Tales of the Timeless #14
Written by Anomaly, Plot by Anomaly and
Tales of the Timeless
Go to the POTU Archive Page for more past issues of Tales of the Timeless.
Interlude - To Slay an Immortal
A dark figure sat on a throne; his piercing gaze was upon an intruder who had foolishly wondered into the spider's integral web.
The heavy metal doors are kicked open with impunity, and a man with a flowing cape steps in. His height and build both impressive and attractively captivating, showed not a sign of trepidation that other - lesser - beings would have surely felt. And in his hand a great sword, with the head of a dragon stood unwavering.
"Cain, first born killer of man, I would seek an audience with you, father of the vampires!" the intruder proclaimed brashly.
The only reply to the man's proclamation was the movement of a ghost on the air as Cain appeared behind the mighty warrior with ease, and with a swiftness that could only be described as teleportation. But this was not known to the warrior, as the first murder, was standing unknowingly behind him, as a terrible phantasm.
His voice came from high and low, because he did not wish for the arcane warrior to know his whereabouts through the utterance of his voice. "Am I not Cain! He who has the mark of God so that no living creature may slay me! Why should I fear you, vampire hunter!"
"Let us," he said slowly, calmly, as he put not a fight against the bindings that held him in place, "dispense with the games Cain. I have pursued you across the millenniums, and have not forgotten how you infiltrated the Turks causing me to resort to the inhuman methods I had become known for. I had not forgotten how you buried my brother alive." The words hung there for a moment or two.
Cain laughed a terrible laugh. "Little prince of Wallachia, your puny order of the dragon had but staved off a small faction. My Kindred have grown without number. And today Vlad Tepes, he who is the impaler, shall die, for killing all of my children." Cain smiled broadly.
"Tepes was a name used by my enemies to discredit me but I used it to bring terror, Vlad the impaler!" he then laughed although it appeared that his life would soon be cut short. And without forewarning, Vlad was flung across the room by a powerful wind, his form was torn away from the webbing that had adhered to his body, and then he was smashed against some crates, the crates themselves looked very much like coffins, hungrily awaiting a body to fill them. "I am called evil, because I enjoy killing your kind, my name is used to frighten small children," Vlad laughed harshly. "But is that not how one inspires his men and puts the heart of his enemy in his throat."
"Do you think I fear you? In your own way, you are far more evil then even I, whom god had cursed, and placed his mark upon me," stated Cain. His smooth angular face lit by the moonlight which struck through the window, causing his face to look like one of the great gargoyles that had hung on the churches when Vlad had hunted his kind.
"You will fear me Cain, this I promise!"
Vlad's hair was in the style of his countrymen, long and to his shoulders, his white face juxtaposed by the black hair and mustache. The garment a long red cloak, line with animal fur slightly rippled, a gentle breeze washing over him. He struck at Cain, with a series of strikes, that were not predictable and were very deadly as he had sliced a candle in twain, and tore a great tapestry from the wall.
A heavy blow across Vlad's shoulder blade shattered it completely, and knocking him to the floor causing him to drop, his ceremonial sword. Another blow deformed his cheek, making it so his eye was hanging by its socket. And yet Vlad managed a half smile despite his being permanently disfigured "You should have killed me, instead of trying to make me suffer." And to add insult to injury Vlad uttered the words, "Pathetic creature."
"It is interesting," said Vlad, slowly rising to his feet. "How I who served the church, became known as the devil, when in truth the order of the dragon was a society to kill your slithering kind." He slightly laughed at the irony of it all. Vlad smiled once more, "I have a powerful new ally, now, but I do not need him to dispense with you, godless one." The Wallachian prince turned his sword with the blade pointed at the earth, and the hilt resembling that of a cross.
Cain gibed, "Do you think such as a crud method as that can forestall my plans? I, the father of all vampires? It is useless against my might!" He proclaimed, proudly.
"It is not the artifact that is the bearer of might, but he who yields it," Vlad stated matter-of-factly. "My faith, is as it was once called, could easily be considered, nothing more than, a latent mutant ability I was given to combat your kind. And combat them, I shall."
And Cain went to his knees, as Vlad drew closer, pinning him to the floor with the latent mutant power being focused through the artifact of the religious symbol. As he was nearly on top of Cain, he thrust his blade completely through the first murder. And through the stony floor of the castle itself. The blade went straight through with no resistance, blood splattered outward, covering the shimmering blade of the weapon.
And Vlad's actions were only meet by . . . mocking laughter.
"It is useless! Nothing can kill me! I am one of the truly immortal, and today Vlad Tepes, my oldest enemy, will die," Cain retorted in burst of laughter.
"In truth monster all was a shame, mere rhetoric, you influenced me very little. It was my secret ally, who provided, the mood, he thought it might put you off guard as to our true purpose, to steal your power." He paused. "Something that has only been theorized, of course."
Vlad steeled himself there was another way, but if he employed it, then he to would be forever cursed. Taking a deep breath, his fangs extended from his wet mouth, and he began to drink from the vein of Cain, which he made by slicing the artery on his neck and drinking deeply, selflessly, and then Dracula fell to his knees. Screaming only one word that echoed endlessly throughout the corridors of the castle where the entire confrontation had taken place. "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!"
And then the echoed dead.
He hovered just above the planet of Titan, and the reflection of the time god could be seen upon the glaze off the bright form that is the Silver Surfer. The Silver Surfer seemed suspended in time and space, and this was very possible since the being who was known as Kronus, a lord of time itself, was also there standing between the moments.
A great storm grew in his fiery orbs and the Silver Surfer was transported, to a planet of familiar surrounding, but definitely a different time period.
The Surfer looked like an angel of Bottechelii, with his perfect beauty and innocence oozing from every orifice of his being. Before him stood a man. But judging from his appearance alone, it was clear that despite the flesh and blood housings this was far from a mortal man.. His deep seated eyes, and flat nose a few hairs in the place of a beard, broad shoulders and a short square off body, of a nervous strength, though of a disproportion form. The haughty step and demeanor of the king of the Huns expressed the consciousness of his superiority above the rest of mankind, and he had a custom fiercely rolling eyes, as if he wished to enjoy the terror that he inspired.
"So you have come," the king rumbled, ready for battle, he was clad from head to toe in a dress that was the garb of one of the antiquity. "I do not fear you."
The Silver Surfer, for his part, was in awe. How could this mortal man stand before his cosmic majesty without falling prostrate? The answer to the silent musings did not come, and Norrin Radd was not sure if he truly wanted to know the answer to it. Clearly this man was not as much of a barbarian as he appeared, despite his garb, and his weaponry.
The Surfer began to glow and the man whom was know only as the scourge of god by his soldiers was bathed in the strange light, which seemed to hit the entire electronic spectrum all at once. And then the Surfer was gone and hovering before the time god of Titan known only as Kronus once more.
"I HAVE RESTORED YOUR POWERS OVER TIME, BECAUSE OF THE ONE WHO COMES, BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF THANOS' INVOLVEMENT IN ALL THESE HAPPENINGS. YOU AND THE EARTH GROUP KNOWN AS THE DEFENDERS WILL SEEK OUT THE TITIAN AND FIND OUT WHAT HE'S DOING," Kronus proclaimed. "AND IF NESSACARY STOP HIM. AT ALL COST."
And then the Surfer went toward earth to seek those who he would need, in his fight against Thanos, the Mad Titan, and the group known only as the Timeless.
He dissected time with impunity as he came across the sorcerer supreme who was sitting in a cross-legged position similar to those used by eastern religions. The Surfer was hanging like a glorious figure from an Michelangelo painting of sorts, his arm gesturing to Strange, much like the imagery of God reaching out to man. His hand extended, with his fingers stretched in almost exaggerated fashion, and though his metallic face did not give any emotion, his eyes spoke verses.
Strange opening but a single eye did not say a word, but simply reached out and the two of them were gone.
Century was in a fever when he awoke.
His body still in agony, despite its healing prowess.
What could the dream mean, and what did it hold for the Timeless? He pondered. The nanite stream in his eyes worked furiously as, he still dreamed of a time out of time and a great force. The great force was growing a mighty warrior who had been one of the most feared in all of history, he who had been called the scourge of god, he who had conquered most of the known world of earth. The silver one had imbued with hidden power and he could use it to transform massive landscapes to suite his needs in battle or control the weather conditions. But what Century, who for reasons unknown, could not determine why this was taking place or why the name Atilla the Hun appeared like a mantra over and over again, with no end in sight. He saw the terrible hoard of the Huns storming across an endless landscape, their signature arrows, filling the airways there ability to move troops quickly and swiftly often incapacitating even troops with superior numbers fell before the terrible Hun, who was unlike any man Century had ever seen. Century awoke still in a fever as he saw his comrade the rune warrior, known as Portent, throwing Nathaniel Richards, the one who Century called friend no more. Richards body soared across the landscape as he tore at the rune warrior's throat with sharp fangs, like an animal. He was standing next to another who seemed familiar to Century. Strangely familiar, in fact, but he did not know why. Endless numbers of those who called themselves the Kindred surrounded the two of them, and all looked dire indeed.
"Thanos," Portent beckoned. "Stormbringer seems to have some affect against the Kindred, but I fear that even its deadly appetite maybe soon sated. And their numbers are overwhelming and continue to mount!" said the rune warrior grimly.
"Fickle blade," said Thanos, his voice like the grave echoed. "When there is a feast to be had, it cries there is to much. I hope it chokes on the decadent souls," he stated harshly. Stormbringer howled as if in reply, but Thanos paid the howl no heed as he brushed away two Kindred who were attempting to drain him, and he used his deadly optic beams to keep the rest at bay.
"Portent, let us fight back to back so that we cannot be blind-sided. It is a tactic I once used against the Magus, when we fought the 10,0000 zealots." Thanos smiled as those he struck down rose again, a few fond memories of his battle against the Magus flooded his mind.
"So it would appear, Thanos, that you are not the only one banned from Mistress Death's realm." One of the Kindred, who was able to glean an opportunity, pounced on the Mad Titan while he was distracted with another, and he drank deeply from Thanos' veins. Thanos ripped him off, and tossed him aside as he prepared for another wave of the undead, which seemed to be relentless.
The Kindred showed its fangs and arched its back, like witches' black cat; its limbs in positions that not even an contortionist could get into without difficulty.
"I think," Century mused aloud, "that Portent and Thanos are actually enjoying this."
Then without fore warning, Century was once again assaulted by another vision. This time a great city and a bridge formed of living colors, the city's luster was so bright that he nearly had to turn away. Standing on the heavenly bridge was the silvery one and the one who was first called.
He then witnessed a beautiful women with high check bones and long blond hair which was braided and intertwined, and her eyes were like steel. Her side bore the names of the dead . . .
Then the vision subsided . . . and he found himself once again back in reality.
He was holding his own, in hand to hand combat with another of the Kindred, unaware that during his vision he was even combating the hideous being before him. Century's body still weaken but he was nearly overwhelmed as the strange vision came from nowhere and he could feel the pains of the last few days since the formation of the Timeless taking their toll on him. He turned to Doctor Victor von Doom, whose blast of sheer energy were tearing away at another one of the Kindred, at point blank range.
"I think," he found himself saying the same thing once more.
There was a pause. Finally he said, "And then . . . I had another vision . . ."
"Really," Doom said, "I fear this may bode ill but perhaps the Kindred will take care of that." Doom's foot slammed into the visage of one more of the Kindred. "But enough! I am Doom! And will not be stopped by the likes of these . . . beast!" A hellish smile caressed his face, which was obscured by the obsidian armor he wore.
Thanos clenched his teeth, and said, "You should have passed the cup, now let us test those regenerative powers, to their maximum, and see if they are as you claimed." The Kindred began to smoke and, ichor began to pour from its mouth, in great green torrents, its body started to churn and convulse in Thanos' death grip. "The blood of Thanos can be quite deadly," he quipped as the kindred exploded, its flayed flesh covering the landscape of Myrdia.
"Thanos! What did you do to it?" question Portent, as another fell before the rune warrior's hell blade, his swift movements easily equal to the Kindred's own movements, and just as deadly - if not more.
"Thanos has control of his own body to the molecule do you think I could enter the realms of Chaos and Order, but not stave off a scavenger, like the kindred! Am I not he who once defeated Eternity, himself, and usurped his position as Supreme Being!"
Portent cut him off, "If I remember correctly you also lost that power."
"Curb your tongue!" The Mad Titan snapped. "Or I shall rip it out myself."
"Then who will warn you when they try to flank you Titan?" he asked. "Watch out," Portent bellowed, he cut another one down and the Stormbringer drank their souls releasing the soul, its moaning, reached its height, matching the howling of the wind. "It would appear my blade is acquiring a test for the Kindred, and even their souls are not beyond its dark jurisdiction, while all you seem to be doing is making smaller pieces, but not necessarily stopping them."
Century was caught in another rapturous dream. Even as the Kindred completely covered his form, like dirt upon a coffin. This time he saw three more a mighty prince whose Kingdom had undergone much calamity, thus making him a fierce foe indeed, a monster with leathery wings and an orange hide, like iron and a jade giant that completely overwhelmed him.
Doom called out as the savage Kindred covered Century, but where the firepower of technology failed, his resolve held fast. However even that resolve would soon give way before the ever increasing numbers of the preternatural hoard.
Then through the wave and wave of limbs that soared in his direction, something caught Century's eye. It glimmered under the unnatural light of the pale moon ahead.
And even at this distance he could feel power course through his being, whatever it was, it beckoned for Century to become one with it.
"If I use my full power," Thanos stated calmly. "You and Century and Doctor Doom may be destroyed in the process, and then The One Who Comes would destroy everything, we must find a way to take the battle to Cain! Or all will be lost!"
The Titan and Portent were relentless in there fury, with Portent moving with a skill both deadly and supernatural, his power seeming to grow as he drank more of the Kindred's life forces into his Stormbringer. But this also seemed to affect his own spirit as his ruthlessness matched the Mad Titan's. Portent dimebered many and Thanos who had been overwhelmed by sheer numbers began to tear them apart himself as the Kindred bridged the distance.
Soon the two of them were standing on a hill of growing bodies. But they were not all dead, as dismembered hands grasped at the ankles and decapitated heads attempted to reattach themselves ton there bodies, but often attached them selves to a place where an arm had been or a leg giving them a horrific appearance.
The world blinked and then . . . everything was still.
The Kindred did not advance further, and everything grew deadly silent.
"What has transpired? Titan is this your doing?"
"It is beyond even my ability to freeze the birds in mid-flight," said Thanos, as he pointed to the sky, where a black crow was hanging as if a hidden puppeteer from above was suspending it. Thanos paused. "Any more," he amended.
"But I would recognize the signature anywhere," said Thanos his musings taking voice
"The time gem, but I thought Roma had taken it from me."
"It appears to have taken up residents in one of your own. It seems as if one of the Timeless has somehow received the power that is the gem of Time!" Thanos declared looking toward Doom, who stood there, completely still, then toward the other, and he and Portent waited for an answer to the question that both had come to.
"You?" Portent declared.
Century stood as the wind blew across his white locks, to reveal the Time Gem resting upon his brow.
Portent retorted, "But according to Roma, the Time Gem cannot work alone it is supposed to be used with the -"
The world began to crack like a pain of damaged glass, starting from the center and spidering outward, chips of reality breaking off from the top, as the entire time continuum began to crumble. Thanos looked heavenward as a great light appeared in the center of the broken world of Myrdia, and it came as if from within and shattered Myrdia completely ,with shards of congealed time shooting outward, and a figure not unlike an angel standing over the judgment.
Thanos stood at the heart of the shattered realm of Myridia. The angel of judgment hovering over the broken landscape, and Thanos spoke. "Lap dog of Kronus! You have tasted defeat at my hands far to many times!" And with that Thanos' deadly optic beams sprayed the skies overhead, but was unable to catch the angel of judgment, that was the Silver Surfer, who moved at the speed of thought itself.
Century screamed like some primordial force had taken control of him, sweat pouring from every orifice "Let time be healed!" And all was it was save the Kindred and Luna were still frozen. Doom and Century stood by Thanos and Portent, and they waited for the next move, side by side. "It is those from my dream," said Century. "I do not understand!"
"Maybe it is your curse, Century," Doom surmised, "not to understand."
"Perhaps the time gem has initiated something. It has been speculated that like the soul gem, all the gems, for that matter, may be sentient," said Thanos.
"I left the traitor, Richards frozen. He is too dangerous to roam free," said Century, his body tensed for battle, he casted his dark gaze upon the form that was the one man that he might have dared called father, Nathaniel Richards.
"I recognize them as the earth heroes from the time period of the early 1980s," Doom stated slowly, thinking aloud. "But they had been unable to keep a membership, I can only guess that they have followed you Titan, because they believe you a threat."
"Fool! Thanos is always a threat, but Thanos treads where he will, and no god, or man shall dictate otherwise," Thanos bodily said in sheer defiance.
Standing just in front of them were six mighty heroes out of time and out of place against the strange landscape with the frozen Kindred.
Thanos scanned the heroes as he had encountered most of them, "Get in a circle so we can not be blind-sided," instructed Thanos, and they did so. The Timeless, which consisted of Portent, Doctor Doom, Century and now Thanos, the Mad Titan stood waiting for someone to make the first move.
"Be wary!" said Thanos. "They are from right to left," he started to name them off, just in case someone of the Timeless had not encountered them. After all knowledge was power, was it not? And knowledge on an enemy, any kind of knowledge was very powerful indeed. "Prince Namor, the Atlantean half-breed, the women is a Valkery bearer of the Asgardian dead. Doctor Strange, perhaps our most powerful; foe as he wears the mantle of sorcerer supreme, the Silver Surfer, whose weakness will make him no problem at all, in my opinion. The Hulk, a being of near limitless strength, the demon and the costumed fool I have never encountered in my past exploits.
"I give, you gentleman, the Defenders."
The Surfer gestured and the Timeless were enclosed in a force field of incredible durability.
"This time I will not hold back," said the Silver Surfer, "it is too dangerous and the cost to life is to great, I can not afford it." Century began to pound on the invisible shell that surrounded them, but it held tightly, and then the Surfer gestured and Thanos was transmuted to stone. "I will not give you the chance, this time," said Norrin Radd, his body shimmered under the pale light that casted everything in an eerie ghostly appearance. "Your time is finished." The Surfer dispersed the shield and held the others in tight energy shields not allowing them to move, at the same time that they were being held in their individual prison's the shield was also draining Doom's energy of power. Where the rare energy went to power the shields. "I do not, normally, use my power in such a fashion, but today things of such nature must be put aside though it gnaws at my very soul deeply. Strange let us take Thanos back to Kronus the rest of the Timeless are not part of this. They are merely products of happenstance."
But then a stony from grabbed the Silver Surfer from behind. Closing his unbreakable grip around the Surfer's neck, smashing him senseless to the ground. The owner of the monstrous grasp stated. "Your morality stifles you once more you should have atomized me, instead of trying to turn me to stone." Laughter. "When Warlock accomplished the task it was metaphysical in nature, and your powers do not transact on those levels." He was also backed with an infinity gem.
Century now free smashed his fist into the closest to him, which was the incredible Hulk who only slightly backpedaled, and returned with such fury that Century was hurled backward with immeasurable force.
Portent moved as wraith hitting the women who was dressed in the Asgardian raiment, with the hilt of the black blade, but because of all the souls he had drunk his power was increased enough to that she was instantly rendered unconscious. The sword voiced its displeasure with a sound not unlike fingernail's against the chalkboard. He was then cut-off from Stormbringer's power, with no preamble. "You shall pay for that blade, no more souls for you on this dark day," he said as if correcting a small child, who had just crossed the proverbial line.
Deadly eye beams felled Namor and the demon who called himself the Gargoyle, but because of there durable nature, and the fact that the battle had drained some of Thanos' might they still lived.
Century and the Hulk were trading blows, and it seemed as if Century had began to learn something of tactics as he began to slip the Hulk's punches rather then go toe to toe. Doom's obsidian armor fired up as, he cut down the hero called Nighthawk who was obviously out matched.
Century used his battle staff to take the Hulk's legs from under him, but the Hulk responded by creating an earthquake as his jade fists smashed against the earth knocking Century off balance and leaping forward with the incredible strong legs that can literally leap miles. But was knocked out of the air by Doctor Doom's concessive blast of golden energy.
"I do not need your help," said Century, as beads of sweat went down his gray forehead and his white hair was completely soaked they resumed there battle Century striking with blows against vulnerable spots, instead of big blows which only served to distance them from each other. He was clearly in a zone as he moved without thought subsisting on instinct alone, but if ever there was a challenge for Century it was the monster who stood before him, who seemed to recover at an incredible rapid pace.
There personal battle was reaching a feverish pace as they became oblivious to all there surroundings.
Namor rose up smashing the Titan with an indomitable will.
"Imperious Rex, you will fall before my sea born might," Namor rained blow upon blow against the Titan's craggy form.
"Listen to your sophistry," proclaimed Thanos, "because those will be the last words you will hear." He landed a garnet fist against Namor's regal jaw.
Then Namor could no longer move as the punch was more then just strength, it had absorbed his strength and without some form of water to replenish him, he crumbled under the mad ones next blow.
Portent observed the sorcerer clearly he was preparing for something big, it was obvious as he began to chant in the tongues of the vishanti, and move his hands in impossible positions, positions he could easily achieve with his supernatural inheritance, but impossible to most humans. He was also protected, by another powerful spell, and it may have been that this was the strategy all along. It would happen soon whatever force that the mage was summoning was beginning to shake Myrdia itself to the core.
"Thanos," Portent bellowed a warning. "The mage prepares for the cout." But the Titan only smiled at Portent's warning, as the spell was unleashed in all its terrible force. The world went crimson and for a moment time itself may have ceased to exist, and when the smoke cleared the Defenders found themselves in another universe, a universe of pure madness.
The two great forms stood above them dark energies being released and reality changing by the moment.
"WELCOME TO CHAOS AND ORDER! WHAT DO YOU WANT HERE?"
"What did you do Titan!" declared Doctor Doom.
And from his belt, Thanos pulled forth a gem of purest red. "I merely reversed the spell, though I had loathed to use it, as long as the time gem was around there was no true danger, at least not for one of my skill with this all reality is mine to command!"
"Come we have yet to storm the castle! Cain awaits."
"Not without our help came," a voice as one of their lost members had suddenly returned.
"Justice Peace!" said Century.
"And who is that with you?" Thanos said, skeptically.
The man was dressed in a black trench coat and was wearing a sword at his side. His obsidian skin off set the whiteness of his fangs.
"I am Blade. And Cain, father of all vampires, is mine!"
Luna went through a window and began to search for her master who had seemingly vanished from sight. She looked all about the castle's rooms but found nothing. Not even her supernatural senses could detect his exact whereabouts, because it seemed to be coming from two places simultaneously, which was impossible even for Cain. She followed one and found her master underneath a sword flopping about like a fish with his throat slit, but there was no blood remaining.
"Master what happened?" And then a touch upon her shoulder, and she went numb, as a great deal of her blood was drained by a mere touch, enough to bring her to her knees.
"Vlad Tepes is now the king of all vampires!"
A small silver ball appeared before Thanos, as the rest of the Timeless were making there way to the castle of Cain.
"He is the threat that I thought," said Thanos, "the one called Century has the same energy signature as the one who may have created me. And if Thanos can be created, perhaps he can be uncreated, I must seal up all the time anomalies, and then I must find away to slay Century."
The silver ball spoke with a metallic ring. "Why did you not slay him with the reality gem?"
"I cannot he is also the only way I can purloin the widows rose."
And then the silver ball was gone from sight carrying the information to some secret keep all his own.
Continued in Tales of the Timeless #15! Be sure to also check out our Cosmic Union Continuity Reference Page and Protectors of the Universe Reference Page for other stories in this continuity. And don't forget to send some comments below!
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