Issue 2: Earth Primary Chess
What has come before will always ripple across time and space. It has always been this way. Chronos is a devious creature but he does have an origin.--Arcane Histories: Vol 10
Though we no longer touch the face of God? His blessings flow through all of us. It is up to each man and woman to listen to the higher calling of their soul.--Muthra Origins: Post Convergence
Would I have still done everything the same way? Who’s to say? In the end we all saved one another. --Anna McQuire: Private Journal
People often ask me what it was like. The River of Rebirth. Souls. The Gateway. Many words for it. I lack the abilty to articulate it all. Even now. All these ages later.--Sleeping in Starlight: Final Epoch
December 10th 2103 A.D (Pre-Convergence Eden Cycle)
The gun would not be enough.
Yes, it could kill void walkers but Chronos had an original form. Thoth allowed Charmer and Medusa to run interference on the upper levels. The codes the sleepers within Atlantis had given him would be just enough for this purpose.
His fingers brushed against the case. It popped open with a soft hiss.
Inside were two black marbles. Thoth held them in his palm. Oh yes. This would bring the original husk to him but not in this time. This place. What silvers of soul that connected him to the tapestry cried out as he consumed those twin orbs.
Everything had a price.
The Devourer of All curled about his brain.
You of all shapes finally understand. Yes. We are the best trap. We have grown beyond his control. Chronos wishes to commit the final Sin. We shall let him.
The Matron glanced up from the chessboard.
What the reprobates of simple flesh and soul called the Oversoul paused as her blackened piece took out another golden pawn. Thoth was quite malleable. What the lower rungs of life called a useful tool. Just smart enough to cause trouble. To bury into the chest of the crippled hope dubbed the Star-Spangled Banner. She smiled. Her ruby lips bled as their Father circled above.
“Why do you care so much about them? They believe in a singular creation myth. How pathetic.”
The Oversoul replied, “Because its true. Even we come from the same place.”
She pointed to the Creator above them, “That one has been silent since we created every mote of dust imaginable.”
Oversoul said, “Yet you are lonely. It is not enough that you embody all Sin.”
She snarled, “What makes you so pious? False heavens through that comatose vegetable above us?!”
He replied, “You have forgotten your purpose yet not all are Fallen.”
She formed a cigarette from the ether about them.
She inhaled the brimstone scent. “You think your little trap will contain all my followers?”
Her mask slipped. Just long enough to reveal the sagging flesh underneath.
She hissed, “You are no saint. I was the first! ME!”
Black Scrawl exploded from her body. A pulse of white light from above burned away her assault. Oversoul rose from the table. From the corner of his eye he saw all of time play out. Souls reclaimed. Passed through the Ouros. This road could end only one way. He raised his gaze to their father. The one who Lived Beyond. White Scrawl rose from his body. Passed through his children.
The Matron howled as the power twisted.
“You see? THAT ONLY FEEDS ME!”
The Oversoul said, “Every pulse brings you closer to final dominion.”
She smiled. Her golden eyes darkened. “Yes.”
Thoth muttered, “False Gods. The both of them.”
Chronos’ knowledge flowed through his veins. The Mother’s children wished to destroy God. How shortsighted. He would do one better. Corrupt the flow of that entities playthings.
You will be the hand that none shall see. Play your role. In the end?
Nothing will matter.
New Ashbury, Texas
Star Spangled Banner Museum
March 8th 5490 A.C
Lucifer summoned beams of light to spear the corpse to the floor. It was ridiculous. Helping his enemies but his cover was more important at this stage. Why was he uncorrupted by Chronos? Thoth must be a reason for it. These were many of his old comrades. Dancing to the tune of a withered husk of a creature controlled by the Matron.
As Lensflair he shouted, “Burn!”
The mummy’s hands ignited. The bits of cloth made for quite the accelerant. Golden flames consumed the remaining physical remains until only the outline of Black Scrawl undulated about the stoned barriers.
Snake Charmer went flying from Ren’s deadened lips.
The Highest perceived the push and flow of Black vs White.
Each scrawl followed the dominion of the Matron and Oversoul. Their power flowed through the slumbering form of God. Everything in play required both to be sealed away from direct mortal access. There would be no more demis to the level of Dexter or Eliza Murphy after this act. Though they would continue on. No longer burdened by the tapping of the cosmic chessboard.
Everything had a price. The Matron embodied all Sin. His father was the pathway to ultimate redemption. Souls given the chance to develop on their own. With the patterns, Weave and Threads to guide them. She would not allow such a relationship to develop. She believed all were destined to be Fallen.
Where the Oversoul freely gave bits of himself to bolster mortalkind? The Matron endlessly devoured. Often stealing the souls and sleeves she required. That basic drive would be her undoing. She had no notion of self sacrifice. The net was unleashed. Convergence had been the key.
All of reality bled into this moment.
Eliza would understand it all in the end.
He could sense Dexter tugging at the Black Scrawl from the deepest corner of the Soul Layer. Nearly done.
Judgment catapulted into the main foyer. His boots connected with Snake Charmer’s head. Maiden’s voice resonated in his mind through their rings.
>>Star is preventing the chemicals from going off. Need to….<<
He replied, >>Understood.<<
The Puzzler bellowed, “Incoming Smoker!”
Pyra wrapped four long tendrils around Star’s head.
“Broken toy of an uncaring avatar!”
Bits of ice crawled up Pyra’s arms in response.
The Banner had the audacity to smile up brightly at the possessed assassin.
“As my friends would say? You may not want to catch this ball!”
Star snapped her head around. Sending the assassin careening into the wall. Pyra’s body phased in response. She slammed into Medusa as the former Thoth acolyte snapped, “They are trying to buy time! Get that bomb to go off!”
Both sets of eyes swirled with that pitiless inky black.
Chronos glared at both. He relinquished his hold a bit. If they died it would not matter.
They had served their purpose long enough.
Pyra scrambled to her feet. Then she dashed off to the closest exit available. Smoke curled about 1000 feet in every direction. There was no escape. She materialized in the main statuary room. The monument of Star mocked her every move.
She charged towards the Banner.
Ice and flame from the Puzzler’s rayguns gave her pause.
Medusa slid into the Weave aspect of the building.
Cuts appeared on her arms and legs as she forced herself through the secondary Light Shaman barrier. She pressed her lips to the sigil marked upon the ground. Pain erupted along her jaw. She was thrown from the Weave.
She spat on the floor.
“Enjoy the show.”
Emerald light protected us from the spikes that formed from every corner of the room.
My Bardaxian friend shook his massive black furred head, <<Need magic.>>
I got Maiden’s attention. I gave her a thumbs up.
I lurched from the floor. My right fist connected with Black Scrawl infesting the south side of the room. So far the bomb was contained to this area. It would have to stay that way. The Highest tapped his paws against my shoulder blade.
Reform this place. You know how.
You’ve always known. The memory flow went both ways.
My brother. Just as he trained himself while in slumber? So did I.
Layers of memory unfurled. Matter Manipulation. My brother had mastered it long ago.
Chronos was right in one regard: Why even give me such a power?
I couldn't just manipulate physical matter. I brought in bits of the Weave and Soul Layer.
One couldn’t always be the shield. A sword was needed.
Just enough to counterbalance the resonance of the bomb.
My knuckles were raw from the magical residue. I winced but continued to assault the scrawl. I had to buy Judgment more time. Endless rain of sparks danced behind my eyelids as Maiden sent out phosphorous rounds. Pyra’s endless refrain of curses let me know that one was corralled for the moment.
Lensflair clapped. A wave of light pulsed from his body with each repetition.
A khopesh flashed in the light of the pillars.
It bisected the scrawled outline of the mummy sorceress.
The threat to the physical layer was over.
Pyra let out a garbled scream as vibrant green light encased her in an egg shaped prison.
White cloaked Muthra and Shamans flooded the room.
Doctor Impossible’s healing aura hit me like a battering ram.
Mr. Red grabbed my other arm with his paws.
“Not all over yet.”
Medusa laughed, “At least I had a better run than Karvax.”
She winked at me.
Magical barriers squeezed at her arms, legs and mouth. Taleer’s clear chanting cut her off from the Soul Layer. Hilary had gotten away with her prize. I pressed my forehead to the white marbled pillar. Its cool surface dried the sweat of my brow. Why did the Oversoul want Hilary and Thoth together? Images bubbled to the surface. There were Thrones for the other side as well. Each one vying for dominion. My eyes snapped open. We would all be entrapted but for different reasons. Mr. Red whispered, “A cage yes but for what purpose? Remember that.”
Evil would see it as a cage. “Duty.”
Red patted my cheek. “Other layers. Other reasons. You are almost there.”
Sul’sandra cupped my chin. “Impossible, her eyes aren’t tracking right. See how the cosmic energy flickers?!”
Void Maiden took most of my weight. “Do it.”
Impossible grimaced but complied. The needle hit me directly in the heart.
It’s magic made to get past my invincibility.
Color faded from the world.
I found myself staring up into a crystal spiral tower. A golden trio of stars floated above it.
Upon entering I found four thrones encased in a swirl of dark and light.
From left to right I recognized all the figures.
Thoth, Hilary, Dexter, then myself.
The Curator grabbed my hand. “No future is set but for the learning!” His form shifted across all epochs.
I examined Thoth’s face. He was not under the sway of Chronos. He was outside of it. Madness gleamed in those black and crimson orbs. The edge of his knife was placed against his temple. While in the other hand he held a goblet made of black ice. Hilary didn’t fair much better. A wreath of bones encircled her head. Her dark hair had bits of white streaks running through it.
Her other hand jabbed at me. Her mouth twisted.
My brother had his hands out. Cupped inside of them was the Grail.
Various crystallized slivers protruded from my back.
Endless faces formed behind my Throne, “Take it all back!”
My brother and I were physical twins. Our souls locked together. Siblings of a blood beyond all men. No matter the cycle.
Thoth and Hilary were that broken attempt. Though they weren’t twins by relationship or bloodline. They served a similar purpose. Was Chonos being thrown away? Di’axi appeared next. As I knew him. As Mr. Apple. Each image flickered across the Endless. Each line of Mortals remade. My mirror image rose from the Throne. Crystaline vines grew from my back. Feeding the sea of faces behind me.
In my left hand was my usual shield.
In my right was a twinned spear. The white and black Ouro entwined about the shaft. My brother poured the cosmic essense of the Grail over my head. “1000 shards shall encompass all.”
The vision faded and I found myself on the floor of the museum.
The hum of the corpse bomb flickered against my eardrums.
“We have to go to the Weave.”
Issue 1: Here