power!"

    Zhuge waves his hand towards a small, white garden table sitting in the middle of the psychic ice desert of Ledus. There, on the table, is a tea tray.

    Zhuge: "I do find tea quite a wonderful invention in this universe. A man, a god of sorts I think, from Earth showed it to me. Now he was a wise ruler. His people don't even know he is their ruler! Ingenious."

    Zhuge picks up a mug of tea. It isn't one of the dainty teacups that Emperor Pi might have used, but a good, old builders mug. Complete with 'World's Best Dad' slogan printed on it.


    Zhuge: "I found Yorkshire tea to be my favourite brew. A nice strong blend--"

    Highemperor: "Power. Steal. You understand?"

    Zhuge: "Ah yes. I'm sorry but you'll be very disappointed."

    Highemperor: "How so?"

    Zhuge: "I am powerless."

    Highemperor scoffs.

    Highemperor: "I've felt your power! You rules universes! Destroyed all powerplayers! I know you have power!"

    Zhuge: "I have power when I decide I have power. When I decide I have no power... I have no power."

    Highemperor: "You can't turn it off and on like a light switch."

    Zhuge: "I can."

    Highemperor, exasperated, plants his hands on his hips.

    Highemperor: "And I thought conquering that little quantum guy was annoying! You are something else! So I cannot trap you. I cannot force you. I cannot steal from you. I cannot convince you. I cannot bribe you. And so I am left with only one option--"

    Zhuge: "To destroy."

    Highemperor: "To de-- uh. Yes. You leave me no other choice."

    Zhuge: "But to walk away..."

    Highemperor: "If I walk away I'll look like a pussy! Besides, I'm Highemperor! I always have to win!"

    Zhuge's beak curls into a smile as he sips from his mug.

    Zhuge: "I take it back. I think I'm starting to enjoy this little game, human child."

    Highemperor: "Enjoy it while it lasts because I'm going to wipe you out. Nothing personal, okay?"

    Zhuge: "And what if I leave?"

    Highemperor: "I told you. You're trapped."

    Zhuge: "Hmmm. Tell me something before you, uh, 'wipe me out', would you?"

    Highemperor folds his arms. He's confident but he suddenly feels a surge of suspicion. In lieu of words, Zhuge assumes it to be a cue for him to continue.

    Zhuge: "In this universe, your power works because you say something and it is, correct?"

    Highemperor: "I can do anything."

    Zhuge nods and motions in confirmation with his mug of tea.


    Zhuge:
    "Yes. You can do anything because you say you can do anything, right?"

    Highemperor: "So if I say you're trapped, then you're trapped."

    Zhuge: "And if I say I'm not?"

    Highemperor: "Then n--"

    He blinks.

    Highemperor: "--othin-- How in the name of buggery..."

    He looks down at where the bloint had been. Now it's another rock. This time a white one. He punts it in anger.

    Highemperor:
    "I won't let you go this time..."

    With all his power, all his force, he stretches out his will and commands the NeSiverse to return Zhuge to his side.

    Highemperor:
    "You will return!"

    Zhuge:
    "I will not."

    He opens his eyes. He heard the bird for an instant but he's gone again.

    Highemperor: "You WILL!"

    There's a flash and, for an instant, Zhuge is there.

    Zhuge:
    "Will not."

    Highemperor: "WILL!"

    Zhuge:
    "Not."

    Highemperor:
    "WILL!"

    Zhuge: "Not."

    Highemperor: "WILL!"

    Zhuge: "Not."

    Two weeks later and Highemperor feels the traps that his army put on the world diminishes. It distracts him, suddenly, from his battle of powerplaying will with Zhuge and, finally, Zhuge is gone.

    A powerplayer zooms to the desert and crashes into the snow, spraying the white powder all over Highemperor. Highemperor is too annoying to put the effort into shielding himself from it and stands there covered in white, glowering at his servant.

    The man climbs out of his snowpile and gives Highemperor a slapdash salute.


    Kim: "Heya boss! Sorry about that, dude! We, uh, thought you might be dead. They told me I should come down and see. I think they're afraid you'd kill anyone coming down but I ain't afraid! I know you're not so evil. Am I right, Sire?"

    Highemperor continues to stare at him.

    Kim:
    "Uh... boss?"

    Highemperor then sighs with exhaustion. He'd been forcing the universe to his will every second for the past two weeks and now he feels like he just wants to lie down and sleep for eternity. Stupid Zhuge.

    Highemperor: "Of course I wouldn't kill you, Kim. You are an idiot though. That's why they sent you down here."

    Kim: "Oh right. Yeah I suppose. But I don't think I'm an idiot. I just know you're the greatest boss in the universe!"

    Highemperor:
    "I am, aren't I?"

    Kim:
    "Damn straight! But I should tell you, I sort of crashed one of your spaceships a few days ago be--"

    Highemperor: "When I said I wouldn't kill you, I meant I wouldn't kill you unless you crashed one of my spaceships..."

    Kim: "Crapcakes..."

    Kim: "Send word to the harem I have on the Quantum Pantheon that they should be ready for me. I want the most incredible massage the universe has ever known. I bloody need it..."

    Kim salutes, almost poking his eye out, and flies off into space. Highemperor stares at the rock that had once been a bloint.


    Highemperor: "I will find you again, Zhuge..."

    ----------

    A year later, on the planet Orion;

    The sky is as green as the skin of the world's people. Its buildings tall, rounded obelisks of grey with spiralling ascension paths around them, which elevate people and objects up them, winding around the building to their desired floor. There's no flora on this planet, never has been. Only fauna ever evolved here and its dominant sentient species is widely known as Orions. The world is infamous throughout the galaxy for its slave trade and it is ruled by the slavemasters.


    In one of its quieter villages - a village on Orion being the equivalent of a major city on Earth - a woman saunters through one of the many alleys. She shoos some crooks, kicking their skulls to the floor for the sport of it. She tugs at her nose with her thumb in triumph and gives one of them a swift boot in the gut for good measure. Fun times!

    From her long coat she pulls out a compass. Only this isn't pointing north. It points to her heart's desire. A new and almighty artefact!

    She follows it further down the alley then stops. The compass points backwards. She steps a few paces back and watches the needle swing front again. For a moment she wonders if the object is below ground or somewhere high in the sky but she notices there's an object that just doesn't seem quite right here on Orion. A signed photograph of Judge, a hero of planet Earth. Archadmiral Lo has had a run in with Hero Force One once before when she tried to steal their A.I. technology. After a few minutes with the infernal thing she returned it to them and they parted best friends after a few pints of John Smiths.


    Orions know next to nothing of Earth, making a photograph of the woman an oddity. Lo kneels down and scoops up the photograph.

    Zhuge: "It seems so few of you actually bother to pick anything up with your hands these days. So consider me impressed."

    Lo: "WARGH!"

    Startled, she trips on her own coat and winds up slamming her butt on the floor. She winces.

    Lo: "Did you really have to jump out and scare the crap outta me, bird-brain?"

    Zhuge: "Bird-brain. How original."

  2. #42

    All Hail Dave, the Joe Shmoe Who Accidentally Became A God-Monarch!

    Today's spotlight will focus on the most mind-boggling of the God-Monarchs, a man who defies every conceivable notion of what an all-powerful deity should be, a man who often appears powerless before others yet wields unfathomable power when the moment demands it, a man who wants nothing to do with Highemperor, yet finds his fate inescapably intertwined. He is Zhuge, the--

    Sorry? That one's already covered? Then who's getting covered?

    Ah, right.

    He's a Joe Shmoe who--

    What now?!

    ...That's actually his name? And...he prefers to go by "Dave" these days? Says it sounds better... Right. Hey, why does this seem familiar?

    Oh... oh dear.

    He was in The Never-ending Story Thread, that's why. Do I really have to do an expose on him? ...Fine.


    -----------------------------------

    Joseph David Shmoe lived an unusual first twenty-some years of his life. This isn't to say that Joe--sorry, Dave-- lived a particularly exciting life. In fact, his life could be accused of being dull, mediocre, average, mundane, and forgettable were it not for just enough moments of surviving the occasional end-of-the-world worthy explosion, stumbling on recording the ominous "Bloop" sound, flip-flopping on the bell-curve of statistical likeliness in both good and evil acts, and just memorable enough to wish he had been forgotten. All-in-all, though, as it concerns the history of his becoming a God-Monarch, Dave lived as any other cowardly and idiotic human in the NeSiverse, his insignificance to such higher powers seemingly insurmountable.

    Which is, of course, to say that Dave surmounted it, though not through any doing or will of his own. Sometimes, Existence sort of just assumes that a limit set won't be broken, and when it does, it just sort of sweeps things under the rug and claims it was always like that.

    Dave's story starts on page 10 of the Never-ending Story, where, as Joe the Sound Guy, he wins over the heart of Losien for a short time. He showed off his superhero identity, TOEJOE, before scoring with her in a laundromat. To this day, Dave considers this the high point of his life. After parting ways, Dave heard that Losien fell for someone else. With nobody to impress, Dave hung up the superhero life because it involved far too much paperwork and far too little pay.

    Villainy, now there was something that involved a lot less hassle and a lot more pay. Especially when that paycheck comes from Bill Gates, who just happened to have a soul-consuming Legion-like spirit in his service that wanted certain would-be-heroes dead. All Dave had to do was deliver a bomb to his one-time love. Well, and then follow her to the Ninth Circle of Hell (Canada) to ensure the bomb actually went off. A lot of craziness ensued that, frankly, went over his head, and someone had hurled the bomb to some far-away planet. When the pandemonium died, Dave was left alone, because some Writer didn't bother filling everyone in on the details of the aftermath.


    Dave: "Um... so does this mean I need to look for another job?"

    He looks down and notices a wallet. Looking around first, he then picks it up and examines its contents.

    Dave: "Holy smokes! That's a lot of hundreds! And a lot of vouchers for Red Lobster... Highemperor, huh? Did his parents name him that, I wonder? I suppose I should give the guy his wallet back. Maybe. Minus a few hundreds he probably won't miss--"

    Just then, a fleet of rather intimidating-looking spaceships zoom above where he stood and a hologram projection of an even more intimidating-looking alien face appears to stare right at Dave.

    Alien: "We've tracked the bomb that destroyed Sitraehehterehwsiemoh to this location. Are you the one who handled the bomb?"

    Dave: "I, er, that is to say--"

    Alien: "You should know that we, the Smurtmat-Repmet, are a race that instantly knows when anyone isn't telling the truth."

    Dave: "...yes?"

    The alien stares at Dave with piercing eyes. It looks side to side before throwing its arms in celebration.

    Alien: "Then you are our savior! The vile people of Sitraehehterehwsiemoh have been bombarding us with hand-stitched throw pillows and potluck invitations for at least three whole weeks! We shall forever worship you as a god among us, Oh Mighty...?

    Dave: "Dave, and what was that about pillows?"

    Before he could raise further questions or objections, though, the Smurtmat-Repmet abduct Dave into one of their spacecraft and speed off towards their home solar system. Dave sits rather perplexed in a lavish guest room, or he presumes it to be lavish, as it reminds him more of the sort of place that a toy shop and a torture chamber gave birth to.

    As Dave considers accepting his new life as god of an alien race, a blue policebox churns into existence before his eyes, sputtering and smoking slightly as it finishes solidifying. The doors open, and out steps a short-haired man in a leather jacket. When he speaks, he carries a distinctive Northern English accent.


    Man: "This isn't London... oh, hello! Pardon me, I'm the Doctor."

    Dave: "Doctor of what?"

    The Doctor: "Oh, I get asked that all the--actually, you asked something else, didn't you? I don't get that one as often. What are you doing on a Smurtmat-Repmet vessel, if I may ask? Don't you know they're a terribly violent species known for immolating their heroes as statues? They call it Davefication--OO-OO! Are you Dave? The Dave who is seated among the Thirteen Thrones? Oh, this is very exciting!"

    Dave: "What? Uh, yeah... about all you said, could you maybe hitch me a ride out of here? Back to Earth?"

    The Doctor: "Oh certainly! I was just heading to London when I had some malfunctions and--well, enough about that, right? Hop on in!"

    As Dave enters the blue police box AKA the TARDIS, he looks around the spacious interior.

    Dave: "It's, uh...not what I was expecting."

    The Doctor: "Yes, yes, it's bigger on the--"

    Dave: "It doesn't look very high-tech."

    The Doctor: "Oh. Well, looks aren't everything, you know?"

    Slamming a switch and twisting some knobs, the Doctor initiates the TARDIS to travel once more. Several of the Smurtmat-Repmet step in the room after it disappears, and sore from that moment on that all their heroes would be immortalized in a more permanent fashion.

    The Doctor: "London, here we come!"

    Sparks fly and more explosions erupts, shifting the two wildly in another direction. When the TARDIS finally gives out, the two step outside to see a primordial landscape.

    Dave: "Uh... if you don't mind me asking, have you been to London before?"

    The Doctor: "This is London alright. We're just off by a few billion years. Really, it's amazing we hit the mark when there's an Earth at all."

    Dave: "Are we... in the past?"

    The Doctor: "Did I forget to mention that my TARDIS travels through time too? Look, I admit, it's been a bit temperamental lately--"

    Dave: "Temperamental?!"

    The Doctor: "--and it's really not safe for humans like you to ride in it right now. I'm going to need to take it elsewhere to fix it, but I'll be back by tea-time, right? Right. Stay put then! I'll be back!"

    With that, The Doctor hops back into his TARDIS and disappears, leaving Dave alone on a violent, newly-formed Earth. Several hours pass by.

    Dave: "I don't think he's coming back."

    Out of existential boredom, Dave picks up a rock and begins to chisel "Dave was here" into the side of another rock. However, he only finished his name when two beings plummet into the Earth nearby him. Dave covers his head illogically in instinctual fear. When the dust clears, a man and a woman stand facing each other intently.

    Woman: "This time, Highemperor, I'll end you for sure!"

    Man/Highemperor: "You're good, Imeryn, but I'm better!"

    As the two begin to slug it out, realization slowly dawns on Dave.

    Dave: "Highemperor...? Oh right! Hey! Over here! I have something for you!"

    As he fumbles to get out the wallet, his one-track mind keeping him from considering the implications of interrupting such a battle, Highemperor and Imeryn struggle for dominance over each other.

    Dave: "Wait a minute... that's right."

    He quickly fishes out a few hundreds to shove into his own pocket. As dumb happenstance would have it, he now stands directly between Imeryn and Highemperor

    Imeryn: "Get out of the way!"

    As Dave raises his wallet-hand in offer, Imeryn aims to fire a blinding energy blast through Dave at Highemperor. Highemperor takes the distraction as an opportunity to teleport behind Imeryn for an attack. As she fires, the beam hits square on the wallet.

    (It should be noted here that, being the possession of a powerplayer's, the wallet happens to have powerplaying properties of its own, one of which is to amplify anything it touches. Designed to increase the amount of money it has, it also has the unintentional side-effect of reflecting damage in greater amounts.)

    The beam ricochets off the wallet and back at Imeryn amplified by magnitudes. Instinctively, she dodges to the side, and the beam hits Highemperor square in the chest. She stares in amazement as the attack, apparently from Dave, has critically injured her enemy. Growling, Highemperor sweeps his cape over him and disappears.

    Imeryn turns to Dave.


    Imeryn: "What was that all about?"

    Dave: "Uh... well, you see, I had business with that Highemperor guy, and--"

    Imeryn: "--you seek revenge against him too, don't you? By all accounts, you seem to be just another Joe Shmoe--"

    Dave: "Please don't call me that."

    Imeryn: "--and yet you took him down so easily. Tell me, how would you like to join me and my cabal as a fellow God-Monarch?"

    Dave: "Do you immolate your God-Monarchs?"

    Imeryn: "Why would we immolate--OH! You're Dave! Sorry, I didn't recognize you at first. I only knew you by reputation, you see. Come with me to Mega-Jonestown Prime. We have a lot to talk about!"

    She grabs Dave's not-wallet-holding hand.

    Dave: "Oh dear."

  3. #43
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow I'll Take the Lo Road, You Take the High Road.

    Lo: "Colour me disappointed..."

    She marches out of the alley with her hands on her hips, coat flipped out to the back. He boots make heavy clops with each step as the sound echoes up the alley walls.

    Zhuge: "I don't get told I'm a disappointment very often..."

    He slowly walks up the alley after her, curious. His talons pas almost silently, the slight click of his nails hitting the road.


    Lo looks at him as he appears at her side. She tips her tricord hat up from her brow and grins, displaying her prominent fangs.

    Lo: "Doesn't sound very humble of you."

    Zhuge: "Just honesty."

    Lo: "I thought I'd detected a device that I could use... instead I find a daft old buzzard."

    Zhuge: "My mindscape is not the easiest thing to detect, expect through very extenuating circumstances. What exactly would you use this supposed device for?"

    Lo: "Kidnap a guy and make him my *****!"

    Her grin widens further.

    Zhuge blinks several times before nodding slowly, turns around and walks away. She frowns and turns to look after him.


    Lo: "Where're you off to!?"

    Zhuge: "I am clearly not the device you are looking for..."

    He says without turning around.

    Lo: "But I'm thinking maybe you know something."

    Zhuge: "I definitely do not have any information that'll help you kidnap someone and, as you say, make them your... *****..."

    Lo chuckles and skips down the alley after him.

    Lo: "Why such a prude, eh?"

    Zhuge rolls his eyes.

    Zhuge: "I'm not a prude. I just don't condone kidnapping."

    He pauses.

    Zhuge: "Nor do I condone making someone your *****."

    She laughs again.

    Zhuge:
    "But I am annoyed that I have to, once again, move my home. I quite liked it here."

    Lo: "You know they have slaves here, right? Sounds like there's a lot of... *****es here."

    Zhuge:
    "Yes, but I tend to just watch people rather than interact with them. Seeing so many people doing whatever they do has been comforting."

    Lo: "Sounds like you're a lonely, lonely man."

    Zhuge: "It's best that way..."

    Lo:
    "Whoa. Hey. Don't go opening up to me, or anything. I don't want you crying on my shoulder!"

    Zhuge: "I shall refrain."

    Lo:
    "Okay, okay. Twist my arm, why don't you. Why do you like to be alone?"

    Zhuge just shakes his head.


    Lo:
    "What do you know of Highemperor?"

    She detects a momentary twitch in his animate beak but he masks it quickly.

    Zhuge: "Is this the ***** you are referring to?"

    Lo: "Absolutely."

    Zhuge:
    "Wouldn't you prefer... someone willing to be your *****?"

    Lo: "I guess you know then!"

    Zhuge: "I've had the displeasure. An entertaining man, but frustrating too. I see... I see a lot in him that concerns me."

    Lo: "I see a lot in him too. A lot that I want to possess."

    She smirks. It's a sly smirk that appears much too sinister. But to a anthropomorphic bird, any cat-like creature probably looks sinister at the best of times.


    Zhuge: "He's dangerous. Ambitious, powerful and unwilling to acknowledge the inevitable destiny that awaits his current ambitions..."

    Lo: "But if that current course were to be handcuffed to my bed day and night..."

    Zhuge tilts his head.

    Zhuge: "I... suppose..."

    She cheers and slaps her arm across his shoulders.

    Lo: "So we're best mates as of now, eh!? Do you know how to beat him? How to I get him on his knees?"

    Zhuge: "I might. But any method of defeating such a being as this requires patience. Extreme patience."

    Lo: "I've got loads of patience. What're we talking here? A week? A month?"

    Zhuge just groans and, instead, moves on to more information.

    Zhuge: "I also expect you couldn't do it alone..."

    Lo: "Pfft! You're helping me!"

    Zhuge: "I've all but renounced everything I once was. I'm willing to give you my wisdom but not my power."

    Lo: "Meh! Where's there's a will there's a way, right!?"

    Zhuge: "Yes. With help there's a way... but remember, if I help you design your schemes, my intent is to save this universe from him. Your whim is secondary."

    Lo: "Whim? I tell you, this is a burning passion of deep desire and yearning! I'd steal your knickers on a whim. I don't vow to make the most powerful man in the NeSiverse my husband on a whim."

    Zhuge: "...I don't wear knickers."

    Lo: "You kinky old bird."

    Zhuge: "No, I wear-- you're actually more annoying than he is."

    Lo: "But I'm the safe option, right? Remember, save the universe and all that crap?"

    He nods and moves away from her, staring vacantly at the ground as he aimlessly treads forth. He stops and looks up at the green sky.

    Zhuge: "I'm faring dangerously close to a life I wish to avoid at all costs."

    Lo: "Yeah. I'm getting that. But... isn't it worth it? You said he could destroy the NeSiverse..."

    Zhuge:
    "He could... so... is this universe worth the possibility of losing myself?"

    Lo: "Your single life versus the many, bird-brain. I mean. If it was my life, of course that's worth more than the billions upon billions of sentients beings of the NeSiverse. But yours? I'm just too many beautiful and talented."

    Zhuge almost laughs at her mocking vanity.

    Zhuge:
    "But are they worth caring about? That is the question. Life comes and goes..."

    Lo sidles up beside him again and points at the Orions out on the street beyond the alley.


    Lo: "You said yourself, you've been watching them. You're a lonely old man. Aren't they worth it for the company?"

    Zhuge: "You have a very unique way with words, has anyone told you?"

    Lo: "Yeah. Lots of times. Then I bash 'em with a magical hammer. It's great because it's imbued with a spell that means anything I hit actually heals instantly. The perfect murder! I can kill everyone without them actually dying. So they can't complain."

    Zhuge: "That's disturbing sadistic."

    Lo: "I did tell you how I wanna enslave my future husband, didn't I?"

    Zhuge:
    "Indeed..."

  4. #44
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Bride of Discharding, Council of Powerplayers

    Discharding is a relatively small universe sequestered into a lonely corner of the Deep Void. It is far away from the NeSiverse, in fact from most other universes.

    This does not stop its adventurous nobility from going out on safari to all manner of exotic locales through various cosms, however. Their civilization's reality-warping steampunk Engines(TM) enable all sorts of abilities for them that allow such sojourns with ease.

    In Discharding's capital city - a city of towering skyscrapers in Gothic and Victorian architecture, with lots of steampunky doodads tacked on and all manner of fashionable zeppelins drifting lazily above on clouds of steam - even more pomp and circumstance than usual is now going on.


    Ex-Marquis Rosslefot: I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.

    Highemperor kisses his newest queen, the daughter of the Grand Duke Diggleton, and the crowd of assembled nobles cheers. Grand Duke Diggleton himself comes up and takes off the sash of his office, proffering it to Highemp, who takes it reverently.

    Grand Duke Diggleton: I am past my titlespan, but due to our agnatic ways, I had no successor to pass my title onto - but you have proven worthy of my daughter's hand. Ladies and gentleman: the Highemperor of the High Empire, the new Grand Duke of House Diggleton, and my son-in-law!

    The crowd erupts wildly in more cheers. Highemp dances with his newest wife and mingles before sweeping her away in his flagship, the Quantum Pantheon.

    Queen Diggleton: My husband, your vessel is as magnificent on the inside as the outside!

    Highemp: Thank you, my bride! Just watch the view as we depart!

    The Quantum Pantheon zips through Discharding space towards the cosmic rim, and one of Highemp's underling powerplayers comes up.

    Kim: Well done, your majesty! You've got nearly the majority of Discharding electoral votes now, in one fell swoop!

    Queen Diggleton starts. Highemp facepalms.

    Highemp: Kim...

    Queen Diggleton: My lord! Do you mean to say that this is all a crafty plan to amass political influence in Discharding?

    Highemp: Well, er, ahem, that is--

    Queen Diggleton: That's bloody BRILLIANT!

    Highemp: It is?

    Kim: Of course it is! His Divine Majesty is the bestest!

    Queen Diggleton: I see that!

    She pats his cheek fondly. The vista outside changes to flaring light, then darkness as the Quantum Pantheon breaks out into the Deep Void between universes. Other universes are tiny specks of light and reality in the nothingness.

    Queen Diggleton: But according to Discharding tradition, once you live out your natural lifespan, you must pass on the title and electoral votes to our son, despite our immortality. It's simply not fashionable to do otherwise, and if you're not fashionable, you will lose much influence.

    Highemp: Well, it was fine for your father to hang onto it.

    Queen Diggleton: Because he had no sons, and succession in Discharding is agnatic.

    Highemp: Exactly. I'm... fixed... so I only have daughters.

    Queen Diggleton: :O

    Kim: Brilliant, eh?

    Queen Diggleton: Indeed! So I see your clever plan enables you to be almost the sole determinant of our Sovereign every fifty years.

    Highemp: Oh, that's only the beginning...

    Queen Diggleton: Do tell? Perhaps in the bedroom, this talk of cleverness and scheming is making me rather... hot.

    Highemp: Unfortunately, I prefer not to shag on this ship... QP is always watching.

    Queen Diggleton: QP?

    Highemp: This ship. The Quantum Pantheon. It's sentient.

    Queen Diggleton blushes.

    Queen Diggleton: Goodness me, that would be unseemly. Well, perhaps we should change topics for now, lest I become... undignified.

    Highemp: Of course, my queen. What would you like to discuss?

    Queen Diggleton: Where in the Deep Void is your capital?

    She waves her arm at the viewport. Highemp grins.

    Highemp: It's not.

    Queen Diggleton: But everything is in the Deep Void!

    Highemp: This is true.

    Queen Diggleton: Then how...?

    Highemp: There is more than merely 'everything'. More beyond the very concepts of 'all' that mere mortals can grasp. And even more beyond that level. Though universes are only islands in the dark sea of the Deep Void, the Deep Void itself is a mere mote in the incomprehensively vast ocean that is called 'Forever'. Well, the eggheads call it 'Anti-Existentessence', ever since the groundbreaking paper by Doctor Geb, the clone of a famous Storywielder.

    He is idly conjuring images to illustrate his words, and Queen Diggleton watches in awe.

    Queen Diggleton: You warp reality so easily, without the need for Engines(TM).

    Highemp preens.

    Highemp: I am a god, after all.

    Queen Diggleton: Just so, my lord! But why ANTI-Existentessence?
    [
    b]Highemp:[/b] Well, it's due to the suprafluctual hyperstate of its metanatural paradigm.

    His newest queen perks up with interest.

    Queen Diggleton: You mean it's a metassociative magimatical ultracube that-- Oh dear me, I'm getting all hot again.

    Kim just smiles and nods, having no idea what his emperor and his newest queen are talking about.

    Highemp: Anyway, we powerplayers did the impossible, and created a demiplane that actually exists outside Forever, orbiting its rim. That is our capital, Urbis Imperia.

    The Quantum Pantheon is hurtling at ever higher speeds, till it breaches the edge of the infinite Deep Void - a feat that by all rights should be impossible - and warps through a miasma that Queen Diggleton's mortal senses can only conceive of as bright colors. Shortly, the Quantum Pantheon arrives in the demiplanar city of Urbis Imperia, and the new queen gasps in awe.

    Queen Diggleton: It is even more impressive than Discharding!

    Six island mountains in a freshwater sea ring around a seventh, the tallest. Each is covered in marble and crystal spires, with gigantic arches and bridges connecting them.

    Highemp: The six smaller mountains are topped with temples dedicated to my council, the High Pantheon of the Throne. The central one is topped with our Stronghold of Powerplayers, my grand cathedral, and your new home.

    The Quantum Pantheon docks with the Stronghold, and Highemp carries his newest queen across the threshold, and begins whispering clever schemes seductively into her ear as he takes her to the odah.

    High above, in the tallest tower of the palatial citadel, there is a meeting of the 6 powerplayers who are the greatest, save for Highemp and Imeryn.


    Knightlord Thorn: I call this meeting to order.

    Entity #1: Our illustrious majesty isn't here yet.

    Entity #3: He's never here, always busy with his harem. If we waited for him all the time, we'd never get anything done.

    Entity #4: As it is, our conquests are almost painfully slow without him to direct and authorize strategy.

    Knightlord Thorn: Whoa, whoa, wait a second. Why are you all Entities now, instead of named?

    Entity #5: My narrative is in flux again.

    Entity #6: Yeah, mine too. Each new place we conquer brings fresh new ideas for my Mary Sue, so I'm sorting through that and remaking myself.

    Entity #1: Honestly, I'm surprised you're not in flux yourself, Thorn.

    Knightlord Thorn: I'm the Luminescence of a Thousand Dimensions, by definition I'm always in a sort of stable flux.

    Entity #3: Clever.

    Knightlord Thorn: I thought so.

    The doors swing up, and Highemperor strides in triumphantly from the stairwell.

    Highemp: By myself, that Discharding girl is a TIGRESS!

    Entity #4: Another satisfactory conquest, then?

    Highemp: Was there ever any doubt?

    Entity #4: I suppose not.

    [b]Entity #5:[b] I don't suppose you had any preliminary fun on QP.

    Highemp fixes Entity #5 with a steely gaze.

    Highemp: You are NOT getting any more porn of me.

    Entity #5: Aw

    Knightlord Thorn: If I may, we should look at our newly conquered areas, and which need consolidating.

    Entity #6: Bah, just reinforce them with a strong Legions presence, they'll sort things out. I'd rather get on with conquering more.

    Knightlord Thorn: It seems some of our appointed governors have been lax. Such as the one over Coaleeshion.

    Highemp: That name sounds familiar...

    Knightlord Thorn: It should. One of your nemeses comes from there. The imperial governor of that sector elevated the local nobility, gifting them with some of our crystal technology without sufficient training, and the result was a rebel godling who killed most of those nobility.

    Highemp: It's a backwater, even if Lo came from there. Send a single cruiser, that should be enough to pacify it. And fire that governor.

    Entity #1: Aw, can't we execute him?

    Highemp: You know how I feel about arbitrary executions.

    Entity #1: Yes, m'lord.

    Knightlord Thorn: Ordinarily I would agree that a single cruiser would be far more than sufficient to pacify a backwater outlier, but Coaleeshion's unique leashes offer a number of hidden refuges and escape routes--

    A crystal in a slot along the wall flashes brightly, with an accompanying beep.

    Highemp: What is it, Kim?

    The crystal projects a holographic image of the mentally challenged powerplayer, who speaks.

    Kim: The Sixteen Sisters of Serleria request... audience, my lord. They say it's been months since they've had, er, a conjugal visit.

    Highemp perks up eagerly, but Knightlord Thorn forestalls him with a raised hand.

    Knightlord Thorn: If I may be so bold, perhaps we should finish this meeting first? At least the highlights.

    Highemp: Oh very well.

    Kim gulps, blushing.

    Kim: Um, my lord, their message said to tell you they're ovulating.

    Highemp rushes out of the room before Knightlord Thorn can react. Thorn facepalms.

    Entity #5: The Sixteen Sisters of Serleria have a bit of an exhibitionist streak. Perhaps I can convince them to share some footage--

    Entity #3: Let's get back to matters at hand. If a single cruiser isn't enough for Coaleeshion, it can always request backup.

    Entity #4: Right, because no navitatex is too proud to admit it if he couldn't pacify a single backwater...

    Entity #3: Whatever. What should we conquer next?

    A few hours later, the council is deep into war strategy, when Highemp comes back in.

    Entity #1: Welcome back, my lord. We've just conquered a galaxy in the Jiexez universe. Tech level 6, magic level 9.

    Highemp: Awesomesauce! How big of a force did we need?

    Entity #1: Three gamma-sized task forces.

    Highemp: Bah, make it two next time.

    Knightlord Thorn: Feasible, but would take much longer, particularly with a galaxy that advanced.

    Highemp: Yeah, but we gotta prove how superior we are! Even a single cruiser can overwhelm an enemy fleet! And all that.

    Knightlord Thorn: One task force is remaining in said galaxy for consolidation purposes. Where should we send the other two?

    Highemp: I was thinking--

    There is another flash and beep from the communications crystal, and Highemp looks at it.

    Highemp: What is it, Kim?

    Kim: It's the Arithmancy Guild. They're contributing to the codification of imperial magitech principles, and request audience for your esteemed input.

    Highemp: Send them in!

    Several figures in mage robes and shaved heads shuffle in, bearing thick tomes and recording crystals. They bow and scrape obsequiously.

    Highemp: Rise, my friends. Yours is a noble profession.

    Arithmancer: Thank you, your most divine majesty! Though we have nearly completed our compilated mathemagical principles for the Codex Imperius, we are divided as to which is the most sacred and powerful of numerals, the one that takes precedence over all others as the most mystical.

    Knightlord Thorn: Seven, obviously. Many universes, including Urbis Imperia, took seven periods of time to create, or consist of timelines divided into seven eras. It's also the number of this High Pantheon plus his divine majesty.

    Entity #1: I disagree. Three is a great number of trinities and tribunals and triforces.

    Entity #3: Duality is more essential than three. And one more essential than that!

    Entity #6: One could argue that zero is the most essential of all, but I say twelve is the most mystical.

    Entity #4: I say four.

    Entity #1: Because you're totally not biased by your given Entity numbering.

    Entity #5: You're all wrong! It's totally 69!

    There is an awkward silence.

    Entity #5: Er, I mean five. I heard Highemperor say he liked that number a while ago.

    The arithmancer coughs delicately.

    Arithmancer: Would his most divine majesty be willing to settle things?

    Highemp: Of course! Those are all powerful numbers - except perhaps 69--

    Everyone pointedly looks away from Entity #5.

    Highemp: --but the greatest is 25!

    The powerplayers look at him with interest.

    Knightlord Thorn: Why 25? I've never heard of that having any mystical significance before, except to the gods of penguins and the concept of left.

    Highemp: 25 is the ultimate synthesis of the greatest numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 12. Take the digits, 2 and 5. Those are two of the numbers right there. Then add and subtract them. Five minus two is 3, and five plus two is 7. Twenty-four (which is two 12s) plus one is 25. Twelve plus twelve plus one. And twelve itself is 4 times 3.

    The other powerplayers are stunned by his genius. Although perhaps only powerplayers would consider that crazy logic to be genius.

    Highemp: Shut up, Eternius!

    Arithmancer: My lord! Truly we are in awe of your boundless wisdom! We shall enter it into the Codex!

    The comm crystal beeps again. At Highemp's reply, Kim's image is projected again.

    Kim: Your majesty, Harem Queen #87 requests a conjugal visit.

    Highemp: I'm there! Did I say 25 was the best? I meant 87!

    And then he is gone, leaving the arithmancers to shuffle out in some confusion, with a new debate over the merits of 25 versus 87.

    Entity #5: Wow, he just raced to her. She didn't even have to say she was ovulating.

    Knightlord Thorn: She is one of his favorites. Was the first love of his youth, before being tragically murdered by a terrible villain.

    Entity #4: Oooh, nice narrative!

    Knightlord Thorn: Happily, he resurrected her when he ascended to the throne of the Stronghold of Powerplayers. He was unshackled from his angst when his incarnate Potential was killed far away.

    Entity #1: Little misogynist though. His first love, yet she has no name, only a number?

    Entity #5: Less misogyny and more following a humorous pattern set down by the traditions of his narrative origin!

    Knightlord Thorn: Regardless, it is somewhat misogynistic, but let's be real - he already has a harem of loyal loving wives who are devoted to him; just giving them all unique names isn't going to make it any less misogynistic.

    Entity #3: And Captain Lo, from the pantheon of our adversaries, has a harem of devoted male lovers! So there!

    Entity #1: Blatant misandry doesn't make blatant misogyny okay!

    Entity #5: And yet you've shagged Highemp. Several times.

    Entity #1: Well, I-- wait, how do you know that? Were you taping us???

    Entity #5: Er... would it help if I said no?

  5. #45
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Kavili Pt 1

    Litiks Map and Rjingi wade out of the ocean. Map turns to wave back to Ishvat, who had carried them across the ocean to the isles that once belonged to Kavili, the Absent God. She wiggles her tails above the water, much to the embarrassment of Map and the keen interest of Rjingi. She's then gone, dipping beneath the waves and the two litiks turn to the island they find themselves on.

    Unlike the tropical climes of the Jaravinjia Isles, The Absent Isle is much cooler and the trees are evergreens that stand tall and thick. A clear stone path leads away from the pebble beach and the two of them follow it, shaking their wet boots as they went. The sky is purple with the evening sun dipping below the horizon. Brethrain is towering above them, its great storms visible to the naked eye.

    There's a pleasant haze of water hanging on the air that relaxes the two Indran's muscles and soothes their skin. It's quite a relief after bathing in salt water for so long. As they emerge from the trees and into a clearing they can see the mountain-bowl that makes Loch Kavili. It towers up until its absent peak is evident. High above the bowl is a halo shaped ring of thick, white cloud caused by the ever-evaporating water of the lake. The cloud rains the same water back down into the hot lake water.

    Litik Map: "This is going to be great!"

    Litik Rjingi: "We're not alone, Map. Look."

    He nudges Map and points towards a few Indrans that are planting a new tree. They head over to the nayaraks, who don't even notice the litiks until they're almost upon them.


    Litik Rjingi: "Well met."

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "Well met, litiks. I'm Nayarak Poyi."

    Rjingi introduces them both and Poyi introduces the other nayaraks he's with. He takes a break from their work and comes over to talk with the visitors. He tugs off heavy gardening gloves and tosses them towards the pile of tools they have resting nearby.

    Litik Rjingi: "What're you doing here? Planting trees?"

    Nayarak Poyi: "Conservation project. Trying to rescue public lands from deterioration. Loch Kavili gets little love considering so few actually live here. So we've volunteered to help clean the place and add some plantlife here and there. We were cleaning out the lake yesterday."

    Litik Map: "Was it really that dirty?"

    He looks worried but the nayarak just smiles.

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "Not really no. Just some rubbish left by tourists here and there. It's pretty much all cleaned up now. No worries. We were bathing in there all night."

    Map throws his arms into the air and his cheer draws the temporary chuckles from the nayaraks.

    Nayarak Poyi: "You're from Kamal?"

    He looks at Rjingi's emblem.

    Nayarak Poyi: "We've heard the rumours. Are you here searching for answers?"

    Rjingi nods solemnly.


    Litik Rjingi:
    "We were tasked here by Maharashtak. We'll be going up to Loch Kavili to seek answers."

    Nayarak Poyi points down the stone path.

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "If you head down that path you'll be there in two minutes. There's a kara on duty outside."

    Litik Rjingi:
    "On duty? Aren't people allowed in?"

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "Oh, it's nothing like that! You just have to take your shoes off."

    He points to their boots.

    Litik Map: "Oh right! Kavili was said to have the most beautiful feet in all of Indra. So I guess we honour that by showing off our own feet, huh?"

    Poyi shrugs.

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "No idea. The kara says do it so we do it. I've never been up on history. But do you think, when you're done, you could come and talk to us? We're dying for answers here. We're all on edge. I hate to think we're conserving this place for no reason..."

    Litik Rjingi: "Could be a while... tell you what. I'll stay here a while and tell you what we know. Map, you can go up ahead of me. Okay?"

    Map shrugs.


    Litik Map:
    "Fine by me! Your loss! I get to jump in the lake first!"

    Rjingi just rolls his eyes and watches Map skip down the path towards the mountain-bowl. The trees grow more sparse the closer he gets and, eventually, he hits rocky terrain. There, cut into the side of the former mountain is a cave with torches marking the entrance. He walks inside and admires the attempts to make the hard rock more accommodating with murals and lights. He follows the corridor along until he sees the end and a little gate barring his path. On the gate is a little bell. He jingles it.


    Kara Fahran:
    "Right here, little boy."

    Map turns, startled, to his right to see the old kara slumped on a stool. He looks tired. His data-mould hovers by his ear and, to Map, looks widely active. Map supposes the man must spend much of his days in virtual space with little to do but guard this gate and watch shoes.

    Litik Map slips off his boots without needing to be asked.


    Kara Fahran:
    "Thank you. Just leave them there. I'll take care of them for you."

    Litik Map:
    "Many boot thieves up here?"

    Kara Fahran:
    "You're a funny one, are you?"

    Litik Map:
    "I'm wondering if there's a shrine to artefacts of Kavili here?"

    Kara Fahran: "Yep. Follow the path to the right to find the museum. To the left you'll get to the loch itself."

    Map looks right. He should probably check them out first... but...

    He turns left and hurries up the path, circling around the mountain wall until he reaches the very top. There he finds a diving board has been placed as well as stairs. He hops down the board and bounces into the air before belly-flopping the warm lake water with a tremendous splash. The sky is dark now and the light orbs, dangling from poles, illuminate the area. He's all alone in the warmth of the lake as he swims about. The romantic air gets to him and he feels giddy but relaxed and completely at ease. The haze of warm rain trickles down on his head as he breaststrokes in a circle.

    He sees a seating area built into the lake where he can sit in the water and look up at a statue of Kavili. She stands tall and proud, six arms raised and each holding up a different object. One hand there's a hammer. Another hand there's a sword. Another there's a book. Another there's an ancient data-mould.

    Her last two arms are on her hips.


    He knows the statue is recent because Kavili was long gone before data-moulds were invented but he supposes it's the meaning that is important here, not the history of it. Kavili was largely the god of smithing and planning. Producing the documents to develop and plan and design new artefacts and tools. While Jitarayara creates large machines, Kavili created tools. Mostly Jitarayara has taken on the burden of Kavili's expertise for himself but all say her artefacts were like no other. She was also the governor of literacy. Not the kind of arcane knowledge of Trijara, but the practical skill of writing and tasking things down. Creating plans and designs.

    Map sits and looks up at her. He feels a wave of dizziness begin to envelop him and, for a brief moment, he remembers why litiks aren't supposed to travel alone--


    ---

    He feels his skin crawl but he pushes and kicks his way through the miasma of the Other Plane. He worries about what is happening in the real world but he cannot escape the vision manually. He has to just blindly hope any demon that slipped into reality wound up in the lake and couldn't swim.


    As the thick soup of the Other Plane washes off of his skin he sees the blackness of space. He knows where he is. He's not just in a vision - he's in the 8th Realm, the Unwritten Realm. Here he should be able to seek out the future, seek it out like it's a storyboard. He knows what he wants. When an image of a growing tree creeps towards him he mentally tries to force it back. He doesn't want to know about a new tree growing. He must see her. The red-woman.

    The tree dissolves and is replaced, again, by space. Then he sees something. A ring. A halo. He sees Brethrain. He sees the gods. All of them. He sees a woman in the centre of the halo. She has bright red skin but he cannot sees anything more clearly than that. She seems to be curled into a foetal position, as though she's in pain or protecting herself. He cannot keep the image. It hurries from him, as though stolen by someone else. He tries to follow it but he becomes distracted by the sight of another future vision.


    He watches with confusion. He knows that the visions are not visions of what will be but what might be. But he has never heard of visions of a future that could have been...


    He sees Pesu, his skeletal form watching a large machine that Map is sure Jitarayara must have built. Inside the machine Map can see biological samples in containers. And inside is a kara. The kara turns--


    ----

    Litik Map: "Kara Pashna!"

    He falls face-first into the lake but is dragged out again by an old but steady head.


    Kara Fahran: "Sorry, it's Kara Fahran, little boy. Lucky I was here to beat the living daylights outta that demon before he sank his teeth into ya."

    Map stares up at the old kara, uncomprehending.

    Litik Map: "But I saw... He's dead but I saw him..."

    Kara Fahran: "I think the heat has gotten to you. Come on, let's get you out of the loch. We'll sit you down in the museum..."

  6. #46
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Kavili Pt 2

    Litik Map looks up at a carving in the wall, probably the oldest depiction of Kavili and yet still not within her lifetime upon the planet. It's quite detailed and by no means any kind of simple cave-painting. An expert craftsman must have buried their chisel into this rock - creating a wonderful bust of thew god. Time has softened the rivets and the colours have faded a lot. The white of eyes is completely gone while the body is now pink, probably once red or purple. She only has two arms in this bust carving and they're both raised above her head, palms together.

    Below her carving is a display case and Map sits opposite them with a thin towel thrown over his shoulders. He's dropped his armour on the floor and sits there, half-musing and half-sulking. He doesn't understand the visions he had and he's annoyed that he couldn't control The Unwritten Realm better.


    Kara Fahran:
    "Was there a specific artefact you were looking for, little boy?"

    Litik Map: "No. I was sort of hoping I'd just see something useful and know..."

    The old kara sweeps his hand over the display case.


    Kara Fahran:
    "Well, here you are. See away."

    Map sniffs, unhappy that he's going to have to move. He wiggles his dry toes and glances down at his bare feet. The rock of the crater is warm from the volcanic currents under the earth. The volcano has lain in this state ever since Kavili left the planet, slowly turning to dormancy and yet clinging to the barest semblance of its former life. Dotted around the museums are small foot-pools, filled with water to help Indrans keep their feet from becoming dangerously dry. For now he's fine. He gets up and totters over to the display case, holding the big towel over his shoulders tightly. His skin-tighter undergarments are enough to preserve his modesty with just him and the old kara - not that Map has much modesty.


    He looks down into the case. It has an incredibly thin layer of sutade to protect the artefacts from air damage. The artefacts all appear very unusual. Talismans, magical gadgets, a knife, a handkerchief, a jug. He has no idea what any of them do or if they're useful. He points to a compass and Kara Fahran looks down at it.


    Kara Fahran:
    "This compass will show you your heart's desire. It won't lead north, just to whatever it is you desire most."

    Litik Map: "That sounds useful! Maybe that would help!"

    Kara Fahran: "Yeah..."

    He reaches into the sutade, much to Map's surprise, and takes the compass out. He waggles it and then taps it against the wall, horrifying Map.

    Kara Fahran:
    "It ain't nothing but a replica, see? It was stolen centuries ago. Bugger knows where the real one is. Probably buried in some tomb somewhere."

    He puts it back.

    Kara Fahran: "In fact, sorry to say, they're all replicas. There's not a single true artefact to be found in all of Indra. Sorry to disappoint you. It has been... a long time since Kavili was here, you know? The last true artefact was the jug. It would forever fill up with blueberry-ade. She made it for a kara that refused to drink anything but the stuff. Unfortunately the real one was used at a party two hundred years ago - topping up their punch I think. Someone wound up smashing it over the head of a rival love interest, I think. Such a shame..."

    Map sighs.

    Litik Map:
    "So our journey here was wasted..."

    Kara Fahran: "Seems so!"

    Map grimaces.

    Litik Map: "You know, you're not very kara-like. Where's my sage advice?"

    The old man shrugs.


    Kara Fahran:
    "Always remember to brush your teeth."

    Map whines up at the carving.


    Kara Fahran:
    "She's not going to help you now. The only person who might know where is she is Opantid. She watches the stars and guides the planet through the cosmos."

    Map looks at him dubiously.


    Kara Fahran: "Hey. The planet's still here, isn't it? No cosmic disasters? Have more faith in your gods, whippersnapper!"

    Litik Map: "Whipp-- Who actually says that? Either way they also say that Opantid is the god of madness. I really don't want to have my brains sucked out through a straw, thanks."

    Kara Fahran: "What our simple minds perceive as madness could be the work of a mind so vast that we cannot comprehend it."

    Litik Map: "Yes. I've read plenty of papers saying. I've also read plenty of papers saying she's just plain bonkers."

    Kara Fahran: "Well then. Sit here and whine instead."

    He shuffles off and Map wonders how in the world such an old kara was able to defeat a demon so readily. Clearly the old sod is more than he looks. Map almost imagines the man is probably running laps around the place when nobody is looking.

    Map shuffles after the kara, lifting up his light-weight armour as he goes - keeping his towel up with one hand.

    Kara Fahran: "The only way to reach Opantid is to take the resonator."

    Litik Map: "I didn't say I was going."

    Kara Fahran: "Of course you're going."

    Litik Map whines.

    They reach the gate and Map starts to put his armour back on. The last thing are his boots. Fahran stops him from putting them on and nudges him back over the threshold. Then he gives him the boots.

    Map decides not to grumble and finishes getting dressed. Once in his armour he feels better, more capable. Going to visit the God of Madness. All in a day's work!


    Kara Fahran: "Good luck. Don't go mad."

    Litik Map glowers at him.

    Litik Map: "Yeah. I'll try that. Good luck catching boot thieves."

    With that little banter the litik leaves.


    ----

    Litik Rjingi looks pensive and this makes Map feel more confident. Seeing someone else worrying so much always makes Map feel like he's braver than they are. He rocks back on the balls of his feet as they wait.

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "I hope you know what you're doing."

    Litik Rjingi:
    "Hardly. I think we must be a bit mad to even consider going. And to use the resonator..."

    Litik Map: "I'm sure Jitarayara will watch over us. It was built by him after all."

    Litik Rjingi: "He and Kavili. And Kavili is gone. Nobody watches this thing. Nobody maintains it. Do you know how many have been lost riding it?"

    Nayarak Poyi: "More people die from food poisoning..."

    Litik Map:
    "See!? We'll be fine!"

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "And cancer. And drowning... stabbing--"

    Litik Rjingi:
    "Okay, okay. We get it. Thank you Poyi."

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "It'll be worth it if you save the planet."

    Litik Map: "What do you mean if? We will!"

    Nayarak Poyi:
    "Two litiks riding the resonator to find answers from the God of Madness... not the most confidence-inducing tale..."

    There's a low throbbing sound and they all stand away from the clearing. They look up to see a pinprick in the sky, getting larger and larger. The sound becomes louder and louder. Map winces and plants his hands over his ears.

    The box hurtles down, suddenly, as the sound vanishes and crashes straight into the sand - sending the fine yellow grains in their direction. Coughing and spluttering the three of them emerge from the copse to stare at the box. It's big enough for the two litiks, at least. Rjingi shakes his head.


    Nayarak Poyi:
    "You're going to die when the world blows up anyway. You may as well die saving us all."

    Litik Rjingi:
    "I don't see you getting into the box!"

    Litik Map:
    "Stop being such pessimists! It'll be fine! I trust Jitarayara!"

    Map tugs at a handle on the door and it flips open. He half falls in, the box being bedded in the sand, and Rjingi carefully tries to climb into it. As soon as they are in lights sparkle to life and the low throbbing sound starts again. They realise that within the resonator the sound isn't as strong. Outside, however, Poyi has his hands clamped to his ears. Then he's gone. The whole island is gone and there's nothing but the night sky.


    Litik Map plasters his face against the glass to gaze down at the land whizzing below them.

    Litik Map: "If we die now, at least it'd be awesome!"

    Litik Rjingi:
    "Don't jinx us, idiot!"

    Litik Map: "You get narky when you're scared."

    Litik Rjingi: "I'm not scared..."

    Map looks at him.


    Litik Rjingi:
    "I'm friggin' terrified!"

  7. #47
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Neutered

    Back at Urbis Imperia Knightlord Thorn stomps into the palatial citadel, distracted by the many statues of Highemeperor that leer down at him from their numerous perches. He enters one of the far wings of the palace and finds his quarry, sitting on a bed and sulking to himself. Knightlord Thorn eyes the big cone around Kim's head.

    Kim looks up at Thorn with big, teary eyes.


    Kim: "Did you bring some?"

    Thorn holds out the bag he's carrying. It contains ice cream from the Ice Cream Universe that the High Empire conquered a long time ago. After all, ice cream is obviously an essential resource for any empire. Kim pops open the tub and struggles to get the spoon to his face without knocking the cone.


    Knightlord Thorn:
    "Why was this ordered?"

    Kim sulks again.


    Kim: "It's not my fault. One of the boss's wives was in heat and I was there and she-- she-- grabbed me!"

    Knightlord Thorn: "Usually he powergames that his wives are all dutiful and will only sleep with him..."

    Kim: "I guess the universe decided to play a joke on me then because she did. And no sooner did she than he burst in through the wall and sent me... sent me... to the vet..."

    Knightlord Thorn folds his arms and shakes his head.

    Knightlord Thorn:
    "Probably for the best anyway, Kim. Any children you produced would be infernally annoying."

  8. #48
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Opantid

    The courtyard of the Sanctum of Madness is massive, far larger than the building itself warrants. The resonator had crashed into the dirt there, holes all over the gardens indicating the many times the vehicle has landed here. The two litiks scrambled out of the thing as quick as they could. After the thing had taken off again and left them alone they were able to survey the courtyard in all of its desolation.

    Much of the earth is untamed, with plants growing wherever they please. The soil is only sprinkled, occasionally, with grass of flowers - mostly it's just upturned, black mud. The trees that usually border each patch of soil are gnarled and and are overgrown. The trees themselves are the wallowing trees, known to exist only on mountains. They have thick trunks and long, arching branches from which long stems hang with hundreds of leaves to create a curtain of dark green. These long stems, however, are often moving, groping. Not dangerous to animals, they latch onto rock and cling to it for protection against the winds. Though harmless, they are certainly creepy.


    Having travelled forward a time zone, the sky is now brightening again with morning's approach. The two men walk through the quiet garden, the silence only broken by the howl of wind across the mountaintop.

    Then there is another sound. A roar like thunder. They look up as something red and long streaks overhead - a machine of some kind.


    Litik Rjingi: "Is that it!? Is that the machine from space?"

    They watch in horror as the ship twirls around the mountaintop, as though taunting them. It then rockets off. Litik Map runs to one of the thin, tall window holes and watches as the ship zips along the ocean below the mountain.

    Litik Rjingi: "Are we out of time, do you think?"

    Rjingi comes up behind Map and leans over him to watch.

    Litik Rjingi:
    "How can we communicate to her?"

    Litik Map: "Could the red woman be a metaphor for that ship, do you think?"

    Litik Rjingi shrugs, bewildered.

    Litik Rjingi: "Maybe! I never saw that ship in my vision..."

    Litik Map: "I thought you all saw a ship?"

    Litik Rjingi:
    "We did. But it wasn't that one. The one we saw was... much bigger."

    Litik Map: "Then maybe this is the herald?"

    Opantid:
    "So space is here / I'll hide my tear..."

    Map squeals in fright while Rjingi whips around and his staff appears in his hand. The god looks down at them. Her head is massive compared to her relatively smaller body. Her head is encased with a big, metal helmet that reminds Rjingi of the helmets ancient warriors would wear. Her face is bloated, puffed out cheeks and squinted eyes, but her body is that of a haggard old crone wearing a very plain, white dress that drags along the floor, caked in soil and dirt. Her voice booms deep and resonant but constantly rhyming in poetry.

    Opantid: "Do not be afraid / You have travelled far / I did not forbade / And now this space car... / I see danger is coming here / From across the stars we should fear."

    The poetry is annoying but Rjingi understands quickly, while Map is struggling with the first few lines.

    Litik Rjingi: "That's why we've come here, Lady Madness. We seek wisdom. We thought you may help us understand the universe, tell us of Kavili and help us thwart this danger."

    Opantid: "Kavili rests in peace / Gone from this plane / Her body is a fleece / She appears tame..."

    Even Rjingi has trouble with that one. He assumes Opantid believes that Kavili is dead, or gone from reality. The truth of Opantid has forever been shrouded in rumour and confusion with her poetry, many interpreting her words in different ways. Many believe, however, that her huge head contains an entire Multiverse - universe-upon-universe within that one god's head and she is master of them all. How she must appear in those universes, if they exist, is beyond Rjingi's scope. She may well be some invisible force, or will, within those realities. Trying to have a presence in this universe, while maintaining a Multiverse in her head, leaves little wonder that she doesn't always speak sense. She considers existence to be madness, albeit a structured madness. Most people believe she, herself, is mad and while probably true, they mistake her intentions.

    Litik Rjingi: "I don't quite follow you, Lady Madness. Maybe you can tell us about the invader?"

    A sudden moment of clarity sweeps over the courtyard.

    Opantid: "Which one?"

    ---

    Across the land cults are rising up as desperation sets in. Rumours are rife and the people are in a state of panic. More and more litiks have predicted the end of the world and the governments are at a loss. The gods are pleaded to constantly but no answers stand.


    In the Apojiva Valleys Nari, the Duke of Attallaj, has called for a conference meeting of the local valley rulers - both those that remained loyal to him and his rule and those that defected and declared their independence. Now is not the time for personal rule because soon there may be nothing to rule.

    He doesn't expect them all to attend. Some will refuse from fear of a plot and some will refuse out of spite. Nari stands in the Ziggurat of Pesu and awaits the last of the ambassadors and rulers to arrive. Finally, he starts the meeting.

    Nari:
    "My fellows, we stand at a precipice. There are litiks and karas across the world trying to save our planet, but, with the advice of Lord Pesu, I have created a contingency option..."

    One man, Kiaan Ackbar, shrugs with astonishment.

    Ackbar: "And tell me why I should trust a single word you say. You tried to have my own son, an innocent boy, murdered by your beloved Lord Pesu. I don't think you, nor he, has any right to demand anything of us."

    Nari:
    "Lord Pesu decided to punish you. Whether you believe he has the right to do so or not is irrelevant. Right now that chapter in our disagreement is over. If you want to argue with me, berate me, condemn me, or even kill me, then you can attempt it once this crisis is over. We may never have the chance. The world is doomed, according to litiks. We have to ensure that some part of us lives on, beyond this world..."

    The counts, dukes and barons are shocked by this proclamation.

    Ackbar: "How--!?"

    Nari turns as someone enters the room from a side alcove. The kara comes in pushing a cart, atop of which are several vials usually used in medicine.

    Ackbar:
    "K-K-Kara--!"

    Kara Pashna:
    "You are welcome, Kiaan. I hope young Teala is well?"

    He reaches them and, for a moment, nobody speaks.


    Ackbar:
    "Pesu... he resurrected you after all?"

    Pashna nods.

    Kara Pashna: "Sorry that it was kept a secret from you. Soon after a visit from my Lord Jitarayara, Lord Pesu brought me back and our work began. We are searching for biological samples so that your DNA may be replicated on another, habitable world. The hope is, even with our planet gone, our gods may find a new world to settle and promote our species' return. Here I can take your blood and, from that, perhaps we can be returned."

    Instantly talk breaks out, some shouting, one man cries.

    Kara Pashna: "I know it's a lot to take in. But this may be our only choice. Jitarayara has already created a craft as quickly as he possibly could. Everything is in place. I have blood samples of over three thousand people already stored aboard it. Most samples are from Indrakata, but I'm trying to ensure I get blood from every nation possible - better to ensure genetic diversity--"

    Ackbar: "For repopulation... is this truly happening...?"

    Pesu: "It is..."

    They turn to see the skeletal figure of Pesu flicker into existence like a glitching sprite of a computer game. He points towards the cart, commanding that they perform their duty. Nobody questions him now.

  9. #49
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Brethrain

    Ovai stands tall, erect and white against the afternoon of the two Ovai Valleys. The tower remains silent now, with the revelries of the past months now gone. The air is cool and much drier than previous months, not the kind of conditions most Indrans would appreciate.

    Standing upon the tip of Ovai, leaning against the wooden railings, is Kara Pashna. He taps one of his boots against the red-painted wood of the floor as he grows increasingly nervous. He taps his data-mould again, testing the signal strength. It's clear.

    In the sky Brethrain is crossing the sky again. It makes several journeys across the sky a day, its longest is during the night so it can provide more light. Now, however, is one of the most magnificent times of the year - a visual of Brethrain himself. Up there the planet rotates to finally reveal the face of Brethrain. Two swirls to mark his eyes and a curled line to resemble a mouth.


    Few can hear the god, only those with data-moulds or similar cybernetics can hope to hear his voice through the radiowaves. And now it comes through loud and clear. It sounds through the static noise of the device, fogged up by the atmosphere of Indra, but Pashna can understand it.


    Brethrain:
    "It is good that you live, Kara Pashna."

    Kara Pashna: "I would agree but I think I'm biased."

    Brethrain: "Pesu overstepped."

    Kara Pashna: "I think he knows that now."

    Brethrain:
    "The aliens are nearby. I see their ship. You should be able to signal them now."

    Pashna switches the frequency to what Brethrain said was an open channel and sends out a message. Brethrain had already guided Pashna in reconfiguring the device so that it would translate into a language Brethrain assured him they would understand. As the god of science, Brethrain's attributes often aided Karas that served other gods like Jitarayara or Trijara. Brethrain himself has no karas, no litiks, no nayaraks. No temples, no shrines. He needs none for he gazes down upon all of Indra once a year and all can know him.

    Kara Pashna: "I am a Kara on this world. I would like to welcome the aliens to our planet. I am atop of the great white tower in your vicinity. I'm sending you a map through your navigation software. There should be enough room for you to land your space machine here."

    He pauses.

    Kara Pashna: "I mean ship. Your space ship."

    He rolls his eyes, annoyed that he fluffed his lines in his opening speech. Brethrain sends him reassuring vibes through the data-mould, emotions pouring into Pashna's brain. After a moment the planet speaks;

    Brethrain: "They are coming."

    Pashna removes himself towards the entrance to the rooftop, ensuring ample room for the space ship to land. It comes roars overhead and swirls around the tower, probably inspecting it, before it comes to a hover overhead and gently descends. It's long and red and as it comes down small unfurl to allow the ship to stand upon the wood. Pashna was a little concerned the wood wouldn't be able to support the machine but Brethrain assured him it would and Ovai himself seemed unconcerned by the prospect.

    When the ship has landed the hatch hisses as the interior normalises with the outside before it cracks open. He sees two women. The first to get out is red-skinned with long white fabric upon her head. Her eyes are black with a thin ring of pink and she wears a dress of silver. She looks very unkempt, her dress is wet and dirty and she's covered in sand. Pashna has never seen anything like this creature, could never have even imagined it. The fabric on her head seems genetic, not a hat, and her black eyes are the opposite to the blank white eyes of the gods and litiks. She doesn't look very happy.

    Behind her comes a much shorter alien, this one has blue skin and, like the red one, has strange fabric on her head that resembles bark from a tree. She's neat and clean, unlike the red one. It's the blue one that sees him first as she points straight at him and speaks in an alien language to the red one. Pashna steps forward, trying to hold in his nerves, and speaks.


    Kara Pashna: "Hello--"

    His voice quakes and cracks. Embarrassed he clears his throat and tries again.


    Kara Pashna:
    "I'm Kara Pashna. It is an honour to meet with you."

    He bows his head. He's not sure how these aliens greet each other but he figures kowtowing to them, as he would Trijara or Pesu, would be unnecessary.

    The red woman looks at something attached to her forearm. At first Pashna thinks she's blatantly ignoring him but then he realises the object must be a device. Perhaps something akin to his data-mould. He waits and hears her gabble to her friend.


    Red Woman:
    "English English English English..."

    While his ears record nothing but babble, his data-mould, thanks to the wisdom of Brethrain, now translates the language into Indran;

    Red Woman:
    "He says says his name is Kara Panda and he's happy to see us."

    He winces at the pronunciation of his name but decides to let it slide for now.


    Blue Girl: "At least he's friendly. He's got a technological device like that other one so if he tries anything--"

    She snaps her fingers and Pashna's face grows extra cold as his blood slips away in fright. He tries to gather his courage.

    Kara Pashna:
    "Are you saying that you have met others on Indra? If you don't mind my asking?"

    The red woman narrows her eyes at the device on her arm and glances up at him. She keeps her eyes on him as she speaks to her friend.

    Red Woman:
    "I think he can understand us."

    He nods and taps his data-mould.

    Kara Pashna: "This is translating your words for me. So please..."

    He looks at the blue girl.

    Kara Pashna: "Don't do anything to it. Or me."

    Red Woman: "He says don't hurt him."

    The blue girl smiles sweetly, yet behind it he senses something less than pleasant.

    Blue Girl: "I won't do anything to you if you're nice to me!"

    Pashna gulps.

    Red Woman: "My name's Clear. This is Kimleigh."

    Kara Pashna: "Kimneigh."

    Clear: "Close enough."

    Kimleigh: "Hey!"

    Clear: "I don't suppose you know where I can get a change of clothes? I got into a fight with some punks on a beach and now I look a mess."

    Pashna's eyes widen with surprise and concern.

    Kara Pashna: "Someone attacked you!?"

    Clear: "Yeah. It's okay though. You should see the other guy!"

    Pashna looks at her mangled dress and purses his lips. He hadn't expected a change of clothes to be in order. He thinks quickly.


    Kara Pashna: "Well. Erm. I could take you to a hotel? It's very close. There you can wash and I can try to get you some new clothes?"

    Clear looks at her wrist device and frowns.

    Clear: "He wants us to go to a hotel. Says he'll bring clothes."

    Kimleigh: "Not sure it's safe to go leaving our ship behind."

    Kara Pashna:
    "It'll be very safe up here! Ovai will lock his doors."

    Clear: "I think he says the owner of the tower will lock the door."

    Kimleigh: "Okay. But if someone tries to go for a joyride in my joyride, I'll be pissed."

    Clear: "You remember it's my ship, don't you?"

    The two enter into a dialogue that Pashna finds difficult to follow but he sweeps his arm towards the door and exit of the Big Ovai Pagoda.


    Brethrain: "Well done, Kara."

    He looks up toward the planet.

    Kara Pashna: "Thank you!"

    He looks down to find the two women staring at him.

    Clear: "Did you just thank the moon?"

    Kara Pashna nods slowly, unsure how to progress with this line of conversation.

    Kara Pashna:
    "Yes. Well. I said thank you to the god Brethrain. You can see him there."

    He motions to the planet's face. Clear squints at it.

    Clear: "Your god is the moon?"

    Kara Pashna: "Yes."

    Clear: "He has a moustache?"

    Pashna blinks. He has no idea what that word is supposed to mean.

    Kimleigh: "What's wrong with a god having a moustache? Leave him to his religion."

    The two women enter into a debate about moustaches, the pros and cons, none of which Pashna can follow. Instead he just leads them down through the tower to the streets below. As they exit, Ovai closes his doors and seals them up. The woman seem concerned that the doors closed but they just shrug and continue to follow him.

    He might have walked the journey, it isn't far, and introduced them to Ovai Major's streets and people. But Clear looks like she needs to rest and so he hails a taxi. An imp waddles over quickly and the two women stare at it.


    Kara Pashna:
    "It's called an imp. They're strong, don't worry."

    Kimleigh:
    "You have another species of being pulling your carts?"

    She looks unhappy.

    Fortunately Pashna understands the meaning behind her words and moves to reassure her.


    Kara Pashna:
    "It's not sentient. No worries. I know that they look Indran-- or even like yourselves! But they're animals. Smart enough to pull a cart and little else."

    Kimleigh seems to forgive quickly and she eagerly hops into the open-air carriage.


    Kimleigh: "Imp-cart joyride!!"

    Clear appears less confident and looks at the imp with concern before eventually climbing aboard. Pashna gets on last and the carriage starts off.

    Clear:
    "How does it know where to go?"

    Kara Pashna: "There's only two stops. It's not intelligent enough to know places. It follows a scent trail. Personally I prefer walking but I'm afraid you would like to reach the hotel quickly..."

    Clear scratches the fabric on her head.


    Kara Pashna:
    "Can I ask you something personal?"

    Clear looks dubious but shrugs in acquiescence.

    Kara Pashna: "What is the material on your head?"

    Clear looks panicked and pats her head until she realises he meant the white material stuck to her scalp.

    Clear: "Hair. You mean hair. It's normal for most species, I tend to find."

    Kara Pashna: "Are there... many species in the galaxy?"

    Clear: "Now I know why they attacked us."

    Kimleigh:
    "Wow! A real pre-spaceflight civilisation! I've always wanted to invade one!"

    Clear frowns at her.

    Kimleigh: "I meant to say visit one..."

    ---

    Kara Pashna exits the hotel, leaving the two women to tend to themselves in their shared room. A group of nayaraks have gathered outside the hotel and he orders them to bring a collection of outfits and the rough sizes he guesses for both Clear and Kimleigh. Kimleigh may not need clothes but he wanted to offer them anyway. He also asserted they should be of the best quality - spare no expense.

    Brethrain:
    "Have you finalised the next steps?"

    Kara Pashna: "Yes, Brethrain. The biological samples are secured."

    Brethrain:
    "Then you should bid farewell to all those you hold dear..."

    Pashna struggles to hold back a tear that wiggles into the corner of his eye.

    Kara Pashna: "Is there truly no way to save this planet, Brethrain? Perhaps Trijara has found an answer? Perhaps Litik Rjingi and Map..."

    He trails off as he thinks of Map.

    Brethrain: "It is all too late. The litiks visions are all unanimous. Opantid's riddles seem ever clearer - the end is coming."

    Kara Pashna: "I do not want to be the only survivor."

    Brethrain:
    "Someone must be. And you have been chosen by Pesu. He can find you again when you find our new world. For now, those aliens are to be the salvation of the Indran people..."
    Last edited by TheBritt; 06-02-2016 at 02:33 PM.

  10. #50
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    The Conquest of Serleria

    Goddess of Fairness: I call this meeting of the Deities for Activism Club to order!

    The various deities stop mingling and quiet down. Those who are still standing take their seats on folding thrones. Only the slurping of ambrosial coffee and munching of nectar-filled pastries can be heard.

    Goddess of Fairness: First, the God of Unbiased History will recite the minutes of the last meeting...

    The other deities all suppress a groan, because the God of Unbiased History is monotonously boring. To give you an idea how boring, let's just say that Ben Stein is one of his avatars.

    God of Unbiased History: ...and the meeting was adjourned at exactly 3 PM and 1 second, plus 15.8 milliseconds.

    Goddess of Fairness: Thank you, God of Unbiased History!

    The other deities jolt into awareness now that the monotone has ended.

    Goddess of Fairness: Now let's receive an update from the God of Whale Salvation!

    God of Whale Salvation: Thank you, Goddess of Fairness, I--

    He pauses, and so does the clackity-clack of the God of Unbiased History's fingers on his typewriter.

    God of Whale Salvation: Do you really have to--

    The clackity-clack picks up again as soon as the God of Whale Salvation begins speaking again.

    God of Whale Salvation: Oy! Stop that! I can't hear myself think!

    Androgynous Deity of Orderly Conduct: Perhaps we should get the God of Unbiased History's typewriter a silencer. As the overlord of orderly conduct, this falls within my purview.

    Other Deities: Hear, hear!

    Momentarily, the sound of typing is muffled, and the God of Whale Salvation continues, relieved.

    God of Whale Salvation: I am pleased to report that we have saved 17 species of whales in the last week!

    Other Deities: Hooray!

    God of Whale Salvation: Unfortunately, my nemesis Captain Ahab exterminated an 18th species.

    Other Deities: Aw!

    God of Cooperation: I move that we send an expedition into that species' marine underworld to retrieve their souls!

    God of Whale Salvation: Seconded!

    Goddess of Fairness: All in favor?

    Most of the hands rise.

    Goddess of Fairness: All against?

    Very few hands rise.

    Goddess of Fairness: All abstaining?

    The rest of the hands rise, other than the God of Unbiased History, who keeps typing away.

    Goddess of Fairness: God of Unbiased History, you have to raise your hand for one of the three options.

    God of Unbiased History: My hands are kind of busy.

    He types what he says even as he says it.

    Goddess of Fairness: If the rest of us have to do it, you have to do it too.

    God of Unbiased History: Oh, very well.

    He idly conjures a third arm from his shoulder and raises it to abstain.

    Goddess of Fairness: Motion passed! God of Cooperation, as the originator of the motion, it falls to you to organize this expedition. The resources of the Deities for Activism Club are at your disposal.

    God of Cooperation: Thank you, chairman.

    FeministGoddess: Chairwoman. Or chairperson.

    Androgynous Deity of Orderly Conduct: Now, now, FeministGoddess, let's not cause a fuss.

    FeministGoddess: Isn't causing a fuss exactly what this club is about?

    Androgynous Deity of Orderly Conduct: Let's save that debate for another day. At any rate, I'm sure we can both agree that we don't wish to cause any fuss within our club itself.

    FeministGoddess: Oh very well. Anyway, if the God of Whale Salvation is done, I have terrible news to report!

    Goddess of Fairness: You have the floor.

    FeministGoddess: Thank you, chairdeity. I have discovered a terribly misogynistic society in the far reaches of Forever!

    Tree Hugging Deity: Let me guess, the women there aren't allowed to wear pants?

    FeministGoddess gasps, scandalized.

    FeministGoddess: Don't even joke about something so ghastly! But this is worse. It's a realm called Serleria, which spans several galaxies. Its dominant species are the alitaurs.

    God of Whale Salvation: I don't suppose alitaurs are a variety of whale?

    FeministGoddess: I'm afraid not. They're centaurs with wings and unicorn-horns. Their horns are repositories of mystic energy, and can magnify the power of all those around them. The mystic repositories within their horns are fueled by tantric rituals.

    Hermaphroditic Deity of Free Love: That sounds AWESOME! We should get them to send representatives to repressed cultures to share the wonderfulness of their lifestyle!

    FeministGoddess: Unfortunately, it's not as awesome as it sounds. Male alitaurs increase their power with every willing woman they mate with, particularly if the woman is a virgin, and particularly if the woman is powerful herself.

    Hermaphroditic Deity of Free Love: Sounds great so far!

    FeministGoddess: Female alitaurs, however, increase their mystic power only by maintaining their virginity.

    The Hermaphroditic Deity of Free Love recoils in horror. The Goddess of Fairness frowns.

    Goddess of Fairness: That really doesn't seem fair at all.

    FeministGoddess: And so misogynistic! Even worse is their popular legend that one day a man will arise whose seed will make female alitaurs even more powerful than if they were to remain virgins! That is terrible sacrilege to the cause of feminism!

    Androgynous Deity of Orderly Conduct: Is this misogyny a social construct, or is it in their genetics?

    FeministGoddess: It's in their genetics that each gender amasses mystic power differently, but biology does not excuse misogyny!

    Hermaphroditic Deity of Free Love: I motion that we divinely alter their DNA so that female alitaurs also derive mystic power from mating!

    Goddess of Fairness: Seconded! All in favor?

    Several hands go up, but the God of Unbiased History speaks up, his fingers still typing every word that is said, including his own.

    God of Unbiased History: I must advise you that the Serlerian alitaurs are too powerful and numerous to be so casually altered even by deities of our level.

    FeministGoddess: Then we'll start with just a few scattered ones - and kill the rest!

    Goddess of Fairness: I don't know about killing the rest, but we can certainly start with a few scattered tribes.

    FeministGoddess: We'll work out the details on the way. Let's go!

    -----

    Mootchief Minos exits his odah, where he has just deflowered his latest seduction, the daughter of a clan chieftain from another galaxy. He is the most powerful alitaur in history, in a variety of senses. Politically and militarily, he commands a thousand unified tribes across the Serlerian galaxies. Physically, his strength and martial prowess know no equal among his race.

    And mystically, he has... *ahem* amassed more energy in his horn than any male alitaur has done so before. And his mystic energy... *ahem* increases almost daily.


    Alitaur Eunuch: My lord, the Sixteen Sorcerous Sisters have sent a reply to your latest proposition.

    Mootchief Minos stamps his hooves and reclines on his alitaur-sized throne. His eyes light up in anticipation.

    Mootchief Minos: Have they finally acknowledged me as their conqueror?

    Alitaur Eunuch: I am afraid not, milord. Verbatim, "go jump in a lake".

    Minos scrunches up his brow in confusion.

    Mootchief Minos: Do they consider the act of leaping into a body of water a great feat that would make me worthy in their eyes to deflower them?

    The eunuch coughs delicately.

    Alitaur Eunuch: It is a colloquialism for saying "no" with particular vehemence.

    Mootchief Minos: BAH! I tire of their games. I will go visit their palace in PERSON! Surely then they will not be able to resist me!

    The eunuch deems it wise not to express his doubts.

    Alitaur Eunuch: As you say, my lord.

    So Mootchief Minos and his coterie travel to another galaxy, where the Sixteen Sorcerous Sisters rule their realm from a lushly gardened palace. There is a strange - and extremely large - spaceship orbiting overhead, which gives Minos pause as he arrives.

    Mootchief Minos: What manner of vessel is THAT? I have never seen the like.

    Alitaur Eunuch: Nor have I, my lord. Intelligence reports no new cruiser designs in the Sisters' arsenal. Troubling...

    Minos dismisses his eunuch's concerns with a wave of his hand.

    Mootchief Minos: It matters not, for soon the 16 Sisters will freely give themselves to me, and all their domain will be mine as well!

    Followed by his coterie of prime warriors, Minos gallops up the arcade to the palace gates and marches through the doors. As he comes in peace, he is not hindered, but he notes strange soldiers throughout the 16 Sorcerous Sisters' palace.

    They are not alitaurs, which is common, as the alitaurs rule over many lesser species, but these other soldiers are clad in a variety of red-and-gold or black-and-silver armor, in designs that are strange and unfamiliar to Minos, who has acquainted himself with such things.


    Mootchief Minos: Who are these strange warriors?

    Alitaur Eunuch: Up-to-the-minute intelligence suggests that they are from the large spacecruiser overhead.

    Minos frowns briefly, but then smiles as he enters the palace's grand audience chamber.

    Mootchief Minos: BEHOLD, Sisters, the conqueror of your hearts, for it is I, Mootchief Minos!

    He belatedly notices that there is already a grand visitor in the palace, standing before the 16 thrones - and the 16 Sisters are regarding the visitor with great interest indeed. They reluctantly turn their gaze to Minos, and sigh exasperatedly.

    Ulalume: Your suit is still rejected, Mootchief. We have just accepted the Highemperor's suit.

    Minos gapes at the sister who spoke, then at the visitor, who is a tall biped cloaked in black and red.

    Highemperor: When I heard of Serleria, and furthermore that the 16 Sorcerous Sisters are the most powerful within this realm, due to being millennia old yet still virgins, I knew I had to win their hearts. Their clever tantric use of fueling their magicks with both abstinence and sex - lesbian sex, so as to maintain their virginal state - has given them unprecedented power in all your history, even more than you, Mootchief Minos.

    Ulalume: Furthermore, sense the power within HIM. He is the one the legends speak of, the man whose power is so great that his seed will only make us more powerful, rather than diminish us!

    Ursula: Also, he's the hottest male we've ever seen!

    Minos's eyes flash in rage.

    Mootchief Minos: Nonsense! I am the mightiest of alitaurs. Behold my manhood!

    He exposes himself in a bold ploy to win over the 16 Sisters, for all female alitaurs are size queens. This is a biological necessity, seeing as the alitaurs are half-horse, or else no female alitaur would ever consent to procreate. And Minos is well-known for his prodigious size.

    Highemperor: So it's that game we're playing, is it?

    Highemp also exposes himself, revealing himself as substantially larger! Because powergaming.

    Highemperor: I have satisfied the mother of all dragons with this!

    At this moment, the CensorGod crashes their party.

    CensorGod: By all the gods in Forever! Have none of you any shame?

    He starts slapping black censor bars over the whole screen. Everyone else ignores him.

    Highemperor: And now, Mootchief Minos, if you do not surrender your own realm to me, I will take it by force.

    Predictably, a great war follows. The legions of the High Empire reinforce the relatively small but powerful realm of the 16 Sorcerous Sisters, and over the next two years smash Minos's domains completely. Minos escapes with a coterie of his most loyal surviving warriors, vowing revenge, as Serleria is completely conquered by the High Empire.

    FeministGoddess: Here we are! On the outskirts of Serleria, no one will notice if we adjust a few--

    Random High Legatifex: Halt! What deity trespasses in this realm?

    Hermaphroditic Deity of Free Love: There is no trespass in free love!

    Random High Legatifex: By the order of the Highemperor, and enforced by the Anti-Deific Wards of our flagships, no deities who do not swear fealty to our lord are allowed within our realm!

    Goddess of Fairness: Curses! Foiled!

    FeministGoddess: This Highemperor is even more misogynist than the Serlerians! I'll stop him if it's the last thing I do!

    So the FeministGoddess eventually meets Mootchief Minos as he wanders throughout the universes, and together they plot revenge against Highemperor. Minos constantly puts the moves on her, but the FeministGoddess always responds with merciless b*tch slaps. Somehow, the partnership works.

    They discover the burgeoning space city of Mega Jonestown Prime in the NeSiverse, and are welcomed by Imeryn and the God-Kings. The FeministGoddess objects, and Imeryn renames her pantheon to God-Monarchs.

    However, only Minos is deemed powerful enough for the great pantheon, and in a huff, the FeministGoddess leaves. Besides, she has infinite multiverses full of misogyny to end, she reasons, and so she shouldn't be tied to one place.

    Meanwhile, Minos's uber mystic horn magnifies the powers of all the other God-Monarchs exponentially, like a prism refracting light, and he continues to... *ahem* amass his own personal power...


    -----

    Britt the Writer: What the hell, Al?!

    Al Ciao the Writer: >.>

    Geb the Writer: It is a pretty, er, risque post.

    Al Ciao the Writer: It's not NeSmut! Honest! Especially not compared to that whole Ovai post Britt made!

    Geb the Writer: Fair point...

  11. #51
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Under New Management

    If one were to display a map of the Milky Way galaxy, then to add different colors to it, one color for each different hegemony or faction, the result would be a psychedelic, tie-dye rainbow. However, some colors would figure more prominently than most.

    The Galactic Empire of the Milky Way has the largest presence, controlling an entire spiral arm of interstellar territory. The Rebel Alliance controls a smaller faction on its borders, and there are also several no-man's lands near here, full of marauding warlords and rampaging pirates.

    The planet of Orion also commands a large demesne, and there are many other large swaths of factions controlling large interests in the galaxy. One of these factions is the High Empire.

    The High Empire stretches its fingers through infinite multiverses, and maintains a presence even here, controlling several sectors of the Milky Way. The first system conquered by the High Empire in this galaxy is at the very edge, on the very tip of one of its spiral arms. No other stars separate the Terminus system from the gulfs of space.


    Traffic Controller: Clear the transit port for priority incoming. Repeat, clear for priority. Someone alert the proconsul!

    A gigantic hypergate, easily the size of a small planet and formed entirely of crystal, etched and shaped into a masterwork of art, orbits lazily around the far edge of the Terminus system. Caught in its magnetic pulls, several space stations are locked in artificial orbits around the crystal hypergate, which connects the High Empire's holdings in this galaxy to the rest of the farflung megaversal imperium.

    Random Flunky #1: Sir, sir, please wake up, sir!

    Proconsul Flowdy: For the last time, no interrupting my hangovers until 10 AM!

    There is a loud blast as the hovering crystals in the Proconsul's chambers react to the imperial governor's will and execute the random flunky with a powerful laser.

    Proconsul Flowdy: And tell the next random flunky not to shout!

    Flowdy is a vaguely humanoid figure, whose egg-shaped torso sprouts stubby legs and arms and is topped by an egg-shaped head. He has no body hair, instead, he has body grass, although he is balding on top. He is also the governor of the High Empire's territory in the Milky Way, and has been for several thousand years.

    Proconsul Flowdy: Ugh, I need some more nymphflower champagne - hair of the dog might help...

    The hovering crystals again respond to his thoughts, and a glass is instantly replicated out of loose quanta, and filled with also-replicated (or repped) nymphflower champagne. Crysto-grav fields hold it steadily in mid-air, until Flowdy reaches up with an unsteady hand to take it and gulp it down.

    The door opens again, and another random flunky comes in.


    Proconsul Flowdy: Was I not clear the first time?

    Random Flunky #2: I'm not here to bother you, sir! Only here to clean up the ashes of Random Flunky #1!

    Proconsul Flowdy: Ah! Very good. Man should know better than to leave a mess when he dies, it's just not seemly.

    Random Flunky #2: Also, sir, you may be interested to know that the hypergate is flaring.

    Proconsul Flowdy: Why would I care about the latest shipment of personnel and quantum flux?

    Random Flunky #2: I don't know, sir, but it's a priority incoming.

    Proconsul Flowdy sits bolt upright, instantly alert despite the hangover hurting his brain.

    Proconsul Flowdy: Did you say...priority incoming?

    Random Flunky #2: I am glad to report that sir's ears are fully functional, sir!

    In a panic, the proconsul stumbles out of bed. The hovering crystals respond to his thoughts again and teleport all sweat and grime off his flesh and replicate a smart new imperial governor's uniform onto him as he scurries out of his chambers in consternation.

    The hypergate brightens to a peak now, fully charged to receive a large arrival from a universe unimaginably far away. The light flashes once, twice, then is shadowed by the bulk of a tremendous vessel arriving through its portal. There is an explosion of light before the hypergate returns to its normal dim gleam, as the vessel arrives fully into the Terminus system.


    Traffic Controller: Your arrival is unscheduled, honored cruiser. Proconsul Flowdy has been alerted. We request the nature of your business.

    Navitatex Qemik: This is Captain Qemik, navitatex of the High Imperial battlecruiser Scion of Divinity. Be advised that I am boarding the administrative station, escorting his magnificence a powerplayer from the Stronghold in Urbis Imperia.

    The traffic controller's throat dries, and he passes along that information to his superiors, who themselves relay it to Proconsul Flowdy, who has summoned an honor guard in the primary docking bay of the administrative space station and is fidgeting nervously.

    A shuttle from the
    Scion of Divinity glides smoothly into the docking bay, and the ramp lowers. Two elite praetorian guards are the first down the ramp, clad in black and silver uniforms that are more ornate than the typical legionnaire's. They flank either side of the shuttle's embarkation ramp, and are followed by Navitatex Qemik and his personal lieutenant. Qemik has a hooked nose, three eyes, and ridges on his skull rather than hair. All three eyes are a different color, and his lips are curved very slightly upward in an expression that is not quite a smile.

    Proconsul Flowdy: Navitatex Qemik, it is an honor--

    Qemik cuts him off with a wave of his hand and gestures to the boarding ramp, where a final figure is walking down the ramp. Flowdy trembles as first the boots, then legs, followed by a torso and head, emerge - a powerplayer, member of the most elite order in the High Empire, has seen fit to come to his governorship!

    It is a young man, clad in the incredibly ornate red, gold, and white guise of the Order of Powerplayers, complete with a flapping cloak. His species is one that Flowdy cannot identify, but is some sort of anthropomorphic cat-person, not completely unlike the Fiolxon of Coaleashion.


    Navitatex Qemik: Proconsul Flowdy, may I present Kim of the Order of Powerplayers.

    Flowdy's reply is a nervous squeak as he bows his head.

    Kim: Ahoy there, chap. Show me your office. You have an office, right? Is it nice?

    Proconsul Flowdy: Er, my office, yes, er, it's right this way, yes I do have one, it is a humble abode but quite sufficient for my needs.

    Kim: Humble? Can't have that. Need to spruce it up. Milky Way Proconsul needs a fancy grandiose place. A palace! Maybe with a throne.

    Proconsul Flowdy's eyes are boggling out of his head, as he dares to begin to breathe again. This powerplayer seems to be showing him great favor! As he leads Kim and Qemik to his office, the crystals hovering throughout the space station are already at working, reconstructing the office to Kim's rambled suggestions with advanced nanoreplication fields.

    Proconsul Flowdy: Right here--- wow!

    The office, formerly a large suite of several rooms including Flowdy's private chambers, is now a grand audience chamber of palatial elegance.

    Kim: You like?

    Proconsul Flowdy: I do, my lord!

    Kim: That's awesome-- wait, who are you again?

    Proconsul Flowdy: Er, I am the proconsul, my lord.

    Kim: No, you're not. I am

    Flowdy: I-- what?

    Proconsul Kim: Oh, didn't they tell you? You're fired.

    Flowdy: But- but- why?

    Navitatex Qemik: Nasty bit of business in Coaleashion a few centuries ago.

    Flowdy: That? I, um, the carrier replicated and dispatched enough drones to pacify the situation.

    Navitatex Qemik: Hardly pacified at all, by reports. And too little too late, in any case. The result of that chaos was one of our glorious Highemperor's nemeses: Archadmiral Lo.

    Flowdy: But I--

    Proconsul Kim: WOW! This is such a nice place! Whoever was proconsul before me sure had it made!

    He is still admiring the redecorated chamber, before his gaze falls across Flowdy once more.

    Proconsul Kim: Who are you again?
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-04-2016 at 12:49 PM.

  12. #52
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Upstaged

    Navitatex Pollos: Patrol drone results?

    Random Lieutenant #1: All systems clear, except for Coaleashion. Pockets of resistance and outlaws are far heavier than previously reported.

    Navitatex Pollos: Excellent! It is good to know that every last system here in this backwater galaxy is clear.

    Random Lieutenant #1: Er, sir, I said except for--

    Navitatex Pollos fixes the random lieutenant, who is newly promoted to his station, with a steely gaze.

    Navitatex Pollos: I'm quite certain that you said every single system was clear, without exception. I'm correct, aren't I, Lieutenant?

    Random Lieutenant #1: Oh! Er, yes, sir.

    Navitatex Pollos: Very good. See that the logs reflect this.

    Comm Ensign: Captain Pollos, sir! Urgent transmission from Terminus HQ.

    Navitatex Pollos: What does that fool Flowdy want now?

    Comm Ensign: It's not from the proconsul, sir. It's a general administrative alert.

    Navitatex Pollos: And?

    Comm Ensign: A cruiser has arrived, Scion of Divinity, bearing a powerplayer who has assumed the role of proconsul!

    Navitatex Pollos: What?!

    Comm Ensign: I said a cruiser--

    Navitatex Pollos: Shut up! Navigation, set a course for Terminus. We are honorbound to pay our respects.

    As the navigation officer obeys, flicking his finger across several crystalline notches, Pollos seethes. A new proconsul means the status quo will be shaken up. It means new eyes prying into his arrangement with the top pirates of Coaleashion.

    Worse still, a cruiser means that Pollos is no longer the top dog of the local military. Sure, the captain of the
    Scion of Divinity will be a Navitatex as well, technically the same rank, but in practice, cruiser captains rank over captains of all other lesser military ships.

    High Imperial battlecruisers are ten miles long, studded with Gothic architecture and bristling with firepower. Its primary weapon is its forward superlaser, which can disintegrate virtually any size of capital ship with a single shot. Its shielding is sufficient to shrug off most attacks, including that of a superlaser akin to its own primary weapon.

    While not the most maneuverable of ships, a High Imperial cruiser is among the fastest in any galaxy, for all its systems are powered by a crystalline quantum core that can generate limitless energy and nano-replicated supplies.

    Another significant difference is the Anti-Deific Wards each cruiser is equipped with. These mystically potent, sigil-inscribed artifacts project a field throughout the entire cruiser that prevent any deity not subject to the High Pantheon in Urbis Imperia from entering or affecting it. The ADW field can be extended to a wide radius around the cruiser as well.

    Finally, cruisers are equipped with twenty repfacs (replication factories), and can produce new cyberganic drones - both spaceworthy and infantry-class - at an astonishing rate beyond even carriers, which only carry twelve repfacs each.

    Navitatex Pollos's own ship is a carrier, a mere two miles long, named
    Void's Edge , and had been the pride of the Terminus fleet before this upstart cruiser and its powerplayer had shown up! Its primary purpose is to produce and dispatch cyberganic drones for all military needs, in droves massive enough to overwhelm any force short of an interstellar task force.

    Nav Officer: Arriving in Terminus in 3...2...1...zero.

    The Void's Edge arrives in Terminus within moments, its vast bulk overshadowed by the newly arrived Scion of Divinity. Pollos takes a deep breath as he hails the cruiser's captain. This is not going to be pleasant...
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-04-2016 at 05:24 PM.

  13. #53
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow The End has come to Indra

    Theme:[I] Somewhere Only We Know

    --

    Being on the Jaravinjia Isles meant the two litiks, Map and Rjingi, could be picked up by Ishvat again. After they were quickly healed by Kara Fahran, the surfing god carried the both of them upon her back. What should have taken at least three months, took them a single day - their journey to The Tandras mountain range in the northern hemisphere of the planet. The warm waters of the Jaravinjia Isles soon gave way to the open ocean that spans the planet and the two of them held onto the god's back as tight as they could. Once Map slipped off but Ishvat, with a highly entertained mood, grabbed him and tosses him into the air so he'd land on her again.

    The two of them tried not to look back and stare at her tails.


    Once they were back on dry land they bade Ishvat farewell and she made her way back to warmer climes while the two men bought supplies and warm gear from a local village that rested along the shoreline. After a rest Map and Rjingi headed for their long hike up The Tandras.

    Despite being on the top of a mountain, in the blistering cold, Bernard the Clay-Pidgeon somehow managed to find them and relayed a message from Duke Nari that the aliens were now under his case and that they were safe. Rjingi made a reply, apologising for the aggressive events on the Jaravinjia Isles. They are satisfied that, at least, there is a contingency plan involving the aliens, however they desperately resume their climb towards Kolaji - the short mountain at the centre of the mountain range and the home of Trijara. Or rather, in this month, Namesh.

    Trijara, Namesh. Two gods that inhabit the same presence. Namesh, however, only transcends from the physical manifestation of Trijara during this single month of the year. Upon the lapse of the new year, Trijara would be reborn again. They had to hurry. Trijara, for all his wisdom, had not the expansive wisdom of the universe. Unlikes Namesh.


    As they finally reach the path to Kolaji they stare up in awe. Above the mountain is a swirling, though lazy, storm of black mist and through it they can see stars and void - despite being surrounded by the morning light of Indra's sky. The ice temple itself is gone, replaced by a large simple block of void and stars. A single, large opening, reveals the normal interior of Kolaji, its ice floors and redvine coated walls. At the end of the temple where they might once have seen the red-skinned Trijara they now see the black and starry incorporeal figure of Namesh, floating upon one of his light discs in the lotus position. It is said to be a crime against the gods to disturb Namesh during his meditation and any wisdom granted an Indran by this god would result in the instant death of any who attempt to hold this bestowed wisdom in their primitive mortal minds.

    And yet they have no choice. It is death or death.


    They near him and begin to kowtow. But before they have even gotten on their knees Namesh speaks aloud, his voice soft and quiet - almost a whisper.

    Namesh: "It cannot be done."

    Litik Rjingi: "You mean--"

    Namesh doesn't even open his eyes or his mouth, his voice projects straight into their minds.

    Namesh:
    "The end of this world will come. I shall survive."

    Litik Rjingi: "I expected the gods to survive this but--"

    Namesh: "They will not."

    Litik Map: "Wh-what? Even... even the gods will--?"

    Namesh: "Especially the gods."

    The two of them look at each other uncomprehendingly. Before they could ask further questions, Namesh interjects;

    Namesh: "It comes for them. The destruction of you and your world is merely collateral damage."

    Litik Rjingi is the first to attempt a protest.

    Litik Rjingi: "The aliens! Couldn't they help us--"

    Namesh:
    "They would be destroyed too. They would become targets of the God Killer. The Meta Destructor. The Uber Consumer. The machine that uses anti-power."

    Litik Rjingi: "Anti-power? Like, ah, anti-matter? But power? Right?"

    Namesh: "Right. It consumes all power, of every kind. An individual's power. A kara. A litik. A magician. A cybernetic. A deity. A powerplayer. A wyrd. A Writer. A creator--"

    Words that the two Indrans do not understand, cannot comprehend, wash over them. All that Rjingi can understand is that they are going to die - because of the gods. The gods he has served his entire life. Everyone on the planet, believing they would help them and protect them, are now the cause of their demise. He can't understand how this can be fair.

    Namesh: "The Multiverse cares not for fairness."

    He then falls quiet but his eyes open.

    Namesh: "It is here."

    A terrible cracking sound erupts over the mountains. Snow, perched on those peaks for decades, suddenly shifts and falls. Rjingi runs out of the temple and sees avalanches all around him but his eyes ultimately move up. Now that the noise is over he uncovers his ears and stands there, dumbfounded. He's too in amazement to be terrified. Yet.


    It appears like a great, black rainbow. It sweeps across the sky.

    Inside, Namesh rises slowly from the bottom of the temple.


    Namesh: "I shall leave before the consumption begins. Once started, no being, no matter how powerful they think they are and no matter how far the run, will be drawn back into its jaws. Your people, litik, may live on. Kara Pashna takes, even now, the DNA of your people to safety. Sleep in peace."

    He rises up and floats straight through the ceiling of the temple. Litik Map feels a tear drip down his face. Pesu brought Pashna back to life after all...

    Rjingi sees Namesh slip through the black storm above the temple and it zips closed. Then there is another boom. The machine has moved and he realises that it must be a complete circle, not just a rainbow. The boom blasts out, first hitting Brethrain. It's then that everything makes sense to Rjingi. Brethrain is not a planet. It is a god. And now it is being sucked up into the white-hole of oblivion that has opened up at the centre of the circular construct. It's being drawn in, atom-by-atom, stretched and elongated by the reality-power warping nature of the white-hole. The planet Indra stands unphased, unaffacted. It is not a powerplayer, a god, a magician or anything else that Namesh listed. It's just a planet.

    If only Brethrain hadn't been there...

    As the moon-god is consumed, Indra begins to slow and the affect is almost instant. Rjingi's gut squirms.

    ---

    Kara Fahran feels himself being tugged and pulled, his very being, or something within his being, is being dragged up and away from the planet towards the white-hole in space. He sees Rakimi, likewise, stretched out and her atoms dispersing. Somewhere, out in the ocean, is Ishvat also dematerialising.


    ---

    The Indrans of Indrakata cry out in anguish, their terror of the great machine in the sky is replaced by the horror of seeing their beloved Maharashtak being drawn, pulled and blasted into pieces - her once never-ending smile of serenity is gone.

    Then the planet Indra begins to crack with the strain.


    ---

    Kamal: "Pesu, you should have left..."

    Pesu: "Indra and its people are my children... I would not live without them..."

    Jitarayara:
    "But Kara Pashna needs--"

    Pesu: "I sense that Namesh has already left. He will--"

    The god's words are lost to the physical, the metaphysical and the conceptual realms as everything about his being is consumed. Any future he may have had written is lost. While he is known to have existed, his time, space, power have been snuffed out. Unable to change course of time once the process has begun, they are now one with the anti-power.


    ---

    Opantid watches her body elongate and disintegrate. The other invaders have come at last. And yet one being has come home.

    She sees the lands break and crack from strain, she can feel her children of the world crying with sorrow, screaming with agony, roaring with anger. Then they are silenced as the planet unfolds on itself, breaking up, its atmosphere sweeping into space.

    Opantid doesn't mind where she is going, what is happening to her existence, because it feels like home. Kavili came home.

    The End has come to Indra.

    ---

    See CatH Post 68 for the continuation.
    Last edited by TheBritt; 06-04-2016 at 03:42 PM.

  14. #54

    The Clash of the 'Ages (of the day)

    Marvels beyond mortal understanding sprawl all across the High Empire's capital of Urbis Imperia: restaurants serve exotic cuisines fill hungers and palettes one never knew could be filled, museums and monuments excite the mind with displays of profound history and philosophies, and parks instill soul-shaking experiences of tranquility and beauty. As with any empire, though, one needs more baser entertainment to pacify and distract the masses...

    Random Audience Member #25: "Wow, the R.A.M. Union back on Earth weren't kidding -- this place is huge!"

    A hovering, spherical droid halts in front of R.A.M. #25, noticing the telling signs of a tourist. It waves a laser-fan over R.A.M. #25 before projecting a hologram which materializes into the form of an overly-pleasant human female.

    hologram woman: "Hello, and welcome to Urbis Imperia, the crowning jewel of the High Empire! My name is Holly! May I help you?"

    Random Audience Member #25: "Yeah, is this The Arena?"

    Holly: "The venue before you is none other than the Forever-Famous Imperia Amphitheater! The Imperia Amphitheater encompasses the same size as the High Empire's proud galactic carriers and holds a carrying capacity of a select hundred and forty-four thousand from each of the four corners of Forever! The Imperia Amphitheater hosts countless sporting events, musical concerts, and of course, the highest and most exciting of contests, The Clash of the 'Ages! The contest, held every day--"

    Random Audience Member #25: "So the clash is here? I have a ticket for today's event, but I was told it was at the Arena. Or something-Arena. Did it move here?"

    Holly's usual over-the-top chipperness sours a bit.

    Holly "The Imperia Amphitheater goes by many names, and some of the... (ahem) common people have taken to calling it the more...charming name of the "Interdimensional Arena" instead."

    She uses her fingers to air-quote "Interdimensional Arena" with forced pleasantness.

    Random Audience Member #25: "That was it! So this is the place then. Can you tell me about this clash? My union assigned me to this place rather spur-of-the-moment, apparently because I'm #25 and had been given the ticket from you guys? Is there fighting?"

    Holly stares in suppressed surprise at R.A.M. #25's apparent ignorance, and quickly pulls herself back into her overly-friendly self.

    Holly: "You are very lucky indeed, for the Highemperor has declared the number twenty-five to be the most important of all numbers -- fortune smiles upon you to bear witness to a Clash in person! Deities across the multiverses normally pay priceless treasures of several superclusters and wait for thousands of millennia for the same opportunity as you -- all for the benefit of our contestants, of course. We wish to ensure that the contestants are rewarded deservingly to match the honor of competing."

    The holographic woman holds her hand out to present, and more holographic images appear to emphasis the points as she makes them.

    Holly: "Traditionally, the Clash of the 'Ages pits one contestant against another in a duel to the brink of death. One of the esteemed Powerplayer Councilpersons typically presiding over the event will determine the environment and rules of engagement for the contestants before declaring the start of the clash. Once a victor emerges, the Councilperson grants or denies permission to the victor the honor of executing their opponent."

    As Holly explains the event, Random Audience Member #25 only pays mild attention, often glancing at other passerbys or nearby sights. Holly continues apparently unperturbed.

    Holly: "There are eight tiers of combatants, with the eighth as the lowest and first as the highest. Should a combatant defeat the reigning champion of a particular tier, they may choose to compete in the next rank higher. Few have had the honor of challenging the unofficial Clash Champion and Powerplayer Councilperson Entity #6, addressed currently as Cary S-- as Elinb-- as.....yes, as Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars."

    Random Audience Member #25: "So Aryst is the top of tier one, I take it?"

    Holly: "Of course not. The top tier is reserved for our official champion, and ruler of the High Empire himself, the Highemperor. None have challenged him, and none will. None need to, for even the champions of tiers below five find rewards beyond their dreams. Now, may I direct you to your seat? The next Clash will begin within the hour, and it should prove to be a most exciting Tier Six battle between Gigagod and Teradeity."

    Random Audience Member #25:: "Yeah, sure. Can we swing by the bar for a drink first? Oh, and where are the toilets?"

    The holographic woman's smile ticks in annoyance as she bows to wave towards the proper direction.

    Holly: "Right this way."

  15. #55

    Darts? Drats!

    Procounsel Kim stands in front of a dart board with the Milky Way galaxy pictured across it, with a random flunky standing besides him. Kim throws a dart at the board.

    Kim: "Let's conquer... Jupiter!"

    flunky: "Sir, that planet has been blown up. It's a star now."

    Kim: "Ah, well, can we conquer stars?"

    flunky: "If thou wishes it, sir."

    Kim: "Eh, I'll just throw another dart."

    He does just that.

    Kim: "There!"

    flunky: "That's just empty space, sir. Nothing's there."

    Kim: "Go conquer it anyway!"

    flunky "Yes, sir."

    Meanwhile, some lone space yacht gets pulverized by a million High Empire ships and their cannons

    Kim: "How about there?"

    flunky: "That's where we are, sir."

    Kim: "oooo, conquering ourselves, now there's a challenge!"

    flunky: "You will catch your own tail one of these days, sir."

    Considering the challenge too great for the day, Kim throws more darts.

    Kim: "Aaaaaand that spot!"

    flunky: "That's empty space again sir."

    Kim: "...."

    flunky: "I'll order the ships there immediately."

    Kim: :3

    Meanwhile, the lone yacht that managed to limp away before gets hammered by another million High Empire ships and cannons once more.

    flunky: "Should I have them send out ships to the Coaleashion now, sir?"

    Kim: "Not until I hit it with a dart!"

    flunky: "To do so clearly without your powerplaying ways inspires me, sir."

    Kim: "What are you--I mean, yes, without my powerplaying....of course... I'll pick the yellow darts this time!"

    flunky: "Very good, sir."

  16. #56
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Fear of the Gods

    On the planet Tatooine in the Outer Galaxies at the edge of the NeSiverse, Fladnag the White tries in vain to calm down the hubbub. Deities and high muckity-mucks the universe over are babbling in terror.

    Random Deity #1: The God-Killer can't be real, it can't be! It was just a rumor!

    Random Deity #2: They can't bring it HERE, can they? To OUR universe?

    Random Deity #3: You must destroy it!

    Random Deity #4: Get them to take it away!

    Finally, Fladnag has enough.

    Fladnag the White: SILENCE!

    Miraculously, the frightened deities obey. Fladnag has a certain manner about him.

    Fladnag the White: The situation is being handled. Return to your domains and roles. Do NOT agitate the Imperium in any way. Now disperse.

    Random Deity #5: But--

    Fladnag the White: Being. Handled. Disperse!

    The deities and high muckity-mucks obey reluctantly, shuffling out of the Big O's grand throne room. One deity does not depart, however. He has been leaning against the doorpost in the back, and now approaches Fladnag. The vizier shoots him a sour look.

    Fladnag the White: That applies to you too, Memnoch.

    Memnoch, the Archdevil of Tartarus, smirks.

    Memnoch: Would you really presume to tell me to leave, dear Fladnag?

    Fladnag the White: If I must...yes.

    Memnoch is horrifically powerful and could fry Fladnag to cinders, despite Fladnag speaking with the Big O's authority. Fladnag never lets himself be bullied despite this; he must govern with conscience and conviction. Fortunately, Memnoch's smirk doesn't waver.

    Memnoch: I'm about to leave anyway. But first, I must draw your attention to a... larger problem.

    Fladnag raises his eyebrow.

    Memnoch: More relevant to us, at any rate. The Imperium's not about to gallivant about wiping out the whole universe, even if it may have the power to.

    Fladnag the White: Do tell.

    Memnoch: All my tributes have ceased. No new souls flood Tartarus, or my subject hells for that matter.

    Fladnag the White: Why?

    Memnoch: No one is dying anymore. Are you so caught up in celestial affairs that you do not notice the mundane, dear Fladnag? It seems that Pesu himself was devoured by the Imperium's toy.

    Fladnag rubs his eyebrows tiredly.

    Fladnag the White: I'll see what I can do.

    Memnoch: Very good.

    The archdevil vanishes in a puff of acrid smoke, and Fladnag sighs. Before he can ponder the hopelessness of it all any further, there is a guttural throat-clearing. Fladnag spins around, shocked that someone has entered the grand throne room without the wards notifying him. His god-mage staff flares with silver light--

    High Imp: Calm yourself, vizier.

    Fladnag lets the silver light of his staff go out, but does not lower his guard. More than almost any other being in the NeSiverse, he is aware of how dangerous this fiend is. Most other deities disregard High Imp, seeing him as a beneficiary upon whom they have deigned to bestow gifts. Fladnag knows better - he is a pactmaker and manipulator of the highest order, who has aggrandized himself to unknowable strengths.

    Fladnag the White: What is your purpose, Pactmaker?

    High Imp: It is in that name that you will find my purpose here today.

    Fladnag the White: I will make no pacts with you.

    High Imp: No? Not even to restore the balance of death to the NeSiverse?

    Fladnag hesitates, and High Imp knows he has won.

    High Imp: I know of a relatively young being, not of our realm, who is well-suited for Pesu's role...

  17. #57
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Secret Weapon Against the God-Killer

    Knightlord Thorn: I call this meeting to order. Where is Highemp?

    Entity #1: Shagging his harem.

    Knightlord Thorn: Why do I even ask?

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: So what's this meeting about? You're interrupting the match between Gigagod and Teradeity!

    Knightlord Thorn: Do you REALLY have to have your whole title in dialogue preface?

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: Do you REALLY have to ask?

    Knightlord Thorn: Right... so as some of you may have heard, the Imperium has unleashed its ultimate weapon!

    Entity #5 gasps in horror.

    Entity #5: Anti-Porn Censorship?!

    The other powerplayer gods roll their eyes.

    Knightlord Thorn: Not quite that bad.

    Entity #5: Whew!

    Entity #3: You refer to the God-Killer Machine, do you not? We've received intelligence reports of it before. The Supreme Superweapons Division has a whole project devoted to countering or one-upping it.

    Entity #4: Wait, have they actually used the God-Killer in our territory?

    Knightlord Thorn: Near it, at any rate. In the same galaxy as one of our backwaters. To be fair, they already hold some territory in the same galaxy. Ironically, this galaxy that's a backwater for both of our empires is the primary staging ground for our... political disagreements.

    Entity #3: Hmm. I will order the Supreme Superweapons Division to kick their anti-GKM project into high gear.

    Entity #5: I'm never one to back away from one-upping an opponent, but is that really necessary? Surely Highemp can defeat the God-Killer Machine, despite its terrible anti-power.

    Knightlord Thorn: I believe that you are correct, but the effort and time spent in concentration that he would expend to do so would leave the High Empire vulnerable.

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: I'll take your order to the Supreme Superweapons Division myself, Entity #3 - and I'll join in their work!

    Knightlord Thorn: That will not be necessary. I already have a solution. One so blindingly obvious that no one will conceive of it. I admit, it will unsettle you.

    Entity #1: Nothing could unsettle me more than knowing that Entity #5 taped me shagging Highmp. Bring it on.

    Knightlord Thorn: The God-Killer Machine destroys all sources of great power: gods, wyrds, you name it. So what we need to counter it... is an army of Average Joes.

    Other Powerplayer Gods: :O

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: Inconceivable!

    Entity #4: You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: What are you talking about? That's the first time I said it.

    Entity #4: Nevermind.

    Entity #5: Do we even HAVE Average Joes in the High Empire?

    Entity #1: Pfft, we can go conquer some.

    Knightlord Thorn: Conquest would leave any potential recruits in tatters and not very willing to fight for us until a long period of assimilation had occurred. Fortunately, we already have a place that has been part of our territory for a long time, but is not yet completely assimilated. A backwater.

    Entity #3: I can see where this is going. The Milky Way? Coaleashion?

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: Wait, is that where we sent that idiot Kim? If we want a good army out of there, we should recall him and send someone capable.

    Knightlord Thorn: Unfortunately, any powerplayer more capable that we might send will subvert our very purpose, turning Average Joe recruits into elite powered troopers, and that will make them vulnerable to the God-Killer Machine. No, Proconsul Kim is the only way we can procure such an army intact, free from powerplaying.

    Entity #1: I see. Very well, I'll send him the orders immediately. And CC it to his rather-more-competent second-in-command...

  18. #58
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Seed of the Machine

    A long time ago, in a universe far far away...

    Ameryl, princess of a vast galactic realm, has been exiled by her twin sister Imeryn, who has been crowned queen. Ameryl, like her sister, is a powerful sorceress, so she is not defenseless - but now she has no resources.

    After a period of wandering, she passes through the NeSiverse, on the planet Algernon.


    Ameryl: Bring me a glass of your finest wine.

    Snooty Waiter: As madame says.

    Ameryl watches the others in the high-class restaurant as the snooty waiter brings her a bottle and glass. She has been making contacts and connections in her exile, and continues to do so, though she has no clear purpose, ever since being bereft of her ancestral title.

    Morthrandur: I presume the wine is sufficient for your tastes.

    Ameryl successfully maintains her composure, rather than choking on her wine. She has been watching everything and everyone carefully, yet this tall cloaked figure with a sepulchral voice has surprised her, appearing from nowhere.

    Ameryl: Quite so. Of whom do I have the pleasure?

    Morthrandur: I am but a phantom, a shade wandering the inbetweens of the worlds.

    Ameryl: And your purpose in addressing me?

    Morthrandur: A gift.

    From seemingly nowhere, he produces a silver nunchukus. Ameryl eyes it. Despite the unusual form of the weapon, she can sense the power resonating within it. Except... it's not POWER exactly.

    Ameryl: What is it?

    Morthrandur: It is the receptacle of a spark of anti-power. The crafter of the receptacle called it Mors Dei, Death of the Gods. He was a vampire count who plundered it from the vaults of Atlantis ere its destruction.

    Ameryl regards the object with fascination but also wariness. She does not possess the overweaning ambition of her twin sister, and so is wiser of the dangers such an object would bring.

    Ameryl: Atlantis?

    Morthrandur: You are a mage. You sense the fractal patterns of quintessence in this universe. Atlantis once stood at the center of the pattern.

    Ameryl: I see. Why give this to me?

    Morthrandur: A path lays before you. You may encounter two empires. One is clearly stronger than the other, at present. You may reinforce the weaker, with this.

    Ameryl: Why would I care to do anything for either empire?

    The phantom shrugs.

    Morthrandur: It is not my purpose to provide you a reason. But you may find one.

    And then he vanishes, melting away into shadows and leaving Mors Dei on the table by Ameryl's wineglass...

    (((NSP: In NeS1888, Desmond showed Erro a silver nunchukus called Mors Dei that could supposedly kill gods. No detail was ever gone into about it, although Jim Seven did take it, then applied it as a poison against Ares in NeS1999. Now I'm writing that Morthrandur procured it and gave it to Ameryl for the GKM, and explaining that its god-killing ability comes from anti-power.)))
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-06-2016 at 01:53 PM.

  19. #59
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Mourning

    Aryst Omnistellae: Me? No way. YOU tell him.

    Entity #1: I'm NOT telling him one of his daughters has died.

    Entity #5: What does he care anyway? He's got thousands of them, and more coming all the time.

    The other powerplayer gods glare at him. He raises his hands defensively.

    Entity #5: Alright, alright, fine. I'm not gonna be the one to tell him either.

    Entity #3: Nor me!

    Entity #4: Not it either!

    All the powerplayer gods look towards Knightlord Thorn, who says.

    Knightlord Thorn: Very well then. I'll inform him that his entire pantheon of powerplayer gods is full of cowards.

    The other powerplayer gods agree enthusiastically. Thorn rolls his eyes and teleports to the door in the Stronghold outside Highemp's palatial chamber. The door opens with a whisper at his presence, and Thorn goes in.

    The chamber is quite possibly the most luxurious suite in all the infinite multiverses. The lights are turned down at the moment however, and only a few candles burn. Highemperor is at the window, staring down at the city of Urbis Imperia below. His back to is Thorn.


    Knightlord Thorn: Highemp, um...

    He pauses, but Highemp doesn't acknowledge him. Thorn gulps, and presses on.

    Knightlord Thorn: There's something I have to tell you. Kimleigh--

    He breaks off as he realizes that Highemp's frame is trembling. The emperor-deity's reply is in a harsh croak, as of a man who has spilt many tears.

    Highemp: I know.

    He turns to face Thorn now, and Thorn sees that Highemp's fingers are crackling with silver-white sparks. His face is raw and streaked.

    Highemp: I've tried to resurrect her. Her spirit is... nowhere to be found. Not in all Forever.

    Knightlord Thorn: It's the God-Killer Machine. It--

    Highemp: I'll destroy it. I'll recover the scattered astral quarks of her soul. I'll--

    Knightlord Thorn: I'm not certain that is...wise, Highemp. We already have a solution in place to--

    Highemp: I AM THE GRAND HIGHEMPEROR! MY WORD SHATTERS UNIVERSES! GODS ARE INSECTS BEFORE ME! I CAN DO ANYTHING! ANYTHING!!!

    His voice cracks on the last syllable, as he chokes off a sob. Thorn is silent, waiting. Finally, Highemp turns around again, facing out the window away from Thorn.

    Highemp: Enact your solution. See that abominable machine destroyed. I must... tell her mother.

    Thorn bows.

    Knightlord Thorn: It will be done.

    He turns to go, but Highemp speaks again, softly this time, and Thorn is not quite sure if he's addressing him or not.

    Highemp: She loved pets, you know. Always collecting new additions from every conquered universe. Taming that Netherwyrm was her proudest achievement...

    Thorn waits, but Highemperor says no more. Thorn bows again, and takes his leave, the exquisitely carved door closing behind him.
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-10-2016 at 12:02 PM.

  20. #60
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Planet of Rock

    Space Camelot: Planet of Rock
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Sir Kay | Sir Bedivere | Sir Lancelot | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Tom a'Lincoln | (Sir) The Black Knight | (Sir) The Faerie Knight | Sir Galahad | Prince Mordred

    On the Command Deck of Camelot, King Arthur stares at the planet Mercury. Small. Round. Rocky. Boring.


    King Arthur: "Why won't it do something!? We came all this way and it just... sits there. Boring as all Hell."

    Captain Tom a'Lincoln winces at his king's blasphemy.


    Merlin: "I don't think planets do do anything, Sire. They're just... planets."

    King Arthur: "Well we'd better find more interesting planets than this stupid rock. Can't we blow it up or something? It's an eyesore to our solar system!"

    Merlin and Tom glance at each other with concern.

    Tom a'Lincoln: "Maybe we should just move on to the next world, eh? I think we've got the hang of this jumping business. Just make sure everyone is standing by a wall and not holding cups of tea."

    A single jump later and Camelot bursts from hyperspeed into real-time and overlooks yet another small, rocky ball of boring. Arthur folds his arms, entirely unimpressed. If he had known the rest of the galaxy was going to be this dull he would have--

    Tom a'Lincoln:
    "I'm registering life!"

    King Arthur:
    "Wahoo! Let's conquer them! I claim this boring rock in the name of... Space Britain!!"

    Tom a'Lincoln: "Space... Britain...?"

    King Arthur: "Couldn't think of anything better..."

    Merlin: "Cosmos Britannia?

    King Arthur: "So we'll be going with Space Britain."

    Merlin: "Stella Britannus!"

    King Arthur: "Space Britain it is!"

    Merlin grumbles.

    Tom a'Lincoln: "Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to go around invading our neighbours, Sire? We don't know anything about them. Maybe we should send down an away team?"

    King Arthur: "Away team? You mean like a scouting party? An ambassadorial retinue?"

    Tom a'Lincoln rubs his shaved head with some perplexity.

    Tom a'Lincoln: "Yes?"

    King Arthur: "Okay! I shall lead the "Away Team" myself!"

    He flexes his fingers as he says 'away team'.


    Merlin: "I think you should send a team, Sire! It's too dangerous to go yourself!!"

    Arthur pouts.


    King Arthur: "I didn't come all this way so that someone else can have all the fun!"

    ----

    Arthur had only been partially right about the planet Venus. Certainly it is a rocky, desolate world, but surrounding the planet is a thick cloud layer that rains down sulphuric showers constantly. These rainstorms erode the rocky landscape ever so slowly over the centuries but would make short work of any bare skin that the humans laid before it. As had happened to three unfortunate red-shirted individuals that Tom a'Lincoln had sent down an hour ago.

    Now, however, a solution has been found. Space suits. They were found in one of Camelot's many rooms and appeared to be ancient, yet still functional. A quick spacewalk test confirmed that they were still in good condition, while a short alchemical test done by Merlin, performed in a room she has taken to calling her 'laboratory', also confirmed that the suits were protected from hazards like sulphur.


    The space-boats they'd found in a gigantic room that appeared to be exposed to space but has its oxygen trapped inside by an invisible, magical bubble around the big open door. The spaceboats are small space-worthy vessels that would make it easy to navigate down to the planet.

    Tom a'Lincoln was able to show a few sailors how the controls work and they decided that the spaceboats are infinitely easier to control than the big ship itself.

    Now the Away Team are assembled at the door of a spaceboat. The pilot and the co-pilot will wait in the spaceboat while the team of five will venture forth.

    Their spacesuits clad the entire body and while padding exists to line the interior of the suits, the exterior also features plates of armour to defend them in any combat they may come across. They have helmets that are metal with long visors of one-way black glass. Over their armour they have tabards that have crests and their chosen colours. Unlike their usual armour, these suits are lighter and probably more ornate. Sir Bedivere has already committed to designing more of them.

    Leading the group is Arthur's most trusted knight and beloved friend, Sir Lancelot du Lac. His tabard is all blue with the white armour protruding underneath. On the front is the traditional fleurs-de-lis in its usual yellow. He pushes a button on the door but nothing happens. He lowers his head to get a good look at it as he presses the button again. Nothing.

    Sir Galahad: "Dad, you're pushing the wrong button..."

    Sir Lancelot:
    "Hey! I told you! You have to call me Commander when on a mission! You don't want the enemy to know you're my son, do you?"

    Sir Galahad: "Uh..."

    Sir Lancelot:
    "And I know it's the wrong button. I was just testing you. This one. This is the right button... right?"

    He glances shiftily at Galahad. Galahad just sighs and nods.

    The door sweeps open and they're introduced to the landscape of Venus. They look down and see the skeletons, cleaned of all organic matter by the sulphuric rain, of the three red-shirts from earlier.


    Prince Modred: "So. I vote that Lancelot goes first!"

    While most would shirk at the thought, Lancelot flexes his arm to show his willingness. Many call him the bravest man alive. Mordred calls him the stupidest.

    Sir Lancelot: "Not a problem! Off I go!"

    He leaps out of the spaceboat and lands on the solid, red rocks of the planet. He instead starts screaming and writhing in agony, the other knights all shout at him to come back while he son cries out in despair. Galahad then flings himself out to grab his father but it's too late.

    Lancelot starts laughing at them.


    Sir Lancelot:
    "HAHA! That was great. Come on! Time to go!"

    He starts marching off while the rest of his cadre are dumbstruck - except Mordred who is seething with anger at the fool. Mordred, sucks in his rage enough to exit the spaceboat. His own tabard is crossed with black marking the top-left and bottom-right, while the inverse is coloured blood red. And his crest are the three crowns that his father would also wear - two at the top and another resting underneath. Strapped diagonally across his torso is a massive zweihander that he'd brought from Earth with him. What effect it would have on space aliens is anyone's guess, but an unarmed knight is not a true knight as Lancelot would tell them.

    He looks up at a massive rock formation, tilts his head and realises that it's a gigantic rocky mushroom. He might have considered it a coincidence but the whole area is filled with them and they're of varying sizes. He finds a small one and nudges it.


    Prince Mordred: "Definitely rock. Weird."

    He kneels down and gives it a tug. It comes away from the land and he tosses it into a bag, also strapped to his person. Sir Bedievere would be happy to get some samples and Mordred is more than happy to oblige the pursuit of knowledge and science.

    Behind him comes Sir Galahad.

    Prince Mordred: "Your father's an ******."

    Sir Galahad: "We probably deserved it for letting him go first, like a bunch of cowards."

    Mordred rolls his eyes, glad the younger man couldn't see how his face - a face that would tell Galahad just how stupid Mordred thinks he is. Galahad has all the idiocy of his father but none of the skill and half as much bravery. At least Lancelot would be useful as a meat shield should they come up against a rampaging horde of monsters. Hell the buffoon was so talented he might even survive such an onslaught. Mordred, of course, would have made a run for it. Because he's smart.

    Sir Lancelot: "This way!"

    Mordred gets up and walks after Laneclot with Galahad. Galahad, like his father, has the fleurs-de-lis upon his tabard but underneath is coloured a deep forest green to distinguish him from his father. His armour is otherwise the same, white just like Lancelot's.

    Prince Mordred:
    "No water anywhere..."

    The Faerie Knight: "A dismal and depressing place. No vegetation at all. I don't know think the king will want to conquer this land."

    Mordred glances back to see the two other knights walking several paces behind him and Galahad. The Faerie Knight is one of Tom a'Lincoln's sons and was lucky enough to have gotten some of his mother's magical talents. The Faerie Knight's tabad is pink - not an unusual, nor girly, colour in the days of yore.

    Prince Mordred:
    "Totally gay."

    The Faerie Knight: "What?"

    Prince Mordred:
    "I said it's totally okay! Whatever my father decides to do."

    Upon the tabard is a crested sphere with a bright star shining out from its centre - a symbol meant to represent magic. The lower tails of the tabard are coloured black to compliment the soft hued pink. How or when he had had the time or ability to recraft the metalwork of his helmet, Mordred could only guess, but he has done so and now it has two extensions that run rearwards in the ornate pattern of vines and roses. Mordred guesses the roses are meant to represent his father, who is often known as the Red Rose Knight.

    What his real name is is a mystery to Mordred. He never bothers to find out their names unless they thrust their names upon him, like Galahad - who likes to shout his name, followed by his father's, whenever he can. 'I, Galahad, son of Lancelot, propose this...' or 'Galahad, son of Lancelot, will vanquish... whatever' are two popular phrases drilled into Mordred's head. He and Galahad are not far apart in age, Mordred being just three years the elder, but he feels like an old man when listening to Galahad's naïvety.

    Like The Faerie Knight, Mordred also doesn't know the name of the man's sibling who is simply known as The Black Knight. The Black Knight, as expected, is wearing entirely black. Black armour, black tabard, black boots, black helmet and now she has a black visor to match. She's tall an unnaturally strong, possibly some kind of power she got from her mother too - though Mordred had heard rumour that they both have differing mothers. Many might scorn this but Mordred can only relate. Unlike Mordred and Llacheu, who do not get on, The Black Knight and The Faerie Knight always seem like the best of buds. This only serves to stem the fires of jealousy in Modred.

    The Black Knight is usually the more silent of the two, emanating an aura of dread and fear is most who came to her. Except Mordred who just became annoyed at how depressing she is.

    Prince Mordred: "Where'd your idiot father go?"

    Sir Galahad: "What?"

    Prince Mordred: "I said where did your honourable father go?"

    Sir Galahad:
    "That doesn't sound anything like what you sai--OH!"

    He throws himself to the ground... while the other three knights stare down at him like he'd gone mad.


    The Faerie Knight: "What are you doing, Galahad?"

    Sir Galahad: "Look! There's something there!"

    They squint out across the rocky landscape and see nothing but rocks. Then they see a bundle of rocks move!

    They all throw themselves to the floor and peep over a rock. They watch the rock-man shuffling his way along. He's quite slow, apparently he doesn't have anywhere to be any time soon, and appears to be made form the same orange rocks as the rest of Venus. His eyes, however, are two bright glowing orbs.

    Sir Galahad:
    "What do we do? Do we go over and say hello or bash it in the face?"

    The Black Knight: "Bash it."

    The Faerie Knight:
    "No no. We can't just attack it! It looks peaceful enough!"

    The Black Knight: "It's big and it's ugly. It needs to be bashed."

    Prince Mordred: "You're big and ugly but we don't bash you."

    The Black Knight:
    "What?"

    Prince Mordred:
    "You're tall and graceful w--"

    The Black Knight:
    "I heard what you said the first time, scoundrel. I was giving you the opportunity to apologise."

    Sir Galahad: "You can't call the prince a scoundrel, Black Knight. Show some respect!"

    Prince Mordred:
    "It's fine. Forget it. Black Knight. Why don't you go over and do the bashing then?"

    The Black Knight: "Next time I'm going to call you something much worse than a scoundrel."

    The Faerie Knight: "I think... I think Lancelot will be doing the bashing..."

    He points and then all see Lancelot standing atop of a rocky hill with his lance poised. He leaps off of the rock and "Ha-ha's" his way down to thrust the spear at the rock-man. The lance don't penetrate - it just bounces off.

    Prince Mordred: "Well, colour me unsurprised..."

    Sir Galahad:
    "Yeah. It is made of rock..."

    Prince Mordred:
    "I meant I'm unsurprised that your father has gotten himself in trouble again."

    The rock-man slowly turns itself to look at Lancelot, who stands ready to leap out of harms way. But the big rocky monster just stands there, looking at him with its big, blue, shiny eyes. After an anticlimactic moment, Lancelot relaxes and the knights see him offer the rock-man a wave. The creature looks at Lancelot's hand and then, albeit much slower, it mimics the gesture.

    The Faerie Knight:
    "Seems they're friendly after all."

    Prince Mordred: "Lucky it didn't mimic Lancelot's first greeting or he'd have a spear through his skull."

    The four of them get up and dust off their tabards, now fettered with sand. Galahad marches proudly towards his father, as though his father had won some great victory and Galahad somehow shines brighter because of it, while Mordred hangs back with The Black Knight. The Faerie Knight tries to talk to the rock-man but, since it doesn't seem to have a mouth, Mordred doubts it'll be much of a conversationalist.

    Prince Mordred: "Shame they're too stupid to fight. We could have used an army of stone-guys."

    The Black Knight: "And what war are we fighting that they'd be used?"

    Mordred just shrugs.

    Prince Mordred:
    "There's always another war around the corner."

    -----

    Many hours later and a few trips to and from the planet, Camelot is ready to move on to the next planet in the Sol System. In a room they had come to use as a canteen, many Britons are staring at the new crewman. One of the rock-men had been convinced to come up and join Camelot, or at least it seemed to be convinced but it may just have been stupid enough to wander onto the spaceboat. Morganna stands with her arms folded, entirely unimpressed with the dumb brute.


    Merlin:
    "You don't like Andy?"

    Morganna tuts.


    Morganna: "You named it!?"

    Merlin: "Of course I did!"

    Sir Bedivere: "I'd say it's a nice start. And I have a few of those rock-mushrooms to study too. Maybe we can understand more about Andy's anatomy if I can learn something about the mushrooms."

    Morganna: "Right. Great. Rock mushrooms and a rock man. Not exactly a kingdom worthy of my son."

    Merlin scowls.

    Merlin: "Not ev--"

    Suddenly, everyone in the room is flung against the wall, lines of people all pinned in various positions. One unfortunate man is pinned upside down, while another has, more fortunately, been given a pleasant view up a woman's skirt, for which he's being chastised vehemently. Even Andy has wound up stuck against a wall, an occurrence which seems to have left him placidly confused. A state he seems to be in constantly.

    When they're released they can see out of the window.


    Morganna:
    "He's an idiot."

    Sir Bedivere: "Evidently our king didn't know the Earth is the third planet--"

    They're instantly thrown against the wall again.

    Morganna:
    "Bedievere, I charge you with finding a new jump mechanism for this infernal ship!"

    Merlin: "I think I actually agree with you, Morganna..."

    Morganna: "The stars must have aligned."

    They're released again and Morganna falls to her knees, clutching her stomach. Bedievere has slumped against the wall in a daze. Only Andy and Merlin seem to be unaffected by the weariness of the jump, though Andy could be affected and nobody would be able to tell the difference.

    Merlin: "Uh-oh..."

    They both manage to stagger to their feet and look out of the window with Merlin. The sight of an entire fleet of ships manages to sober them both up instantly.

  21. #61
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    1,326

    Diminished Council

    Present day.

    Taliesin:
    I'd always hoped to return to Doughnutdelf. Didn't expect it to be under these circumstances.

    The other master mages nod soberly. They are in the ruined city of Doughnutdelf, once in a massive cavern beneath Stonehenge, now open to the sky since the nexus here was devoured to fuel a terrific explosion.

    Mustang Ford: It's the best we can do. We are vastly diminished.

    Merlin's Ghost: Yeah, but you have me back now!

    The lich-wizard that is Mustang looks significantly at Merlin's ghostly body, which disappears below the torso.

    Mustang Ford: As I said, we are vastly diminished.

    Merlin's Ghost: Hey now! I was the most powerful wizard of my day--

    Hermes Trismegistus coughs delicately.

    Merlin's Ghost: YOU don't count. You have all kinds of divine superpowers. If it were a contest of pure spellslinging, I'd whoop your butt, and I still could put Mustang over my knee and spank his arse!

    Taliesin: Regardless, we are none of us as powerful as once we were. Not with the nexes destroyed.

    Citizen Rex: What's a "nexes"?

    The master mages look at Citizen Rex with some exasperation.

    Hermes Trismegistus: Remind me again what he's doing here.

    Mustang Ford: Deep couldn't make it. Some delicate political crisis, complicated by demons. He sent Citizen Rex here in his stead.

    Hermes Trismegistus: For the love of Zeus, why? He's both powerless and a fool.

    Citizen Rex: Hey now, I'll have you know I once wielded great power! So I know what I'm talking about!

    Hermes gazes steadily at Citizen Rex, who balks.

    Citizen Rex: Okay, so I'm a clone of someone who once wielded great power! Close enough!

    Hermes Trismegistus: I don't recall it being MAGICAL power that your progenitor used. He could warp existence without mystical intercession.

    Citizen Rex: Yeah, but, um, well...

    Taliesin: Highemperor was also proficient in magic, I believe, even if that wasn't his primary modus operandi. So perhaps Citizen Rex has a point.

    Hermes harrumphs but lets it go at that.

    Mustang Ford: So why did you call us here, Taliesin?

    Taliesin: We have to establish a new center for magic. Rebuild the ranks of our order, and begin research into how magic works now that it is weaker, due to the loss of the nexes.

    Citizen Rex: You still haven't told me what a "nexes" is.

    Everyone ignores him.

    Hermes Trismegistus: We have a worse problem than that.

    Taliesin raises an eyebrow at his old pupil.

    Taliesin: Oh?

    Hermes Trismegistus: Merlin's actions during the Second Cataclysm saved Albion from destruction.

    Merlin beams.

    Mustang Ford: How is that a problem?

    Hermes Trismegistus: In and of itself, it is not. A worthy achievement to be sure. But Albion feeds on Terran magic. Now that there is no nexus constantly renewing the supply...

    The other master mages gape.

    Merlin's Ghost: Earth's magic will be completely drained!

    Taliesin: And then Albion too will fade, once its source of magical energy is depleted.

    Citizen Rex: This is a bad thing...right?

    Taliesin: That's right, Rex. Have a cookie.

    Citizen Rex: COOKIES, YAY!

    He proceeds to munch rather noisily.

    Hermes Trismegistus: Well, at least you shut him up.

    Merlin's Ghost: Say, I remember how good your cookies were, Taliesin. Mind if I nip a few?

    Taliesin: Sure, I've got a few bespelled with a ghost touch charm, have at them!

    The sound of munching is doubled.

    Hermes Trismegistus: Anyway, it's not just Earth's magic that is at stake. The whole universe will be depleted of magic if Earth's vanishes.

    Taliesin: Hmm, I hadn't considered that. Your sight ranges the stars rather more than my more local interests. But if I understand correctly, Earth sets the pattern for the universe?

    Hermes nods.

    Merlin's Ghost: Right then. The only solution is to create a new nexus.

    Mustang Ford: Not the ONLY solution. We could cut off Albion again, let it die.

    Merlin's Ghost: You monster!

    Mustang Ford: It's not monstrous if it's the lesser of two evils.

    Hermes Trismegistus: He may be right, Merlin. It is beyond our ability to create a nexus of sufficient strength to sustain both Albion and Earth. Thoth recreated a nexus in Egypt, but it will be decades, if it not centuries, before it achieves sustainable levels.

    Taliesin: There is one who can create such a strong supernexus. One who might restore, or even surpass, the ultranexus of Atlantis's strength.

    Mustang shakes his head.

    Mustang Ford: She won't do it. She is far too concerned with her own survival and aggrandizement.

    Merlin's Ghost: You're wrong. There is good in her. I can feel it.

    Hermes Trismegistus: Star Wars ripoffs notwithstanding, I don't share your optimism. The planets come into alignment soon. I'll give it till then. If Nyneve doesn't sacrifice herself to create a new supernexus...well, only one option is available to us.

    A dark silence falls between the master mages. None can find anything more to say, and one by one, they depart.

    ***

    Continued in NeSquared Post 1962
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 01-19-2017 at 04:22 PM.

  22. #62
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    1,326

    The Toiletium

    Continued from NeSquared Post 1962

    ***

    The astral plane is a dimension just out of sync with the NeSiverse and most other universes. Every location in the astral plane corresponds with a location in the NeSiverse or another universe. Those in the astral plane can see their corresponding locations, but can pass unseen and intangible. Ghosts and spirits often but not always inhabit the astral plane.

    The astral plane is why Mount Olympus appears to be a normal mountain to mortals. The great palace of the gods atop it is in the astral plane. Here is the home of what is perhaps the greatest and longest-lasting bacchanalia in the NeSiverse.


    Three Fates: There sure are a lot of... deities here.

    The three women, speaking simultaneously, have a note of disdain in their voice when they say 'deities'.

    Three Fates: And they sure do like to party.

    Aeon: Apparently, all of Earth's thousands of deities live here now, instead of maintaining their own individual domains.

    Aeon, the Cosmic God over Time, inspects his wristwatch, which displays a digital hourglass with pixels of sand eternally falling into the 'lower' half.

    Aeon: And they've been partying nonstop for about 3 millennia.

    Phractal: That is why they lost the worship of your humans. They preferred, and still do, to party, rather than to reign.

    Phractal is a multidimensional being, difficult to perceive or describe. He, or perhaps it, is attuned to the very fabric of existence in the NeSiverse and many other universes, and experiences all things as a fractal pattern.

    Phractal: Your humans are the crowning masterpiece of this world, and as such are perhaps a bit... much... for mere planetary deities to govern.

    Runekeeper: Don't your Greys still worship planetary deities?

    There might have been a crystalline glint of annoyance in Phractal's eyes at the words of the Cosmic God over Magic.

    Phractal: The God-Monarchs favored humanity over Greyanity. The remnants of that favor are part of what make your humans so... vigorous.

    One of the women comprising the Three Fates picks up a wine goblet and starts drinking. The other two look aghast at their sister. The drinking sister shrugs. As the sisters argue with each other, they all speak the same words to each other.

    Three Fates: Hey, we have a reason to party, right? Now that we can govern Earth's celestial spheres again.

    Three Fates: We are not so bourgeois as to join this rabble.

    Two of the women look scornfully at the merrymaking deities of Earth.

    Runekeeper: Before you three get into a full-blown argument and stop speaking for a few centuries, answer me this: why can't I get Bob Roberts out of his apartment?

    Three Fates: Ah, Bob Roberts. I am so glad I can weave fates on Earth again. He is one of the first whose fates I remade.

    Runekeeper: What, and his fate is to live in his Seattle apartment forever?

    All three identical faces look surprised.

    Three Fates: How did you know?

    The Runekeeper facepalms. Unfortunately for him, he facepalms with the hand whose wrist is chained to his heavy tome, and the book smacks up into his head.

    Runekeeper: Owie... anyway, I need him out of there.

    Phractal jerks his head with sudden understanding.

    Phractal: So that's where the new ultranexus is. I sensed the NeSiverse's fractal pattern shifting into a new and more harmonious alignment.

    Three Fates: Wait, your new magical ultranexus is in Bob Roberts' Seattle apartment?

    Runekeeper looks abashed.

    Runekeeper: More specifically, the toilet of Bob Roberts' Seattle apartment.

    Aeon, Phractal, and Three Fates burst out laughing.

    Runekeeper: Hey, I didn't decide to put it there!

    The other cosmic deities only laugh harder.

    Runekeeper: It was an automatic placement based on the configuration of the existing ley lines and the patterns through which the new magic was channeled-- you know what, forget it, I know you don't care. I just need Bob Roberts out of there.

    Aeon: What, so you can build a Grand Cathedral of Magic?

    Runekeeper eyes the Cosmic God of Time suspiciously, clutching his tome closely to his chest.

    Runekeeper: Have you been peeking at my blueprints in here?

    Aeon rolls his clockwork eyes.

    Runekeeper: But yes. And for some reason, I can't evict him.

    Three Fates: Well, like I said, I fated him to live there forever.

    Runekeeper: Then CHANGE that.

    He pauses.

    Runekeeper: Please.

    Three Fates: No way! I just got access to our planet again and started weaving destinies. I'm not gonna let myself be restricted again!

    Runekeeper: But--

    Three Fates: Besides, Bob Roberts is IMPORTANT. I can't just rearrange his fate willy-nilly.

    The other cosmic gods look at the three women skeptically.

    Three Fates: He's the direct descendant of the world's first man, whom we all (save Phractal) created!

    The Runekeeper facepalms again. This time, he remembers to do so with the unchained hand.

    Runekeeper: EVERY human is the direct descendant of the world's first man!

    Three Fates: Your point?

    Runekeeper: Look, I'm asking nicely but...fate is a tremendously difficult thing to thwart - but magic can change it.

    The three women get a dangerous look on their faces.

    Three Fates: I wouldn't recommend it.

    Aeon: Don't fight, you two. We just got our world back, let's not ruin it. Runekeeper, you got your ultranexus, right? Even if you can't build a Grand Whatsis over it?

    The Runekeeper toes the floor sullenly.

    Runekeeper: Grand Cathedral of Magic. Yeah, I got it.

    Aeon: Then let that be enough. It's the power that matters for us, not the trappings.

    The Terran deities have been giving the cosmic deities a wide berth this whole time, unsure how to treat these newcomers to their midst, who evidently aren't as keen on partying as they are. Now however, Hermes Trismegistus - god of superspeed, with the power of Ares won in a bet, and super-mage of the highest order - appears out of the crowd and comes up to the Runekeeper, pointing an accusing finger at him.

    Hermes Trismegistus: You. Stole. Our. Magic.

    The Runekeeper's eyes flash.

    Runekeeper: Twas mine to begin with!

    Hermes keeps glaring, but he knows he cannot really argue. Earth mages have gotten used to having magic unrestricted by gods for a billion years.

    Hermes Trismegistus: I hope you're planning to share. Deities shouldn't hoard what falls under their domain, but govern it.

    Runekeeper: It's mine to hoard if I choose, little godling. But yes, if I am paid proper respect, I shall allow your little planet's mages to continue drawing from it.

    Hermes Trismegistus: Sounds great. But for gods' sakes why did you put it in a toilet?!

    The Runekeeper opens his mouth to reply that it wasn't his choice, before closing it briefly. A sly smile crawls across his face.

    Runekeeper: To teach you proper humility.

    Hermes Trismegistus: What?!

    Runekeeper: You and the other mages of Earth may only gain access to the ultranexus itself through Bob Roberts and his toilet. You must learn the ways of plumbing...

    ***

    Mario Miyamoto is a young Japanese-Italian man who has always been prouder of his moustache than his magical aptitude. This is perhaps just, given that his magical aptitude is quite limited, and usually performs best when he consumes alchemical brews concocted from liquefied mushrooms, flowers, and feathers.

    Although he grew up in the family plumbing business, he began attending the Magium - premier institute and center of learning for magic on Earth - once his mystical prowess (limited though it was) was discovered. Working part-time as a janitor on the Magium campus helped put him through his tuition.

    However, the Magium was recently destroyed in a terrific explosion by the Latter-Day Greys of Memnoch and the Trans-Terra Terrorists, using reality-warping devices designed by a Discharding inventor. Fortunately for Mario Miyamoto, he was away for the summer, visiting his family.


    Mama Miyamoto: Mario, could you get the door?

    Mario Miyamoto: Bah, just because I'm not in school anymore doesn't mean I should be relegated to door-opener...

    Mama Miyamoto: What was that, honey?

    Mario Miyamoto: Nothing, Mama!

    He answers the door, reflexively twirling his moustache. A gaunt man clad in a wide-brimmed hat and leather robes greets him.

    Mustang Aurelius Ford: Are you Mario Miyamoto?

    Mario Miyamoto: Yes, sir. Can I help you?

    Mustang Aurelius Ford: Congratulations, lad. You are now Archmage of the Wizards R Us Plumbing Company.

    Mario Miyamoto: ...what?

    Mustang Aurelius Ford: Cool Matty was right, there ARE a lot us whose names begin with M...

    ***

    Mustang Aurelius Ford takes Mario Miyamoto to the new premier center of magical learning and activity on Earth - the newly established Wizards R Us Plumbing Company, based in Seattle, USA. Here he meets the other master mages.

    Archmage Mario Miyamoto: I am honored but...why a plumbing company?

    Taliesin: You may have noticed your magical strength surging into new vigor recently.

    Archmage Mario Miyamoto: Indeed, followed by a subsequent waning.

    Merlin's Ghost: The magical nexes of Earth were restored, in a new ultranexus even greater than ancient Atlantis' was - then the Runekeeper, god of all magic in the NeSiverse, seized it for himself, and now doles it out to us, provided we... approach it in the right way.

    Archmage Mario Miyamoto: I am not certain what this has to do with plumbing...

    Mustang: The ultranexus is in a toilet.

    Archmage Mario Miyamoto: Oh. Say, could you all stop taking turns to speak, please? It gets very confusing, turning every which way to look at whomever is talking.

    Taliesin: Very well. I shall speak for us. We need you to train us - and all mages, and all apprentices both present and future - in the ways of plumbing, that we may approach the altar of Bob Roberts' toilet.

    Archmage Mario Miyamoto: This is a great responsibility, but I will give it my utmost.

    Taliesin: Also, 'Archmage Mario Miyamoto' is way too much of a mouthful. From henceforth, I dub thee Archmario, for short!

    Archmario: Then I dub this new magical plumbing company the Toiletium, for short!

    The other master mages look at Archmario.

    Taliesin: Speaking for all of us, that's a terrible name.

    Archmario: So is 'Archmario'.

    Taliesin: Fair enough. So this is now the Toiletarium--

    Archmario: Oh my god, no. It's TOILETIUM. Toiletarium is just STUPID.

    Taliesin: ....

    And so, under Archmario's tutelage, the Toiletium begins to flourish. Mages trade their rune-covered robes for rune-covered plumber overalls (though they refuse to doff their pointy hats, and who can blame them?), and tip their staffs and wands with plungers. Mages who were powerful before are now often weak, and vice versa. The bold new age begins!
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 01-19-2017 at 04:24 PM.

  23. #63
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    1,326

    The Secret of Cool Matty's Power

    Circa 1,000,000 B.C. Atlantis, founded merely a few decades ago, is already a flourishing town. Its clay and wooden structures are rapidly being replaced by marble and orichalchum. The first building to receive the renovations is the very first structure built - the Temple of the WriterGod, constructed by Templemont the Builder, one of the city's 12 founders.

    Luros the Magician, another founder, watches somewhat disconsolately from the bottom of the hill, as stone walls are torn down to be replaced by orichalcum. The 13 pillars of the inner sanctum - powerful and mysterious hedrons that Luros had discovered upon arriving here - remain untouched in the renovation, as their jet-black surfaces scroll with green glyphs.


    Tailor Darji: Why so glum, Luros?

    Magician Luros: I've contributed nothing to this city.

    Tailor Darji: Don't be a fool. Of course you've contributed. Why, those very sacred hedrons were your discovery, and your idea to implement into the temple's inner sanctum.

    Magician Luros: I was simply the first to cast eyes upon them. They are not my doing. Whereas Builder Templemont is constructing these grand edifices. Farmer Zin reaps prosperous crops and created the hybrid plants that beautify this city.

    He gestures to the lovely snowblossom trees everywhere.

    Magician Luros: Even Possipher has outdone me. A Cakemaker!

    Tailor Darji: You know he prefers the term Baker.

    Magician Luros: Whatever. Half the reason this place is so prosperous is from his crazy-delicious banana-crème Oreo knockoffs. And then Lawyer Simon fended off that wacky copyright deity about those. Every one of us founders has contributed. Except me.

    Tailor Darji: It's my understanding that there's a massive magical nexus here. Couldn't you tap into that, if you feel your achievements aren't enough?

    Magician Luros: The ultranexus. Most powerful concentration of magic ever known. Yes, I could, but then that wouldn't be me. I have little magic of my own. I'm a trickster by trade, not a wizard. Even the bard Shadi has more magic than me.

    Tailor Darji: So create your OWN nexus. Wouldn't that be a trick worth doing?

    Magician Luros stops and stares at Darji.

    Magician Luros: That would be an impressive feat indeed...if it could be done!

    Tailor Darji sees the wheels turning in the magician's mind, and smiles, leaving him to his own devices. Luros summons Scientist Renat and Poet Shadi the Sha'ir - two more of the city's 12 founders - to the inner sanctum of the Temple of the WriterGod.

    Scientist Renat: It is a bold proposal you make, Luros. But my elemental calculus backs up your theory. With the right vessel, it could be done.

    Poet Shadi the Sha'ir: Of course it can be done. We are favored by the WriterGod, after all. But the question is, why? For no other reason than to sate your ego, Luros?

    Magician Luros: That's why I'm doing it...but there's a better reason for why you should.

    Poet Shadi the Sha'ir: And that is?

    Magician Luros: Thus far our great city is highly advanced in trade and wealth, architecture and flora, and science and the arts. But we lack in magic. Yes, we have the ultranexus, but lack the learning and the craft. This deed that I propose will solidfy our place as masters of wizardry, and mark the beginning of our superiority in that art.

    Shadi the Sha'ir strokes his beard thoughtfully. The glyphs of the hedrons keep scrolling around them, and the poet sees a symmetry in them that speaks to his soul.

    Poet Shadi the Sha'ir: Very well, Luros. I will sing the chants you propose.

    Scientist Renat: You must acquire a proper vessel first.

    Luros smiles.

    Magician Luros: I already have. Come out, Matsu.

    A young gangly man, with a staff strapped to his back, steps out from behind one of the hedron pillars. He bows respectfully to the three. Scientist Renat regards him inquisitively, pulling out his abacus and performing calculations on the fly. Poet Shadi the Sha'ir merely looks in the young man's eyes, taking the measure of his spirit.

    After a moment, both men agree to this Matsu's ability to act as vessel.


    Magician Luros: Then let us begin. Matsu, if you would stand here.

    The young man nods obediently and stands before the altar of the WriterGod, putting his back to it as he faces the three men, priests in Atlantis - a priest of science, a priest of words, and a priest of magic. Poet Shadi the Sha'ir begins chanting, as Scientist Renat produces an astrolabe.

    But the bulk of the task falls to Magician Luros.


    Magician Luros: WriterGod be with me...

    He plunges his metaphorical hand into the heart of the ultranexus that beats around them, here in the sanctum of the WriterGod's Grand Temple. It seems like such a simple act, yet it is a delicate and complex operation he performs. Finally, after several long minutes, he withdraws his metaphorical hand...and opens his real hand.

    A tiny spark of flame flickers in his palm. A single spark of pure magic, drawn from the heart of the ultranexus.


    Magician Luros: Open your mouth, Matsu, and swallow.

    The young man obeys, and Luros drops the spark into his throat, and Matsu swallows. Sweat breaks out on his face, as his body adjusts to the influx of power. Even a single spark of this great ultranexus floods him with energy.

    Magician Luros: How do you feel?

    Matsu: As though I never need to sleep again...

    Luros smiles as Poet Shadi the Sha'ir stops chanting.

    Magician Luros: Perfect.

    Poet Shadi the Sha'ir: Taking a single spark of the ultranexus and imbuing a person with it is quite a feat, but that does not a new ultranexus make.

    Scientist Renat: But it will, over centuries.

    Magician Luros: Or millennia. That spark is merely a seed. It will grow within Matsu, and he will pass it on to his first child, and then it will grow within him or her, and so on down the generations. Every generation, the passed-on spark will flare brighter in their blood, until at last it is an ultranexus in its own right.

    Scientist Renat: An alchemy of blood and fire.

    Poet Shadi the Sha'ir: That's almost poetic. I approve.

    Magician Luros claps his hands in glee, and puts his arm around Matsu, leading the young man outside.

    Scientist Renat: That was a potent deed the magician performed...but it does not make him learned in the wizard's craft.

    Poet Shadi the Sha'ir: No, but it set him on that path. It did what was needed. It gave him confidence.
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-23-2016 at 02:06 PM.

  24. #64
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    The Fall of Atlantis

    Atlantis. Circa 10,000 B.C.

    One month after Helebon was defeated and his hellish armies repulsed, the damage to the city is almost completely repaired, thanks to advanced Atlantean magitech. In the palace - an estate near the heart of the city that spans twenty acres, with the palace alone taking up 7 of those acres, and reaching to the sky with all manner of towers and minarets that rise above most of the other buildings - King Stafford XLII sits on his throne in the royal audience chamber. He is seeing the customary line of nobles and peasants who have petitions. Normally his court vizier would be here, advising him and bringing order to the crowd.

    But Magistarr, court wizard and archmage without peer, is busy with other, more important work. Work that does not include Stafford. Instead, Magistarr's most intelligent apprentice, Belshaggath, is in his place. His advice is sound and he keeps reasonable order, although he is not nearly as capable as the experienced Magistarr in political concerns. However, his inexperience is of no matter...given that all the important policies have long been made away from the throne.


    Belshaggath: Your majesty, may I present the Duke Squiremast, of Discharding.

    Stafford raises an eyebrow, having never heard of this realm.

    Stafford: Be ye welcome in Atlantis, good man. I am unfamiliar with your home.

    Duke Squiremast: Discharding is another universe far beyond yours, your majesty. Our nobility have long been fond of Earth as a vacation spot.

    Belshaggath: They are petitioning for rights to conduct a safari in the jungle on the southern coast, my king.

    Stafford: I know of no reason we should not grant it. Belshaggath?

    The apprentice vizier bows his head, indicating that he has no reservation either.

    Stafford: Then it is done. A pleasure, Duke.

    The Discharding Duke Squiremast bows from the waist, offering his thanks before exiting. Stafford suppresses a sigh as the next petitioner comes up. This is what he has been relegated to. A travel agent. King in name only. The throne has steadily lost influence since his father's assassination, and lost whatever shreds of real authority it had during the war with hell. He thinks briefly of the woman he has loved since they were children, who is even now with her husband, the true ruler (in all but name) of the realm.

    It is in the war room at the secure heart of the sprawling palace, where the true business of government is run. Assembled here are Magistarr (archmage without peer), the 12 lords and ladies of the Illuminohqi, Count Desmond (the Hand of the Plot), the Champions of Atlantis (sans Highemperor, High Angel, and Britticus, who have left for adventures elsewhere), and the Ancient One. It is the Ancient One who holds the real power in Atlantis, and Magistarr is unofficially his vizier.


    Lady Fay: Peace is wonderful, but I sense that many of you, like my husband, are restless.

    The young woman, whose pregnancy is just starting to show, fills cups of tea with her tasseomantic abilities, and passes them around. The assembled lords murmur appreciatively as they sip.

    Lord Simon: Indeed. We control the wealthiest, most advanced, and most populous continent in the world. Perhaps it is time to expand.

    Ancient One: It is.

    The lords swivel their heads to him. Expectation is in the air.

    Count Desmond: Europe? The Africas?

    Ancient One: The stars.

    The various lords and ladies are hushed into astonished silence. Their faces slowly break out into grins.

    Ares: Ha! Now THAT is a war worth fighting!

    Janitor Robertus: Is that... feasible?

    Ancient One: Very. Magistarr?

    Magistarr: We have had space-capable craft for centuries of course, but have held little interest in anything more than small explorations.

    Lady Fay: Until my father.

    Magistarr: Correct, my lady. Oberon and his followers ventured into the stars a generation ago, and have not been idle. During the war, they contacted us.

    Lord Simon: What?! Why are we just now hearing this?

    Magistarr: It was war. You know that. We had no time for matters beyond our world. Now, however, we have reached back out, and are flooded with reports of the wealth and resources and glory out there. We have star charts for this galaxy and several nearby ones as well.

    Ancient One: In time, we could subjugate the entire Milky Way, before expanding our new empire to other galaxies...and then even beyond. Several of us are naturally immortal, but all of us here present are immortal as long as we remain on Earth, with the ultranexus. We will live to see this empire reach the furthest stars.

    Ares: That's totally rockin'!

    Count Desmond: If I may ask, my lord, does this favor the Story?

    Lady Fay has the same question. Her husband the Ancient One's top priority is the formation and infinite perpetuity of what he calls a Neverending Story. But in recent years, with the power he has gained over Atlantean affairs, he has grown accustomed to wielding and accumulating more of it. But she would not have questioned him in front of others. Desmond, the Hand of the Plot, has no such compunctions.

    Ancient One: There must be conflict to drive and perpetuate it. Our conquests will create that conflict. The repulsion of Helebon's invasion is only the first chapter of our saga.

    Desmond nods thoughtfully, apparently satisfied. The other lords and ladies murmur excitedly about the possibilities.

    Magistarr: Then if we are all agreed on this course... let the war plans begin!

    Word sweeps through the realm. Atlantis will take its place among the stars! Young men and women eagerly sign up for the military, and spacecraft bristling with weaponry are produced in incredible numbers, as the continent pushes its magitech to the limit to manufacture a new imperial military in record time. Lady Fay gives birth to a healthy baby boy, and it is seen as a portent of fate: Atlantis was born to rule the stars.

    After close to a year, the Illuminohqi deem their space military ready, and together they seek the blessing of the WriterGod at the Grand Temple in the heart of the great city.


    Ancient One: Hear me, O WriterGod. You have greatly blessed me, granting me this world for a Neverending Story. Now continue to favor us, for we spread our story through the stars!

    The green glyphs that constantly scroll along the surfaces of the hedron pillars - powerful Deus Ex Machines that are fitting for the inner sanctum of a narrative deity - stop, and briefly turn gold before disappearing. Puzzled, the Illuminohqi look all around, before a man is suddenly there in the room with them. His face cannot be clearly seen, as though they are looking at him through the corners of their eyes, despite looking directly at him. The others do not recognize him...but the Ancient One does. He drops to one knee.

    Ancient One: My WriterGod!

    Astonishment ripples through the other Illuminohqi, and they too kneel. The WriterGod smiles beatifically.

    WriterGod: The story shall always continue. That was my blessing, and it remains so. But now you must achieve your destiny, whatever it may be, on your own. I am stepping down as Earth's head deity.

    More ripples, this time of consternation.

    Ancient One: But...why?

    WriterGod: You have not consulted me in a long time, my beloved Writer. It is clear you do not feel you need me. And I cannot be your crutch always. You are free to write what you will.

    This is a slight whisper, and the WriterGod is gone. The green glyphs appear on the hedrons again, and begin scrolling once more. The Ancient One rises to his feet.

    Ancient One: He has given us the authority to seize the stars for ourselves! Our strength, our creativity, our story, shall prevail!

    He rouses a cheer from the Illuminohqi, and they exit the temple, returning to the palace war room to begin their intergalactic war. The Ancient One speaks through a mystical horn that carries his words to every soldier and pilot.

    Ancient One: All ships - launch. The Star Conquest has begun!

    Cheers explode through the continent, fireworks spraying to celebrate as the swarms of silver ships rise into the sky. But then, new signals appear in space overhead, as tens of thousands of spaceships appear over the Earth, bristling with weaponry. The Atlantean ships number only in the thousands (for now), but are far more advanced - nevertheless, this event is disturbing. The Atlantean Grand Admiral hails the ships, demanding their intent. A human woman responds.

    Chronos: I, the Earth God of Time, have summoned the fleets of the future to stop you. Atlantis is meant to perish. It is a fixed point in history. Its conquest of the stars can never happen. Therefore, meet the Imperials, the Jupiterians, the Yoshis, the Derkesthai, and more, all from the future of a free galaxy, to stop you from destroying their time.

    Narrative weight follows Chronos' passage through time. The Neverending Story doesn't start until 1999 - this is also a fixed point in history, and the force of that fate crashes against the Atlantean continent, that would spawn it beforehand. A massive plothole opens in the sea beneath and around the continent, which quakes with terrible force as buildings begin collapsing, while future fleets fire on Atlantean ships in the sky.

    Magistarr: Why? Why couldn't we foresee this?

    The Archmage of Atlantis and his 12 apprentices are in the Arcanaeum, performing rituals to defend Atlantis from the future fleets, and now turn their attention to saving the kingdom from the gigantic plothole.

    Count Desmond: Because she is a time god, beyond the flow of divinable history.

    Magistarr whips around to see the NeSferatu count, who is holding a small jewelry box in his hands... except it is not jewelry that it contains.

    Magistarr: Excellent idea! That spark will neutralize the plot hole and Chronos!

    Desmond bares his fangs in a fierce smile.

    Count Desmond: It might...but it will not.

    To Magistarr's horror, Desmond cracks open the box, which he has taken from the most secure Atlantean vaults. Within it, is a single spark of anti-power, recovered from Helebon, who had used it as his secret weapon against the WriterGod in his invasion. Here, in the Arcanaeum, where the ultranexus is at its strongest next to the Grand Temple of the WriterGod, the magical supernode explodes at the touch of anti-power. Ley lines visibly burst into flame, as the entire planet shudders, magic being torn asunder. Desmond closes the box and retreats, as Magistarr struggles with mounting despair to save the kingdom.

    Shinzallar: Master, did you not scry Desmond when you met him? How did you not see this coming?

    Belshaggath: His scrying showed Desmond's unwavering loyalty to the Plot...little did we know he never intended the Plot to be born in our city.

    Magistarr: Of course... a time traveler...he did not want to create a paradox and end his own existence. Didn't he know I could cast an anti-paradox charm on him?

    The Arcanaeum begins crumbling around them, and in desperation, Magistarr begins terrible rituals with his greatest apprentices. All that he can do, all that the Atlantean champions and military can do, is ultimately futile. In the sky, Atlantean ships burn and explode, their flaming hulks crashing into the sinking continent. Everywhere, people scream in horror as they die. The Ancient One, Lady Fay, and their infant son flee to the Temple of the Writer God, into the inner sanctum.

    Ancient One: Save us, O WriterGod! I see now that my hubris was wrong! I implore you!

    But the WriterGod does not reply, and and the small family escapes into the dreamstate. Outside, King Stafford, his queen, and their own infant child are hurrying through the burning streets towards the Grand Temple. Perhaps the WriterGod can save them! Even as they reach the plaza of the Grand Temple, however, the edifice crumbles into ruin. Stafford cries out in dismay as his last surviving bodyguard is crushed by falling orichalcum.

    Queen Stafford: The library, my husband. The only place said to be more sacred to the WriterGod than his temple.

    King Stafford takes her hand, fleeing through the streets before huddling in the heart of the greatest library in human history.

    The sky is on fire with the exploding debris of the last Atlantean ships, and the future fleets vanish back to their own times. The city crumbles. The continent is ripped apart by the plothole and sinks into the sea. Magistarr himself is swallowed up, staying behind to keep the ruptured magical ultranexus' death throes from destroying the Earth.

    Finally, it is over. Atlantis is destroyed, by fate and time, in blood and fire. Only a single tiny island remains of a once great continent. A ruined edifice stands upon it, and Stafford, his queen, and their son exit it.


    Queen Stafford: The whole kingdom... gone?!

    Stafford takes her hand. He has never loved her as much as he did Lady Fay, but she is still his wife, and the mother of his child. He is no longer a king, having no kingdom remaining, but in truth he has not been a king for years.

    Stafford: Though we be forgotten, we will endure. We will live together on this island, and raise our child, and be happy.

    Meanwhile, the deity Yahweh has ascended to the WriterGod's former position as head god of Earth.

    Yahweh: Excellent! Now the Atlanteans can worship me!

    Ares: Good luck there, bro. They never worshipped me. They were devoted to the WriterGod.

    Hermes: Besides, Atlantis just died. Didn't you notice?

    Ares: It did? I was busy fighting those weird future fleets, before they chickened out and ran back to their own time.

    Yahweh is dismayed.

    Yahweh: No Atlantis??? But who shall worship me now?

    Hermes: Well, you know, there is a whole planet of people here.

    Zeus: Not Greece. That's mine.

    Horus-Re: Not Egypt.

    Jade Emperor: Not China.

    Odin: Not Scandinavia.

    Yahweh: Grr...there must be somewhere I can exert my authority!

    Monkey King: Sure, there's some desert tribes in the Middle East no one else cares about...

  25. #65
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Trees

    Space Camelot: Space Trees
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Kay | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | (Sir) The Black Knight | (Sir) The Faerie Knight | Tom a'Lincoln | Prince Mordred | Chancellor Ctatherine | Admiral Ltexi

    King Arthur:
    "Space trees!"

    The viewscreen shows images of the unknown ships which, as Arthur points out, look a lot of trees. In space. Clearly made of wood of some matter they resemble huge wooden structures of various sleek shapes and designs but each has its down individual and massive tree sprouting from it. The trees are bigger than any castle on Earth and usually resemble oak trees, though others do appear to exist too. When one of the ships turned away from the main fleet its tree's leaves begin to glow white with beams of blue and red raining down from each leaf towards the ship itself. Then, in a matter of seconds, the ship is engulfed in this strange energy before it vanishes from the area.

    Arthur pouts.

    King Arthur: "Their space-jump device is way better than ours!"

    Tom a'Lincoln: "I think a communication message is coming through."

    He and Merlin huddle over a magical-box as they try to figure out how to work it. Then several images appear on the screen appears when Tom pushes a button. There's six of them and each box has a focal person in each one, though the views are very different. The first of these people to speak has their camera slightly side on and pulled back, allowing Arthur to see crewpersons walking around behind her. He notices that the interior of their ship looks to be made of polished wood too.

    Woman: "Greetings human. I see your people have finally remastered the technologies of your ancestors. We are surprised. Our researchers estimated a very different time-frame for your technological advancement."

    Arthur glances at Merlin before turning back to the monitor.


    King Arthur:
    "Uh... right. Nice space trees you have."

    Merlin: "Ah! Sire! Perhaps we should have a... professional ambassador do this job?"

    King Arthur: "What? Why? They should know who their future ruler is!"

    Merlin's face drains of colour.

    Woman: "Such an entertaining sentiment. It seems I spoke too soon. Scans reveal that this ship is ancient. Where did you get it, exactly? What civilisation gave you this vessel?"

    King Arthur:
    "None of your beeswax! Who are you anyway?"

    The woman sighs.

    Woman: "I am Chancellor Ctatherine."

    Arthur sticks his tongue out in verbal anguish.

    Chancellor Ctatherine: "It's a silent t."

    King Arthur:
    "Oh. Weird I didn't hear it that way. Anyway. Chancellor. I am King Arthur and all your base--"

    Merlin:
    "Ah! Y-your majesty! Wait! Erm.. I mean... if you would please hold before--"

    Queen Guinevere:
    "Arthur, my darling, are you annoying the space aliens?"

    Guinevere strolls onto the Command Deck and seems to radiate grace. Her dress is elegant and delicate and her face a mask of serenity.

    King Arthur: "I'm just talking to this Chancellor person. Honestly, they don't even have the decency to send their king."

    Chancellor Ctatherine: "Our Queen... this is a matriarchal society."

    Arthur gasps with horror.

    King Arthur: "What madness is--"

    Queen Guinevere: "It is always a pleasure for me and my husband to engage with new and interesting cultures, Chancellor. I am Queen Guinevere."

    Chancellor Ctatherine: "Honoured to meet you, Queen Guinevere. Although we congratulate your people on becoming space-worthy we are... concerned also. Your species does not have the greatest reputation in our galaxy."

    Merlin: "There are humans already in the galaxy? She did say something about our ancestors..."

    Chancellor Ctatherine: "I can hear and see you, woman in robes..."

    Merlin looks very embarrassed.


    Merlin: "Sorry! We are still learning how everything works!"

    She calls out and looks around the room, unsure where she's being watched from.

    Tom a'Lincoln: "I don't think you need to shout, Merlin..."

    Merlin:
    "Oh right..."

    One of the other screens is facing a woman from a low angle. Although she is wearing a white jacket with a high collar and shoulder pads, she has tight spandex pants that perfectly form to the shape of her legs. Her jacket is sleeveless to expose her arms which appear strong though not incredibly muscular. All of the screens, save one, are women-centred and they all seem to be very well toned and fit. The single male is incredibly muscular, exceeding even Arthur's own knights. Arthur wonders how the man can even move around with muscles like that weighing him down. He sits there with his chest bare and exposed for his entire crew to admire and Arthur to be offended by.

    The low-angled woman leans across the arm of the chair to look pointedly at the camera.


    Second Woman:
    "Tell us who you stole this vessel from..."

    King Arthur:
    "Stole!?"

    Chancellor Ctatherine: "Please forgive Admiral Ltexi. She's very blunt at times."

    Admiral Ltexi:
    "Silent t."

    King Arthur: "I gathered... we didn't steal this ship. We found it. And finders keepers!"

    The aliens look disgruntled. It never crossed the mind of Arthur that they look human but the minds of everyone else in the room are certainly perplexed by this. Merlin, certainly, had been expecting more aliens like those on Venus.

    Chancellor Ctatherine begins talking but nobody on the Command Deck can hear her - she's speaking on a muted line to the other ship captains. To Arthur she looks like his own wife in many ways, having similar grace and style of features. Her hair is a strange colour of blonde that looks almost pink. She is wearing an outfit that would make any lady of Castle Camelot blush, a brassiere of metal that Arthur is pretty sure won't be of any use in battle.

    King Arthur:
    "I'm getting bored of this..."

    Queen Guinevere:
    "Did you think we'd be slaying space dragons, my love?"

    King Arthur: "Of course!"

    Arthur puts his hands on his hips and fumes.

    King Arthur: "Where are my space dragons, dammit? Or at least a good space demon. Or pretty much and old space beastie would do. All we have are walking rocks and women-in-underwear."

    Male Jupiterian: "I'll have you know, I am male."

    They jump at the sudden sound of his voice, which has a very Eastern-European sound to it.

    Merlin: "You most certainly are, aren't you?"

    Merlin and Guinevere both turn to stare at the bald-girl whose head then becomes a tomato as she realises she'd said that out loud.

    Male Jupiterian: "Our society is quite progressive now. Men are even allowed to vote!"

    Tom a'Lincoln:
    "I suppose that's more progressive than ours since no one can vote--"

    Arthur glares at his captain and the man slaps his hand over his mouth and tries to shrug off his unthinking words.

    Tom a'Lincoln:
    "Not that we need to vote on anything, Sire. You're the wisest man in the whole kingdom!"

    Chancellor Ctatherine:
    "Sorry to keep you waiting. Admiral Ltexi would like to look around your ship..."

    Even Guinevere seems dubious about that.

    King Arthur: "Not sure I want her poking around my ship."

    Admiral Ltexi: "Your ship. You bloody stole it!"

    King Arthur: "Oi! I resemble that-- wait, I meant resent! I resent it!"

    Admiral Ltexi: "Look. I'm not after your secrets, oh human king. I just want to have a little look at your ship for comparison."

    Queen Guinevere: "Comparison?"

    Admiral Ltexi has her hand to her chin and looks at Queen Guinevere intently, as though sizing the other woman up. It is the Jupiterian that relents.

    The screens of all the other captains vanish and the admiral is clearly swapping palettes about until a new image displays upon the screen. The Camelot crew reel in shock. Arthur points dumbly at the image.


    King Arthur: "Is that my ship?"

    Admiral Ltexi: "No. It's mine. I call it The Hopeful."

    The grand old ship looms above the red world of Mars, quite away from the main Jupiterian fleet. To compare to Camelot it would be nigh identical save for the obvious battle damage done to The Hopeful that Camelot seems to have been spared from.

    King Arthur pouts.

    King Arthur: "And you accuse me of stealing!"

  26. #66
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow The Salmitton Creature

    The planet Oogilove, located in the High Empire's Terminus systems, is a barren ball of nothingness save for one single mega castrum. The small rock is entirely worthless as is the rest of this small neck of the Terminus Systems. However, strategically it means everything. The closest set of systems to the void that bridges the gulf between the Milky Way and its closest neighbouring galaxy - Andromeda.

    And so Knightlord Thorn, one of the most trusted advisers to The Highemperor of the High Empire (try saying that five times fast) marches through the corridors of the crystalline fortress of Oogilove. He resents being here on principle. Not because the task isn't important but because the name of this stupid place is abhorrent. Whoever was the original founder of this particular castrum was, Knightlord Thorn will go and scowl at their grave. That'll teach 'em.

    He barges into the cell room. It's quite comfortable albeit a little formulated. A bed with pristine white sheets, plenty of crystalline technology for the prisoner to use and watch holographic movies, there's even a pleasant water tank with creepy fish-things swimming about. Thorn suspects the horrible little creatures originate from a world far too close to Tartarus, making it spawn such hideous monstrosities. And yet everyone tells him that they're "creepy and cute" at the same time. Oxymorons don't sit well with Thorn. They should be cute or they should be hideous. Choose one!


    The man seated in the cell raises his head slowly. With the same level of grace that he rose his head he lowers his body into a a kneeling position and lowers his head again.

    Sega: "Allow me a sword, my Lord, so that I may commit seppuku and rid my emperor of my failed existence..."

    Knightlord Thorn: "Indeed our emperor is in a state of despair that I have never seen in him before. I imagine he, himself, forgot what it was like to experience pain such as this. For that I would gladly allow you to take your own life. That would be the honourable mode of conduct for you now... however... you were imprisoned at the time."

    Sega: "I make no excuses for my failure, my Lord. My incarceration was my own fault. I was caught trying to remove a dangerous element from the High Legatifex' side."

    Knightlord Thorn:
    "So I am told. Some stray nobody, correct? The Highemperor tells me she liked to collect them..."

    Sega: "She did. Many of them unsafe. I was forced to kill several such creatures to ensure her safety. The basilisk was especially troublesome. It killed many soldiers before I finally managed to choke the brute. I told her it must have choked while trying to swallow a fat ensign."

    Thorn turns and watches the ugly fish. One of them pushes its bug-eyed face against the glass and starts licking it, as though trying to taste the man standing there.

    Knightlord Thorn: "And this, what was the creature called again?"

    Sega: "A salmitton. I confess I underestimated how much attention the High Legatifex was doting upon the creature. Had I known she liked it so much, I would have taken more care in how I disposed of it."

    Knightlord Thorn: "Kimleigh--"

    He pauses as he says her name. He almost feels his emperor's pain upon the very sound of the word.

    Knightlord Thorn: "The High Legatifex was very disparaging of your conduct towards this, as she claims, innocent creature. She kept very, very meticulous logs."

    Sega:
    "I believe she also wrote a similar log when I killed her pet bacteria. Had that disease entered the population..."

    Knightlord Thorn:
    "Of course you are correct, Guardian. And, as it turned out, your concerns of this salmitton were, perhaps, vindicated. One way or another this creature led to the events that claimed the princess' life."

    Sega:
    "I do not place the blame on the creature, my Lord. I blame only myself for not killing her more efficiently."

    Knightlord Thorn:
    "Sometimes it is impossible to save someone from themself, Guardian. But you can finish what you started..."

    Sega rises his head as Thorn turns to face the kneeling cyborg.

    Sega: "It would be an honour, my Lord."

    Knightlord Thorn:
    "Once you have disposed of the salmitton you may commit seppuku if you still wish. The Highemperor will not enforce it but I, personally, would highly advise it."

    Sega bows his head again, without any sign of fear or sorrow at the prospect.

    Sega:
    "Gladly."

    Knightlord Thorn: "Then go. Find your prey. Clean the slate so that we can all move on with our lives..."

  27. #67
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    A Map for the Future

    Ancient Atlantis. Circa 10,000 B.C.

    The continent is studded with beautiful cities of skyscraping minarets and domes and obelisks, but none are grander or taller than the central city itself, also named Atlantis. Miles skyscraping towers and palace sprawl out from the center, and it is in the central Holy District that the castles tower the tallest.

    The great basilica that is the Grand Temple of the WriterGod dominates the very center, of course, but no less impressive is the royal palace a scant mile away. The Arcanaeum, venerable institute of magic, is right next to the grand cathedral, and the major bulk of it is a large dome situated between two towers.

    Each of the towers is a tall but narrow pyramid, but the top points lopped off to create flat surfaces. Mystic circles are carved along the top, and there is a rotating schedule of mages in these two high circles, chanting holy rites 24/7.

    Higher than the tower tops, situated directly above the central dome, is a vast and complex mystical symbol made completely of magic and light. It is configured of many sigils, that constantly shift and rotate about in blinking and flashing patterns.

    It is this magnificent sight that has earned the Arcanaeum the derisive nickname 'magic lighthouse'.


    Count Desmond: Is there a point to the light show? Or is it just to awe your neighbours?

    The Hand of the Plot is looking up through the transparent dome at the bright symbol, as the Illuminohqi shuffle around him. Magistarr is holding a thick tome, his finger running across the words, but he deigns to answer the count's query.

    Magistarr: Awing the neighbours WOULD be a point to it. But no that is not its primary function. The Orrery was first created by the Arcanaeum's founder, Luros, and every court archmage since has added to and refined it. With the narrative insight the Ancient One has brought me, I have contributed to it myself, and someday, my successor shall do the same.

    Shinzallar, Magistarr's most promising apprentice, smiles to himself as he listens, his lithe dark fingers tracing a rune onto the floor from pixie dust. He has no doubt that he shall be this very successor of whom his master speaks.

    Desmond however seems unimpressed.


    Count Desmond: So an entire line of archmages has taken it upon themselves to make a prettier firework. Fabulous.

    Lord Simon: Must you be so cynical, count?

    Desmond curls his lip in a sneer at the Illuminohqi lord, just barely revealing his fangs.

    Count Desmond: If I am not, who will be?

    Magistarr: The Orrery is not merely a 'firework', as you call it. It is a living impression of the cosmic pattern. Not only does it reflect the nature of the universe as a whole, it can be used to affect the very reality that it reflects.

    A glint of interest appears in Desmond's eyes, but he disguises it carefully. Magistarr suppresses a smile.

    Count Desmond: So it is this that you plan to create your new spell from.

    Ancient One: Very astute, Count. My judgment of you as a fine Hand of the Plot is ever borne out.

    The last two Illuminohqi, the Ancient One and the young woman whom he is courting, are just now entering the central dome.

    Fay: Sorry we're late. We were strolling through the snowblossom atriums, talking about the newest varieties of tea that I've created, and we lost track of time.

    The Ancient One has on his face the dreamy smile of someone who is delighted to listen to his beloved speak, no matter what the subject may be.

    Lord Simon: You know, if you two would stop dancing around the bush, you could get married and have done with it. There's still time to make it a double wedding with me and my fiancée!

    Fay has the grace to blush, and even the Ancient One seems a bit abashed. The Ancient One clears his throat gruffly.

    Ancient One: Well, down to business. Magistarr, are we ready?

    Magistarr: Of course, my lord. If everyone would assume their positions.

    The Great Circle on the floor is made up of multiple layers of mystic sigils and runes. A new circle has been inscribed within the innermost layer, of thirteen symbols marked in pixie dust by Shinzallar. The Illuminohqi take up positions on those symbols.

    The 40 mages who make up the Venerable Ranks - the most powerful and learned mages in all the kingdom - take up positions in the outer layers. Magistarr is their head, and Shinzallar is the newest addition to their ranks, despite still technically being an apprentice. However, Shinzallar's power and knowledge are such that he could have long ago left his apprenticeship - but the ambitious youth knows there is no greater source of magical aggrandizement than under Magistarr's tutelage.


    Magistarr: The Rite of Ente-Ashk, modified by the fiftieth incantation of Zildrog, with the Luros cadence. Backwards.

    Chanting fills the dome, and magical sparks sizzle harmlessly about, causing various persons' hair to stand on end. Fay is unphased as her long hair stands straight up, calmly sipping her tea as the Ancient One squeezes her hand. Desmond recites the words he was taught, letting the will of the plot guide him, in his interpretation.

    Above the wyrd collection of symbols that is the magnificent Orrery glimmers brighter, and light is pulled down from it to create a glowing morass in midair in the center of the Great Circle, as the standing Illuminohqi gaze at it in awe.

    More light streams from the Illuminohqi, joining the glowing morass, and Desmond's words turn into mist, which floats over to join the glowing morass as well.


    Ancient One: Thus do we shape our vision for the Story.

    His words are not magical, nor planned, merely his whispered musing, but they are weighty indeed, and make their impression upon the glowing morass. The morass congeals into a tighter, small glow, darkening from white to gold to silver to turquoise, before winking expectantly at them, as the magicks are completed.

    Count Desmond: The NeSpell....

    Ancient One: Magistarr, your privilege and your burden are ready.

    The archmage comes forward and opens his mouth. The turquoise glow floats to him and into his throat, before vanishing. Magistarr's narrative senses are opened, as he perceives the world in a way even more astonishing than when he was an apprentice first learning to see with more than his traditional five senses.

    Ancient One: With this, Magistarr, I dub thee my NeSorcerer...

  28. #68

    Bad News For The Highmucky One

    Nearby the center of the Milky Way galaxy, smack-dab in the middle of very significant space travel routes of at least seven galactic superpowers, there exists a planet that can be best described as "fat" behind its back. And on this planet, the High Muckity-Mucks loaf around in their self-importance. After all, when all these other galactic superpowers attempted to stake claim to the planet Muq at the same time, and the god-king of the Muckity-Mucks (the Highmuckity One) proclaimed its conquest over all that stepped in the Highmuckity Hegemony, the other superpowers just sort of rolled their eyes and went with it. Incidentally, the Highmuckity One, despite being a sentient sludge like the rest of its kind, often "parades" (flops) among Very Important Powers and "adventures" (farts) through interdimensional time and space. And such tales, long ago, involved one Master Arkng Thand, who at the time served as a scholarly advisor to the Highmuckity One's campaign against the Sponge Syndicate.

    On this day, however, the Highmuckity One received a letter from Master Arkng Thand. Being a literal glob with no means to read such a letter on its own, and far too important to sully its...stubs... with reading the letter itself, the Highmuckity One had its servant -- a human delegate from Terra Flux -- read the letter for it.


    The Highmuckity One: "Wahwahrumrahrum!"

    servant: "Yes, your Excellency, the letter is, in fact, from a Master Arkng Thand. Shall I read it?"

    The Highmuckity One: "fffffft."

    servant: "Very good. The letter reads:
    To The Highmuckity One,

    If you are reading this letter, I regret to inform you that I, Arkng Thand, no longer live. As my final request to your Muckitiness, I humbly ask only that my obituary may include my service to your greatness.

    Long live the Highmuckity One.

    Sincerely,
    Arkng Thand'
    ...and that's all it says."

    The Highmuckity One: "Rahwah?"

    servant: "I believe the letter means to say that this Thand person has died, your Majesty. Shall I proclaim your rightful reign over all through this man's obituary, then?"

    The Highmuckity One: "Fbllbllblblblaaaaaah!"

    servent: "Very good, your Muckitiness."

  29. #69
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Gigagod vs Teradeity

    Gigagod hurls his spiked hammer through the air, which erupts in flame as its tremendous speed burns the very air around it. The divine weapon slams into Teradeity's chest with an almighty explosion that sends shockwaves resonating through the entire Arena. The crowds cheer and whoop, whereas others hold their breath tensely - waiting to see if Teradeity is down.

    Gigagod: Behold, the unleashed fury of my Voidstone Hammer! Crafted from pure black-ambrosia essence, it destroys all in my path!

    But the smoke clears, and Teradeity is standing there, unharmed.

    Gigagod: What? But how?

    Teradeity: I am a thousand times more powerful than you, Gigagod, with a thousand times the number of worshippers.

    Teradeity summons a storm of divine energy, which thunders from the clear sky atop Gigagod. Gigagod throws up a divine forcefield, but it cracks under the strain before shattering completely.

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: ENOUGH!

    The divine firestorm is extinguished, and Gigagod lays unconscious on the arena ground, blackened and burnt.

    Aryst Omnistellae, Best in All the Stars: Teradeity is clearly superior by far. I declare him the victor of the match, and offer this challenge. You are ready to ascend to Tier 5....IF you can defeat the champion of Tier 6 first...

    Teradeity: I am ready, my lord!

    Announcer: Prepare yourself for the almighty, the undefeated, the indomitable.... GOD OF ORDIMAR!!!!

    The crowd goes wild, as the extremely powerful God of the planet Ordimar appears in the Arena with a brilliant flash of color.

    Teradeity: My worshippers! Raise your hands and lift your souls in praise of me! Let my power swell with your worship, that I may smite this pretender deity!

    The Ordimarian God scoffs.

    God of Ordimar: I have been without worshippers for eons, ruling over a dead world, yet my personal power is unmatched! Let's see how great yours is without your own worshippers!

    Lines of color crack the air around Teradeity before disappearing, and he recoils in horror.

    Teradeity: You...cut me off from my worshippers! How did you do that?

    God of Ordimar: Defeat me, and maybe I'll tell you...

    With a roar, Teradeity charges the Ordimarian God, who rushes forward to meet him in the latest Clash of the 'Ages of the week!

  30. #70
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow For Great Justice!

    Space Camelot: For Great Justice
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Sir Lancelot | Sir Kay | Sir Galahad | Sir Bedivere | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Prince Mordred | Tom a'Lincoln | The Black Knight | The Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Phoenix Tram | Omega Wier

    Admiral Ltexi brushes her hand across the smooth outer casing for the energy core of Camelot. Merlin looks at her own hands which are small, soft and delicate - quite unlike the rough-worn palms of her companion. Ltexi might have the supernatural beauty of the Roman gods but its marred by a life lived practically. The only physical objects Merlin was inclined to stroke are the pages of books.

    Merlin: "We call it the perpetual engine. It generates power all by itself."

    Ltexi: "Amazing. The core of my ship was severely damaged so we had to replace it with one of our own. It doesn't need a lot of fuel but it does need it. And you have no idea where these ships originate?"

    Merlin:
    "Um... we found it on Earth."

    Ltexi gives Merlin a wry smirk before she disappears around the core.

    Ltexi: "You found it there but it can't come from there. Your planet is too stupid."

    Merlin: "Did you just say the planet is stupid?"

    Ltexi reappears on the other side of the core with a patronising glower.

    Ltexi: "Obviously I meant your people. It's common for us to just refer to planet meaning the people as a whole. It's just slang, I suppose. It's just easier when talking about planets connected to our queendom."

    Merlin feels quite guilty when her next question emerges from her mind, knowing its tantamount to espionage, but genuine curiosity couldn't stifle it;

    Merlin:
    "Your... queendom... expands beyond your homeplanet?"

    Ltexi just nods absently as she opens a hatch on the core and peers inside, inspecting some elements to the engine that Merlin hadn't yet grasped. Ltexi's lack of concern on the topic encourages Merlin's curiosity further.

    Merlin: "So, have you been to any of them?"

    Ltexi: "Sure. Of course. I didn't become admiral by sitting on my backside all day."

    She slaps the hatch shut.

    Ltexi:
    "Alright. Can you show me to the Command Centre?"

    Merlin: "Not sure which room that is..."

    Ltexi rolls her eyes and her fingers start to work on a nearby monitor, moving with such practised dexterity that Merlin is reminded of her old mentor's hands' swift work on his spells. Especially the nuanced rhythm of each finger that operates by muscle memory with each flick of the pinky.

    Ltexi: "This room."

    She points to a map and Merlin marvels. She hadn't seen this map before now.

    Ltexi:
    "Looks like yours isn't in the same place as it is on The Hopeful. Still, I think I can remember the way. Are you going to escort me?"

    Merlin nods sheepishly. By 'escort' she means keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn't sabotage the ship or something else clandestine that Arthur is worried the Jupiterian might try. Ltexi is, however, fairly trusted in that only little Merlin has been left in charge of watching the foreigner rather than a detachment of overbearing knights.

    The two women glance around the engine room for a last time, leaving two former builders in there who were finding their new professions as engineering crew to be quite mystifying.


    ---

    Prince Mordred looks sidelong at Sir Lancelot du Lac, wondering what he's thinking but sees nothing to report in the knight's demeanour. Mordred gives a deep sigh and looks up at the yellow sky above them. Methane crystals rest upon the upper atmosphere to create the lurid view. Some of the others thought it to be beautiful but Mordred sees nothing but the colour of puke swimming overhead. It certainly has a mesmerising quality to it as the thick clouds move rapidly, rolling like waves of a yellow ocean, but the colour is offensively garish and the constant cloud cover is oppressive. He would rather take a nice open sky any time.

    He follows several natives through their stone streets. Admiral Ltexi of Jupiter had made preliminary introductions for the humans of Earth but she said the rest is up to them to proceed with diplomatic relations. The diplomacy of Saturn, she said, is very complicated. Mordred couldn't think of anything worse. He has always felt Great Britain ought to stick to its own affairs and tell the rest of Europe to bugger off. Now he finds himself thrown into a political cauldron on an alien planet. The Fates must be laughing at him.

    Jupiter may have interacted with the people of Saturn before yet they are not yet capable of spaceflight. Mordred decided that his group ought to maintain the pretence that his people had achieved spaceflight - even if they'd just stolen it.

    The humans, however, must wear breathers to survive in the Saturnian air and Mordred considers them fortunate for this as Merlin assured everyone that the air probably smells really, really bad with all that methane up there. The small group leading Mordred and his friends are the Kryptons. They appear to be humanoid but much, much taller. Despite their height their thick torsos are supported by spindly legs and on the ends of their arms are hands that remind Mordred of a child's. They have skin colours that vary from jet black to light grey. Their eyes are also varied in colour but the colour is always striking against their dark skin tones - orange and red seem to be the most common colours.

    Usually the people are wearing what appears to be carved crystal but when one of them allowed Mordred to touch it it felt wet and pliable. When he'd gotten a little too friendly with the crystal outfit he had to be condescended to by the gentleman he was practically fondling. At least the guy had been amused instead of insulted, while Mordred was simply embarrassed by his fascination with the clothing.

    However he did notice that their escorts aren't wearing the crystalline material but, instead, a strange metal substance that is liquid - yet formed to the body like a solid. He hasn't been allowed to grope one of these gentlemen yet and Mordred suspects that it's some kind of armour - though what kind of armour would be as soft as a liquid is beyond Mordred's ken.

    Arches line the pathways of the city, which Mordred guesses are decorative rather than serving some useful purpose. Yet, intermittently, he notices boxes hanging and gets the impression that they're lights for when darkness hits the world. He is actually surprised that there's any light on this world, with it being so far from the sun, but Merlin had explained that the clouds in the atmosphere were amplifying the sunlight to illuminate the planet. She said that the planet is spinning much faster than Earth, so the day would pass quickly. On the other hand the planet takes many Earth years to pass around the sun as a kind of compensation for shorter days. In Mordred's mind that means lots of opportunities for sleep but a long-ass winter in which to freeze his bollocks off.

    The escorts lead them up a short stone staircase, which foregoes arches, to a building. Mordred is surprised to find that Saturnian buildings have no walls, just lots of pillars to hold up the roof. They'd be very cold winters. His bollocks wouldn't last long at all.

    When they reach the top of the stairs the escorts invite them to enter the building. Mordred finds it unusual to enter a building without the ceremony of crossing a threshold. In fact it seems rude to him when he's expected to just cross inside anywhere along the open perimeter.

    Sir Bedivere: "Sir Black Knight. I wonder if you'd consider staying outside?"

    The Black Knight doesn't bother to reply, she just nods and turns her back on the building. From their small hillock, she can see over the pathways below. Sir Lancelot nods at Bedivere's wisdom and Mordred is reminded how smarts can often be more useful than brute strength, even when in dangerous lands.

    The rest of them enter and behind a long crystalline screen, which is blue and semi-transparent, they are introduced to three Kryptons. One of them speaks English.

    Mordred: "Thank Christ for that."

    He makes a short bow towards the three Kryptons. The obsidian-skinned people glance at each other than attempt clumsy bows in return, mimicking his action. Mordred decides not to ask them to bow more deeply, fearing explanation of such a custom in reference to their betters would likely take one of these Saturnian years and probably spark a political riot. The female Krypton points towards benches that have been aligned for their use around a squat table. Hot drinks are poured by the non-English speaking male and Mordred is overjoyed to find it's tea.

    Mordred: "How did you learn our language?"

    English Speaker: "I learnt from the Jupiterians when they first landed here. They aren't very forthcoming with much but they did want to be able to communicate easily and so there exists me. I think they want to ease us into this... galactic community."

    Not wanting them to discover that Earth was far from part of that galactic community too, he changes the topic;

    Mordred: "I'm Prince Mordred, son of King Arthur. These are Knights of the Round Table."

    The English speaker looks at Mordred and slowly over the knights. He then looks down at his own coffee table.


    English Speaker: "You have special... tables?"

    Only when introducing such as concept to a being with zero understanding of the idea does it all sound incredibly dumb. Mordred nods slowly.

    Mordred: "Yes... it's a round table to demonstrate the knight's equality."

    He feels this one is going to take more than several Saturnian years to explain and so he swiftly asks;

    Mordred: "And the walking pile of rocks is Andy. Andy is from the planet Venus."

    Andy raises a clubbed rock-fist and wiggles it in the best 'wave of hero' the rough-cut mini-mountain can muster. His bright eyes glow, seemingly cheerful. Andy seemed capable of understanding English perfectly well, even if he's too stupid to speak it. Or speak anything for that matter. The English Speaker, who is wearing the silver-liquid armour, strokes his smooth, black chin.

    English Speaker: "Venus... is that far away?"

    Mordred: "Nope. It's right here in our solar system. Closer to the sun than our own planet, Earth, in fact."

    English Speaker: "Ah!? Then, already, there are many neighbouring worlds inhabited by sentient beings? Our scientists have long suspected that we were alone here, so imagine our surprise when not only the Jupiterians showed up but then you. And now there's yet another species? That's all pretty extraordinary!"

    Mordred shrugs. He had never even considered the possibility of life on other planets, whether they were local or otherwise. To him the idea isn't so strange - there are people in France, so why not on Mars or Venus? These Kryptons seemed to lack common sense.

    Morgan: "You didn't introduce yourselves."

    Mordred glances down the bench, past Bedivere and Kay, to his mother. She's staring away from everyone and out of the no-wall towards the rolling clouds. Mordred always considered himself to be poor at diplomacy, but compared to both of his parents he was practically ambassador of the century.

    The Krypton bows his head, mimicking the earlier action he'd copied from Mordred;


    English Speaker: "I'm sorry about that. We're unaccustomed to strangers in these lands. I'm Gamma Pans. I'm one of the custodians of the land. My companions are Phoenix Tram and Omega Wier."

    Morgan: "Weird names."

    Gamma Pans: "I expect so to you."

    Sir Bedivere: "I don't suppose you could elucidate on the term 'custodian'. Do you rule this kingdom?"

    Gamma Pans: "Rule... no. That concept had to be explained to me by the Jupiterians. We have no rulers here."

    Mordred: "Don't let father hear that, he'll be down here with his flag in a jiffy."

    Sir Bedivere: "If you have no ruler, then who governs?"

    Gamma Pans: "Well, I think everyone governs together. But specifically the custodians are delegated to resolve a crisis, to allocate resources where they're needed... and things that support the community. That's us."

    Gamma Pans translates the conversation to his friends, who seem more at odds with the strangeness of their guests than Pans himself. Mordred guesses that they haven't spent as much time with the Jupiterians as Pans has. Both Phoenix Tram and Omega Wier are wearing the crystalline clothes he has seen most people wearing. Tram even has a decorative ruff of green crystal around his neck while Wier's crystal is mostly red and white. Wier, as the female of the species, has breasts. Breasts that seem impossibly large. Mordred would go so far as to describe them as 'sacks of flab' and her crystal shirt is made to accommodate. Mordred thinks it's probably unsurprising, given the other unusual proportions of this species. To Mordred, they look like a child's rendition of a human on paper.

    Sir Bedivere looks over at Mordred and a knowing look of mutual appreciation passes between them, both glad that the other is present. Amongst the group, they're probably the only two with brains. Sir Galahad comes close, but not close enough for Mordred's preference. Bedivere's suit of armour is lighter in bulk than most knights as he prefers to command troops from a distance instead of getting fully embroiled in a battle. His tabard is sky blue with a sigil of a white, leafless tree upon the chest. The tree of wisdom, Bedivere would say. He adjusted the thick, jamjar spectacles on his face - one of his own inventions that he claims boosts his mental prowess, though Mordred suspects they just correct his vision and have no bearing on his intelligence levels at all.

    After this initial conversation, a more in-depth sharing of information proceeded with Sir Bedivere explaining the concept of monarchy, land ownership and knighthood. Half-way through Morganna finally grew too bored to withstand it and got up. Gamma Pans ordered someone to escort her to a the domicile that the visitors would be allowed to stay in. Lancelot offered to accompany Morganna, for her safety, but she vowed she would be the one escorting him and left alone with the Krypton guards. Towards the end of the conversation, Mordred was growing equally bored. He enjoyed learning about the strange, alien technology but when it came to the explanations of Earthly politics Mordred couldn't help but wish he was anywhere but here. Unfortunately he was obliged to remain because he's the prince. Sir Bedivere, on the other hand, was well in his element as he would ramble on and on about trivial details - many of which Mordred found questionable. Mordred isn't convinced that witches float on water and fairies are birthed from flowers. Magic, as a whole, was an alien concept to the Kryptons and thus began another hour-long explanation of what magic is. In the end, Mordred is snapped away, having dozed off, when a loud blaring sound ruptures the air. The knights all jump to their feet with a mutual racket of clanging metal shoes.

    Mordred: "What in Christ's name was that!?"

    The knights all flinch at Mordred's blasphemy.

    Pans: "I don't know who Christ is, but--"

    The knights all look aghast.


    Pans: "--but that sound means raiders."

    Sir Bedivere: "Raiders!?"

    Sir Lancelot:
    "Aha! Sounds like an opportunity for heroics!"

    He leaps onto the table in a striking pose, causing surprise amongst the Kryptons and embarrassment in the humans. Except Sir Bedivere who had grown so used to Lancelot that nothing seemed to phase him anymore.

    The Faerie Knight: "Are you sure we should be getting involved in this? We don't really understand the situation here..."

    Sir Galahad: "He has a point, father."

    Mordred: "Unsurprisingly I agree not to do whatever stupid thing Lancelot wants to do."

    Sir Bedivere clears his throat, the warning sign that he's going to convince everyone that they're wrong;

    Sir Bedivere: "Actually, this could be a great way to garner favour with our hosts. They'd be indebted to us."

    Mordred groans with frustration, knowing he's quite right. Annoyingly right.


    Pans: "You don't have to trouble yourselves on our behalf. I understand your position. I would think twice about getting involved in local troubles if I were on your planet."

    Mordred: "See? He wouldn't help us so... why... where is she going?"

    He points outside and everyone turns just in time to see The Black Knight run by.

    Sir Lancelot: "Good ol' Black Knight. She truly has the heart of an adventurer!"

    Mordred:
    "Heart of rashness, you mean. Looks like she's made our choice for us."

    Sir Lancelot: "TO ARMS, O' KNIGHTS!!"

    He unsheathes his sword, Arondight. The blade has a deep, navy blue sheen that makes it look like the deep ocean when it shimmers in the light. Once it was a demonic sword, forged in the depths of Mount Athirat by Baal himself. But The Lady of the Lake cast a magical ward upon the hilt, meaning one that is pure of heart can not only wield the sword in the name of justice but amplifies its powers for good.

    He runs out of the building with his sword pointed forward like a crazed loon.


    Mordred:
    "Guess we'd better get after him in case he falls and hurts himself."

    Sir Bedivere: "I usually just stand and watch. He might look odd but he has an uncanny knack of slaying every foul beast that crosses his path."

    The knights jog out of the building in the wake of Lancelot and The Black Knight. Gamma Pans goes with him and leads the way until they find Lancelot. Lost. Despite looking the fool he doesn't show any sign of embarrassment as he files in behind Gamma Pans.

    Kryptons are rushing away from the action but they take a moment to glance at the strangers headed towards danger.


    Pans:
    "They've managed to get quite far into the city. That's not good. How'd they go unseen for so long?"

    Sir Lancelot:
    "Perhaps they're foul ninjas!"

    Sir Kay: "I hate ninjas..."

    The Faerie Knight: "There's not much you do like, Sir Kay."

    Sir Kay: "I like KFC!"

    The Faerie Knight: "I list of one?"

    The Faerie Knight smiles at Sir Kay. It's both pleasant and patronising at the same time. Kay puts his gloved hands on his hips.


    Sir Kay: "Nice try, Pinky, but I'm the master of trolling people. You've a long way to go!"

    Sir Lancelot: "I don't think there's trolls. We'd smell them by now."

    Sir Kay: "You're not a troll are you, Lancelot?"

    Sir Lancelot: "What? Me? No!"

    Sir Kay: "Oh. Just I can smell you pretty bad so..."

    Pans: "There!"

    In a large stone plaza is The Black Knight. Her scimitars are positioned at the neck of a kneeling enemy. He's a Krypton with obsidian skin and long, grey hair. He looks up at The Black Knight, his orange eyes filled with despair and confusion. She shows no mercy.

    Pans:
    "She-- she executed him!"

    Mordred:
    "Yeah. She does that."

    Sir Lancelot: "She has yet to find God in her heart, Custodian. When she does, she shall repent for this act, I assure you."

    Gamma Pans looks from Lancelot to Mordred with confusion.

    Pans: "Who's God and why does she need to find him?"

    Lancelot reels.


    Sir Lancelot: "Heathen!"

    Gamma Pans looks pleadingly at Mordred, who seems to have become a voice of rationale.

    Mordred: "I'll explain later, Gamma. For now. It seems Sir Black Knight has taken care of your little invasion single-handedly!"

    The Black Knight, who has approached the group, shakes her head;

    The Black Knight: "Not true. They're still here. They move like-- I don't know. Ninjas?"

    Sir Lancelot: "I knew it!"

    Pans: "Indeed. I don't know what a ninja is but raiders are trained to move silently and swiftly. They're here somewhere. Best to assume defensive positions."

    The knights do-so, moving back-to-back in threes. Mordred has Black Knight and Sir Galahad with him. He notices several liquid-metal Kryptons join the fray. Their expressions seem unable to take in the strange positions of the knights and they stand about, open-backed. Mordred shakes his head. These people have no clue about strategy. Perhaps it's only telling that his own homeland is embroiled in far too much war.

    Sir Bedivere: "We don't have our helms, so be mindful of your heads. Try not to lose them, eh?"

    Sir Kay: "I doubt Lancelot would notice the difference."

    Sir Lancelot: "I might not - but the fair maidens certainly would!"

    Sir Galahad: "There!"

    Mordred turns to see two Krypton raiders leap from behind a wall, their spindly legs and pudgy bodies seem clumsy when they land. Yet they do so silently. They are wearing the same liquid-metal as the guards and, like them, they possess long, white sticks. Now Mordred learns what they're for.

    A glob of energy blasts from their sticks and speeds its way towards the humans. Sir Galahad is first up and he lifts his shield in defence. The first green energy glob strikes the shield with immense force throwing it aside. The glob ricochets off of the divine shield and whirls off into the sky. The second glob, however, strikes Galahad in the chest and sends the young man flying back. Out of sight, out of mind, for Mordred as he points his own sword in the direction of the raiders.

    Mordred: "They have instruments of magic! Faerie Knight!"

    The Faerie Knight conjures up the magical energies within him, bestowed by his mother's genes. Half-human, half-Aes Sidhe. Bolts of lightning crackle and zap from his hands, straight at their enemies. The lightning strikes on target, whipping into the chests of the two Kryptons. Yet it is to no avail. Their liquid metal armour absorbs the incoming enemy much to the surprise of the humans and even, it seems, the Kryptons. They probably hadn't known whether or not their armour would work against the powers of Earth. Sir Lancelot, however, takes advantage of their distraction to close the distance. Arondight sweeps through the air with an audible sing but pauses at the long neck of the Krypton.

    Sir Lancelot: "Surrender."

    The Krypton hesitates but his friend has already turned his weapon on Lancelot. The knight moves almost as fast as any ninja. He leans backwards and shoves the white funnel with his free hand, so it ends up aimed at the second Krypton's head. In shock the Krypton gunner releases his hold on the weapon, so as not to blow the head off of his friend, and Lancelot leans forward again with his sword still centimetres from the neck of his enemy.


    Sir Lancelot: "Surrender..."

    The Black Knight: "Look out!"

    The gunner has resorted to whipping out a second weapon, this time it's appears as a small shaft - much like the cylinder used to fire energy globs but much smaller - until he clicks a switch and a hot, blue beam of energy extends from the shaft. Lancelot barely has time to duck, singing off some of his dark curls. The Black Knight slashes down at the laser-sword wielder but finds that his swords slice through her own like butter.

    The Black Knight:
    "Bollocks."

    Lancelot releases his captive with a sharp shove and swings up his sword to compete with the mysterious energy weapon. He expects his faith will stand against this strange weapon. He isn't disappointed.

    The blades clash with the sound of crackling like lightning. His demonic sword seems to grow angry that it's being contested by this technological monstrosity. Lancelot instinctively knows that this sword is not made of magic as Mordred suspects. Lancelot may not be the brightest tool but he does have intuition like no other.


    As he competes in a duel with this laser wielder, the rest of the hiding Kryptons suddenly emerge.

    Mordred is standing over Sir Galahad when green energy globs are suddenly blasting at him from several directions. He, like Galahad before him, instinctively tries to block the balls of death with his shield only to have it snapped from his hand. The shock and pressure applied to his hand is almost crippling and he yells with anguish. In desperation he slashes at a second incoming glob with his sword. He half expects it to be melted like the scimitars of The Black Knight but it holds true and the energy is instantly dissipated. The sword he holds, Clarent, is a sword he had pilfered from his father because it looks cool. Thin, burning white and a hilt of ornate silver. It is meant as a ceremonial sword for knighting but Mordred now feels that it has hidden power deep within. Perhaps knighting so many noble people in the name of God has given it divine properties?

    He has no time to dwell on it though.

    He glances back down and kicks Galahad in the ribs.


    Sir Galahad: "Ouch!!"

    Mordred: "Get the Hell up!"

    Sir Galahad: "Don't blaspheme, my Prince. You'll bring the Lord's wrath down upon us..."

    He groans and slowly gets to his feet.

    Mordred: "I think it might already be here."

    He must quickly bring up Clarent up to block a downward stroke of a laser sword. Like the glob, the energy blade is halted. The Krypton is much taller than any human and with his upper bulk he bears down upon Mordred. The laser sword comes closer and closer to the young prince and he feels its seething heat against his face. His forehead breaks out into a sweat.

    Sir Galahad grabs Mordred's shield and swings it at the lanky being's legs. Spindly and frail, they buckle easily and the man topples over. Galahad leaps ontop of the Krypton and pounds his head with the shield until he's rendered unconscious. Panting they both turn to survey the battle.


    Mordred sees Andy, who has finally reached the plaza having shuffled after them from Pan's building, suddenly confronted by two Kryptons. They glance at each other with concern before lashing out with laser swords.


    Mordred:
    "NO!"

    The swords bounce off of Andy futilely. Mordred hates himself for being lulled into a false sense of empathy with the stupid rock. Andy raises his massive hand. He then waggles it.

    Sir Galahad: "Is... is he waving at the guy's attacking him?"

    Mordred just manages to give Galahad a troubled nod in affirmation.

    Sir Galahad: "Maybe we should take them out anyway. Just in case."

    The two of them charge at the Kryptons. Because Galahad stupidly lets loose a battle cry, the two aliens turn with swords poised. One of them snatches a gun from his waist and makes a snap shot at Mordred. The green ball of energy lazily glides straight towards Mordred's head but the prince slices it from the air. He can't help but join Galahad in a roar of battle lust as his sword collides with the enemy's. Galahad's sword is burnt in half instantly and he's left with nothing but the shield. He blocks the attacks of the less proficient alien fighter while Mordred, in his anger, lays into his foe - pounding furiously with Clarent. The white sword eventually slams the laser sword from the Krypton's hand and Mordred doesn't give him the chance to surrender. He pierces the Krypton's chest and thrusts his sword through the creature's body, further and further to the hilt. He screams at the enemy, now dead, before yanking his weapon free.

    He looks up to find Galahad defending himself well against the incoming attacks of his own foe. Almost flippantly, Mordred tosses Clarent to Galahad who, upon grasping its hilt, easily blocks a strike and retaliates with a quick jab of the sword to the gut. The Krypton gasps and clutches his wound, dropping the laser weapon. Galahad blows some of his hair from his forehead and hands the sword back to its owner.


    Sir Galahad: "Think I'll have to get one of these shiny swords for myself."

    Mordred:
    "Sure your father must have a spare one somewhere. Just nick it."

    They manage a half-hearted chuckle as Andy wiggles his stumpy fingers at them.

    Lightning streaks by them. First it's the green, aetherial lightning of magic from The Faerie Knight. Then it's the pure, white, natural lightning that usually stems from the sky. Mordred looks up to see Gamma Pans holding up an amulet that casts lightning from its depths.

    Mordred:
    "So they really do have magic!"

    Sir Galahad:
    "Unless it's more of their strange technology..."

    Gamma Pans has a helmet upon his head, made of the same liquid metal as his armour - extended from the armour itself like a hood. It comes down low, casting a deep shadow over his eyes which only serves to emphasis how bright and orange his eyes are. Mordred looks back to see that the lightning streaks are chasing off the last of the survivors and Mordred joins in, breathlessly, with the victory cheer.

    Gamma Pans approaches the wounded raider that Galahad had spared. He kneels down and grasps the man by his chin. He speaks in his native tongue. In response the raider holds out his palm. Gamma inspects it with narrowed eyes before he holds it up to his fellow Krypton guards.

    They all look grim.

    Mordred:
    "What is it?"

    Gamma shows Mordred the man's palm where he sees a small symbol, barely noticeable unless looking for it.

    Pans: "They're G-Kryptons."

    Mordred shakes his head, knowing this is going to spell out politics somewhere.

    Pans: "Sorry. That means they're from another clan. We're the X-Kryptons. The G-Kryptons are supposed to be our allies... for some time we've been getting raided by another clan. The G-Kryptons insisted it was the work of the L-Kryptons and we were readying to raid them in response. But now... seems we've been played."

    Mordred shrugs.

    Mordred:
    "So you're going to raid the G-Kryptons now?"

    Gamma Pans stands slowly.

    Pans:
    "No. This is an act of betrayal. There is no greater crime. We do not raid. We go to war!"

    There is a grim silence. It lasts just a brief instant.


    Sir Lancelot: "For great justice!!"

  31. #71
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Space Camelot: Council of War

    Arthur: War! At last, a chance to conquer something!

    Sir Bedivere: Sire, I am not sure if it is...wise... to involve ourselves. The Jupiterians clearly are not. I believe they used the term 'domestic affair'.

    Lancelot: We are honor-bound to intervene! Betrayal of the blackest order has been employed! As holy servants of God, we must repay these traitors!

    Mordred: Even though it's not US they betrayed?

    Mordred's comment is muttered, and mostly ignored by the others.

    Arthur: Excellent! Then we can take over the G-Kryptons' territory!

    Mordred wonders why anyone would want to conquer land in this smelly, puke-colored world, but knows such a sentiment will likely be ignored.

    Sir Bedivere: I am more interested in their technology than their territory. Swords made of... I am not certain what.

    Mordred: They called them lasers.

    Bedivere: And those handheld contraptions that spat green globs at us.

    Lancelot: You and Merlin can study all of the swords and contraptions you want - snatch them from the dead hands of our traitorous foes!

    Black Knight: I will gladly take two of these laser swords to replace my broken ones. I don't suppose they come in curved varieties?

    Faerie Knight: Odd technology it may be, but one thing I am certain of - that amulet that Gamma Pans had, it is magic. I could feel it. Alien, murky, but distinctly mystical.

    Morganna: All magic away from Earth is murky. The land of Earth was hearty and strong. The void and these alien lands less so. I say we bombard these G-Kryptons and be done with it.

    Arthur: Bombard?

    Morganna: Yes, brother dear, that Jupiterian ***** was pointing out powerful energy catapults that our vessel is equipped with. She called them 'turbo cannons'.

    Lancelot: Pah! There is no honor in that. Justice must be meted out face to face!

    Bedivere: Bombardment carries less risk...but also less reward. Obliteration from orbit will destroy any technology we wish to retrieve for study.

    Arthur: It's decided then. We will fight alongside the X-Kryptons!

    Galahad: Morganna, can you enchant my sword? I don't want more broken weapons.

    Morganna: Enchantment is not an easy or alacritous art, simpleton. It takes time and energy to imbue an object with great magic.

    Mordred: Yet the Kryptons have laser swords in plentiful amounts.

    Bediverse: Science, not magic. If you recall from our discussion with them before the raid, they have something called 'industrial factories', which can produce objects, including weapons, in great quantities at speed.

    Arthur's eyes gleam at this information.

    Arthur: I could equip an army with these laser swords and liquid armors!

    Mordred: I daresay that learning this industrial science should be our top priority in this war.

    Lancelot: You mean other than justice, of course!

    Mordred: Whatever helps you sleep at night.

    Lancelot looks confused.

    Lancelot: What do pretty wenches have to do with justice?

  32. #72
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: Battlefield of Saturn

    Space Camelot: Battlefield of Saturn
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Kay | Prince Mordred | Sir Galahad | (Sir) The Black Knight | (Sir) The Faerie Knight | Tom a'Lincoln | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Omega Wier

    The Knights of the Round Table group into formations, surrounded by several hundred soldiers. While the common soldiers are on foot, the knights are sat atop of their respective steeds. The horses had to be calmed down after becoming quite agitated at being transported through space and dumped on an alien world. Now, however, the horses are ready for the battle to come, holding their riders aloft.

    At the fore of the battle is King Arthur himself. Through the visor of his space-helmet he can see the enemy city. Beside him sits Gamma Pans, Custodian for the X-Kryptons, who glances at the exalted king meekly.


    King Arthur: "You're not afraid are you?"

    Gamma: "No! No, that's not it. I'm... overwhelmed, is all."

    King Arthur glances down the lines of soldiers and knights until he sees the X-Krypton force. A bunch of men and women on foot totalling around thirty. Arthur purses his lips.

    King Arthur: "Yeah... I can see why. Sorry, I was expecting a more..."

    He makes a 'large' gesture with his hands.

    King Arthur: "Epic battle of... epicness."

    Gamma: "Honestly, I sort of thought it was going to be... 'epic' with just thirty! I thought I'd be the impressive one. I've never imagined an army of... so... so many."

    Arthur feels his ego swell and is very pleased with this awe of this alien man. Unfortunately Arthur is a terrible liar at the best of times and the rest of the time he blurts out truths before he can stifle them;

    King Arthur: "This is nothing really. There's way, way bigger armies out there. Byzantines - that's what's left of Rome these days - they have thousands. There's a country in the far East, China I think, they've got... unimaginable numbers. Like, crazy numbers!"

    Gamma's eyes bulge in horror.

    King Arthur: "Relax though. It's not numbers that win wars. It strategy."

    Gamma nods in appreciation.

    Gamma: "Wise words."

    King Arthur: "Aye. That's why I have clever people around me to do all the strategising."

    Gamma:
    "Oh..."

    King Arthur: "I did notice there's no walls around this city... is there a magical barrier of some sort?"

    Gamma raises an eyebrow.

    Gamma: "No? I hadn't thought of putting a wall around the city. That's pretty clever."

    King Arthur:
    "Oh... do you think their numbers will be about..."

    He again glances down the line. Several of the X-Kryptons have started sitting on the floor and were merrily chomping on biscuits, Custodian Omega Wier amongst them. Arthur winces with annoyance.


    King Arthur: "...the same numbers?"

    Gamma:
    "Probably a few more. It depends on whether the people intend to stand by their Custodians."

    King Arthur: "Riiiiiiight. So... this will probably be a... fairly easy fight?"

    He looks a little disappointed - but not as disappointed as Sir Lancelot further down the line. Before Gamma Pans can reply Arthur has pointed to the amulet hanging around the alien's neck. It appears to be made from gold with a red gemstone at its centre. Arthur is an excellent judge of gemstones, being something of a hoarder of them, and reckons its imperial topaz. Rare. Expensively rare.

    King Arthur:
    "This is the amulet Faerie Knight was impressed by. Do you think the enemy has a few of these?"

    Gamma: "I hope not! For the sake of our soldiers!"

    Arthur casts a fleeting eye at his soldiers.

    King Arthur: "Right! Me too! But it would make a more... epic battle if they do have these amulets, wouldn't it!?"

    Gamma: "Does epic mean deadly?"

    King Arthur:
    "...sort of."

    Gamma: "I doubt they have anything like this."

    King Arthur: "Ohhh..."

    He tries not to sound disappointed. He's as bad at feigning lies as he is at wording them.


    Gamma: "This is an amulet from the heavens."

    Arthur perks up.


    King Arthur: "God bestowed it on you!?"

    Gamma:
    "You humans talk about this God person often. Does he go around bestowing gifts often?"

    King Arthur nods.


    King Arthur:
    "More than He probably should, yes."

    Gamma: "Oh... then perhaps he did give it to us--"

    King Arthur: "It's a capital 'H'."

    Gamma: "What?"

    King Arthur: "Uh... nothing. So where did you get it? It just dropped out of the sky?"

    Gamma: "Exactly. I wasn't there, mind, so this is just a legend as far as I know. My ancestors were fortunate enough to be sailing on a lake when there was a great calamity in the skies above the planet. Then it blasted down to the planet and dropped to the bottom of the lake. My ancestor went down after it and now it's passed down through our generations to me. My child will take it after me one day."

    Arthur's estimations of the amulet's value sky-rockets in his head and he stares at it greedily.

    King Arthur: "And nobody has tried to take it from you? Or your ancestors?"

    Gamma: "Sure. But it's a powerful weapon in the right hands."

    Voice: "So my son tells me."

    The two of them turn to the new voice. The woman is short, perhaps four foot, and has long, wild hair. Curly at the ends and matted, her unkempt hair is stark white and frizzy. Morganna had decided the look as 'dragged through a hedge backwards' once. Arthur liked to think of it as 'untamed'. Aside from her stark white hair is her very pale skin, which is only offset by the constantly pink cheeks and the very tip of her nose. She has a cute face, rounded and with a button nose. Her eyes are large, just a little too large to be human, and the irises are pink.

    As though to match her eyes and cheeks, the woman has dyed the tips of her white her equally pink. Yet to offset the pink she wears a thick cloak of light blue with white-fur trim. The hood, which is now up, has two long 'ears' that hang down her back. Beneath the cloak is the hint of silver-armour, though its clearly much lighter than most knights wear.

    Even Gamma Pans could tell that this woman wasn't like most humans. The humans know she isn't human at all.


    King Arthur: "Gamma Pans, this is Sir Caelia."

    Caelia: "Don't call me Sir. Just call me Caelia."

    King Arthur: "It's your title. Please use it."

    Caelia:
    "If you have to call me by a title, use Lady. I'm not a man!"

    King Arthur:
    "Sir isn't just for men! It's a title! Stop being sexist!"

    Caelia: "Against myself?"

    King Arthur:
    "Uh... yes?"

    Gamma:
    "It's nice to meet you Lady Caelia."

    She gives Arthur a smug smirk and Arthur scowls at Gamma.

    King Arthur:
    "Don't you start to indulge her too."

    Caelia: "Your amulet, Gamma Pans, it is magical. Powerful too. In fact, I doubt you've even unlocked its full potential..."

    She, unlike everyone else, is riding her own unique steed. A gigantic, white-furred dire wolf. The beast has hulking shoulders and powerful legs, giving it plenty of strength to carry the small woman. The wolf stands at half the height of Arthur's horse but if it came down to a fight, Arthur would be burying his precious mount within seconds. The wolf pads around Arthur, directed by Caelia through, as Arthur knew, a telepathic communication the woman shares with the beast.

    Even atop the wolf, Caelia is barely much taller than Gamma Pans.


    Gamma: "I had heard my ancestors had done much greater deeds with it than I've managed to do. If I'm honest, I don't use it very much."

    Caelia: "I had noticed your people are much more peaceful than the humans of Earth."

    When Gamma raises a curious eyebrow, Caelia adds;

    Caelia: "No, I am not human. I am a faerie, born in the realm of Albion. I just live on Earth. You met my son already. He was the one wearing pink."

    King Arthur: "Ha, gaaaaaaay!"

    Gamma and Caelia frown at Arthur, evidently not getting the joke. Arthur pouts at the lack of appreciation for his 'hilarity'.

    Caelia: "I do wonder where it came from though..."

    King Arthur: "God sent it, he said."

    Gamma: "I didn't really say that, but I suppose it could have been? Not sure why he'd sent amulets to alien worlds though."

    King Arthur: "All worlds are God's worlds."

    Gamma: "They are?"

    King Arthur: "He created the universe."

    He smiles with pride.

    Gamma: "Oh right! But why haven't we heard of him?"

    King Arthur: "Uh... because... uh..."

    Caelia rolls her eyes.

    Caelia: "It's not from your God, oh king. This was definitely forged. But where? To see alien magic at work. Fascinating."

    She beams up at Arthur with the most adorable face that he feels like he'd just awarded her with strawberry ice cream.

    Sir Lancelot: "Sire, it appears that the enemy force has gathered at the perimeter."

    King Arthur: "Finally!"

    Gamma: "I'm not sure why we waited for them. We could have gone in there before they were ready and won the battle that much faster..."

    Sir Lancelot gives Gamma an aghast face through the visor.

    Sir Lancelot:
    "That would not be honourable!"

    Gamma: "Oh... I see. Seems you have made war a game on your planet..."

    Sir Lancelot: "It is no game, Custodian Pans... it is art."

    King Arthur: "Return to formation Sir Caelia--"

    Caelia: "Lady."

    King Arthur: "You will want to marshal your own..."

    He flounders.

    King Arthur: "Troupe."

    Gamma Pans nods, though a little hesitantly. Even Arthur can see that the man is questioning his decision to involve humans in Saturn's politics. Arthur, however, grins. It's far too late for second-guessing and he gets his new lands. Even if the sky is the colour of spew.

    King Arthur sweeps Excalibur from its sheath and there's a blinding glow of bright, divine light. Mordred had tried to convince his father to stop drawing Excalibur before the battle because it's like a beacon for enemy arrow fire, but Arthur knew it was important to inspire courage in his soldiers and to strike fear in the hearts of the enemy. Plus there are always plenty of soldiers willing to dive into the line of fire to save Arthur's skin.

    The brilliance of the unsheathing casts its glow outwards, like a miniature lighthouse, and he can only imagine the awe and confusion of the alien defenders. He slowly lowers Excalibur to point towards the enemy lines. He needs not speak. The light of Excalibur says all he needs to say.


    The Knights of the Round Table, all fifty of them, start their march and the soldiers follow suit. Though the enemy seems an easy-victory, Arthur isn't completely dumb when it comes to battle. To the far left Sir Bedivere leads a unit out so that they could flank the enemy while Gamma Pan's small force would come up on the other flank. Trying to explain even the basic concept of tactics to Gamma Pans had been a struggle. The best he'd come up with was to murder them all in their sleep. These aliens have much to learn about honour and combat. Gamma Pans seems to be under the believe that winning is the only important aspect to battle. Silly, silly alien.

    Arthur nudges his steed, a chestnut roan mare, Llamrei into a slow walk. While some knights have given their horses armour, making them cataphracts for battle, Arthur has only lightly weighed down his horse with necessities for a warhorse. She has a hood upon her head to focus her eyes forward and block out the chaos to her sides and she has a thick quilt upon her back to protect her skin from chaffing with the saddle. She is a very steady mare, happy, quiet and tame. Some of his knights liked to try to show off with their massive, powerful mounts that were, more often than not, far wilder and more aggressive than Arthur's Llamrei. Arthur would have rather have a pleasant trot across a field than thunder over it and wind up dead on a pike because the horse is too keen and too powerful to be reigned in.

    Soldiers march by their king and he spots many of them breaking their focus to glance up at him. He isn't about to chastise them for that though. Sir Kay, in his red and black tabard, goes by Arthur and gives his half-brother a jolly wave. Arthur returns the gesture.

    ----------

    Merlin: "So this is a turbo-lasem?"

    Ltexi: "Laser, yes."

    The Jupiterian admiral is climbing ontop of the inner section of the canon like it's a horse. Merlin isn't used to seeing women straddling things like that unless they're The Black Knight or some other warring female knight. Most ladies would side-saddle. Merlin, of course, didn't ride at all.


    Merlin: "Why is it strange for the lasers to be here? You told us about them."

    Ltexi yanks a panel off of the canon. Merlin can't help but blush at the sight of this half-naked woman with a massive cylinder-shaped object between her legs. Merlin gulps. Thankfully Lancelot isn't here.

    Ltexi: "Laser weapons aren't strange. Actually they're common as muck--"

    She sticks her head into the open compartment for a moment. This woman seems to be very at home with machinery in a way Merlin could never be. Merlin has caught herself treating the technology on this space-ship with such careful reverence many times. Ltexi treats it like its an old rake.

    She pulls her head back out again and looks at Merlin, blowing a strand of hair from her forehead.

    Ltexi: "It is strange that your ship has them though. Mine doesn't."

    Merlin: "But didn't you say they're the same? Like sister ships or something?"

    Ltexi: "Exactly why it's strange."

    She slides off of the space-weapon, satisfied with her inspection.

    Ltexi: "Something must have changed between the construction of The Hopeful and the construction of The Camelot."

    Merlin: "It's just Camelot. No 'The'."

    Ltexi: "Huh. Weird that most ship's are always 'The' something isn't it?"

    After a second's musing.

    Ltexi: "Aaaaanyway. Whoever built The Hopeful didn't intend it for warfare. It was used for something entirely different. But when they built Camelot, or maybe as a last-minute alteration to the design, they decided to put weapons on it. Hell, considering the age of these things, they might be the galaxy's first turbo-lasers."

    Merlin: "I do understand everything you're saying but, at the same time, a lot of this is going over my head. Sorry, my field of vision is pretty limited compared to yours, admiral."

    Ltexi shrugs.

    Ltexi: "Don't worry about it, Baldy. I'm just thinking out loud."

    Merlin pouts.

    Merlin: "It is really necessary to call me that?"

    Ltexi:
    "No, but it's fun."

    Before Merlin could further argue, Ltexi's train of thought has already moved on several paces.

    Ltexi: "By the way, I noticed you haven't installed an A.I.. And, thinking about it, you probably don't have A.I. technology. Huh. Honestly your ship would be much, much easier to operate with one. I've just installed one aboard The Hopeful, trying to get it more operational."

    Merlin scratches the side of her head while Ltexi rambles on.

    Ltexi: "From the systems on both ships, they were using O.I. technology originally. Again, they may actually be the first ships to even use that technology. Either way, we're not about to go attaching people to the ship, and I doubt you'd want to sacrifice anyone either--"

    Merlin:
    "Sacrifice!?"

    Her mind whirls to visions of cultists and sickles and virgins.

    Ltexi: "So A.I. tech is better. It might not work as well as an O.I., certainly not as smart, but it's far more... ethical, I guess you'd say."

    Merlin: "Uh... right. Ethical options are better... So long as there's no sacrificing."

    Ltexi, wandering down the corridor, inspects a console bank. She scans through the systems somewhat absently as she continues talking.

    Ltexi: "You'd need to build an A.I. Hub to house the A.I. itself, but that should be easy enough to do if we help you out. All of this would be pending permission from Chancellor Ctatherine, mind you--"

    Ltexi waggles a finger at Merlin before returning it to the screen.

    Ltexi: "But really, thinking about it, I doubt she would. Nobody is especially fond of your kind. Most of you are kind of arseholes."

    Merlin couldn't fault her on that.

    Ltexi: "So I guess we'll see. Either way, this trip has been great. Very useful for trying to figure out the systems on my own. The Hopeful was really battered when we found her, hanging in orbit around Mars like a dying whale--"

    Merlin: "What's a whale?"

    Ltexi: "Pretty sure you have whales on Earth, you know? Like a gigantic animal in the ocean."

    Merlin: "A really big fish?"

    Ltexi: "Sure. Only it's a mammal."

    Merlin: "In the ocean!?"

    Ltexi: "You really need to get out more."

    Merlin: "Sorry. Bedivere probably knows what a whale is."

    Ltexi: "I met him earlier. He also knows what a Snarkumfeist is."

    Merlin:
    "A what?"

    Ltexi: "Exactly."

    Merlin: "You mentioned that there's other human planets out there. Can you tell me about them?"

    Ltexi stops working on the console. She then shrugs.

    Ltexi: "Can't say I know much about them, to be honest. I'm not much of a tourist, you know?"

    She continues trekking down the passage. She strides as though she owns the ship while Merlin has to trot after her to keep up.

    Ltexi: "There's a few of them. Lots of fighting, both on worlds and between worlds. The worlds were once prosperous but something happened to the original human homeworld, wherever that is, and that broke up their network of communications somehow. Anyway, people started fighting, like humans do, and they regressed. Some more than others. Earth probably the most I guess. I mean, wow, you guys are really backwards. Seriously, who would put men in charge of anything?"

    Merlin, again, couldn't fault that logic.

    Ltexi: "So yeah. The worlds, or nations, or whatever, that had retained the most technology or culture or whatever, I don't know, managed to overpower the rest and then there you have the current situation. Some planets want to rule the others, while other worlds want to be independent and other worlds want to be friends with everyone. Stupid politics stuff. I'm sure the Chancellor would love to chew your ear off about that stuff sometime."

    Another console bank and it displays a complete picture of Camelot's exterior. Ltexi sighs as she stares at it.

    Ltexi: "All I really want to know is what happened to The Hopeful to put her in such bad shape?"

    ----------

    Arthur's sword cuts through the liquid metal armour like a hot knife through butter. The laser swords of the enemy were proving to be a troublesome foe for most of the soldiers and knights, but sheer numbers and battle smarts are proving the equal of this advanced technology. A powerful weapon in the hands of a fool is next to useless against the experience and training of his knights.

    With his own enemy down, Arthur looks up to see his son plant his own blade into an enemy's face. Arthur's pride is mixed with anger when he realises the little ******* has stolen his ceremonial sword, Clarent, and is dirtying it in battle. That's like using the finest china tea set to have lunch with a farmer. You're just sullying it!

    Half tempted to run across the battlefield and smack Mordred across the back of the head, Arthur is distracted when a streak of lightning arcs before him and strikes one of the G-Kryptons squarely in the chest. The alien is propelled through the air and out of sight. Arthur gives Gamma Pans a nod of appreciation but in his head he's cooking up a plan as not to be outdone. Aside from his knights, Arthur isn't about to be overshadowed by a gangly-legged, honourless barbarian.


    Arthur sheathes Excalibur for a moment and rides towards the thickest grouping of enemies. He spies their swords glowing menacingly but Arthur is undeterred. As he nears he redraws the sword and its shining brilliance once again bursts to life. This time its brilliance is stunning and the laser-wielding foes are instantly blinded. Their guards lowered, several knights ride out and hack down the easy prey. Sir Galahad, having stolen one of the laser swords for himself, shows himself to have as much courage as his father.

    As Arthur watches, his eyes rove towards the alien city and he wonders where he could build his first alien castle...

  33. #73
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: Alien Designs

    Space Camelot: Alien Designs
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Kay | Prince Mordred | Sir Galahad | (Sir) The Black Knight | (Sir) The Faerie Knight | Tom a'Lincoln | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Omega Wier | Sir Tristram

    Several young boys and girls, clad in the clothing of squires, stand in two lines blowing victory trumpets. The Knights of the Round Table pass through the aisle of children. Usually there's confetti or flowers but the Kryptons didn't even have such things to toss. Gamma Pans had suggested water could be thrown but Arthur ultimately decided that being drowned in water was not a good way to end a battle.

    With the Knights are the two X-Krypton Custodians, Gamma Pans and Omega Wier, looking quite out of sorts. When they had won battles in the past they usually got straight to sorting out the spoils of battle and how they'd be used to improve their own city.


    Arthur rides at the head of the procession alongside Sir Kay and Sir Tristram. Kay sits confidently astride his grey horse, which is coloured almost entirely white, and wears a broad grin. Conquering aliens apparently sits well with him. Sir Tristram, on the other hand, sits solemn and quiet as always. The Saracen isn't wearing the usual tabard that many knights wear. Instead he has his usual leather armour and swept around his neck is a very heavy cloak. On the cloak is his sigil - one he devised for himself, a bow and arrow silhouette of yellow against the black of the cloak. His hair is fairly unkempt but he has taken to braiding portions of it in the style of pagans in Britain. Despite his dark skin, dark hair and features of the Middle-East, Sir Tristram has shocking blue eyes. When asked about his blue eyes he only vaguely alludes to a point of Russian ancestry in his genes and a claim to ancient royal lineage.

    As they reach the end of the procession they dismount and hand reins of their horses to squires. The squires are pretty befuddled at that point because there aren't any stables on Saturn. Instead the poor horses get tethered up inside some poor sod's house. At least he's no longer around to see his house being invaded by these monstrous Earth beasts since he was skewered during the battle by a very pointy lance.

    Arthur is led to the building that the city's Custodians use and, after uncomfortably waggling his arms at the lack of walls, he enters the building with his two knights on either side. They are offered seats by the remaining Custodian survivor for the G-Kryptons. The Custodian is a female Krypton - the only hint of that being her enormous breasts that, despite their size, are very unappealing to the human males - who sits and stares with bewilderment. Apparently she hadn't received the memo about alien invaders.

    King Arthur: "All your base ar--"

    Sir Kay: "I don't think she understands English, Arthur."

    King Arthur: "Oi, we're not at a round table meeting. It's Sire."

    Sir Kay groans petulantly but relents.


    Sir Kay: "My deepest apologies, oh Sire."

    King Arthur: "Bette--"

    Sir Kay: "My liege. My lord. My master. My ruler. My captain. My king. My-- ow!"

    Arthur smacks his half-brother across the back of the helmet with a clatter of his gauntlet against the metal helm. Gamma Pans and Omega Wier finally enter the room and Gamma appears somewhat relieved to find the foreigners hadn't done anything crazy. The G-Krypton Custodian jumps to her feet and snarls at the conquering tribe. After an exchange that the humans can't understand Omega Wier leaves the room while Gamma turns to Arthur.

    Gamma: "The traitors are defeated. Thanks to you, King Arthur of Earth, our victory was easily won. What can we do to repay you?"

    Arthur gives Gamma Pans a smirk. It appear quite innocent but it's well-practised and probably the closest to a 'convincing lie' he's ever managed. He doesn't, however, lie at all.

    King Arthur: "All your base are belong to us!"

    ----------

    Several days later...

    King Arthur: "Just give this place back! GRAH!"

    He stomps from one room to the next. He had put up paper walls to, at least, create the illusion of personal space in a civilisation where everyone could see into your house.

    He then stomps back into the room and waggles an accusing finger at Sir Bedivere.

    King Arthur: "This is all your fault, you know?"

    Sir Bedivere blinks behind his spectacles.

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Erm...?"

    Arthur proceeds to alter his own voice in an exaggerated mock tone of Sir Bedivere.

    King Arthur:
    "Oh, I'm Sir Bedivere and I'd like to study their technology. Let's conquer the land and look at the stupid, shiny swords."

    The conquest, and subsequent attempted rule, of the G-Kryptons hadn't gone according to the usual scheme of things back on Earth. His first course of action was to tax the people - except they didn't have money on Saturn. He tried to get them to submit useful objects or goods to the crown as tax instead, and wound up collecting an assortment of buckets, crayons and weird cat-like animals that smelt vaguely of old socks. He was, at least, determined to get a castle. But since none of the people spoke English and the concept of a castle was entirely alien to them, the building he wound up with looked more like a tall cardboard box with little oval windows made of blue paper.

    Sir Bedivere:
    "So you want to vacate the city, Sire?"

    King Arthur: "Absolutely! I don't know why you convinced me to conquer this place anyway! I'm supposed to be colonising somewhere nice! Not a smelly rock filled with ugly alien people."

    Bedivere decides not to remind Arthur that it was actually his idea and not Bedivere's. Instead he nods in complete agreement.


    Sir Bedivere: "Yes Sire, I think we should move on. We couldn't hold this territory after we left anyway. Too few knights to maintain a..."

    He glances out of the paper door - which is an Arthur shaped hole after he accidentally papered himself in without said door - towards the peaceful, wall-less city beyond.

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Garrison? And besides, nobody would want to stay here. It smells bad. And we really need all the colonists we can get for our new home."

    King Arthur: "Exactly what I was going to say! Great minds think alike, eh!?"

    Sir Bedivere: "..."

    Luckily he doesn't have to answer that as they're interrupted by Prince Mordred. With him is the G-Krypton Custodian as well as the X-Custodian Omega Wier. Since conquering the city, the G-Krypton, whose name is Flannel Bags - a name that spread quickly amongst the knights with great mirth - had made every attempt to learn the wacky language of these hairy alien people so that she could attempt to appease them in their bizarre demands for box-shaped buildings and collections of household junk. Now that she has become somewhat proficient in it she's been able to figure out what is actually happening.

    She glances at Omega Wier, who nods solemnly.


    King Arthur: "Don't tell me they haven't finished building the church yet?"

    Sir Bedivere snaps to sudden interest.

    Sir Bedivere: "That was a church they built!?"

    King Arthur: "Yes... what does it look like?"

    He dreads the answer.

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Well... it looks bit like... a portaloo."

    Arthur plants his face into his palms.

    Sir Bedivere: "Well... God has had more than a few... offerings from knights this morning..."

    Flannel Bags: "Sorry, it is not about the..."

    She glances from Arthur to Bedivere.

    Flannel Bags: "Portal loo?"

    King Arthur:
    "Close enough. If it's not about that then what is? You look very serious..."

    Flannel Bags: "You have been cheated, my kunt."

    Arthur reels.


    Sir Bedivere: "King, Custodian Bags. Kiiiing."

    She nods enthusiastically.

    Flannel Bags: "My kling!"

    King Arthur:
    "Closer than your last attempt. Let's just stick with that..."

    Flannel Bags: "My Kling, you were tricked to coming to this city!"

    King Arthur: "Tricked how?"

    Flannel Bags: "By Gamma Pans, the Custodian of the X-Kryptons! Omega Wier is telling me that L-Kryptons raided X-Krypton land but Custodian Pans telling you that it was us, the G-Kryptons. Custodian Pans has long wanted to raid us but never had the strength. He was supposed to being our alliance! But he tricked you to join him and betrayed that alliance to us!"

    There is a long silence...


    ---

    Prince Mordred and Sir Tristram are just outside the Custodian House in the G-Krypton city. After sending technology samples up to Camelot for Merlin to study she, with some help from the Jupiter Admiral, was able to retroengineer several new possible designs for the beam technology. One of those designs was the beam-bow, as Mordred called it. From a single metallic hilt protrudes to beams of thin energy and, like a bow, he pulls back a single pellet that extends into a red shaft of light. He releases it. The laser-arrow is weighted only by the tiny pellet and is, otherwise, weightless. The pellet is resistant to wind pressure and so the arrow whizzes through the air fast and long. It hits Arthur's new portaloo in the distance.

    Sir Tristram:
    "Good shot, Mordred."

    Prince Mordred:
    "Thanks. We should try firing one from the top of a building, see how far they can really go."

    Sir Tristram:
    "Too dangerous. We'd probably end up killing someone..."

    Prince Mordred: "Like a mile away. Nobody would ever even know it was us!"

    Sir Tristram scowls at the prince.

    Prince Mordred: "I was just joking, Sir Tristram. Relax."

    Sir Tristram: "Sometimes, Mordred, with you I wonder."

    Prince Mordred: "Is it because I'm an incest-induced ******* child or my red hair that makes me evil, Sir Tristram?"

    The Saracen knight shakes his head.

    Sir Tristram:
    "It's your callous attitude that will lead you to ruin, good prince."

    Prince Mordred:
    "So noooow I'm a good prince, huh?"

    Sir Tristram: "Are you trying to goad me, Mordred? You should leave that task to Sir Kay. He is much better at annoying everyone."

    Mordred snorts with a small laugh. Their talk is interrupted by a sudden bellow from the Custodian House. From the Arthur-shaped-hole-door suddenly bursts Arthur himself astride his horse, leaving an Arthur-and-Horse-shaped-hole-door instead. Where Arthur had been keeping Llamrei, the horse, was a sudden mystery to Mordred as he couldn't think of anywhere inside the building that the horse ought to be kept. Either way he had it now and he charged down the short hill towards Mordred and Tristram. Sir Bedivere, Omega Wier and Flannel Bags come running after him.

    As Arthur gets to the bottom of the hill, several knights that are in the area approach to hear Arthur's explanation for the sudden calamity.


    King Arthur:
    "Knights! We have been played for fools! Anyone that can be ready within the next fifteen minutes, saddle up immediately! We shall hunt down the fiend we know as Gamma Pans!"

    Mordred glances at Tristram for just a moment before they both rush off to find their horses, which are still being stored in a random house and attended to by squires. While Sir Tristram mounts his grey horse, Mordred gets upon his own roan - the younger sister horse to his father's. They pull the reins and they're away. Just behind them comes Sir Caelia upon her dire wolf. The wolf, despite being shorter than the horses, is able to catch up to, and pass them by, with ease. It bounds and leaps down the streets as nimbly as any household cat. The G-Kryptons watch the strange aliens upon their alien beasts with fascination and curiosity at the sudden change of pace.

    Soon enough they reach the appointed exit, planned out on the day of conquest in case they suddenly had to vacate the city, and found Arthur waiting for them.


    Sir Caelia, Sir Lancelot, Sir Kay, Sir Tristram, Mordred himself and the X-Krypton Custodian Omega Wier were to journey out in search of Gamma Pans. Omega Wier, though he doesn't speak English, can gesture well enough and so the knights follow his lead. He sits behind Arthur upon Llamrei and points the direction back towards the X-Krypton city.

    The group is filled with anger. It's one thing to be betrayed but to be betrayed and used made the betrayal all the harder to swallow. Sir Bedivere would oversee the return to Camelot by the rest of the knights and await the return of the king. Mordred hopes that he and his people hadn't done too much damage to the lives of these alien people and wonders if his father plans to compensate them somehow.

    ---

    After reaching the city they had learnt that Gamma Pans, aware of the incoming king, had fled. Arthur, determined to hunt down the villain, leads his knights after the runaway...
    Last edited by TheBritt; 09-24-2016 at 03:35 PM.

  34. #74
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: The Ruins of Saturn

    Space Camelot: The Ruins of Saturn
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Kay | Prince Mordred | Sir Galahad | (Sir) The Black Knight | (Sir) The Faerie Knight | Tom a'Lincoln | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Omega Wier | Sir Tristram

    They had been travelling for half a day before they finally catch sight of their quarry. King Arthur and his band are standing atop of a cliff overlooking a valley and in that valley they spot the fleeing figure of Gamma Pans. He isn't alone and, from Omega Wier's suggestions, it's likely a band of L-Kryptons that conspired with Pans against the G-Kryptons. A treacherous, narrow path winds down from their elevated position to the valley below.

    In the valley they can see strange ruins of an ancient city. It's made of rocks that resemble sandstone and, like the Krypton civilisations they'd encountered so far, there are no walls. Some of the buildings have crumbles to nothing but rubble, while others stand immensely tall - taller than any of the modern buildings they'd seen in the X-Krypton or G-Krypton Cities. A fell wind sweeps across the valley, picking up the dust of centuries in a threatening blizzard. The figures of Gamma Pans and his crew use the buildings for cover against the minor dust storms, navigating the ruin like insects scuttling across sand. Here and there are incredibly tall obelisks tipped by circular plates and emit a faint blue light. Evidently the lights are powered by some unknown ancient means and in the dying light of the evening Arthur thanks God for their existence.

    He glances up at the yellow sky as it starts to darken. The constant cloud cover means that the night holds no stars and no radiant moon to gaze down upon the mortal struggles of man. Instead there's just a black, oppressive roof above them that feels suddenly stifling. Regret burrows into his heart and he mentally punishes himself for agreeing to remain on this God-forsaken world. However he realises that his choice may well have been God's Will. The traitor Gamma Pans may well have gotten away with his crime had Arthur not remained on the world, an act that the X-Krypton likely hadn't expected given the difference in cultural practices here.

    King Arthur: "Okay. We're gaining on them. We'll be able to catch them in these ruins."

    He starts his horse towards the narrow path but Sir Tristram cuts in front of him.

    Sir Tristram: "Sire, I should warn you before we proceed..."

    He looks out across the ruins.

    Sir Tristram: "When researching the world, Sir Bedivere and I discovered some stories of this ancient land. It is known to be a place of restless spirits, sire. If the stories are true, we will find ourselves under attack from malevolent spirits of ancient Kryptons."

    King Arthur: "Strange. These people seemed to be all about the physical, practical world and not interested in anything spiritual."

    Sir Tristram:
    "That only adds credence to the claims then. Nobody knows why the spirits remain. No other land on the planet apparently has such ghosts, only this forsaken valley."

    King Arthur:
    "...The Forsaken Valley."

    He nods with a smirk.

    King Arthur: "And excellent name for it, Sir Tristram. I'm sure we can add this venture to our list of magnificent tales."

    Sir Tristram bows his head.

    Prince Mordred: "So we're still going in there? Even with the ghosts?"

    King Arthur:
    "Let's just hope the spirits don't steal vengeance from our grasp."

    Silently they file down the winding pathway. Prince Mordred takes the rear and shares a worried glance with Omega Wier. At least he's not the only practical-minded person on this trip. Mordred is actually surprised Omega Wier even came this far as he could have left Arthur to it and sauntered off back to his Custodian House in the X-Krypton City. Mordred supposes there's some sense of vendetta to the man, just like Arthur. Wier, however, doesn't appear to be built for these kinds of adventures. Though Mordred is no expert on Krypton physiology, he can tell that Wier is overweight and sluggish. He had borrowed Sir Bedivere's horse and had had days worth of lessons in riding, yet he was still fairly clumsy and looks like he might fall off the horse at any given moment. Mordred is certain the horse himself is desperately trying to keep the rider on his back rather than the other way around. Wier's big, round eyes are bright red against his obsidian skin and he has abnormally large ears. To the prince the man looks like some kind of fat gremlin that might be lurking under a bridge or in a cesspit. Yet his ineptitude makes him almost comical.

    Sir Caelia's dire wolf is able to leap down each narrow path, placing her at the basin long before any of the other knights have even reached the centre-point. She races off to start scouting the area and quickly becomes a tiny, dark point to Mordred's eyes as he looks out across the abandoned city. To Mordred it seems like Stonehenge - an ancient and mysterious structure in England that defied explanation by all scholars. Only Merlin and his druids seemed to know where it came from and who might have built it but even they always admitted that they were uncertain. Then, one day, along comes Sir Kay and he graffitied it with a little sword and axe heads. An ancient, mystical ruin and he carved stupid pictures into it. It just goes to show - time doesn't give a toss.

    He and his father are about to go blundering through this ruin, alongside that very same Sir Kay, and are likely going to be mistreating this mystical ruin.

    As he nears the next bend he finds Sir Tristram watching the ruins while the other knights pass him by. Mordred slows.


    Prince Mordred: "Do you see anything?"

    The Saracen shakes his head slowly.

    Prince Mordred: "That's a good sign."

    Sir Tristram: "Is it? If these spirits do indeed exist, then why have they not come out for the Custodian? Why is Sir Caelia allowed to roam unhindered?"

    Mordred looks up at the darkening sky.

    Prince Mordred: "Could be they only come out at night, like on Earth? Give it another hour."

    Sir Tristram:
    "Could be..."

    He kicks his horse into motion and slowly walks by Mordred.


    Sir Tristram: "Or perhaps they're waiting for the rest of us to enter the valley first..."

    Undead. Malicious. And smart?

    Mordred continues to wonder why they aren't headed in the opposite direction.

    The knights reach the basin and start to slowly cross the dusty valley with some hesitation. The sky is now completely dark and only the tall pillars cast an eerie blue glow throughout the valley. The tall buildings cast long, black shadows across the dusty, empty streets and Arthur has to draw Excalibur to help cast light around the group. He holds his mighty sword aloft and the brilliant, white light sweeps around around them. A deep sense of unease suddenly clutches at Mordred's heart and he can't help but groan at the sensation.


    Sir Tristram: "I feel it too, Mordred."

    Sir Kay:
    "I feel like my bowels are about to drop... same for you?"

    Sir Lancelot: "Steel yourselves, knights. A deadly foe stalks us."

    Prince Mordred: "Thanks for that, Sir Lancelot. That really helped steel myself."

    Sir Lancelot: "We are the Knights of the Round Table, we won't be cowed by any wanton spirit!"

    Sir Kay: "You tell them, Lancelot. And fight them too while I run off."

    King Arthur:
    "If you run away, Kay, I'll put you on barnacle duty. Someone has to scrub those buggers off the ship."

    Mordred draws Clarent while he listens to the others bickering. Strangely their inane banter is somewhat soothing against the offensive sense of despair and fear that is grasping at his nerves. The sensation, he knows, is an external force being applied to him by the dead beings in the ruins. He's able to feel it encroaching and trying to falter his own, natural resolve.

    Suddenly there is a piercing screech. It's followed up by dozens more from all around them. Surrounded.

    From beyond light cast by Excalibur comes the enemy. The spirits have a strange physical form - the dust of the ruins congeals together to recreate the rough shape of their former selves. They have no legs, only swirling dust, but their torsos extend from the dust cloud and bear long, gangly arms and small, grotesque heads. As gremlin-like as Mordred thought Omega Wier, these monstrous spirits are far more terrifying to look at.


    One swoops in at Mordred, impossibly fast, and he instinctively swipes at it. As his sword cuts into the spirit it explodes. Dust buffets him and whizzes past in its continued trajectory. He coughs and splutters the dead from his mouth. He wonders if all this dust is actually the earthly remains of their original bodies and he's quickly hacking in a desperate attempt to get dead aliens out of his throat.

    Unfortunately the coughing fit leaves him vulnerable and a dust-spirit slashes up at him with clawed fingers. The claws cut razor-sharp and shreds the cloth of his tabard. He's thrown from his horse and onto the dusty ground with a grunt. He crawls forward but something snatches his ankle. He barely has time to glance down at the ghost's snarling, hungry face as it then drags him along the floor. He grasps at the ground but his fingers only meet dust. He sees Clarent lurking off and can only cry out as the distance between it and him grows. And kicks with his other foot but his boot meets nothing but air as the dust of the figure moulds around his body attack. He realises his first stroke had been a lucky one - a blessed blade against undead creatures. He isn't going to escape this fight with kicks and punches.


    His fingers finally meet the solid remains of an ancient wall, hidden beneath the dust. The ghost yanks at his leg but he holds tight. Then he feels the ghosts razor-claws dig into the leather armour, easily slicing through it as though it were simple cloth. The cold, knife-like grasp meets his skin beneath and he screams with the sudden agony of the sensation. His legs is being sliced by four knives at once. The aura of dread is suddenly able to worm its way into his soul and he panics. His cries of anguish and horror deafen himself.

    Even when he finds himself scrambling freely through the dust he continues screaming for his soul until a blunt object smacks into the back of his head. Suddenly dulled, Mordred's brain reorganises itself. He looks up to find Sir Caelia atop of her wolf, who is standing over him. She throws her hand out, palm splayed, and blasts a dust-spirit to oblivion. Able to manipulate the very air allows her to destroy these apparitions' physical manifestations with ease. Yet there are many of them.

    Sir Caelia:
    "How's your head?"

    He rubs it and winces. She must have whacked him with a very big rock. Probably relished the opportunity to give her ruler a good crack.

    Prince Mordred: "I'll live."

    Sir Caelia: "Good. Get your sword. They're coming."

    He sees their shadows coming closer from beyond the light and he dives for Clarent. His hand curls around the hilt and he instantly feels its light pulse through him. He swings it as he rises, cutting through the stomach of an inbound ghost. It blasts apart and the dust flies past before it topples to the ground to join the rest of the eternally forgotten.

    He swings again, this time trashing a dust-ghost that had been flying towards Sir Caelia. She, able to tear them apart easiest of all the knights, has made herself prime target for the ghosts and more and more of them descend upon her position. Clarent glides through the air as Mordred hits another intent on passing him on its way to the Aes Sidhe Faerie. He runs and slams his foot against a squat wall, propelling him through the air. His momentum allows his outstretched sword to pierce through three ghosts at once as he flies through them like a dart. He lands with a roll and hacks at another ghost that pops up in front of him. Clarent itself seems to fill him with courage to stave off the dread that had consumed him earlier, but it also seems to possess a kind of wisdom of its own. Wisdom that Mordred, somehow, also possesses when he uses the sword. He had always considered himself competent at swordplay but when wielding Clarent he feels like he can estimate the mystifying movements of the ghosts with uncanny clarity.

    A lance suddenly whizzes by him. It passes through a ghost, doing nothing to stop the foul spirit as the dust just moulds around the passing object. Mordred's attention, however, is now drawn to it and he lashes out to finish what the lance had started. He looks back to see Sir Lancelot now brandishing Arondight - the demon-sword of Baal - as he cuts through the spirits with as much apparent ease as Clarent. A lot better than his lance did.


    Mordred sees bright red streaks zipping out from a single point in the distance, striking through the ghosts. The energy arrows do not, however, seem to affect the spirits as well as the magical weaponry of Lancelot and Mordred but the energy blasts do hit the ghosts with kinetic force that knocks them back. The knockback then allows King Arthur to cleanly slice through them while Sir Tristram uses the beam-bow to stun them. Excalibur cuts and a dash of light streams out with every stroke. As the light extends it ploughs through other ghosts and burns them up into nothingness. Aside from the wind magic of Sir Caelia, Excalibur seems to be the most potent weapon against these malevolent spirits of evil.

    Omega Wier, like Sir Tristram, is able to stun the enemies using his beam sword, though his strikes are far weaker than the missiles of the knight. Wier seems like a child with a stick and is being protected by Lancelot, whether the alien realises it or not. Yet even Omega Wier is currently in a better position than the unfortunate Sir Kay, who is being overwhelmed with only his standard bronze sword to fight with. A ghost screeches down towards the knight and grabs his shield. Holding onto it tightly he's lifted up off of the ground and dangles over the battlefield.

    Prince Mordred: "Sir Tristram, shoot Sir Kay down!"

    Sir Tristram responds in an instant. The light arrow fires through the air at bashes into the dust-ghost. It dissipates with a mild explosion of red light and the spirit rocks back with a cry of anguish and hatred. Sir Kay lands in a crouch, just in time for Prince Mordred to jump up onto his shield and fly up into the air to finish off the stunned ghost. Mordred lands on his feet with only a quick crouch to break his fall. He turns to help Sir Kay in his plight against the monsters.


    King Arthur: "Knights, hold them off until I'm out of sight! When I'm gone, retreat to the top of the cliff!"

    Sir Lancelot: "My king! We can't--"

    King Arthur: "I have to get the traitor, Lancelot."

    As Arthur starts to ride away, further into the city, Omega Wier follows after him. Ultimately Arthur decides it would take too much time and effort to try to get him to understand the concept of remaining with Sir Lancelot than it would to just let the clumsy oaf follow after him.

    Arthur rides like the wind and Omega Wier manages, surprisingly, to keep up. Likely in part thanks to the grand horse that he rides and in part due to the terror of being caught by the sudden wave of dust-ghosts that have risen up behind them. The cloud of spirits chases after the two riders, growing ever larger as more ghosts from the city take up the pursuit. Arthur glances back and, for a moment, thinks he's an idiot for riding off alone like this. There must be hundreds and hundreds of them. Their screeches bombard his ears but his renewed determination for vengeance steels him.

    At the far end of the city he sees bright light flowing and blasting in a fit of rage and despair. The dust-ghosts attacking Gamma Pans and his companions are dispatched by the lightning that cracks out of the amulet - probably even more potent against them than the wind magic of Sir Caelia. The electrical attacks seem to grow ever more powerful as the amulet is being used.

    Arthur throws caution to the winds and when Llamrei draws near he slings himself off of her back and tackles the X-Krypton. As he'd expected the momentum of his body slams Gamma to the ground easily, the Krypton's thin legs making the squat torso easy to topple. Lightning bursts from the amulet in Gamma's sudden panic. It streaks out and hits one of his allies who is struck hard and sent flying into the air. Unfortunately he is snagged from the air by several ghosts who begin to rip and tear at his liquid metal armour until he's shredded by their claws. Gamma Pans is struck by the horror of killing his ally but his attention is drawn back to Arthur as the king tries to grab the amulet. Electric cascades from the bejewelled artefact and courses through Arthur's plated gauntlet. He reels back from the sudden jolt of pain and clutches his scolded hand. Gamma kicks Arthur away and scrabbles to his feet.


    He's carrying a bag of possessions, strapped over his liquid metal armour, and wears a wild, hunted look in his eyes. Exactly how Arthur had wanted him to feel.

    Arthur swings Excalibur at Gamma but a quick burst of lightning hits the sword and it slams backwards into the ground. The blast would have taken any other sword out of the wielders grasp, but Excalibur can never be forcefully removed from this king's hand. So his hand is thrown with it. His arm is jerked violently as the sword slams into the sandstone. Arthur growls and yanks his blade free again.

    One of the L-Kryptons, apparently overconfident in his skills, jumps in front of Gamma Pans and swings his laser sword at the king. Arthur parries the strike with such ease that he appeared bored by the intervening duel. The parry leaves the Krypton wide open and Arthur runs him through. The light from the strike lashes out and incinerates two creeping ghosts with to boot. There's only two other L-Kryptons left in Gamma's party and they instantly accept their loss to Arthur in favour of defending themselves from the onslaught of ghosts.

    Arthur glances back to the city where he can see the swirl of ghosts that had pursued him through its streets. They appear angry but unable to extend out of the city limits. He's unsure what force binds them there but he's thankful for it. The rest of the free-roaming spirits pose little threat so long as he hold Excalibur.

    Omega Wier sidles up beside Arthur, his own sword poised. Gamma Pans glowers at the other X-Krypton.


    Gamma Pans: "So it comes to this."

    He then says more in his own language to Wier but Arthur doesn't care to ask for a translation. He charges at the former Custodian but his strike misses as Gamma Pans jumps backwards. He fires blast of lightning from the amulet that Arthur narrowly dodges. Having experienced one jolt from the magical weapon, he doesn't want a repeat experience. Then, from the amulet, a greater surge erupts and a wall of lightning strikes down between Arthur and Gamma Pans, raining down seemingly from the heavens itself. The sudden strike destroys many ghosts on its way down to the ground and as it hits the shockwave knocks Arthur and Omega Wier backwards. Arthur shields his eyes from the dust upheaval and clenches his lips tightly. He peeks through two fingers to see Gamma Pans making a run for it.

    King Arthur: "The cowardly dog!"

    He runs after him, striking a ghost as he moves past.

    Gamma glances back to fire a blast of lightning back at Arthur. The attempt is unaimed and it lazily misses the pursuing human. It does, however, distract Gamma so that he runs straight into an awaiting dust-ghost. Its claws grasp the fleeing man, one hand around his arm and one around his neck. Gamma cries out in pain and horror as his life is about to be snuffed out. Arthur reaches them, while the two L-Kryptons keep running for their lives, disappearing into the darkness with the ghosts flying after them.

    Arthur brings his sword to bear.

    His strike tears through the ghost and releases Gamma Pans from its hold.

    Gamma Pans falls to the dust with a look of fear and confusion.


    King Arthur: "Vengeance shall be mine, traitor. No ghost shall take it from me."

    Gamma Pans: "You call me a traitor!? It's you who is the traitor! You steal the lands of the G-Kryptons, betraying my trust in you! And now you corrupt this fool so he thinks he can claim what is mine!"

    Before Arthur can ask what that means, Omega Wier grabs the amulet and tugs it from around Gamma Pan's neck. The look on the man's face suddenly lifts the veil from Arthur's mind and he sees the greed and ambition in the X-Krypton's eyes.

    Omega Wier: "Mine!"

    His first English word.

    Lightning suddenly blasts from the amulet with wild abandon. Unlike the controlled, though desperate, blasts from Gamma Pans, the lightning strikes from Omega Wier are untamed and excitable. They strike down from the skies, streak out from the amulet and burn up the ghosts in a display of fire and light.


    King Arthur: "He said you tricked me into taking the G-Krypton City. Said it was a lie that they were the raiders..."

    Gamma Pans manages to get to his feet, still injured from the ghost attack.

    Gamma Pans: "He told me that you'd vowed to help him take my amulet and slay me..."

    King Arthur: "If there's one thing I hate... it's bloody liars."

  35. #75
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: Space Lightning

    Space Camelot: Space Lightning
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Prince Mordred | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Sir Kay | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Galahad | Sir Tristram | Sir Caelia | Sir Red Rose Knight | Sir Black Knight | Sir Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Omega Wier

    The lightning storm rages.

    It had swirled out of controlled incredibly quickly and now the X-Krypton is lost in a whirlwind of white heat. Sparks fly from the lightning vortex and the spiral cocoon appears unlikely to dissipate. King Arthur and Gamma Pans desperately plant themselves into the dusty ground so they wouldn't be sucked up into the electrical storm. The dust-ghosts aren't as weighted and they're sucked into oblivion with each passing second - dust explodes as the ghosts pound into the lightning sheet.

    King Arthur: "How in the name of God are we going to stop this!?"

    Gamma Pans: "I don't know how to do it in the name of God, Human King, but maybe we can find a way of stopping this without his name?"

    King Arthur: "Capital H!"

    Gamma Pans: "What?"

    King Arthur:
    "Nevermind."

    Gamma Pans: "Honestly, I think there's only one thing for it."

    King Arthur: "And that is?"



    On the other side of the ancient Kryptonian city Prince Mordred and the Knights of the Round Table are keeping up with their dusty foes but while the humans' stamina begins the wane, the ghosts are forever ready to attack. Then they see bright white light erupt in the distance. The white light replaces the hazy blue light of the tall pillars and suddenly everyone is cast in brilliant radiance.

    Sir Kay: "Is it the light of Excalibur!?"

    Sir Caelia: "No! I sense highly potent magic at work! The aether here is being drained rapidly by whatever that is!"

    Prince Mordred: "It must be the power of the amulet!"

    Sir Lancelot: "To the king!!!"

    Prince Mordred: "You want us to go towards it!?"

    Sir Lancelot: "Your father is in there!"

    Prince Mordred: "And may his soul rest in peace..."

    It's not as if he hates his father. But he's certainly not about to give up his own on the off-chance he might save his father from what is probably the result of his own stupidity.

    Sir Caelia: "Wait, the aether is shifting..."

    Sir Kay: "Bugger the aether, that big lightning storm is shifting. It's... coming this way!"

    As the whirlwind of lightning begins to move it starts to enter the city, tearing up ancient buildings from their foundations. Undisturbed for centuries they're suddenly blown apart in an instant. Of course it also means all of the ghosts in the city are being obliterated too, so there's a silver lining at least.


    Mordred glances around at his fellow knights. Most of them are staring at the lightning, though Sir Lancelot distractedly pummels a random ghost.

    Prince Mordred: "Uh... are we just going to stand here while that thing comes straight at us?"

    Sir Kay: "I think... I think the boy has a point."

    Sir Caelia points towards the city.

    Sir Caelia: "Look! It's the King!"

    They then spot the figure of Llamrei, Arthur's horse, and two riders charging along the straight, wide street of the city with the lightning tornado chasing them. Mordred groans.

    Prince Mordred: "Why am I not surprised."

    Over the cacophony of destructive sound they manage to hear the command of their king;


    King Arthur: "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!"

    Mordred doesn't need to be told twice as he leaps onto his horse's back and instantly rides in the opposite direction to the doomy-storm-thingy. He sees a ghost headed for Sir Kay as the knight attempts to mount his own steed. Mordred veers right and slashes the ghost in twain, spraying it into the air in an instant. Good deed of the day, Mordred reckons as he whizzes by his half-uncle.

    A quick glance back and he sees everyone has has decided to turn tail in the face of this horrible magical storm. Sir Caelia, upon her dire wolf, quickly takes over Mordred. She gives him a little wave as she goes by, as though she were on a jolly jaunt through the woods.


    Prince Mordred: "Bloody Faeries. Absolutely bonkers all of them."

    The journey through the valley had seemed a lot shorter than it does now. He constantly glances back, hoping to see an unexpected end to the malevolent tornado, but all he sees are the knights fleeing for their lives against a bright, white backdrop that is getting bigger and bigger every passing minute.

    When he reaches the base of the cliff he rears the horse before then galloping up the narrow path. It's stupidly dangerous, but hanging about is definitely worse. As he turns a corner, slowing right down before he gets to it, a sudden blast erupts from above him. He sees another arc of magical lightning appear in the sky - only this time it's coming from above him and is aimed straight at the storm. Sir Caelia, undoubtedly, but why the Hell she would think to use lightning against lightning is left an annoying mystery as he ascends.

    When he does finally reach the top he almost falls off his horse as the beast is anxious to get off the harrowing path of the cliffside. He sees Sir Caelia stand on the edge of the cliff, a little too close for Mordred's comfort, where she's blasting the lightning. He hops off his mount and jogs over to her.


    Prince Mordred: "What do you think you're doing? You're making it worse! Bigger even!"

    Sir Caelia nods energetically.

    Sir Caelia: "That's the idea!"

    Mordred groans with frustration. She might actually just be insane, it is entirely possible. He never really understood any Aes Sidhe but the Faeries, Fairies and Pixies were always the worst of them in his experience. Mostly because they are all missing a few marbles. She could also be damned stupid, just like Lancelot, Kay and Galahad.

    Having considered all of that, however, he's sure that Sir Caelia, at least, isn't daft and through her weirdness she has a mind as strong as even Queen Guinevere, perchance. So he decided that this obtuse mode of thinking is likely going to be the result of some intelligent plan. Either that or he should boot her off that cliff she's standing over. Decisions, decisions.


    Sir Tristram appears on the cliff, meaning any surreptitious attempt to assassinate the wayward faerie is now off the table. Hopefully she isn't crazy after all.

    Sir Tristram:
    "Why are you adding to that monstrous storm, Sir Caelia?"

    Prince Mordred raises an eyebrow. Maybe Sir Tristram will murder Sir Caelia instead...


    Sir Caelia: "Don't distract me while I'm busy."

    Sir Tristram glances at Mordred, as though asking for his silent affirmation that it is okay to kill the faerie. But, instead, he just shakes his head, evidently coming to the same conclusion that Mordred had done.


    Prince Mordred: "I just hope whatever your plan is works, Sir Caelia."

    Sir Caelia: "Stop. Distracting. Me."

    Eventually they're all up on top of the cliff and the tornado is almost upon them. King Arthur gets up last and sitting with his is none other than Gamma Pans. Mordred frowns.

    Prince Mordred: "If Pans is here, then who--?"

    King Arthur: "It's the other one. O-uh... Omlette Went."

    Gamma Pans:
    "Omega Wier."

    King Arthur:
    "Yeah, that guy. He duped us into chasing down Gamma Pans for the amulet."

    Sir Lancelot: "The traitor! ONLY THE DEEPEST DEPTHS OF HE--"

    Sir Caelia: "Shaddap!"

    Lancelot pouts but remains quiet.

    The tornado has reached a fevered pitch and Mordred must shield his eyes from the extraordinary light. He can feel static electricity all around him, the hair on his head spiking up. A sharp sting stabs his lip as a rogue spark erupts. A few yelps and groans from the others tells Mordred he isn't the only one being accosted by the static.

    Just as it seems that the tornado will rise up and spill over the cliff it seems to falter. The entire thing flickers in and out of existence as it struggles to 'be'. Mordred assumes this is all thanks to Sir Caelia's mad plan. He notices even her own arcing lightning is flickering.


    He looks to the others but they all seem just as puzzled.

    Then, with a final surge towards them, the lightning tornado vanishes and Mordred can breathe freely.


    Sir Kay: "Did anyone else soil themselves?"

    King Arthur: "What happened?"

    Arthur looks down over the cliff.

    Sir Caelia pants.


    Sir Caelia: "We used up all of the aether in the area. This planet isn't like Earth, there's not much aether here. It'll be a long, long time before enough aether seeps into this land."

    While everyone else nods with understanding, Arthur winces with stressful contemplation.

    Sir Caelia: "By the way, that bloke is still down there. I didn't kill him, he just can't use his amulet any more..."

    King Arthur: "Knights! After the wretch! I'll... wait here."

    Sir Kay: "You're actually going to make us go all the way back down there while you rest up here, eh?"

    Sir Lancelot: "Stop complaining and act like a knight, Sir Kay. Onwards!"

    Sir Lancelot, still full of energy despite the long trip up the cliff, charges down again.

    Sir Kay: "I hope he breaks his leg."

    Sir Tristram goes after Lancelot with a disgruntled Sir Kay also giving chase. Sir Caelia sighs.

    Sir Caelia: "Mind if I rest here, my Lord?"

    King Arthur: "I think you've earnt it. Well done."

    Gamma Pans: "I'm sorry Omega Wier was able to deceive us all easily..."

    Sir Caelia: "I'm surprised he was able to use the amulet so well."

    A sudden air of possible deception hits the group and the humans all stare at Gamma Pans. He shuffles his feet uneasily. He gives a helpless shrug.

    Gamma Pans:
    "It's been rumoured that my ancestors actually stole the amulet from his ancestors."

    King Arthur:
    "So the amulet is rightfully his?"

    Gamma Pans: "No! It's just a rumour. A long story. Someone claims something belonging to someone else a century ago, you can't still lay claim to it so long later."

    King Arthur: "I think I could conjure up a casus belli based on that..."

    Prince Mordred: "In the same vein, I reckon a few others could lay claim to Britannia, father..."

    Arthur jerks at that idea.

    King Arthur: "Uh, right. Okay. We return it to Custodian Pans. Besides, I like you more."

    Gamma Pans: "Because I speak English, perhaps?"

    King Arthur:
    "Actually, you're probably right. Still, it accounts for something, right!?"

    Gamma Pans: "I just hope our lands can recover peacefully after all of this. I think the G-Krypton City will be forever changed. And our people may never trust the Custodians again. Maybe they'll blame the amulet?"

    Arthur's eyes twinkle greedily.

    King Arthur:
    "We can't have that, can we!? Perhaps... perhaps we should take it off your hands?"

    Pans falls silent while Arthur waits on pins and needles. Mordred just rolls his eyes at his father's behaviour. Sir Caelia, however, seems almost as eager as Arthur himself.

    Sir Caelia: "Perhaps the amulet would be safer in the hands of myself or Morganna le Fay? We have immense experience and knowledge of magic, Custodian. We may even discover its origins..."

    Gamma Pans: "That would be something... but... I can't bear to part with it. It's an heirloom of my family - stolen a century ago or not..."

    Arthur appears deflated. Mordred groans inwardly at his own coming words. Why he would help his father try to lay claim to something so precious he doesn't know, but he can't help but try to help his father get what he wants.

    Prince Mordred:
    "You could come with us, Gamma."

    The X-Krypton is shocked by that idea. Even Arthur looks perturbed.

    Mordred just shrugs.


    Prince Mordred: "Why not? We have Andy the rock-guy with us and that naked Jupiter woman seems like she'll be riding with us a while. An X-Krypton aboard shouldn't be such a surprise. Besides, Gamma, you said yourself, people might blame you and amulet and distrust the Custodians... seems you've no place here..."



    In the Conference Room of Camelot, a room that is essentially a place filled with chairs, is where they put the round table. It sits in the centre of the room, before the unusual circlular, gold pad on the ground where a bunch of screens are on the wall. Admiral Ltexi explains that on her ship they had to install a lot of computers in this room so that they could better use the functions of the room. It's meant to be a backup bridge in case the primary bridge falls. Arthur just thinks it's a great place for a table.

    He sits down. The table is huge and is actually a doughtnut shape, inspired by the baked goods of Doughnutdelf beneath Stonehenge. The architect of the table had been something of a doughtnut-connoisseur, whicch suited Arthur because he was rather fond of them too. Especially when they had blueberry jam in them.

    King Arthur: "We really need to find a room where we can bake doughnuts!"

    His fifty knights around the huge table fall silent.


    King Arthur: "Uh... not that it's important. Just... came to me."

    Sir Kay: "Thinking of doughnuts in the middle of an important meeting, brother?"

    Queen Guinevere: "Actually, I think it's an excellent idea. We could use something to remind us of our homeland. I'll have someone find a suitable location. I'm certain someone must know of the doughnut recipees of the druids."

    Sir Bedivere: "As nice as doughnuts would be, especially the hollowed ones with a sprinkle of sugar on them... can someone explain why we have the traitor aboard?"

    He points to Gamma Pans. He's standing apart from the table because he isn't a knight. Only one extra chair sits at the table, making a total of fifty-one, and that chair is for the queen. Everyone else at the Round Table Council must stand out of the way. They're allows to listen but not take part, unlike the personal meetings that Arthur often holds with his friends and family. This means that even the young prince is confined to standing in the shadows, along with Gamma Pans. When the X-Krypton thinks he is being addressed by Sir Bedivere he opens his mouth to explain but Mordred quiets him and allows Arthur to explain instead.

    After the king explains the events that took part in the abandonned Krypton city the knights quietly muse over the situation until the queen speaks up.

    Queen Guinevere: "I think we have learnt a great deal from Saturn. It may be difficult to conquer alien beings and force them to adapt to our cultural norms. Therefore we should first, instead, focus on our original charge..."

    King Arthur: "Colonisation! We need to find a suitable world to populate!"

    Sir Bedivere: "I doubt we could find a second Earth within the confines of our solar system, sire."

    Sir Galahad: "So we'll just leave the solar system? There are several more planets we still haven't explored!"

    Commonly addressed as Tom a'Lincoln, when in his formal role he's better known as the Red Rose Knight. His armour is bronze coloured and worn beneath his stark white tabard on which is a stylised red rose.

    Sir Red Rose Knight: "The computers say that the next planets are Uranus and Neptune. They're twin worlds. They're coloured blue."

    Sir Kay snorts.

    Sir Kay: "Because the colour of the planets is going to sway us..."

    King Arthur: "I do like the colour blue..."

    Sir Bedivere: "Me too."

    Sir Lancelot: "Blue is a powerful and majestic colour."

    Sir Caelia: "Blue is very pretty."

    Sir Kay: "Damn..."

    Sir Red Rose Knight: "So I should set a course for Uranus?"

    Arthur nods.

    King Arthur: "I believe we should see all our home system has to offer before departing. But this is a Round Table Council. That means the vote is down to everyone here and not I alone."

    A series of agreements quickly spreads around the table with only a few people disgruntled at the idea of spending more time in the solar system.

    King Arthur:
    "Seems a consensus is met. We'll head to Uranus. As we've mentioned, Custodian Pans will join us. I believe Admiral Ltexi of Jupiter will also join us so long as we are in the solar system. When we do decide to leave, she said she'll return to her people."

    Sir Bedivere:
    "That's for the best. I don't trust her snooping around."

    Queen Guinevere: "We have Merlin watching her, Sir Bedivere."

    Sir Caelia: "Not that you can trust Merlin to tie her own shoelaces."

    Arthur frowns.

    King Arthur: "She doesn't have shoelaces!"

    Caelia, rather than appear annoyed at the king's stupidity, seems rather entertained.

    Sir Caelia:
    "Because she can't tie them!"

    Arthur's face sparkles with enlightenment.

    King Arthur: "Ah! I see!"

    Queen Guinevere: "I'm sure Merlin can tie shoelaces, my dear, Sir Caelia is just being mean."

    She pauses.

    Queen Guinevere: "Probably."

    Sir Lancelot: "While Merlin is babysitting our resident spy, it means she can't investigate the amulet we brought on board."

    He glances at Gamma Pans. Despite being at the centre of all of this, Pans feels like he has little to no control over his immediate destiny.

    Sir Tristram: "Lady Morganna is already looking into it."

    Sir Caelia: "And I'll help her."

    Sir Red Rose Knight:
    "But wouldn't Merlin's more academic approach to magic help with such an investigation? You know how she loves researching things."

    Sir Caelia wafts her hand towards her husband.

    Sir Caelia: "We'll manage without her, I don't doubt."

    Sir Kay: "Just don't blow anything up this time."

    There's a fretful murmur around the table.

    Sir Caelia: "I'll be careful!! I would let it blow up too much."

    Sir Kay: "Too much?"

    Sir Caelia: "What's magic without the occasional explosion?"

    Queen Guinevere: "We should remember, regardless, that the amulet belongs to Gamma Pans. It is only with his authorisation that any research be done at all."

    Sir Caelia: "But--!"

    King Arthur: "I think Guinevere is right."

    He glances around.

    King Arthur: "Doesn't anyone disagree with the queen?"

    The knights are brought into line by Guinevere's serene smile and infallible moral superiority. Caelia sulks.

    King Arthur: "Well then! We should move on to other important matters! Toilets! You need to start using them! Stop tossing buckets of poop into the corridors!!"

    Sir Lancelot: "You want us to use those weird, watery holes!?"

    Sir Kay: "I dropped a bar of soap into one and it was sucked away. Never to return. What happens if we fall in!"

    Sir Bedivere: "I assure you, you won't fall in. Many of us have been using these... loos."

    Queen Guinevere: "This might take some time..."
    Last edited by TheBritt; 10-03-2016 at 11:58 AM.

  36. #76
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Posts
    1,326

    Space Camelot: Onwards to Uranus

    As Space Camelot nears the next planet, Uranus, Merlin and Sir Bedivere watch carefully through the viewports.

    Sir Bedivere: How peculiar! There are all manner of contraptions floating over the planet.

    Merlin: They seem to be manmade. And look! Great tubes connecting them down to the surface. I wonder why.

    Sir Bediverse: Perhaps stairs to ascend and descend to and from the surface? Though that would be quite a climb.

    Admiral Ltexi: Those are orbital mining stations. Those 'tubes' are pipes that funnel up the ambient aether of Uranus--

    Sir Kay snorts. Admiral Ltexi continues without missing a beat, unperturbed.

    Admiral Ltexi: --to be processed and shipped to customers who desire magical fuel.

    Merlin: Is there no magic beyond the solar system?

    She looks horrified at the thought.

    Morganna: Don't be daft, Baldy. Magic is everywhere. But the aether may be...thinner...beyond Earth.

    Sir Caelia: Not on Uranus. The aether here is nearly as pure and plentiful as Earth's. There's a nexus down there somewhere, generating it.

    She wrinkles her nose, as if sniffing something.

    Sir Caelia: It's still different from Earth's aether...but I can't quite put my finger on it.

    Shortly, the knights are in their space boat, alighting on a landing pad.

    King Arthur: A new world! Full of glories and wealth!

    Sir Galahad: And honor!

    Sir Lancelot: And wenches!

    Sir Bedivere: If the wenches are anything like Saturn's, you may not be so eager.

    Sir Mordred: At least it can't smell worse than Saturn.

    The space boat's door opens, and the warm breeze blows into their faces.

    Sir Mordred: ...I was wrong!

    Sir Caelia: Oh, THAT'S what's different about the aether here!

    So saying, the woman steps sprightly off the space boat, and reluctantly, the knights follow, despite their gagging. The air of Uranus smells like farts!

    Determined not to be outdone by anyone, King Arthur quickly takes the lead, marching down the street.


    Morganna: Brother dear. Their castle is the other way.

    Without missing a beat, Arthur does an about-face and marches towards the largest building of the city. Like the other structures here, it is taller than it is wide, and sways slightly in the fart-scented breezes. Blue vines and moss crawl over the exterior surfaces.

    Arthur marches through the door.


    King Arthur: The king has arrived!

    The being sitting behind the desk in front of him, looks up at him. A name badge is affixed to his lapel, and it reads 'Nerifian'.

    Nerifian: He has?! I didn't even know he left!

    From behind Arthur, Sir Bedivere calls out.

    Sir Bedivere: That is, the visiting king of another realm has arrived.

    Nerifian: Ah! Dignitaries! Greetings, your majesty.

    Arthur is too flummoxed to respond for a moment, and finally recovers speech.

    King Arthur: You're...an ASS!

    Nerifian, who is standing up behind the desk, is taken aback.

    Nerifian: I BEG your pardon?!

    Merlin: Please forgive us, sir. The king is merely expressing his delight at seeing a new race for the first time, one with a donkey's head.

    For indeed Nerifian, though human (or at least humanoid) from the neck down, has the head of an ass. He neighs irritably.

    Nerifian: I see. I suppose we fayries aren't as widespread as we would like to be.

    King Arthur: Fairies with asses' heads?!

    Sir Caelia: Fayries, sire. Not fairies or faeries.

    [i]The look of confusion on Arthur's face does not clear.

    Sir Caelia: Different spellings.

    King Arthur: Ah!

    Admiral Ltexi saunters in. Nerifian brightens to see her.

    Nerifian: Ah! My Lady Admiral! So good to see you. You must forgive me, I'm greeting these royal dignitaries.

    Admiral Ltexi: They're with me.

    King Arthur: We are not. She's with us!

    Ltexi and Nerifian both ignore him.

    Nerifian: Ah! That's alright then. Did you not school them on the fayries before bringing them here?

    King Arthur: We brought HER here.

    Admiral Ltexi: And miss the opportunity to see their faces? I should think not!

    Nerifian: Odd, though. I thought all Jovians knew of the fayries. We are virtually next door neighbours after all.

    Admiral Ltexi: They're not Jovians! How can you possibly confuse us?

    Nerifian: You all look the same to me.

    Admiral Ltexi: I should say not! We Jovians are prime specimens of beauty and handsomeness! Not like these human peasants!

    Nerifian: Well, you all have those funny little heads, and tiny buttocks...

    It's true. Nerifian - and presumably the other ass-headed fayries - have incredibly substantial asses. It's a rapper's wet dream.

    Nerifian: Wait, did you say humans? Have you been to Earth? Your race is just about the only one that can visit our sister planet without some sort of uncanny misfortune.

    King Arthur: We're FROM Earth.

    Nerifian: I see! I've always wished to visit it. So rich in magic, I hear!

    Sir Caelia: Your own world is rich in magic. Albeit, not as rich, nor as, shall I say, clean.

    Nerifian scrunches his brow.

    Nerifian: Have the street-cleaners gone on strike AGAIN?

    Merlin: So you fayries are the equivalent of fairies and faerie on Earth? Beings that thrive off magic?

    Nerifian: Quite so. Tis why we sell aether in large quantities throughout the galaxies. Creates a tidy profit AND spreads concentrations of aether to other planets, enabling us to visit or even settle them.

    Sir Mordred: Does the stink go along with your shipments?

    Nerifian looks blankly at Sir Mordred.

    Sir Mordred: Nevermind.

    Sir Bediverse: Why is there such a strong concentration of magic here though? Saturn was weaker, and according to the admiral's anecdotes--

    Admiral Ltexi: They were facts, not 'anecdotes'.

    Sir Bedivere: Magic is generally weaker beyond Earth.

    Nerifian: Legend says that, billions of years ago, the god over all magic brooded here, having lost his prized planet Earth in a failed wager. Here he looked longingly at Earth and dreamed up ways to get it back, and finally tried to replicate its nexes here.

    Morganna: He seems to have had some success.

    Sir Caelia: Some. But I can only sense one great nexus.

    Nerifian: Most worlds do not have a great nexus at all! Now we have dithered too long. I must introduce you, as visiting royalty, to the Fayrie King - ruler by divine right, descended directly from the HorseGod!

    Sir Mordred snorts.

  37. #77
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: Space Zebra

    Space Camelot: Space Zebra
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Prince Mordred | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Sir Kay | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Galahad | Sir Tristram | Sir Caelia | Sir Red Rose Knight | Sir Black Knight | Sir Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Nerifian | Fayrie King | Monde

    Arthur and the knights stare at Fayrie King, their brains puzzling over the sight of the black-and white striped horse-head.

    Fayrie King: "What's wrong with you people?"

    Prince Mordred: "What... kind of horse are you supposed to be?"

    The Fayrie King looks a little irked. Or as irked as Mordred could tell from his equine features.


    Fayrie King: "I'm a zebra-head."

    The humans look dumbfounded.

    Sir Bedivere: "A... zee-bat?"

    King Arthur: "What kind of weird pronunciation is that, Sir Bedivere? It was clearly zeb. Zeb-rat!"

    Fayrie King: "I don't appreciate American to British pronunciation jokes, you know?"

    King Arthur:
    "What's an American?"

    The king flinches and then blinks in wonder when he realises he has no idea what an 'American' is, it just seemed like the right thing to say at the time.


    Sir Bedivere:
    "Likely some form of magic, Sire."

    Prince Mordred:
    "Considering this place, it's probably a word for bad smell."

    As if on cue a tremendous lurch in stench arises to offend their nostrils.

    Sir Caelia: "Is someone brewing up a particularly nasty spell here!?"

    Tears stain her cheeks as she gasps for breath. The Fayrie King himself is now wincing.

    Fayrie King: "I can--"

    He gasps.

    Fayrie: "Assume you that is not one of us!"

    Sir Kay: "I am a ninja... silent and extremely deadly!"

    Sir Lancelot: "I hate ninjas!"

    King Arthur: "Brother... are you trying to assassinate me!?"

    Sir Lancelot: "I shall defend you from the ass!"

    Nerifian: "Me!? What did I do!"

    King Arthur: "An ass-assass-in?"

    Nerifian: "Can you please stop saying ass? I prefer to be called donkey."

    Prince Mordred:
    "Does this mean Sir Kay is an American?"

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Or he just did an American..."

    Sir Caelia: "Can we stop talking about Americans? It's revolting."

    She whirls a finger towards Sir Kay.


    Sir Caelia: "And don't drop any Americans on us. I couldn't tolerate another."

    Sir Kay holds his hands up in surrender.

    Sir Kay: "I shall keep my Americans to myself for now!"

    King Arthur: "That wasn't a good start to our meeting, was it?"

    Prince Mordred glances at his father, instantly wishing Queen Guinevere was here. Leaving Sir Kay and his Americans in charge would probably result in better relations with the Zeb-arr faced king than any word from Arthur's mouth.

    Fayrie King: "Well, I suppose it was something of an ice-breaker."

    King Arthur raises an eyebrow.

    King Arthur: "I suppose one of Kay's Americans could break ice, sure. Not that there's any here."

    Sir Caelia:
    "Please! Enough with the Americans!"

    Mordred decides to interject and, hopefully, steer the conversation in a more riveting direction - lest Sir Caelia starts churning up the aether around them and performing some real Americans within everyone's brains. Mordred doesn't fancy becoming a drooling vegetable.

    He glances at his father.

    Maybe a drooling vegetable is what it means to be "British".


    Prince Mordred: "So, ah, your majesty--"

    King Arthur: "Yes?"

    Prince Mordred: "Not you, father."

    Fayrie King: "Yes, young prince?"

    Prince Mordred: "Are you the ass king?"

    Several knights snicker.

    Prince Mordred: "I mean are you the king of the asses?"

    More fervent snickering.

    Fayrie King: "Of the ass-headed people, yes."

    Even Sir Bedivere snorts at that.

    Fayrie King: "And pretty much any equestrian-headed individual. We have lived on this planet for-- ah, a long time. We have, however, reached our twilight age."

    His sombre tone sobers up the knights and several of them have the decency to look guilty for chuckling childishly.

    Nerifan: "The king is referring to our state of impotence."

    Unfortunately the knights start laughing again at that. Mordred scowls at them since he considered that to just be bullying.

    Sir Caelia:
    "You mean-- all of you?"

    Nerifan nods slowly while the king continues to look glum.

    Nerifan: "We have a lifespan of a thousand years, on average, plenty of time for making babies, we thought."

    King Arthur: "I'd say! I'd probably have at least seven-hundred babies in that amount of time!"

    Prince Mordred: "While Sire Lancelot would have had two-thousand. Two-thousand bastards anyway."

    Sir Galahad: "Oi! I'm not a *******!"

    Prince Mordred:
    "I'd rather be a ******* of Lancelot than his acknowledge heir. That way I could pretend he isn't my father."

    Sir Lancelot: "That attitude is going to find you few friends, princeling."

    Prince Mordred:
    "Or at least find me friends that haven't got a few hundred STDs."

    There's a pause.

    Sir Lancelot: "And what is an STD?"

    Everyone slowly shuffles away from Sir Lancelot uncomfortably.

    King Arthur: "I think you were going to explain why you are all impotent, Nerifan."

    Nerifan: "It's the aether industry. What made us prosperous has also doomed us. Through a few generations our numbers dwindled and nobody cared to ask. We are a fairly sedentary people. Unhurried as a general rule..."

    Sir Tristram: "Weird for horse-people."

    Nerifan: "I'm a donkey-head. When was the last time you saw donkeys galloping about?"

    Sir Tristram: "I... suppose..."

    Nerifan: "It's just how we've evolved. When you live a longer life, you generally become slower paced. Why hurry, you have a thousand years to go!"

    Fayrie King: "Ah, it is not just that. We have also grown lazy! Our entire generation had come to rely on the constructs built by our fathers and forefathers. We stopped asking questions and just used what was available to us. Our primary computer, named Monde, essentially runs and, dare I say, governs the planet. I actually have to do very little."

    King Arthur: "I can't decide whether that sounds great or dreadful. Being king and not have to do anything! But... kind of makes you seem pretty powerless..."

    Fayrie King shrugs.

    Fayrie King:
    "You wouldn't be wrong, human king. There's just nothing for me to do. No orders to give, no schemes to plot. Monde takes care of all our needs and most of our needs are maintained by our constructs."

    Morganna le Fay rolls her eyes is boredom.

    Morganna: "Look. As riveting as this story surely is not, it serves us nothing. These fayries have grown to rely too much on their constructs and now they've stopped trying to understand or innovate. So now they're paying the price for their complacency. Great. Time for us to leave this stinking planet."

    King Arthur: "I thought you'd enjoy the opportunity to investigate the magic here?"

    Morganna: "There's nothing to be gained from artificial processes."

    Sir Caelia now rolls her eyes.

    Sir Caelia: "You're so behind the times, Morganna."

    Merlin: "I think it'd be fascinating to check out the constructs! If we could replicate even a fraction of their technology, think of the wonders we could achieve with harnessing aether!"

    Sir Caelia: "See?"

    Morganna: "Magic is an art, it's nature. It's not for disecting and bashing with rocks. You've always been so keen on debasing everything that magical arts stand for, Merlin."

    Merlin: "I do not! Magic is a science! If understood properly, we could achieve great deeds! Improve lives--!"

    Morganna: "I'm leaving."

    She turns and stalks out of the room. Mordred watches after her worriedly. She's a strong woman but she takes her magic seriously and never liked the way Merlin treated it as 'process' instead of the overflow of sensations as Morganna does. Merlin seems to appear a little guilty but Sir Caelia nudges her shoulder in enthusiasm.

    Sir Caelia: "You showed that old fuddy-duddy."

    Merlin: "I thought you'd be more... like her if I'm honest, Caelia. With you being a faerie and all."

    The short woman shrugs.

    Sir Caelia: "I am by nature. I am magic. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate moving with the times! Besides, how much harm could it do?"

    They both turn to look at Nerifan and the Fayrie King and remembered that they'd turned themselves impotent through magical technology.

    Sir Caelia: "We just have to remember to be careful, right?"

    Sir Lancelot: "What can we do to save your people, Fayrie King?"

    The zebra-head grins a horse-toothed grin. Or zebra-toothed as the case may be.

    Fayrie King: "I admire your spirit, good knight! Alas, what has been done cannot be undone. My generation will be the last of our kind. Another few hundred years and we'll have died out. All except our noble god."

    Lancelot winces.


    Sir Lancelot:
    "Perhaps it is faith in this heathen god that has led to your peoples' fate?"

    There's a sudden tense silence.

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Maaaaaaaybe we shouldn't be so quick to try and convert everyone we come across, dear Sir Lancelot?"

    Sir Lancelot: "Well, it's true! God may yet save them if they turn away from--"

    Seeing the rage building up in the supposed descendent of the horse-god, Prince Mordred hops forward as energetically as he can muster. He slaps his hands together to draw attention away from the buffoon.

    Prince Mordred: "Why don't you show us some of these constructs, your majesty!? I'm sure Merlin would love to study your, uh, processors?"

    Sir Bedivere: "And I would very much like to see this Monde machine that governs your lives."

    The Fayrie King rises from his seat. He suddenly looks much older as he hunches over and steps down slowly from his podium.

    Fayrie King: "Very well! Nerifan can show you the processors, I shall introduce you to Monde as only a few have access to its mainframe."

    Nerifan sweeps his arm and most of the crew follow after him, Merlin especially scuttling off happily. The Fayrie King begins his slow hobble and before he had taken more then ten steps, some of his followers grew too impatient and doubled back to go and follow Nerifan instead. Only Arthur, Mordred, Bedivere and The Black Knight remain to stroll after him. Mordred doesn't mind much, giving him the opportunity to look over the place without the incessant prattling of the idiot knights.

    Upon the walls are mounted heads. Initially Mordred thought that they must be sculpted, but when he got close to one he chose to poke it. It is soft. He reels back.


    Prince Mordred:
    "A-A-Are they real heads!?"

    The Fayrie King glances back with a smile.

    Fayrie King: "Of course! What did you expect!?"

    Even Arthur, who likes to show off, can't approve of this particular showing off.

    King Arthur: "Mounting the heads of your enemies like trophies?"

    Fayrie King: "Nay!"

    The humans glance at each other.

    King Arthur: "Did you just neigh or did you say nay?"

    The alien king glowers at them.

    Fayrie King: "What kind of zebras neigh?"

    Sir Bedivere: "We don't know what a zee-bat is, your majesty."

    King Arthur: "Zeb-rat, Sir Bedivere."

    Fayrie King just shakes his head and resumes his slow trek.

    Fayrie King:
    "They are the heads of my kinsmen. They are mounted here in their honour, so we might gaze upon them and remember. Do you not do the same to your loved ones?"

    The humans shake their heads in mutual horror.

    Fayrie King: "Such barbarians... Sorry. I didn't mean to say that aloud..."

    As he walks he points to a brown headed equine upon the wall.

    Fayrie King: "This is my brother. A good and honourable fayrie if ever the was one."

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Shouldn't he be black-and-white like yourself?"

    Fayrie King: "We had different mothers. I am zebra, while he is a zony."

    Sir Bedivere is furiously scribbly that word down in a little books he's whipped from his tabard.

    Prince Mordred:
    "A what?"

    Fayrie King: "Oh. You might think of him as a cross between a zebra and a pony."

    King Arthur: "A pony!?"

    Sir Bedivere: "This is all very fascinating. It's a wonder how two different... what shall I call them... sub-species? They can breed and create and entirely new kind of creature! Quite unusual."

    King Arthur: "Pretty sure there's something unnatural about all this. I doubt God would be very impressed."

    Fayrie King: "Your knight said something similar. What is this god's name?"

    King Arthur: "Just God."

    Fayrie King: "That seems very arrogant of him."

    King Arthur: "Because he's the one true God."

    Fayrie King: "Then he's also very selfish. My ancestral god is always happy to acknowledge other gods! There's many of them out there, you know?"

    King Arthur: "Pretenders, I'm sure."

    Prince Mordred: "I'm beginning to wonder..."

    Sir Bedivere: "Perhaps these other gods are simply manifestations of God in other guises? And these aliens, simple as they are, attributed their own narrative upon Him?"

    Fayrie King: "Did you just capitalise your 'H'?"

    Sir Bedivere: "What?"

    King Arthur: "He did."

    Sir Bedievere: "I did? Speaking?"

    Fayrie King: "Arrogant indeed..."

    They pass through a tunnel that is actually a series of arches joined together and emerge upon a narrow spiral staircase leading downwards. Their progression becomes even slower as the king takes each and every step one at a time.


    Black Knight:
    "I should have gone with the others... kill me now..."

    Prince Mordred: "Why did you come this way?"

    Black Knight: "To protect you!"

    She hesitates.

    Black Knight: "And the king, of course."

    Prince Mordred: "You think we'll need protecting from a zem-ban that can barely gets down a flight of stairs?"

    Sir Bedivere: "Zee-bat, my prince."

    King Arthur: "Tsk! Zeb-rat!"

    Black Knight: "I wish we had brought our space helmets with us. It would keep out these toxic fumes."

    Sir Bedivere: "They're not toxic, Sir Black Knight."

    Black Knight: "My nose doesn't agree with you."

    Sir Bedivere: "It's probably good for the humours."

    Fayrie King: "Humours? I'm not sure a bad smell would be especially uplifting, if you ask me. Luckily I can't smell whatever you're talking about."

    Sir Bedivere: "I don't mean humour as in comedy. I'm speaking about health."

    Fayrie King glances back with a stupified look on his face -- which looks extra-stupified because his face is a zebra's.

    Sir Bedivere: "There are four humours, your majesty, which dictate health. Blood, black bile, yellow bile and phelgm. Keeping these under control will determine a healthy life. All diseases are caused by an imbalance of these humours."

    Fayrie King: "My, my. Such interesting ideas you humans have."

    Sir Bedivere: "I am certain the processing of aether has likely caused your blood to thin and your phelgm to increase. I certainly feel my phelgm thickening the longer I'm here."

    Black Knight:
    "I thought you said it'd be good for my humours?"

    Sir Bedivere: "Sometimes we must be cruel to be kind."

    Fayrie King: "Is that Shakespeare?"

    Sir Bedivere:
    "No, I am Sir Bedivere. Is Sir Shakespeare one of your own knights, your majesty?"

    Fayrie King: "No. Actually I have no idea who Shakespeare is. Your line just sounds very much like it was said by Shakespeare. Whoever he is."

    Sir Bedivere: "Well... either way, sometimes we must imbalance our humours in order to keep them working normally. If we avoid all imbalance always, then they'll be terrible at rectifying themselves when we are truly sick!"

    Black Knight: "I do wonder how you can be so smart, Sir Bedivere!"

    Fayrie King: "I wonder, indeed..."

    Mordred feels the king is restraining some comment and decides the zebra-headed man must be wise, indeed, to hold back. Perhaps he doesn't wish to be punted down the stairs. Wise indeed.

    They reach the bottom and find a solid wall of blue in front of them. Mordred might have thought this a deadend if he didn't think the king is smarter than that.

    King Arthur: "A deadend? Maybe you forgot which way to go?"

    Mordred rolls his eyes.

    The Fayrie King reaches out and, with the wave of his hand, the magical barrier becomes translucent. He then hobbles through it and the humans, with a little tredpidation, do likewise. Mordred looks back at the barrier as it forms up behind them. It isn't such a dissimilar barrier to those he had seen the Aes Sidhe cast on Earth, but they're usually not such a full colour. He supposes the king doesn't want people to come peeking into the room.

    Right now it's in complete darkness save for an eerie green glow of two large spheres in the centre of the room.

    Monde: "Greetings, non-fayrie organics."

    The king, from the shadows, speaks;


    Fayrie King: "This is Monde. A hivemind of The Imperium."

  38. #78
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: Dream Space Pt I

    Space Camelot: Dream Space Pt I
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Prince Mordred | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Sir Kay | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Galahad | Sir Tristram | Sir Caelia | Sir Red Rose Knight | Sir Black Knight | Sir Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Nerifian | Fayrie King | Monde

    The gigantic processors are bigger than any building the humans have seen (then again they've never seen the Empire State Building) or even dreamt of. Each processor has a wide flat top that is then surrounded by four, fat funnels that reach up high into the atmosphere to soak in the aether up there. Upon one of the processors appears to be a wild and vibrant garden.

    Quite unlike anything else on Uranus, the garden appears much like a garden of Eden conceived by the mind of a human, not a Uranus-bound fayrie. Tall trees blooming with assorted flowers of pink and blue, seeming to glow their hue with a magical aura, and shrubbery that would make even the Knights of Ni happy. A small path runs through the mini-woodland, but it's little more than well-trodden soil that has been walked by the woodland's inhabitants.

    Or rather it was all of this. Now it is nothing but a sample of what once was. A remnant of Avalon, saved by Morganna le Fay. Her island home, created from her very being and, now, lost forever. For her brother's mad quest. She had believed, in some small way, it would be worth it. But, standing in her magical projection she can't help but question the decision to aid him in his ambition. She isn't blinded by her love. She's well aware of his short-comings, but she is also well-aware that she can't help but love the man. Even when unrequited. It's too late now, however. All she can do is come here and lament the loss whenever she is alone.

    Lament... and plot.

    Sir Caelia: "So this is what you do every time you go skulking away..."

    Morganna's attention snaps to the sudden arrival of the faerie woman. Her shock subsides quickly and she just sighs as she nods, conceding the point.

    Sir Caelia walks upon the soft soil so lightly that she leaves no trace upon the earth. She winds through the trees like a mystical spirit, her white and white visage contrasting so clearly with the green and brown of the wood.


    Sir Caelia: "I miss this place too."

    A large-leafed plant shudders and moves one of its broad, green leaves for Morganna to sit upon. She crosses her legs at the knee and leans upon the apparently very sturdy foliage. She tilts her neck with mild curiosity.

    Morganna: "Funny. Being a faerie, I thought you'd hate my garden paradise. I know fairies loved it, but a faerie?"

    Sir Caelia: "I did. But now... just seeing it again makes me nostalgic I suppose. I used to long for fields of cold, pristine snow instead of all this... chattering life around me all the time. But, you know, your island had magic in abundance. Probably one of the only places so bristling with the stuff, apart from the nexuses."

    Morganna: "Nexuses? That doesn't sound right..."

    Sir Caelia: "Nexi?"

    Morganna:
    "I don't think so..."

    Sir Caelia: "Nexae?"

    Morganna just shrugs her shoulders with a small smile.


    Morganna: "Who bloody knows, eh? Languages is stupid."

    Sir Caelia:
    "Human language, maybe!"

    Morganna:
    "Human languages? You know in France they speak French, right? Hell even the Welsh speak their own tongue-twisting language."

    Sir Caelia wafts her small, delicate hand dismissively.


    Sir Caelia:
    "Just shout your words slowly and make wild gestures with your hand and they'll understand well enough!"

    Morganna laughs.


    Morganna: "Not like your husband, are you?"

    Sir Caelia: "Opposites attract, right? Though I suppose not in your case..."

    Caelia manages to smile coyly, but it did nothing to mask the mischief sparkling in her eyes. Morganna returns with a smile of her own, one of knowing arrogance and and sly acceptance of the fact.

    Morganna:
    "Quite."

    Sir Caelia hops onto a massive mushroom, looking just like a little child with her legs crossed and draped in oversized garments. Her impish, cherub face is constantly alight.

    Sir Caelia: "You're up to something, aren't you?"

    Morganna: "When am I not? I wouldn't be Morganna le Fay if I wasn't plotting to rape, seduce or otherwise elope with my brother. Sometimes I think he enjoys the prospect."

    Sir Caelia:
    "I know his wife doesn't."

    Morganna:
    "Guinevere, Guinevere, Guinevere... such a sly fox."

    Morganna purses her lips together in contempt.

    Morganna:
    "She is not the wholesome wonder that everyone thinks she is. I can tell you that much!"

    Sir Caelia beams and wiggles her arms excitedly.

    Sir Caelia: "Oh! Oh! Gossip time!"

    Morganna feigns her inability to divulge for a few minutes, pretending to be under duress at Caelia's nagging for information, until she, seemingly, relents;


    Morganna: "Don't you think there's a certain young man that looks suspiciously akin to our saintly queen?"

    Caelia raises an eyebrow and thinks before shrugging helplessly.

    Morganna: "That sharp bridge of the nose, but delicate nostrils? The strong cheekbones? The high forehead? Milky white skin?"

    Still on the nose details, Caelia frowns.

    Sir Caelia: "No.... you can't mean..."

    Morganna: "I shall say nothing more!"

    She waves her hand dramatically.

    Sir Caelia: "No way, Morgan! Impossible! The boy... I mean his father, we all know! He would never..."

    Morganna: "Wouldn't he?"

    Sir Caelia: "I mean... no! It'd be too much of a betrayal! Aside from losing his head, his honour would... But... you know, if it's true... that would make the boy, Galahad, a legitimate heir to the kingdom..."

    Morganna suddenly perks up with cautious curiosity.

    Morganna: "What do you mean? He'd be Guinevere's son, not Arthur's!"

    Sir Caelia: "Uther Pendragon only had the caesus belli, the right, to be king of Britannia... he didn't have the means. That was Arthur. Sure he fought wars, but how did he obtain Wales and Hen Ogledd? Through marriage to Guinevere. That's how. They're partners on the throne. She's not subject to Arthur. So if she has an heir apart from Arthur, that heir is still entitled to at least half of the kingdom, I'd say."

    Morganna's draw drops and Caelia smiles a little at the expression. She gives a tiny shrug.

    Sir Caelia: "But what do I know of human politics?"

    Morganna: "But then Mordred would also--"

    Sir Caelia: "Incest child."

    Morganna glowers.

    Morganna: "You know, I never said Galahad was Guinevere's child. You just assu--"

    Sir Caelia: "I can't wait to spread this juicy gossip around the camp!"

    Morganna: "Come on! You know I was lying! I just said it because I hate Guinevere!"

    Sir Caelia: "Hmmm, maybe... but Galahad does, now that you say, bear a striking resemblance..."

    She jumps to her feet, ready to saunter off. Morganna follows suit, a little too hurriedly.

    Morganna: "Wait, wait. He is definitely not Guinevere's son. I know that for a fact, Caelia."

    Sir Caelia: "Suddenly so quick to defend the queen's honour, eh?"

    Morganna: "I know Galahad isn't Guinevere's son, because I know at the time his real mother just looked like Guinevere."

    Sir Caelia rubs her chin in exaggerated consideration.

    Sir Caelia: "Maybe. Okay, I'm going now!"

    She turns away but then stops and glances back.

    Sir Caelia: "Did you say at the time?"

    Morganna looks sheepish.

    Sir Caelia: "Ho ho ho! You do know who the boy's mother is!"



    Sir Bedivere: "So Monde will tell you when to eat and what to eat?"

    Fayrie King: "All based on your brainwave patterns, it can detect what food would most satisfy your pleasure centres. But also it is capable of maintaining healthy eating, so it will ensure that what you eat will satisfy your cravings but not at the expense of your health. Really, it manages your life much better than you ever could yourself."

    King Arthur: "But that doesn't really sound like much... fun."

    Fayrie King: "Oh! We have lots of fun! Monde can determine what exactly we'd find fun at any given moment. It constantly ensues interesting experiences are to be found."

    The humans look dubiously at each other.

    King Arthur: "So is your kingdom named The Imperium? Sounds suspiciously Roman to me."

    Fayrie King chuckles lightly.

    Fayrie King: "I doubt that I could be trusted with running something like The Imperium..."

    Bedivere, Mordred and The Black Knight all glance at their king, thinking exactly the same thing about him.

    Fayrie King:
    "My kingdom is part of The Imperium."

    His face suddenly lights up.

    Fayrie King: "If you're interested in joining The Imperium, they're always looking for new applicants! Big, small, weak or powerful - The Imperium embraces all walks of life!"

    King Arthur: "Uh... no. Thanks."

    Sir Bedivere: "So your benefactor provides you with technology?"

    Fayrie King:
    "Should it be requested for, yes. Monde is just one sample. Monde uses data collected from across... countless cultures and correlates patterns and habits of organics, allowing the device to be incredibly precise. In fact, we should have some dinner! Monde!"

    Monde: "Yes?"

    Fayrie King: "What should I have for dinner?"

    Monde: "Lemongrass soaked in vril for ten days."

    Fayrie King: "That would be perfect!"

    The humans look grim.

    Monde: "Your companions, however, aren't likely to enjoy lemongrass."

    Fayrie King: "Now that is a shame..."

    Monde: "Nor should they drink so much vril else their internal organs may well implode."

    Their grim faces transform into horrified faces.

    Fayrie King: "Oh right. Yes. I think you're right..."

    He looks to the humans.


    Fayrie King: "Liquid magic, essentially. Liquid aether perhaps. However you call it, it's perfect for beings made of magic, such as myself. But you more..."

    He taps his zebra chin as he tries to think of the right word.

    Fayrie King: "You inmagical beings may not want to be exposed to too much of the stuff."

    King Arthur: "Right. Well I don't want to... implode. So I think we'll skip dinner. I want to move onto the next world in the solar system anyway. Neptune, right?"

    Fayrie King: "You want to visit Neptune? That's one of our worlds too."

    King Arthur: "It is?"

    Fayrie King nods.


    Fayrie King: "Billions of years ago The Imperium installed what we usually call The Dream Gate. They have these gates all over the place, but here a very unique one was set up so that the amount of aether available would increase exponentially. I believe you have a similar system on your Earth?"

    King Arthur: "We do?"

    Sir Bedivere: "I suppose you must be referring to The Rift and our connection to Albion?"

    Fayrie King: "Ah! Albion! That's the place. Magical folk, we do like a good gossip, you know?"

    Prince Mordred: "So, after all that time the ather from Uranus went to Neptune?"

    Fayrie King: "That's right. Basically terraformed Neptune into a near duplicate of Uranus. Now its entire ecosystem is self-sustained. Not like your Albion, which needs to be constantly fed. Neptune doesn't consume, only produces magic."

    Sir Bedivere: "So that's why they're twin worlds..."

    King Arthur: "So there's nothing there?"

    He looks dejected.

    Fayrie King: "Just our processors. We mostly mix up batches of vril there. Nothing to see, really, unless you like manufacturies?"

    Sir Bedivere brightens, while everyone else sours. The Fayrie King looks concerned, unhappy that he's ruined his guests spirits about their trip to Neptune. He thinks for a moment and then beams.

    Fayrie King: "There is an very beautiful relic to look at, if you're into ancient and mysterious spacecraft!?"

    Arthur almost jumps for joy.

    King Arthur: "Ancient and mysterious spacecrafts are our specialty!!"

    Fayrie King: "Well then, perhaps a visit is in order after all?"



    Sir Galahad admires the skyline from the wide balcony. The entire planet of Uranus is blanketed both above and below by thick clouds. Usually aether is entirely invisible to the human eye, except when in such a high amounts that it forms into clouds - much like humidity becoming rainclouds. Aether is generally heavier than air and so it descends to the surface of the planet and hangs there as thick, blue fog. He can't see them, but the ass-head-guy said there's entire lakes and rivers of vril, liquid aether, lurking below the fog. Some of the aether, especially when impure, sits atop the atmosphere as the shroud of blue that coats the planet Uranus from sight when orbiting the world. When he and Mordred had spoken of the planet earlier, Mordred had called it a gas giant. Galahad thinks the prince may have been right about that.

    Jutting up from the foggy landscape below are tall, metallic pillars - the massive processors that churn up the aether into products for sale throughout the galaxy. They're so tall that they ascend into the upper atmosphere where they become invisible to Galhad because of the cloud cover. The main building itself is usually below said cloud layer, but the chimneys extend well beyond the roof of the manufactory. He turns back into the room where most of the rest of his party are gathered.

    There's a great orb floating above them that, as the ass-head-guy said, has something to do with powering the facility. Merlin said it was similar to the engine aboard Camelot and, since then, has been pouring over it like an overly-affectionate pet owner desperately trying to force her new pet to love her. He watches as she strokes one of the magical windows that shows her information about the device. He shakes his head disapprovingly.

    Nerifan: "And here you can see a vial of vril. Very, very potent. More so than aether."

    The ass-head-guy marches into the room with a small vial between his thick fingers. Galahad had noticed that these fayries are especially hairy. Not like animals, but certainly more hairy than the average human. The backs of Nerifan's hands are thick with dark hair. Even his fingers are pretty hairy.

    Considering Nerifan said the vril in the vial is incredibly potent, he wields the little glass container rather nonchalantly as he passes it from one hand to the other to better show Merlin. Merlin is entirely oblivious to the danger as she swipes the vial and glares into its contents before her eager eye.

    Sir Kay and Sir Lancelot, his father, are playing rock-paper-scissors. Evidently the processors became dull after little more than a cusory glance at them. Sir Tristram, as always, appears to be in deep thought. Sometimes Galahad wonders if he's actually just thinking of his dinner and simply has one of those 'deep and insightful' faces. Galahad's best friend, Sir Gawain, looks up to Tristram as a mentor, as does Prince Mordred. Galahad, though, thinks his own father makes a better knight - bound by honour, duty and chivalry, while Tristram represents skill, cunning and determination. None of these are bad deeds, but to Galahad they make a warrior of any land, not a Knight of Camelot. And certainly, Galahad thinks, Tristram's wife, Isolde of the White Hands, oughtn't be considered a Knight of the Round Table at all.

    Sir Galahad, however, thinks he should strive to be the greatest knight that he can be - both in body and in spirit.

    Nerifan: "I've just been informed that your king shall be joining you on the planet Neptune."

    The people in the room glance at eahc other, confused.

    Merlin: "How will he get there?"

    Nerifan: "He'll go through the Dream Gate, I imagine. You will have to take the long route there, I'm afraid."

    Admiral Ltexi: "Hey! I want to use the Dream Gate!"

    Merlin: "Me too!"

    Nerifan: "Sorry..."

    He glances at Merlin apologetically, then turns to Ltexi.


    Nerifan: "You're not allowed to use our technology. No offence to ours guests meant when I say this but... your people, admiral, could pose a problem to us and we'd rather you weren't privy to our secrets. At least not first-hand."

    The Jupiterian sulks and crosses her arms across her bosom. Galahad often finds himself truly amazed by this strange, alien woman. Her incredible beauty seems strangely marred, in his mind, by her peculiar, boorish behaviour. She has none of the elegance, grace and modesty of Queen Guinevere. She is not what the knights are supposed to be rescuing. Yet, despite this, he finds her oddly alluring. It could be her nakedness, her long legs bare for viewing, or there could be something attractive in a woman who isn't in need of saving. Many of the lady knights of the round table prove themselves, often, better than any man. Yet he and his father are still always saving women across the land. He isn't sure what he is supposed to appreciate in a woman but his father swears off marriage and so, for now, Galahad tries to keep thoughts of the exotic Lady Ltexi from his mind. Desperately tries to force them from his mind because often he catches himself daydreaming at the worst times and embarrassing himself.

    The gentle curve of her jaw, the way her hair shines and falls close to her ample breasts. Her thighs, soft and--

    Sir Lancelot slaps his son on the back. Galahad jolts upright with sudden alertness.


    Sir Galahad: "I wasn't doing anything!"

    Lancelot laughs.

    Sir Lancelot: "I know you're not! And that, my boy, is the greatest crime of all..."

    Sir Galahad:
    "It is? What am I supposed to be doing?"

    Sir Lancelot: "Go and talk to her."

    Sir Galahad: "What!? T-t-talk to who? I don't know what you're talking about. Honestly, father, your head is always in the gutter."

    Sir Lancelot: "No need to be ashamed, my boy. She's a fine, fine woman. Very, very, very fine indeed..."

    Galahad watches as his father now zones out. Anger bubbles in Galahad and he shakes his father's arm.

    Sir Lancelot: "What? What was I--? Oh. So yes! You should go and talk to her. Introduce yourself at least!"

    Sir Galahad: "I... don't think I should. She's not really... I don't think I'm her type."

    Lancelot shrugs.

    Sir Lancelot: "You're probably right."

    Galahad feels pretty sad about that and watches his father start to walk towards Ltexi. The older knight then stops and glances back.

    Sir Lancelot: "But how will you ever know unless you talk to her first?"

    He smirks and Galahad feels a little more confident, but still far too shy to speak with the incredibly confident and dynamic woman that is Ltexi. Lancelot nods to the woman as he passes her;

    Sir Lancelot: "Looks like you'll have to join us, milady Ltexi. Never fear. We'll keep you safe!"

    Admiral Ltexi: "I'll probably end up having to save you idiots from yourselves, I'm sure. Okay, let's go. Sticking with you lowly humans will have to suit me for now."

    She smirks with a playful and yet disdainful look on her face. Merlin just laughs.

    Merlin: "You love being with us really. It makes you feel smarter."

    Admiral Ltexi: "Are you trying to say I'm not smart?"

    Galahad suddenly feels ashamed of his cowardice. Even Merlin, the shy and awkward bald girl from Wales, feels comfortable and easy enough with the alien woman to laugh and joke and chat. Galahad curses the butterflies dancing in his stomach but he forces one foot forward. Then another. A couple of strides later and he's standing in front of her. She looks at him, perturbed by his sudden walk straight over to her and he realises he'd been anything but natural in his approach. He opens his mouth and chokes.

    Admiral Ltexi: "You alright there, boy? You haven't been inhaling any of that golden aether, have you? I've seen some of these asses doping up on that stuff, sends them loopy."

    He blinks, having no idea what she's talking about.

    Sir Galahad: "I-I'm Sir Galahad. It's... it's an honour to serve you, my Lady Ltexi."

    He suddenly finds himself on one knee as though he were addressing the king. He feels eyes on him from everyone in the room and his cheeks are instantly flushed red. He dares not look up. He just stares down... down at her beautiful, beautiful legs...

    Admiral Ltexi: "Huh. Well, it's nice to see at least one of you human men knows where his place is before a woman."

    She turns and he gets an eye full of two perfectly rounded and enticing cheeks--

    Then she's gone. He splutters and gasps for breath, having held it since he'd fallen to his knee. He hears laughing and looks up to see Sir Lancelot and Sir Kay.


    Sir Kay: "Well done, Galahad! Looks like you're in there, matey!"

    Sir Lancelot: "Can't say I'd ever thought of submitting myself to her like that, but it bloody worked! I suppose that's what happens when you have a society run by women. They go power mad!"

    Sir Kay: "Isn't that kind of what happens with men in our society?"

    Lancelot gasps.

    Sir Lancelot: "You've been listening Arthur and his equal treatment stuff too much, you know that?"

    Galahad suddenly jumps to his feet, arms in the air and a wild grin on his face.

    Sir Galahad: "I DID IT!"

    Sir Kay: "Alright, alright. Calm down. Don't let it go to your head, fella. Not like she threw herself all over you, is it?"

    But Galahad is too proud of himself to listen as he parades from the room with magic in his heart.



    Mordred looks up at the Dream Gate. It's a massive rectangular structure in the middle of a blank and empty field. They had had to trek across the field, following a simple road, coughing and spluttering through the rank aether-fog of the planet. Mordred had gagged on the smell several times, certain that Sir Kay had arrived with another of his 'silent-but-deadlies'.

    There isn't much to see in this bleak and barren field save for the construct itself. It's incredibly large, much larger than he'd expected. He had anticipated a door-sized device, or perhaps an opening the size of The Rift underneath Stonehenge. He had been to visit it once in the company of Merlin the Elder, who had wanted to test Mordred's magical potential.

    Mordred had, of course, proven himself to have some magical talent but not enough to shout about. Apparently he took after his father more than his mother in that department. He remembers being somewhat disappointed and yet, at the same time, quite relieved. The best he could ever muster was to channel magic into his sword, then a simple short sword, and produce a flaming blade. Since then, however, he had dropped all attempts at magic because it left him too fatigued to actually fight efficiently. Instead he preferred to learn from Sir Tristram. Even Sir Lancelot had plenty of combat techniques for him to learn. Of course he learnt the best lesson from Sir Bedivere - don't get into a fight in the first place and let the stronger men do it.

    Sir Bedivere is wiggling his 'improved viewing glasses' as he looks up at the gate.

    Sir Bedivere: "A most impressive structure. The material... what is it?"

    Fayrie King: "Orichalcum."

    The Fayrie King speaks with a kind of reverence as he says the words, as though the humans with him ought to understand what the Hell that's even supposed to mean. The material itself is a shinier version of bronze, as though someone had gone to town with the polishing. Yet as Mordred stares at it it almost seems mesmerising and he's certain it looks like it's moving ever so subtly, like it's brimming with energy.

    The frame itself sits atop of a squat platform, which would be as tall as any house in Britannia. The platform is mostly a gentle slope that leads up to the gate on both sides and Mordred imagines you could easily have a procession of soldiers marching through such a gate. Steps would have been difficult for an army to march down. Or perhaps a couple of those space boats could fly through...

    As they walk up the slope the open space between the frame starts to shimmer. The closer they got, the more distortion appears.


    Sir Bedivere: "How exactly does this gate work, your majesty? Are you certain we, inmagical as we are, can use it?"

    The space-zebra grins a big, zebra grin.

    Fayrie King: "Quite! This construct doesn't operate through magic! It's not of our design. In fact I have no idea what civilisation first devised of the machine, but The Imperium contains many, many diverse cultures and, so, technologies. Some are so useful that they may be used across the entire empire."

    The shimmering wall Mordred now sees seems to only affect the space between the orichalcum frame.

    Fayrie King:
    "What you see is actually a slip that will take us out of reality entirely. The frame itself is certainly created of magical material. Orichalcum is, essentially, aether solidified. But that's just for durability through the ages. The slip itself has nothing to do with magic. Probably nothing to do with science, even. Science is often about rules and workings. Many in The Imperium like to deliberately break those rules on a regular basis. Anyway. This will take us out of reality and into a place where we exist only as astral constructs."

    Sir Bedivere: "Astral constructs?"

    Fayrie King: "Psychological entities, you might say. Beings purely of the mind. The imagination."

    The humans balk.

    Prince Mordred: "You mean we literally cease to exist?"

    Fayrie King: "Only physically."

    The Black Knight: "Bloody aliens! They're all mad!"

    Sir Bedivere: "I must say, your majesty, I don't know if this sounds entirely safe."

    The fayrie king only chuckles pleasantly, as though children are telling him they're afraid of the dark and want him to leave a candle lit.

    Fayrie King:
    "It's perfectly safe. Everyone has such a strong psychological grasp of themselves that you won't disappear or anything. Your subconscious is a very, very sturdy thing."

    King Arthur: "What the Hell is a subconscious?"

    Sir Bedivere:
    "I think it would mean... not awake?"

    Fayrie King sighs.


    Fayrie King: "Such a naïve people. So much still to learn! Your conscious mind is the part of your mind that you are aware of. The subconscious mind is the much larger part of your mind that is working without your being aware of it. I do hope that you people don't go the same way we did and stop trying to educate yourselves..."

    Sir Bedivere: "A most intriguing thought. A part of our minds that we are unaware of. Perhaps that could go some way to explaining why certain actions are taken and we can't fathom why..."

    Fayrie King: "Correct. So. Would you like me to go through the Dream Gate first?"

    They all nod.

    With a broad and understanding smile, the alien king sweeps his cloak as he walks, without pause, through the shimmering air. As his body touches it, it joins the rippling air and ripples outwards towards the orichalcum frame. They stare for a moment. Then the king jumps back out of the slip, his hands on his hips.

    Fayrie King: "Come now, you have to actually follow me through!"

    Taking a deep breath The Black Knight steps forward.

    The Black Knight: "I am a low-born ******* child and a knight in your service, your majesty. I volunteer myself to go through this gate first. My death would spare your life should it not work..."

    Fayrie King: "So melodramatic. It's fiiiiiine!"

    King Arthur:
    "My brave knight. Your sacrifice here will never be forgotten. I will tell your father of your courage and honour."

    Fayrie King: "This is getting ridiculous. I assure you, you'll be fine. You'll feel like fools when you go through and find that you're not dead."

    Sir Bedivere:
    "If we cease to physically exist, doesn't that mean we are, indeed, dead?"

    Fayrie King:
    "Nooooo! Dead would also mean you can't think of yourself, right?"

    The Black Knight plucks up her courage and charges at the door with a cry. She leaps into the rippling air and Mordred watches her figure radiate outwards. A moment of panic grips him and he realises that he actually likes this woman. Had it been Lancelot, no doubt he would have charged through too - only Mordred would have been pleased to see the end of the buffoon. Instead he feels sympathy and regret. And a spark of hope as he stares at the gate.

    She jumps back through and he can't help but smile and laugh with relief.


    King Arthur: "Good Sir knight! Well done! You've made it back to us unharmed!"

    The adrenalin has her supercharged but she does appear unhurt.

    The Black Knight:
    "I can report that it's quite safe, my king. There's a very odd palace within where there are many of these gates. It's... abnormally tall. I felt dizzy just looking up."

    Sir Bedivere:
    "This sounds like something I have to see!"

    With the survival of The Black Knight, Sir Bedivere's courage seems to have resurfaced and he marches at the gate.

    Sir Bedivere: "Forward we go!"

    He hops through the gate.

    Fayrie King: "You know, you can just walk through it? All this running and jumping is astounding. It's no wonder your species lives such short lives if you go burning up so much energy all the while!"

    He then strides through after Sir Bedivere. The Black Knight bows to the king and marches through. King Arthur looks at Mordred.

    King Arthur: "Excited?"

    Prince Mordred: "I suppose. Nervous though."

    King Arthur: "Me too. But the wonders of the universe are surely worth it, aren't they?"

    Mordred suddenly feels some admiration for his father. Usually he thinks his father is simply mad and Hell-bent on doing whatever bizarre whim strikes him. But right now he sees that his father is a man that seeks out the wonders of life, the unique experiences that few could even dream of. To see the universe in ways that no others could, Mordred actually warms up to the idea and, side by side, he walks through the gate with his father.

  39. #79
    Tea-sipper, character-killer
    Posts
    798

    Arrow Space Camelot: Dream Space Pt II

    Space Camelot: Dream Space Pt II
    Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Prince Mordred | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Sir Kay | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Galahad | Sir Tristram | Sir Caelia | Sir Red Rose Knight | Sir Black Knight | Sir Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Nerifian | Fayrie King | Monde



    The space boat hovers near the roof of the processing plant for Morganna le Fay and Sir Caelia to jump on. They both levitate through the air, gliding like ghosts, into the open hatch where Sir Galahad stands waiting.

    Morganna: "Is my brother already aboard Camelot?"

    She asks no one specifically but Galahad decides to be the one to tell her.

    Sir Galahad:
    "No, my lady, he has taken another route to Neptune."

    Leaving Camelot without Arthur would seem a dangerous thing to do had the prince actually been aboard. Fortunately Mordred is with Arthur and so whatever plot Morganna might have cannot be enacted. While Galahad respects, and even admires Mordred in some ways, he does not like his mother. And he certainly doesn't trust her. She's known to constantly be causing trouble for the knights and yet she's eternally forgiven for whatever mayhem she unleashes. Trolls, goblins and ogres have all been known to come wandering through the lands to steal sheep or burn down houses. There are rarely casualties, so Galahad assumes that she's easily forgiven by most, but Galahad cannot appreciate allowing such a threat to be anywhere near the throne. She definitely shouldn't be allowed within even a mile of the queen - and yet nothing is ever done about it.

    He will have to keep an eye on Morganna at all times, he supposes, until Arthur's return.

    Merlin: "They went through a gate, or something. I suppose they'll tell us when we arrive. I was thinking we should probably start some preliminary research into that lightning amulet--"

    Morganna yawns expressively and Merlin falls for it. Her face drops in disappointment.

    Merlin: "Or maybe I'll do it by myself..."

    Sir Caelia: "No fear, young Lynne, I'll help you, remember?"

    Merlin brightens a little but looks mildly irritated.

    Merlin: "It's Merlin now, not Lynne. But thank you Sir Caelia."

    Sir Caelia waggles her finger at the bald girl.

    Sir Caelia: "If you are Merlin, then I am Lady Caelia. Or maybe Mrs a'Lincoln. What do you think of that one?"

    Merlin looks aghast.


    Merlin: "Lady Caelia would be better. I couldn't call you anything less."

    Sir Caelia: "Well, you know I'm not a noble, right? We don't have such things in Albion."

    Merlin:
    "But you are a knight, now. I must call you something akin to Sir."

    The Aes Sidhe Faerie rolls her eyes.

    Sir Caelia: "You humans and your oddities. Sometimes I wonder how I ever fell in love with one."

    Morganna: "You've never actually told me how you met your husband, by the way. I know you lived on Avalon so that you could meet him when he returned to Britannia but that's about it..."

    Sir Caelia smiles at Morganna, this smile being a very genuine smile of gratitude. In that smile Galahad realises that she sees more to Morganna than Galahad can and he wonders if he has been wrong to judge the maligned woman.

    Sir Caelia: "And, as always, I thank you for letting me stay there."

    Morganna:
    "Letting you stay wasn't a problem. Letting your husband visit..."

    Admiral Ltexi: "And why would that be a problem? Woman's got needs, you know?"

    Galahad feels the breath rush from his lungs. He couldn't believe his ears and yet his heart races with excitement. Merlin, like Galahad, turns bright red. Luckily Sir Kay and Sir Lancelot are up front with the pilots, else there'd surely be a lot more discomfort added.

    Morganna slips a hand onto her hip.


    Morganna: "I don't like the idea of having non-magical men running around my magical island. It isn't safe--"

    She pauses and a brief flash of loss sweeps across her face.

    Morganna:
    "Wasn't. Non-magical people, especially men, tend to be clumsy and stupid around magic. Let him go traipsing about and he's likely to blow up or something."

    Sir Caelia: "My husband is more world-aware than you realise, Morganna. After all his wife is entirely magical after all."

    She smiles sweetly after pointing to her own face. Often Galahad finds it hard to remember that she's older than he is.

    Morganna: "I know, I know. I agreed in the end, didn't I? Course, when he showed up with that woman and a baby, I was less than pleased!"

    Caelia's face suddenly sours and actually manages to, for the first time, look older. Her eyes burn with anger but her face remains stony and hard. As cold as the ice she's so fond of.

    Sir Caelia: "Me neither."

    Admiral Ltexi: "I think I can read between the lines on that one!"

    She manages to stand on the space boat as steadily as if she is standing on land, even when the ship begins to sway and rattle through the aether clouds towards space. The rest of them are clinging to bars and straps positioned within the ship.

    Admiral Ltexi: "If a man of mine was claimed by another woman, that woman would have lost her head."

    Morganna looks downcast, probably lamenting that the man she wants has been claimed by another woman and there's nothing she can do about it. Caelia, on the other hand, looks irritated.

    Sir Caelia: "It's not as simple as that..."

    Admiral Ltexi: "Seriously? Seems simple enough to me. The ***** is trying to edge in on what's yours!"

    Caelia actually manages to calm slightly as she sighs.

    Sir Caelia: "She was going to be killed. Sacrificed, actually, to a dragon if he didn't marry her."

    Sir Galahad: "Marry her!? But he was married to you, wasn't he!?"

    He suddenly realises, as the four women glare at him, that he's the only male present and therefore only welcome as an observer and not a participant. He silences meekly.

    Sir Caelia: "Yes he was married to me, but Prester John didn't know that."

    Sir Galahad: "Prester John!? The Christian king in Asia!? I thought he was a myth!"

    He again realises that he's opened his mouth when he oughtn't. Even Merlin looks annoyed with him.

    Sir Caelia: "Not a myth. A dragon was terrorising his kingdom and wanted a sacrifice. As they always do. And so it was to be this girl that would be sacrificed, but she begged Tom to marry her and, thus, spare her from sacrifice."

    Merlin: "Why would that spare her?"

    Morganna: "She wouldn't be a virgin, pillock."

    Merlin gasps.

    Admiral Ltexi:
    "You don't have to be married to have sex..."

    They all look at Ltexi with shock, save Morganna who seems quite pleased.

    Sir Caelia: "So... it all happens. And then home comes Tom with this... this girl! And a baby girl to boot! I--I could have killed them both. I swear I wanted to--! But obviously... what could I say? What should he have done? Let her die? Stupid, stupid world we live in."

    Merlin: "Would he have forgiven you if it was the other way around?"

    Caelia smiles into the distance as she thinks of her husband.

    Sir Caelia: "Absolutely."

    Morganna: "You seem pretty damn certain of that."

    Sir Caelia: "He may not have the honour of Lancelot, or the faith of Arthur, or the purety of, even, Galahad here... but my husband has a heart bigger than any other human I've ever known. He would forgive me... and he would have cared for that child and maybe even the man I was with, given the same circumstance."

    Merlin: "Did you...?"

    Morganna: "Of course not! And she shouldn't have had to! We sent their pair of them off to Castle Camelot."

    Galahad suddenly jolts his head up.


    Sir Galahad:
    "Wait, are we talking about The Black Knight here? The child, the child is The Black Knight?"

    Sir Caelia: "I guess she trusted someone with the name of her father. So far as I know she doesn't like to let people know about that."

    Sir Galahad: "Actually I just sort of heard through rumours. Only put the pieces together now that you're talking about it. Wow... I'm sorry that happened to you, Lady Caelia."

    Sir Caelia brightens a little.


    Sir Caelia: "Finally. Lady Caelia."

    Morganna: "But you still haven't told me how you met the fool of a man in the first place!"

    Sir Caelia: "That's not a very interesting story. He was wandering through the the ice wastes of Greenland. Said he was looking for some ancient species that lived there before humanity existed. Elves or something. Anyway. I happened to be there, enjoying the snow. I actually used to go there quite often, take a trip through The Rift and journey over to Greenland. And there he was. Dead."

    Merlin: "Dead!?"

    Sir Caelia: "Well, almost dead. Face-down in the snow. Arse up in the air. Funny thing to find when you're having your morning walk. It's strange but I could just feel how... I don't know. I couldn't feel his spirit. It was so, so warm right there in this cold and desolate place. It honestly felt like magic."

    Admiral Ltexi: "Wow. I haven't heard such love-sick, soppy rubbish since my sister met her second husband. I have no idea where you people get your ideas, seriously."

    Merlin: "I'm sorry your sister lost her first husband..."

    Ltexi stares at Merlin for a moment.

    Admiral Ltexi: "He's not dead. The three of them are living hapily together even now. Actually she went and got herself a third."

    The humans, even Morganna, now stare at her with sheer horror.





    Mordred crouches down as he tries to grab the floor. The sensation of falling upwards is a bizarre thing to experience. The ceiling of the cylindrical room is incredibly high up and, from where he is, appears to be a very blue glass. The walls themselves look to be made of the same material as the gate's frame was. While the gate had appeared massive on Uranus, here it is as small as any normal door on Earth. It even looks like a door with wood and a handle.

    Prince Mordred: "Weird..."

    Fayrie King: "So we are now in a place we call the Dream Realm. Some call it the Dream World, or Dreamland, or Dreamstate, or whatever else. But I prefer our term."

    King Arthur: "Who rules this realm?"

    Fayrie King: "Nobody."

    King Arthur:
    "So why do you call it a realm?"

    Fayrie King: "Uh... I have no idea. Why are humans called humans?"

    King Arthur: "Uh..."

    Fayrie King: "So. It's just called that because it is."

    Sir Bedivere: "To my understanding the first human was a man named Hugh, so naturally, as men of Hugh, we were hughmen. That became human after sometime."

    King Arthur: "Wasn't there first human called Adam?"

    Prince Mordred: "Someone told me the first man was called Dave."

    Sir Bedivere: "No, no. If the first man was called Adam, or Dave, then we would be adammen or davemen, wouldn't we? No. We are hughmen."


    Prince Mordred: "I... suppose there's some logic to that..."

    King Arthur: "You are truly the wisest of all men, Sir Bedivere."

    Sir Bedivere: "I simply seek truth where others dare not, your majesty."

    Fayrie King: "Then perhaps there is some tale about the origins for the naming of this place. But I know them not."

    Prince Mordred: "If nobody rules this place, then who is that?"

    At the centre of the room is a statue. It is made to the same size and shape of an average human. It is made from the orichalcum and the carving is remarkably detailed, down to the texture of the fabric on the clothes of the man depicted. He appears middle aged, long-haired and sports a serious expression of determination. Held up in his hand is an orb.

    Fayrie King: "Oh. That would be Skrai. Founder of The Imperium."

    King Arthur: "King Skrai?"

    Fayrie King: "Uh, no."

    Sir Bedivere:
    "Emperor Skrai?"

    The king shakes his head.

    Prince Mordred: "...Caliph Skrai?"

    The Black Knight: "A blasphemous title, my prince."

    Fayrie King: "He is simply Skrai."

    King Arthur: "Kind of like Caesar, right? It was the ruler's name, became the title."

    The fayrie gives Arthur a bemused look.

    King Arthur: "Right, sorry, Earth history."

    Fayrie King:
    "Anyway. This building is, yes, Imperium owned. But the building merely resides in the Dream Realm where nobody rules. The Imperium simply... occupies space here. Not that there is actual space."

    Prince Mordred: "Be careful, your majesty, you might hurt our brains."

    Fayrie King: "Sorry, sorry. Each of these doors would take you to elsewhere in The Imperium. Anywhere you'd like to go, you'll be taken there."

    King Arthur: "Just like that?"

    Fayrie King: "Just like that. We as astral forms, within an astral realm. Outside of reality. Rules of the physical world do not apply to us. We experience gravity and see the world in three-dimensions because our brains tell us that's what we should see. Each floor of this building has another set of doors. In an instant the floor beneath our feet can raise us up to the level we require."

    Prince Mordred: "And this level we are on can take us to Neptune?"

    Fayrie King: "Each floor is a universe. This is the NeSiverse. So yes."

    Prince Mordred: "That's... a lot of universes."

    Fayrie King: "Perhaps. Not every gate is in a land owned by The Imperium. The gates are built in locations required for certain functions, such as long-term campaigns. And not all lands owned by The Imperium have gates on them..."

    Prince Mordred: "This Imperium sounds awfully complicated."

    King Arthur: "Do you think I could conquer it!?"

    There's a long silence.

    Fayrie King: "And so, this door opposite should take us to the gate we desire. Next stop, Neptune. If you'll follow me?"

    He strides across the room, leaving Arthur to pout.

    Sir Bedivere: "If we are in the Dream Realm, what do you call this building? The Dream Tower?"

    The zebra chuckles with admiration.

    Fayrie King: "Now that is a fantastic name for it! Maybe I'll use that in the future! But no, we simply call it the gate hub. But yes. Dream Tower. Very fun."

    Sir Bedivere: "Yes, well, I do enjoy naming things. I have named several species of turnip."

    Fayrie King: "Oh! I do love a good turnip!"

    Sir Bedivere: "Indeed!? Then I shall have to tell you of the specially bred turnips I have made!"

    King Arthur: "Nobody wants to hear about turnips, Sir Bedivere."

    They reach the door and Mordred glances back at the Founder, Skrai.

    King Arthur: "My cheeses, on the other hand, are worth talking about..."

    The three of them vanish through the door. They don't open it, they just walk right through it.

    The Black Knight:
    "Are you alright, Mordred?"

    He glances up from Skrai to the knight. He rarely took the time to pay much attention to The Black Knight, despite the fact he liked her more than most of the knights. She's tall and strong and, without her black helmet, she has an uncanny face that appears somehow masculine yet not entirely unattractive. She has very brown skin, which he hopes isn't the origin of her knightly title, and dark eyes. Her hair, visible to him for a change, is surprisingly long - he'd always thought she'd have short hair for some reason. Being very thick, she has it parted into three - long and free at the back, but tied and tamed either side of her head with binding. He isn't sure exactly what country she's from but he guesses it cannot be too far from the homeland of Sir Tristram, across the lands of Europe and into the east. Her father, Tom a'Lincoln, is one of the most well-travelled people in all of Britannia, so he could have ventured to lands Mordred didn't even know existed.

    Prince Mordred: "What happened to 'my prince', huh?"

    The Black Knight: "The king isn't here now."

    Prince Mordred: "Oh, I see. All for show, eh? Your majesty this, your majesty that and now I'm just crummy old Mordred?"

    The Black Knight: "I considered just calling you scoundrel, but I thought I'd be nice."

    Prince Mordred:
    "Scoundrel again, is it? I didn't even say anything mean to you this time!"

    The Black Knight:
    "Just because you haven't said anything bad, doesn't make you good. Besides. I don't think you mind me calling you Mordred, do you?"

    Prince Mordred: "Actually no. No I don't mind."

    There's a strange tension in the air that pricks the hairs on the back of Mordred's neck. He looks at her, seeing much more than he ever had before. He'd always appreciated that attitude, and her wicked tongue when she wanted to use it on him. But now she has a face to match.

    Her body language, however, is different. Different than he'd seen before. There's something about it that sends a sudden bombardment of signals straight to his brain. Instead of a knight, he sees a woman.


    The Black Knight:
    "I think you kind of like it, don't you?"

    He steps towards her.

    Prince Mordred: "What if I do?"

    The Black Knight: "You're a scoundrel, Prince Mordred."

    They both rush the short distance between them and lock lips.





    Arthur is disappointed to find that, as the Fayrie King had said, Neptune looks just like Uranus. If he didn't know he is on Neptune, he would never have guessed they'd changed planets. The king leads them up the stairwell while Sir Bedivere talks on and on about his turnips. Arthur had decided to be nice to his knight because he does love his vegetables. But honestly, who wants turnips when they could have cheese?

    The fact that the Fayrie King expressed his dislike for cheese and love for turnips had nothing, whatsoever, with Arthur's decision. Of course.

    Fayrie King: "And there you can see it!"

    They had reached the top of the spiral staircase where they are able to exit the aether processor and stand upon an exterior walkway. Arthur looks down to see the same fog of aether that crawls along the surface as there is on Uranus. And up above are the same old clouds.

    However there is definitely something looming just below those clouds. He strains to see it clearly as wisps of cloud keep shrouding it.

    Sir Bedivere: "What a most peculiar object. You said this is a spacecraft, right?"

    Fayrie King: "Indeed it is."

    Sir Bedivere: "But it looks like..."

    King Arthur: "A massive snowflake?"

  40. #80

    Chaos!

    In one of countless campaigns to gain unfathomably stupid power, Highemperor embarked on arguably the craziest campaign in his career: to conquer Chaos itself. Aeons passed as he prepared to dive into the abyssal noise of madness, and aeons more passed as he pooled his infinite powers to craft and contain that which, by definition, could not be controlled. Logic for Highemperor, however, was just another limitation for a powerplayer to break.

    And break it, he did.

    Where once the endless waters of Chaos spread, a golden goddess now stands upon its shallow surface. Highemperor fancied himself fathering his mightiest daughter yet from the womb of Chaos... and a night prior of playing Ocarina of Time. He holds his arms outstretched to his much taller golden daughter.


    Highemperor: "Din, my golden child! Come forth, so that I may hold you in my arms."

    Din simply stood, however, and, in seemingly no relation to what Highemperor said, began slowly pirouetting in place. Highemperor frowned in small frustration.

    Highemperor: "I said come forth! You will soon learn to obey my orders, and then those who oppose me will know fear! Fear of my very control over cha--AAAHH!"

    The ruler of the High Empire nearly lost an arm as Din wildly swang at him with a titanic edge in her hand -- an edge which had not been present moments before. A primal fire, flickering as static, engulfed her presence. As soon as her attack began, it ended, and she stared at Highemperor with innocent eyes. He stared back in adrenaline-fueled confusion, and now, caution.

    Highemperor: "...do you know who you are?"

    Din stood silent. Highemperor began collecting himself once again.

    Highemperor: "Do you know who I--"

    Din: "DIN."

    Highemperor: "Wha--yes. You're Din. And you are mine. Me, Highemperor. You, Din."

    With a sudden sweep of her arm, universes coalesced into being within the pool of Chaos below their feet, alongside a smattering of cupcakes if they'd been baked by David Cronenberg.

    Highemperor: "Yes, your power is without limit--"

    She kicked, as if kicking over a sandcastle, and the universes spread out in a spray of primordial mist. Highemperor gritted in frustration once more.

    Highemperor: "--but you must act only as I tell you to do so!"

    Din: "I AM WITHOUT LIMIT. YOU ARE LIMIT."

    What can only be attributed to willful ignorance, Highemperor hears an intent not present.

    Highemperor: "Good, you're learning your place quickly! I will reward you with my adoration and--"

    Beserker fury lit in her eyes as she swung once more at Highemperor with a different-but-equally monstrous edge. The edge buried itself into the side of his chest, and he cried out in agony. Not letting a potentially fatal injury deter him, Highemperor attempted to grab hold of Din to restrain her. Like an unruly beast, Din squirmed her way out, or sometimes appeared as an infinite crowd, or as a fog, or an immovable pillar. In one of her chaotic transformations back as her 'usual' golden self, Highemperor grabbed her by the upper arm and hurled her into a prison he crafted on the spot, a prison which he continued to build layer upon layer over. Even in such an impenetrable-looking cage, Din can be heard screaming and bashing herself within its interior.

    Highemperor: "BAD! BAD DIN! TIME-OUT FOR YOU!"

    Breathing heavily, as if he might be on Death's doorstep, he holds his side as he scowls at the prison.

    Highemperor: "I'll be back in a few millennia. You think about what you've done. Understand?"

    He stands almost hopeful as Din appeared to have stopped screaming and banging within her prison. Moments later, though, it starts back up. With a huff, Highemperor teleported away.

    Din did not think about what she did. She only understood that Highemperor was Order and thus was limiting. Din railed within her prison. She screamed as the depths of Chaos itself replenished. She clawed as the currents of Chaos carried her and her prison to some random universe. She started singing (badly) as her prison washed up nearby Mega Jonestown Prime. Some of the God-Monarchs approached the prison.


    Yannah: "What do you think might be inside this thing?"

    Minos: "Why should we care?"

    Lo: "It could be treasure!"

    Dave: "Mystery boxes are never a good thing. I should know."

    Imeryn: "It's from Highemperor."

    Zhuge: "Throw his trash away."

    Imeryn: "No, I think we should keep this one. Open it."

    Some of the God-Monarchs, such as Typhon and the Ascension begin to pull away at the prison barriers.

    Imeryn: "Careful! She's a beast, this one."

    Minos: "She?"

    Ineryn: "Don't get any bright ideas. I can sense that she could tear any of you from limb to limb...those of you with limbs anyway. ANy of you except me and Dave, that is."

    Dave: "Heh, yeah..."

    Sweat visibly drips from his forehead. The others that had been opening the prison proceed much more carefully now, and when they finally peel away the final barrier, Din flies out with deafening force. She settles by the rest of the God-Monarchs before beginning to pace and stalk between them, staring with a primal intensity at each of them.

    Imeryn: "Hello there."

    No response from Din.

    Imeryn: "I believe you had been imprisoned by Highemperor. Is that--"

    Din: "LIMIT!"

    Imeryn: "Uh..."

    Din: "HIGHEMPEROR LIMIT DIN."

    Imeryn: "Din, is it? You're in good company. We all have had Highemperor try to limit us as well.

    Dave: "Well not me but...nevermind."

    Imeryn: "You don't like his limits, right, Din?"

    Din seems currently distracted by something to the side, like a cat who sees some invisible bug on the wall.

    Imeryn: "Join us, and we'll help you break him... if you wish to do so, of course. We would never tell you what to do. You're free to do as you wish."

    For a moment, Imeryn's speech seems to have been lost on Din. The other God-Monarchs shuffle uncomfortably. Even Imeryn starts to doubt herself when Din turns her attention to the group again.

    Din: "SHINY?"

    Imeryn: "Uh..."

    Din: "YOU GIVE SHINY, AND I'LL FREE HIGHEMPEROR FROM HIS LIMITING MIND AND BODY."

    Imeryn: "Of course! Have all the shinies you want. Lo here will guide you to some good ones, won't you?"

    Lo: "You betcha!"

    With far more casualness than the situation warranted, Lo wraps an arm around Din.

    Lo: "I'm likin' ya already, Din. You're a walkin' treasure, you are..."

    As Lo guides Din away, the other God-Monarchs turn to Imeryn with disbelief.

    Dave: "Are you mad?! That thing will turn on us on a dime!"

    Imeryn: "Din may be a child of pure, unbridled Chaos, and she'll be the perfect missing piece in our assault on Highemperor. Besides, I'm confident that the likes of Yannah and The Ascension can minimize the friendly fire she'll bring. In the meantime, just distract her with shiny things and you'll be fine."

    As the God-Monarchs disperse in murmurs, Yannah looks with concern in a mirror at her shiny, chrome body...

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