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Toth had grown older, that much was certain, and he was a lonely man. Seven years in the Fade had seen him grow from a youngling hardly larger than the training blades to a taller and definitely more imposing individual. But he had grown to be a lonely man; for where he dwelt was not a lovable place. It was an endless plain, much like a desert at times, and other times tundra-esque. Quite literally, it stretched to infinity in all directions-a hardly hospitable place, covered with small scrub and no other life aside from the Sicarii’s lamasery. Despite the utter flatness of the place, there was almost no wind; just utter stillness and unnatural, unholy tranquility. It was never night, and never day-a perpetual dull groan whispered across this twilight landscape as what little wind there was whispered through the sand and shrubs. It sounded to Toth, who watched it patiently from his chamber window, like the voices of the dead, and it was this halfway place with its halfway winds, halfway days and silent moans that the Sicarii called the Fade. There were no insects chirping, no birds singing, no sounds beyond the moaning of the sands and the sound of feet falling upon them.

His fascination with the Chronethium had never waned; he had isolated himself, to a degree, by entertaining the notion that it, and the Editors who crafted it, might not be as mythical as his peers believed. He was the odd man out in the Fade, at least among the apprentices. His teachers sensed a certain emptiness to his eyes, but really, this was the reflection of the Fade, and the teachers felt this. Some-most really-simply grew oblivious to the deafening silence that lived here; a few grew to feel it like a song, and then Toth felt it like a mirror; reflecting back into itself to infinity, much like the infinite horizon stretching off into the unknown. It reminded him that even beyond this strange land, there were infinite unknowns; a belief which unbeknownst to him even the Editors would have smiled upon.

All training was held within eyesight of this barren compound; it looked ancient, and it fit into the place like it had always been meant to be there. Its low rock walls were not meant for defense-none in the Sicarii’s history had found a way into the Void-but more as a means of holding everything together. Beyond that foreboding horizon lay again this tiny outpost; it was as if the infinite were circular, and those that headed west would rapidly reappear in the east once they vanished over that horizon. He would sit atop the parapets reflecting  and perusing records and tales from the White Library, and in this twilight land he filled his mind with wonder. The days he spent training in the physical arts, and once that cycle was over he would settle into a parapet and read.

More stories of the Chronethium came to the attention of the Sicarii over these seven years, though its reputation as a false thing had never changed. The sources were always, ALWAYS second hand, but there was an unusual consistency to them now; while other facts about these mysterious Editors would contradict and disagree with themselves to a nearly incomprehensible degree, the Chronethium Accounts, as they came to be known to the Sicarii, all told the same story.

It was guarded, the accounts would say, aboard a lost ship of the damned by a figure known as the Keeper of Deceits; a treacherous yet noble figure who had sacrificed his life and many more to contain a great power that was meant for those who were not worthy.  It had been stolen from an unnatural domain and hidden away somewhere in this galaxy where the sands of time could not reach it.

Tomorrow, Toth would graduate the Fade. He would take a new name, and a new purpose, and he would stretch his hands out across the galaxy in search of the Chronethium.

--oOo—

“Temporal intelligence suggests that the enemy is preparing to launch a counterstrike against those of our command at these coordinates,” the ghost announced to Dorin as holographic representations of a particular star system flickered over the chamber. “The Council of Five is directing you to prepare for defensive actions and tacitly assist the Immortal Empire in minimizing casualties-“

Prime Admiral Dorin frowned at the apparition. “I take it the emissary has notified their overlord of this development?” As much as she enjoyed the notion of finally having proper combat, the terms involved displeased her.

“That is correct.” The apparition replied.

“Well then, if I might ask,” Dorin prefaced her question politely enough, but her words were laden with acid ideas, “why should I risk the lives of my fleet defending our command when they have more than enough ships to do the job themselves? They know when the enemy will arrive, and roughly how many ships they will bring. They know what direction they will be coming from. They have numerical superiority, excellent defensive installations, and no chance of being caught by surprise. There’s no need for me there. Instead of being held back to guard worlds that aren’t even ours, I should be receiving orders to commence offensive operations into the heart of this dead empire.” Her tone remained calm and composed, but a touch of resentment remained ever obvious.

The phantom answered without pause. “We are almost at that point now, Prime Admiral. The Killer of the Dead has spread well throughout the enemy’s fleet, but the Zel situation remains unresolved. Once the council has nullified that threat, and once you have assured that further expeditionary actions by the enemy into Immortal Empire space are more carefully considered, you will have the council’s permission to begin your campaign in earnest.”

Dorin’s weathered face didn’t change all too much at this news, but her jaw shifted ever so slightly forward before she inquired to the spectre when that might me.

“Soon,” the ghost replied.

--oOo—
The Drake throne room was  massive half circle chamber. Above its vaulted walls were distant panes of glass, and along those walls were rows upon rows of balconies. Five great doors, facing the different directions of the compass, were methodically placed about the chamber, and in its center the mighty drake King Helios sat waiting, watching the worlds around him spin via a floating screen.

Outside this mighty chamber, a visitor waited patiently. The guards were not inclined to allow visitors to the King; such was their job, after all. But she leaned slightly against the outer door as she waited for their approval-they would approve her, she suspected. Kings tend to be curious creatures; sometimes more paranoid than others, other times more aggressive, yes, yes...but she waited patiently to be summoned.

The entryroom to the great hall was a mighty chamber all unto itself, with a marvelously high vaulted ceiling of glass and intricate carvings into the tiles along the walls. There were scenes of battle carved into them, and then scenes of daily life in the palace. Gently, she ran her fingerrs through the carvings, feeling the stone's texture beneath her fingertips; they were well smoothed by age, and tiny amounts of sand lay in the crevices of the carvings, indicating their great age. She contemplated how pleasant it would be to go back and see the construction process; for these were clearly the work of master craftsmen.

With a sudden sense of anticipation, she glanced up towards the doors.

High King Helios, a massive dark red drake in heavy gold and white armor sits calmly on his throne, his crest in a similar fashion to a roman helmet plume stood high on his head. His club-like tail swinging gently from side to side across the ground, watched as the image of the entry room hung before him. It showed an empty room, and he looked at it skeptically as the guards had spoken of an unfamiliar visitor. Their eyeless bronze colored helmets followed her every move as they gripped their staves anxiously, as though waiting for something to happen. "Let her in" Helios said, seemingly to himself. the massive door opens on its own to allow the visitor in. the guards relax their stances but continue to watch the stranger, not muttering a word.

She waited for the doors to swing open fully before moving away from the far wall towards the open doorway. They were massive, solid doors, and they swung with incredible slowness open, and as they parted they gradually gave a wider and wider view of the chamber beyond. It was a duly impressive thing, and she restrained a grin at the grandeur of its architecture. She would definitely have to travel back to when they were building this palace, she thought to herself as she removed her fingers from the carved facade and moved towards the center of the doorway. The palace must have been quite a feat for this species.

Without any great speed, she moved smoothly through the doorway towards the king and his imposing guards. They were rather large creatures, and she appreciated their bulk. Large things tend to demand serious attention, and she had no qualms with giving them that.

As she entered the room, the King saw a very small creature-more or less normal by human sizes, but hardly anything as formidable as a drake. She moved not so much gracefully as simply like the air wasn't there around her to slow her down; but that is not to say that she moved in a hurried manner. But her eyes were remarkably clear and cutting, and as she slowed to a halt in the chamber, she gazed up at the king with an unsettling degree of emptiness. He could sense movement within her, great degrees of it, all stored up and waiting for a calling, but outside she was uncannily tranquil.

She bowed slowly before him, keeping those clear eyes of hers trained up at the dragon's head.

The screen in front of him flickered from existance as Helios shifted to a more upright position and looked down on her with a friendly smile. his white, dog-like teeth and fangs shined in the light. "Welcome to my court, little one." he said in a deep but soft tone. "I apologise for the wait, but I wasn’t expecting any company today."

While the king's voice was deep, his little visitors was not. It was a rather light and airy thing, almost like a breeze had a voice in that vast chamber.

"The wait was of no real consequence," she said in a voice that sounded more like a coo than anything else. "I am patient enough for such things." She was a pale, bald little thing; but those eyes made the king wonder. They were the only potentially fierce thing about her, it seemed; her clothes were not those of a warrior. They seemed to mask whatever countours her body had, and she for all intents and purposes seemed fine with that. She was the sort of person who liked to fade away, after all; she only stood out when time and purpose dictated it, and while she was apparently rather underguarded in this point, it was a well calculated move on her part.

"I come following a particular sort of man," she said, an unexpressed frown racing across her mind. Man? He was no man, not even when he was alive. She reached into a pockcet and withdrew a silver disc, from which tiny legs extended as she sat it down on the floor. The disc unfolded like a flower blooming, and from its center a holographic projection rose into the room.

Helios leaned in closer to get a better look at the image. "Hmmm....I'm afraid I’ve not seen this man before... in fact, I’m rarely visited by guests of non drake races. What makes you think he's been here? And might I ask why you search for him at all?"

Silently she collected the disk. The answer, in all its brevity, had been very informative. She was still learning how the man thought; to her, it would have been most prudent to deal directly with the leader of the drakes, but then again her people had called him The Demon for a reason. He would rather serve in hell, she suspected, than reign in heaven.

"His timeline weaves through this...neck of the woods, I suppose you might say." She smiled slightly at her own words; neck of the woods. What a quaint phrase, rolled off the tongue rather sweetly...she turned her attention back to the king.

"I seek him out of private purposes, your majesty. I wish to understand that...man," she said after a hesitation unusual for her, "in order that I might add myself to the balance." This was true; after all, in order to defeat ones enemy swiftest, it was desirable to understand how they thought; and to understand how they thought, one had to understand what made them think they way they did. She rapidly was learning about Chaw'Haust; and it benefited her, even when her theories were wrong. The king was not lying; she would have been able to smell the thought on his breath had he done so, courtesy of her Heraldic genetics. But if he had not done so, then it was only logical that he had started at the other end of the spectrum.

"Who opposes you, your majesty?" She asked inquisitively, recalling the guards she had passed on the way in. "You would not need guards if you had no fears for your safety. Someone must oppose your reign."

Helios's smile dimmed at this statement, slightly shocked and even impressed by her observation."Chaos is unpredictable, little one. One must always be ready for it to strike."

She tilted her head to the left slightly as she contemplated his words. Chaos was mostly unpredictable, yes, in a linear sense. It was strange to wrap her head around the notion--wrap her head around, what a strange phrase-- that most races didn't wake up knowing things about tomorrow. But to who, chaos was just...background noise. Pies being dropped because the tin was too hot, glasses sloshing over their rims because a stride was miscalculated...given enough time, chaos took on a rhythm all of its own.

She look up passed the king's body at the glass ceiling above them. It seemed unreachably high, high enough that it could accommodate the drake's large bodies. Beyond them, thin whisps of clouds darted across the amber sky. The sun was setting, and everything in the chamber had a red glow to it.

"Chaos is simply a convergence of seemingly random events." She said aloud, more towards the clouds than the king. "It can be triangulated if you have the time and patience to do so." Her voice was almost unsettling in its smoothness, and she turned back to the king with an almost expressionless face.

"You would not name your enemy. If you will not name him, will you tell me why you are afraid to speak the enemy's name?"

Helios’ smiled softly but there was a sadness in his voice."Unfortunately, I did answer your question. and even more unfortunate, I understand what you speak of all too well."

She paused for a moment-a short one at that-before a suspicion of comprehension leapt upon her like a lion. It's worth mentioning that this was rather imperceptible; she could have dealt with a lion without too great a fuss, after all, for she was Heraldic and had been around the block longer than there'd been a block to go around...but she was not sure of it entirely.

"The man I am stalking across the heavens is an agent of chaos. It suits me that I might find his master. Will you direct me to him?" She wasn't sure it was a him; it could be an it, or a she, or who knows what other sort of title...but the notion was there.

Helios paused a moment before answering, glancing at a mosaic on a far off wall then back at the visitor, but he still retained a calm presence. “Sadly, I cannot. Much of what you search for cannot be found unless it wishes to be. It is history best not remembered."

She paused; to press the issue further would detract from her purpose here. His trail could be tracked, but it would take longer than she would prefer. It was simply impatience really; she had all the time in the universe to accomplish the task.

"History." She repeated the word easily. It was an odd concept, as many things were. "I apologize for taking your time, King Helios. I would stay longer, but my journey shall not end for some time." She bowed, and turned back towards the door, her eyes falling upon the mosaic as she did so.

The mosaic depicted a younger Helios and two other drakes of similar age in battle with a nightmarish creature hidden in shadows and surrounded by destruction. It raged with twisted features, long fangs, and glaring golden eyes looking down upon the three young drakes, and her, ready to strike. Under the mosaic were the words "no hope".

She didn't hesitate before the mosaic, but appreciated it in passing; rather garish compared to the more subdued scenes in the great hall. But its theme and content were evident enough, and she could put two and two together without too much trouble.

King Helios would not aide her in her hunt. Of course, perhaps he had glanced upon the mural deliberately, in which case she silently thanked him for that gesture. But regardless of will, the deed was hers alone to commit, and as she left King Helios' court, and the doors began to close behind her, she was thinking about chaos.

She was a chaos of memories; in a few minutes, the king and his guards would forget she had ever graced them with her presence, however insignificant that presence had seemed. Chaos was simply the way things worked--and it was at this moment that another insight struck her in regards to the man she was stalking across the cosmos.

---

And yes, not a dragon, but it had a nice ring to it. Last scene made by cooperation between LordNaegotros and myself.
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I'm not scared of dyin'
And I don't really care
If it's peace you find in dyin'
Well then let the time be near
If it's peace you find in dyin'
When dyin' time is here
Just bundle up my coffin
'Cause it's cold way down there

--And When I Die, by Blood, Sweat And Tears

--oOo--

As I willed the mask to engage, I felt a certain sense of apprehension. Unlike Nagaetros’ brain (which was closer to the size of a kitchen appliance than a grapefruit), the Sanctioned was human…more or less. Mental cohabitation damages neural connections, and for humanoid mammals that begins to become problematic after ninety seconds or so, assuming you’re not in there to do harm. With Nageotros, the whole affair had been over in no more than five minutes.

I would have a very short window in there, I thought tiredly, if her mind was anything like normal. Then again, as her reputation went, she might not be all too entirely normal herself. She lived a very private life, in a very private place, and as that brief spasm of sharpness came into me as the mask kicked in, my last thought was that I would have to be very gentle. Naga disagreed, though I don’t think he understood what he was disagreeing with. It was only his nature.

The spasm ended with falling.

Falling into snow. This surprised me, for all of my knowledge-scarce as it was on her, for hers was an impeccably private life-put her well within the safe confines of a formidable structure. I blinked, and felt cold, chilled, as the snow blew onto the black dress I had been wearing when the cohabitation kicked in. It was not a blizzard by any means, but it was cold, and I began to shiver in it. With less grace than I could wish for, I pulled myself out of the snow, hoping to will a parka into existence. None appeared, much to my frustration, though I understood it quickly enough. This wasn’t the world she lived in, where it was fairly simple to change the environment mentally. This was her mind, and it is night in a snowy field.

“Who are you?” The voice came sharply from behind me, and I glanced back rapidly at the speaker. She was blurry and faint, yet incredibly distinct; and here I do no justice to it. Her form… her form was blurry, as if it were an animated photograph out of focus in perpetuity, but her voice was omniedirectional and sharp as ice…which lead to a briefly unsettling moment as I realized that the only reason I’d thought she was behind me was because she wanted me to look at her.

“I have no name to give.” I apologize, wishing I had time to explain the reasoning behind that. My parents fell in love, a condition unpalatable to the minds of the Ascendancy. We were all meant to be conceived artificially, and raised independently of our parents: the Ascendancy is our family, not the objects of flesh and blood which created life outside of our peculiar environment. I could have told a story here, but I had no time to do so. The seconds moved slower here, but they were passing regardless.

The blurred form before me doesn’t move, but in the distance I hear rolling waves of thunder. I can’t see too far beyond her due to the density of the snowfall and the darkness, but I raise my hands before me, palms facing her, in what I think best replicates a gesture of no ill will.

“I’m not here to hurt you-” I begin, but she cuts me off.

“I do not think you could.”

--oOo--

Holf’s aged and well lined face was a turbulant mixture of refined caution, and a deeply unsettling desire to make haste of the deed he had come to the backwater planet in order to do as he stepped down the landing ramp of the hastily repurposed gunship bomber onto the soft, if not somewhat unkempt, grass of the graveyard. The hills of the landscape blurring into darkness where they were not penetrated by spotlights aimed downward from his ships circling above.

The descent through the atmosphere had been relatively uneventful save for some minor turbulence as the cult owned patrol ship had entered the cloud layer of the planet, and subsequently the wind currents of the planet’s upper atmospheric regions. His ships, while they had the appearances of craft that were weather beaten and largely neglected, were actually under their carefully concealed exteriors very durable and well kept fighting craft. That fact hadn't helped matters much as the first powerful gusts of wind had torn at them. Their A-grav pads had done their job in keeping them aloft. But none the less it had been a very jarring ride.

Gods be damned wind currents... he thought to himself bitterly.

From the upper atmospheric regions him, his team and their ship had continued the descent. The remaining ships staying in orbit to provide recon, as well as to cover their route of escape should things take an unexpected turn for the worst. Which, he guessed as they neared the drop off point after transferring to one of the ships bomber shuttles, if the rumors surrounding the person they were hunting were true, they very well might.

Despite the short delay of the turbulence, the decent had otherwise been uneventful, and he had taken the time to ponder the situation while he had still been on the bridge, and as he had, certain "Holes" in the situation became apparent to him.
"something about this is far to easy..." he had thought, was still thinking even now as he looked out across the graveyard and its terrain. The other bombers from the patrol ship hovering high above the scene performing passing flybys of the area. Their spotlights scoping the hilly plots of land, creating points of illumination. They were lighting the scene from above as his teams spread out, utilizing Geo-Caster Upgrades in their V.E.A. units to isolate the fresher graves.

Like most graveyards, this one had a tendency to lay out patches of cut grass and sod over the never graves rather then leave them exposed. As such, finding the thief's grave among the other hundreds of graves in the graveyard would have left both him, as well as his men. Tired and Frustrated.

Deftly, he reached into the pocket of his padded greatcoat, withdrawing an engraved metal pipe. Putting a light packing of tamahar leaves dusted with an odd brown flaky powder into its bowl from a metal clasped pouch in his webbing, he lit it with a graceful, almost calculated movement as he struck a lighter he produced from his vest pocket. Igniting his pipe and setting the leaves alight in a flicker of Lavender flame, a smell of hot shaved copper beginning to waft around his head.

He had drawn several puffs from it when the report came over the Screen of his V.E.A. units Comm-link. The screen appearing in the air in front of him.

"Minister Holf. We've located the gravesite sir." a Tenebrean, roughly 50 years in age and donning repurposed Col-Sec armor reported over the link.

"Are you Entirely certain?" Holf asked sternly, chewing on his pipe slightly as he took in the report.

"Yes my minister." The sect member acknowledged, bowing his head in a slight nod. "Geo scans have confirmed how recently the soil was disturbed, it was filled in less then seven hours ago, perhaps a little more."

"And the thief?" Holf asked, his brows furrowing. How long ago the grave had been dug was of no importance to him currently, what mattered now was that its single occupant was still inside of it.

"Whomever it is, they're down there all right. or at least something is my minister. Whatever the coffin is made out of, its blocking the scan." The sect member looked confused at this, opening a separate screen for Holf to view the scan, and there indeed was an area of extreme interference below the dirt, preventing it from being fully scanned. Roughly the size of a Coffin.

"...that’s something we can expect, if this thief is as resourceful as the rumors claim. Then we can expect them to have anticipated our coming here." The minister responded, closing the separate screen link as he did.

"Should I give the men the order to start digging?" the Tenebrean asked, grinning slightly. Apparently he was very excited to have gotten so close to their goal after their ordeal of escaping Obcasio earlier.

"No... We're not earth drakes... Contact shuttle eight, give the pilot the ok to drop the drilling rig at the grave site." Holf said, motioning up roughly towards where the mentioned drop ship no doubt circled with the others. The collapsed drill rig mounted on its underside in the space where tanks where usually carried.

"You want us to tear the coffin out of the grave minister?" the Tenebrean asked, a tone of glee fairly obvious in his voice.

"If you feel that you must... Just get it out of there in one piece." Holf said, nodding. Humoring the over excited tenebrean.

"Yes, minister Holf."

"And Hinton?" Holf asked.

"Yes minister?"

"If the thief should prove to still be alive, shoot them. Our Lord only requires their head..." Holf said, knowing all to well that carrying a head in a Stasis unit would be much less cumbersome then hauling around a dead body, much less keeping an armed guard on a living prisoner. But he would be willing to get creative should he have to, and secretly, he entertained the thought.

"Right away minister." the sect member nodded, then cut off the link. The screen dissipating as the link did.

Holf turned as the tell tail hum of A-Grav engines marked the decent of shuttle eight towards a section of the graveyard that appeared to have been laid out within a wide grassy gully. Spotlights from several of the other shuttles illuminating an area to its center.

The repurposed drop ship hovered for a moment at ten feet to drop off the tracked and bulky form of the drilling rig mounted on its underside. several of the gravestones being crushed under its tracks, and he couldn't help but smirk (albeit as unsure of a smirk as it was) as several members of his team went about setting it up as the shuttle took back to the dark blue night sky. The bulky piece of mining equipment rumbling forward towards the grave site on its tracks as its components began to unfold, its systems powering up with the deep growl of worn Demetrian Engines.

They had reached their goal and up till that point, it had been fairly simple. But he had the feeling, deep in the back of his mind, that getting it back with them would be no small, nor easy task.

--oOo--

A drake portal silently opened in front of the grave site as the excavation began. No one noticed the change until 3 drakes; Echo, Necrosis, and Kane emerged from thin air in mid conversation.

"- You guys need to get out more, air out your old bones. Because, GODS, DO YOU TWO REEK!" Echo yelled, his back turned to the startled cultists who had just began getting ready to dig. Echo was completely unaware of their presence as the other 2 followed him, exchanging confused glances.

"What did you expect? We’re dead." Necrosis exclaimed calmly, his skull grinning.
" yeah, well that's no excuse for keeping clean!" Echo replied as he turned and noticed the cultists staring at them in an awkward silence which Echo quickly broke.

"AUGH! What the hell is all this!? Who the hell are you people?" Echo yelled pointing at the machines, ships, and cultists with a mix of shock and anger. “Damn it, Kane! This is all your fault!"

Kane's only reply was a deep growl as he reached for his gun, only to be stopped by his brother.

Several of the Cultists manning the machine go for their weapons when they see Kane go for his gun, their initial surprise replaced by silently withheld alarm for the three drakes that had appeared so suddenly.

"Hold it brothers..." a voice commands them. "Lay down your arms..., we don’t kill our guests before we know them."

At the command, most of the cultists lower their arms, some of them going about firing up the Drilling rig to begin excavation. Their Armored suits versus components glowing in the dark. Others still train their weapons on the three of them.

"Forgive us for the rude welcome... But you ‘are’ interfering with our work here..." They look towards the voice to see Holf looking at them from atop a grassy knoll not too far away. his head cocked slightly. The smell of hot copper about him. "Can i ask who in the name of Apophis you three are? And what ‘You’re’ doing here?" he looks from Kane to necrosis with a look of mild suspicion.

Necrosis leaned on his staff and scanned Holf and the others with eyeless sockets, then glanced back to his brother to make sure he wasn't reaching for his gun again. Kane never liked being questioned like this which made the situation all the more delicate. But Necrosis recognized the strangers for what they were.

"We-" Necrosis replied motioning to himself and Kane. "-are the eldest and youngest of the Draconian, Phobos-" He motioned to Echo who was busy glaring at Holf and the armed cultists, "and he is the Draconian, Nagaetros' 'second in command' and we request that you put those toys of yours away before you get hurt."

Holf raised his eyes at the skeletal drake’s response, he had been expecting a good many Explanations of who the odd three were and what they were doing there, and while he may have entertained the thought of what he just said, the idea that they were indeed the servant and sons of not one but "Two" of the draconian was still held in doubt slightly in his mind.

"We." he responded. Following suit to their answer. "Are members of the children of Apophis... Notably the Sect that follows "His" he point to echo. "Master. The Beast Warlock... lord Nagaetros. The First Draconian." He makes a gesture and the remaining cultists lower their weapons. "Toy's, as they had called them." he crossed his arms. "Forgive me for my Skepticism, "eldest of "Phobos"" He said, speaking the Draconian of fears name with slight but restrained distaste.”But I can’t give full Credit to that claim... There are many of your kind after all. as You can reason." he ponders for a moment... then motions to the grave. "if you are who you claim to be, then Who reposes within this grave?"

Kane let out a growl, either in preparation to start a violent rant, or he was preparing to show Holf his true nature and put a bullet between his eyes after driving him insane with fear, both actions Necrosis didn't want to happen. Necrosis remained calm and Echo let out a chuckle.

" This grave is supposed to contain the corpse of the one who attempted to steal our master's will. a 'bald woman' whom I have yet to personally meet. Although, simply knowing who is in the grave doesn't prove who we are, does it? Allow me to remedy that."

Necrosis glares at Holf with his sockets and a sense of sheer terror begins to bear down on Holf's mind. Terror that freezes Holf where he is, unable to mutter a word, unable to even blink, the only action he can make is his body beginning to shake in place until his legs give out from under him.

"Do you believe I am a son of Phobos now? Necrosis said as he released Holf of his gaze.
Holfs shoulders start shaking as Necrosis takes his gaze from him, a sound like sobbing can be herd coming from him, causing worried exchanges among the members of the cultists around the drill rig. A shuttle passing by overhead with a bass hum. As the moments pass however, it becomes apparent the minister is not crying, but rather, is laughing. a Dry coughing laugh that carried well over to them.

"...Oh you speak the truth... you are who you claim to be." he said, looking up. a Satisfied grin on his face, sweat glinting on his brow. "Son of Phobos..."

Holf gets unsteadily to his feet. The cultists only stare at the minister, exchanging glances between him and the three drakes.

"Forgive me for my ignorance lord necrosis. i had to be positive of who you were... you were right of course, Knowing who’s in the grave doesn't prove anything..." hold said, nodding. "had you been lying about who you were, you would have simply told me who lies in it. But one of draconian blood, nay, the "King" of fear. Would not have tolerated such foolish questions... would they?" he asked, Looking at necrosis. Knowing that the thief had been in the grave would have been common knowledge yes. But that show of force through fear had been impressive enough to convince him, such things had only been mentioned in fragmented sect of fear after all. This necrosis was one to be wary of...
Necrosis glanced at his brother and Echo once more. Necrosis was well aware of his father's relationship with the other draconian and that simply being his son could draw suspicion on his brother and himself, especially from Nagaetros' sect of this cult.

"I am used to having to prove my identity. I lost my original body not long after I stopped calling my father 'king' and have paid the price ever since."

Echo gave Necrosis an impatient look. They were in a hurry after all; they had to find the bald woman before the other draconian could.

"Such is the price that comes with the prospect of immortality in that fashion." Holf said, giving an almost genuine nod towards the undead drake. "you have my..." he paused, as if considering whether or not to continue. "...Sympathies. for your situation." he nodded as he turned and began walking down towards the grave site, where the drill rig had finished powering up and was being maneuvered into position over the loose soil of the grave, the grass and sod having been torn off by the cultists around it.

"Now. We have our work to get back to..." the minister said, turning mid step to glance back at the three drakes. Notably at Echo’s impatient look as he regarded necrosis. "...and based on your knowledge, It's your work too I'll wager. Your here for the thief, just as we are..." He stood up straight, drawing a few short puffs from his pipe, which he had managed to avoid spilling in his small fit of terror. The blood-like smell of hot copper wafting from it.

"Perhaps we make both of our jobs easier? This "Bald woman" as you've called her seems to be our common prey, and we are looking to get her back to the same drake."
Echo's ear perked up at the sound of actual progress in their mission and Kane let a smirk cross his scarred mouth.

"We are more than willing to aid the followers of Nagaetros. But I request you allow me to dig up the corpse. If this is some form of trap, which it very well might be, we wouldn't want to lose anyone now, would we?" Necrosis asked as he followed Holf, running his skeletal hands on the tombstones as he passed them with a repetitive *click*.

Click.

Click.

Click.

--oOo--

To Be Continued:

And Continued From Episode One: ancerious-galactic.deviantart.…
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Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a (wo)man of wealth, and taste.
--The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy For The Devil”

--oOo—

The times around the point at which Shaw Haust became known to the Ascendancy were troubling ones, regardless for whose side your loyalty lay with. If you were a calveran, a demon, if you prefer the more antiquated term, you’d shortly be realizing that your world was falling apart, as many of your peers were in the more literal sense of the phrase. If you were in the Union, there were whispers in the dark of unrest with the Nakai; if you were Nakai, there were rumours that the Editors were moving in the night. The Immortal Empire was in the first stages of a terrible war, and terrorist organizations among the Infinite Empire of the Spartans would shortly be making some increasingly visibly demonstrations of their power. The Sicarii knew something was out there in that dark abyss, and they searched for it with expectations not to be met with like minded honesty.

But for us, it was peaceful enough. Shaw’s machinations were far enough away at that point, and the powers that were were carefully managing a quiet, controlled war against our enemies. There were complications, yes; their high hopes for the Killer of the Dead would never quite be matched to the degree they had anticipated. This was not to say that their ambitions were to any degree curtailed by this setback, and it was not their first encounter with setback either. Field Marshall Sloane had turned out to be substantially less than what he had presented himself as, and while that was not a capital offense in our eyes-nor was his attempt at seizing control-his failure to do so was.

In the original timeline, the Ascendancy was rather rash in its efforts to correct this error. They were not pleased that Sloane had misrepresented himself; it reflected poorly on the veneer of omniscience they like to paint themselves with. They had thus deployed a fleet back to rescue this ineffective leader, and the catastrophic ramifications of this elsewhen battle had, ultimately, lead to the release of the Silent Bastions.

Suffice to say, it went downhill from there.

They were very fond of calling the enemy the demons then; their zeal of purpose permeated everything they did. It was the will of the Khamood-Urr, they felt, to purge the galaxy of that dreaded blight. I will not put my own thoughts out here now on the validity of that perception; my opinions are my own, and very few if any share them. But their zeal lead them astray rather dramatically. Their botched assassination of Droth had lead to the dissolution of the neutrality arrangement between them and the Union of Worlds, and augmented by the pressures of Shaw’s minions, the Quiet Wars held their toll quite high above the heads of the Flux. When Dorin unsealed the doors to the Silent Bastions, more pain and suffering was unleashed upon this galaxy than any of the involved parties could have imagined.

They were their demons, in the end. They chose to reign in hell rather than serve in heaven.  The Flux Ascendancy held final victory atop a mighty pyre of souls, and they torched over half the galaxy out of fear that somewhere, someone might know their names. You can forgive me, then, if I refrain from recounting
mine.

--oOo—

I started by doing their dirty work, albeit without their blessings. I want to impress the point upon you that it was not an easy thing to do; one of the core tenets of our fathers was the sanctity of our lives. We would rather divide the heavens than harm one of our own…at least that’s what we teach. The original assassination of Droth, by order of the Heraldic Order, was always something that fascinated me. We do have looser definitions of right and wrong, admittedly, and this would have been something which would have interfered with stable relations with other factions, had we chosen to exist among them in the open. Just as time is constantly changing for the Flux, so was what the times called for.

Droth was a good man, an unusually good man, and one who in no real way deserved to die. But his failure was that he was assigned to an impossible task. A stable and lasting peace between the Union of Worlds and the Ascendancy was not even their goal when they opened up relations with the Emperor; it was evident to them that eventually, events would conspire to draw his forces into the great forge of battle. They only meant to delay their entry into the conflict. I suppose then that, in some strange way, they condemned Droth to death by appointing him to that post.

One thing I never understood though was precisely what made them decide that assassinating this emissary was better than issuing a temporal recall. They could have rewritten the event instead; the Union of Worlds would have admittedly entered the conflict in earnest then, as opposed to remaining a more distant party to its prosecution; but they could have dealt with that and remained unseen. But their efforts to assassinate Droth would have done more damage to their cause than if someone else had. So I did it for them.

Droth bled quietly on the floor after I’d withdrawn the blade-a Timecaster’s zeitstaff, which my father had acquired during the vicious eternity that was one reality’s conclusion of the Quiet Wars. It is a remarkably effective tool, though a foreign one; all the better, I suppose, given my own intents with Droth. The poor man bled quietly, and after the life had left him I was busy at work. Most of the galaxy was oblivious to Shaw’s machinations at this point, but the Ascendancy had some inclinations that not all was going according to plan in their patch of the multiverse. By blaming him for this action-and more importantly, by truly believing Shaw had done it-Dyxe would ultimately bring to the Emperor’s mind the connection between Sotek and Shaw; with any luck, his efforts to address this would bring further the cause for which I was willing to betray my own people for.

I painted that phrase on the wall-prepare for unforeseen consequences-not just as a warning to Shaw, as to my own people. They were my wards, and I was going to have to use a strong hand to guide them away from the pyre they would otherwise mount.

--oOo—

Field Marshall Sloane was not a happy man. Strapped to the gurney in a medical ward, he found himself considerably displeased by the turn of events. Port Astur had been a disaster; he had hoped his benefactors would have been compelled to arrive and aide him in achieving victory, but alas, no such action occurred. Fate had not smiled on him, and now, as he was being brought back to the names he had answered to, he felt a sense of frantic helplessness which he was neither familiar with nor fond of.
He never heard the doors open.

“Time,” a voice said softly, yet with a very melodic inflection, “does make monsters of us all.” He twisted his head rapidly, and realized that the guards must have let his visitor in. She stood by the door, out of the lights that blinded his vision. The chamber was empty otherwise; the nurses were gone, and machines were managing the IVs that dripped painkillers and their ilk into his veins.

“I have nothing to say to you.” Sloane grunted hoarsely, and he turned his head back towards the ceiling. He didn’t feel well; they’d drug his escape pod around for a while before finally unsealing him from that small metal cell and placing him in this larger, but equally metal, chamber. One cell to another.

“A noble sentiment.” The woman in the dark answered sincerely. “Your superiors will make you talk, in time. You’re going to be prosecuted for treason, espionage, saboutage...” Abruptly the voice shifted to another side of the room as Sloane felt a dreadful headache coming on. “…and that’s just the people on that side of things. Can you imagine what the other half must be thinking?”

“I don’t need to say anything to you without a legal representative being present.” Sloane replied evenly, as he tried to track the figure moving in the shadows. “I am aware of my rights-“

“I would say they’re rather disappointed. Their contact turned out to not only be trying to overturn a government they don’t object to, but one who was so confident that he became lazy. He let himself lose when it mattered most.” He heard footsteps now, echoing off the glass walls of the chamber, and turned to see a woman’s profile silloutetted against the bright lights. Her head had been shaved, but given the increasingly throbbing migraine and the bright lights, it wasn’t easy to make out her face.

“Ah dohn’t haff…”He began to answer, only to find his tongue not obeying his mind.

“Shh…” the women murmered, as she leaned over the gurney. “There’s not much more to say at this point.” Her form was abruptly blurring and wavering, and the throbbing in his head was growing loudly in intensity, as a thin trickle of blood began to patiently work its way down and out of one of his nostrils.

--oOo—

Quantum entanglement has allways been one of the hallmarks of our technology. It’s how we communicate, for starters. The flickering apparitions through which we appear when forgetting isn’t desired isn’t holographic; it’s local matter being manipulated from half a galaxy away. No wires, no discernible signals to track…just a chain of seemingly unrelated particles abruptly behaving as one entity.
This is also how we dispose of our dead; all armour, all flesh, everything that is Flux is recovered this way. We do not leave much of anything for spectators or survivors to ponder over. Debris, tissue…all of it is collected through this medium.

It was through this method that I lobotomized Sloane. He was alone in that room, contrary to what he saw; I was playing the synapses in his mind as I toar into them like an intangible pick axe. This was more merciful than you might begin to understand; he would have likely faced torture and execution for his shortcoming had he been allowed to persist as an individual beyond that point. Beyond that, he would have talked; perhaps he would have revealed facts about that mysterious entity he was working with.
I saw to it that his ship’s computer core was fried in the battle; his personal artifacts held no information of value either. In case he had hidden them, I skipped back in the timeline to the points where he had been in communication with the Ascendancy; and I took what little he kept in that hidden vault and made sure it too revealed nothing. If I am anything, I am thorough.

Time does make monsters of us all. The Flux were about to fight demons. Quite frankly, they needed demons of their own.
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The skirmish was over. The flames of the small but impressively furious struggle between the forces of the Cultists and the troops of the SSC and the USK having burned themselves out in the hour after they began. In doing they left behind a landscape that was fittingly enough, considering their location: a graveyard of the dead and dying.

Crashed shuttles smoldered in trenches they had torn through the well tended ground; suits of power armor, their metal rented or sliced cleanly through by the forces they fought lay sprawled over broken graves and the chewed up dirt of the fields outside of the cemetery’s gates. The coffin itself a molten ruin, its edges still glowing faintly in the Partially incinerated hull of the shuttle the cultists of Naga had attempted to flee with before a well aimed shot from the SSC prevented them from making off with that which was too valuable to allow to be lost to hostiles. The Cultists themselves were gone, either dead or taken off running after the mortal injuring of their minister, the man that was known as Holf having been carried off, his face and throat blown cleanly open. Gargling what could have been curses as his body was dragged away by the undead earth drakes, followed closely by the remaining members of his forces as they retreated.

The black mask of the woman grasped in a death grip in his hands, the last vessel of the cultists had taken the chaos that had erupted with the deployment of the minefield in the upper atmosphere to its advantage, rifting out of the atmosphere amongst bursts of flame and metal.

And as the first light of the rising sun to the planets west began shining across the torn hills of the cemetery, illuminating the wreckage and bodies strewn about, two figures entered the dying battle zone.

"Truly a gruesome sight, Chassavo." Said one of the figures to the other. He was a young royal fire drake in gold and white armor. "Although I suppose we shouldn’t have expected anything less when the Draconian are involved." Leo continued, motioning towards a pair of corpses, one holding a blood spattered helmet, a look of terror on his face with a bullet hole in his forehead.  The other corpses' head nothing more than a pile of flesh, bone, and grey matter. "It appears as though the inhabitants of this graveyard took part in the battle as well, corpses far older than these lie amongst the bodies of the soldiers." Leo drew attention to another corpse, nothing but bone and decayed flesh in tattered, dirt covered clothing, in its filthy claws was a soldier's arm. "Kane and Necrosis were here." Leo said as he returned his attention to Chassavo

"Those two?" The Time drake said, looking over the bodies and wreckage strewn about. Paying note to the large numbers of corpses that had seemingly erupted from their graves and lay across the landscape, most of them seemingly attacking both factions’ dead troopers in some way shape or form, their rotting and tattered clothes caked with dirt and smelling of rot. " Zeit Preserve us, not those two... " He knelt, taking in some of the smells in the air and noting the footprints in the dirt. Looking at the armored forms of the soldiers around them with quick glances. "There are others too." He said, noting several cultists that lay near them, their bodies riddled with gunfire. "Their positions are different... they don’t look like they were attacking each other at all." He went to one and knelt beside it, "Who are these people?" He lifted a section of Coat on the figure and uncovered a plate of shoulder armor, a painted yellow and black eye staring up from its surface.

Leo growled at the sight of the symbol. "The eye of Apophis, a mark worn by draconian cultists...they must’ve been after our thief as well..." Leo stopped and sniffed the air. "I smell hairspray and alcohol here... Echo was also involved...they must’ve been working together to capture our target."

"Hmm." Chassavo snorted as he stood up. Shoving the body over and covering the symbol under its bulk. Panning his head and sniffing the air, "Yeah that’s him… There’s also a hot copper smell, like burning blood. Can’t tell where that’s coming from..." He looked at Leo. "Do you think they managed to get whoever they were after? Lot of chaos by the looks of everything, they could have grabbed her and ran off while things were dieing down..."

The wind blew through the graveyard past a couple of mausoleums, blowing away the smell of death and bringing a new scent to Leo's nose, a smell all too familiar and unmistakable, a smell that made Leo shiver with dread.

"I smell Naga."

"I’m not sure how...but I’d know that smell anywhere" Leo answered, following his nose and turning to the mausoleums, his claws already engulfed in white hot flames ready for combat. His gaze set at the two tombs at a tall, inhuman form shrouded in shadow standing quietly between them, its golden eyes, it's only visible feature, watching the drakes amongst the corpses.

"He's there" Leo said silently, a growl slipping through his words.

Chassavo followed, drawing his blade. The Temporian mechanisms expanding its side blades with the sound of gears whirring. The odd hybrid of soul shard and versus tool on his chest glowing a powerful green, the energies transferring to his blade in visible streams. The Blade appearing to be covered in transparent green flames. He follows Leo’s gaze and in the shadows between the mausoleums, he spots the figure standing there. He growls lowly, infuriated with the Creature that stood before them.

"I see him." He replied, leveling the blade at the figure. Forming a swirling sphere of green water in his free hand.

Leo growled "I’ll rush him, be ready for when the devil's soul shard is exposed, go around and stick to the left"  Leo ordered quietly, The flames in Leo's hands began to shift and expand, forming two long blades of intense heat over his fists as get got in position to charge.

Chassavo only nodded, assuming a striking stance. His blade held at the ready, the sphere of water forming around his hand into a blade like form. "I'll be ready... don't go getting yourself killed Leo..." he mutters silently.

Leo dashed for the mausoleums, his blades ready to strike at the dark form.

Chassavo followed, taking off at a sprint for the left side of the Figure, dodging the graves and bodies as he went. His Zeit blade held close to his body at a striking stance, He prepped himself for a temporal shunt when Leo managed to get the figures attention and get his Guard down.

Before the two drakes could reach their target, the form calmly turned and disappeared around the side of one of the tombs, forcing Leo to a sliding halt as he reached the mausoleums in confusion, looking around for the enemy that was lost amongst the shadows.

Chassavo likewise slid himself to a stop, putting a foot on an overturned gravestone to bring himself to a stop before he could get to the twin tombs. His blade still held at a defensive stance, looking around like the royal drake was. Searching out the shadow drake amongst the large number of shadows that were cast by the light of the rising sun on the battle torn landscape. "Where'd he disappear to?" he called to the Fire drake.

“He's gone..." Leo replied, shining his blades into the darkness in search for the form.

"Ehh..." Chassavo grunted as he regarded the fire drake as he looked into the darkness between the two damaged mausoleums, drawing back his lips from his teeth with a slightly repressed snarl. Concentrating and time shunting over to where he was in a burst of Green flame and Static, his blade still held at the ready in the still quite possible chance of a sneak attack. "Is he back there Leo?" He asked as he stepped up to where he was, chancing quick glances around the cemetery.

Leo sniffed the air.

"The smell is beginning to fade. He's gone, at least for now..." Leo brought his blades deeper into the darkness of the tomb, shining light into the shadows and illuminating a coffin on a stone slab. "But he-" Leo started to say before he noticed a shape dash behind the coffin, rattling the box and its contents slightly in the process.

Heh..." Chassavo said. "I suppose that’s some amount of good news-" He stopped mid sentence as the royals flames illuminated the shape as it dashed behind the coffin that lay within the tomb, taking a reflexive step back when it shook and Rattled the long dry bones that lay within it. "What was that?" He asked the fire drake in a whisper.

"I’m not sure...but it looks human by the heat it's giving off..." Leo replied silently while cautiously moving into the mausoleum.

Leo made his way to the shaking casket to investigate, his blades ready to strike in case of danger.

As Leo made his way up and around the casket, his ears tuned in on an unlikely sound for the land of the dead: breathing. It was close to him, so terribly close to him, and intuitively he could imagine it was just on the other side of the casket, which sat atop a pedestal of carved hands, as if the hands were cradling the body within that deteriorating wooden box.

As he reached the coffin he turned to make sure Chassovo was ready for whatever happened next.

Following some gesture of reassurance from his partner, Leo’s blades burned brighter as he came about the corner, ready to strike-

-only to find nothing. The aisle between the coffins in the mausoleum was bare, leading to a momentary confusion on his part as he glanced up rapidly towards Chassovo and then back down at the aisle. He looked more closely, and could in fact see the footprints in the dust. Someone had come this way, that much was certain; there were tiny droplets of blood along with the footprints, and as he glanced back at the footprints, he again traced them to here. Here there was some strange scuffing on the floor, and here the footprints stopped.

Still though, he could hear breathing.

Chassavo took a step forward, Curious at that which had apparently stumped the royal. Walking in a careful tread around the Back end of the coffin to look down the aisle, his Zeit Sword held half at his side. Following the Path of the footprints and dripped blood roughly to where they turned next to the coffin and stopped. "Hmm." He muttered, half to himself, his ears. This was much like that of the fire drake, cocked and alert as the sound of the breathing seemed to emanate from apparently nowhere. It troubled him. "There’s someone there..." he said half deductively to the royal. Speaking to himself a little more then he was to Leo.

Carefully he stooped down. Motioning for the royal to keep quiet, gathering a fist full of dust in his claw. With a Flick of his wrist he tossed it over the Area the breathing was emanating from, and then reassumed a defensive stance. Waiting for the dust to settle and show them more of what lay there, assuming of course that it was physical enough for the technique to work. He thought to himself.

Leo watched quietly, blades at the ready.

The dust settled slowly, and in its own way, the trick worked; but hardly in the way had Chassovo expected. It settled peaceably onto the ground, and for a moment, all was quiet as the grave. Chassovo paused in disappointment for a moment at the lack of an outline appearing.

Then, their quarry coughed, and in an instant a flurry of activity began. Someone had been lying prone beneath the coffin, which was suspended little more than two feet off the ground by those ponderous stone hands, and now was rolling out onto the far side, scrambling towards parts unknown.

It was at this same juncture that behind their backs, a shape rose to its feet, or to a position similar to that. Leo paused as the figure emerged from under the coffin, his first thought was to try to stop it but something seemed off about this form. He gave chassavo a quick glance to see what he might do.

Chassavo glanced first in the direction of the first figure. Then pivoting around in the direction that the sound of footsteps and the appearance of prints running from the tomb, giving a glance at the fire drake with a look of Alertness. "Leo!" He said quickly. "You deal with the new one..." He took a leap onto the Coffin. , already pursuing the first Figures rough direction. "...I'll follow the first. Contact me if you need me..." He took another leap, this one landing him outside of the entrance of the mausoleum entrance, following the footprints and blood spatters.

Leo gave Chassavo a quick nod and fell to all fours, his blades extinguishing as he began his chase after the second figure, quickly closing the gap between them.

Chassovo's quarry darted out into the red sky. The sun was rising slowly, and the fog was beginning to be cut by the day's rising light. He could see the figure stumbling through the early morning light, narrowly avoiding the tombstones and stepping on bodies with almost as much frequency as they avoided them. They were running low to the ground, and on times it almost seemed that they were running on all fours.

Leo's quarry, on the other hand, stood perfectly still.

Chassavo paused for a moment as he followed the progress of the figure, yet he kept moving fast enough to keep it within his range of sight in the early morning fog. Tracking its quick, if not particularly smooth progress through the graveyard, he sheathed his Zeit staff on his back and took off across the torn landscape after the figure.

As he ran, he glimpsed the timelines that continuously flowed around them. It was a natural ability of his people, and it was one of his traits that had carried with him into his new, if not much taller and scalier form. As he did, the landscape shifted, becoming blurred and grey in its tones, but all around him, there were streams of colors, timelines of individual people and the multiple branches that represented their hundreds of choices. Most were dark, he saw. Those were the lines of the dead. While others were still lit, but visibly growing dimmer, the streams of the freshly dead or lingering that lay across the field. But of his Quarry there was no stream to be found, only the faintest of glimpses of color that stretched off in the Direction they had followed.

"So it is the thief." Chassovo thought to himself, and then made himself run faster after them.

Unfortunately for his quarry, she was tired, and he was dead. Combined, these lead to a less than thrilling chase on the part of the pursuee; Chassovo didn't feel fatigue quite the same way she did, and she had, after all, had a rather late and long night.

Leo had made an attempt to grab the form on contact but passed through, appearing on the other side of the non-reactive figure like it didn’t exist. He quickly re- evaluated the situation and after a few quick slashes through the form to be sure, ran after Chassavo and his true target

Chassavo in the meantime had maintained his pursuit, finding quickly that he was closing the distance between himself and the thief at an increasing amount. This was something that admittedly surprised him. Even more so surprising then the ragged breathing he heard drifting back to him. Indeed it appeared that the fleeing figure had not escaped the conflict that had occurred without taking injury themselves, if the blood trail they were leaving behind them was any indicator. Presently rhea Time drake wished to end the pursuit, more for the figures sake of health then his own. Concentrating and making a short temporal shunt some ways ahead of the figures path. Appearing further in front of her in a burst of green flame and static. "Stop!” He called out in a tone that could have been concern, raising a clawed hand. "Please, hold on." Chassavo said, raising his hands in the air in a non threatening gesture.

It was at that moment that they began to understand that their quarry was not just injured. She was far, far from well.

A thin mixture of blood and tears ran like finely watered paint down her face from where her eyes had once been; her clothes were stained with dirt and blood, and torn severely in several locations, and as she crouched there they could see blood trickling from a black and purple wound in the lower regions of her leg. The pain should have been substantial, and if her unnaturally contorted facial expression was any indication, this was still the case.

She paused there for a moment, before abruptly looking over her shoulder towards where Leo remained at a safe distance. On seeing the woman's disfigured face, he abruptly began to question the effectiveness of two people trying to stop one from running when there was so little cover around them...

...and as she turned her face forward again, her gauntlet's plates began spinning slowly, with a manner to them that was eerily reminiscent of a cat's tail when its attention has been taken.

Chassavo Tensed as he saw the device on her arm seemingly cycle up to speed, Metal plates spinning with seemingly no devices driving them. He grasped the handle of his staff, debating weather or not she would force him to draw it.  "Wait..." He said again, raising his free hand. "We're not here to be hostile miss... We're just looking for someone. We think you’re who we're looking for... the Names Chassavo.” He finished, trying to get conversation started.

As for the Bald Woman, she was panicking. From the timeline, she could tell that there was a drake in front of her; a drake who had additionally just shunted itself in front of her.

Only one drake came to mind that fit those criteria.

She could feel another creeping up behind her, and as it did, she was panicking. She was blind, and she was crippled, and there he was. He had waited all this time, just to get her while she was down.

Slowly, lips peeled back into a toothy snarl, a silent snarl, as she regretted a few key choices that had gone on this evening.

Leo moved closer to the woman, claws open, ready to restrain her to prevent anymore harm on herself while she was distracted by Chassavo, he silently stepped forward, ready for whatever she might try next.

Chassavo tensed even more as he saw the expression on her face change from the wary look of exhaustion and restrained paint to an almost primal snarl as she turned her attention back towards him. If he could have guessed it was his presence that had changed her mood to such a degree. And she looked coiled to strike.

"Frick..." He cursed silently to himself as he gripped the handle of the staff on his back. "Wait..." he said as the device on her forearm cycled up faster, drawing the staff. It was making its usual Ticking sound. Taking a glimpse of the semi hidden timeline of the woman crouched before him and seeing that she ment to strike him with whatever weapon she had, he knew it would hurt if it struck true. It would hurt like hell. "Wait!!" He called out again; the tension in his voice apparent as his staff cycled itself up, shifting into its sword Mode.  "We're not who you think we are, wait!!..." he said, nearly at a yell.


----TO BE CONTINUED----

this takes place after the events of Dark Rendezvous part 3 and a project between LordNagaetros, CommodoreHorton, and Tenebraesrising.
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She unbuttoned her sleeve once the door had closed with a dull groan behind her, and as her fingers nimbly rolled the sleeve to her shoulder, she glanced over the motifs carved into the walls again. How far back, she wondered thoughtfully as she reached out and ran her fingers along the carvings again…how far back? She pinched some of the sand and dust out of one of the cracks and sniffed it tentatively, before rubbing it again through her fingers and letting it drift towards the floor.

Her enclosed arm was enshrouded in a temporal hex gauntlet; not only was it far beyond the present day temporal tech of her people (and that was truly saying something) but she had made it herself. It extended from her wrist up to the skin right before her elbow; at the wrist and elbow were two thin bands with blue eminations bleeding out as they opened and began spooling to power. Between these two bands was a series of overlapping metal plates, which were now beginning to loosen and spin slowly around the length of her arm. They gradually spread out farther and farther from the skin which the normally covered, and as they spun up to speed-a gradual process, as she wasn’t in a hurry now- until they revolved rapidly at perhaps six inches distance from her arm.

And then without further ceremony, she vanished. There was no flash of light, crack of thunder, or any noteworthy effect of any note beyond that. Had she not been alone in the room, other occupants might have felt a brief breeze, but it vanished before they would have thought much more of it.

She had arrived at her destination, or at least what was left of it. For miles there was nothing but rubble and debris. Cries of horror and pain filled the air as survivors found what was left of their homes, their families, and their world. The sky was pitch black without a cloud in the sky, even though it was only mid-day. As she looked on, where the great throne room once stood, she could see a black crystal spear jutting straight from the ground almost 50 feet high, and impaled at it's point was the head of a royal drake, a look of terror upon his face, looking down upon the wasteland. At the base of the spear stood Helios, much younger than before, watching as two wind drakes work to remove the grizzly display.

The plates spun slower and slower around her arm as they descended again to their regular locations, but she paid no attention to returning her sleeve to its original place as she looked over the desolation. It was a terrifyingly awesome sight; banners lay impaled in among the debris with irregularity, and the corpses stretched to the horizon. There were many bonfires dotting the scene, and their black fingers of smoke stretched skyward like dozens of hands were grasping at the heavens. They were burning the bodies, she realized as she glanced over her shoulder. This was the entry way to the palace, and she could imagine where those great carvings would go, and where in future days buttresses and arches would reach towards the heavens. The far wall where the mosaic would be was crumbled, but from her spot in the antechamber she was facing the back of where it might be, so she quietly moved towards a better vantage point for it.

Whatever battle had been fought here seemed almost spiritual in scale; the artifacts of war lay scattered all about the floor, and as she glanced up at that unnaturally dark sky, she wondered if her quarry would have visited this point. His was a malevolent spirit, and days like this must feel like home to him.

A squad of earth drakes moved past her, paying no attention to the strange visitor, instead looking to the ruins. As they passed, the rubble began to shake and move, eventually taking to the air and settling on top of the remains of the walls, crudely repairing them. Several more drakes flew high over her head in all directions, watching for survivors no doubt.

She moved quietly through the dark, ignoring the scene around her. She entertained for a moment the notion that her foe might be circling above, but disregarded it; she would have felt his shadow and recognized it in her sleep. The havoc of the hour was preoccupying the drakes, and her presence was not registered among them as they busied themselves with repairs and the dead and dying.

Her expression shifted as the smell of burning flesh, acrid and unappealing, wafted through the air around her. The wind was shifting, and smoke laden with the scent of burnt hair burned her eyes slightly, causing them to water as she came through the destroyed doorway and entered the center chamber. She eyed the massive skeleton and spear, but avoided them for now to investigate the mosaic.

As she waited, the wind drakes had finally dislodged the remains of their previous king from the great spear and dropped it to the ground with a thud. In disgust, helios turned away from the dreadful sight, finally noticing the strange creature waiting in the rubble for seemingly nothing.  Helios drew his sword and approached the strange creature wearily. "Who are you?! What are you doing here?" he cried out as his blade set itself on fire, ready for battle.

The Bald Woman froze for an instant in surprise, but her posture didn’t shift at all. “Kings do not slay guests in their courts. Not good kings, anyway.” She turned away from the ruined wall to face her eager challenger, and looked back at the battle-postured drake with an almost amused look on her face. “Is there hope left at this hour for you, Helios?”

confusion took hold of helios at the bald woman's reply, the flames circling his sword dying down."A guest of the king? Is this some sort of a cruel joke to you, creature?" His expression a mixture of confusion and anger. "Look around you! If there is any hope for myself or my people, it is not in your sick comedy!"

She frowned. “But there is no longer no hope, is there?” The double negative was a conscious effort on her part, despite its grammatical awkwardness. She gently kicked a piece of gravel across the floor as she turned to face the drake, his sword still drawn. She met his gaze with an equally blank face. The drake smelled funny; not in the conventional way though. As a Heraldic, she could smell the hormones in his blood; and they were things of fear and anxiety. Coming from a drake though, it carried a strangely salty scent as well, almost bitter, but still readable.

“If you intend to threaten my life, will you permit me to defend myself?” She asked politely. It was an ironic statement, and with any luck the civility of its tone would contrast just what Helios was threatening to a great enough degree that he’d come to his senses before she’d be forced to do something forceful about it.

The flames around Helios' blade had completely died down. His face almost expressionless as he sheathed the sword. "No,there will be no more fighting. too many have died this day." he moved closer to the bald woman with slight limp in his step. "Please forgive me. I have lost much in the last few days, and ive not seen a creature such as yourself before. I can’t help but be cautious, my people do not need another disaster."

She saw the weight on his shoulders and grinned an old, soft grin with true sympathy. "Caution is wisdom well displayed. It shows your spirit well." She looked inquisitively towards the body by the throne. "Who committed this?" She asked earnestly. Chaos of this sort surely bore relation to her purpose here. The damages stretched on to the horizon, and likely a great ways beyond.

He paused for a moment before answering; taking a deep, pained breath, his expression unchanged. "The monster that did this called himself 'Nagaetros'. Such a terrible word, but all too appropriate for such a nightmare. "

She mouthed the word silently in repetition, before turning back towards the wasteland.
"Has it been contained?" It was a simple question, and one she did not ask without proper care. There was a degree of apprehension to it, but it was all in all rather pointless to foster such emotions. She would be tracking Nagaetros to the point at which his timeline ever so briefly intersected with her target's, or rather shortly thereafter. But at present, she could easily imagine the fear involved in this world; chaos was reigning still.

"Yes, but at a great cost. I’ve lost almost all of my family. Almost every royal drake in existence, and all we could do was make him a prisoner in his own body." he directed her to a crater in the center of the city's ruins. at the crater's center was a massive black and red crystal in the shape of a jagged star. Even from where Helios and the bald woman stood, they could feel the energy radiating from it. Lying on the ground next to it rested 2 smaller and more circular and smooth crystals of red and blue." I had to seal him and what's left of my family away just to stop the chaos. The monster just wouldn’t die." A tear ran down Helios' muzzle. "They don’t deserve to awaken to a world in destruction" he said to himself quietly, almost as if to hold himself back.

She made a mental note, two actually, and looked away from the stone. It was a very malicious looking thing, suitable for a prison to a terrible creature no doubt, and quite frankly as facts came together she was glad she would not have to be the one to release it. Someone would do that before her, that much was evident. Shaw wouldn't be given his powers had Nagaetros remained solidly in his tomb of crystal.

"You may want to guard it heavier than you would forsee," she mused as she looked back at where the mosaic would be, and at that moment she realized that it and the crystal far away lined up perfectly. It was a map of sorts. Regardless of the guards, the stone would ultimately give up its occupant at some point in the next hundred million years or so. "Evil tends to have a long memory, and a longer life." She was considering many things at this point; with the knowledge of a name and a particular location where that name had been, she could locate anyone without all too much trouble. She felt a misplaced sense of relief in that she knew she could find the creature who had aided Shaw, but it was with great reservations: for she could see just how fearsome Nagaetros would be. She would have to deal with him...carefully.
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The second of a weekly series of News Broadcasts brought to you by the Union news Network here in Ancerious


NOTE Some of the art featured here is not mine and i do not claim credit for it, it is the credit of the artists who produced the pieces, im just using it as a freindly representative pieces to help tell a story. Nothing serious.

for :iconancerious-galactic:

Spartans belong to :iconsoundwave3591:

Tenebrae belongs to :icontenebraesrising:

NUSSR belongs to :icontoravich12:

Nex belongs to :iconcrystalnexus:

Cult of Apophis belongs to :iconLordNageatros:
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It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

--All My Tears, by Julie Miller (www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yzreo…)

--oOo--

The hunt had been going on for a while now, Nagaetros still hadn’t shown signs of recovery and his loyal servants, the hounds, and shadowbreed, the very shadows themselves were getting restless. They wanted their master back. They wanted to capture the thief and make her suffer, but this seemed to be against their master’s wishes. He wanted her alive for reasons known only to him; all they could do was follow his wishes as best they could.

Music filled the halls of Naga’s lair as Echo made his way through them. He was almost dancing from the combination of excitement and the music he created with his powers. The grey sound drake knew tonight there would be another attempt to “capture” the thief of Nagaetros’ will, this “bald woman” as the hounds had said, and according to the doctor their attempts were going exactly as planned, even though Echo himself couldn’t remember these encounters for some odd reason. The doctor said the memory loss was probably the thief’s doing, she clearly had the ability to manipulate the mind in some form, so Echo didn’t doubt the doctor’s theory. He knew whatever he had done he had been doing right, and that’s all that mattered.

Echo stopped in front of a large steel door with a mechanical eye in its center and waited his music ever present and loudly sounding through the halls, he couldn’t help but dance a little. The sound of his music was interrupted by a loud electronic screech; Echo silenced the music so he could listen. “Ztop dancing you fool!” the voice droned from the door with a unique machine-like buzz mixed with its thick accent. “You vere supposed to be here un hour ago!” the doctor’s voice screeched.
“Hey! sorry, doc! My concert ran a little late and I had to answer a few questions for a couple of fans!” Echo replied, his ears drooped down and his hands rose defensively at his excuse. “I can’t disappoint my fans, now can I?” Echo said with an insincere smile.

“Vine! It doesn’t matter anyvay.” The docor said calmly through the door as it slid open with a mechanical *whir* allowing Echo to enter the doctor’s lab.

Echo was obviously confused by the doctor’s reply to his excuse. Usually the doctor would continue to berate him for his tardiness, not give in and accept his excuse. This just peaked Echo’s curiosity; something was going on, something different, and quite possibly something good. With his hands in his pockets and his eyes set forward, Echo strode into the doctor’s quarters as quick as he could before the good doctor shut the door on his tail.

The doctor’s lab was a large, poorly lit room, almost a garage, filled with hundreds of machines and the doctor’s “projects”, some covered in tarps, and some locked away in cages. In the center of the room were a large metal operating table and a smaller table covered in tools and torture devices, still bloody from the doctor’s latest project. On the far wall from the door way was a wide array of large screens, each screen had something different on it like security footage, recordings of the doctor working, or a soap opera, an odd sight to say the least considering the doctor’s cold and uncaring nature.


Echo turned to face the green skinned, blood stained, white robed, many armed, mechanical monstrosity that was the doctor as he shut the door. “So, doc, what’s up?”
“Ve’ve found her. Und zhere vill be no running zhis time.” The doctor’s voice was no different on this side of the door, in fact it was almost worse.

“What makes you think that?” Echo questioned as he looked around the room which was too dark and gruesome for his liking, it always creeped him out. “She’s been running pretty well so far, what’s to stop her this time?”

“She’s zix veet under hallowed ground.” The doctor answered with a hint of glee in his voice.

“Oh.” Echo’s ears dropped at the words the doctor had just happily revealed to him. “But how is that possible? We haven’t killed her and gods know that naga wouldn’t let her just die with his will.”

“Because zhere’s a trick to be vound. By now she know’s how ve’ve been tracking her. she took Jester’s necklace vith zhe zoul zhard in vone of our recent huntz. she’s clearly attempting zomezing here. She’s not ztupid, after all.” The doctor’s voice grated Echo’s ears with every word; it was such a horrible and confusing noise, it didn’t help that he had an accent but that metallic echo to it was almost unbearable. The doctor began limping closer to Echo, headed towards the screens. Each foot step was accompanied by the unique sound of *click, click, whir* the source of the odd sound hidden away under the doctor’s floor length coat, but it obviously annoyed the doctor as well as his spider like right hand kept a firm grasp on the side of his leg

“Ok, then. What’s the plan? ” Echo jumped at the new sound of the repetitive*click* of clawed footsteps on the metal floor as two drakes walked past the cages and concealed machines into view. The first was literally rotting away, a living, decaying corpse dressed in a priest’s outfit and holding a large, wicked looking scythe made of vertebrae in its skeletal hands. Echo immediately recognized him as Necrosis, Naga’s loyal necromancer and an advisor of sorts. The second drake was shorter, about human sized, and looked to be a blast from the past dressed as an old western bounty hunter, holstered guns, duster coat, and all, with a rattlesnake’s tail and a scarred, coyote like head, Echo recognized him as Kane, Necrosis’ younger brother , master illusionist, and undead bounty hunter.

“We go grave robbing” Necrosis said with an almost Russian accent, but there was something more to it, something older and even more foreign. Necrosis and Kane walked closer to where the doctor and Echo stood.

Echo couldn’t believe the bag of bones could even walk, let alone talk, he knew Necrosis rarely kept a body but he wondered how long gone one must be for Necrosis to move on to a new one. He also never liked how Necrosis’ empty eye socket seemed to follow him, he almost wanted to see if it would now with a few dodges and jumps but he knew the doctor wouldn’t appreciate the attempt in his lab where nonsense and fun were practically illegal, but Necrosis didn’t have the same opinion, he usually enjoyed the attempts of Echo and Jester to test him.

Kane had picked up a drake bone shear from the doctor’s tools and examined it in his clawed hands, opening and closing the scissor like device and giving it a wide, sadistic smile with his scarred jaws, his tail gave a slight rattle as he put the shears back on the table. Gods know what he was thinking, but it was probably directed at their quarry. “We need to get the boss back; this has gone on too long.” He gave an accusing glance at Echo but spoke indirectly to everyone there. “You shoulda got me to hunt her down the first time; I coulda got the witch to break without all of this running about.”

“We needed her alive! A concept a gun slinging zombie Phobos spawn such as you couldn’t comprehend!” Echo snapped. Kane let out a loud, menacing growl. Kane was always quick to anger, and even quicker to pull the trigger, fortunately Naga kept him from shooting his peers when they angered him. Kane was clearly fighting the urge to shoot Echo right now, all the more reason to get Naga back to his former glory.
“So you want me, a walking corpse, and coyote boy over there, to go and set off this obvious trick, in an attempt to get the boss back?” Echo questioned the doctor. “sounds like fun, but why this time?”

“Because, zhe Ancerious cult of Apophis haz found her az vell, und if zhey know vhat’s going on, zhen jormundgand knows too. Zhe last zhing ve need iz zhat draconian to get involved in zhe maztur’s plan.” The doctor began work on a new project as he spoke, not letting the situation slow down his progress. “if he getz to her, zhen all of zis vill be for naught.”

“Ok, I get it. This time, we actually bring something back. No more pretend. No more games” Echo motioned Kane and Necrosis to the door where he soon followed.

“We’re bringing the boss back.”

--oOo—

There were no attendees at her funeral, whoever she was. I never met her, as far as I could tell, beyond that note I found on my desk that night with a ridiculously high stack of casino chips in that bag. How it got there is something I still don’t fully understand. It’s my handwriting. My fingerprints.  But I don’t remember writing it. I don’t remember much of anything. A memory block, perhaps? I looked into that the day before the funeral; hired a Spartan refugee to comb my memories of that one particular night. She said there wasn’t anything there, wasn’t even a memory’s echo. I can tell you that reality stopped at this point, and resumed at that one; I can imagine she was here in that spell of time, perhaps. But there’s nothing. There’s just nothing.

She had arranged the thing in advance. I was just the executor of her wishes. The coffin, the plot, it was all pre-purchased, and the expenses were all covered. Someone just had to orchestrate it, and that was my job. You can believe me when I say that the first thing I did when I saw the coffin was try to open it; it was a metal thing covered in thousands of parallel scratches, all coming from three or four directions and wrapping around the boxes corners in a strange weave. The funeral home owner said he couldn’t remember seeing a coffin like it before, and with any luck he said he’d never have to see one like it again. Gave him bad luck, the old man said. Bad dreams.

…and yes, I did try to open it. The thing was solidly latched in ways I couldn’t understand. Mystery woman he’s never met, no name, pays detective to organize her funeral. Sends well sealed coffin. No proof of body. Where have I heard this one before? Was she even real? Did she really die? Was there anything in that ominous metal coffin? Hell, what if it was someone else’s body? There were no answers. Only questions atop questions. Atop questions.

…atop questions.

As per her request, we buried the coffin with haste. There were no mourners; the pastor wasn’t even involved. The cemetery was quiet, minus the rustling of dying leaves in the wind. It was an autumn morning that we buried her, and as they shoveled dirt atop her coffin and it faded from view, I wondered just what was inside that box, and who’d put it there. I stayed above the freshly unmarked grave for a few hours, resting against the tombstone and wondering.

I had unaccounted for money, and I know I’d gone to meet someone on that now infamous casino ship at one point; I was supposed to head back to it once I had information on a high-ranking Tenebraen timecaster, but a botched robbery lead to the deaths of most of the ship’s passengers and crew, and as the ship was now undergoing a massive refit, it didn’t seem plausible to meet my employer there. Yet the money would keep coming in, indicating I was meeting someone; I even hid cameras in my office in an effort to capture whoever I was working for, but I seemed alone in that room.

Vampires don’t show up on cameras, do they?

--oOo—

Holf's face was set in an expression of calmness as he strode into the bridge of the Tenebrean patrol cruiser he commanded, ahe Automated door sliding shut behind him with an audible sound of minute crystal turbine engines mounted in the wall. A few short steps brought him to the captain’s station of the pill shaped crystal glass enclosed control room. Wear was evident among the equipment and consoles as the crewmembers manned them, several of them held a patchwork quality of construction to them, their controls and holo-screen projectors looking like they had been pulled from other types of craft, while others were simply dark, their internal systems either disconnected or no longer functioning. All of it told the overall nature of their semi-retired and heavily serviced vessel, although it was in no way something to laugh at, as several other Tenebrean patrol craft had discovered as it had made its way out of the Obcasio system.

He couldn’t help but scowl as he looked down at the planet below the vessel as it orbited high above the atmosphere, Leaving Obcasio hadn't exactly been easy. It had been less then a day before that the gathered followers of the Children of Apophis had received word of the theft of the willpower of the draconian Nagaetros from the Herald known as Echo, and throughout the system, the Followers of his Truth had taken to the stars en mass. Although, he couldn’t help but note, most of them had taken off in the directions of where this... thief, this "bald Timecasting woman" had been spotted and confronted by the Heralds as they tracked her across the stars. Converging on cities and the known locations of vessels that had served as the Locations of these conflicts between her and them.

His own ships (He commanded three the other two further along in their own geocentric orbits around the planet) had taken off at a later date, the reason for that being a message him and his crew had received from one of the dark coated members of the Time-breakers. The follower of the cult of Shaw-Haust (apparently from the Dark figure himself!) telling them that they would find the woman, buried in a fresh grave, deep in the center of a massive graveyard on a distant world, as designated by a specific set of Geo-Coordinates that had been included with the Holo-file. How she had ended up there, Hoft noted dryly, had not been explained.

He scoffed silently. The Truth of the All-Devourer Apophis and his messengers was one thing, Naga and the others actually Existed, there was proof in the actions that they had committed. The ERVO itself was a shining example of their masterwork in showing them the dominating true nature of existence, but still, it had been some sort of lead. And following a short eighteen hour preparation period, they had taken off on a route to one of the systems many towers. But leaks had apparently existed in their initiative and only halfway to the tower they had fallen under siege by part of the system security fleet, spearheaded by... and he still couldn't believe it himself fully. A Temporian ship, A Fracking class one Temporian Temporal-Spear. A Fracking time-caster had called the Obcasio Security force down on them,..

The skirmish had been brief, but it had been brutal. By the time they had worn the small assault fleet down enough to manage to escape, they had lost two of their original five ships. A sizable loss, but it assured them there had to be something worthy of note at the location they were Towering out to. It had taken them some time to locate a tower that didn’t have security crawling all over it like ants on a Sweets bar. But in the end they had managed, making the jump to the system they found themselves in now, orbiting one of the inner worlds of the three odd stars that circled themselves at its core.

He looked down at the world, noting several of the cities sprawling under the cloud cover, their outlines defined by the lights of their streets as they passed into the night side of the planets rotation. The halo of the sun as it passed out of sight around the curvature of the world casting a dull reddish gold light across the lands below and within the cockpit, the light reflecting off of his face. It was not a heavily developed world, orbital traffic had been of a moderate level, and the cities were, for their sprawling size, Somewhat small for a colony planet.
Settled in the last 3,000 years, he thought to himself. Taking a few steps forward to the Edge of the console platform suspended in the center of the bridge, he looked over the metal railing through the expansive crystal glass view port below, down at the canvas of the world stretching out beneath them.

"Do we have a pinpoint location yet?" he asked, not turning his head.

"Not yet sir, we're still narrowing down the vectors." a calvara seated at the console nearest to him replied, heavy goggles settled over his otherwise naked skull.

"Then start bringing us out of orbit." he said, turning to face the officers on the bridge. "Have one of the other ships stay up here in case we need additional help in bringing the temporian on board. Vox the crew. Tell them to arm the ship and stay on alert." He said, turning back to look down at the darkening world as the ship began its sloping decent with a gentle lurch as it's A-Grav systems began to engage. A look of screwed concern and caution spreading across his face.

"A Time-Caster tried to get us off her trail, There's no doubt that he'll follow us here or he's already waiting for us down there with her. We're not taking any chances either way, the first Herald of Apophis must be made whole again. This is our duty, this is our mission. Prep the gun shuttles for launch..."

"They want her alive.."

--oOo—

The first installment in what will be the best damn episode I’ve ever contributed to. Thus far, featuring LordNaga, Henry, and myself. Stay tuned.
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Space is vast... not a simple statement. but the vast stretches of empty void between worlds even within systems can seem to stretch forever. The empires of the Ancerious galaxy, foreign, or native. had learned long ago to navigate this dark sea. Building ships of ever increasing size and complexity to cover the vast distances between their worlds and orbital’s. Some however, had better ability to do this then others.

The drakes had carved out their new territory on the edges of the others. And had established their people among the others with vessels that infused the arcane art of magic with the structured fields of Technology.
Their border defenses, as a result, were some of the best in the galaxy.  Utilizing both to detect, and deflect hostile ships along its length.

But space, is vast.

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

The Probing fleet rifted in on the edge of the border, half an orbit or so from the farthest reaches of the spells that encompassed it. a tight, well organized collection of about 8 vessels in total, Two larger ships, kilometers long, dwarfing the smaller vessels clustered around them.
the ships themselves were of an odd, almost insectile design, mirroring several known species of the human home world of earth.  The most notable being the lion ant and the Tick. Their hulls catching a distant stars light as a  dark textured metal, mixing odd oily dark sheens with darkened brass colored  sections.
The fleet coasted the rim of the border. Several thousand miles from it. Their crews diligently, almost obsessively maintaining their posts within them. Teams of them overlooking readouts projected over hybrid holographic displays in the command rooms, looking for the reason why they had come to such a seemingly remote region of the void. The bridges zealot composed crew maintaining the same level of attention to their functions at bizarrely designed terminals along the walls. While sophisticated holographic screens of distinctly drake design took the place of the view panes common on most ships within the galaxy.
One of them, upon receiving word from the Command chamber on the larger of the two main vessels, stood up from his place on the terminal. taking a light run towards the center of the bridge, where the commander of the ship sat in a throne of shifting brass panels in the center of the rear of the room.

"My Templar" he said to the figure sitting in the throne. taking a kneeling postion as he did. "the chambers have delivered their findings on the veil... There is a point of weakness near that we might use..."

"Excellent, Zealot Tak." the Templar replied through his skull-like mask, giving him a monstrous appearance. his voice was masked by his breathing apparatus within his helmet, giving him a metallic echo to his voice. His dark, armored form shifting as he rose from his throne, his appearance dwarfing the already heavily armored zealot kneeling before him. He set the gaze of his brilliant red visor down on the zealot, its bright, emotionless gaze burned into the back of the zealot's helmet as the crusader moved his cape from his shoulders, letting it hang along his back like a pair of massive black wings.
"Prepare the report. We must inform the cardinal of our findings."

The zealot gave the sign of the draconian naga with his arms, the version of a salute among the Children of apophis. Before rising to his armored feet. his own armor design of a basic template standard, lesser in size and intimidation then the templar sitting above him, But still more then capable to matching the standard infantry of most of the known militaries of the empires. He did not raise his own armored helm to meet the gaze of the templar that towered in his command throne, being of a lower rank of the faith.
"Yes, my lord templar" He said in his own distorted voice. "By Apophis' will, it shall be done." He added with a second salute of the sign, before turning away and going back to his console. Going to work preparing the report on the data their group had found to send back to their regions of operation.

The Templar stepped forward, his heavy boots thudding against the cold metal floor like slow paced drum beats as he approached the railing, which he then wrapped his massive clawed armored hands around and looked down upon the zealots. Twin streams of steam releasing from his mask as he took a deep breath.

"My brothers!" The templar said aloud. "The draconian lords smile down upon us this day! Rejoice, for we have found what we have came for!" His monstrous voice boomed for all to hear clearly. The Templar reached out a hand, his fingers splayed apart. "Set the course! We initiate our second phase now!"

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

On the planet Draconis, in the center of the Drake Empire's space, a pair of wary eyes closely monitored a lime green holo-screen, which flashed white, and red on an outline of Drake territory, just outside their borders. Eight unknown vessels were setting off the proximity alert.
"Fire Lord Pyracian..." the drake called out behind him. "There appears to be eight large vessels just outside the veil...Vigil thinks they might be a threat."
A large fire drake in ceremonial armor approached the smaller drake.
"Bring up a visual, Vigil" Pyracian ordered. The screen flashed, producing a new larger screen for Pyracian to see. the screen displayed the bug-like ships as they drifted through space.

"Well, well, what have we here?" Pyracian asked to himself, stiffling a nervous chuckle.

"They're out of Vigil's range, my lord." The other drake interjected. "What should we do?"

Pyracian took a moment to think before replying.
"Alert the Tenebraeans...summon a couple of amphisbaena." Pyracian leaned forward to view the image closer. "Our king is going to want to know about this..."

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

Within the Tenebrean system of Obficina, the Tenebrean Military shipyards in orbit around one of the systems 12 planets would have received the drakes hail, a contact system that had been put in place following the first contact, and subsequent alliance of the two empires. It was not often that they had received contact from the drakes, as such the hail was received with rapid response. a Technician ranked calvara being on service at the interface location where the hail would come through, The bio-mechanical skeletal creature responding to the call. "This is Tenebrean fleet command, Responding to your hail Draconis... What is your situation?" He asked as a screen flicked into existance in front of him, motioning to one of the officers to notify the admiral of the station.

"Our defenses have picked up the presence of an unknown fleet of potentially hostile vessels residing just out of reach of our defenses. we are requesting aide to investigate and/or neutralize this potential threat. Be warned, they are heavily armed. I repeat, they are heavily armed." The drake responded.

The calvara would have heard the response as he brought up the location that the drake had pinpointed on the edge of their territories. "Acknowledged Draconis." he said. The officer having retrieved Admiral Drogan. The commander of the tenebrean fleet. the War-caste calvara, already busy with the current ongoing war against the Immortal Empire in the stations war room, didn't have time to address the situation in person, and instead opened up a window into the conversation.
"This is Admiral Drogan speaking to drake command, we have received your situation. We have a long range Medium patrol flotilla in the region. we can have them provide aid on the incursion."He said, the technician keeping the comm-link open. While providing logistics data.


"Acknowledged. Sending coordinates now. Awaiting response." The drake responded.

The calvara manning the terminal would have brought up the coordinates as they were sent, opening up a second relay for the small three ship flotilla in the general region, hailing its captain and commanding entity. "Very well, Relaying coordinates and establishing contact with them. We're going to bring them up to speed with whats happening. tell them to get to the location of these aggressors." he said, nodding.  "Do you have any units en route?" drogan would have asked from his relay.

Elsewhere. the commanders and bridge crew of the Small Tenebrean patrol fleet, would have received the notification of aggressors on the drake boarder, as well as the orders to divert their route into the region that they were spotted in. the oncoming message reaching their communications systems via a long range Aural Relay.
Captain alain, commanding the Tenebrean Cruiser, supported by two destroyers and a small contingency of about 12 fighters. was on the bridge as the message came up.

There would have been some debate among the commanding officers as they brought up maps of the region they were instructed to shunt off to. the tenebrean fleet would have selected an entry point, before engaging their shunt units. Leaving their location with a flash of red light and static.

after signaling the tenebraeans, the drake returned to the holo-screen that displayed the strange vessels as they drifted just outside the border.
"On the orders by Lord Pyracian, Vigil, you know what to do."

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In the Space outside of the border, there would have been a space of about 20 minutes before the tenebrean ships entered the area. Shunting in with bursts of reddish static and light in a zone about 2500 kilometers away from where the cultist flotilla as they continued on their course along the border. The interceptor entering the space first, before the two frigates entered along side it. the three vessels staying in a semi tight formation as they engaged their normal propulsion systems, powering up their null drive systems and beginning to move towards where the cultist ships appeared on long range scans, bringing them along a long range orbital route.

captain Alaine, the commander of the interceptor type cruiser, looked at their movements on the holograms projected over the display monolith in the captains nest, along with two other officers there with him. Bringing up larger three-dimensional renderings of the cultist ships as scans read their locations. Prompting him to lean forward on the obsidian surface.

"What kind of ships are those? I've never seen anything like them.. " He said, turning to one of the officers. "Cross reference these with the ships we have on file... i want to know if they’re similar to anything we've seen before..." He said before going back to the table. the readouts of their ships entering the area.
"Hail them: he said after a few moments.

on the cultist ships, the Zealots manning both the bridge and the observation chamber had seen the Tenebrean ships entering the area before they even shunted in on their bizarrely designed systems. Hybrid long range scanners catching the distortions of the Tenebrean shunts physics before they appeared. the technicians and crew moving quickly as they began to make the adjustments necessary for a potential defensive movement.
The zealot that had spoken earlier stood up, moving to address the crusader again, going at a light jog before kneeling down in front of him again.

"My lord" he said. "Readouts show us that a tenebrean patrol flotilla has entered the region. They're starting to hail us. your orders, my lord?"

The crusader sat quietly as he contemplated his next move before addressing the zealot. his helmet releasing twin streams of steam.
"Answer their hail." He responded. " All hands to battle stations be ready for when I give the order."

the zealot bowed his head even more. "By his will my lord." he said, before standing and going back to his station. Mirroring the order the crusader had given over his comm.-link as he did. the zealots around the bridge chamber and throughout the ship going to work bringing the ship up to combat formation. Subtle shifts and rumbles shuddering through it as armored hull plates shifted and layered themselves up as the vessels in the fleet readied themselves for combat. large turrets on the hull moving into combat formation.

as this occurred, the communications zealot on the bridge opened the aural link to interface with the Tenebrean ships contact signal directed towards their ships. one of many systems built into the cultist fleet, a muti-system interfacing unit of multi empire design. it served its purpose now. Allowing the vid-screen of Alain and the other commanders of the Flotilla to form on the large holo screen towards the front of the chamber. the tenebrean would have started to speak once he saw that the link was established.

"Unknown flotilla... This is Tenebrean allied patrol fleet.T-888. Hailing unknown flotilla. Your vessels have entered Restricted Drake empire space. Please identify yourselves and your intent..." the tenebrean commander asked.

"Greeting, Tenebraeans!" the crusader answered somewhat happily, his arms raised in greeting in an almost mocking fashion. "I am Crusader Dralek of the Church of the Draconian gods, and I do believe this is our first encounter!" Crusader Dralek boomed jovially, rising from his command throne with his arms outstretched. " oh, such great strides can be made on this most glorious of days in our search for a brighter future! the allies to be made in the quest for galactic peace!" Crusader Dralek lowered his arms and stared intensly at the screen. "Tell me, Tenebraean vessel, would you like to make first contact?"

"..." Arlaine only looked at the Crusader and the rest of the scene on the unknown vessels bridge in mixed confusion and indecision as he heard the oddly joyful introduction by what appeared to him to be the commander of the unknown ships. Pausing for a moment to take in what he said, it was familiar. and almost mocking in its tone and nature. Sounding much like the greeting of first contact such empires of the like of the union of worlds or carnaith would have given. Yet there was a tone of falseness and excitement.. Had they perhaps insulted them? and the mention of the draconian... He knew enough to know what had been circulating through the empires channels for the past few cycles.

He had no way of knowing for sure until the entities told him the readouts on the armored figures words. he was not a diplomat, and had infact. always had a bit of a dislike for them.  but until then, the best he could do was answer to them.
"...Perhaps..." He said, Turning to look at the other officers on the captains nest. the feed being relayed to the frigates as well. "I am, Aware of the Deities of the draconian" He said, somewhat disdainfully. "i was not aware that they possessed a faction of their own...  it is unexpected. But, before we make any of these "Strides" We ask again, what is your fleet doing in this region?"

"Glorious! Not to fret, dear boy" Crusader Dralek replied laughing.” we only seek to enlighten the galaxy and those poor misguided souls who cross our path. would you like for us to send our information? we are more than happy to spread the word to a curious tenebraean fleet" the feint and quick sounds of a couple of zealots snickering behind their helmets could be heard. "would you like to hear the word?" Dralek asked.

The Tenebrean captain moved his head back at that. There was no doubt now. They were toying with him and his crew, noticing the sounds of the curiously armored figures sitting at the command terminals surrounding the larger armored man that he could see on his own window. There was a stronger feeling of a threat of some sort behind their words. and scans of their ships were telling them that they were both armed and prepped for combat. Turning his head to give the order to keep the cultist flotilla at a distance from them. Before turning back to face the crusader.
"It's not of an offense." He said. "But We would not... you are ordered to disengage your course, this is a restricted region. if you do not disengage. We will be forced to engage and board you."

"I think I'll tell you the word anyway...perhaps it will bring you enlightenment..." Crusader Dralek said. he raised his arm forward, his fingers splayed across the screen.

" the word is...DIE!"

(To be Continued)
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OFFICIAL CANON TIMELINE

yes! i did just spend 9 hours trolling through 66 pages of group journals to put every event into order of happening. that and then write Ancs ancient history. This is for reference and to show how much has been done.

Also of note the start of the modern era is actually when Anc was created in RL

I hope you all appreicate it

(UPDATED 26-08-14 YES ITS FINALLY UPDATED)

Made by yours truly for :iconancerious-galactic:

All Empires and stuff mentioned here belongs to their respective owners. This will slowly be updated as stuff is progressed or added.
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Based on Henrys awesome drawing here: [link]

The brain child of me :iconemperormyric: and :icontenebraesrising:
The Transire Class Battleship or ‘Warcruiser’. Hybrid in nature and designed and built by both nations.

This is the sprite form of the ship and I have put up a size comparison.
TRANSIRE Class Warcruiser

Manufacturer:-Takeema weapons earth “Union"/Demitrion Arsenal Co. "Tenebrae"
Dimensions: - 15 Kilometres in length, 4 Kilometres in width

Crew:-3500 "Organic" 20 "Entity/AI"

Weapons:- 20 Capital Mass Driver batteries of 3, 32 Capital Versus Coil Atomic destabilizer beam weapons, 18 ARC Beam Weapon turrets, 1 ARC blade projector, 16 Capital Plasma launcher turrets, 1 singularity core, 6 Singularity core energy dispersal beam weapons, 1 Main Singularity Cannon, Numerous Mass Drivers, Plasma cannons, Laser projectors, Phase Missile launchers, Versus coil guns, Versus cannons, Anti Asteroid cannons and ARC weapon mounts.

The Armaments of Transire are many and extremely powerful, compared to a regular battleship of another race this ship will quite easily rip it apart with gunfire, hundreds of basic weapons along with numerous capital weapons mean the doom of entire fleets and that’s without the Nakai based Singularity Core. This Core can modulate its containment to release a mere fraction of its total energy output, this alone would vaporise the ship if it wasn’t for Tenebrae Stormgrid technology which is able to harness the sheer power and project it as a pure energy beam. This beam will slice through any material and render the enemy ship utterly destroyed. There are also 6 such smaller weapons of this and one main version on the Transire.

Armour:- "2" 17 meter thick layers of reinforced quantum plate, with 5 meters of reinforced Tenedermis Alloy layered between them. This is further reinforced by Nano assembler units to repair any battle damage.

Shields:- Unknown ***CLASSIFIED**

Speed:- sub light speed 750-2000KPH, Pocket dimension Jump drive and Null Drive units also included.

Engine:-8 MK 9 Fusion reactors, 2 Crystal turbine MK 9 Fusion reactor Hybrids, 3 Tenebrean Crystal turbine Units/Null Drives

Main Computer:-Multiple AI MK 80/Gen 8 P.M.A.C. Hybrids. Multiple Hybrid A.I.s mean the Transire is a Largely Autonomous vessel, with multiple Entity based defensive systems that make hacking of the ships primary Entities Difficult to a degree that it becomes impractical. as entities can only be attacked one at a time, if one Should be disabled, others will move to take its place and bring it back online.
The Transire is also equipped with a Mark 2 Total Displacement Field generator for stealth and phase purposes.

Info:-Designed and produced as a joint Project by both the Union of Worlds, and the Tenebrean collective. The Transire Class War-cruiser Crewed by Troops drawn from both empires is a multifunctional Military vessel capable of almost any role expected of a Battle Line vessel; it is used collectively by both military's to a high extent, with a complete arsenal of powerful Tenebrean and Union Weaponry. The Transire shreds through most Enemy fleets before their crews can react.

The Transire is possibly one of the finest ships of war Designed by both Empires, and has become a Common sight within both of their fleets. These ships can be found either crewed completely by crews of one entire (which is a rare occurrence) or with half and half crews which is most commonly seen.

((Henry i wanted to do the sprite form so here it is! Hope you like the paint scheme! I do admit our empires colours done exactly mix glamourously... but i did my best :) I also took the liberty of updating the info on it to add more (mainly guns you cant have too many guns) just seemed a little undergunned for a battleship equivilant. Also added some more propaganda to it (or should i say truth about its capabilities? XD) hope you like it man!))

Ship belongs to both :iconemperormyric: and :icontenebraesrising:

Union of Worlds: :iconemperormyric:

D.C.I Tenebrae: :icontenebraesrising:
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