Issue 11: Mordred Enthroned
I see clearly. It doesn’t matter what happens to my flesh. It has never mattered. The scales are already counted. Finding us unworthy.—Mordred
What can anyone do against the weight of the universe? Let it pass through them? Take up one piece, one brick upon another, until that weight is borne by many.—Markav Proverb
A splinter within the mind. It can be a boon. A distraction. Or a wound. All three at once. I am often reminded of that adage: One can only understand the Highest while sitting upside down, gravity lost, within a spinning tesseract. Now imagine that through the fractured Mirror of Unity madness and you touched the surface of where Mordred resided. Even all these eons later? The echoes of that place still haunt me.—Sleeping in Starlight: The Vigil Remains
Earth (Eternal Empire Universe)
Tower of the Eternal
June 1st, 2136
Mordred pulled at the survators.
The machines that held him in place. It was a familiar battle. One that let him know his frail flesh was still present. Even as his mind wandered those Dark Mirror passageways. Crimson stars burned. Dark shapes drifted within his ruined landscape once called a mind. His throat convulsed as nutrients were force-fed into what remained of his stomach. He forgot the taste of food. Of simple joys.
Voices coiled about the edges.
Yellow eyestalks quivered at the edge of his vision.
The Red King had come.
Unity thought itself the ultimate. It never suspected.
Across all epochs, there could only be one to wear the mantle. Its coat was not the darkest.
Mordred hissed through bloodied lips, “I greet you. Abbadon. Locust of Flesh.”
Meathook circled the shadowed figure.
What little light within the chamber caught on the crimson gems that hung from the black cord. The All-Father studied the ruined form. He spoke. The black scrawl dripped from his mouth. His palms. Even in this diminished form. His current cycle host had been a pale imitation. His mind linked to Mordred. “I can renew your flesh. For a price.”
Brown eyes snapped to the shimmering form of the All-Father. “Unity is a child within the primordial playground.” The crimson shade waited. Its pitiless sockets were unwavering. Meathook cooed, “I already gave my flesh price. Across the River!”
Mordred beheld a lake of fire. The black flame danced against the lava flow. His mind’s translation for the River Styx. His mother’s plaintive beliefs had merit after all. The one that birthed him at any rate. He felt no pull towards his parents. Ta’mathon would burn just as easily as his insane forebearers. No matter what face or name she took. Renenutet. Lilith. She was an Amache Fallen. His flesh was human. Void Walker. His half-sister would sit upon the Throne of Bone. Buried alongside the rest of her corrupted brethren.
The Titans would consume them all.
If Unity had its way. He held out his hand to the All-Father. “I give of my flesh.”
Strength flowed through his limbs. Muscles knitted. Nerves burned. His shoulders filled out. Meathook put a finger to its lips. Pressed a black cord around Mordred’s left wrist. “This will hide you. Yes.”
Mordred blew out one long breath. The rictus grin spread. His features lean.
“Ahh. So that is what will be traded. So be it. I shall give you the locations of your mortal mirrored hosts.”
The All-Father pressed one spectral palm to Mordred’s chest. The spectral hiss took on a harder edge, “Yes. For I shall be whole. One last request.”
Mordred replied, “It shall be done. That shell burned away. It’s flesh offered.”
The former son of Avalon and Earth would kill the clone. Bel’s soul no longer resided within that body. She never had. Not since Chronos came to Earth. So many empty husks in the name of progress. Mordred laughed. The sound warbled. Twisted within the dark of the tower. His fingertips touched the apparatus linked to his brain. “Make this a part of me. I shall see in between.”
The All-Father hooked his hands into Mordred’s flesh. Pulled the metals under his skin. They merged with his spine. Enthroned to the Dark Shards. Not Throne Sight. No longer a hybrid but a thorn in the Highest’s side. Able to tear through the Veil. The All-Father leaned in, “Find it. The one on high sees everything. So we must pursue the shadow that can cover that knowing gaze.”
Mordred dove into the abyss. His body and mind renewed. A dark star pulsated. Ringed by flesh and metal. Tanarkan had been a ruse. A former shield world that was taken from the endless reaches of Elysium. This was the real heart of Abbadon’s power. Mordred asked, “Why did you take the form of a Typherian?”
The All-Father replied, “The Fallen House was the only one corrupt enough to house my soul shard. They are a pale reflection of the depths. Each side has its creation-level souls. That pass from one cycle to the next.”
The All-Father sneered, “The Highest thinks he protects his charges by allowing them to forget. They will make for easy pickings once I am through with them.”
Meathook rose to its full height. Its eyestalks drank in the crimson sigils flowing within the arched doorway. Every dome of the temple flared a dull vermillion. Voices cried out. Their spectral limbs a frigid air against Mordred’s skin. Blackened spires of ash and obsidian lined the walls as they entered. Craggy faces curled in various stages of decay. Their eyes burned with a madness Mordred understood all too well. A red throne with black sigils rose from the dais. One scarlet digit pointed.
“See into the space the Weave and Highest wish hidden.”
Mordred sat. His brown eyes filmed over. Going completely red. The pupils burned eternally by the sight of visions beyond Divine planes. Beyond Fallen constructs. He was the Seerer. Not a Thronebearer. That title was left for the good within the multiverse. Mordred howled, “Enthroned!”
Abbadon smiled. Unlike Unity, he would not betray his true followers. To think he had dismissed both Meathook and Mordred out of hand. Unity never knew what it had. A child conceived by two who held creation-level soul shards. A gift. Lilith and Ta’mathon. Their flesh gave Mordred the power needed to command this place. Abbadon was merely the architect. A builder for things to come. Once he gathered his scattered mortal selves across the infinite? His new form wouldn’t be burdened by the blood curse of the Urraden. There were many kinds of blood curses. Some served the Highest. Others?
The rulers of the Abyss.
Mordred’s soul basked in the demonic flow of Sy’taran.
Bel approached the machines keeping Mordred sedated. His form was emaciated. His muscles were thin. It was the mind that mattered. It would give Unity the information needed to survive. To counter the Light of Creation. In all its purity. Bel whispered into the dark, “Tell me, son of Man and Void, where should I aim little X’mil?”
Mordred’s voice echoed through the coms system. Bel noted the frail quality. “Up the vitamins to his tank.”
Mordred gurgled, “A dead spot of flesh. X’mil will fail but open another door. One you can use to slip in.”
Bel leaned in closer. She ran a finger down Mordred’s cheek.
Meathook circled, “What is the real outcome?” Its fingers plucked at the plasma cutter on its belt. Father had given it a proper harness. Filled with salves that could augment its natural capabilities. Oh yes. To fade into the environment. Stalk its prey. Those activities gave it purpose. Father gave it purpose. Mother? She was a distant figure.
Go here. Do this. Father gave it more.
Mordred motioned with his right hand, “You shall go to the Paradise world. X’mil will fail but you can continue down the proper path.” Meathook bowed.
“Fresh meat to hunt!”
Its yellowed fingers placed the All-Father’s gem upon the Throne. Blackened tendrils encased it. Protected it. It was time to gather the flesh. Unity would never find this place. Mordred was free. Abbadon had promised. Meathook stepped onto the platform. With one flick of his wrist, Abbadon sent his creature to the marker. X’mil would be in for a surprise.
Mordred slipped into a deep slumber.
Paradise Falls (Shield World)
June 2nd, 2136
I lingered over the treeline.
I knew Ta’rammon was directly below. The threads of the Eternal Empire corded about his cloaked form. To my Thronebearer senses, he was covered in cobwebs. Their yellowed strands stuck to everything. He was gathering food sources for J’anu’s pregnancy. Gulliver linked in, <<J’anu’s gonna burst soon. No owls or other foul things nearby. X’mil and his crew are making their way inland. Through the Southern Barrier.>>
<<Keep Paradise on them.>>
Gulliver quacked, <<You got it Hot Sause!>>
While the Shield World AI couldn’t sense X’mil, she could track those near him, but I could understand why. His flesh was necrotic. Under the sway of….
I shuddered. Shoved the memory away.
I commed O’rioh, <<Set everyone to Condition 2.>>
The Typherian warrior grunted, <<That close already? Another being has phased in near X’mil. I cannot track it.>> That worried me. I focused on the heartbeats around X’mil. The newcomer had three hearts! My skin hummed as I soaked it in then those beats were gone. I slowed my hectic breathing. I didn’t want that man anywhere near my mother. She had insisted on staying with everyone. My father had agreed. A part of me knew why. She wanted to bait X’mil. To force him to act rashly.
The Arcane Order calculations prevented me from arguing.
Our enemies would attempt to take the baby. Beyond that my Ur-Flow remained silent.
I let Ta’rammon continue his hunting.
Meathook prowled the area. X’mil had bit back a scream as the mottled yellow-colored arms had snaked around his neck. Meathook gurgled, “Your skin is forfeit.”
X’mil’s piggy eyes had expanded. The necromantic sigils rose in defense. The hybrid had plucked at the Typherian’s shirt. Human bio mimic features were unable to hide the truth for a split second. Meathook faded from sight as Snake Charmer rounded the corner, weapon halfway from its holster.
X’mil snapped, “Flesh beyond the abyss!”
Pyra strode over to X’mil. The tips of her fingers alight. She hissed, “Get your shit together. Even I felt the pulse of your Necro sigils!” X’mil scrambled around the building. His chest was heaving. “It was here.” He muttered hotly.
Meathook crawled within the shadow of the fallen ones. They would lead him to the child. The All-Father didn’t want the baby. He wanted Ta’mathon and J’anu. They would be vital to the vanguard. The tapestry would grow. Mordred had seen it. They feared their deaths. Abbadon would use that to bind them all tighter. Unity promised victory.
The Red King promised that pound of flesh they all desired.
A crown of red encircled my brow. It squeezed. The voices cried out, “There is no Highest. Only the mortal coil of flesh and bone.” A craggy path rose before me. Obsidian walls rose before me. Voices mocked, “You will fail!” As I climbed, the rock heated. It flowed over my hands. My mouth. It sucked me in.
I awoke. My breath was heavy in my throat.
A thin sheen of sweat on my brow. Exactly where that hideous crown had been. Thoth’s voice, no the All-Father’s had been low. Coy. Nearly reasonable. Even as the palms of my hands had caught on fire.
Jupiter’s calm tone interjected, <<Arcane systems picked up a necrotic splinter. The crew of the Little Italy is on the move. >>
I threw off my blankets and let the refresher head soak my back. “Get everyone ready.”
Steam rose off my body as the ice-cold water flowed.
Doc entered as I changed into my uniform. Her green eyes glued to my face, “That bad?”
I nodded. The movement clipped.
“Let’s go. I'll explain on the way.”
How to tell them Mordred was Enthroned. Not by Unity but by an entity just as old as the Highest. Where he encompassed the Light? The other served the Dark. Unity thought it knew true evil. Not a chance. My dream was prophecy. A thread fed to me by my final future self. The warning was clear. The Red King of the Abyss. He was tied to the All-Father. To Thoth. I had to stop him. Chronos had fed into this force. I composed myself. It wouldn’t do anyone any good to see me panic. One head of the Hydra at a time.
Doc punched in the keycode. The Arcane iris opened. Inside?
Mom and dad awaited us.
I said, “X’mil is only the outer edge of the issue.”
Dad replied, “The Red King.”
I should have been shocked but the magic bracers forming along his wrists reminded me: He was the ruler of the Golden City. I nodded, “I already got the calling card.” Mom reached out to squeeze my hand. “What can we do to help?”
Yellow eyestalks haunted my dreams.
“The All-Father isn’t dead.”
Issue 10: Here