Science 101: A Study of Power

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe with an alternate time line.

Science 101: A Study of Power

“Behold the history of the universe!” Solomos said in a dramatic voice. He didn’t hide his disappointment when his students just stared at him. It was so difficult to capture their imaginations. “Now, behold the history of the universe according to mortals!” That got there attention. There was no denying the difference between the two. “According to mortals the universe is just a few hundred million years short of its fourteen billionth birthday.”

“That’s ridiculous!” Trelayne protested.

“Even they know that,” Solomos told him. “The problem, is that mortals came into being long after the Celestials formed the features of existence. The Realm of Mortals is around the age they claim it to be, they just don’t realise there is more to see… well most don’t.”

The swirling cosmic dust shifted around to form an image.

“Now this is one of those that could see the truth,” Solomos commented. “Krona the Maltusian, one of the greatest minds the Realm of Mortals ever produced. It’s such a shame that his genius was unappreciated and people only remember the bad things…”

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The Mortal Realm had been formed by a flash of light, followed by a long period of darkness. What happened during those thirteen billion years was unknown, but a relatively short time after the darkness was illuminated by the newly formed stars, life emerged. Real life as opposed to the higher beings that had been created earlier. Life with an finite span that made it all the more precious. Life so short that those gifted with intellect and creativity could change the worlds around them with a theory.

The Maltusians were one such race. Among the oldest civilisations in the universe, the Maltusians were considered strange by those that encountered them. For despite being a race of powerful wizards capable of directing extra-dimensional energy and bending it to their wills, they abhorred magic. Magic was too wild and unpredictable for them to control and what they could not control, they feared. In a doomed attempt to limit the influence of magic on the universe, the Maltusians gathered all the energy they could find and locked it within a containment unit, which the then threw into the depths of space. It would be eons later that they discovered that containing all magic was impossible since it was constantly flowing into the universe from beyond.

The Maltusians were also the first race to prove the dangers of meddling with time as they unknowingly rewrote their own history when the scientist known as Krona sought to bring order to the cosmos and eradicate the unpredictable force of magic by viewing the moment of creation in order to isolate the cause. Despite being ordered to cease his experiments, Krona created a machine capable of glimpsing the distant past. However in his haste he had failed to understand just how old the universe was and his probe was pulled so far back that he only caught a glimpse of the origin point before his machinery exploded.

The explosion had many consequences. The blast disrupted the path of the explosion that formed existence, fracturing reality so that instead of a single universe it became a multiverse. His anger at the failure of his experiment influenced the mind of The One during a time of emotional upheaval, leading to the split that created Light and Darke. And thirdly, the explosion caused enough upheaval to unleash Entropy from its prison and turn it loose upon the cosmos.

The events rippled forward through time, causing the Maltusians’ attempt to control magic to fail and in doing so erased the confidence that allowed Krona to build his machine in the first place.

The Maltusians could have become a major player in universal affairs. Perhaps they would have conducted an experiment that was unsafe and in doing so realised a new goal to bring order to the universe. Perhaps they would have become a divided race separated by their beliefs in how that goal could be achieved. Maybe given time they would have learnt to give others the means to exercise the powers they employed using willpower to bend energy to their wills.

But that never happened. The Maltusians’ failure to contain the spread of magic caused them to look inward to maintaining order over their own world. Experimentation stopped and a great race for the most part was content to stagnate. Had they realised that their race had been rewritten by the meddling of another race to make them less of threat, they would have fought. But they never knew and the great forces they were supposed to bring to the universe emerged without their guidance.

Not all the Maltusians felt that way though and from time to time a member of their race would decide to experiment with forces he did not understand. And Krona despite no longer being a scientist was still the sort that wanted to learn about existence. Krona believed that only through understanding could his people achieve their goals. To that end he carried out forbidden experiments using magic and discovered the means to summon those that lurked in Hell into the Mortal Realm. His first attempts were promising, but when he summoned a demon from one of the astral planes, he unknowingly created a powerful embodiment of twisted emotions: Nyghtmayr.

The Maltusians were unable to send Nightmayr back to where he had been summoned from. They did manage to force into the Morphyus Realm. Krona was severely punished for his crimes, but the damage he had caused would not be easily reversed; Krona had unwittingly spread the twisted emotions Nyghtmayr represented throughout existence and in doing so had offset the natural advantage of Good over Evil. Servants of Nyghtmayr remained to do his bidding, finding ways to feed on the emotions they influenced to free their master. The Shadow Empire had formed at the moment of their master’s release and remained free following his imprisonment.

Guilt ridden about the damage Krona had caused, the Maltusians discovered a way to fight the forces of the Shadow Empire. Unfortunately the method they devised required more than just willpower. It needed a powerful and creative imagination to direct the power. It was a weapon the Maltusians would never be able to use themselves and with their strong feelings of isolationism, one they were unwilling to share. Instead despite their regret, they resigned themselves to failure and returned to bringing order solely to themselves.

====

“A single experiment led to the release of Entropy, the existence of Good and Evil, and the multiverse in all its form and glory,” Solomos explained. “Now imagine all those new realities suddenly appearing without a true origin. That is what makes this the Prime Reality and is the reason most mortals cannot comprehend the true age of the universe.”

“So time is a creation of the mortals then?” Noah asked.

“In a way. Time was the means to an end for some mortals. To dominate history, to have your race as the pinnacle and most important race in existence, allowing you the power to dictate how reality will look. A most potent weapon, especially when competing with races that might be superior. That race went on to master time travel and to set the basic laws of the universe. To achieve that they sabotaged the Maltusians at the peak of the creativeness, the eventual destruction of the planet Krypton and offset the natural evolution of a whole race, using civil war as a means of preventing them from becoming a threat.”

====

Few races inside the Mortal Realm were capable of perceiving the Celestials as they carried out their work. The Maltusians had glimpsed them briefly before their fall from grace. But it was important to remember that those that had seen them were only able to view their past actions. Not even the most powerful race could perceive them in the present unless the Celestials wished to be seen. Just like the Maltusians, those capable of understanding the giant beings were those that struggled to assume the role of dominant life form.

The Cybertronians were one such race. Born as living metal from the surface of their world, they retained a racial memory of the ones that had first shaped it. The Celestial had been named Primus and his act of creating their planet along with its moons had carried down through the generations. Cybertronians had developed into living metal beings capable of changing their appearances to fit in or survive alien environments. Primus had revisited their world countless times, often reshaping the planet because it had not grown as he desired. Eventually though he had seemingly given up trying to guide his children and had vanished, allowing those that followed to tell the tales of their creator without realising just how long ago he had first assumed that role.

On the distant world of Gallifrey an ancient race had looked into the past and had seen the Celestials. The people of Gallifrey never lost sight of the magnificent beings. They studied the physics behind their miraculous creations and in doing so found ways to reproduce the effects before sending their knowledge into their planet’s past. The knowledge altered their evolution causing their race to evolve faster than it had originally. The knowledge they acquired allowed them to cause supernovas and to trap a black hole in a pocket dimension. They discovered ways to travel in time and used their discoveries to undermine those that would challenge their position.

The history of the Cybertronians was rewritten so that instead of living metal, they were mostly flesh and blood. They hid the true nature of the Celestial and then engineered a constant state of warfare to prevent the race from evolving. For a time they toyed with the idea of completely erasing the planet from history, but decided not to.

While Cybertron was a rival to Gallifrey due to the advancements of its people, Krypton was a threat due to its expansionist policy. Many Kryptonians left the planet to colonise other worlds, taking their beliefs with them and risking the reality that Gallifrey envisioned. Since Krypton entertained some belief in magic, they could not be allowed to go unchecked. History was rewritten in an attempt to eradicate the influence of magic; the development of the Kryptonian was slowed by billions of years so that at the time the people of Gallifrey were fully evolved, Kryptonian society was far behind them. The ancient Krytonians were forgotten as the planet reached an age of enlightenment. The strategy had worked but in doing so they unknowingly contributed to the destruction of Krypton when generations later the populations dependence of science depleted the planet’s resources and caused its core to collapse.

And then to prevent some unscrupulous opponent using their strategy against them, the people of Gallifrey engineered a means to keep themselves safe from temporal meddling and prohibited their own race from travelling to some parts of time. They hid the Celestials from even their own race, causing themselves to forget many of the principles behind their greatest achievements.

====

“Gallifrey went on to become a dominant influence on this reality,” Solomos explained. “They held themselves as the race others should aspire to be. And for a long time they jealously protected their position, until they met their match. But that’s a story for another time.”

The swirling dust formed a map of the universe as the mortals would see it. With a flick of his wrist, Solomos had the map spinning around as he zoomed in on the world known as Tython.

“Mortals are not connected to the natural energy of the universe in the same was as those that came before them,” Solomos told explained. “The link was fragile at best and in most cases so weak they could only see, hear and feel the effects of it being used. Instead technology and science became the basis for their way of life. And as you saw with the people of Gallifrey, they were able to achieve some magnificent feats.”

“I thought this was a lesson in good and evil, not mortals versus gods,” Trelayne sneered.

“Those mortals surpassed the gods,” Solomos answered. “They found ways to destroy stars, to travel in time and transport themselves through the cosmos without any special powers. They managed all that without considering the morality of their actions. And of course the powers trapped in Heaven and Hell could not allow that to go on for long. They engineered the return of evil to the universe, and with it there were the forces of light. They inspired individuals to take up arms in favour of one side or another, but technology made everything so drawn out that they decided to help things along.”

“So the gods and demons introduced the mortals to the Power,” Noah guessed.

“Actually they just arranged a number of strange events to take place that in turn caused scientists to seek out the truth. That eventually led them to discover the power they had been overlooking for so long. It started slowly of course, a few warriors discovered that in battle they could enhance their strength and other abilities, or give their weapons a glowing edge that cut through their opponents; maybe even draw energy in from the environment and unleash it in a destructive wave.

“Then another group discovered that they could make an opponent stagger from a blow just by imagining the strike, or read an opponent’s thoughts and plant ideas in his head. Some could even take control of their opponent. Or make them tremble in fear as they controlled the world around them with their minds.

“And finally there were those that through meditation could latch onto an unknown energy, draw it through their bodies and use it in combat. They could transform the energy as they projected into other forms such as heat, light and sound. When some of were able to use all three methods of directing energy the scholars on Tython decided that they could be combined into a single study and applied their scientific minds to the very unscientific phenomenon.”

Images shifted into view of students trading techniques and exchanging ideas while scholars recorded everything they could. They saw how through trial and error the various methods were categorised and candidates identified. They watched as techniques for improving the body, mind and spirit were combined to create a training program that benefited the majority of students. Techniques were developed that allowed students to specialise and played to their strengths.

“At this time they only knew that there was some form of energy and that some could use parts of it that others could not. They didn’t understand the finer points. They did know that some methods worked for the body and that the correct technique could enhance strength or provide extra speed. By trial and error they found ways of developing the skills of the mind and those that allowed the release of energy. Of course there needed to be rules.”

They watched as two students sparred, dominating his opponent. They saw a look of anger cross the face of the defeated student and as the victor turned away, they watched his fallen for unleash an energy bolt at his back. Nothing could save the unfortunate student as the energy blast tore a hole through his body and he collapse to the floor. The cowardly assault led to new rules about fair combat and limitations on the sort of techniques that would be allowed. The watched as some went further, trying to outlaw certain techniques and making it illegal to even know how to perform them

“And so began the great divide,” Solomos announced. “The mortals couldn’t see the influences around them, but those outside forces divided students and teachers on moral grounds. From there it was inevitable that the sides would become polarised, factions would develop and the war between good and evil would start again.”

“I can’t see any proof of outside interference,” Trelayne protested.

“Really?” Solomos challenged directed the image to a small group of rebellious students crowded around a large tome. “That book was left for them to find by a servant of the darkness. The pages are enchanted so that once read the desire to know more and seek out even darker techniques is unavoidable.” He noticed the slight smirk on Noah’s face. “Of course it was the opposition that started to encourage those that would simply ban such knowledge without explanation. The forces of Heaven and Hell engineered a situation where the status quo could not survive, which eventually led to the rise and defeat of the Emperor.”

The rise and eventual fall of the Emperor played out as the dust shifted to provide the moving images. They watched the reformation of a unified approach to teach and its eventual failure.

“In the Emperor you can see some of the attributes of a fine villain,” Solomos stated. “He developed a long term plan and used it to gradually insert himself into a position where he was above suspicion. Then he used that position to turn opinion against those that stood against. him. Just a shame he didn’t realised the threat that Rio posed. The most important thing this lesson should have taught you is that the universe dislikes neutrality and is opposed to peace. The universe thrives on chaos and conflict, which is why the war between Good and Evil cannot end. And if you didn’t realise it the power they claimed to master would eventually be abandoned as they discovered a new source.”

“I thought there was only one power,” Trelayne challenged.

“There is, but while those that came before them simply tapped into the energy and put it to use, mortals couldn’t handle it. They had to break the power down into manageable forms. The energy used by these early mortals was not the easiest to use, nor was it the most powerful, it was just the first that they could identify.”

Eventually scholars would learn that although the different forms of energy could be used in combination, it was much more efficient to wield them separately. Specialisation and division would lead to more potent powers being discovered. Eventually some would revisit the ancient forms and master them. Others would learn to use them accidentally. The universe was evolving and the weapons of war were changing with it. Or so it seemed.

End of part.

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History 101: Change of Position

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe with an alternate time line.

History 101: Change of Position

“Isn’t it a wonderful sight?” Solomos asked as they watched Shadow literally shatter to form a new race of gods. “Of course you can’t just have good gods and evil gods if they’re going to be separated into their own pantheons. The universe has a sense of humour and no doubt found it hilarious to have such divisions within the many pantheons. In the end though they carried Shadow’s indifference to the conflict between Good and Evil and preferred to let the little people fight out rather than involve themselves.”

“Poor imitations,” Trelayne grumbled.

And he was right in a way. The gods that Shadow had spawned were second generation combatants and not as dedicated as their predecessors. What they could foresee was how the universe was prepared to move on without their influence. The mortals they had chosen as playthings were the new dominant life forms and even though the gods could crush them with little effort, the worship they received from the little creatures kept them strong.

“The survivor of Darke’s followers was surprising,” Noah said in the silence that followed. “I was certain the golden wave had destroyed them.”

“Yes,” Solomos agreed, glancing at the smug look on Trelayne’s face. “It was unexpected although their imprisonment in a shared dimension meant that their ability to cause trouble was limited.” The smug smile had turned into a scowl.

“Their ability to reshape their prison to their liking is commendable,” Noah added and Solomos started to understand that while Noah felt the need to take a stance opposite to Trelayne’s belief, there was no underlying moral preference. In a way the young External was following his true nature by annoying those he considered pompous fools.

The formation of a unified Hell from the many smaller prisons had allowed the servants of Darke to regroup. That there had been a unified Heaven had tipped him off that the Celestials had likely reshaped reality to clean up in the aftermath of the war. It had also shifted the old powers out of the way to make room for the new realms they had been working on – for the Celestials were the builders of reality and had no interest in the destructive theatre of war.

“I was surprised so many of Darke’s creations survived the golden wave,” Solomos agreed. “They’re sudden increase in intellect and declaration as Dark Gods was most likely an attempt to save face following their defeat.”

“Mortilus’ tribe were just as quick to jump at the chance to establish themselves,” Noah agreed. “Although with the emergence of the Light Gods, Saints and Angels, the balance was sustained.”

There it was again, a small jab at Trelayne that showed that Noah was well aware of the little interventions he was making to reshape history, and the Noah was prepared to poke the timelines just enough to put them back on track.

“The Mortal Realm was barely formed at this point,” Solomos explained. “Despite the obvious attempts to keep outside parties from involving themselves, the barriers were to frail to completely block them. And the Celestials having built the realms of glory had made this a very mundane place. Mortals are very easy to play with and extremely fragile. The voice of a demon of angel whispering in their minds could influence them, but not grant total control. But find a candidate, somebody who can convince others to follow a cause and you have the making of a new army.”

“One demon… or angel,” Noah amended, “and an army of millions.”

“What of Jenga and Ma’erok?” Trelayne demanded. “Where did they go?”

“Wherever they needed to,” Solomos answered. “Each was destined to become the dominant evil in their own universe, but not in this one. If they survived here they would have been relegated to myth and legend instead of leading the fight as they deserved.”

He could see Trelayne nodding in full agreement with his statement. In truth he suspected they had fought so hard they had ended up throwing each other out of Hell and found themselves trapped somewhere less friendly. Either way they were not relevant to the lesson and he chose to move on.

“Here we see the universal balance once in force,” Solomos commented as he viewed an angel physically entering the Mortal Realm. “To enter the Mortal Realm they are required to give up so much power. The withdrawal symptoms must be incredible, no wonder only the bravest or most dedicated warriors from both sides did so.”

The world of the mortals was clearly important, but the Externals were already aware of that fact. That it became so important so early on was truly astounding.

“The Universe continued to expand and the fight between Good and Evil was moving from the highest forms of life to its most primitive. In spite of that the fighting would become more vicious and the cost of taking a stand had never been higher.”

Trelayne snorted in disbelief. Some of the mortals he had seen couldn’t even throw a fireball.

“You think them weak and cowardly?” Solomos guessed. “Just remember that they cannot escape death by abandoning a body at the last moment. In the case of the mortals giving their lives for the cause was a literal thing. And if you doubt me, just watch what happened next.”

End of part

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History 101: Truth of the Matter

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or Power Rangers. They belong to their respective copyright owners along with all associated characters. Noah, Solomos, Trelayne and the other Externals are based on a number of sources, including the Q and the Continuum come from Star Trek the Next Generation, and from the Original Series episode Squire of Gothos. The start scene where they are staring into the bowl was taken from Jason and the Argonauts. Some Star Wars related concepts belong to Lucas Arts and the respective copyright owners. There are also a few references to The Players from Doctor Who, the Monitors from DC Universe and many others. The One is based on a number of characters that belong to DC Comics, Image Dream Wave and Marvel.
Authors Note: This is a fanfic based within the Conquest of Evil Multiverse; technically this story is the beginning of the multiverse. The events follow their own timeline and are not related to any of my other series. If you have read Conquest of Evil, the events observed take place between The Beginning and the end of the Minion saga. This chapter is intended as an insight into the Externals. If the events seem different than they did during In the Beginning it is because these are events viewed from a different perspective.

History 101: Truth of the Matter

The images stopped, allowing Solomos to summarise all they had seen.

“In the beginning there was nothing and all was well. Then something changed and the darkness protested. Its protests gained sentience and the sentience took a form to consume anything that dared invade its territory. Those unable to see such things would merely envision a wave of destruction: Entropy. Large, filled with many interesting sights the universe expanded, it remained that way for a long time until the first reaction between strains of proteins created life. And then life faded and the universe was destroyed. Entropy won, the universe died. You already know this and that shows how superior our understanding is to others.”

The two young Externals watched with something close to awe and their older companion could understand their feelings. There were few sights that could inspire the imagination of an External, but this was close. One of his young companions grinned wickedly at the prospect of having some fun and twitched the corner of his mouth, adjusting the effects of gravity and slowing the reaction. It wasn’t much, but the shift allowed the destructive waves to catch up to the growing universe and ended it much sooner than it should have. Luckily it was no great loss.

“Stop that!” Solomos snapped.

The damage was done; there was nothing he could do to correct his young companion’s idiocy. He promptly considered removing the young hellion’s powers and leaving him to float in the void for a few thousand years. But that wouldn’t correct the problem he had come to solve.

“If you do anything like that again, Trelayne,” he told the misbehaving child, “I will plunge you into a black hole.” He knew that one day he would be forced to mentor Trelayne and possibly Noah too, so it was better they understood that he was not to be messed with.

“Look,” Noah cried, pointing to the rapidly shrinking universe.

Solomos looked and was relieved to see that the interference had not caused irreparable damage; the lonely universe was not just fading to nothingness as he had feared and given what they were witnessing, this interference had only aided the natural process.

“Oh no,” Solomos groaned. He was going to be in trouble for this.

The end arrived. For a long time there was nothing and then the universe was reborn. A lone egg and a number of primitive life forms the only remnant of the old universe.

“Some would call those things bacteria,” Solomos observed, pointing to one particular species of organism that seemed intent on eating the outside of the egg. “They’re not though. These are zero-cell organisms, invisible without out sight. They’re barely scratching the surface of the egg, but as they feed they are excreting the raw stuff of matter… and anti-matter. See, there for just a second matter and anti-matter collided. Imagine how violent that explosion will become when they’ve eaten a bit more.”

“Why is there just one egg?” Trelayne asked. “Now if I was doing it, I wouldn’t have settled for an egg. Frog spawn would be much better.”

“No!”

Again it was too late. Trelayne had acted before Solommos could stop him. The only thing he could do now was clean up the mess, again. A click of his fingers and the egg was restored, the frog spawn scattered throughout the void. As they watched the universe forming, the egg cracked and gave birth to the first inhabitant: The One. Solomos sensed that the frog spawn had also hatched, creating untold alternate universes, forming a multiverse.

“Look at him, all powerful and magnificent; that is what the pinnacle of evolution looks like,” Solomos scolded. “And if we look closer, we’ll be able to make out that like most other life out there, he is the host of countless viruses, bacteria and parasites. Just like every other race, except Externals. Do you know why we do not carry bacteria and other vermin?”

“Because we evolved beyond such things?” Trelayne guessed.

“Wrong!” Solomos boomed before turning to Noah. “Want to try?”

“Because we are bacteria?” the young External tried.

“Correct! We Externals, along with a number of other races you have yet to meet that make us look mortal, are little more than bacteria thrown from his body by the explosion that created existence. He didn’t create us only to throw us away; if he was ever aware of our existence he chose to dismiss it. That we survived meant we evolved. That we came from the same origin as him meant we share some of the power he holds. But as pinnacles of evolution go: we’re primitives. Those creatures that were surround the egg are further up the evolutionary ladder than we can ever hope to be. We’re just too arrogant to ever admit it.”

He could see that his words had taken some of the attitude from Trelayne although there was a look of defiance that he knew could mean trouble later.

“There,” Solomos said, picking out a single universe, similar to the one that the younger Externals had been playing with. Somehow it would appear that Trelayne’s actions had been preordained; the creator’s reactions had created the multiverse where their creator dwelt. “Now we just need to ensure that these events follow the desired course. And since you two were so obsessed with Good and Evil, watch closely and learn. This is the birth of a conflict.”

The Story Resumes

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History 101: Madness and Methods

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or Power Rangers. They belong to their respective copyright owners along with all associated characters. Noah, Solomos, Trelayne and the other Externals are based on a number of sources, including the Q and the Continuum come from Star Trek the Next Generation, and from the Original Series episode Squire of Gothos. The start scene where they are staring into the bowl was taken from Jason and the Argonauts. Some Star Wars related concepts belong to Lucas Arts and the respective copyright owners. There are also a few references to The Players from Doctor Who, the Monitors from DC Universe and many others. The One is based on a number of characters that belong to DC Comics, Image Dream Wave and Marvel.
Authors Note: This is a fanfic based within the Conquest of Evil Multiverse; technically this story is the beginning of the multiverse. The events follow their own timeline and are not related to any of my other series. If you have read Conquest of Evil, the events observed take place between The Beginning and the end of the Minion saga. This chapter is intended as an insight into the Externals. If the events seem different than they did during In the Beginning it is because these are events viewed from a different perspective.

History 101: Madness and Methods

“This is boring!” Trelayne complained “Why don’t we accelerate the process?”

“Don’t – you – dare!” Solomos warned. He pointed to the being known as The One. “Externals are all-powerful. That creature there has absolute power, he could erase the Externals with a thought or perhaps given our nature… some soapy water. Anger him and you will find there are things even an External cannot survive. Standing against the him is one such thing.”

It was a harsh warning, especially since this being was not their creator. But since he was in one way or another responsible for the creation of everything else in existence, he was close enough.

The One slumbered as he had done since the moment he had been overwhelmed by the thoughts and emotions of his creation. It was a mental breakdown on an enormous scale; his mind had collapsed under the strain and he had become a virtual vegetable. Solomos doubted there was any mind left for dreaming. However a a disruption of the sort Trelayne had suggested would likely result in an instinctive response. And in all likelihood the Externals would not survive.

“The Avatar of Light and the Avatar of Darkness; Light and Darke to their friends if they had any. One good, one evil and destined to oppose each other. Notice the third avatar, Shadow. So underrated but an equal to either of the others. He could take them both to task if he wished. He healed them countless times when they went too far with their little quarrels. Sooner or later though he can’t keep them apart without putting himself in the path of a stray blow. That’s the point at which he let them fight.”

They watched events progress, the creation of warriors on both sides to bolster their forces. They watched as Light’s creations were tempted by Darke and how one of them abandoned Light in favour of a new master.

“Darke clearly had the right idea by not allowing his forces the freedom to betray him,” Trelayne scoffed. “Light was a fool.”

“Really?” Solomos asked. “Despite the loss of one member to Darke, the Covenant won more encounters against Darke’s creations. The free will made allowed them to be creative and adaptive. Their defeat was due to the traitor’s weakness, not Light’s strategy.”

They saw Light trap Darke in a prison of light for a time during which his forces grew in strength. Or they would have if not for the actions of the traitor. They saw Light attacked from behind and the sinister duo double team the Avatar of Light. They watched as Light was defeated and left for dead. They saw Shadow appear to heal his brother.

“Shadow should have stayed out of it!” Trelayne snarled.

“Haven’t you figured it out yet?” came the calm response. “Shadow was a combination of Light and Darke. His whole existence was to stop one from gaining absolute dominance – for Light would have been just as oppressive as Darke if left unopposed. Shadow could not allow Darke to destroy Light or Light to eradicate Darke if it mean the other was in a position of absolute power. You could say this was the moment he was waiting for.”

It was their nature to fight, light against dark, and order against chaos to the extent where they would ultimately destroy each other without regard for the rapidly expanding cosmos around them. With Protos leading what remained of the Covenant, following the traitor’s departure, the fighting intensified. More and more races were drawn into what had previously been a relatively small conflict. As his brothers were cut down, Protos was slowly pushed into a final confrontation with Darke and his warrior.

“Notice how Darke became obsessed with destroying Light’s legacy. He completely overlooked Shadow’s activities. And Protos despite his power was not on Darke’s level. When faced with Darke, the traitor and three of his followers, there was little hope for him to emerge triumphant.”

But Shadow had been busy, restoring Light to a point where the Avatar could unleash a final, desperate attack, one that left the traitor crippled and Darke unable to lead his forces. That Light spread himself so thinly that he could never hope to reform meant that the balance Shadow desired had been achieved. With Light and Darke gone, they watched as Protos accepted his fate and dissolved.

“So that’s it?” Trelayne asked. “Final battle, all over. Good wins but can’t celebrate.”

“If it ended then why were they still fighting later?” Noah asked.

“Good question,” Solomos remarked. “And the answer to that comes back to what I told you before: Shadow was made up of Darke and Light. When his brothers vanished the pain of being alone tore him apart, literally.” He waved a hand allowing the events to replay above them. “Watch carefully.”

End of Part

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