Dark Angel Chapter 23
The Warhammer, Quadrant Five Dominion Space
Multani sat in the Captains chair of the battleship Warhammer today, something most out of the ordinary for the ancient mage. The ship was probably the finest in the Dominion fleet, of course, made entirely out of a rare and powerful metal that nullified most forms of magic, and was manned by the most elite of the elite pilots, gunners, and other assorted soldiers in the universe. It was Multanis personal ship, and one he was incredibly proud of. But he rarely rode it in times of peace he typically walked the paths of magic to travel.
But then, he thought,
these are hardly times of
This mission had been personally given to
him by the Emperor Cain. Find
the mystery ships that interfered with the lavoid tests, and wipe out their
source. Normally, Cain would
have never given such an assignment to Multani, one of the most powerful
men in the Dominion and his own personal
Archmagus. No, normally such
an assignment would have been doled out to a top general or some such
But the war was coming, the war to end every
skirmish, battle, and attack that had come before
it. It would not be like the
petty offenses taken out on the Mystician Empire every few
cycles. The word of the day was subjugation; total and complete
subjugation of the Planetary Union, most hated of the Dominions
foes. Multani smiled to think
of that day, when they would land their battleships on Torlose, murder the
descendants of those pathetic individuals that had seceded from the Dominion
at a weak point a millennium ago, and recreate order, recreate
He turned to regard his first mate, a man
that had joined the Dominion nearly thirty years
ago. Multani had picked him
out personally a number of years ago, thinking him especially wilfull,
intelligent, and ambitious.
Ambition was something Multani loved in any
individual, was probably the only thing he
loved. Wherever he saw it, he
nurtured it, coddled it. Sometimes
the results were positive, sometimes
negative. Ambition was a wonderful,
chaotic thing; it made people full of life, drive, energy
it made them useful. Too much,
though, and you had a problem. He
remembered the last few mates of the Warhammer, since its initial building
nearly a century ago. They had
all attempted betrayal against him, somehow thinking they could have a chance
against one of the most dangerous mages in the
How could they have known that Multani was
a Wanderer, with centuries of life and magical study behind
him? How could they know that
simple mortals had no chance against
Shaking his head, he wrapped his left hand
tightly around his ash wood staff, caressing the crystal that topped it with
a loving hand. As he did, his
dark green eyes regarded the mate of the ship with a life that seemed to
bely his age.
Lestun. He said simply,
pointedly. Have the
coordinates we sought come back yet?
It had been a long search, this one for the
renegade ships. Multani had
visited strange planets and lands that few in the Dominion could testify
as having been to, to places inhospitable to
life. Hed even wandered
out of the Dominion, seeking answers in havens of knowledge in the neutral
sectors and even the Mystician Empire.
And, after a visit to a little-known planet
in the Sol Quadrant a mostly abandoned area, thanks to the lavoid
hive planet in the center of the quadrant the Emperors Archmagus
had found his answer: The
Multani had heard the rumors of the Seekers;
indeed, the Dominion Inquisitors had brought back reports of members of their
society upon occasion. From all such reports, though, they were nothing more
than fools engaging in an attempt to destroy lavoids, without even much benefit
from magic beyond a few ether weapons they stole from whatever ruins the
Lavoid Exterminatorum Adeptus had left
behind. Cain had labeled them
harmless about twenty years ago, and they were promptly
But now they would discover the Emperor to
be a capricious man.
Lestun thought for several moments before
answering the Archmagus question, wanting to make certain his information
was accurate. Yes sir,
just now. We have word that
the Seeker base is located on the planet Karonne, in the next
quadrant. We plan on making
use of the Warp engines and being there before 2300 hours
the official word, anyway. It
is, as always, up to you.
smirked. Actually, I do
have something of an idea. Send
some advanced troops by way of the teleportation device we had installed
to wreak a bit of havok on site.
Also, up the time on our arrival to 2200
hours. We can begin the attack
this very night.
The first mate of the
Warhammer nodded, and grinned a bit
himself at the thought. As
you wish, sir. Shall I send
one of the mages along to make certain things go smoothly?
Cainus. Yes, I believe Cainus Mdralle would appreciate this
particular assignment at the moment. Multani smiled darkly, and let
a thin bolt of magical energy wrap itself around his
hands. He reveled in the feeling
of power as he began to gather his resources, and could hardly dream of the
elation hed experience upon releasing his full energy upon these
Outskirts of the Mystician Empire, Neutral
Grey Terin flipped a small device on the
control panel of his ship, Nightwind,
and glanced over at his
guest. Mox Garel
had been traveling with him for several weeks now, and had started to get
over some of his initial fear. It
was a blessing for Grey, who wasnt sure how much longer he could stand
the incompetent Elosian jumping at every little noise that went by.
Of course, Mox knew that he hadnt stopped
being afraid, really; what fool would
have? However, he had resigned
himself to the likely fate of death once Terin realized that there was absolutely
no reason for the two to be traveling
will he jettison me into
space? Feed me to those
lavoids? Maybe decapitate me
with that sword of his
man noticed hed grown rather morbid as of late, but didnt suppress
the feelings with this realization.
At least being morbid was better than doing nothing and watching the
Wanderer do all the curious things he did in the day.
Like right now, for
example. Apparently, the man
Mox defined the term rather loosely was a spy for the Planetary
Union, but the things he seemed to be keeping an eye on were beyond Garels
comprehension. Rather than,
with all his extraordinary magic skills, keep an eye on the goings-on in
the capital on Nova, Terin spent all of his time searching obscure quadrants
of space, recording statements about lavoids and this and that and the
other. Certainly, after seeing
what his government was doing with the lavoid spawn that had attacked him,
Mox could see some point behind all of
this. Not much, though, especially
when they seemed to be looking through an area that posed absolutely
no threat to the Union; the Mystician
Empire. The Empire was located
on the other side of the galaxy from the Union, with the Dominion set firmly
between the two. Also, the only
people that the Empire ever seemed to attack were Dominion troops; their
ruler, Lady Asellus, was actually somewhat
peaceful. It was a stark contrast
to Emperor Cain, who seemed to attack everything that moved.
Actually, Mox wasnt all that sorry
to have basically deserted the Dominion
troops. Hed always considered
himself a citizen of Elosia above being a citizen of the Dominion
of course, the planet was notorious for such rebellious
thought. Most of the planets
royal family, the legendary Triggaras, had been wiped out about two hundred
years ago in an attempted coup.
Greys voice suddenly intruded on
Garels wistful thoughts, knocking him harshly back to a surreal
5222. Location in the Neutral
Zone between the Mystician Empire and the Sol Dominion
closer to the
former at this point. I have
confirmed the location of the lavoid
Grendel. However, it appears
that Shanning and his allies have yet to
arrive. It is not completely
clear where he has gone, though I have reason to suspect that he may have
gone to the Hunter home planet to discuss the situation with his
counterparts. It is likely,
looking at the timeframe of things, that he will end up here within the next
two weeks, or not at all.
As for the lavoid, he appears to have
entered a state of hibernation, probably on a 7th level meditation
state, and is traveling at a very slow clip
for one of his
race. Current trajectory suggests
hell land on a Mystician planet in about
month. More than likely short-term infestation, given the DNA
coding improvement made in those spawn samples I sent
previously. The battle
will take place almost in the Dominion, at coordinates Im entering
into the discs associated with this report
now. Theres a thin corridor
of Dominion space that theyve managed to secure in a recent battle
from the looks of coordinates, thatll be nearest where Grendel should
be two weeks from now.
The dark Wanderer smiled; a rather chilling
sight. And I shall return
to you with Shanning, a lavoid, and an open hand to receive my
planeshifter. Im sure
youll be glad to be rid of me at long last, Vanhele.
Grey shut off the recording equipment, and
allowed his mind to slip into his memories he considered Mox Garel
to be no threat whatsoever. He thought back to how he, as a young mage on a neutral
planet had found the device that had changed his life forever
life could span something similar to that now, he had reason to
suspect. His dimension hadnt
been so different from the one he currently inhabited, minus a great deal
of the violent influences of the galactic powers like the Sol Dominion and
the Mystician Empire. His
hadnt been a very happy childhood, spent as it was in
failure. The people of his planet
which they called Simulath, and the Dominion called Didylos
were natural born mages, with their young mastering the arts of short-range
teleportation and other such matter-altering spells by ten or eleven years
of age. Grey had been a
disappointment. Though he excelled,
like the rest of his people, at most of the wind-based ether magics, the
abilities of teleportation indeed, any true matter manipulation
were completely beyond his reach.
Hed been scorned often throughout his youth, and had grown cold
and calloused as a result. He
took to doing insanely dangerous things in an effort to make a name for himself,
and increased the abilities of magic he had with every free moment he
He had been the first to venture into Wars
Graveyard, an area of fallen spacecraft that had been on the planet for nearly
eight hundred years. It was
considered a cursed place, for these ruined ships were the remains of what
was rumored to have been the Lavoid Exterminatorum Adeptus, a ruined part
of their great fleet left over from some great struggle
they had apparently failed in.
And it was there that he had found it, the
thing that would not only let him equal his peers, but exceed
them. It was there that he found
the end to his failure.
For it was there that he found a working
LEA planeshifter, a device the members of this organization used to
slip through space and time.
It could be used not only to traverse incredible distances in a short
amount of time, but to even wander the alternate planes of the
And wander Grey had, for nearly fifteen
years. Hed discovered
bits of magic and other artifacts such as would have made any elder on his
planet look like an infant skillwise, and discovered the secret of prolonged
aging one of the trademarks of a
And then, at the age of forty though
he appeared to be in his early thirties then, as he did now he returned
to his home planet, returned to
Simulath. And the screams of his people were music to his
Hed killed almost all of them, all
the people of his hometown, from his worst tormentors to his own disappointed
parents. Of course, these
murders had had a heavy cost; the combined wrath of the elders of Simulath
was a bit more than he could bear.
Hed left his dimension permanently at that point, had wandered
on through the planes, finding magic and artifact and weapon here and there
as he went.
Then, centuries later, hed come upon
a small planet called Riven in an area left unexplored by even the Sol
Dominion. Its people seemd kind
enough, though they were all members of a rather fanatical anti-lavoid
organization. Join the club,
Grey could have said at the time.
Hed stayed there for several months
before things went sour. A young
fool, typical of the Hunter organization, named Olin Shanning had seen his
planeshifter. Hed recognized
the power of the Planeswalkers the power of the lavoids that
had gone into it.
He jumped to the wrong conclusion about his
The Hunter Council had demanded Terins
immediate and uncompromising death, without so much as a hearing not
that Grey would have attended one. And it was then that the Wanderer found that not everything
in the Multiverse was weaker than he.
Hed nearly lost his life on Riven, thanks mainly to the efforts
of that same Olin Shanning. He
had managed to escape the ambush against him, but only after his face had
been disfigured beyond recognition by use of incredibly powerful
magic. He had taken to wearing a metal mask to hide those scars
after that, and considered leaving this dimension.
But things were never that
simple. He still wanted to explore,
to find some new artifact that was bound to exist somewhere or
other. And so it was that he
came to be on Zion. He had known
at the time it was occupied by a lavoid, but its surfacing was not soon in
coming at least fourty years off at the time and most lavoid-based
societies had powerful magic within them.
It was not so here, but he found something
else that pleased him deeply: the
young Teryl Vanhele. He had
been but a child at the time, one that had stumbled upon the dark, brooding
Wanderer by chance in the night.
And, oddly enough, he liked Grey.
Almost to the point of hero worship,
even. The Wanderer was not
accustomed to such idolatry, and found that it soothed his battered soul
to no small extent. He allowed
himself to get close to this young one, allowed himself to be happy in their
secret friendship for a brief time while he continued a search for magic
he knew was fruitless.
And in return for his kindness, Vanhele had
stolen his Planeshifter and hidden it in away far from
He probably should have used the thing himself;
Terin had nearly killed Teryl that evening when he discovered it
gone. But the little beast,
already a politician at heart, had been clever, had hidden the device in
a place such as he knew Grey would never find
it. And hed been using it for nearly forty years to
bend Terin to his will. It had
led to many things, from the construction and destruction of the Mammon Machine
Grey had thought himself rather clever for suggesting the name of
the device, as well as the designs, from the legendary ill-fated machine
of Elosia to constant spying on the
Dominion. For Vanhele, foolish
though he was, was not as stupid as his fellow
senators. He had known since
his youth that the Dominion would attack at first
opportunity. He had sensed their
recent quiet they hadnt been involved in any sort of full-scale
war for nearly a century and knew it to be nothing but a lull before
And now it was about to
begin. Grey was almost sorry
he wouldnt be sticking around in this dimension to watch Vanhele die
at the hands of the Dominion
though he still wasnt sure whether
or not hed kill the impudent senator
himself. He certainly would
have enjoyed it
but it seemed likely that the wily senator had some
sort of trick up his sleeve, were he to attempt
anything. Grey wanted out of this pathetic dimension far more than
he desired revenge, also; he didnt care for the idea of regaining his
planeshifter, then getting himself
what are we doing?
The voice came suddenly, startling Grey
greatly. He made that incredibly
clear when he all but leaped out of his seat, hand clenched around the hilt
of his blade. He let the breath
that had caught in his throat out when he remembered Mox Garels presence
on his ship, and narrowed his eyes to thin
slits. Is it important,
The young man scratched his head, as if pondering
whether to be cowed by this or press on.
Probably not. But I think I have a right to know, seeing as youve
been dragging me around the universe with you.
The Wanderer rolled his
eyes. Thats not
a very apt description. A more
accurate one would be prolonging your miserable excuse for a life for
an indefinite period of time
but what does it
matter? If you must know,
On what, praytell? Moxs
voice veritably dripped with sarcasm, the lack of repurcussions on his previous
statements emboldening him.
He got over that sudden courage quickly when
Grey reached over with one hand and grabbed him by the
collar. Without even glancing
in the young mans direction, he lifted him off the floor all
while sitting down. On
a very important event. He said simply, and cast the young Elosian
to the floor.
Mox didnt speak again, and in fact
didnt pick himself up from the ground for several long minutes.
How do you suppose theyre
doing? It was dark.
too. Lord, it wouldnt
have hurt them to use some form of temperature control in the dome, would
Well, do you suppose they might be?
Where were they?
I suppose anyone might
be. A closet of some sort,
ha. Im just asking for
your opinion, smartass. Multani had a damned funny sense of humor.
I guess if anyone could
pull this thing off, itd be those four. Time to get out of
here. Its too
cramped. If only those two would clear off
Thats what I thought,
too. Shut up, and
move! Why do you have to stand
next to a friggin closet all day?!
Hello? Oh, wonderful, someone
else is coming in.
Hey, who is it, man? What, is
Madam Kyras calling us, looks
like, man. She said it was
important. Thank the maker
sounds like theyre clearing off.
As two Seekers walked out of a tiny coffee
room in a building of the west sector, Cainus Mdralle and four other
magic-trained Dominionites burst out of a closet that was far too small for
five men. Cainus himself let
out a copious amount of curses as he straightened his black robes and ran
a self-conscious hand through his short brown
hair. He cursed again as he regarded his men, who were looking
at him like this was his fault.
Hey, dont blame this on
I didnt set the damn teleporter.
None of the soldiers said a word, just kept
glancing at him accusingly.
What, you think I wanted
to be in that closet that close to you
guys? What are you
More of that annoying
stare. What?!? he
one of them ventured,
cautiously. I thought
I saw you setting the coordinates before we left.
The young man
shrugged. You thought
wrong, I guess.
No. another one put in, I
remember too. You were cussing
as usual, and saying something along the lines of damn maps too
hard to read.
you sure youre not thinking of a different
time? Teleportation can scramble
a guys brains pretty bad.
All four of them regarded him with cocked
eyebrows, their Dominion-issued visored helmets obscuring the gesture
It was an accident, you
guys! Hell, I couldnt
help that some idiot made the maps!
The first speaker laughed a bit as he thought
of something. Are you
sure you just didnt want to come out of the closet for
The others laughed uproariously at that
statement, drawing even more curses from
Cainus. After he calmed down
enough to speak a sentence without blaspheming every deity that had ever
been born, he silenced them.
Hey, shut up, all of
you. Well have the whole
compound down our throats before you know it at this rate
be a bit hard to stir up some trouble if were
caught. On top of that, I somehow
doubt Lord Multani would be happy if he found out we gave the enemy advanced
warning of our attack.
There was silence for a long moment as Cainus
thought about what to do. It was broken when one of the soldiers muttered a half-heard
insult regarding Cainus mother to another, resulting in another bout
of somewhat muffled laughter.
Shut the hell up, now! You
guys! the young mage cussed them out every way he knew how which
took a long time even as the wheels in his head turned on how to make
life miserable for the Seekers during their last day in existence.
Why do you call them evil, call us evil? Theres no such thing as good or evil. The only difference between men is in their viewpoint. William Shard, official Syndicate press conference #0015.