Issue 3: The Fox Comes Out To Play
The world continues on. We few that remember what was required? We will maintain the Vigil. --Arcane Footnotes of History
All the world is a mere shadow. I was chosen to cleanse it all. --Thoth
Make sure the Light Mirror network is cleansed. Leave only one sector open to...-Light Shaman Report 22A-1
My whole life has lead to this moment. Back to the basics. The Banner will protect everyone. No matter what happens. I pray I get to see what lies beyond the old pathways.--Fragmented Entry, Time Stamp Corrupted
It would be foolish to say I’m not afraid. I have seen much. But now at the Twilight of it all? We will find peace. All those who flee the Ninth Circle will find their final notes soured.--Sleeping in Starlight: Final Volume
Temple of Slumber(Sleeping Starlight Archives)
12th Orbit of Awe (Local Timekeeping)
Abbadon flipped through the final tome. He turned to the little black clad android. The Curator of the Emporium. No matter which age he went to past the Convergence of the Banner’s existence, this final book did not change. Thoth grinned within his mental prison.
Godling not getting the ending he wants?
Abbadon sneered. Flicked his fingers to toss the former Atlantian into a pain web.
Thoth let out a howl of laughter. You think this hurts?!
He made a swiping motion. Thoth’s head separated from his shoulders.
The head rolled about. Still the madman grinned, “Oh! POOOR Godling!”
Abbadon paused as the semi human’s eyes bled to a robust purple. The Dreamweaver grated out, “You do not deserve my power!”
Abbadon fell to his knees. Collecting Thoth’s body for possession had been folly from the start. If this shell couldn't survive what was coming? Who could!? Abbadon hauled himself to his feet. He would find the perfect Sleeve to ride out the apocalypse. No matter the cost.
The Climb would not claim him.
Cain watched the Thronebearer approach.
Black Scrawl sparked with each footstep. Dying within the black hole that suffused the aura around the Oversoul’s minion. This one fed off the aspect of True Death. The murderer held his knife steady. There was more here. He spat, “You think us fools?” The sharp crack of plasma lit the deep dark of the Nightrealm. Warbling howls filled the air. Cain let the heat pass his body. The Markav was a mere irritant. He sliced the stone knife across his left forearm. Black blood dripped from the wound.
Sul’sandra flew back.
Her head rang as the portal closed. Sparks of violet and blue crackled. Her connection to Taleer evaporated. She dashed towards the anchor. The stone orb dissolved as she closed in. Its Light Shaman and Spirit wards dead. No trace remained.
A giant obsidian hand materialized and flung her skyward. Black’s voice echoed, “Find Abel’s body.”
“How?!” She screamed into the infinite as she careened past stars and planets. Her suit absorbed the energy flowing past. She let out a gasp as gentle hands removed her helm. A Texan drawl echoed, “I guess old Silver Fox gave me another answer.”
Sul peered up groggily into the face of Eliza Murphy. Her uniform glinted silver and gold. Three rings above the breastplate. The flag wasn't quite Old Glory. Sul’ shot forward as Doctor Impossible steadied her. “Where are we?”
Eliza rubbed the back of her neck. Sheepishly she replied, “More like When. It's always When nowadays.” All around them, buildings merged into the mountainside.
A city nestled into the canyons below.
Impossible’s uniform glimmered it's usual white, black and green. Her belt rippled.
<<Adapting cloak for proper cycle protection.>>
Humans went about their business. Giving no attention to the three strangers in their midst. Eliza noted, “Welcome to the First City of Man.”
Sul tapped her chrono. It spun endlessly.
Eliza smiled. Her eyes knowing. “Yep. Won’t work.” The Markav leader watched as Eliza plucked a feather from her back. It sank into the earth. She turned to Doc, “Where’s the next marker?”
Lorain replied, “By the Temple of the Three Songs.” To her spirit sense, Eliza just lost a fraction of power. The Thronebeaer energy fused with the land itself. She pulled Murphy up short, “...but we need your power!”
I replied, “They need the Life Anchor’s to survive. I won’t.”
Sul’s heart rate sped up. I had a long talk with Silver Fox. My role as a Thronebeaer was coming to an end. It was never meant to be mine. Not like the others. Or my brother. White would take my place on the Throne of Life. As she had been meant to. Lorain crouched. Her fingers digging into the dirt.
Lethe pointed, “We must keep going forward if everyone is to be saved.”
Sul recoiled, “Who are you!” She demanded. I could see her Soul Sense sparking behind her green within green orbs.
I interjected quickly, “Lethe is the original soulform of Lorain. The weight of memory would be too much. She often acted as the Lady of the Isles during Ta’mathon’s time. I was the Arbiter of the Sands.”
Sul pressed her fingers to my temple. Her gaze narrowed, “Sweet Creator.”
She knew a piece of the truth now. At certain points in my life? Silver Fox had taken control. Without me knowing of course. All to set us on the Path. Helios. The final reformation of Mankind. Demis. My Bardaxian friends. All to the singular moment. I was not meant for the Throne of Life.
The Dreamweaver’s Tears rippled against the barriers placed within my mind. That knowledge would lay dorment until my final meeting with Thoth. Abbadon was no longer in the running for the dark had already claimed another as their champion.
That was my mantle. I would protect the dreams of the Final Rebirth. No matter the cost. Sul dug deeper, “That is why you….” Her expression cooled. I indicated the silver white city streets. Ringed with vibrant trees. My vision darkened for a moment.
The Oversoul spoke, “I needed a willing servant. In order to access the mortal world without overwhelming it.”
Twin voices from the throat of a friend. One male. One female.
“In past cycles? A piece of me was inserted into the soul shard pairs.”
Sul whispered, “Each taken by you or the Devil. Swayed to a purpose.”
She bowed her head, “Why not cleanse everything from the moment of the Dreamweaver’s betrayal?” It didn’t matter the cycle. Each one had a different name for the Deceiver of all Dreams.
The Oversoul replied, “Because the spirit cannot be destroyed. No matter how much the Dark wishes it. We all must exist. So that mortals may choose. But it can be contained.”
Eliza waved a hand. Lethe remarked, “Elysium!” As it was during the Rise of Unity. Another ploy by the Dreamweaver. They watched as the Piper cradled the two infant Thronebears to the Stone of Memory. The Oversoul’s energy flowed into both. The voice echoed, “Do you swear to serve the Throne of True Death. The Gentle Cleansing of the Soul?”
Piper bowed. “I so do swear!”
The boy infant stilled. His eyes opened. Drinking in the Compact to the Throne.
They watched as the waters swirled around the girl infant. “Onto you. Thou are a new soul. Already aware. I give you a choice. You know the twins heart of your brother. What say you little one? Will you be a shield unyielding?”
I gripped the side of the wall. Lethe smiled up at me. “Keep on the Path.” Sul was already descending into the city. My nose twitched. She had been crying. Lorain muttered, “How on earth do you handle all that?”
I wrapped my other arm around her shoulders, “A whole lot of practice.”
Sul glanced back at us. Like she was seeing everything for the first time.
She put her hands on her hips. “Let’s be about it.”
My heart beat in time with my brother’s.
My spear materialized. I marked the buildings as we passed. We would transport as many as we could aboard the shield worlds. No matter the cycle. The Climb would cleanse us all. One way or another. The Dreamweaver giggled, <<You think so? I shall feast on your flesh.>>
It continued its tirade, <<What use are demis? What spark is contained in those mortal powers? Even God has no hold over me. What do you expect to do little cripple?>>
It flashed images at me. Of Hilary stabbing my mother through the chest. Of my father’s corpse at the feet of Chronos. Its lies were poison. These were the images Lethe kept hidden from Doc. Everything had its opposite. We would bring balance. Not by combining the sets of Tears but by marshaling them for their intended purpose. Choice.
To rise above.
To fall below.
I scrambled up the blasted cliffside.
Taleer on my heels. Black linked in, <<Meathook is following.>>
Considering we were trapped with the first Murderer of Mankind? Things were going smoothly! My trident flew from my back. Bright rays of white light pierced the darkness. We would win. No matter the cost. My sister walked the Path. There would be no stopping the Climb now. No matter what the Dreamweaver threw at us. We would come back transformed. My sister most of all.
Wiry beasts converged on us as we reached the lip of the next rise. Their pale ghostly skin covered in scars. They had been mortal once. Men of the First City. Taken by Cain.
I let out a warcry. Taleer readied his ordinance. His yellowed eyes hardened. “Be cleansed and sundered from this world!” Black ichor exploded from their nostrils. Tendrils climbed ever higher. I held my weapon at the ready.
I hit the switch on my forearm.
Arcane fires rose against the black of twilight.
Cain laughed, “What else does the puppet have in its arsenal?!”
I muttered the Thronebearer word for ignite.
Dreamweaver snapped, <<Not good enough!>>
My nose bled as his wicked magics hit my barrier.
I would hold the line. I had to buy us all enough time.
Issue 2: Here