Tales of the Timeless #20
Written by Anomaly, Edited by Marvelite
Tales of the Timeless
Go to the POTU Archive Page for more past issues of Tales of the Timeless.
Portent - The rune warrior who although has been traveling
with the Timeless is not an official member. He first started when he signed on
with Kang, but really had ulterior motives to begin with. He is a vampiric
magical being who wields a sword that swallows souls. His father has been
revealed to be Adam warlock.
Blade- vampire human, half-breed, who joined up when the Timeless were visiting Myrdia. His motives are the most mysterious as he just showed up with justic peace who had also been missing.
Doom 2099 - future version of Doom, who was drafted, so to
speak, by the time being Epoch. Doom’s people were destroyed by necrotoxins
and he was promised some things would change if he joined. Recently, Doom has
stolen the Ultimate Nullifier from Galactus and Doctor Strange’s Eye of
Agamotto and has been revealed by Epoch to be the “One Who Comes."
Century - Kang killer who is striving for more, he is a powerful, chronal being given life by Immortus and is potentially very powerful. But he would rather be human and has recently decided to leave the Timeless.
Thanos - powerful being who has stake in the Widowed Rose, but to this point is unknown.
Adam Warlock - in the future, Warlock has a son and shares a symbiotic relationship with his dark half, the Magus.
Peace - member of the Time Variance Authority and original member of the Timeless. He recently appeared after having vanished for some time. It is unknown at this point what happened during that time.
The Magus - has shared a symbiotic relationship with Warlock, plucked the Widowed Rose, a powerful cosmic artifact that would give the wielder power on an ominversal level. Thanos and Warlock, who at this point is no longer joined with his dark counter part, have launched a retaliatory against Magus and involved the Timeless, who have been seeking the “One Who Comes” before he destroys everything. The “One Who Comes” was revealed to be Doom (more to be said on this in a future issue) while Epoch seems to be cracking down on the rest of the Timeless. Currently the Magus is causing chaos upon the universe as he twists things to his own dark vision.
Interlude: Soul World
“He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
they shall be dashed to pieces like the potters vessel"
- the Book of Revelations
Adam Warlock appeared in Soul World, the lush green hills and gentle breezes juxtaposed by the terrible apparition of the Mad Titan, who stood ominously off to the side? "You are truly a wily foe, Adam Warlock, and a worthy ally. I know of no other who would sacrifice even his own son to further his goals." Thanos grinned, “we are two of a kind" continued the Mad Titan. Warlock turned his back, the strain of the events weighing heavily against the brow of the golden man. “Envy you? Warlock I truly do.”
“Why is that?” came Warlock. The golden warrior’s hair was being buffeted by ever increasing winds, and his grip began to tighten on his spirit staff.
"You are truly ruthless when necessary, totally cauterized even Thanos has loved."
"You know nothing of me, Titan, do not pretend to look into my heart."
Thanos grinned malevolently, "Perhaps you would be correct save for one minor detail."
“And what is that, Thanos?" asked Warlock.
“You don't have one!" jibed the Dark Titan.
Warlock seethed in anger but his tone become more subdued for he knew that the Mad Titan spoke the truth. In Warlock’s hand was the one weapon that might win him the day, it was the place he had hidden the infinity gems, the only place he truly knew they would be safe. Moreover, where they would be the most powerful. In Soul World, the edicts of the tribunal did not hold sway. Here Warlock was supreme.
"It is time, Thanos, when your spirit of the past must join the present. Prepare for resurrection, Titan." Warlock raised his spirit staff high into the air, and like the wizards of legend, the clouds above Soul World began to boil, and the sky began to speak. Here, Warlock was god of thunder, master of the storm, and Thanos was fading out.
But Thanos’ final words hung in the mystical realm of Soul World, "Remember our bargain, Warlock," and then Thanos was gone.
Portent was in need of a body, having lost his own when he came to the Land of Shadow. So he chose a reluctant Stephen Strange, who objected but understood the necessity of it. As Triumvirate of Ash now walked the earth once more, the Magus was changing the face of the cosmos to suite his own twisted vision as the barriers between dimensions was breaking down. New York City was now feeding time at the zoo and the animals were hungry. Eldritch energies and the terrible storms of glass were ripping everything apart.
The Strange/Portent amalgam put the Defenders in mystical protective coatings so they could interact but not be cut to ribbons by the glass storms which were picking up even as people sought cover every where. A Gibbous moon hung over head, bathed in a layer of purest crimson. In addition, Batrachian creatures were all about their dark appetites primed for the feast. Captain America’s shield went nearly completely through the Batrachian beast's neck nearly decapitating it with a single blow as Cap’s obsession to save every life made him nearly unstoppable. Cap followed up the blow with an inside swing kick and literally kicked the amphibious creature's head from its body. Where once Captain America issued restraint, now the super soldier was unleashed as he watched the head roll under a parked car. But Cap was surrounded on all fronts and it was all he could do to keep from being overwhelmed. A scream distracted the Captain and webbed hands held him in an unbreakable grip. Portent, who was in the body of Doctor Strange, summoned the invisible version of Storm Bringer as he still held the Blade’s soul in his grasp, the original still in the body possessed by Century.
"Blood and souls for you, Dark Blade, and frog legs too," a strange snicker appeared on Strange’s face as he went in for the kill. Stephen's body was caught up in a hurricane like wind that instantly put Strange next to the helpless Captain America, but Strange was caught off guard by the sudden burst of speed. He was not used to moving like that; however Portent’s spirit took many liberties and used his invisible blade to slurp up the Batrachians soul. A webbed claw tore the raiment off of Stephen Strange to reveal runes carved in the Magus’ chest. Strange was taken aback as he saw what appeared to be scars in the shape of runes all over his body.
"Pay attention,” came a voice from Strange’s head, “Or I will have to find another body."
“You needn't worry about my body,” said strange as he raised his hand in gestures that were as old as the earth and spoke a spell of retaliation. Locusts were everywhere, as he devoured the amphibious creatures leaving not even their bones. There was a streak in the sky, and as it flew by, the glass storms had been stopped. The lone silver figure hovered over the nightmare-filled streets of New York, and he was disgusted as he saw evil infesting everything with its vile touch, and he thought to himself. Not all the horror he had seen while under his master could compare to the malicious evil accomplished by the Magus in less than a day. What kind of mind could the Magus possess to do such things? Not even Thanos could compare to Warlock’s darkside.
Then out of nowhere, Century and Doom, along with Peace,
were in a mechanical object that appeared to be the construct of Doom, whose
genius rivaled that of Reed Richards himself*. Doom came upon the Portent
/Strange amalgam, "Come, your father has a plan, but I fear that it may not
bode well for the rest of creation" Then Doom looked at the irony of it
all, he had saved Latveria and risked entire timelines only to see existence
crumble before his eyes. He had missed the forests for the trees.
(*See next issue of Timeless for more details that happened when Epoch sent them to kill Doom)
The Timeless were alongside Marcus Immortus and Roma with blade and the Portent/Strange amalgam. Warlock was at the head of the table in the body of a drunk that had recently been killed when the Magus unleashed the forces of chaos. Adam’s features were beginning to show through slowly but his own powers began to reshape the body to his own specifications. Next to Warlock was the Mad Titan who stood next to him ominously, his six foot seven frame imposing as he stood with his thick arms folded, muscle sinew bulging as if they would burst, and his face was like a stony mask of indifference.
The drunk spoke to the gathering, "The Magus is supreme, we cannot win.”
Doom mocked Warlock, “Surely you cannot expect us to believe you have called us here just to tell us we are beaten.”
Thanos interjected, "Your grasp of the obvious goes without saying, Doom."
Roma cut them off, “Let Warlock continue, I have always known it would come to this, as the guardian of the omniverse, I would ask you all to hear him out!"
Century interjected but he is with the Mad Titan, “How can we be sure there is no deception?"
Roma’s tone was subdued at this point, “It doesn't truly matter, already I can feel the death rattle of the omniverse.”
“Although there is no way to defeat the Magus at this point, there is still something we might do," with that Warlock pulled out an object that had been covered by a cloth. All eyes were on the mysterious object.
Marcus Immortus, who was dressed in a leather jacket and had a shaved head, only smiled despite the dire circumstances, "Warlock and Thanos are trying to save the universe, it doesn't get any better than this."
Blade looked across the table and said sharply, "Zip it, pretty boy." Blade then smiled as his fangs were showing ever so slightly. "Your pushin’ it, Count Dracula, end of the omniverse or not, I’ll take you out back."
Blade showed no change in face as he just extended his hands and gestured for the son of Roma to make his move. Roma placed a gentle arm on her son, and respectfully he backed down.
Warlock then pulled back the cloth to reveal an object of untold power, an object of legendary status - "the holy grail."
"The grail,” said Roma, “I thought it lost.”
"Only if it wished to remain so," said the Machiavellian whose features were quickly engraving themselves on the flesh and blood construct of the deceased homeless man. And as Warlock’s features began to show through, the gathering began to recall the exploits of the man who had saved the universe on a number of occasions.
Strange spoke up for the first time, "I have joined his soul; he is a truthful being," Portent then broke out from Strange’s subconscious as Strange, who appeared to be mad to the gathering, began to speak out, "Father, you are a liar - a manipulator on the level of Thanos."
The Mad Titan interjected, "Compliments will get you everywhere.”
Warlock tried to gain control of the gathering, "Our time goes short, let us be quickly. As for my methods, I will agree that sometimes the ends do justify the means but reality can be brutal."
Warlock was the first to raise the goblet and drink from it. He then passed it to Blade, who hesitated at first, wondering what it would do to a vampire. But then he quickly drank it down, and surprisingly the holy artifact did nothing to the vampire, "Mmmm…” said Blade, “good to the last drop."
Blade passed the cup to the Portent/Strange amalgam, but at first Strange’s arms went up and Portent’s voice came forth, "It killed me once, so if you don't mind, I will decline."
Warlock reassured Portent and the others, "Do not fear, this time the grail has chosen you and its purposes are beyond mortal ken." The Portent/Strange amalgam drank also. After all had drunk, the cup was passed to Thanos who then gave the cup to Warlock. He then passed Thanos a rose of blackest pitch and the Titan was gone as if he had never been, as did all the others. "Now for the end gambit,” said Warlock, and the body of the drunk collapsed as Warlock’s spirit deserted the shell.
Thanos could feel the icy winds as they chilled his very soul, although Thanos was not afraid he knew trepidation. He gazed downward and saw everything. The Infinity Well had revealed all. Now all that remained was to confront Mistress Death. He was about to walk into the main chamber when he hesitated. Only for a moment he was Thanos and that was enough even in the Realm Beyond the Veil. The foot soldiers of Death were armed to the hilt. As thousands of undead barred the Mad Titan's way. The undead raised their weapons, but instead of battle, Thanos saw that a path was opened in the middle leading to the throne of Mistress Death. Warlock had promised him entrance to Death’s realm from which he had been barred for all time. Slowly the Mad Titan came upon her as she sat on her throne, a long, extinct skeleton from some long forgotten eon. Her mouthpiece, a rat creature, dispersed once before in possession of infinite power. But now it glared down upon him, its eyes which shone in the dark, seemed to pierce even Thanos’ soul. "Mistress Death has agreed to see you, Titan, but only because she owed the miserable maggot nest called Adam Warlock, who asked that you be granted an audience….” The rat creature paused and his intonation changed as if he were ad-libbing his own message mixed in with Death’s own. “That is the only reason you have been allowed to step fourth in this realm, Mistress Dearth always pays her debts just as you shall pay yours.” A deadly silence filled the air as Mistress Death gave the mouthpiece a long cold, hard stare. The rat creature stammered "Nnnnnnnooooooooo!” and then it exploded, its carcass spread everywhere, and the undead feasted on the remains devouring it onto the last morsel.
Then Thanos did something uncharacteristic. He kneeled and held out the black anti-rose given to him by Adam Warlock. Death then stepped down from her throne and received the rose. But it was not the hideous skull face that Thanos saw, but the face of beautiful women. The smell of incense accompanied Mistress Death. “The Magus neither stands for life nor death, will you lead my armies… Will you be my champion?"
The Silver Surfer seemed to bring some hope as he used his Power Cosmic to construct a shield to protect the inhabitants. The Hulk and the rest of the Defenders had gathered to protect them from the amphibious creatures, which had sprung from the chaos stuff the Magus had rained down upon the earth. However, to the Defender’s surprise, the men and women that were safely protected began to change, to transform into the batrachians themselves.
The Surfer challenged the unseen force that had done this, "Are you such a coward that you cannot even face those who would oppose, come face me if you dare," challenged the Silver Surfer. A great purple shape which never seemed to hold to any one shape appeared before him; it was the Magus whose features moved like quicksilver. The Surfer retaliated with blasts of cosmic fury, "You are a false god and will fall as your kind always does, this I swear by the Power Cosmic."
The Magus seemed indifferent as the Surfer rained down spears of energy against the ever-changing visage of the Magus. One moment he was the form of man and the next a terrible insect. All truly was lost when over the blood red moon he came, and trailing him was an army without number. All stopped to watch, even the nightmarish entities that had invaded New York. It was winged creatures of unknown origin, who were drawing armies of putrefied flesh given form as rotting corpses. And on a great steed was Death and next to her in his flying chair was the Mad Titan himself. The forces of Death led by Thanos were a fine tune machine, which had driven or beaten all the horrors in mere minutes, and those that had not been killed or driven, cowered in terror? And with the dread Anti-rose in hand, even the Magus had to come.
"Surely you know that all will be destroyed if you use that, Mistress Death,” said the Magus, “all I ask is your bodies and spirits driven to the brink of insanity. It is a small price to please your dark god, wouldn't you say?"The Magus showed no emotion as Thanos came forth. "Your reign as Supreme Being may be secured, but perhaps you are not taking everything into account, perhaps there is a certain reality that evades you, Magus, a subconscious flaw that can no longer be contained.” The Magus made no move to attack Thanos as Mistress Death held the Anti-Rose firmly, "The move is yours Magus,” said the Mad Titan.
Continued in Tales of the Timeless #21
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