Synopsis

Eight centuries ago, in a desperate attempt to contain the toxic spread of her archnemesis the Entity, the Genesis Prime raised a massive exanite edifice, the Lightspire, that imprisoned them both deep within the Grimvault. Now, even as she weathers the intensifying onslaughts mounted by the Entity and his never ending legions, Drusera’s hopes rest on the timely arrival of powerful individuals to finally bring an end to her captivity…

TODAY The Genesis Prime

Synopsis List
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Part One Contest of Wills

She stood in the shadow of the Lightspire as she had for time out of mind, staring up at it while surreptitiously surveying the dusky horizon with dwindling expectancy. And as she had for time out of mind, she saw no one approach. There was little else in the way of scenery, unless one counted the glistening cysts covering every surface and the occasional roving monstrosity that crept along the hills, snuffling for intruders. Behind her she felt the corrosive weight of her persecutor’s looming presence, perpetually shadowing her every move, anticipating her every thought. When it came to chipping away, his energies seemed boundless.

His mocking words scraped across her mind like an expanding fan of twisting barbs: A curious vocation, looking so ardently forward to your own annihilation.

Her features remained composed, betraying not a flicker of interest.

At what point will you admit the inevitable?

Absently she cracked a spur of rock from the nearest summit and dropped it on the distant Strain thing’s head with a crunch. Its limbs flopped briefly.

Every moment that we dawdle in this pointless belligerence is yet another wasted. Together we can accomplish so much. There is no virtue in stubbornness.

As she watched, the creature’s carcass steamed and bubbled to mud before crystallizing and shattering into a thousand hideous shards identical to their progenitor that scattered across the landscape, hooting and gibbering.

If you’re so certain none will come to my aid, what need have you for armies?

The act of creation pleases Us. For its own sake.

Perverting the act pleases you.

Us.

There is no us.

There is only Us.

He had scooped the creatures back together, mashed them into a wad of squealing pulp, and spun the stuff like taffy into a revolving sculpture of their likenesses sinuously intertwined. She rolled her eyes, obliterating it and idly launching a thousand exanite spears at his grinning face. Gently he collected them from the air like stems and smeared the tips in a parody of blossoms, extending her the result like some obscene bouquet. But, she observed, he meticulously avoided touching it.

Like all your works, your notion of persuasiveness has failed to evolve.

There, there. He prodded her walls with his long sharp nail, searching as always for chinks in millennia-old mortar. What of you then? You do nothing to oppose me. Because you cannot.

Timing is not inaction.

Although, she reflected, after long enough it didn’t feel so far removed.

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Part Two The Long Vigil

The Lightspire had had its share of visitors over the years, in wave-cycles of varying intensity punctuated by long intervals of perfect desolation. All brave. All powerful. All dead. Most had been set upon by the Entity’s sentinels and torn to pieces. Several had been seized and transformed into yet more monstrous mockeries. In some cases she could have interceded.

None for millennia at first, for the Eldan’s intolerance for trespassers was notorious.

But as centuries wore on and their return came came to seem unlikelier, increasingly daring sorties were made by the ignorant and the rapacious who had forgotten. Little to her surprise, the first to try their luck had been the Osun. But by the fifth mountain she dropped on them, the survivors had become dissuaded.

There had also been the errant Megadroid investigating the faint pulse of one of his fallen comrades. She could have cloaked the planet from its view, erased its memory, and let it pass unmolested. Instead, under the Entity’s penetrating gaze, she’d lured it in, instantly disassembled it, and offered its brain to the Caretaker to puzzle over in the hopes that an intricate cogitative challenge would help with his recent instabilities. It hadn’t. And the only satisfaction this act of careless destruction had given her was glimpsing the Entity’s momentary surprise. She wanted him to witness it, know that she was capable of it. That her grievance with him transcended ideology. That it was personal.

Of the Cassians she had given no thought in generations, save the hope that their world was sufficiently distant to spare them the worst of the holocaust to come, for however brief an interval.

Then one day, while conducting her usual scans for notable phenomena, for reasons she couldn’t name she had cast her gaze outward, curious against all logic for developments from the galaxy’s most distant arches. And there she had found the hominid freezing to death in his tiny sliver of metal, adrift on the vast dark ocean.

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Part Three An Auspicious Landfall

She stood in the shadow of the Lightspire as she had for time out of mind. Lightning lanced across the roiling skies; thrums of thunder bucked the ground beneath her. He took a special pleasure in meteorological taunts, doubtless as a subtle reminder of their shared elemental origins.

For a year or even briefer, she contemplated her gleaming wards, twirling steadily above the blasted mesa as he glided among them, hosts of creatures spurting from his slimy wake with anguished moans. Periodically he stopped, appraised the nearest, and casually lashed it with a crackling whip. Testing her defenses.

Careful if I were you . She folded her arms. Remember last time?

Indeed, I recall a much more violent reaction. Do you weaken? Or do you still expect relief from those little maggots in which Our creators misplaced so much energy?

His words stung. She thought again of the many visiting souls she had placed such hopes on, only to watch as he snuffed them out with careless ease before they even came within sight of the towering Lightspire.

The taking of such brief lives should not have affected her so deeply. Their grandest ambitions were as fleeting as breezes. Nevertheless, every casualty nevertheless withered her more deeply than the loss of all Eldan combined. Perhaps that itself was the reason. With each death, a spark of limitless potential winked out, nullified forever. Because of her.

Because she was too weak to take him alone.

Much as she dreaded admitting it, her wards were waning. The notion of admitting weakness before him appalled her, but maybe he was right. The universe was flawed and worsening rapidly. Perhaps the only way forward was to start over. The sooner she accepted it, the quicker they could rebuild.

Almost sadly, he signaled. His legions instantly fell to clawing and gnashing at the wards, dying in droves and ceaselessly replenishing.

Her vision blurred and dimmed. She opened her mouth to announce capitulation. And noticed he was frowning past her, at approaching specks in the distance.

Expecting guests? For once his tone was devoid of mockery. If I were you, I would compel them aside. An edge she didn’t recognize had crept into his voice. Doubt? These interruptions wear my patience.

Laughter rippled from her lips. Stop them, if you can.

You won’t oppose me?

Her replying smile instantly incinerated his legions thousands deep in their tracks. I didn’t say that.

And her wards flamed back to life.