Flames of Vengeance: Symphony of Chaos Chapter 4

Problems Addressed

By Mox Jet

            The Blood of the once powerful Planeswalker Council ran more thin after the Second Fall.  Of the five houses, only the Zealian line still possessed one closer than three generations to the original Council.  Granted, there were more of them now, but intermarriage with humans had diluted the Dark Gifts that the species wielded.  Planeswalkers could never renew their blood, you see.  Technically, all the ‘pure’ Planeswalkers died in the Second Fall, those actually being of Lavoid Born.  Now, the families were more spread out and the power of the Houses was diminished with the loss of the ‘pure.’  Still, the genetic codes and variations of the original Five still existed, if not all in one place.  Lavoids didn’t seem to birth Planeswalkers anymore.  After what the Lavoid Exterminatorum Adeptus did to them, one couldn’t blame them.

            -Gerard Clariot, Professor at the Magic Academy on Nova, in Lecture

            The reasons that all living Planeswalkers didn’t die in the Second Fall are unknown.  From what it seemed, the adult Planeswalkers were killed, while the children were saved.  Whether or not there was rhyme or reason to this is part of the great question of why Lavoids do the things that they do.  But, by the time of the Second Fall, there were many more than the five originally liberated Planeswalkers in the LEA.

             Lathain was the only one to have waited so long to have children.  Duncan was not conceived until right around the time of the Second Fall.  The other four Planewalkers, however, all had fathered multiple children (Tyrion and his wife Lina had a total of eleven).  These children represented the blood of the five families of Planeswalkers.  As the Planeswalkers not yet freed from their parental bonds were all killed in the Second Fall (and the Lavoids stopped using the Planeswalker-Epitorum model to achieve genetic dominance after the rise of the LEA), it was only these five bloodlines that represented all living Planeswalkers in the Multiverse.

             Planeswalkers, as they were, came in three major categories.  There were the True Planeswalkers, those born originally from the energy of a Lavoid inseminating a human female.  Then there were the High Planeswalkers, which were those born of a Planeswalker and an Epitorum (Duncan was the last left of these).  Finally, there were the ‘normal’ Planeswalkers: the male offspring of a Planeswalker and a non-Epitorum mate.

             The five True Planeswalkers had all been killed in the Second Fall.  They were the ones that made up the Planeswalker Council.  Of their first generation of offspring, the High Planeswalkers, only Duncan remained, as the others had all been killed in the Second Fall as well.  Any others still alive were those of the ‘normal’ classification, the most powerful still four or five generations away from the Council in terms of purity in bloodline.  Seven Planeswalkers had survived the Fall: Duncan of the Zealian line, Hyrial and Teclis II of the Mandrake line, Tyrus of the Spelman line, Rydial and Korhil of the Arinthir line, and Caina II of the line of Andurion Xyris.  Incidentally, they had been the youngest living Planeswalkers at the time of the fall.

             The strength of the blood differed, as the purity ranged from Duncan’s (who was first generation) to Hyrial’s (who was seventeenth generation), but there were those who still possessed strength of their family’s idiosyncratic abilities.  These bloodline traits usually stemmed from the unusual abilities that the particular Epitorum who mothered the line was bred for.  The Mandrake line was known for its psychics, the Spelman line for its strong ability with Lifestream manipulation, the Xyris line for their chi magic and the Arinthians for their excellent healers.  Then there was Duncan, possessed of the Zealian gift for prophecy, though he was the only one.

             So the Planeswalkers were divided into families of varying size.  The largest being the Mandrakes, followed by the Xyrises, then the Spelmans, Arinthians, and finally the lone Zealian (for some reason, Duncan called his line the Zealian line as opposed to calling it the McKlane line).  It was these families that met in the Order of the Planeswalkers. 


            The air in the Chamber was hot.  The passive absorbing of Chaos energy by the one hundred and fifty Planeswalkers had a side effect of heating up the air.  The Order knew this happened, and machines were constantly running to cool the room down, but the smell of Chaos was still there.  It could not be avoided.  The lights were kept dim in an attempt to avoid adding any more heat to the room than the Planeswalkers were already creating on their own.  Magical torches provided a dull aura of yellow-orange light in the room, just enough to allow the opulent murals on the walls to be seen. 

             The Planeswalkers sat in their chairs, the room as full as it was going to be.  They gazed towards the central dais where Duncan stood in a long red ceremonial robe that was tied at the waist with a wide band.  His normal trench coat was put aside for this meeting and his sunglasses had been removed.  He still wore his body armor under the robe.

             Before him was the collected mass of the Planeswalkers of the galaxy.  He could scan the room and see the faces of old comrades and vague acquaintances.  The audience provided a spectacle in its collection of blue hair, the aqua wave occasionally broken by those whose hair had been dyed (many of the Planeswalkers that had entered the business world sought to keep their identity secret and typically took on hair of the brown or blonde variety).

             To his left and right were the three other High Elders of the bloodlines.  There had been four in the past, but Hyrial was the one who had been killed just recently, marking the death of one of the few remaining Planeswalkers who had survived the Second Fall.  The other three were powerful warriors and mages whom Duncan had fought beside in combat.  They were the closest thing he had to friends (with the possible exception of Lucent and Kyrie) and they were the wielders of the Eldarion, a rite given to only the most highly revered.

             He began the meeting by reaching to his side where he had sheathed the Dreamblade and drawing the weapon forward.  He held it up for the gathering to see, then walked down from his podium and placed the weapon on an elegant table situated in front of the general assembly.  The three other Planeswalkers that had been seated around Duncan on the dais then also rose and drew weapons of their own.

             One drew a pair of daggers, called the Ragnarokar.  Their hilts were made of gold tendrils that wound in serpentine patterns and were studded with silver crests.  Their blades, about nine inches long, were made of milky blue Crystain and infused Adamantine.  The wielder was Tyrus Spelman, descendent of Teclis.

            Tyrus was, like his ancestor, an extremely talented wizard; he was one of the few left who actively researched into Chaos Magic.  He was tall and thin (though you couldn’t tell through his robes) and had long, straight blue hair that was tied into ponytail at the base of his neck.  He followed Duncan and placed the Ragnarokar on the table next to the Dreamblade.

             The next lifted up a double edged sword about two and a half feet long, one inch wide, and perhaps a few millimeters in thickness.  The intricate blade appeared to be mostly some form of alloy with a thin vein of Crystain traced down the middle.  This sword was the Kirausame, once having been wielded by Elithor Arinthir.  His eldest great grandson, Rydial Arinthir, now carried it and placed it next along with the Dreamblade and the Ragnarokar.

             Rydial emitted the air of royalty, in contrast to the dark brooding aura that seemed to follow Tyrus around.  He was a proud heir to the Arinthir line, and they were kings on their own planet.  He was of generous height and of a firm, strong build.  His long blue hair was allowed to flow freely down his back and his dark blue eyes marked him different from the others (who shared the amethyst coloring typical of a Planeswalker).  One thin scar traced its way from above his left eye down to just above his mouth, and another graced his right cheek.

             The third and final Planeswalker to rise brought forward a thin blade with elegant hilt work that utilized gold, sapphire and ruby.  While the blade was only a quarter of an inch wide, so much care had been put into its forging that it was sharpened to a mono-molecular edge on both of its Adamantine coated sides.  It was the Sky Tracer, the favored assassination weapon of Andurion Xyris.  The wielder was Caina II, descendent of the famous Planeswalker.  He placed the weapon on the table with the others.

             Caina was the shortest of the four Elders, though he still stood at about five feet, nine inches.  He was possessed of unkempt blue hair which reached just passed his shoulders.  Still, in his smaller body lay the speed an agility of an expert assassin that followed in the footsteps of his ancestor.  Aside from Duncan, he hunted Lavoids most frequently of the Order of the Planeswalkers.

             Slowly, the four elder Planeswalkers returned to the dais and took their respective seats.  The audience sat in silence as Duncan eventually rose.

             “Good evening,” Duncan began, addressing the crowd.  There was a mumbling of response.  “I apologize for having to call you all here on such short notice, but a few things have come to my attention in recent events which I felt should be opened for the Order to discuss.”  He gazed around at the congregation, scanning for the faces of the stronger, quick-witted Planeswalkers that would come to his call for assistance.

             “You’ll note that one is missing from our platform,” he said dimly, turning things to the dour note that they would most likely stay on.  “Our brother Hyrial is missing and presumed dead.  There is no sign of the Eldarion which he was carrying, and we suspect the Dominion is at fault.  This is why I have called this meeting.”

             There was muttering from amongst the crowd, as news of Hyrial’s disappearance and supposed death had apparently not reached far. 

             “Hyrial was going about standard business in the Beta Quadrant when reports seem to indicate that his ship was overrun by a fleet of Dominion Vessels using cloaking technology,” Duncan continued.  “Having visited the wreckage of his ship and having to fend off the salvagers, it seems that he was boarded and taken forcibly using Crystain Weaponry.  It may have been possible that his attacker turned the Eldarion he was carrying on him.  And, we all know that the Eldarion are not only hold a lot of importance to us…but they are also very good at killing things which use Chaos energy. 

             “Now, the Dominion may be in possession of two of them.  The Lavoids are also still in possession of one, as well.  Our enemies have three and we are down to four.  We don’t know where they are, who is carrying them, or what the intent of the wielder is.  Brothers…the situation is dim

             “They could hunt us down one by one!” a voice called out from the crowd.  It was that of Bradius Xyris, a younger Planeswalker from the Union.  “And those wielding the Eldarion would be the first targets!”

             “We are to be on alert because of this,” Duncan said. 

             “Why continue to risk the Eldarion?” another voice, Ulitar Mandrake, called.  “Why not keep them where they are safe?”

             “Safety is rather subjective to change in this age,” Rydial said, raising his voice.  “Even this Citadel is not completely safe from a Farilii Hunter-Killer that may or may not be carrying one the Eldarion.  The elite assassins of the Queens can get where they need to be.  Even the Dominion has men trained that are capable in the stealth arts.”

             “And these Hunter-Killers are skilled enough to give most of those here a run for their money,” Caina uttered.  “We Planeswalkers are not the invincible race that we once were.  Many of us have fallen out of training…out of focus.”

             “Then give the Eldarion to someone who can keep them safe!” someone called.

             “Give them to Duncan!” another said.  There was a growing murmuring in the crowd.  Duncan closed his eyes while the three other Elder Planeswalkers exchanged glances of uncertainty.  The murmur in the crowd grew into a din, and eventually people in the audience rose from their seats and started arguing with each other.  The noise grew until Duncan finally spoke.

             “Quiet!” he boomed.  The crowd hushed.  Duncan glanced around, and those who had risen took their seat again.

             “I will not take such responsibility,” he said.  “Keeping the Eldarion in one place is as much a folly as leaving them open to take.”  The other Elders seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

             “But they would be safe with you,” called out Juria Arinthir.  “You’re the strongest here.”

             “And with that strength comes responsibility,” Rydial said to Duncan in a low voice.  “But what will you do with that responsibility?”

             “Strong as I am,” Duncan said to the assembly.  “I also put myself in harm’s way more than most of you.”  There was some agreement within the crowd.  “To allow me to carry all the Eldraion would be foolhardy.”  He paused to gaze around the room.  “This is most especially true because Emperor Cain would have me dead more than anyone else present here,” he continued.  “He still seeks to take vengeance for the murder of his son that my father is credited with.  To do this, I suspect he is gathering the Eldarion in order to hunt me down.”

             “Why do you tell this to us, Duncan?” Kala Spelman asked.  “What good does this information do us?”

             “Because in addition to wanting to warn you all, I also ask for you assistance in an undertaking I want to pursue.”  He said.  “I need you help in killing Emperor Cain before he can attempt to kill me.” 


             The room didn’t move.  The breath of each individual Planeswalker could be heard.

             “Duncan….” Caina said.  “You know that not a single one of us carries any sympathy towards the Dominion, but isn’t that a bit extreme?”

             “Consider what he wants from us,” Duncan said.  “While it’s clear that he has it out for me, I suspect he’d wish vengeance on everyone in this room.  It was the LEA that tore his Empire to shreds centuries ago.  He harbors no benevolent feelings towards Planeswalkers.  If anything, he fears us.  He knows we can easily surpass his Wanderer race.  To that extent, he would seek to destroy us.”

             “What would you have us do?” called out Illian Mandrake.

             “Information,” Duncan said.  “And connections.  They’ve long since updated their security systems since I acquired access clearance years ago.  I need those of you with information webs greater than my own to help me find out where he is, what he’s doing, when he’s doing it, and how I can get past securities.  I feel if we remove Cain, life will be safer for all of us.”

             “Why you?” someone called.  “And why only you?”

             “One person is easier to get past securities,” Duncan answered.  “And as you said, I’m the most capable one here…” 

             A silence fell over the room.  Those listening took the time to consider the magnitude of what Duncan was suggesting.  The implications…the complications of killing the man who ruled the largest Galactic Power in the known universe…they were staggering.  Things would probably grind to a halt in the Dominion, and extreme retaliation would be targeted towards anyone linked to the assassination.  Was Duncan good enough to do it without being caught…or would Duncan, in his pride, want people to know that he was responsible?

             “I know a guy…” came the voice of Orphius Arinthir.  It was said softly, but the silence in the room seemed to feed into his voice and amplify it to the point of being uttered loudly. 

             “And?” Duncan asked.  Orphius rose.

             Orphius was a reasonably well-built man: trim but firm.  He had short blue hair and dark blue eyes, the eye coloring being a trait of the Arinthir line.  He was well dressed in rich robes of blue and yellow, a crest on his left arm signifying membership in the Inter-System Trade Union of Merchants, or ISTUM for short.  He was a well-known trader in some rather respectable wares, most notably fabrics and spices from the Mystican Empire (which were very difficult to get into the Dominion).  But, it was known by nearly everyone in the Chamber that he was also the leader of the black market for Lemange, the mind-altering and life-extending drug that was synthesized from the magical residue left on the inside of a Lavoid’s central bio-chamber. 

             For that reason, it hardly surprised people that he might “know a guy.”

             “It’s someone who gets information for me,” Orphius said slyly.  “Kind of an source, if you will.”

             “What can he get for me?” Duncan asked.

             “Well, if you need information about Cain and where he’s gonna be…that would be a start.”  Duncan considered the option.

             “How long?” he asked.

             “Maybe a week once I ask him to get it?  Possibly faster.  He’s a little difficult to deal with at times, but he’s definitely good.  We’ll leave it at that.”

             “And how quickly can you get in touch with him?”

             “Tonight, if you want.”

             “What do you want out of it?”

             “You just killed a Class A, didn’t you?” Orphius asked, grinning slightly.  Duncan eyed him with a stare that could have petrified the most hardened Dominion Special Ops agent.  Orphius laughed.

             “Kidding, Duncan.  Only kidding,” he said.  “After all, Cain has been more of a hard ass lately with cracking down on the transport of the Lemange.  I’ve been receiving messages that indicate that he wants a cut of the profits in order for me to continue doing business.  Basically, hardly anyone in this galaxy would be more thrilled with his death than I.”

             “Good,” Duncan said simply, letting out his breath.  He slowly took his seat.  “I have no more to say.  If anyone has anything address, now would be the proper time.  It is rare that we are all here, after all.”

             No one raised their hand.  Silence came over the Chamber again and air was still.

             “If I may?” Rydial said finally, standing up.  Duncan nodded curtly and Rydial took the podium.  He gazed over the audience briefly before speaking.

             “We are vulnerable, fellow Planeswalkers,” he said dimly.  “While our numbers have grown, our blood is thinned.  We have lost the edge on the Dominion that we had in the strength of the LEA.  The Organization, the discipline, and the weapons are no longer at our disposal.  In the sincerest wishes for your safety, I urge all of you to try to remember the warrior’s honor possessed by our species in times long ago.  Remember what it feels like to use Ether and to feel Chaos.  Forgetting those things is detrimental to our identity and our safety.

             “Not everyone here has to follow the path that Duncan or the rest of the Elthariji has chosen.  In these times, he is indeed the minority.  I don’t ask you to fight, but to simply remember the time when all that we did was to fight.  Remember the time that we had no home…no purpose…no future.  We’ve come far in the world, Brothers, but let us not forget our roots…”

             “Well said…” Duncan said to Rydial, quietly enough so that no one else heard.  “And very true.”  He rose.

             “I will see the members of the Knights of the Round in the private meeting chamber in half an hour,” Duncan said, speaking from his seat.  “The rest of you are dismissed.  I appreciate your attendance, and please…contact me if you hear anything regarding the Eldarion or movement in the Dominion Forces.”  He breathed deeply.  “That is all...”

             As a collected mass, those in audience began to rise and head towards the exits.  The meetings of the General Assembly were normally slightly longer than this one, as there was really only one point that Duncan wanted to bring up.  The meetings, however, wouldn’t stop.  Different sub-groups of Planeswalkers would be meeting probably for the next three or four days.  Some of it was business and some of it was just catching up with old friends.  There were many smaller audience and meeting rooms in the Citadel designed for just this purpose, so it was hardly a hardship finding space.

             The meeting that Duncan had called was the group of the most powerful Planeswalkers still alive.  The Knights of the Round were the 13 strongest, and typically eldest, of the Planeswalkers.  They were also most of the only remaining Planeswalkers that had an active campaign against the Lavoids still in operation.  They were the last remnants of the fight against Chaos…the shattered remains of the LEA without the warships and without the masses.

             They were also the Elthariji, the last of the Planeswalkers to follow the LEA warrior’s code of Orichalcon.  They followed the simple principle that no Lavoid seen by an Elthariji may live, or the Planeswalker is faced with dishonor.  The code placed honor and duty as the rules by which to live, and dishonor could only be forgiven by rectifying ones mistakes five-fold.  The code also placed hand to hand combat as the most sacred of rituals and the only proper way to kill a Lavoid if it could be helped.  As a result, they all were ruthlessly proficient in the art of the Black Wind: using the Black Wings as a weapon focused through the device they wore on their forearms called a Cauxion.  Recently, the Cauxions had been altered to include the TEARS system, making them a variant on the T-Blade just like the one that Duncan used in his hunts. 

             The Black Wind was a style of combat devised by Lathain of Zeal around the founding of the LEA that centered around the use of Chaos as an attack in close quarters combat.  Using the Blade of Chaos, called the Ragna Blade or Laguna Blade by some wizards, they easily brought most Lavoids to their knees.

             Their battle with the Lavoids was not one as pursued as that of the LEA.  They concerned themselves more or less with monitoring the Lavoid activity in various sections of the Galaxy and acting accordingly.  While a force to be reckoned with, their overall power sadly paled when compared to the might of the Planeswalker Council (though many contended that Duncan alone would have been capable of taking on all five of the True Planeswalkers at once; Duncan denies this fervently).

            The meeting began roughly half an hour after the conclusion of the general assembly.  They met in the High Council Chambers, the meeting room that had been the designated place for the Knights of the Round to meet since they had been founded over one thousand years ago.  The room, kept just as extravagant as the Central Chambers, was walled by polished marble and adorned with rugs, tapestries, statues and pillars of designs representing an eclectic portion of the known Galaxy.  A table of dark Ferawood from Union Craft Worlds was the centerpiece of the room.  It was surrounded by black chairs with leather coverings.  Nothing sat on the table itself.

             The group filed in, taking their seats (six to a side) with Duncan at the head of the table.  No one ever sat at the opposing head.  They all wore robes of black, very similar to those that the Rydial, Tyrus and Caina wore.  Duncan, in the position of authority, still wore his red ceremonial robe. 

             As they sat down, one of the servo drones rolled into the room and distributed cups and saucers, promptly filling them with coffee.  The lights of the room flickered on, dull yellow light emanating from florescent bulbs built into the ceiling.  The candle motif of the Central Chamber didn’t seem necessary here.

             Duncan opened the meeting up as he normally did.

             “Abidius recorendum istari cocertum Lavoidius excentera,” he said, meaning Welcome those who wish the destruction of the Lavoids.

             “Ereferendi Iluvitar nuembre il periciapa de dari illitharia lei endariale oriolorias le dejarium de certuavi,” the others responded, meaning: In Iluvitar’s name we stand at the edge of darkness to shake the heavens and defeat the foes of life.  It was the traditional greeting and response to a meeting of the Planeswalker Council of the LEA, and Duncan had extended it to what little he left to call a “Planeswalker Council.”

             “Welcome back,” Duncan said, returning to the normal tongue.  “I don’t have too much to speak of, but it was important that we should all meet.”

             “The matter of the Eldarion in possession of the Lavoids?” Caina asked.  Duncan nodded.

             “While I hardly think they would act in collusion with the Dominion…the fact remains that when I killed the Class A on Ygral VII and searched his mind, I found that the Lavoids are actually in possession of two of the Eldarion.  And, at least one of them is not the weapon that they recovered after the fall.  You know, the ones that the LEA had given them in the War?”

             “So where did it come from?” Rydial asked.

             “I don’t know,” Duncan said.  “The possibilities are that it could be the one we thought was still in the Union, it could be the one we gave to the Eldar, or…”  Duncan paused.

             “Would it be possible that the Dominion was working in collusion with the Lavoids and this Lavoid was actually talking about Hyrial’s weapon?” asked Elithian, a weapons fanatic and impeccable marksman from the Arinthir family.  “If they were working together on this, then both the Dominion and the Lavoids might lay claim to it.”

             “I highly doubt it,” Duncan said.  “But, there is always a possibility.”  He sighed.  “For now, though, if it’s not one of the Eldarion that the LEA received in the war, then it’s probably the one that we gave to the Union, and they’ve stolen it.”

             “And killed a whole bunch of Unionites in the process…” Caina mused.

             “We’re worried, though, aren’t we?” Tyrus asked.

             “The situation regarding Farilii Hunter-Killers that Rydial brought up is actually quite pressing,” Duncan said.  “Without the equipment, they are not as much of a threat.  However, with an Eldarion…we know that they can kill us…even the thirteen of us in this room.  Crystain is just as deadly to us as it is to them…”

             “And as inspiring as your words wore, Rydial,” Caina said, “I fear that the majority of the Order will not simply go and teach themselves to relive within the code of Orihalcon.”

             “It’s because our blood has grown thin, Caina,” Tyrus said.  “These Planeswalkers have been normal members of a society that hasn’t been at war for the last thousand years.  Not only have they lost their will to fight, they may have lost a lot of the genetics that gave us the will to fight.

             “How so?” questioned Alindir, a powerful wizard from the Spelman line.

            “See, the Lavoid Factor is normally passed down in full to each new generation,” Tyrus said.  “We know that this defies the genetic laws of segregation, that is, that each gene will enter a gamete separate of any other gene.  Segregation normally creates genetic variation.  Our Lavoid Factors, though, enter the gametes with all of the genes normally contained within them.  For most of us, we maintain the five hundred or so genes that make up the Lavoid Factor found on our Y chromosomes, and we will pass down this set of genes to our male offspring. 

             “Given a long enough time, though, genetic material starts to decay, and the farther we go from our ancestral Lavoid parentage, the harder it may become for the Lavoid Factor to maintain its bond during the crossing over phase of meiosis…that is, the Lavoid Factors might start to break up during meiosis.  We see this in that while no Planeswalker is inherently weak, we know that generally the closer he is to the Lavoid in his family’s lineage, the stronger and more plentiful the gifts of Chaos will be with him.

             “I hardly predict that we will be a dead species any time soon, and our progeny will probably still be able to channel the energies of Chaos…but thousands of years ago, we had the will to fight ingrained into our very genetic code.  Now, that will is dissipating as the gifts of Chaos grow weaker.  We are losing our genetic strength, and the need to fight has been gone for centuries.  Unless something is done, we are looking at the future descent of the Planeswalker species.”

             The room sat in silence for a few moments.

             “So let us start a war,” said Teclis II, an extremely powerful tri-psych from the Mandrake line.  “Let us renew the urge to fight!” he said, landing a fist upon the table which shook the coffee cups briefly.

             “No,” Rydial said stiffly.  “You remember what happened last time something of that caliber was attempted.  Half of the Order completely ignored the Call to Arms.”

             “I was there, Rydial,” Teclis retorted.  “I fought with you in the Second War of Ascension.  I know it didn’t work.  Perhaps it needs to be approached differently.”

             “It’s because these Planeswalkers haven’t been born into war as those of the LEA were,” Duncan said.  “Even the eldest ones here…myself, Rydial, Caina and Tyrus…we were mere children and infants when the Second Fall ended the crusade of the LEA.

             “So what is there left for us to do?”  Caina asked.  Again, the room fell silent.  After a few moments, though, Duncan spoke.

             “I know Pyriorias is at the bottom of whatever plot the Lavoids are formulating with the Eldarion,” he said.  “The Lavoid on Ygral VII told me this.”  Duncan stood up to attract the more compete attention of the table. 

             “And you all know that I vowed long ago to kill her and avenge the death of my immediate family,” he continued.  “However, now it appears that Pyriorias presents a threat to what family I have left.”

             “You needn’t say any more, Duncan,” Tyrus said, holding out a hand.  “When the time comes for you to fight Pyriorias, we will be behind you in whatever way you need.”  There was general concession from around the table.  Duncan lowered his head.

             “Thank you,” he said.  “I will need whatever help I can get.”  Rydial looked at him.

             “You’re not…losing your confidence, are you?  Duncan?” he asked.

             “You’re the second person to ask me that this week, Rydial,” Duncan said, chuckling.  “And it’s not a matter of confidence, it’s a matter of impossibility.  I simply have no way to deal with the God-cursed bitch at this point.  I just don’t know what I’ll do.”

             “You’ll figure something out,” Caina said.  “You always do.”  Duncan sighed.

             “You know?” Duncan asked.  “That’s exactly what my mother told my father…right before he ended up vaporizing just about everything that Chaos touched.  I certainly hope that my fate does not lead to the same thing…”


Nova, Dominion Capital

             Emperor Cain paced through the halls of the Imperial Palace.  On his left walked his head advisor, Multani.  At his right was Yral, the High Councilman from before.  The three men moved swiftly through a passage with a high vaulted ceiling and walls and support struts made of dark stone.  The floors were covered with red rugs, and torches generously illuminated the room.  The Palace was kept with a very ancient feeling, always serving to remind those in it of their roots on Terra: the birthplace of humanity. 

             “He’s killed another,” Yral reported.  “A Class A on Ygral VII.”  Yral was a relatively shorter man, perhaps only five foot seven.  He was thinly built and almost looked to frail.  He was possessed of a thin nose, low forehead and narrow chin.

             “His power seems to have no limits,” Multani grumbled.  “Granted, he’s done worse, but it still is impressive none the less.”  Multani dwarfed Yral, standing at a rather large six foot four.  His broad shoulders and powerful stride marked him as one of the most deadly men in Cain’s employ, an accolade he was quite proud of

             “It’s nothing new for him,” Cain said passively.  “We’ve seen him kill Class A’s before, even at this speed that you report.”

             “Faster than 1.8 seconds?” Yral asked.

             “Ludicrous, isn’t it?” Multani questioned.  “He truly would be better off dead.”

             “Yral says he can take care of the rest.”

             “Are you so sure?” Multani asked Yral, skeptical. 

             “Quite.  The scientists have been working on it.  They seem to think it will work.  Nanotechnology is a wonderful thing, after all.”

             “I still doubt that science can beat such a perfect killing machine.  I think the only way to defeat him properly is in single combat.”

            “Don’t let your pride get the best of you, Multani,” Cain said.  “We’ll take any way we can get at this point.  Plus, we might even learn something as a result.”

             “How will you get him to come?” Yral asked.

             “We’ll give him something he simply can’t resist,” Cain said.  “Me.”

             “As a target?” Multani asked.


             “Sir, I must point out that-” Multani started.

             “I’m perfectly capable of fending for myself, Multani,” Cain said.  “I haven’t survived this long just by luck.  Plus, Yral thinks that this device will work…” Yral smirked and Multani gave him a dirty look.

             “Duncan is…very good at what he does,” Multani said, almost in concession.  “It would be foolish to take a risk that is unneeded.”  Cain stopped walking.

             “Don’t you realize though that it is needed?” Cain said as Multani and Yral both stopped as well, spinning around to face him.

             “It’s needed for more than just peace of mind,” Cain continued.  “It’s needed to put to rest a dishonor that his blood has forced me to carry with me for hundreds of years.  To have one’s son murdered in cold blood and to be unable to do anything about it…do you have any idea how crippling that is?  No.  This is a needed result.  In fact, it is a damn well required result, and I will have nothing but success.  I will not rest until the last of the Zealian line is dead and buried, and now all that is left of them is Duncan.  Pyriorias did a good job of getting rid of Lathain for me, but Duncan still needs to go. 

             “Listen closely, Multani,” he said darkly, narrowing his eyes and beginning to raise his voice.  “This is not a risk.  This is a necessity, and it will be done, else I’ll have every single one of my advisors’ heads on a stake, then put them up for display in the Perennial Commons!”  When he finished, his voice echoed in the halls.  No one answered.

             “Let’s go,” Cain finally said, beginning to walk again and passing by the two advisors.  They in turn began to walk after him.

             “I want to give a address somewhere open…somewhere vulnerable,” Cain said.  Let it be leaked that I’m intending to do so, and we’ll wait for him to come.”

             “Where to?”

             “The Planeswalkers that we monitor…” Cain said.  “They’ve all been moving towards the same place over the last few days, right?”

             “Correct,” Yral said.

             “That means the whole group of them are meeting somewhere,” Cain said thoughtfully.  “They probably are discussing something important.  Perhaps it is something to do with the Lavoids.  Regardless, we know there will be some communication amongst them.”  He paused in thought.

             “Orphius…” Cain said at length.  “Who’s his man?”

             “You mean Taggart?” Multani asked.

             “His informant, yes,” Cain said.

             “Rei Taggart,” Multani confirmed.

             “Right.  If Duncan is looking for information, then he’ll probably go through Orphius.  That Lemange trader has a strong information network…so I want Taggart to find out about the address I’ll be making on Junum III in a week.  It’s the one addressing new power sources.  If I recall, the Junum Imperial Amphitheatre is an easy target for an act of terrorism, and I’m sure Duncan will know this too.  He’ll come after me there, and then we act.”

             “Consider it done, Highness,” Yral said, bowing.

             “I want the device ready by then.  Do not, gentlemen, and I repeat, do not fail me, or perhaps I will have to place your heads on stakes regardless…”

Chapter 5

Mox Jet's Fanfiction