Alright so sorry but this is a repost of a story that was accidentally placed on the front page rather than the library.
A meteor between .1 and .25 times the mass of the Earth’s moon blazes through the solar system at speeds between 1 and 2% the speed of light. Currently it hurtles through Mars’ orbit on a clear collision course with Earth.
At the Order HQ the greatest minds and sword arms known to humanity gather to come up with a solution to what would be an event that may result in the permanent destruction of the planet’s ability to sustain life.
Or at least they would have. Most of the knights had accepted it as a foregone conclusion that the end was finally here. They didn’t show up to the meeting and opted to spend time with loved ones. Only two men were in the hallowed halls of the Order’s HQ.
“It really is funny you know.” said a man with his face contorted in a cruel facsimile of a smile.
“What is sir?” the much younger knight knew nothing good was likely to come out of the general’s mouth.
“All this shit about the chief god, and the war with the Monster Lord, and in the end we all die to cosmic circumstances beyond ours or anyone’s control.
Whether they be the creatures we half-heartedly call gods or not, it doesn’t matter. Nothing wields the power to elevate itself above the real master of existence”
The young knight had come to expect this kind of talk from the much older man.
Were he not to lie to himself it was at least amusing. And the punchline hadn’t even come yet.
“And what is the real master of existence lord?”
“That’s easy son. Random chance. It doesn’t always throw its weight around but when it does it does so with unrivaled power. This wasn’t “meant” to happen, in any sense of the word. But it is. And nothing, not even the liars who deign themselves gods can do a thing to stop it.”
The younger man smiled. Despite the circumstances it wasn’t a forced spiteful kind of smile. The kind one would make if they were just faking at accepting a hard truth.
Both men started laughing. Again not a spiteful sort of laugh, though there was no real joy to it.
“How much time do we have left anyway boy?” said the knight wiping tears from his eyes. That’s funny. The younger man didn’t think he was laughing that hard.
“Anywhere from 10 to 20 hou….”
The young knight never got to finish that sentence. In that instant the very foundations of the Earth seemed to shake, and the rumbling that could be felt for thousands of miles in any direction threw both men violently from their feet
“What the fuck was that?!! Did it hit us? Why aren’t we dead?”
The younger man was slower to his feet. Even as the rumblings continued he managed to fight his way to the scope. The blessings of the things they once called gods didn’t run as deep in him. What he saw he only saw for a fraction of a second. Such was the intensity of the light he saw strike the meteor that even the diminished light reflected through the scope was enough to blind him for a few moments.
“What is it boy?! What did you see?!”
“No. S-something struck the meteor. Something b-bright”
He went to the scope again.
“It’s…It’s gone….All of it…”
The world had been saved, but not by anything so self righteous and arrogant as to call itself a god…
In truth Velthas was unsure why he acted. The destruction of the world around him meant little to him. It hadn’t for a long, long time. The spell he used to destroy the meteor drained him of most of the power he would have for the day. Power that could be used to experiment and drive the power he wielded the next day to even greater heights. A cycle which had consumed him for dozens of lifetimes.The wards of force around the mountain range that sat on top of his lair were strong enough to casually shrug off whatever fraction of its’ destructive energies the meteor would’ve levied against his….home he supposed? The word had no emotional attachment to him. Nothing did. So why did he act in the defense of the ants all around him?
Did his self experimentation leave some vestiges of humanity still intact? He would have to change that. That wasn’t the issue now. His home was exposed to prying eyes for the first time in….god how long was it? Four-hundred years? Four-Thousand? The sheer heat released by the spell had vaporized the few hundred billion tons of ice covering his home that wore the guise of a mountain range. How would he put it back he wondered…Aloud?
“I guess the best way is to keep casting tsunami, and transmute the water to ice…oh…”
This was the first time Velthas had spoken aloud in longer than he could remember.
He’d almost forgotten he could do that.
There was no one to talk to. So why would he?
He went about the task in the way he stated. Creating massive amounts of water, and removing the heat from it. Gradually the mountain range began to take shape again.
A horde of knights paced around the halls of the order headquarters. There was an open forum being held to attempt to determine the source of their salvation.
“Does the Monster Lord’s power flow greater than we ever thought possible?” Said a wisened looking man in a sun emblazoned suit of plate.
“No that’s the strangest thing about it. It was clearly a spell of some sort, but there’s no traces of demonic taint to it, like there would be had it come from any monster.”
“Do you mean to tell me…a….a human did that? God, how is it even possible for a man to wield power like that?” Sheer disbelief made the words flow slowly from a knight even older than the first to speak through the silence.
“I…I don’t know. Power like that should be impossible for a man to obtain. The kind of impossible that nothing really is in this world. I’m talking a 0% chance of happening. Perhaps we should conside…*Rumble*…what is that?”
Again a rumbling filled the halls of the Order HQ. This one however was far smaller in scope than what had filled the halls several hours prior. The gathered group of men rushed outside, and saw something no doubt any of them had seen.
A rush of mamono the size of which many of the gathered men had never borne witness to rushed next to the gates of the city. But that was the weirdest part. They rushed past it. Passing by it like there was nothing to see.
“What’re they doing? Don’t they know we’re over here?”
“They seem to be headed towards the northern wastes. Why? I don’t think anyone’s lived out there for lifetimes”
The oldest among the procession spoke up.
“Gentlemen I think we may now know how to find our man turned god.”
Contessa was a hellhound. She was one among many such mamono that had felt the burst of power that shook the very world to it’s core. The world-quake they were calling it. And one among many who joined a great procession to it’s source. Just feeling the almost infantessimal amount of that power that she did, hinted at things that were enough to drive her to her knees in ecstasy with mere thought.
She knew instinctively where it came from. All mamono could feel its’ source.
It felt human…but not human. The taste was bland. Not bad, just nonexistant really. But there was just so much of it. Many mamono had joined the procession out of an instinctual curiosity rather than any kind of lust to make a partner out of the caster. They had evolved to mingle productively with men, toward the end goal of being one species. These mamono came simply to pay homage to what they felt was a lord to end all lords. The same instinct to pay homage all men felt in the presence of a god who actually walked amongst them. Contessa wasn’t one of them. She was interested in actually conquering the man who wielded the power that caused the world-quake. Many mamono couldn’t taste it but there was the faintest hint of sweetness to the power they all felt. A grain of sugar amongst a gallon of water. She was certain she could make him her’s. Regardless of whatever reason they had came they marched on. Their numbers in the thousands. The competition for the man would be great….
“You can’t be serious.”
“Oh but I am.” the oldest knight was stony faced. Few here had seen him like that before.
“Those teleporters haven’t been used in centuries. Not since the change. The nature of magic itself was altered in the most fundamental ways in that. How do we know they still work?”
“We don’t lad. But either we act and get to him first, or they do.”
“But how do we even know where he is?”
“That’s the easy part lad. Those mamono are drawn to something powerful. What do you think that might be?”
“It’s true, you know. They’ve changed headings a couple times to avoid moving through biomes that would slow their advance. But each time they’ve redirected heading towards Heaven’s Peak.” This knight was younger than the first two.
“And we have an old station set up a few miles south of the base of the mountain. Besides I already have a group of men ready to go. If we can turn this creature to our side, the war is done. Checkmate. We’d have won.”
The air in the room suddenly grew thinner. Like some of it had just vanished.
“And like that they’re gone.” the elder sniggered.
The second knight sighed. The elder had an aura of foolishness about him. He normally found it endearing. Here he found it infuriating however.
The men saw things in the few seconds it took to make the trip to the mountain.
There was no real way to describe what they saw. It was as if a tunnel had been carved out of light through a vast darkness, and they were shunted through it by some unseen force. But on the edges of the tunnel, the walls if they could be called that, were creatures. At least he thought. They were dark and shifting things, and they seemed to strike at the tunnel, eager to have at its occupants. Where they lashed out at the tunnel the light grew dimmer. Just when it seemed the shield of light surrounding the tunnel was about to give out, they were there.
The tunnel of light and vast darkness replaced with the uncaring but knowable cold of the far north.
“Well that was something. Anyone else see that?” the oldest of the three man called to the other two. Trying to put them at ease with a little conversation.
“I thought all monsters had taken on human shape. What were those?” the youngest stated back, clearly a little shaken.
“If anyone knows our mystery man does.” the oldest called back.
The second oldest said nothing. He was already headed towards the base of the mountain, mouth agape. The others soon joined him. They saw it too.
All around them entire lakes worth of water seemed to form from the very air, suspended motionless in the air for a few moments, before the vast bodies of water jumped at the mountains around them, taking on new life as snow. Walking amongst the clouds was what looked like a man. In as much something a kilometer away can look like a man anyway. The bodies of water were forming around him.
“I, uh, think we found him.”
Velthas thought he heard something. Something similar to the sounds that had come out of his mouth earlier. Hearing a voice other than his own was something he hadn’t experienced in an even greater period of time. He was…excited was it called? Why was he? Why should he care? Maybe they would bring others back if they weren’t dealt with. This was the notion he told himself he acted on.
He casted a detect life spell. A spell known to the mages of the order as a spell with a range of maybe a few hundred feet when real effort was put behind it. Velthas’ had the range of a few dozen kilometers without the aid of any conscious effort.
Instantly he felt the presence of three men about a kilometer directly below him.
He went to them, and started to actually be able to make out the words they were saying; or he would have if he could speak the language they spoke.
He landed with an unnatural slowness and grace about a hundred meters in front of the men. He decided on true speech to communicate with them.
“Who are you? Why have you come? How did you know I was here?”
All but the second oldest of the men recoiled like they had been struck. True speech worked by sending out meaning directly to the mind without the complications of verbal speech.
The second oldest pulled out a book. Of course. They could not send back. The men were clearly knights. In his time as a knight, Velthas understood it that most knights were at least capable of true speech. Whatever. He reached out with a hand, and the book flew from the knight’s hands into Velthas’ left one. Velthas browsed through the text with speed the knights no doubt found unnerving. This was interesting Velthas thought. The base alphabet from what he remembered, and still transcribed documents in was there. Each letter just had many more lines to it. Velthas assumed the way the individual characters were pronounced was unchanged.
Velthas closed the book, and looked again at the men, walking on the air like stairs until he stood about 20 meters away from them.
“I’ll repeat my line of questions. Who are you? Why are you here? How did you know I was here”
An angry god beared down on the men. This time it was the oldest who was the first to speak.
“We are knights of the Order. We are here to find the man who saved the world. We knew you were here because of the stampede of mamono headed this way”
Velthas seemed to consider this for a moment.
“Ma…Mamono. What is that?”
The men were hit by a tide of confusion and then understanding.
“Lord, how long have you been here?”
This time Velthas answered instantly.
“Longer than you could really comprehend. Normal Men play at knowing what the passage of centuries really means, but in such a great length of time so much can happen or so little can happen. A while to answer your question. I couldn’t be expected to answer within the same order of magnitude with any great percentage of success. And don’t call me Lord.”
He seemed to assault the word with his tongue as much as he spoke it.
“Um, well, sire..”
“I suppose sire is fine. Continue”
It was better than Lord anyway. At least sire implied a reason for veneration.
“Yes, sire. Its what the monsters are calling themselves these days.”
Velthas considered this for a second.
“Monsters were drawn here by my destruction of the meteor? Why? Shouldn’t they be mortified?”
The men looked amongst themselves.
“Sire, much has happened in the time you’ve been gone. Perhaps it is best for us to find somewhere warm to sit and tell you.”
Again Velthas was quick to answer. Too quick. Why was he “excited” to have other people in his dwelling?
“Perhaps it is.”
Velthas casted a fireball at the base of the mountain. Its’ energy manipulated so as to have no real kinetic component. Simply raw heat. Instantly one of the entrances to his dwelling was revealed from a tomb of several thousand tons of ice.
“Come. You have much to discuss with me.”
The three men straightened up, and spoke in unison.