DIRE GAMBIT – Prelude

Prelude

In the boundless regions beyond the Realms, fa-hoon Tus’xavul fed on the dassuol, ripping it from the collective to consume its power and fear.  Long detached from the collective, the fa-hoon was alone, except for Annihilation, an entity of power from the Void that Tus’xavul hosted.  It had granted the fa-hoon power in exchange for power; power that did not simply destroy, but removed whatever it touched from existence.  Tus’xavul used it sparingly to preserve power meant for consumption.

Power hungry, Tus’xavul sensed a vacuity that could not be consumed.  Sensing its awareness, the fa-hoon explored this new ebon Realm with its promise of infinite power.  Respecting nothing else, the fa-hoon allied itself with the insatiable darkness.

Tus’xavul finished consuming its prey, when urgency replaced hunger.  The two dassuol were not foolish wanderers, but a distraction; the dassuol were planning to destroy the fa-hoon.  Ignoring the other dassuol, Tus’xavul raced to destroy the last of the dassuol before they could undo him.

 

The dassuol.  A collective of being that explored thought and the Realms those thoughts created.  They delved deep into deliberation and ranged far into the boundless region, bringing light and order with a thought.

One of the highest, a fa-hoon, had detached itself from the whole to become the Separated One.  Tus’xavul had destroyed the Realms and was slowly hunting them down and destroying them, taking with them the knowledge they contained and diminishing them.  Now they numbered less than two hundred.

The fa-hoon, the first cast, their best and brightest, were no more, having been wiped out long ago.  ndos had fallen to taaling Dal’frost, a member of the third cast, obligating Dal to make the final decisions.  Taaling Dal’frost-ndos chose to pursue a solution to defeat the Separated One.  Focusing the gonj, they thought and studied until a proposal was arrived at.  That which made them what they are must be sundered, sacrificing the dassuol and destroying them all.

They resisted the proposal to explore other ways, but always they came back to the original proposal.  The only other option was to await eradication by the Separated One.

Reason, as always, prevailed, and the proposal became the solution.  They delved further into thought and the nature of the Universe to study how they could enforce their will upon existence and the exact effects that would be rendered.  They studied their own duality and how to separate them.  They would perish, but the Separated One would be defeated.  They had to believe.

Against their own nature, many questions went unanswered, left to theories untried, for the time of action was upon them.  Beyond their demise, they had no idea what would truly happen once they set upon their chosen course.  Dal knew they were already committed to that course.  Their studies did produce the theory that another race to come into existence, or even that the dassuol could become another race.

taaling Dal’frost-ndos entered the new Realm and was forced into a purely physical form.  The conston had carefully crafted the Realm; small and concentrated with power, the heart of the Realm was a massive pyramid, chosen for its interaction with the ebb and flow of the Universe.  Aligned properly, it absorbed and focused energy.  Transition chambers were created within to house their physical manifestations and allow them to enter the necessary state to enforce the changes they sought.

Only one was required, but all chose to undergo transition.  The call for gathering had gone out and all had come, but for two; the sacrifices to distract the Separated One long enough for them to succeed.  The ruse was partially successful, and now the Separated One approached, followed by conston Tret.

Dal’frost entered the pyramid and said goodbyes to the rest of the collective in passing on the way to the central pillar.  The prospect of non-existence, even chosen, created a somber mood that stifled conversation.  The collective was quiet for once.  After activating the pillar and transferring to the control hall, Dal’frost glanced around one last time.  The remaining eight gonj had already entered their transition chambers.  Dal’frost was the last.  Once the last transition chamber was closed, the dassuol would be exterminated.  The only thing that bothered Dal’ frost was the erosion of their accumulated knowledge.

Dal’frost pulled out a stone, swirling white within its cloudy depths, pointed at the top with two lobes at the bottom.  A true physical object was a rare find.  Dal had discovered it shortly after coming into being and learned how to keep it while transitioning between states.  Through the ages, Dal worked hard to store knowledge within it to preserve as much as possible.  It would be the last thing that was dassuol.

taaling Dal’frost-ndos placed it upon the lid, and lay back.  The lid closed and the dassuol were no more.

 

fa-hoon Tus’xavul tried to consume the tiny Realm, but it resisted destruction.  Something within funneled power and protected it from erosion.

/Destroy it!  NOW! Before they succeed.  /

Tus’xavul ignored the entity.  The only way to destroy the Realm and defeat the dassuol was from within.  Entering the Realm forced Tus’xavul into a pure physical state, stunned by the loss of power it caused.  Existing within a physical state forced the fa-hoon to use vast amounts of power.  Tus had very little remaining energy to spare.  Trying to transition to another state forced the fa-hoon from the Realm.  They had been very clever in their design.

Tus’xavul re-entered the Realm.  A pyramid at tall as Tus stood at the center of a parabolic bowl.  Power flowed through the Realm, focused upon the tip and danced down the sides, fading at the base.  Converting the physical energy he hurled a bolt at the tip.  The energy hit the pyramid.

The pyramid had been designed to focus and harness energy.  The bolt of energy connected with the power the pyramid was already channeling, the pyramid absorbed it and pulled more from the source.  Tus’xavul screamed as energy was increasingly being drawn from him.

The fa-hoon drew upon the power granted from Annihilation, an ability Tus’xavul was loathe to use, but had little choice or risk being reduced to nothing.  A beam shot from Tus’xavul’s hand and struck the tip, removing it from existence.  A wild, conflagration of power erupted from the focal point, sweeping out across the Realm.  Before Tus’xavul could recapture the stolen power, it split into two.

Tus’xavul collapsed in pain, a sensation never experienced and instantly loathed.  Nature was divided into two, both halves irrevocably altered and layered.  Their plan became clear, separate power and limit access to it.  One side was power with a purpose and the other was the antipode to the ability granted by the dark awareness.

fa-hoon Tus’xavul chose power in that instant and was torn in two.

“We are no more.  You failed.”  Tus turned to find conston Tret behind him writhing in agony.  Between screams, as the dying conston was ripped from within, the fifth cast dassuol gloated.  “You are defeated, Tus, we have separated you from your power.  You are sep-” The body convulsed and died with a single breath, “Tus.”

He cloaked himself in what power remained to him, fighting the changes being wrought beyond his control.  When it passed, he entered into a latent state to recover what he could of his diminished being.

 

Tus was all that was left.  He collapsed to his knees, wondering at the sensations that assaulted him.  Pain was foremost, but he had survived the assault.  The dassuol were no more.  They were partially victorious, but he had beaten them.  He tried to leave, but was stuck in this physical manifestation.  The other power available to him preserved him.

The body of Tret lay contorted where he perished.  Tus reached out with his power and animated the body.  Mindless, is stood up.  It was useless in its current state.  He infused it with more power, reigniting the intelligence that had once resided within.

“Welcome back, Tret.”

Tret looked confused.  “What has happened?”

“I have instilled new life in you and restored your mind.”

“How?”

“The details are not important.  What is important is you are my servant.  As for your little plan, it has ultimately failed.  You will now answer my questions.”

“You will get no answer from me, Tus.”

“I beg to differ.  You will find yourself compelled to obey me.  “What is this place?”

Tret fought to defy him.  Tus only smiled at his struggle.  If he was compelled to obey then he would work within the bounds of those constraints to defy him.  Finally he answered, “This place was created by the conston.”

Tus stopped smiling.  “For what purpose?”

“To stop you.”

“To separate me from my power.  As you can see it has not worked.  What does this place do?”

“You have been separated if not entirely, Septus.”  After Tus backhanded him, he continued, “It allows the dassuol to alter the universe.”

/We can use this to our advantage.  With it we can bring down the Universe and be free!/

“And if I tried to use it to restore the Universe and my power, what would happen?”

“You would die.”

“So it’s a trap?”

“Yes, Septus.”

“Then you will restore the Universe to its previous state.”

“No.”

Tus raised an eyebrow.  “You defy me?”

“No.  Only a living being with access to both powers can enter.”

“But you know how it works.”

“No.  I was denied access to that knowledge to prevent it from passing to you.  Congratulations on your victory, master.”

Tus struck him, knocking him to the ground.  The damage started repairing itself and in a minute he was whole again.

“At least I have a way to entertain myself.  What about the xavul?”

“The xavul?”

“My other half.  When you separated me, I chose this, shedding the xavul.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Tus thought for a moment.  “You did not expect this.  The fa-hoon were multi-aspect entities.  You were unaware of all the consequences.  Good.  I will find a way to salvage this.”

“Only a living being can alter the Universe, Septus, and you wiped out all life.

Tus flinched as Annihilation screamed in rage.

 

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