13 13. Deal with the Devil

"Let's see what you have to tell me.", said pensively the Archdjinni of the Rings, carefully holding the Necron device within clawed fingers as if it was the most fragile and precious of jewelry.

And in many ways it was comparable, what he was doing was a bargain for what amounted to his entire future if it proved fruitful. If it wasn't then so be it, he wouldn't have wasted anything as preparing for this day gave him plenty of practice and knowledge about himself and the world he was in.

The foundation of his plans for his vengeance and subsequent liberation from the tyrannical claws of the Old Ones were not based on this, but there was no reason to not try, at worst it was practice. Hoopa acknowledged the desperate need to have some form of 'trusty useful ally' no matter who or what this individual might be.

He wasn't picky and gaining an ally in the form of a Necron was not outside of the box, he would have even gone with a C'tan and for all he knew this might be this.

He didn't hold any real enmity toward the soulless automatons after all even if what he does daily to them would like to prove the exact opposite, but he didn't have a choice and it was this or he let billions die in addition to the vast majority of Necron were mindless puppets and eliminating the ones with minds was not straightforward.

His view on the Nercon was rather neutral but leaning more on the negative side of things. The records were heavily biased if not downright erroneous and the vast majority of the blame could be put on the Old Ones but in the end, the Necron started this war, out of rage and despair to save their dying species first then revenge later but they still did start the war.

The Necron or Necrontyr at the time had asked for the secret of immortality and it certainly was at the height of arrogance but the Old Ones didn't simply refuse, they chose the option of openly laughing at their misery and not helping in any way while continuing to mock them. All of this because of their hubris, they felt they were above as if they were chosen by the Universe.

All of this, the war, the death, the horror, it all could have been easily avoided if any Old One used his or her time to help a dying 'lower life forms', something that would have been trivial. It didn't even need to be big, a basic overall health boost with a potential failsafe in case of betrayal would have sufficed.

The problem stemming from the soul, mind, or body was only an excuse to justify their laziness, they created him after all, how can curing a type of cancer, soul affliction, or genetic disease be in any way shape, or form harder?

Hoopa couldn't understand why they didn't do it unless it was a twisted experiment and from further data it seemed the case. While the records did not mention any name or location in particular they wrote in great detail about the socio-eco-political shift within civilisations on the brink of collapse that had many of the Necrontyr characteristics and they were one of many subjects of study.

It didn't excuse anything of what these Necrontyr did after, not that there was a need to, but it gave reasons as flimsy as they were and not some illusion of grandeur and being above nature by acting as some kind of gardeners of the Milky Way, and that a civilization or entire species are just pests and weeds to be rid off.

And they didn't even do that correctly, they could have terminated the Necrontyr after defeating them the first time once and for all but no, humiliating them and letting them fall deeper into a bottomless pit of despair and rage as their species died out on the prison that had become their homeworld was what the oh so merciful and wise Old Ones decided to do leading to a series of event that ended with the Necron and C'tan of today. The blame was inclusive but it was not equally distributed.

In the end, it was a very complex topic and Hoopa was only interested enough to know what to and not to say even if the Necron were to be worse he would and could not hate them to the degree he had for the Old Ones, the Great Old One Cthylla in particular.

Hypocritical but he never thought of himself as a paragon of morality.

"But how does this device work? Is it tactile, does it have a turn-on button or something else… Or does it work on intent? How does this technology operate?", Hoopa said with confusion his mind went over immediately how he sounded like an old man interacting for the first time with a smartphone as he fiddled with the Necrodermis sarcophagus.

At some point, his thumb touched an area that melted and like a card castle the device turned to grey sand but before he cursed the sand flowed and formed a small pyramid that opened and emitted a toxic green light that took the shape of someone.

A Necron by all accounts, it had skeletal metallic limbs, prominent ribs, and the overall same aesthetic as one. However this was no regular Necron, this one was one-eyed, a collar of gold horned his rectangular head, while a long segmented tail grew from his lower back and a scepter ending in the shape of a deformed star was held tightly in his left hand.

From a purely appearance standpoint and his knowledge this was a 'male' Necron of privileged status, it was most likely an Overlord or Cryptek, but which one of the two he didn't know. It either meant he wasn't important enough to be of note or was kept hidden by the Necron since it was far too valuable or the Necron himself was keeping a low profile.

"A hologram, oh or not...", Hoopa's melodious voice turned from a neutral interest to pleasantly surprised as what he presumed was going to be a discussion from a distance turned to one that was going to be face to face and so he let the connection from whatever was outside to the device try to travel here from time itself, and he let it do by giving the way.

What followed was fascinating and another proof of how beyond impressive the technology of the Necron was, it was something, or more accurately someone that was using time as a medium of travel by using this device as an anchor point from where the one that was doing it was located.

'Interesting method of transport but far too obvious and rigid still… Close to virtually infinite and nearly impossible to stop once started but it's a one-way trip. He wants to make a good impression. I can give him that.', he mentally analyzed this new type of locomotion and his instincts were already working on how to do the same but with psychic power and better it even if he didn't need it himself.

A few seconds trickled by and the hologram ultimately was replaced in its totality by the high-class Necron it represented. A fanged smirk formed on Hoopa's face as the single eye of his potential ally turned on with the usual greenish light and his body began to move like an awakening corpse all the while remaining in the palm of his tridactyl hand.

"Courage and stupidity are but the two facets of the same coin. Now I have to decide which side you belong to. After all, you, a Necron, directly came to me and neutralized all chances of escape. You gave your unlife for me to play with, a being who should not have the incentive to entertain you, yet you knew I would, didn't you, how? But first, I would like to know who I am speaking to. Someone bold and confident or foolish enough to risk everything by wanting to speak to me face to face is someone I must know the name of.", Hoopa said in the language of his interlocutor whose metallic body could be felt shivering to an imperceptible degree but one he could feel.

He immediately recognized it as one of the particular quirks of the Necron, it was only apparent with the ones that still had most of their minds intact, it surfaced under extreme stress or intense moments of emotions, or they were insane either way it was something they kept from once they were living. At least that was what he learned from personal experience.

And there were quite several odd things about this Necron besides the extremely unusual behavior.

"My name is Orikan, and I serve as a Cryptek under the Sautekh Dynasty and Triarch but before all Necron, I'm known as the Diviner for I'm the most accomplished astromancer within the Infinite Empire, Magician. I have broken from the binds placed upon me by my enslaver the Star Gods with the assistance of alternate versions of myself, I'm under none of their foul influence but that you must already know.", the Necron presented himself politely with a deep bow, his distinctively masculine voice smooth and metallic with a natural edge of vanity.

"Magician… Quite an innocent and inconspicuous name for me, elegant in its simplicity yet strangely deceptive but without lies. I must admit I find it hard not to like it.", Hoopa stated, shocking the Necron at how direct he was but other than the interesting title for him there was the mention of astromancer and everything after, as pretentious as Orikan's words were about being the most accomplished they were true.

Hoopa could tell this much in this environment where he was the absolute master and lies even from a soulless machine would not escape him, though what wasn't a lie didn't mean it was the truth either but it likely wasn't such a case here. Necron were not blind to objective reality even if their view was warped.

"Acting in such a way and taking such a risk is not characteristic of your kind, but it follows your words. Though it is not enough reason, the only option I can see for your choice is based upon my knowledge and estimation, if they are accurate you have predicted the future and knew how the events following this decision will most likely unfold.", the Archdjinni continued, quite open on his view of the situation and that he could be wrong, "This meeting is within your calculation and you must have a concrete idea of what I seek, what I desire."

There was no need to be overly arrogant or try to be too domineering here, Hoopa understood it and it was shocking yet again for Orikan, something the former was greatly amused by. The Diviner didn't expect this, but this still was far from a discussion between equals; it was just surprising how reasonable of a God this being seemed. Though it was still a God he was speaking to and they were fickles.

"Magician, your assessment of my talents and capabilities is flattering but you misunderstood their nature. As a matter of time, I cannot grasp what is outside of its flux, and even then my vision is not without flaws. You are an all-encompassing shadow that darkens all with its blinding light and reading the stars upon your person is an impossibility, none can do so, none. You cannot find what isn't there but consequences can be glimpsed if only in puzzling fragments.", Orikan said rather tentatively, the hold on his staff tightening ever so slightly as an unknown punishment never came.

"Hmm, I see. It indeed is correct and a worthy subject to study for later.", Hoopa hummed in understanding, the rumbling of his body shaking the Necron to his core as if he was a fragile piece of glass which in this situation was the case.

'Out of time and a shadow… It makes sense I suppose.', he thought, deciding to ponder upon this latter another point of view like this was always important, and it reminded him of his experience on its equivalent psychic power and it was one he couldn't do at all in any meaningful way.

It was the moment he interacted or simply placed his interest in the prophecy he saw did it lost all its coherence at once, but he had mostly put into his lack of innate talent, knowledge, and practice which didn't change with this knowledge but it gave a sensible explanation and something to consider.

In the end, his inclination to Magic was more of a Jack-of-all-trade, master of most. His brethren specializing in certain aspects of it will be naturally superior in them like Isha was with biomancy. In addition, he was the Aedari God of Darkness so it likely entered in conflict with the art of farseeing and it correlated to other branches where he had less ease to use.

"Then I can infer that your choice is based on other divinations leading you to follow the most adequate path for your goal, which requires my assistance but it doesn't explain how you knew I would be interested, or you didn't and that is bravely foolish of you.", Hoopa said with curiosity his massive eyes in comparison locking on the astromancer studying his every move.

"It is uncouth of my position and a tarnish on my notoriety but I must admit I did not know, not fully that is, Magician. This was a choice that I made against all decrees of logic and principle I adhered to, a gamble taken upon very little data and loose theories. But it was sufficient for someone of my renown to gain awareness of your revulsion for those pathetic saurians, one so profound it overshadows even ours when my people were of flesh and blood and yet you are their greatest strength, the combination of their madness, a force so mighty it would inevitably lead the Infinite Empire and all that it is made to fall to absolute damnation. I had to take the risk.", Orikan said, the mere mention of the Old Ones ending in a raise of his pitch and a feeling of oppression originating from the Archdjinni of the Rings so potent it was beyond that of anything he had felt even with the gathering of the most powerful C'tan.

The hate was so visceral it manifested into physical form around Hoopa and the surrounding Sea of Souls, overpowering everything in dark torrents for what seemed an eternity until all vanished as if nothing had happened but the Cryptek knew it did.

Orikan only now fully comprehended how intense was the hatred, and it was only the tip of the metaphorical iceberg, it was one he was all too familiar with but his Necrodermis body had dampened to near-nothingness yet the most terrifying of all was that this primal rage was sane, controlled and directed.

"My apology for this lapse in control. As you witnessed, you are more than correct. But let's not dwell upon our common hatred for those cowardly vermin, this is beneath us. Instead, let's guide our discussions on what we can do to further our interests as it is for this that you have reached me, is it not?", Hoopa said, his smile growing to a terrifying degree as a yellowish skin parchment etched with a dark pentagram composed untold runes manifested before the Necron, with it also came a shadowy feather.

"I must state the obvious we are not friends, and neither equal but we can be allies and work together as long as our wishes align, you wish for the freedom of your people from the C'tan and for them to not be eradicated and I wish the demise of Mother and her kind to never be shackled by their will, but I'm not naive and neither are you. This pact-oh... You are a very interesting Necron, Orikan the Diviner. I cannot choose which facet of the coin you are, maybe both.", Hoopa suddenly stopped his explanation and observed Orikan grab the feather and sign with a solidified version of his time without even studying the lines written.

"I have come here knowing I have sealed my fate. I see no losses in accepting an an offer that would have for the outcome the liberation of my kind from those traitorous of Star Gods even if it is from the Devil himself.", the Necron Cryptek as he felt something penetrate his body and mind, it was utterly alien and bound him on an existential level to his contractor.

But it was not a tie of servitude, it was two parts, the first would tell the Archdjinni of the Rings if he betrayed the trust placed upon him, if so annihilation at all levels of existence would smite him no matter where and when he was. The contract was only partially psychic as such even under the influence of a nullifying field he would not be protected.

The second was more of the payment itself, he would have a favor to grant Hoopa and if refused for reason judged insufficient penalty would befall him, same if it was failed on purpose or sabotaged. It was skewed toward one party and he could only hope the Magician held his part of the deal.

But… It wasn't bad, it wasn't bad at all from what Orikan knew of the being of the Immateriun, it was suspiciously reasonable but again the Magician was a unique case. But still, the gamble Orikan had taken was far from being considered successful and all could shatter in an instant.


My P@treon is up to chap 23 if you are interested.


Oh and power stones, pretty please.

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