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By William Hughes
Deep within the darkest reaches of the great sea of stars, a single, solitary object
floats through the void. If their had been anyone to observe its slow, eternally tumbling
progress across the heavens, they would have disregarded it as nothing more than space
debris. It radiated no energy, no light, nothing to indicate that it was anything more than
another rock spinning in infinity. If the observer was an Earthling, however, they might
have commented upon the object's resemblance to a porcupine, albeit one that had
experienced some rather strange deviations upon its evolutionary course. It was covered
with spiky outcroppings, protecting the central portion from anything that might intersect
its course. In the center of the "body" was a strange pattern that our Earthly observer
might have regarded as a gaping maw, if not for the impossibility for anything living to
survive in the inky darkness between the stars.
A long-term watcher would have noticed slight variations in the thing's flight
plan, movements seeming to direct it toward a spot far past the range of the naked eye,
save for a single pin prick of light in the distance; a star of little importance to anyone or
anything besides its inhabitants and the Thing which sought it. Slowly, the strange
pattern opened, up, part eye, part mouth, and let out a scream, inaudible in the darkness.
Deep within the monstrosity rapidly approaching the unsuspecting planet, behind several cubic feet of armor, sat a creature. It was man shaped, vaguely, with a humanoid body, the typical number of appendages. But there was something subtly wrong about it; the limbs were too long, the eyes, cold, cruel, and utterly alien. To its left and right floated two pods, radiating energy which they fed to the now dormant creature. When it awoke, and the task begun, they would serve as protection measures, keeping the all too important manipulator portion safe, the left providing immediate healing and a defensive shield, while the right maintained offensive strength, and more importantly, the crucial life support systems which allowed the collective creature to respirate like other creatures upon its target world, transforming harmful wastes into useful resources.
But all that would come later. For now, other preparations were to begin.
The consciousness of the humanoid extended far before it, making in a few seconds a
journey that was going to take its body several thousand years. The creature's mind
began to slowly alter the course of evolution upon the world. The timing was excellent,
as this planet's population was only now emerging from the oceans which still covered
most of the world. The creature had been spawned on a planet much like this one, and
had been bred to instinctively perform its next action. It slowly altered the dominant
species' evolution, reaching into the creature's primitive, defenseless minds and coercing
them to breed the proper traits to create what the creature needed: cattle. Two races
slowly emerged as the dominant creatures upon the planet. One was physically strong,
but weak within the mind, while the other, a more reptilian race, advanced in the mind
but with less raw strength at their disposal. These would make fine meals, when the time
was right. It knew instinctively that the two breeds would never coexist, they had been
bred for survival of the fittest, but the beast had no care for the loss of life that would
occur when war broke out between the two, as the victor race's lives would be all the
more nourishing when the time came for the Slaughter. Judging that its work for the
moment was finished, the consciousness returned to the spiked shell coming ever closer
to the increasingly turbulent world.
Without realizing it, the creature had undergone an evolution itself. When it had began
its task of "seeding" the planet with its influence, it had been following nothing more
than a deep, primal instinct which stated, quite clearly, that it would be obeyed, or the
creature would die. But as it had progressed along its course of action, emotions had
begun to seep in: pleasure, rage, desire. It began to feel a strange joy at the thought of its
two pets clashing with each other, squabbling, fighting, warring between each other. It
began to marvel at the abilities it possessed, to wonder at how he could use them to sew
chaos among his "subjects, " pondering on how to cause the most pain, and where.
Little did it realize that these feelings as well were instinctive ingrained in its very
genetic code. This was a creature that was both predator and parasite, farmer, and
weasel, and pity is no trait for something that is designed to destroy its own creations.
Pulling out of its reverie, it noticed that the time to begin was very close. It returned to
its dormant state, and prepared for the next phase in its life cycle.
Upon a bridge, high within a keep, the last battle between the two races was
played out. The mammals had been victorious in the end, had triumphed over there
fellow creatures. But victory was short. The reptiles leader, in his last moments, revealed
the truth of the strange red star which had haunted the sky, that it was no star, nor a
meteor, but something far worse. He expired in something nearing happiness, knowing
that he and his people would be saved from the half-mad being's horrible destruction.
One of the survivors, of the race known as the humans, muttered a word formed by a
combination of two from her own culture; the words for "big fire." Lavos. It fell with a
sound like the closing bars of a cell, trapping those that survived within its cage.
Lavos, as the creature came to be known, burrowed quickly into the ground,
already beginning to feed from the energy deep within the planet, constantly refueled by
the lives and deaths of those who walked far above the humanoid's dark, strange head.
Here, it could lay dormant for thousands of years, waiting for the right time to emerge,
when it had pulled enough strength from the slowly dying planet. Unaware that even now
those who would prove its undoing walked above it, it once again marveled at the
destruction, the death, the pure chaos that it could create. As the human's evolved, they
become more resistant to his coercion, but under he right conditions, with the right mind
to work with, it could gain control again. A little mayhem before the slaughter, a light
drizzle of strife before the torrent of death. Nothing said that it couldn't enjoy itself
before performing its instinctive task.
It waited 638 million years for the right mind to come along; a mind full of pain,
of hope, of a wish for power to help the grieving of her people. It was a royal mind,
suffering from the loss of a loved one. All these things, all these grand ambitions, no
matter how noble, all these could be corrupted to the side of chaos, the nobility stripped
away, leaving only the desire for power. And Lavos could offer power. It was his stock
in trade. Lavos grabbed upon the mind of the Queen of Zeal, and all history gave a slight
jerk as he slowly, gradually, pulled from it the soul, leaving only a shell he filled with his
own, mad essence, and the promise of power. Under his commands, the Kingdom of
Zeal entered a dark age, hid by seeming prosperity. He attached a string of dependence
to every heart in the kingdom, tying all their powers to him, a more gradual process than
the one he used upon the queen, but just as effective.
Deep within his shell, Lavos, a mad puppeteer, laughed long and loud as he tug
the pretty little strings which controlled the people, his people, forming their hearts in
his own chaotic image. And all of history danced to his terrible pull.
Authors Note: I'm too tired to write own. E-mail me at email@example.com for
comments, ideas, or any other kind of feedback. Thanks for reading. All characters
copyrighted Square, etc.
William Hughes 7-7-99
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