Tales of the Timeless #21
Written by Anomaly and
Mystic, Edited by Marvelite
Tales of the Timeless
Go to the POTU Archive Page for more past issues of Tales of the Timeless.
- TRUE SELVES
"What I call God. And
fools call nature" - Robert Browning
Century and Peace had been transported to
Latveria to deal with a chronal anomaly that had been prophesied to destroy the
universe by the cosmic time entity Epoch. After all, it was the timeless charge
to protect the timeline from being convoluted, and to keep the number of
alternate universes to a minimum. But none would have guessed that it would be
one of their own members who would be fated to destroy everything.
During the timeless battle with the Magus,
the current wielder of the Widowed Rose, Doom acquired great power and now stood
bathed in mystic effulgence that protected him from the deadly forces of
From above the Latverian sky, a sanguine moon
bled its esoteric light giving him an unearthly appearance.
"I have an offer to make you," he said as he let his words hang
in the air. "But you are fools," said Doom, "…if you think
there is anything to do but grovel at my feet!"
He confidently turned his back on his former teammates.
"It must be quite apparent that it matters not if you take my offer.
Doom is supreme. I was merely hoping we could avert the destruction of
Century hesitated, but then responded
emphatically, "Its not like we have a choice. What's the offer?"
"We can cross time lines and erase our
tracks. With this you can go your way, and I can go mine."
"Why do you need me, Doom?" said
Century, his azure eyes staring at Doom's kingdom. And then all at once, it
seemed to Century that Doom was in love with his kingdom. He did not know how he
knew this but only that he knew it. Doom was perhaps not the monster he was
painted as. He indeed seemed to care for his subjects. Or else why would Doom go
to all the trouble of potentially destroying all of existence if he merely
wanted to rule? Why would he risk destroying everything? Who would want to rule
"Century, I have said you are unique
being, and I did not lie. Your
creators did not truly grasp the scope of your power.
Even now, you are bonded with the time gem, and with it you can channel
you might in new and unparalleled ways. Like
Merlin, you live your life backward through time. Your memory, like a great
circle - without beginning, without end. You have been many, will be many. You
have only to pick a spot on the circle."
The firmament overhead began to smolder and
boil and the clouds parted revealing a fiery comet, approaching them with great
speed. The two of them watched, believing this might be some kind of attack from
the Magus. But as it drew closer, the flame began to take human shape. Its voice
coalesced. It was Warlock, in the
semblance of a blazing angel. The fringes of his aura were like jade and within
its heart, a deep blue. He laid his hands on Doom, transfixed like an apostle
laying eyes upon the transfigured Christ. Warlock's touch burned like ice, as
Doom screamed. The golden specter hovered above Doom in his transfigured state
appearing as a spirit of vengeance. Its
"This is my soul," said Warlock as
the words poured out of his mouth. His pupil-less eyes fixed on Century and
Peace. "Doom is the One, Century. He will destroy everything if let be, but
both of you will aid me, willingly or no…"
With a trans-temporal com link, that looked
remarkably like common Terran cell phones, a signal was sent. These had been
provided by the immortal time entity, Epoch, during their induction into the
Timeless. The com links were capable of piercing and sending messages across
time, space, and even the soul, or metaphysical realms.
Marcus Immortus, had put on a pair of ray
bans to block out bright light overhead. He noticed something odd. New York City
now had a strange green glow to it. He smiled. "Download ready."
A beautiful woman picked up the other end of
the com link. "Roma here.
Atlantis is also ready. Commence the loading program."
A blond warrior in dark trench sent the
signal and immediately, the Surfer along with the rest of the original Defenders
appeared before him. They looked disoriented and angry. Strange was the first to
speak, as his mystic cape seemed to be alive. It moved almost by itself, an
extreme example of chaos effect with the cape moving in directions that defied
"Through mystic cards, I learned that
you plan to destroy the universe, Warlock?"
"Is this true?" asked Norrin,
"Though your ways are unusual you have ever been on the side of
Warlock's reply was brief, "This is the
only way. If the penal device is not instituted quickly, the effects of
Blade broke in on Warlocks com link,
"Blade here. Portent has his own body back and is now in position. Shall I
prepare the download into Soul World."
They had been battling the Magus and a world
full of chaos. Death's army had
fought well with Thanos leading them, but now it would come to a battle between
the two commanders of the armies - Thanos and the Magus.
All were utterly disturbed when Warlock,
known in some cultures as the god slayer, spoke, "I have the souls I
require. Wait for the moment. The Magus must not suspect anything until the
In a New York City gone mad, Blade removed
his glasses and focused his senses on the world of the Magus. Hanging on his
side, he clenched his samurai tightly. At 9 o'clock was Luna with Cain by her
side. Behind them was a large army of Kindred, and they were bearing a flag that
had the Widowed Rose.
"It appears that even Thanos may not be
up to this one. Portent appears to have his own body once more. Or at least
that's what it smells like," Blade said more softly. "It appears he's
going to meet her in the air. I thinks he's going to need back up. Download in
four…three…two…one…now! Gotcha!" said Blade.
Adam Warlock clicked his com link and a
screeching noise was heard. With the aid of Century and Roma, New York City had
been completely relocated within Soul World.
Portent also found himself in Soul World. But he did not have runes
embedded all over his body. Nor were his eyes a glowing red.
"Alright Warlock, I think it's about
time you started explaining things or else were going to have to see if you can
fly with broken bones!" The Hulk clenched his fists and there was a loud
cracking sound, like cartilage being ground to dust, as the Hulks' massive fists
were preparing for an assault on the Master of Soul World.
Strange began to summon a spell as the air of
Soul World began to stir. The Valkarie drew her blade. Isaac, a man trapped in a
demon's body, most notably known as the Gargoyle, began to emit a strange glow
as his eyes turned to the color of crimson. "We will not be treated in such
a manner," said Namor, "you will find the Defenders are not to be
trifled with!" Namor and the Defenders were no longer willing to play the
pawns in Warlock and Thanos' game. Namor issued the battle cry, "IMPERIUS
Portent stood between his father and the
Defenders. He had been treated
unfairly and had received exactly the same treatment as had the Defenders. He
had used them for his own ends. But if Portent held any grudge against his
father he did not show it as he placed himself in front of Namor's blow, sending
him reeling across the spiritual landscape of Soul World. Although it seemed
like physical combat, Soul World operated by a different physics. Portent willed
himself to move quickly and was already in position. He quickly realized,
depending on one's spirit, you could be a being of incredible power. Even
without his black blade and runes, he knew he was not at a disadvantage.
"You will find the spirit of the cosmic balance up to the task."
Portent was standing directly in front of his father to confront the Hulk.
Warlock seemed to not even acknowledge the
Defenders’ attack as his son was the only thing now standing between him and
the entire cast of heroes. But as Portent did his best to tie up the incredible
Hulk, Warlock snapped his fingers and everything was as it was before. The
Defenders found themselves where they started. "You are powerful, but in
Soul World, I am supreme. Seek not to challenge me here! May we proceed, or do
you need a further demonstration of my might. Warlock's gaze was enough to make
them reconsider. "Good. Even
now, the Tribunal is moving. We must coincide his timing with our own."
Warlock reached out his hand and was bearing the infinity gauntlet. "Take
my hand, Portent. I will need your soul as an anchor to bridge the gap between
And for the first time it seemed to Portent
that his father needed him and that he was not being used as an object. When
Portent touched the gauntlet, he felt the power of mind, space-time, soul and
reality. The power moved through him like quicksilver.
"Strange, Surfer your souls are needed.
Whether it was out of fear or the fact that they somehow wanted to trust
Warlock, both Strange and Norrin joined Portent." The rest of the Defenders
followed hoping they were doing the right thing as Warlock spoke again,
"You must make sure I do not become lost."
"I gotcher' your back, Coppertone man!
Let's just get on with it," the Hulk said.
Century would act as Warlock’s bridge from
the spiritual to the physical. Marcus Immortus had been teaching him to use his powers to
jump into other bodies but to hold Adam Warlock’s body that he had created
from the bum and shaped with his soul gem would not be an easy task, especially
now that it would also be a conduit for all his vast power. Justice Peace had
his standard issued TVA blaster ready, as he knew that Century would essentially
be helpless when filled with the power. One lone Kindred had spotted them from
the air and was coming from one of its winged dragon mounts. Century drew his
weapon and Peace loaded his gun with DNA charges and blaster discs. But suddenly
Century felt Warlock’s power and it was now up to Peace to stop the Kindred.
His weapon pumped a half dozen DNA pellets into the kindred but found it did
nothing, but Peace would not leave his friends side.
"When one has the power of a god, one
should be careful for what one wishes for. I surveyed what was left of New York
City, as bodies were strewn everywhere. To my left, a man pleading to my
mistress for mercy as his entrails were moving like a thing alive. The skin from
his face was peeled away and his remaining single eye…dry with no eyelid. He
could not even cry. But this does not disturb me, for I am Thanos! The sophistry
of eliminating death from the scheme of things was quite apparent. Now as my
mistress looks upon the banquet before her with her socket-less cavities, there
is a great hunger in her gaze. Perhaps even starvation. The Magus will pay
dearly for his transgression. Although at one time, I had desired everything the
Magus has achieved, I now realized the absurdity of wielding ultimate power. It
was a lesson the Magus has apparently not learned. Now time to bait the trap and
spring it shut! If the Magus desired ultimate power, then he shall have
it." Thanos smiled, as he awaited the Magus decision.
"Check," said Thanos.
"I began to see why you are called
mad," said the Magus, "But I fail to see how your statement changes
anything. I wield the Rose!" The Magus was standing before Mistress Death
and her entire army but did not even acknowledge her presence.
"At one time I actually admired you
Magus - how you achieved your empire and were worshipped as a god. But now I see
that I was blind.
"You may still be saved from your sins,
Titan. I am a forgiving god!"
The Magus' psychotic behavior had always made
him a wild card and very dangerous, even to cosmic beings. But this time, Thanos
knew something. This time he knew the Magus weakness. Thanos grinned, "And
I am ever a Philistine, but we cannot deny our natures, can we Magus? Even if it
leads to self destruction!" Thanos' words seemed to probe at something
The Magus proceeded to look inward, "I
weary of your prattling, Titan," but the Magus' words could not cover up
what his voice betrayed. Thanos had seen something, and he could not find it.
"And I weary of false gods who cannot
even comprehend something as simple as the need for balance. Strength and
weakness, all and nothing, chaos and order." Thanos finished.
The Magus then moved with unnatural speed and
strength and literally pulled Thanos' heart out of his body.
"And life and death?" interjected
the Magus. "And now death
worshipper, observe as I crush your black heart between my fingers." Thanos
heart burst like a balloon as blackest blood splattered against the Magus body.
"I thank you, Magus, for now Thanos is
truly heartless! Thanos stood with a large hole in his chest, spraying blood and
ichors in every direction. "Now you see the folly of eliminating death from
the scheme of things," gibed Thanos. "But although you have succeeded
in eliminating even death, there is still one thing that even you cannot erase.
"What is that Titan? Justice? Your words
ring hollow Titan " the Magus seemed to have a look of recognition as the
pieces of the puzzle began to come together. "Nooooooooo!" the Magus'
scream reverberated throughout the omniverse. His mind focused and with his
will, the Magus initiated destruction. Storms of oblivion began to devour every
Thanos looked to where Mistress Death was
standing. Her appearance changed
and it slowly morphed into that of Warlock. It was the last thing the Magus saw
as oblivion took everything and the storms of nothingness reached out across the
omniverse. When all was nothing, the Magus still existed for he could not die.
He now ruled nothing and everything.
"Greetings, Warlock. It appears our plan
has worked well!" Thanos said,
observing the anti-Rose firmly in Warlock's grasp.
"It is fortunate that you have never
found this device, is it not Thanos?"
"Why do you always say the same thing
every time we imprison the Magus in this ancient penal device."
Warlock ignored the question knowing that the
time striations within the anti-Rose's blast had caused them to experience a
sort of time loop feeling.
"How are things with Portent?"
Warlock looked away knowing repercussions
with his son could follow.
"I'll admit to being confused," the
Hulk interrupted them.
Warlock turned around, "It's really
quite simple, we had to keep the Magus off balance by giving him multiple things
to focus on."
Thanos continued, "The Widowed Rose
grants great power, but also at great cost.
It seems that the ancient entities that created this, also created an
Warlock stepped in, "Epoch filled us in
on this ancient device. Apparently, the…entities considered themselves the
protectors of the early universe. In
order to prevent it from falling into a tyrant's hand before the universe was
capable of creating new entities that could help defend it, they created a very
powerful device that would attract such power hungry dictators and they spread
its legend across the universe."
"What they didn't spread," Thanos
said taking over, "…was that they had also created it in such a way that
it molecularly bonded to its user. With the Rose bonded, the Anti-Rose that they also created
could then be used to trap the user within it's self contained universe."
The two continued to take turns in
explaining, "The most difficult part is in the transference, and is best
done when the holder of the Widowed Rose is unaware of what is
transpiring." We therefore
requested Death to borrow her army and had you Defenders come into the picture
to help anchor me as I completed the transfer myself."
"Although the Widowed Rose guards
against seeing the power of the anti-Rose, because the Magus has his own well
honed cosmic senses, we transferred the power of the Anti Rose into Doom so that
the Magus would not suspect the purpose of the Anti-Rose."
"Doom was but a temporary receptacle
that was needed. With the Magus'
guard completely down, I removed the power once again from Doom back into the
Strange spoke this time, beginning to
understand. "And with the power returned to the Anti-Rose, it detected the
Magus bonded with the Widowed Rose and activated itself creating a new self
contained universe for the Magus alone."
"Well why was the entire city
transported here to Soul World?" the Hulk asked.
"Merely a precaution," Thanos
answered. "If the Magus
suspected anything, he might unleash quite a destructive wave before we could
activate the Anti-Rose. Within Soul
World, Warlock is supreme and could contain any such occurrences."
Warlock transported NYC and all outside of
Soul World, "And sadly," Warlock looked up speaking slowly, "he
was bent on destroying all, and has left his own universe desolate and empty.
He will forever be alone." Warlock
turned to look at Portent. Portent
looked back. It would be a
difficult task to gain his son's trust again, but their job was over.
Perhaps now he would have time. "Portent…"
Epoch appeared, "YOU HAVE DONE WELL, MY
TIMELESS. YOU HAVE SOLVED THE FIRST
OF BUT MANY TIME PREDICAMENTS. THE NEXT TASK SHALL REQUIRE A NEW SET OF MEMBERS.
WHEN I AM READY, I WILL CALL UPON YOU.
Epoch disappeared as well as the entire cast.
He had returned them to where he first plucked them out of time.
It wouldn't be long before he called on them again…
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