Volume 77: Dark Dwarf Peaks
As we come to the height of the Panic it’s a good time to talk about the Dark Dwarves and their allies. As we know they are in now what they consider to be a Holy War. They had always believed that they were meant to rule the multiverse but now they pursued this aim with a religious zealotry. They believe through their actions that they alone had the ability to not only stop, but push back and eliminate the Oblivion.
And truly they were succeeding. At least at the conquering portion. Besides their notable and very public loss at the Battle of Elysium 12, they continued to dominate world after world, universe after universe. But their strategies had changed significantly. We have mentioned in passing that the Dark Dwarves were prone to taking over Psion Orb Broadcasts with their own propaganda, but this may lead to the impression that their propaganda machine was sloppy, haphazard, and clumsy. This is not true. The truth is their propaganda campaign was a well oiled and elaborately orchestrated effort. Whereas once whole worlds surrendering to the Dark Dwarf scourge was unheard of, often now this was exactly the case and this was usually do to their propaganda. The Dark Dwarves propaganda machine proceeded their fleets into whatever universe or star system they planned to conquer next and would “soften” the people there for their coming.
The other truth to this was they were hitting people at the height of loss and desperation. Many worlds they came upon were already starving, nearly abandoned, or ravaged by other wars. The Dark Dwarf empire came offering food, medical supplies, and “protection.” Many worlds fell under their subjugation simply for a hot meal.
In this way the Dark Dwarves obtained many more “allies” in their fight. Most of the worlds they conquered did not have suitable warriors to add to their efforts, but every world could produce things they needed, like ammo, weapons, food, magical tools and more. So, while the rest of the multiverse seemed to be living off scraps, the Dark Dwarves lived on the fat of the land.
And so did their allies and the people they conquered. The Techno Empire and the Fungaloids both had thriving kingdoms under Dark Dwarf rule. They made their own advancements in technology, magic, psionics, and science. The Fungaloids likely benefited the most as their once decimated population sprung up to unprecedented numbers. The Dark Dwarves used their propaganda to show major races they had conquered like Humans, Elves, Sliders, and more all living well, eating meals, and frolicking with their families while serving them. They showed this propaganda on Psion Orb Cast to megacity after megacity and the starving people their began to turn. Why shouldn’t they join the Dark Dwarves? They could eat more than Panic Ice Cream for every meal and not have to worry about the constant riots and war around them. And who knows, maybe they COULD destroy the Oblivion. Unrest spread across the multiverse.
A cult of Dark Dwarf sympathizers began taking hold in many places. Beings of every race that met in secret spaces and began plotting ways to overthrow the governments of their cities and worlds and give themselves over to the Dark Dwarves. Some even began to worship the Dark Dwarves as a “master race.” They called themselves “Shadow Seekers” and frighteningly many times the cult would succeed in overthrowing their government, and more and more worlds were added to the Dark Dwarves Empire through their efforts. If the Dark Dwarves learned of a world where the Shadow Seekers were particularly strong, they would smuggle them food, weapons, and supplies to aid them in their efforts.
A particularly charismatic Shadow Seeker rose up during this time. A Graze who went by the name, Jebee Dyee. He was a powerful psionic user and he charmed many people with his words into turning over to the Dark Dwarf cause. The Dark Dwarves took notice of him and helped him pirate Psion Orb broadcasts often. He was known to travel with a contingent of hired O-Boys for protection. (The O-Boys seem to share something like an unspoken nonaggression agreement with the Dark Dwarves. Probably because they appear sporadically throughout the multiverse. Regardless the O-Boys do not seem to be an active target for them.) Jebee was known to host townhalls in the megacities, most of which were widely protested, where he would try to convince cities or even entire planets to give themselves over to the Dark Dwarf empire.
While all this was happening, the allied races did their best to counteract the Dark Dwarf propaganda. Elysium 12 was far more mobile than the previous Elysium and the Multiversal Senate would take it to various worlds and try to rally the people wherever they went. They brought Tremy Berry Bushes to worlds that didn’t have them, and to the megacities they brought medical supplies, food, and other things to try and support them. The Animus and the Grinders who traveled with the Elysium would often try to recruit desperate and downtrodden people into their fold. The Elysium was often under attack and even when it wasn’t it required constant maintenance. The work was hard but still many people joined them as they offered food, shelter, and work. This group of civilians were simply known as the Elysium Civilian Corps or the ECC and they reported directly to the Animus and Grinders and overall helped them immensely. They did unfortunately sometime suffer heavy casualties during attacks on Elysium 12…
So it was at the height of the Panic. The Dark Dwarves war machine was as strong as ever and they moved where they chose too and conquered who they wanted. The allied forces would win battles against them occasionally, but allied forces were slow to respond. By time the Dark Dwarves showed up in a universe or star system it was almost already to late. The allied armed forces often arrived at worlds already captured and by that time there was nothing they could do. Once the Dark Dwarves sealed up a world in one of their World Nets, liberating it was a nearly impossible task. Often retreat was the only option. The Dark Dwarves usually never even bothered to pursue. Why should they? They would reach the allied forces worlds soon enough.
It was becoming obvious to both sides that they would soon come to a tipping point. The Dark Dwarves had started attacking the megacities already, so they were encroaching on the allied force territory now. Soon they would turn all their forces to the allied strongholds and what would happen then? Some thought that their may come a time soon when we would really see if the Dark Dwarves could destroy the Oblivion by conquering all of reality…because it looked like that may be inevitable…
A quick note about the Xerxes. With the intensity of the Panic, and the loss of the Trinity who provided the only way to detect them, the Xerxes had mostly fallen out of thought. It seemed that the race that lived in hiding for all of history had returned to living in obfuscation. Their short but intense time in the spotlight of the multiverse had come to an abrupt end in many ways. But despite the fact that no one was paying attention to them they were still there.
The Xerxes had always been about the long game, manipulating powerful people from the shadows and waiting until a world is perfectly ripe for conquest before taking it. This is what they had returned too. And without the enchanted T-Traxt to detect them they were once again moving with impunity throughout much of the multiverse. But with some restrictions. Elysium 12’s heavy protective enchantments made it impossible for the Xerxes to infiltrate there. They also did not dare tread anywhere where the Dark Dwarves had laid claim. They also tended to shy away from anyplace populated by robots from the Techno Empire. The Xerxes had for this entire time also seemed to share a sort of nonaggression agreement with the Dark Dwarves, but they could see that this time for them too was probably coming to an end. If the Dark Dwarves truly wished to conquer all of reality, they would eventually come for them. And their robot allies were irritatingly immune to their possession. The Xerxes began to think it may be time for them to do something unexpected…
About the Illustration: Here are another set of some of my older art. The first is a character design I ended up not using. I just couldn’t find a story for him. Maybe one day…
I’ve also included 2 “cute” sketches. A lil ninja guy and a bunny in a tornado 😊
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