The contest was to right about an alien invasion in an alternate history period. This was the picture the stories were based off of.
The Legacy of Ai Apaec
Foothills of the Andes, Peru, Present Day
A man's excited yell cut through the general noise and bustle of the cloud forest. "Jael, Hector I have found it." After that their was silence for a second before the sound of snapping trees and stomping feet echoed across the mountainside as 'Jael' and 'Hector' emerged from the tree line, dressed in khaki shirts, shorts and boots all of which was caked in sweat.
"Are you sure Julian?" Jael asked as she got close to the rough hewn blocks decorated with a central disc showing a fanged maw with a nest of tentacles surrounding it. "The plane leaves for El Paso in two days and we promised Senior Cobb that we would have the visage of Ai Apaec ready for him to show in 'the Wonders of Pre-Columbian America' and that isn't the Moche Decapitator."
"Ah Jael but you are wrong." Hector wheezed, "Ai Apaec like many deities could assume many forms. The spider like form of the Decapitator is but one of them this tentacled sea creature is but another although this icon seems to differ to the ones on display in Lima."
"Differ? Who cares Senior Cobb will pay to have this in his collection. And once he had tired of it he will return it for you to study Hector." Julian stated as he unsheathed his knife and stuck it into the edge of the plate, "Now to remove it so we can get paid." he added only to feel his knife catch against the edge causing the entire plate to retract and leak thick blood across the surface bathing the icon in a deep scarlet tinge."
"Los Diablo." Jael cursed as the wall around the plate crumbled to reveal a hidden chamber hidden in the rock it had been carved into. "We must turn back this place is cursed."
"It is not cursed." Hector moaned but it was too late, Jael was already running off into the rainforest. "I guess that means more pay for you and me?" he told Julian as the pair of archaeologists walked inside. "By the virgin look at this, we may have found one of the most significant finds in the history of archaeology."
"The frescos would be worth millions alone." Julian whispered as he ran his hand across the gold surfaces and the multiple carvings, all of them featuring a common element, the tentacled monster that had 'guarded' the entrance. Looking up he swore and tripped over backwards as he caught site of the massive visage of Ai Apaec and the two mummified corpses pinned to the ceiling with stained red tubes worming their way from the bodies to the edge of the entrance. Getting up he felt the ground shake and both he and Hector turned round to see the walls form back behind the first disc and sealing them inside, the dark punctured by an unearthly glow emitted by the gold frescos.
"Wha…what happened to them?" Julian stammered.
"The Moche were obsessed with fluid dynamics, it appears that we underestimated their abilities to use such devices however." Hector answered. "Fascinating these carvings show the arrival of Ai Apaec and his relationship with the Moche People. Here this is the first one, it shows Apaec's winged form descending from the sky and bringing thunder that terrified the people. The iconography is still a bit off they have drawn it more like a plane then a winged creature but we must accept that difficulty carving and personal stylizing of events warp classic images to more fanciful ones."
"Yeah great." Julian said only half listening to Hector. He was more concerned about the strange rhythmic pumping sound he could hear from the back of the chamber.
"Then Ai Apaec came to earth, again his form seems almost machine like with spider legs and long tentacles for hair. The Moche seem to schism, some fight him with spears and clubs the others protect him, worship him. They protect him and drain the blood out of the attacker's bodies for him and in return he creates a massive lake and irrigation channels for them from the air, the lightning this time being used to cut the ground open. He then descends in his aquatic form into the temple followed by the Moche priests leaving their kin outside."
"Then what?" Julian asked as he put his hand on the damp back wall, a strange static running across his hand and numbing his feelings.
"The king of the Moche butchers the remaining prisoners in the channels with the blood flowing to the temple. Ai Apaec can be seen swimming in the water in his aquatic form, here he looks more like a Portuguese Man 'O War then the traditional squid like image. Oh my, then it becomes interesting, a woman is brought to Ai Apaec who embraces her until his tentacles open the veins on her neck. He appears to feed on her while she is drugged with some kind of wine. She is then released in full ceremonial costume with what appears to be a mask of Ai Apaec complete with tentacles over her head. She appears to be a mixture of human and god." Hector gasped. "Julian this is fascinating."
Yeah fascinating." Julian coughed as he felt something slither round his neck before looking down and seeing blood drip down his shirt. Looking up he felt like he was going to be sick as a thick tendril dripped clear blue venom onto his face, the corrosive nature of the alien secretion carving channels down to his mouth forcing the foul mouthed chemical into his body.
"Then the woman returns to the city and ritually murders the king and his court, drinking their blood through the tentacles in her hair. The rest of the city responds and attacks both her and Ai Apaec himself. The former is captured alongside the priests and placed in a shrine as the later escapes, but not before his winged form melts the mountain top and floods the valley drowning his unfaithful followers." Hector continued. "After that the record stops. Fascinating isn't it Julian." he added turning to face his college only to gasp in horror at what he saw. Standing before him was Julian, his head covered in a clear blue bell with long tentacles draped down his face and shoulders. "What have you done?" he gasped as he drew his knife ready to defend himself.
"I took this body as my mother took that of the priestess so many years ago" Julian boomed in a voice that was not his own. "And as my species has done for millennium."
"Why have you taken him?" Hector babbled as 'Julian' waved his tentacles towards him. "What could humanity have to offer you?"
"Blood, your species loves the spilling of blood and mine requires the additional energy to aid our reproductive cycle. To that end my grand father came to this world and used the primitives to spawn a new generation, one that would have helped humanity to ascend to it's full potential if not for the fear of the natives after we freed their king from his cancer." 'Julian' explained.
"You…you are an alien?" Hector yammered. "That airborne form was a star ship."
"And the ground form was an armoured exoskeleton. My people are pelagic in nature when fully grown. But now I depart, having been found unworthy humanity will become breeding stock for my children once I have the blood of the female who travelled with you." 'Julian stated as Hector backed away to the door his knife ready to defend himself. "You will take the plate on the door and find her, take a sample of her blood and return to me."
"No I will never betray my people." Hector growled as the alien jellyfish dropped Julian to the floor, his body covered in blue tattoos formed by the channel creating venom of the parasite.
"I wasn't talking to you." Julian snarled as tentacles emerged from his mouth and stabbed into Hector, the unfortunate man's blood draining out of his body until he resembled one of the mummified corpses on the ceiling. Licking the blood off his lips as the tentacles retracted back inside Julian headed for the entry point and knocking the door down to reveal a dark starry sky as apposed to the late afternoon sun he had left behind. "And now to the hunt Jael, once you fall to me humanity will bring back the Ai and we will seek the blood of those who wronged us and the galaxy will once again utter our name as a curse and a blessing. Long live the Ai, old masters of the galaxy."
1st December, 1805, Austerlitz, Moravia, Austrian Empire
Napoleon paced back and forth as the fire crackled, his face etched with worry and concern. His hands tucked into his navy jacket to warm them from the cold. He could see his troops huddled in their camps, wondering if he had not led them to their deaths this time. Across the field lay the forces of the Allies, some 85,000 strong, combining the best of the Holy Roman Empire and the Tsar.
Napoleon rubbed his forehead, trying to think. This would not be like the Ulm campaign where he’d outmanoeuvred the Austrians with the Grande Armée, effectively knocking them out of the war. Though the English controlled the seas after Trafalgar…
“Merde” muttered Napoleon as he rubbed his hands to his mouth, trying to warm them.
“Emperor,” Marshal Murat approached his commander “It is late”
Napoleon looked his brother-in-law up and down, even his nightwear was flamboyant “Oui Joachim, but my mind is restless”
“We shall prevail!” declared Joachim into the night. Napoleon smiled and patted him on the shoulder as he headed back to his tent.
“We shall see mon ami”
2nd December, 1805, Austerlitz, Moravia, Austrian Empire
Napoleon got up with the sun. He exited his tent to view the field and smiled broadly. The Allies had fallen for his apparent “weakness” on the right, hoping to flank him, though it was all part of his plan. A fog had settled across the Pratzen Heights which helped conceal his reserves.
“Today is…” Napoleon paused as the sky rumbled with a sound like thunder, though there were no storm clouds. Suddenly the sky ripped open and peals of light shot down from the heavens and this thing floated out of the sky.
“What is god’s name is that?” cried Napoleon as the jellyfish like thing hovered over the battlefield. The troops on either side started to panic, horse spooked by the alien thing.
“Joachim!” screamed Napoleon.
His Marshal was by his side in moments but then dumbstruck by the thing. Napoleon slapped him across the face to bring him back.
“What is that?!” yelled Napoleon.
“Devils! Demons!” rambled Joachim “It is the end of the world!”
Napoleon looked at the creature which had now started dropping tentacles and picking up soldiers from the Allies side like a child toying with ants.
Joachim snapped back, his training kicking in, along with his allegiance to his Emperor “My lord!”
“Assemble the Old Guard! Move the cannons” he said directly “I shall rally the troops!”
Napoleon sat upon his white horse Marengo and rode up and down the terrified line of French troops “Men of France! Today we fight! We fight a...thing! A MONSTER! We have fought the Austrians! The English! The Russians and we have prevailed! Today is no different! VIVA LA FRANCE!”
And with that he charged down the valley. The Grande Armée roared in approval and charged after their beloved leader, the battle of Austerlitz had begun.
The cannons roared, pelting the gelatinous creature with shots of lead. Napoleon led his forces from the front, the first time since the Siege of Toulon nearly a decade past. The creature’s tentacles draped down picking up horse and soldier alike.
“There and there!” yelled Napoleon pointing at the blobs on the side “Tell the bombardiers to concentrate fire there!”
The poorly trained Russians had scattered like rats as the creature attacked and the French charged their position. The forces of the Holy Roman Emperor had similarly fallen into disarray. The training and loyalty of the Grande Armée held as they attacked the fleeing forces and the hellish alien creature. A tentacle shot down and cleaved Marengo’s head off, hauling the horses torso skyward, sending the French Emperor to the cold ground.
He spat onto the ground and adjusted his hat “You killed my horse!”
Another tentacle shot down to grab him; the short leader ducked and rammed his sword into it, the blade biting deep. The tentacle retracted quickly but Napoleon clung to the hilt and twisted the blade, riding it up into the air.
“RIFLE!” he yelled and outstretched his hand.Several soldiers threw their weapons to him, all missed their mark. A young soldier lined up his leader and hurled his rifle like a javelin. The bayonet pierced the Emperor’s hand but with sheer stubbornness held onto the blade and rode it up to the gaping maw.
“One sharp blow and the war is over!” stated Napoleon as he fumbled with the rifle, the stench of the mouth littered with crushed human remains washed over him. Napoleon aimed the rifle as he entered the cavernous orifice and fired, swallowed into the thing like a snack.
Marshal Joachim Murat watched the gelatinous thing quiver burst like a blister, showering the entire battlefield in a clear viscous liquid that stank of offal and ammonia before it smashed to the ground like a shot duck.
“Napoleon!” he cried as he rode in from his position with the cannons.
Several soldiers pointed to the corpse of the thing lying pulsating on the ground as he approached.
“Where is the Emperor?” yelled Murat as he dismounted "Where?"
Shukt! Shukt! Shukt! From out of the bloody remains, Napoleon Bonaparte hacked his way out, dripping from head to toe in alien ichor and muck, sword firmly in his hand.
“Sacre blu!” yelled Joachim.
Napoleon eyed his men “We have killed a god today”
The men of the Grande Armée roared in approval, the battle and the war won.
3rd December, Austerlitz, Moravia, French Empire
Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II bowed deeply before Napoleon. He smiled as they quivered in his presence as he sat on a makeshift throne of jellyfish carcass. Napoleon slowly and carefully read over the terms of their unconditional surrender. Nothing, no man nor beast nor god dared face him in battle after yesterday, bar one.
“Today we rest” He announced “We celebrate with our new allies. We tell tales and refresh. We shall dine and heal." Napoleon looked out over his forces.
"Tomorrow…tomorrow, we take England!”
Once a Nosvonamatar enters military bondage, as all do at their last molt, they win or they die. If they die, they rot. If they win, they wallow in it- literally- and they never wash again, lest they lose the spoils of their victories. And they do spoil- putridly so. It’s a boast of their prowess: yes, you can smell them approaching, they know it, and they advance on you anyway, assured of their victory. It’s not often an idle boast.
The Nosvonamatar fight as fiercely with fang, claw and tails as they do with raw, unrestrained science. They have infested the galaxy for ages. They are creatures of many means, numerous victories, and absolute stench. Nowhere is this malodorous atmosphere more nauseatingly inescapable than in the War Hall of the Cogular- ruler by right of the most victories won- which means his spoils have been spoiling the longest. To slog in the bile of his war trench is considered a great honor.
As he approaches the War Hall breathing as shallowly as possible, the Chamberlain tries to remind himself of this fact. Entering the hall with a steady face, the thick gargle of what passes for laughter is replaced by the hiss of females interrupted. Then quick splashes as they slither and dive below the murky surface, leaving barely a ripple in their wakes- a talent that makes them most deadly. “Slipshod! What is it now?” barked the Cogular. He reclined in a shallow portion of the trench, elbows propped on the side, knees protruding above the surface of the hard won muck. His tails twitched in opposite directions, but were mostly submerged.
The Chamberlain inclined his head to one side in deferment to the greeting, and answered, “My lord. Am I disturbing you?”
The ruler grunted, “Hardly.” A serpentine form broke the surface just before him, knotting and writhing in its own coils. The Cogular snarled to reveal a broken fang as his tails curled to slowly push the body back into the briny slop. As it submerged once again, the female’s tail gave a final flick, which threw a little slime onto the Chamberlain’s long toes. His foot betrayed him, twitching backwards involuntarily. The Cogular’s eyes turned to slits and back again. “Do my conquests offend you, Chamberlain?”
The Chamberlain put one claw out placatingly, bowing slightly as he began to back away. “No! Please, my lord…”
“‘Please’ WHAT, Slipshod?!” His great tails erupted from the water, drenching the Chamberlain’s multicolored robes, splashing him in the face, and throwing the female above the surface once again, straight towards him. She wrapped her arms around Slipshod’s neck, coiled her body around his, and then tipped back into the trench, dragging him with her, below the surface. There was no struggle as her coils slowly tightened. The Cogular, now on his feet, plunged his claws below the surface and yanked the female and the Chamberlain together from below. “Do you notrecognize the great honor that is afforded to you daily, to merely stand in my presence? Much less to wade in my victories?”
Weakly, the Chamberlain answered, “Of…course…brother...Forgive…my…lord.”
The Cogular’s eyes narrowed at the familial falter, but he nodded at the female. “Enough, Kakaluta.” She frowned as she slackened her coils, but leaned towards the Chamberlain and hissed lightly, tongue flicking in his ear before she slunk back into the trench. The ruler leaned into his brother’s face and showed a broad grin of fearsome teeth. He observed, “I think she likes you, Slipshod,” before dropping him into the mire.
“Impossible. I’m not worthy, my Cogular.”
“See that you remember that, Chamberlain. To show offense to my victories is to challenge my right to them, and my right to rule.”
“I would never…” the Chamberlain started.
“You could never,” corrected the Cogular, turning his back. “Now get up, and tell me of our progress with the humans. How fare the Manowarriors?”
Slipshod stood uncertainly, and began cautiously, “Against the humans? They exceed our expectations. It’s…uh…everything else…”
The Cogular turned back to face him, and with a hint of menace, said, “Explain.”
“If you’ll permit me, my lord, I thought it would be easier to show you.” With that, a holographic display hummed to life between them, and the magnificent Manowarriors sharpened into focus.
Their gargantuan gelatinous hoods billowed on the air currents as they descended from the sky, drawing looks of wonder, confusion, and terror from the primitive humans below. Their rosy tentacles flowed with the passing air, splaying in every direction and causing them to spin slowly as they fell earthward. It might have been beautiful, if not for the massive, fleshy, pink trunk of the creature, that ended in a giant claw, which ringed rows and rows of teeth. Slender blue filaments whipped about from the hood itself, glowing with energy, and causing the awesome creatures to hum.
Despite their seeming gentle descent, they landed with thunderous weight, their claws sinking into the ground, giving them firm purchase. No longer filled with air from their falls, the hoods slapped downwards with a wet, blubbery sound, undulating throughout while the tentacles slammed the ground like felled trees. The filaments dangled but briefly, and then the hoods snapped open with a loud crack, suddenly releasing dozens each of Manowarrior young.
They fell like small bubbles from a larger one, complete with tentacles, filaments and tooth filled trunks. Drifting towards the fleeing humans, the tentacles would ensnare them, the filaments would deliver stings to immobilize them, the claws of the trunks would dig into the base of their spines, and the hoods would drape over the humans’ heads, making the attachment complete. Then there was no more resistance. Every bonded “Humanowarrior” turned towards the towering parent beasts, and stood stock still.
“Excellent,” approved the Cogular. “Efficient use of the Colony Consciousness.”
The Chamberlain’s mouth twitched into something not quite a grin, and glumly said, “Keep watching, my lord.”
The larger Manowarriors then came alive again. The hoods undulated firmly, and the tentacles lanced outwards, rooting into caves, reaching behind boulders and trees, dragging humans from their hiding places. Others were lashed by the filaments- weak connections simply immobilizing with a shock, but firm strikes rendering screaming targets to piles of ash and bone fragments.
Suddenly, there was a large shadow from above, a piercing screech, and a wet SPLORTCH as the top half of the large hood was ripped away by the claws of a diving pteranodon. What remained undulated unsteadily, causing the trunk to wobble, then topple limply into a heap. The Colony Consciousness was stunned by the sudden death of its main brain, and before anything else could be done, other carnivorous dinosaurs stalked in from all directions, smelling the fresh kill of the Manowarrior. What followed was a feeding frenzy, while more pteranodons circled above, waiting to swoop in on the remains of any carcasses.
“What. Is. This?” seethed the Cogular. Even though he was angry, he could not keep the bewilderment from his voice.
“There were more of those, all over the planet,” commented the Chamberlain. As he said this, the hologram showed several Manowarriors descending over the ocean, only to have a pod of humpback whales leap out of the water and bring them down. What the whales didn’t eat, sharks and sardines did. The Cogular made an exasperated noise. His brother pinched the bridge of his nose between two claws, and continued, “It gets worse.”
In a mountainous region, a Manowarrior rooted itself on a snowcapped peak, and froze to death. In another, a volcano erupted, the blast disintegrating a beast that was directly overhead, and the burning ash cloud causing dozens of others to boil in midair and fall from the sky. In a region of the Northern Hemisphere, enormous hailstones pelted the floating creatures, bruising and rupturing them. In a plains area, they were torn apart by tornadoes. In yet another area, the magnificent monsters descended through stormclouds, only to be struck by cloud-to-cloud arcs of lightning, causing them to explode in balls of wet goo and blue energy.
“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” roared the Cogular.
An unfamiliar voice answered, “Who are you to question the will of your creator, Nosvonamatar?”
The being was fierce and imposing, with a fiery wingspan and features that glowed like lightning. Slipshod gasped and immediately dropped to his knees before him, but was told, “Don’t do it! Stand and attend your master, Chamberlain! For he will give account of his actions this day!” The Cogular could not answer. “Speak up, o king! Why do you attack a planet that every race has been plainly told to avoid? Answer now and be clear!”
“My lord,” offered the Chamberlain. “My Cogular sought to eradicate the humans, as he does all his enemies. He thought if we could eliminate the race which the Creator made for his pleasure, then perhaps the Creator would then find his pleasure in us instead. Forgive us our folly.”
“So you presume to know the mind of God, Nosvonamatar? Then know it now! The Lord takes pleasure in all of his creation, but disobedience is a stench worse than your victories! You will be removed as Cogular, and replaced with another!” Then the angel was gone.
The Cogular was dumbstruck, his eyes wide with fear. “W-wh…what…does this mean?”
The Chamberlain considered for a moment and then answered, “It means…I had my last molt today.” His tails swung around quickly, the bony ends gutting The Cogular where he stood. He watched his brother sway and fall into the muck. Then he wallowed in it.
Have a read, cast your vote. Maybe leave a comment. Its only three entries, so voting will end on the 21 of this month.