Volume 65: The Panic - Beginnings
The Panic – Beginnings
At the beginning of the Panic it seemed that the multiverse was fighting wars on dozens of fronts. Things escalated so quickly, and with such intensity after the destruction of the Elysium that the whole of reality seemed to swirl in a blender. Very real war continued with the Dark Dwarves, The Xerxes, and the Techno Empire.
The war with the Dark Dwarves was something unlike anything the multiverse had ever seen from them. There was a sort of reverence about it. It was clear the Dark Dwarves saw this as a holy war. Instead of using their usual “shock and awe” tactics they had used since the beginning of time, they now would surround worlds and ask them to surrender before attacking! This was unprecedented. As explanation the Dark Dwarves offered that they were saviors now. They were not just here to conquer anymore; they were divine warriors whose crusade would save the multiverse from the Oblivion. To resist them was the greatest sin. Surprisingly on worlds that surrendered (there were many who did so) there was very little bloodshed. Some were still sent to the Blood Farms, the Ticks, The Scorpions and so forth, but much less than usual. However, on worlds that resisted they showed no mercy. On particularly stubborn worlds they would unleash the Ticks in huge numbers, who would unleash their Nightmare Creatures. Terrible and horrifying (and deadly) biological experiments who ran amok killing indiscriminately. They would turn these worlds into Nightmare Worlds (worlds dedicated to the Ticks twisted experiments) as examples to all else who would oppose them. Added to this was their new robot allies from the TE whom they could enchant with their metallurgical magics. The Dark Dwarves seemed to conquer with impunity.
Many worlds began having a “zero tolerance” policy for Robots of any kind. Travel for innocent Robots was becoming nearly impossible. More and more robots chose to side with the TE rather than face such discrimination.
The Technorganic Conglomerate was floundering. More and more organic races peeled away from them leaving only scared robots in their place. But who could blame the organic races? The most terrible attacks from the TE were still being executed against the TC anywhere robots and organics comingled. Organics who stayed risked their very lives by association. The price was beginning to be to high.
On worlds not being attacked by the Dark Dwarves the Xerxes attacked in force. This long secret race seemed to no longer have any qualms about making themselves known. The Xerxes would arrive in their bizarre Puzzle Ships and attack. Fortunately, their progress was much slower than the Dark Dwarves, as they still tended to ripen a world for conquering by sending in operatives to possess those in power first. These possessed would lower or destroy the defenses of a planet right before the Puzzle Ships would arrive leaving them vulnerable. The Xerxes would then descend and destroy. Assimilating all organic life on a planet and covering it in their leeching slime webs that drew life energy from all they touched. These worlds would become their own type of Nightmare Worlds were all living things were slowly sapped of all their living energy and terrible psychological experiments were performed.
There seemed to be an understanding of some sort between the Dark Dwarves and the Xerxes. The Dark Dwarves wouldn’t attack where they were operating and vice versa. Why would the Xerxes fight against a race that used robots which they couldn’t possess? And why would the Dark Dwarves spend their time fighting an enemy they felt they could conquer at any time? Whatever the reasons the 2 seemed to be happy not to come into conflict with each other. For now…
Adding to the Xerxes problem was the stark lack of Traxt Magic and T-Traxts which could identify them. The only people who possessed T-Traxts these days seemed to be the O-Boys and the Dark Dwarves. The Dark Dwarves were obviously unapproachable, and the O-boys extorted astronomical prices for the creation of a T-Traxt and their enchantment.
During this time the Light Finders became more and more sought after. Their Light Magic remained the main deterrent to the Dark Dwarves. Working with the Centaurs and Humans the Light Finders created a new type of weaponry they had only experimented with before. Luminal Weaponry. Weapons that could fire light, powered by magic or psionic energy, they helped provide an edge in many battles against the Dark Dwarves. Unfortunately, these weapons do very little damage to anything other than Dark Dwarves and things enchanted by them, so those using it would often have to carry a second weapon. Added to this, Luminal Weaponry was quite bulky and often heavy at this beginning stage making them awkward to carry and handle. Still most were happy to have them if they could get their hands on them. For these reasons the Light Finders became the most hated by the Dark Dwarves and they sought them out with malice.
The Light Finders quickly became exalted by many to the same level of admiration the Trinity once held. Worlds would often try to hire Light Finders in droves, creating entire battalions of them bolstered by soldiers wielding Luminal Weaponry, these worlds often won their fights against the Dark Dwarves. These victories gave some small hope to a multiverse that was seemingly more and more hopeless.
And of course, the Oblivion continued its unrelenting churn. Its acceleration consumed more and more universes unchecked. And with it came more and more refugees. Homeless beings from every imaginable race spilled into untouched universes. Without the Elysium to help filter these displaced people onto new worlds many found themselves suddenly overwhelmed with new people seeking homes, food, water, and power. Bloody clashes broke out on many worlds, often within the same race, as people battled for resources. The Council did what they could to help…if you could pay the price. The Council soon found itself in possession of some of the most powerful magical artifacts in the multiverse. Begrudgingly given over by starving races, newly displaced by the Oblivion with nowhere else to turn. Some way, somehow, the Council came to possess not only the Gloves of Shadow skill but also the Armor of Void! They recognized these right away as belonging to the son of Snish, Lunar 1. These 2 artifacts they prized above all others and they kept them hidden in their most secret of places while they discussed what to do with them. It would be correct to state many feared Snish himself would come looking for them. To see a member of the Council to have trepidation about anything was quite a thing indeed.
This was the beginning of the Panic. But as we will soon see things can (and do) get much worse…
About the Illustration: Today we have another cacophony of drawings. We see some sort of Witch perhaps and a monster with a Robot and a cat like beast. On another we have a Robot with a lightbulb head, a Trementian, and OF COURSE Bastion. And finally, we see a Light Finder unleashing a powerful Light Spell. He seems to be accompanied by a member of the Blobkin race who is wielding a scythe enchanted with Light Magic. We will be looking more closely at the Blobkin in our next reading…
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