Primalborn, blessed scions of the great Primals, arising as children to destroy evil that the grown cannot. Blessed champions of what is good and just, slayers of evil and corruption, beyond god or mortal.
Blood of gods and spirits of Primals through their bodies flow, the cosmic tongue they wield, their minds unleashed as weapons, blessed divine steel they wear and wield, upholders of all that is moral.
But as justice fades and evil reigns, one shall fall, casting his oaths aside to become the fallen one. Clad in the raiments of bone tyrants, he arose as Vrakmul, foe to us all.
When the stars are right, when heroes and brothers shed each others blood over laws unjust, when priests of cross shun good for greed, when liberators become enslavers, when silvered hordes devour the helpless, when tyrants of ego and metal run rampant, when preachers of the oppressed become as black as their overlords, when black courts grow strong and the Cold God makes his sons fall.
The Fallen born shall rise to fore with ambition to rule all worlds, all shall be his fools, for he is Lord of Doom, Duke of shadows, King of all that is black, Emperor of the Black Hand, vessel of Alderymora; the Black Wyrm, devourer of gods, the endless maw, and dark mirror brother of Talorak, glorious lord of time.
Witch Child, he was dubbed, despoiler of Ainul he became. His duty as primalborn to defeat the elder brain shunned to accept the darkness, herald of Mehrudagoth, bleak Icon of destruction. His once beautiful world, now nothing but an inhospitable clime.
With his evil he shall bring forth the times of shadow as evil swirls around him as a great maelstrom that shall sweep all worlds. His tyranny shall encompass all, and to the Dark Voice from aeons long gone he shall swear.
Good he shall crush, justice he shall strangle, hope he shall wither, doom he shall bring. Vrakmul, bane of all, ancient shadow lurking, shall shatter the stars in his bid to conquer all that is there.
But a day shall arise when the Dark One's lies shall be cast to the dust, and his schemes unraveled in clashes and wars a plenty, when his black voice shall be silenced forever and then!
For the twenty four, risen to destroy the Fallen One. From many worlds shall arise on that day. Child-heroes to deliver all realities from the darkness of the Lord of Doom, war on all worlds, salvation to everywhere and everywhen.
-Song of the twenty-four, translated from High-Draconic and taught to the Masari and later the Astartes by the true Dragons.
April 13th, 2003, Maple Valley Washington.
"Happy birthday!" Many a voice shouted as John and Jade waddled into their living room. Enough confetti to cover an army was dropped from their secret places, and noise makers blew excitedly. Taking a while to process all this information, the two stood there until Jade took the first tentative steps forward and gasped in surprise. "Wow..." She managed as she looked at the menagerie of guests their parents had brought in. John followed in quickly after her and reached for his mother; who went by the name Rhiannon Reaching over to pick him up with an easy smile, she lifted the boy onto his seat while Jade managed to crawl up onto hers on her own, much to the delight of the adults gathered; who launched into glowing praise.
"There's my girl." Calvin, their father smiled as he ruffled Jade's hair, prompting her to giggle as Rhiannon placed a party hat on John. "Do we get to eat the cake yet?" He asked, finger to his lips and head turned to face his mother. "Not yet, we have to sing the happy birthday song." She responded warmly as she waited for everyone to get in their places. Everyone was there, friends, relatives, friends of his parents, and many people neither John nor Jade recognized. "Is everyone ready?" Calvin asked, trying to get everyone in picturesque positions. "Calvin, not everything needs to be perfectly organized." Rhiannon said with a brief eyeroll and smirk. "Honey, they only get to be three once, so I want this to be just right." He chuckled as everyone started on the requisite happy birthday song.
When the final word rolled off their tongues, both John and Jade leaned forward and blew on their candles, both blowing somewhat harder than what most kids their age could manage, though the briefest and faintest hint of blue lines curled through John's breath. Those with enhanced senses in the group recognized these signs that much like their parents, they too would develop abilities; and some were debating on what special talents they would inherit from the two family genepools. Having taken a picture just as the candles were snuffed out, Calvin looked at the picture and smiled heartily. "You two were just perfect, I'm proud of you." He said before scooping them in for a hug from their chairs before placing them back in their seats.
Low Earth Orbit.
Ishmael Caliborn looked out at the holographic display in front of him, the skull-mask wearing deathjester briefly snarling as he noted the features of the town below. Disgusting...all of it..."Are we ready to deploy? I tire of looking at this wretched community." Caliborn growled in a self echoing voice as deep as thunder. "Yes Council-lord." One of the shadow cultists who flanked the macabre being reported with a brief salute. "Good, then let us go forth and start the butcher's work."
The Deathjester ordered as he spun around and through his link with the ship, ordered those inside to begin to launch forth from their cloaked shuttles and drop pods, the ship rocking and buzzing with constant activity while the deathjester himself brought his crackling scythe down and sliced through reality to tear open a gaping wound in the cosmos, a swirling maelstrom of disruption that he stepped through, the killing rage beginning in anticipation of the blood bath it so keenly awaited.
Undersea Astartes operation base; Marianas Trench
Even cloaked objects couldn't fully hide themselves from Astartes sensors, so long had they battled against those who used such abilities and so familiar they were in their use. Upon detecting unusual readings from the heavens, the automated systems launched their silent alarm to notify the Astartes to be ready to deploy at a moment's notice. Code: Black, was the message, indicating near certain Black Hand activity. Soon; dilligent warriors from secret bases the Astartes had yet to shut down in their final stages of Exodus from the Earth were being mobilized, ready to head out to wherever they were needed.
Just managing to cut the cake himself, John was bathed in praise, congratulating his ability to act on his own. Plopping the slice on his plate, John eagerly stabbed his spoon into it and scooped out a chunk to eat. But before the three year old could even start to chew, the earth began to shake and the heavens began to shriek. The sky began to bleed a deathly shade of black and red as terrible power flowed through it, drowning out the morning. Windows exploded inwards as waves of overpressure slammed into them like a tidal wave, and fire began to erupt as death rained down from the stars above.
Aircraft of a make unlike anything on earth, painted in Black and Red screamed overhead, pouring munitions into the ground below as John and Jade fell to the ground and shrieked in fright. The superpowered members of the family quickly suited up, advanced teleportation technology and magic bringing in their equipment from afar as they rushed out into battle. "Rhiannon, get the kids to safety." Calvin ordered as his grey armored suit covered him, heading out immediately while Rhiannon clad in her anachronistic looking mithril raiments that seemed to materialize in a flash of light started to rush towards a panic room nearby.
But then a pair glaring, ruby red lances of energy as wide as a man's torso speared through the wall, gouging out the earth as it passed by. Charging towards these holes were a group of Black hand acolyte; clad in their all concealing black and red power armor as they let off rapid red and yellow barrages from their supercharged particle beam rifles; the ululating shriek of the rifles ripping through the air as they moved in, tearing holes into the walls and blasting through furniture. A thunder clap followed by stabbing gusts of wind from Calvin and Rhianna quickly dispatched the platoon. "Not in my house." Calvin growled as he tried to assess the situation.
But soon, the heart monitors of the Edenson family began to flatline in rapid succession. "+They're everywhere! Oh god...what is that thi-+" One managed to frantically shout into a communicator before being cut off by the sound of searing flesh and a bloodcurdling scream. "Hank?!? Hank!!" Calvin shouted as he heard the scream, but his thoughts were soon cut off as colossal walkers of the like he had never seen strode forth, ranging from merely forty feet to over ten times that, bringing lancing ruby death to anything they saw. Another frantic comm garbled itself into being "+Jill just got her head cut off by something I couldn't even see...wait, I think I can see some kind of scorpion bot...wait...it's turning my way...no...no....NO! NO! NO! NO!NO!NO!NO!NO NOOO-AAAAARRRRGGGHHH!+"
With the thunderclap of displaced air and the crackling flash of violated reality, a group of shadow cultists materialized themselves in the room, the shrieking and crying of the two kids only growing louder as their fear increased. Spattered afresh with gore, the Shadow cultists turned to bring their trade upon the adults, but a tendril of wind lashed out from Rhiannon flattening half of them while Calvin charged at some others, bowling through them with his momentum and swinging arms. "We're not safe here, we need to leave." Rhiannon reported as she grabbed the two kids and beckoned Calvin to follow her out of the house.
Again, the comm buzzed into life. "+Everything's on fire, what do we do!?! Why!? Why!? Where did they come from...why us!?! Why Kyle!?! W...wait...some kind of...Je-jester...there are some kinda...cracks around him...oh god his eyes...his eyes! HIS EYES! HIS EYES!!!!+" A female voice screamed before being cut off by the most unearthly warble and wail. In a state of shock, Calvin just barely registered what his wife informed him, but what doubts he had towards heeding Rhiannon's advice were soon erased as one of the smaller sized walkers; an Avatar, approached and unleashed it's thundering volley of missiles.
Leaping forward and going into a roll as Rhiannon ran out of the building, Calvin grabbed his wife and charged out of the building as it erupted in fire. The two quickly dashed out, a billowing gust of wind issuing from Rhiannon that bowled over any Black Hand troops nearby while Calvin picked up and hurled a derelict tank at the approaching Avatar; sending it flat on it's metallic rear as he tried to keep the family moving. "+Woo-hoo, nice work you two. We should get this cleaned up real soon. Hey, there's some kinda scorpion man around here...gonna investi-+" A young voice buzzed in the comms before a series of explosions immediately silenced the communication. "Howard's dead." Calvin solemly reported as he bitterly grimaced at the thought of his demise. "We need to keep moving, we can't help those who have perished."
Even O'chunks, or more correctly some of his clones, feasting on the flesh of deceased civilians, were not quite up to the task of stopping the parents. Noticing the two, the shark-men snarled with fury as they brandished their claws and jaws, rushing forward; eagerly anticipating biting into them. "Come 'ere!" One shouted, but a thunderclap from Calvin had them all reeling as their ear-drums exploded and the force picked up and hurled them away like ragdolls. The more steady footed Rhiannon managed to evade getting harmed by shielding herself with a bubble of manipulated air. "Warn me when you do that next time." Rhiannon scolded Calvin as they kept on moving. "+Guys...something's f*cked up Tara real bad...her body's all cracked and cut up...what's going on....huh...whazzat...NOOOO GOD! No god, please no! No! NO! NOOOOO!!!!!!+" Another communication frantically screamed before the sound of shattering glass drowned out all other sounds.
As they moved forward, they soon came across a number of bodies in costume in the alleyway between ruined structures, and two of them were actually still alive. "Iron-arm and Windcutter?" A shakened rookie hero asked, the other members of her team, or more correctly one other member as the rest were lying in pools of their own blood huddling together as they tried to make sense of what was happening as the skies continued to burn red and the clouds boiled black. "Yes, we need you to help us get at least some people to safety, come on, we can try and retake Maple Valley later." Calvin requested, but she shook her head. "No...no...there's no use...they're everywhere...no stopping them...and that thing...it won't leave us alone...it doesn't stop...it doesn't stop...why doesn't it stop!?!" She cried as the other one, clad in his cheerful blue costume, shivered with fear as he heard a slight shift in rock.
"Oh no...it's back, that thing is ba-GACK" He managed before a long barb impaled him through the heart, his blood spurting out in copious quantities and at high pressure, spraying the Edensons with his gore as the barb cut upwards and partially bisected him, leaving the two halves of his upper body to flop to the side while the girl shrieked. "No, noo, please no, oh god, no, no, no, nooooooo!" She screamed before a net flew forth at her and metal hands burst from the wall and yanked at her, dragging her out of sight as the sucking sound of air filling in a void left by teleportation reverberated through the air.
A shimmering form then decloaked itself in a wave of visibility, revealing something that looked like someone had taken the worst aspects of a skeleton, a robot, and a scorpion and put them together. It's skull like head was inlaid with cybernetics and reinforcement, burning optics seared where it's eyes once were, and the odd warmth of radiation oozed from it. A deathstalker. It didn't speak, it had no reason to, it didn't even make a sound as it lunged forward; prompting Rhiannon to place her kids down and hide them as the bloodspattered Cyborg brought it's stinger down towards Calvin "Ah hell." Calvin muttered as he sized up the mechanical death dealer.
With a deft sidestep, Calvin managed to avoid being impaled upon the lethally sharp barb as he ducked under a pincer jab, grabbing at the arm and yanking it downwards, slamming it into the ground. But the resilient machine soon righted itself and tripped Calvin with a sweep of it's tail while it turned towards Rhiannon and let loose a gust of unspeakably hot flame from it's mouth. Rivers of fire flowed towards the goddess, rivers that she only just repelled with a wall of wind that she tried to push back at the shadow cultist even as Calvin got back into the fray; once again grabbing it's pincer arm with the hope of ripping it off.
With a casual motion, it swatted Calvin into the ruined wall of the bank next to it, sending him smashing through it; alive but jostled enough to let go of the thing as it turned it's attention to Rhiannon. Firing off it's eye beams, it aimed right for her exposed face, a move that was met by her brandishing her mithril gauntlets to reflect the ruby-red lances out of the way, distracting her just enough to allow the flames to rush forward.
But before it could try to burn her alive in fire hotter than the core of the sun, Calvin came rushing back, shouting out a long "NOOO!!!!" and grabbed the Deathstalker from behind, clutching at one of it's legs and yanking the thing backwards to make it stumble. The disruption in it's motion allowed Rhiannon enough time to create a windwall around her children as the fire washed over her.
It was uncomfortably hot, but as a celtic goddess, it wasn't anything she couldn't handle. Turning her attention back to the Deathstalker as it rotated it's torso around to get at Calvin, she charged in and jammed her mithril longsword into it's side, the enchanted mithril blade slipping between segments of it's armor and piercing into it's inner components "You have just threatened my son and daughter you worthless heap of scrap!" Rhiannon screamed at it as she tried to twist her blade around in it..
Wordlessly, the Deathstalker swatted her away and kicked Calvin off of it, only for another blast of wind to knock it to the side as air rushing at relativistic speeds tore at it's body, blazing with friction until the air became like plasma. Analyzing the situation, the cybernetic assassin fired off a barrage of cluster missiles skywards to distract her; counting on her heroic nature to try and stop the missiles from hitting innocents.
And as it expected, the coloured lengths of blazing wind leaped upwards into the sky and ripped apart the missiles. This gave it the opening it required to move in for a stabbing blow from it's stinger. Rolling to the side; Rhiannon was still struck across her flank by the stinger as it pierced into the wall, sending white hote needles of pain through her as she felt her armor cut and her flesh give way to the bladed barb. .
Grabbing the sword lodged inside of it's body, the Deathstalker ripped it out and tossed it to the side; planning to fire a net at the children to capture them for corruption by Vrakmul. But as it unfurled it's net launcher, an Angry Calvin leaped at it's back and pulled himself onto it's shoulders, screaming "GET AWAY FROM MY KIDS!" as he did so, raining blows that could shatter mountains upon it, blows that shook the ground with all the fury of an earthquake as it's armor began to buckle from these megaton blows. Soundlessly shrieking, it wrapped it's tail around Calvin even as he tore off it's net caster and flung him away.
Now that it's main capture mechanism was no longer viable, it planned to opt for a more lethal option as it revealed it's chest mounted Dark matter cannon. A high pitched whine went through the air as the cannon charged, but it's earlier decision to cast away the sword proved to be it's undoing as Rhiannon; fueled by the kind of rage only a parent whose children are in danger could unleash. She grabbed her enchanted sword; her black hair whipping behind her as she jumped at it's side, stabbing her sword into it again and then driving it in as deep as it could go.
"I have had enough of you!" She shouted as she rushed around in a circle, moving as quickly as lightning to create a radial bisection that separated the Cyborg's upper and lower body before she jabbed her sword through it's head, ripped upwards with a strong pull, and then tore the lower body apart with near light speed winds that went inside of it's tiniest cracks and then pushed outwards in all directions. Deciding that now was no longer the time to hold back, she prepared to unleash a storm of the elements; tapping into her usually highly restrained godly power that would destroy this invasion force.
She felt the power of the skies flow through her. She felt the winds tremble at her thoughts. She felt the elements bend to her will. She felt a scythe blade jab through her back and pierce through her heart. "Such heroic nonsense." Ishmael Caliborn casually stated as he removed the blade with an audible squelching sound, reality forming cracks around the blade of his scythe, while more minor hairline fractures in the cosmos formed all around his body; restrained by his jester's outfit. His green, jawless skull-masque's eyes were actually rapidly shifting billiard balls, going from color and number to color and number, and green lines trimmed his otherwise black outfit, with the Shadow Cult's symbol on his chest.
Rhiannon looked at the blade as it pierced through her, seeing it come out of her front, eyes widened with shock as she bled, sensation draining from her as Ishmael kicked her to the ground, turned her face-up, and then stabbed his claws to go in and tear out her right kidney, ripping the bloody organ from her body and beholding it in front of him, making sure John and Jade could see it. He noted that a god born of human belief's internal organs didn't appear any different from humans themselves, even as blood leaked out from her in copious quantities and exposed organs writhed.
Sensing an upwelling of outrage from behind him, Caliborn dropped the divine kidney and with the greatest of ease; turned to face Calvin who was already half-way through a flying tackle. "Please." Caliborn responded dismissively as he grabbed Calvin's hand, as strong as Calvin was with his continent shattering and world devastating musculature; Caliborn was simply much stronger, something he showed by crushing Calvin's hand as if it were made of talcum. Feeling his blood ooze onto his fingers, Caliborn slashed his scythe across Calvin's stomach to allow it to peel open before plunging a hand into his gut cavity and forcefully tearing out his intestines.
Mentally bending a lamp-post towards him, caliborn fashioned a noose out of the intestines and wrapped it around the rapidly dying Calvin's neck as he kicked him into a kneeling position, making sure he could see his children; now too frightened to even scream, and his bleeding wife as Caliborn altered the properties of the Lamp post to be highly elastic even as he held it down with telekinesis. And with one swift swipe of his scythe; Calvin's head came clean off his neck, the anti-reality blade passing through his superhumanly tough flesh and armor as if it wasn't even there while the now elastic lamp-post rebounded and launched his head away like a catapult.
"And now...for you two..." Caliborn chuckled in it's self-echoing, demonic voice as it turned to face the whimpering toddlers. He knew that Vrakmul would prefer them to be brought to him alive to be corrupted into members of his personal guard, but nobody ever said they had to arrive unscathed. If he had a jaw on his masque, he would almost certainly be grinning.
((For those worried about the destruction of maple valley, read my bio for why it's all better immediately after and why no one on earth has any memory of the event))