Volume 49: The 2nd Crush: A building pressure
The 2nd Crush: A building pressure
As we enter the middle of the 2nd crush we are still in a time of peace. With Dark Dwarves now aligned with the other races of the multiverse, the only real remaining threat was The Oblivion, which unfortunately, pressed on.
But with an ever decreasing pace. The Trinity pressed back on the front lines of any universe being consumed by Oblivion. Their continuing mastery of Traxt Magic held the Crawl at bay for increasingly longer times. With the Dark Dwarves help, massive Traxt Weaponry began being outfitted onto ships to also aid in this press back. The amount of Traxts needed to make this weaponry had always been prohibitive, but for some reason it seemed the Dark Dwarves never ran out of Traxts…
The varying pace of the Oblivion in each universe made measuring their success difficult but in sheer numbers they were rescuing more worlds with each passing year.
Some familiar faces we began to see much less. The 5 and Raine the younger were rarely ever seen anymore, and when they were seen they were always in a hurry and had an air of melancholy about them. Most people chalked it up to their tireless pursuit of ways to stop the Oblivion. Snish was seen a bit more often, usually appearing as a representative of The 5, but when not running these errands he also was scarcely seen.
Likewise, the being known as Arc was now almost never seen. Those still wishing to have their own “Arc Experience” were disheartened by this. But as it was Arc usually only appeared on battlefields in what would seemed to be an attempt to bring attention to the injured and fallen. But with so few battles now occurring there was less and less opportunity for him to be seen.
Vast amounts of time passed. The multiverse sunk into a sort of clockwork groove. Occasionally, advancements in Traxt Weaponry and Traxt magic would occur, adding some new twist to the battle against The Oblivion, but as always, nothing permanent.
And then came a time when little things started to add up. It was around this time multiverse faring civilizations began noticing that the multiverse was not quite so infinite anymore. Old universes they used to visit were suddenly unreachable. New races that had been discovered only a few lifetimes ago were also suddenly unreachable. They were all gone. Consumed by Oblivion.
The Dark Dwarves were becoming surly and restless. They were unaccustomed to loss and to be losing against “A bloody fog that you can’t make bleed!”, well, that was really putting a knot in their beards.
Likewise, the Oboys were becoming a problem. With a seemingly endless supply of Oblivion Ghouls new Oboys seemed to be popping up everywhere. The huge influx of refugees displaced by the Oblivion, most often left with nothing, began to see the Oboys as a legitimate source for survival, and would often join in mass. It was beginning to be hard to find a system that didn’t have Oboy gangs on at least one planet or moon.
The Oboys despised the Trinity whose Traxt Magic damaged them so, and to a lesser extent hated the Dark Dwarves for creating this Traxt Weaponry that could also kill and injure them so easily. They began pulling “pranks” on members of the Trinity and at places where they would gather. At first, they were innocent enough, an egg in the face here, a public wedgie there, all very sophomoric. But if anything, the Oboys have never been known for their restraint. In not to short a time the pranks became attacks, and the attacks turned to terrorism. They were (sometimes) careful to cover there tracks but it was easy to see who was behind it all. Clashes between groups of Trinity and groups of Oboys began to break out commonly, with an often innocent and defenceless public caught in the crossfire.
Along with all this there began to be petty squabbling among the races, often with their own kind. One group of Elves would find a lush new home world and another group of Elves would want to join them. The settlers would tell the arriving Elves to go get their own new world, but it was becoming harder and harder to find “Perfect Home Worlds”, so many sought to simply move in with others who had already done so. This was common among most of the races. The Merpeople would claim the oceans of a world but the people on the land often wanted to lay claim to their own seas. And the tension between the Swaft and the Dark Dwarves was so thick it almost had a gravitational field.
It was around this time the more predominate races began to experiment with having a “Multiversal Senate” to help govern the ever-growing concerns of a collapsing multiverse. At this point however it was mostly just a bunch of previous or current kings, queens, emperors, rulers and their entourages yelling at each other and accomplishing little.
It was also at this time the Trementians came to the people with a dire warning. They had begun to see signs that a terrifying enemy from their past was emerging again, The Xerxes. They told the races of the multiverse everything they knew about them. They hold the ability to possess other living beings physically and very rapidly (typically 1d4 rounds) and once they possess you it is very hard to make them leave. The longer they spend in your body the more of your memories they will have access too. Usually within a week or two they can be living your life seamlessly knowing all you know and having all your skills. They do this to study their enemies and to see if they can weaken their defences. They will jump from body to body, leaving the previous host with no memory for the entire time of their possession. That’s the good outcome. They can also decide to kill the host when they leave. Once they reach and possess enough people of sufficient rank in a society they will find away to cripple the defences of that people, and then in one massive attack their warships will arrive and take the planet and everything on it. Including all life.
The only way to tell if someone is possessed is to watch them. Anyone they possess will grow an inner eyelid that will blink separately from there other eyelids. But the Xerxes are very aware of this tell, and are extremely careful to not let anyone see them blink this inner eyelid which they only have to do periodically. But the Trementians say you can catch them if you watch. They always slip up sometime. The Trementians also warned that they were almost positive that several people from the ruling classes of most of the races were probably already possessed.
Fear shook the multiverse. The other races beseeched the Trementians to tell them everything they could about this new menace. How did they know they were back? What signs had they seen? How can you rid someone of their possession? How can they be fought? Their weaknesses? Strengths? The Trementian people were overwhelmed by the deluge of requests but did their best to convey the information they could.
The leaders of the different races had mixed reactions. Some found the Trementians warning to be incredulous and “an unwelcome tension” on the already tense multiverse. The Dark Dwarves began to grow excited for war! Finally, a new enemy was emerging they could actually fight! Their mouths nearly frothed with anticipation. Moreover the majority of leaders and those close to them experienced fear, distrust and suspicion. Long staring matches began to the point of absurdity in attempts to see someone blink their “inner eyelid”. This too would eventually escalate in some places to “witch hunts” with people claiming to see others “blink their inner eyelid”, just to cause the accused to be harangued.
Things were slowly but inevitably building to a head. And when the pressure finally proves to be to much, what will explode first?
About the Illustration: I’ve included 2 illustrations today. The first one is Bastion (of course) and on the right are two weirdos we may or may not meet later in our story. In the second drawing we have an Elven Princess casting a powerful spell and on her right, a 3 Armed Cyborg Wind Warrior Trementian 😊
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