Vol. 100: Pouring Raine
Raine’s sudden appearance at Elysium 12 caused a swell of emotional responses. Several vampires present made as if to attack him, but then remembering the enchantments active inside Elysium 12 thought better of it. Several senators scoffed openly, saying things like, “Raine the Younger is just a legend. A character in a story we tell children to explain the Oblivion.” But other long-lived senators like the Dragons, Trementians, and Elves, offered that this actually WAS Raine the younger, and the legends about him were all true. By this time several more Animus and Grinders warriors had entered onto the senate floor and had surrounded Raine, stun pistols drawn and hot. Raine raised his hands almost mockingly and with a smirk on his face said, “Don’t shoot…”
The hot-tempered Naga senator slithered forward, “Captain arrest this child! This stunt has gone on long enough!” But the Animus captain did not move, nor did she take her eyes or pistols sights off Raine.
“Child?!” Raine said nearly laughing and brandishing a coy look. A rosiness rose in his cheeks almost as if he was blushing. “I must be looking very young today.” He lowered his hands to his hips and continued to smile boyishly.
“Hands back up!” the Animus captain said in a commanding voice to Raine. The power on her stun gun wined as she moved the blaster to full strength stun with her thumb.
A sort of tension gripped the room as Raine casually looked around the massive space that was the Multiversal Senate’s main chamber. “No…” he said producing a bit of an evil grin.
“Animus and Grinders, fire on my command! Maximum Stun!” The captain shouted. All around Raine stun pistols could be heard spinning up to full power. Raine yawned.
“Fire!” she shouted. A volley of bright teal energy sprung from a dozen stun pistols simultaneously. At that exact moment Raine’s hands moved in a blur of motion, spinning in a circle so quickly it was barely noticeable. All the blasts fired at him were sent back at his attackers with uncanny accuracy. Every Animus and Grinder warrior in the room fell to the ground stunned by their own weapons. There was an audible gasp from the senate as a whole. Someone gave a short scream. Then there was silence as again the entire room looked only at Raine.
“Well…” he said breaking the silence. “Perhaps I might now address the senate?” there was another uncomfortably long silence when at last a Trementian spoke.
“Raine the younger, if that’s who you really are…” the Trementian seemed to squint his eyes as if to discern him more fully. “That was indeed a fantastic display of power. But if you wish to address us your identity will have to be verified by more than a dramatic entrance and a flashy show of ability.”
“Dramatic entrances and flashy displays of power are kind of my thing though…” Raine said looking bemused and slightly away into the middle distance.
An elf spoke next. “I do believe you are who you say you are Raine the younger. I can see it in your aura as I am sure many others here can. But auras can be altered. Allow us to verify your identity fully and I give you my word that the elves will fully sponsor you to address the senate.”
“As will the Trementians.” the Trementian senator added.
“As will the vampires…” one of the vampires said darkly, piercing Raine with a dark look along with some of his other fellows.
“The word of the elves and Trementians has always been enough for me… as for my vampire kin…” Raine’s gaze met those of the vampires and several again hissed in his direction.
Sensing the tension, the elf spoke again. “In that case I call for an immediate recess. I propose we reconvene again tomorrow morning.” This motion was quickly seconded by several other races and in moments the senate began to move towards the exits. Though most lingered to see what would happen next…
The stun on the Animus and Grinders began to wear off and the captain propped herself onto one knee holding her head. Raine soon stood in front of her and offered his hand. “Sorry captain. I hope you and your troops are ok.” With a smile on his face Raine helped the captain to stand. She however was not smiling.
“What you did was… impossible…” she spoke through a clenched jaw. “And I don’t care for impossible.” She gave him a withering gaze. “Rest assured the Animus and Grinders will learn from this and next time we meet we will have a counterattack prepared.” She turned her back to him. “Troops back to your posts!” she shouted. Several of the recently stunned warriors staggered to their feet and they helped each other exit the room. The captain remained and took up a position behind the incoming senators who were gathering around Raine. A wide range of emotions peppered their faces.
A flurry of questions swirled around them. Why have you returned? Where are The 5? What happened to the Trinity? Where is Snish? Was he the Qazferatu? (This question turned quite a few heads as many had never heard of this before) Was he here to offer them someway to stop the Oblivion? Stop the Dark Dwarves? Where have you been? Certainly, you have seen the suffering being inflicted upon the multiverse since your disappearance?!
Raines own face showed a variety of emotions as the questions were asked but most of all he showed concern and sadness. But he offered no verbal response until the senators had calmed themselves.
“My dear senators we do indeed have much to talk about.” Raine began slowly looking around him. “I will try to answer all of your questions. As usual I do not have much time and I myself have much to tell you. But before all of that 2 things must be taken care of…” Raine finished, his gaze turning to the box that had been delivered supposedly from the Xerxes.
The other senators turned their gaze to it as well as if seeing it for the first time. But before they could move to it a Centaur spoke. “And the second thing?”
“Well you want to verify I am me don’t you?” Raine’s boyish smile returned. “How do you propose we do that?” Raine folded his hands behind him standing up straight, his chest slightly out as if offering himself up for inspection.
After this exchange the main senate chamber remained quite full. Many representatives from countless worlds retook their seats as they watched this drama unfold. Over the next few hours the senators insisted Raine go through a battery of psionic and magical testing. His aura was read by multiple magical means and devices. He was psionically probed and questioned. Various magical devices were used to scan and observe him. Raine found it all quite amusing. The vampires asked repeatedly for a sample of Raine’s blood, but he refused each time raising the vampire’s and the Nighttide’s ire. In the end every test showed that he indeed was Raine the Younger. The realization of this shocked many of the senators who truly believed he was only a legend.
By now it was close to evening inside Elysium 12. The occupants of the senate main chambers had dispersed almost entirely. Psi News had shown up in force so most of the senators were happy to adjourn and watch the event VIA Psion Orb from the comfort of their own homes or ships. Those who remained were mostly the senior senators, the Psi News crews, the Animus and Grinders, and most notably a swelling in numbers of the Nighttide. Specifically, the vampires. From Crepuscular they had flooded into the senate chambers all trying to get a glance of what many of their kind believed to be the Qazferatu; he who would be the last vampire. They stared at him with an eerie intensity that made many in the room nervous. Like caged cats they watched him intently, as if waiting for their cage doors to swing open so they could pounce and devour him.
“So, shall I see what’s in the box?” Raine offered, slowly sliding towards it. The Animus captain and a few other Animus and Grinders troops stood with her near it. She too had set her unerring gaze upon Raine. She was determined not to be undone by him again…
As they gathered around the table with the box sitting on it the captain spoke. “I assure you I am able to open the box. We have scanned it quite thoroughly and the Elysium 12 enchantments prevent…” but she was cut off. The senators had already decided that Raine should open the box. Many considered it a sort of final test. The senators trusted the Animus and Grinders completely but there was still a chance, be it ever so slight, that the Xerxes had used their bizarre magic or some other foreign technology to rig the box as a trap. What would Raine do if this was the case? Could he stand against an unknown like the Xerxes? The captain set her jaw and glared at Raine as he approached the box.
“Ok then!” Raine said clapping his hands, rubbing the palms together with a smile. “Let’s see what’s inside!” And then Raine grasped the lid of the box with both hands. And the senate held their collective breath.
About the Illustrations: Today we have a frustrated monkey taking a test and the beginnings of a demon sketch!