Tales of the Timeless #19
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.
"Cheshire-puss" she began,
"Will you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
"I don't much care where-,"said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the cat.
- LEWIS CARROLL
Sometime in the distant past
Adam Warlock stood in front of a small orb of clairvoyance. A circle was formed out of an unknown substance and given to him by Eternity, an abstract being who embodied all. The room was plain with the color crimson peeling off the walls and a few pieces of shoddy furniture scattered about: a chair cabinet and a small table upon which the sphere sat. Adam could sense a presence. The cosmic winds of the oncoming presence caught Warlock's cape in its fury until it hovered over his head like an avenging spirit waiting to devour a sacrifice. The stars were blazing with a fierce light that might appear normal save it was within Warlock’s sanctum and there were no windows or breaches. Still the star stuff crept into the room as if it were a serpent that had found an unwary victim. The golden skinned humanoid did not move, as the soul gem, which he wore on his brow, glowed milky jade. Star stuff bright and yet at the same time blacker then midnight wrapped around the former savior of counter earth like he were a snake charmer. The gem pulsed rhythmically the pulses of esoteric light akin to notes from a fugue. Finally, the star stuff congealed, taking the form of a man.
“Greetings Adam Warlock, why have you summoned me?"
"Hail, Eternity, I have sensed a threat to all life and have come for a conformation.”
"There is no threat, Adam Warlock. I am all time and space, every moment is mine surely if there were such a threat to my being I would know of it."
"Perhaps, but as of late I have gaps in my memory and I fear the worst." Eternity stood regal like a king, his starry mantle encompassing everything until it seemed that the two of them were standing on the fringes of space/time. "You fear the Magus has returned,” said Eternity curtly.
"That is correct, as the memory gaps become greater, I fear that Magus is attempting to subvert this form to his will and is spending more and more time in this form, I fear he has gained certain intelligence with the soul gem concerning a powerful artifact called the Widowed Rose. It is capable of transacting omniversaly and is tied in a fashion to the Infinity Gems, which I am connected. But if this transpires then the fail safe or anti-rose must be drawn. It is the only thing that can counter it and resides in the plane of shifting shadows with its guardians, the Trinity of Ash."
"I have detected no such threat but will retain your warning as I do all things," Eternity began to break apart into smaller and smaller pieces of star stuff until only Warlock and the sphere remained.
Warlock whispered under his breath, “Phase one has begun now for my secret ally. May the gods forgive me for what I must do, for I must ask Thanos for help?”
Portent had killed himself while in combat with King Arthur who was really Century. And even worse, it was all the master plan of Thanos. If the rune warrior failed, he would forever be under his father’s shadow, but if he succeeded it meant some plan of Thanos was to succeed; it was not an easy position to be in, but such was his lot, he was no mortal. Portent had not been mortal for sometime. Not since the creatures escaped the chaos realm and he was transformed into the warrior of balance had he the blessing to die. True he was dead now, but it was unlikely that he would stay that way, not as long as Thanos was in this. But such things had to wait, it was all Portent could do now to keep the glass storms from grinding him to shredded meat. Technically it was his spirit self that walked the Halls of the Unrepentant, but even a spirit form could be rent if the majics were powerful enough and the trinity of ash were the most powerful force this side of the Vishanti itself. The Planes local was somewhere between death and oblivion, a place where all servants of chaos and order went when they had expired.
The guardians of the realm were the Trinity of Ash, a tri-polar triumvirate of madness, horror, and dominion. Portent still wielded a spiritual representation of Stormbringer as it had power on many different planes, not to mention it was they that carved there runes upon his blade, so in essence it was they whom he drew his power but he also drew power from orders side and was capable of becoming invisible unless directly observed. His father and Thanos had a similar ability to bend perception around them. It was said they were beyond chaos and order. Between hurricanes of glass, and clouds of choking toxin, he had his work cut out for him, not to mention how he would return to the land of the living or find the anti-rose. But, as if an answer to a prayer, a wound was tore in reality, and six figures were squeezed through, their bodies covered in the volatile substance called ectoplasm. They were covered completely in its viscous after birth side effect of entering a metaphysical plane in the flesh.
The Silver Surfer looked almost like seraphim as he was juxtaposed against the nightmarish backdrop. He had used his cosmic power to seal the others in an indestructible shell, which outlined their forms. Portent showed no fear as the Silver Surfer blazed with the force of Galactus. It was all part of Thanos’ plan, they had been expected. But a contingent of tentacles demonstrated that the Defenders were not the only ones expected. Portent’s blade howled, decimating a tentacle that was foolish enough to draw close to the rune warrior. His body glowed brightly as the runes gave off a crimson light, exploding the tentacle and scattering its matter where small carnivores immediately devoured the pieces. The Silver Surfer’s star fire reached out and found that even the mystical matter found in this realm was no match for the fires which burned hotter then stars. But the conflict drew something greater as it could smell the blood and its imminent rebirth into the mortal world. At first it was nothing more than a great fog which seemed to billow out with its long sinewy tendrils shooting out and terrible slurping noises coming from an invisible maw.
"I AM OF THE NAME THAT IS NOT TO BE NAMED. THEY FROM THE AIR CANNOT RETURN UNLESS HUMAN BLOOD IS SPILT." It was said in a voice that seemed to fluctuate from screeching to a guttural growl.
Portent observed Doctor Strange gaining conscious. "It is about time you awakened, Sorcerer, you almost missed being devoured by an elder god." Strange stirred as he pushed against the cosmic cubicle the Surfer constructed to protect them from the realm’s harsh conditions while in the boundaries of chaos. "Surfer, we need a distraction, can you help?”
The Surfer began to glow like a miniature sun, "I will see what I can do,” he replied. Cosmic fire licked at the shadows of the elder god, and not since he had been imprisoned eons ago "the name that is not to be named" screamed in pain. Or perhaps it was indignation at the impunity of the silver gnat to attack one who had been around as long as the universe was old. The Surfer’s speed seemed to confine the elder god, but his cosmic blast was unable to do anything but keep it off balance, especially since it was in its native realm where its power was strongest.
The Surfer fought valiantly, as the avatar of morality played out a classic conflict of good against evil. He looked as if he was dipped in light as he eluded the elder god's clumsy attempts to catch him. "We haven't much time, Strange, this conflict will soon attract the attention of the tri-polar triumvirate."
There was a terrible sound like the cacophony of a thousand souls being tortured with the fires of malice "It is too late, they come."
Epoch had gathered the Timeless in the realm of hyperactive time for a final purpose to stop the one who comes. The Timeless had suffered many losses since their onset and the roster was nearly gone. Richard's had become a kindred and was no longer truly alive, his body a shell for something more sinister. Death’s Head and Ripjack had departed and Century was now in the body of Portent, who had been used his time travel abilities to escape the Magus whom now possessed the Widowed Rose. "This body has another conscious besides my own," said Century, “but I cannot determine who, unless perhaps Portent is trying to take his body back, but according to Marcus Immortus he is somewhere between life and death."
“IT IS ONLY PEACE AND YOURSELF TO CONFRONT THE ONE WHO COMES. WE MUST CONTINUE OUR DUTIES AS IF THE UNIVERSE WERE GOING TO CONTINUE. I HAVE DETERMINED THE IDENTITY OF HE WHO COMES AND AM SENDING YOU TO TERMINATE HIM.”
“I grow weary of this,” said Century, “it is hollow. I too would like to know the touch of a women, to live a life of purpose, not be a tool to cosmic beings who act on levels I cannot comprehend. After this, if the universe survives, I am taking my leave of the Timeless."
“AS YOU WISH, CENTURY, BUT I FEAR THAT YOU WILL FIND YOUR NATURE MORE TO ONE OF US THEN ONE OF THE MORTALS, YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF OUT OF PLACE AND BE UNABLE TO DEVELOP THE EMOTIONAL MATURITY NECESSARY.”
"I still have my freedom, something cosmic beings do not or cannot comprehend. It seems you are as much tools as we, perhaps even more so. But I will have my free will, that, at least, I owe to Richards."
“YOUR FREE WILL IS AN ILLUSION, YOU WERE CREATED WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE BY YOUR LORD IMMORTUS FOR ELIMINATING KANGS, SEEK NOT TO STRAY FROM YOUR COURSE."
“Is that a threat epoch?” With that century and peace were transported to a place that looked all too familiar as a castle was seen in the back drop, and armored centurions all along the walls.
"This is the place of the who comes?” said Peace, “it would appear that the one who comes has been with us from the beginning.”
“Indeed,” came a voice from behind them, “Doom is the one who comes." In his armored hand was a strange weapon which neither of them had seen before and around Doom’s neck was some kind of mystical artifact. "I am here to make an offer with the ultimate nullifier and the Eye of Agamotto. There is little you can do to stop me, so instead I extend a hand of friendship.”
Century and Peace did not answer at first but then Peace uttered, “What do you offer Doom?”
I hope you enjoyed this Tale of the Timeless... the story continues in issue #20! And leave us feedback below or e-mail it to email@example.com