22 22. The End of an Era

-The Blackstone Fortresses are ready, and the Aegis Seal of the Archdjinni around Yuggoth is as well; only the Great Council's final words are necessary to begin.- a soft-spoken voice from a male Old One reached the mind of every Great Old One within the chamber of the Great Council.

"Hm, this is going by the prediction even with this unexpected addition from them," Hnarqu expressed his contentment with a faint smile. It was a scarce sight; it could be considered a miracle even in and of itself.

"It's a truly fascinating contraption of esoteric craftsmanship," Nctosa mumbled, looking at the arcane script, particularly on the pentacles.

"This multilayered and dimensional matrix is of a simple complexity I admire. Improvement is possible, but it seldom does change its greatness," she added with interest. The detail she held difficulty understanding remained unsaid.

What can be safely said was that the Aegis Seal was comparable to the one of the Celestian Enclave that she had witnessed the creation of as well.

But here, it was far stronger; for evident reason, it had been merged to the precedent defense systems of Yuggoth, each impressive and unique in their own right, creating a hybrid arcane shield of many purposes. However, the actual reason why it was far more powerful was the scale.

The Mother World of the Old Ones was far less imposing than the Celestian Enclave, which mattered greatly. Height, depth, and width might not be universal concepts, particularly in the Labyrinth Dimension and Sea of Souls, but they were still most important.

As to why she had difficulty understanding the script that coded the shield, it was due to the different language it was written in. An entirely new, neverending, and ever-changing set of runes, one used for its creation, one she had recently started to learn but was far from mastering—a mystic language that used all others from recorded history as a base, even from their libraries and beyond.

It took, changed, mixed, and added from each but also implanted symbols and concepts never seen before to create the most extensive, adaptive, and stable magical language she had ever seen. It didn't have the potential to rival the Song of Creation, but nothing did, and it was its only comparison. It spoke volumes of these news runes' immense potential.

It revolutionized the uses of psychic energy and showed cracks in the Old Ones' ways. Ideas and theses that until now were thought as absolute in their field showed to be erroneous in several points, but as she said, it was still in its infancy and had imperfections.

And there was one significant problem even for Nctosa: the Sea of Souls was not a simple matter, the creation of an arcane language, and this one, in particular, had far-reaching impacts she knew she couldn't accurately predict.

The Archdjinni of the Rings was its creator, a being of immense power and significance; it was intimately tied to him, intentional or not, and its inherent greatness was born of his existence.

Modifying them will only dilute Hoopa's influence and his innate control over them by only so much. This was an issue from a purely empirical point of view, and on the cultural aspect, it was no less of a conflicting subject.

"Indeed it is if only it were not desecrating our most perfect own. Using the scripts of lesser creatures and creating a chimeric hybrid with ours, a disgrace, an insult, and a slight to us." a Great Old three seat to her right intoned, all too happy to make his displeasure evident to all and a feeling that was shared by many within the Great Council and their society.

It was a sensation they rarely experienced, and they profusely despised it; if there weren't a war for their survival, an adequate punishment would have been imposed immediately on Hoopa by their wills.

"I take it upon myself as the most important duty to correct his misbehavior once it all has ended, Elder Nyogtha. You have my most sincere apology that it happened, and it hurt your sensibility and feeling," Cthylla said with finality. She did not share her equals' sentiment, and, in another situation, she would have argued against them fiercely.

Still, it was not the time or place for petty, if satisfying, infighting. They were ignorant, and Cthylla couldn't fault them for their inherent mental weakness, the opposite, in fact.

And as the unending debate between the members of the Great Council went on, their attention never diverted from the hundreds of points of view directly of the Celestian Enclave. Their mind focused on the siege that marked the beginning of the end.

This was the last stand of a war crusade that existed for too long, a battle reaching its apogee that would be the bloody canvas of historical events of unfathomable proportion that will shape and guide the fate of the galaxy and all within calling it home for the countless eons to come.

But what was important was not the pandemonium on a fractured ground of gold, metal, blood, and marble between Necron and Young Races slaughtering one another in excess of violence never seen before. Nor was it the diverse fleet of size, number, size, and firepower that none will witness again in a flurry of aerodynamic and impossible elegance.

No, what took the Great Council's collective focus was far greater, far more important, and pivotal than squabbling soulless automatons and mortals endearingly massacring one another. It was the combat between the source of all their miseries and despair, creatures older than time itself that in the recent past were seen as an existential threat to their species, the Star Gods, the C'tan, the Nemeses of Life.

But more precisely, these Gods of Realspace fight with their most faithful and mighty servants, the Aeldari Gods. Each of them was a unique construct of psychic potency and authority, surpassing their own; they were creatures molded from concepts, beliefs, and actions of flesh yet not.

Their purpose was to fit a role, a niche vital for this never-ending war. A war that today will see its end by the many hands of the youngest and mightiest of them all, the Aeldari God of Magic, Travel, and Darkness, and this very same God had acted strange at this very instant.

"What is your Creation doing, Cthylla? Was this of your will? Or the fool's own machination?" Shaurash-Ho asked with a furrow of his head quills; what Hoopa had just done was odd to the highest degree. He abandoned all and rushed irrationally deep into enemy lines.

It was something Shaurash-Ho would have predicted Khaine would do, but Hoopa, no, never in his time since their meeting would have imagined this. The mere thought was an impossibility, and yet it was exactly what just happened. This wasn't normal behavior, not even at the current time.

He didn't fear for the foolish Aeldari God's safety; what he did fear was the immature creature wounding itself to a point the tides of the battle turned against them. This was a suicidal act, no matter the damage it would cause to the Infinite Empire and its puppet masters.

"It's his volition; do not fret, he is no ignoramus," Cthylla said with a narrowing of her slitted eyes and delicate flair of psychic power. She was not against such an action; she knew of his capabilities and that nothing would happen to him.

However, she abstained from mentioning that the nullification field had cut off her psychic connection with Hoopa. The solidified one for this kind of scenario was extinguished by this strange and terrifying realm from which the Silver Tide and C'tan poured. She would have to punish him later.

'What does this, 'Fuck you, Mother. Most sincerely from a creature that once was human.' mean?' she thought simultaneously, analyzing the last line of his message sent the moment before he went in. It was in a language she did not understand but recognized as the one he spoke when he was mortal.

And it was only one part of it. Though Cthylla could feel a mix of emotions within, she had difficulty understanding and didn't try to. Why would it matter? Why would it be worth her attention? His wants and needs were of no importance; he was hers, he was her Magnum Opus, and he was her creation. She had made him above such concepts.

"But why worry? His judgment stems from mine; unless you deem my own unsatisfactory, there should be no problem and his actions not to be questioned." Cthylla intoned self-pleasantly, her words ruffling the metaphorical and literal feathers of many.

"Enough." Hnarqu mandated his voice soft yet thrumming with vibrant blue psychic power potent enough to make the strongest of Aeldari fall to their knees, "If this insolent beast comes to fall, it does not change the truth of our coming victory. It would have served the purpose for its existence."

As if on cue to the word of one of the oldest Great Old One, more than a third of the battlefield, everything from Krork and Necron fighting to epic space battles between elegant cruisers and the far reach of the Eternal Empire was swallowed by the abyssal depth of a sphere of dark grey.

'Fast, destructive, and unstoppable.' was the thought going through every council member's head with varying shifts in vocabulary. It was faster than they could comprehend. The slowdown of the video did not change the blast's instantaneous nature.

The show of power compelled more than a few to blink in utter silence and astonishment. Some experienced the unpleasant sensation of primordial terror rising. The absolute devastation became known with the nothingness and only remaining objects, an intricately woven thread of darkness pulsating with destructive power as the sphere of dark energy and harnessed gravity dissipated.

"Here you are, Mag'ladroth," Nctosa said with dripping venom. She was the first to notice the Void Dragon's existence from a dark sphere; he exited in panicked hysteria, his body soon becoming unmissable as he was a green bonfire in the absolute darkness.

"And in a rather unsightly state. What a pleasant sight. His artificial vessel is fragmenting and soon to shatter. Fitting for such a lowly creature." a Great Old One on a seat behind her added, the joy behind the voice unidhan just as the psychic one that came with it. All present wholeheartedly agreed, all due to this being the protagonist behind their current state.

Then the figure of Hoopa reappeared, his body huddled in a half-see-through sphere of his dark power, the sight of his face and overall body language causing waves of immense confusion to wash over the Great Council.

Cthylla, this time, was unable to hide it either, and in the next instant, several things happened at once that caused many emotions to bloom in her heart and that of her fellow Great Old Ones

A thin beam of iridescent white, gold pinkish color brighter than the most potent stars flew through the shield and dense cloak of darkness. Hoopa stood unresponsive as the attack tore through his neck, creating a neat gaping hole that struggled to heal and from which gushed black blood.

To the surprise and confusion of all, the Archdjinni of the Rings stood still and didn't react, the same vacant expression etched on his face. Soon, more came by the hundreds, perforating his body and making thin cylinders-like holes around his form from which runes covered bones, crimson red muscles, and pulsating ebony organs were seen.

But he stood still, unflinching and uncaring for the wounds received. And it did not change as a beam flew through the top of his skull and another on the opposite side. Each new one created an injury that did not seem to heal and managed to fight the darkness far longer than any other substance before ultimately losing, but their number compensated for that.

"Cthylla, explain what is transpiring!" Hnarqu ordered, standing up from his seat and glaring at the screen in incomprehension. Something was happening, and something he didn't like

Forced to speak, she opened her mouth, and her voice was filled with even more confusion and a rising trepidation as scenarios began to flow through her brain without filter, and her hand clutched the Bottle of Sealing, ready to use it, "I do not know-!"

However, she could not finish or, more accurately, stop herself and froze like all in the chamber as many golden rings appeared, but that was what was slowly emerging from them that caused their reaction.

The surface of the portal rippled, and from them, thin and long pale pink tentacles covered in teeth-covered suckers hungrily snapped outward. Then the heads came, blood red with hundreds of shiny, beady black eyes and misshapen chelicerates; it was followed by the bodies, white bulging masses of blubbery flesh pulsating with grotesque veins.

"Krell…" Nctosa announced with horror, memories of a distant past flashing in her mind as a wave of dread washed over every Great Old One.

And it grew with a crescendo as a psychic wail of anguish followed, and the sound of someone falling echoed as she fell to the ground, gouging her flesh with her bare hand, her thoughts twisted by pain and grappled by an unseen force.

She was not alone and was soon accompanied by others of the Great Council who were caught off guard, had their mind open, and bare to the world did not, could not react adequately to this unforeseen attack. And any who might have been could not fight such an onslaught without equipment or preparation.

Psychic wails, screams, and howls of monstrous proportion and unprecedented agony ringed across Yuggoth and the Blackstone Fortresses without end to their rise in intensity. It was instantly noticed within the entirety of the Celestian Enclave by even the Krork, and this alarming news rang panic in their ranks.

The Krell, the ancestor of a species that would later be known as the Enslaver, were blithely feasting upon the succulent souls of their warden with hunger and jubilation before exploding into hundreds more of their kind from the body they consumed.

It was the first time in their existence that they consumed anything but infrequent flickers of tainted psychic energy that entered their prison. The madness of hunger that had always overwhelmed them turned into something more, far more, an endless craving for more and more and more.

Any attempt to flee by teleportation and flight was rendered impossible by the dark shield covering the planet, creating a giant prison for all its inhabitants. The Old Ones could not escape this slaughterhouse. They were trapped by what should protect them; this realization dawned upon every one of them, be they of any age and status.

'How?' Cthylla internally screamed, clutching the ring-shaped bottle and commanding the darkness within to form an omnidirectional shield that warded off her against all harm as she observed with unbelieving eyes.

'How?! HoW!? HOW?! How is that possible!? Why!? WHY!? Why is it happening!?' her gaze fixated on the screens, and the disbelief and horror kept growing at what she was observing.

Hoopa's body could barely be considered as such anymore; most of it was gone, and what was left barely holding together like a tattered piece of fleshy tissue. She didn't know why it was happening, or how it shouldn't be, and any possibility more impossible than the last until his words echoed in her mind and all the emotions within began to make sense.

'But how!?' she didn't want to believe it. But it was happening; the evidence was here, and rage began to grow without end. She had been tricked, the Archdjinni of the Rings had betrayed her, and he had done the unforgivable.

However, it was all useless as her Magnum Opus started one of the processes she was most proud of, the Sequence of Renewal, and she could not do anything about it but watch in shimmering wrath and drowning despair.

What little remains of his became the deepest onyx black and detonated with all the energy within, interrupting all the iridescent beams and beyond. The ensuing explosion surpassed and shattered any advantages the Infinite Empire and C'tan had won over the hastily retreating Young Races and Aeldari Gods.

Before all this, her world eroding in front of her and death imminent, she felt the Flask of Sealing heat up, indicating that Hoopa's physical shell had succumbed and was beginning the first level for his reformation to health with no sequel.

He had done this to stop her summoning via the Flask of Sealing, and if she did, he would have been unable to fight and protect her, she realized with uncontrolled sentiments of feverish wrath.

Then, an epiphany struck her. There was nothing to lose anymore, nothing to fear, for it was all already gone. Knowing her inevitable demise, she acted with no restraint. An act of visceral spite, righteous fury, desperation, and malice as she called upon the Song of the World and sacrificed her very existence.

"H̶̹̆EED̸̰̯̅͑ MỴ̸̳͒̔ ̶̣̉͊G̵̳͖̊̕OSPE̸̯̽̿L̷̡̃,̵̙͛TR̵͉͘Ą̸̦̌IITORO̴̯̍̌Ǔ̶̻̚S̵̫̣͂͌ PRO̶̙͌͐G̸͍̕E̶͂͜nŸ̶̲̺ OF̵̟͈̅ ̵̩̓͛M̵̺͑̚INẺ̶̻̔ MY̴̡͚̊͂ ̸̺͒G̶͚͑O̴͍̪̍̓SPEL,̵͙̈́̌ ̵̳̬͋́O̸̬͙̊ ̴̥̩̂S̴̀͜EA ̷̲͌̿O̷̯̻͗̊F̶͍̫̄ ̶̟̞̏̀SOU̷͙͘LS! E̶̲͘T̷͕̜́́ERNÄ̵̠͎́L̷̨̛ ̸̧̔̕S̷̨̫͋̅ERV̴̪́Ḭ̵̈͘͜TUD̷̦̬̈͠Ĕ̷̦͌,̸̺̆̈́ ̵̝̕Ē̴̲͈͒NSL̶̡̰̀̃Ã̶̙̦̌Ṿ̶͒EME̴͉̩̒N̷̲̮̑̀T̶̠̗͋͆ AND̸̯̅̾ IMPR̸͓͗͘ISỎ̸̥N̴̦͐͘M̶̟̃E̷̘̒͜NT ̵͉͖͘S̸̲͐H̵̯̓̀AL̵͎̾L BE ̶̨̽H̵̟͚͊̚Ǐ̷͎S̶͇̜̉̑ ̴̮͝FA̷̲̺͐Ṯ̷̂͜E ̶̗͎̋T̶̹̽͝H̷̢͎͑E ̷̢̳̈́̆S̶͉̃IX̷͔̓̌-RIN̴͖̗̓G̴̤̃̽E̷̡͋͠D KEY̴͖͈͌͝S̵͉̫̐ ̴͎̞̏̆Ȍ̸̧̺F GÓ̸̬Ĺ̸̩͘D̵̖̉͘ SCA̴͎̩͊̇T̷̄ͅT̷̜̽E̷͉͑̂R̷̘̻̉ED ̶̲̑A̶̼͐CRO̵͎̎͗S̶͍̖̏S ̶̡̪̇̒E̸͉̱͊͂X̷̜͑̔ISTĘ̷͗Ṋ̴̪̓͌C̶͕̙̒̈́E TO̴̫͛̀ ̷͈̱̎͆B̵̝͈̓E̶̙̅̉ BROŪ̸̘̗Ğ̵̯Ḩ̸̝͊̚T̷̢̾ TǪ̵̻͗͘ ̵̳̋̀T̵̹̠̕HE ̸̤̊͜C̴̳̑̐͜ARM̶͎͚͆INE ̸̥͔̒̽L̵̔͜Ö̵͈̮̒OP̶̤̚ED̸͉̍ͅ FĽ̴̝̋ASK̵̲̙̒͠ FO̶̬͖͑͋R A̵̤̣͘ ̵̜͌MAS̶̩̋T̴̰̽̄Ẽ̴̮͠R̵̺͑̈́ͅ TỎ̸̧͎ ̴̃͜͝B̴̮͙̀̑É̴̙̜ CH̷̩̀͠Ǫ̵̈́͘S̷̯͠EN ̴͉̕A̴̬̖̚ND T̶̹̰̅͑HE̴͍̕ ̸̣̐́C̸̖͎͛YC̵̕͜LE ̵̩̏T̸̜̂̌O C̸̲͗O̵̩͒͠N̴̰̂̏TINU̵̞̲͛͒E!"

The world answered her call and her body to grey ash as her essence was taken by it. There was no joy, no satisfaction, for she had lost all; all that remained was emptiness.

Her last instant was of watching with passivity the Flask of Sealing falling with a soft clink and the six rings on its lower half detaching themselves and shooting in opposite directions with not even the barriers above to stop their course, but it altered them.


My P@treon is up to chap 28 if you are interested.


Next chapter