Chapter 1: The Void
I had that dream again; I saw the creation of the void, the magical anomaly that saved our world. The Earthmen predicted it was the end when the planet fell apart, but are world was saved. It’s funny to think that everything I both love and hate comes from the same thing. I think that a famous Earthman Hierophant said something like that, the force that connects as all is neither good nor bad, and everything is one. I used to love how I could get lost in thought, drowns out the oppressive empire I live in, the one that is somehow linked to “Glory” and “Justice”. I sat on the shit ridden streets of Heart City, the most successful city in the whole of the Centreland, the Pandaemonium of this hell spawned legion. I sat there, a mere beggar. Two well dressed men of the Void Empire approached, wearing expensive jewellery and monocles. One of them started looking at me like I was some kind of extraplanar outsider.
“By the empire, what is this creature with purple eyes?”
“I think it might be hostile, should we kill it?”
They both started laughing; the other one, who I could now tell was much shorter, started joining in
“Why on the streets begging you pathetic little son of a bitch?”
I went along with the whole creature thing by growling viciously at him. He cowered behind the taller one. I laughed at him
“Don’t be afraid, I’m nothing important, just a Voidman.”
They tall one started laughing, and then his smaller friend joined in. “Silly beggar, Voidmen are just myths, like the gods.”
I looked in to their eyes, and started to grin. I just wanted to see their little polished fuckfaces go red with anger
“If the gods are such myths, then why do you worship the Voidking?”
The taller one was shaking with anger, the shorter one just stood at the front and said
“You must be mistaken, we don’t worship the Voidking.”
“Amen to that”
“Seriously, please just stop, my friend here wants to kill you but I think that would lead to too much trouble.”
“So mote it be.”
The taller one turned round to his companion “Ysup, we should just kill him, he’s only a wisecrack beggar and nobody in the Empire really cares about him, besides the Void King doesn’t give a tiny rat’s arse if he’s supposedly a Void Creature”
He nodded, and then red balls of psionic energy started forming in front of them
“Shit!” I yelled before running for it. They started firing psionic projectiles at me; it’s a miracle that most people I come across are terrible shots. After a while I decided that I couldn’t keep this up much longer. I jumped in to the void. I waited just until they were off guard, this was the funny bit. I flew back out of the void and stuck my middle fingers up at them before doing the imperial salute backwards. They fell back and started cowering back to their homes, shocked to see what is supposedly false being proven true
Chapter 2: The Rebellion
Yes the lands far above the void are filled with metropolises, but as above, so below. Down in the void itself is Tifsim city. It has a long history which I quite frankly found fascinating. The Void Creatures are monstrous looking creatures spawned from the voids, which for many years have been hunted down by the Void Empire. They created their own cave network which later expanded in to a huge city for all those trying to escape the bloody Voidking. The place is like a nirvana for Void creatures, but very few Voidmen have felt in home, since we are part human we never quite fit in with either of our kinds.
I love walking through the towns square of Tisfim city, it always shows just how much the Void Creatures oppose the Void Empire. There markets sell most items the Void Empire outlawed, in some cases that’s good, although not always. It’s odd to see religious organisations today, especially outside a legal drug dealer shop and a brothel. I saw in the distance green banners with yellow triangles on them. A familiar sign, it’s the Rebel Flag and is often held when another battalion has been lost to the Void Empire. I support the rebel cause strongly, but I really think they should learn that one cannot simply overthrow the Void Empire.
I walked through the market for hours, until something caught my eye. In the middle of the market place, there was a Void Floater selling some kind of odd necklaces. I approached the store.
“Excuse me sir, what’s that you’ve got there?”
“I believe they are Zonbi charms, they were part of rituals for some of the Haitian Earthmen. Superstition has it that they can raise the dead.”
Fate is a Knight of Swords; it has a certain goal and will get rid of all obstacles to get to it. On normal occasions I would have thought not to trade for something that I don’t immediately need, but as fate insisted I did so
“I will trade you this automatic monocle I stole off of a wealthy Imperial Citizen for one of them”
“We have a deal sir.” We exchanged items before he started meaninglessly wishing me a good day.
Surprisingly for me, buying that charm was not the most unusual event that would happen today. A Void Floater messanger approached me. “Excuse me sir, are you Oim Sineleh”
“Yes I am, Can I help you?”
“The Golden One predicted that you were able to help him with a problem, he wishes to speak to you in the throne room of the Golden Palace.”
I was overwhelmed by that entire sentence, not only did I get to meet the Golden One or he who is titled “The Oracle of Tifsim” but I also got to go to the Golden Palace, the greatest rebel fort known to man, that no Imperial Troop has ever entered. I headed over there
The Golden Palace was overwhelming, a palace made of pure gold is impressive enough, yet it was also double the size of the palace of the Void King himself. All across the walls was text saying “Know yourself”. As I entered the palace, I realised just how well secured this place was. I passed several hundred rebel troops on the way in. As I entered the throne room, I noticed six paintings on the wall, one of an angel, one of the sun, one of a cloud, one of a tree, One of an apple, and one of a red rose. A blind man dressed in monk like robes was sitting on the throne. He talked slowly, obviously choosing his words “I sense your there Oim. Have you come because I summoned you here?”
“Yes great Golden One, what do you wish?”
“I wish for a lot of things, be more specific.”
“Ok, if I have to point this out, what I mean is what do you want me to do?”
“I’m glad that you considered my proposal without even finding out what it is, shows determination although ignorance, such is common in the broken sphere, although the traits that I have listed are something that rebels must learn to contradict quite early on. Moving on from the topic of standards I expect from my people, I want you to find The Void Crystal, a crystal created by the void itself. A hundred years ago the Void King used it to make himself immortal, as the crystal itself can make great things happen, even a wall of gold cannot protect from such powerful magic. You must obtain the crystal, and perhaps the world will be at last, just and free”
“If it means stopping the Void Empire, I’m in.”
“Before you go, I have a few items I would like to give to you, they will be vital for the successful completion of your journey” He passed me a bag of items
“Please Golden One, use your wisdom, and give me some advice.”
“You never specified the exact amount of advice you wanted, a common mistake people make as I could give you as little as I possibly desire. Nevertheless I shall only give you one piece, the most common advice I have given to each person to enter my fortress is Look around you.”
Chapter 3: The Empire
I stood in the middle of Tisfim, thinking, where do I possibly find this crystal? Why did the golden one send me on a quest like this? I decided to search through the bag of items that The Golden One gave me. Inside was an expensive Void Imperial suit, a wallet filled with Voidcoins and Void Citizen Identification, and contact lenses to change eye colour. I searched even deeper inside the bag and found a map of the Eternallands, with a circle around Serpent Head City, the capital that gets stronger with each rebellion.
The Eternallands were undoubtedly my favourite part of the Void Empire, and although that is saying nothing, I still quite like the place; it had beautiful country sides and hundreds of year’s
worth of history. Serpent Head City on the other hand, I would never believe that it is part of the same Voidrock, if even the same world. Skyscrapers looked down on lesser buildings as inferiors,
Void Travelers polluted the streets, and worst of all the same adverts running over and over again on giant screens. In the first five minutes I had memorised “Blade of Avalon Virtual Reality,
which is the real world?” and “Rush Magnetic Boots, Why do we walk?” The thing is that they would be very deep questions if not so commercialised and meaningless. I realised that if I were to find
the Void Crystal then I would need to find a major source of magic. I meditated for a few minutes before opening my third eye. Searching around I found one major source of magic, a small shop
named “Technomancers.” It stood out not only because of the magical aura, but because it was one of the smallest buildings in the cities. I headed in, the shop; it was quite an unusual place even
for a magic shop. All over the walls lied odd devices as well as magical calculations. Manning the counter was a short yet beautiful woman with pale skin and black hair.
“Can I help you sir?”
“Yes, um well.”
For some odd reason I had forgotten the very purpose I had come in here. After a while I suddenly remembered
“Yes, I’m looking for a magical crystal of extreme power, perhaps almost as powerful as the void itself?”
She gave me the strangest look, as if I had made some kind of unreasonable request, after a while she replied
“That is undoubtedly the weirdest question anyone has ever asked me, but oddly enough, I did happen to have possession of a crystal like that, but the local governor took possession of it. I would suggest heading towards the City Hall and attending the council meeting, you could potentially find out what has come of the crystal?”
I headed over to the city hall, when I saw a familiar face, even though he was in disguise, he still seemed distinctive. I initiated telepathy
Zebron Usned? Is that you?
Zebron was a Voidman Rebel Sergeant that I met during a rebellion here in Serpent Head City, We became very good friends, but he was given some kind of assignment by The Golden One, and I went to live on the streets of Heart City
Don’t say you’re going to make me talk about how my life has been, I hate that
Haven’t changed a bit I see. What are you doing here?
The Golden One assigned me as a spy, I work for the Hermes Force in the City Hall, and I was just headed there
The Hermes Force?
Yes, the Void Empire force of messengers
Yeah I kind of got that, It’s just I was thinking of how a figure once considered so holy, would be used to describe something so unholy.
Please, if you think that’s bad then you probably didn’t hear that the Voidking named his governing party the Allah Council. The Voidking takes any opportunity to take the piss out of any Earthman Faiths he can. Oh yeah, you want any messages delivered to the governor
Yeah, ask him where the Void Crystal is.
We went on our way to the City Hall, joking about old times. The City Hall was the largest building in the whole of the city, which was a lot to say. Inside there were purple flags of bloody guillotines everywhere, and even some people holding up banners of them.
What’s with the flags?
Before the Voidking gained Immortality, he was going to be executed in some crude chair device. The guillotine is supposed to represent the barbarianism of the Earthmen
What a beautifully ordered mass of chaos we live in
A man dressed in a tabard of the Empire stood at the front and started chanting “No hope, no fate, no luck, is better than that the Voidking brings” Everyone else responded at the same time “Long Live our gracious King.” A fairly tough looking man sitting behind me looked at me and started rambling “Oi, Shitface, why aren’t you chanting along, you hate the Voidking or something?”
“Oh no sorry, I’ve just never been in a City Hall before.”
“You think I’m gullible enough to believe that. How could you have never set foot in a City Hall?”
“Well I spent half my life as a beggar”
“Why didn’t you ask the City Hall for money?”
“Well I wanted to be self sufficient”
His face went bright red with anger, and he started clenching his fists “Outside, after the council meeting!”
“Funny that, technologies so advanced yet barbaric violence still makes unintelligent people feel big”
Fucking hell dude, you got yourself in enough shit saying the self sufficient stuff; you’re just digging yourself deeper. Have you never heard the story of Bloodyglen?
No, please tell me
About fifty years ago, there was a village just outside the Void Kings Palace. It is now referred to as Bloodyglen. There was a very successful farmer there, who didn’t need all his crops, so he gave the beggars in his village enough food for them to survive, if he still had some leftover he had a feast and invited the entire village, and if he had any more left over he would sell it. One day the Voidking offered to give the beggars enough food, and claimed he didn’t have to any more. The farmer told him that he wanted the village to be self sufficient, and the man got executed along with the beggars. Refusing help from the Voidking or any of his governors is seen as a form of rebellion, In fact there are books, plays, films and virtual realities portraying the Voidking as a hero and Bloodyglen as a rebel village.
Chapter 4: The Six Paintings
The Council Meeting went on and on; the governor rambled about the greatness of the Voidking, and got people to vote on minor improvements to the city. Finally after about two hours he called up the Hermes force, but he was not speaking to them in the way you would expect. The Hermes Force and The Governor were speaking in Binary, a language made up of entirely ones and zeros.
Hey, I found out where the crystal is, apparently some local bandits robbed him on the way here.
After all this, the governor finally called off the meeting, although it was far from over, as it seems that I was able to unintentionally piss somebody off. The man sitting behind me during the meeting stopped me outside “Oi, there you are fuckface; I’ll show you what the Void Empire is worth.” He tried to punch me, but I dodged out the way. That’s the problem with humans, there slow in both ways. He spent an hour trying to hit me, until he collapsed from fatigue. Fanatics never learn do they?
After walking for about five minutes, I happened to run in to the woman from the shop
“Oh hey, you’re that guy from my shop. I never got your name.”
“Im Enyel. Say, you want to get some drinks?”
“Ok then, I know just the place.”
We went to a fairly quiet bar called The Choking Sheep. As we sat down Enyel looked at my eyes and asked
“You know, I always thought the Voidmen were myths.”
“What are you talking about?”
She smiled and started laughing. “I’m a mage, I know a Void Creature when I see one.”
We started drinking and talked for hours. After a while she paid the bill before saying
“You know, I’m still curious about your Voidman nature, Oim. There’s one thing I wish to know more about.”
She started to smile and her eyebrows lowered. “I would quite like to see the, full anatomy of a Voidman.”
Chapter 5: Bandits
I skipped a long the city streets, a couple of people turned round but generally overlooked it. I started hearing a voice in my head again
You’re in a good mood huh Oim? Get laid or something?
Yep, you know I think I really like her, I’m thinking of starting something serious
Is she a human?
Never start a serious relationship with a human, Humans are enforcers of imperial power and haters of freedom, and we’re rebels we have to stay away from that
Look, your past is your past, humans treated you badly but that is no reason to go around treating everyone like there the same
Please, if you search this god damned world for a million fucking years, you will never find a single good human!
There’s a reason you’re a sergeant and I’m not, because I realise that hate isn’t the most important thing.
I walked off. I don’t know why but his hatred for all humans really got to me.
I suddenly remembered my mission; I had to obtain the Void Crystal. Apparently some bandits had possession of it. From reading about Serpent City, I remembered that there was a whole street known as Dragon Street which was completely overthrown by a group of bandits known as The Mind Machine. They were lead by a Psion known as Mrost, a man who covers his face so often that no man has ever seen his true face and lived to tell the tale. Seemed like I was going to be first. I headed to Dragon Street. It seemed well defended, there were guard posts everywhere and the whole street was made in to one large bandit fort. I, however had one advantage, the whole fort was made of wood. I focused all of my psionic energy in to a ball of fire, before launching it. The flames roared, I could sense the sting of pain, fear and burning. One bandit wearing a mask stood in front of me, shaking his head.
“Pathetic! You think you can just destroy everything I worked hard on? Since the dead are so good at keeping secrets, why don’t you see my true eyes?” He took of his mask, his eyes glowed brightly purple. “This world always spat upon my kind, because we were born half monsters the damned empire think they can treat them like shit.” A psionic sword of pure hatred formed in his hand “Draw your weapon; I challenge you to a duel.”
As he did that, I formed a blade of telekinetic energy, and prepared to fight
The Clashing of swords went on for ages; we were equally as skilled as each other. By the end he hit my sword so hard that it fell out of my hand, before hitting my arm. I fell to the ground, desperately trying to push myself back up. He spat on me “Think back on your life, before the grand Coup De Grace.”
I thought this was the end, until I heard the familiar voice of an old friend “Hey psychic freak, absorb metal!”
Zebron started shooting at Mrost, but he could even dodge bullets. The fight lasted until Mrost charged Zebron, looks like he was going to finish off two competitors today. Or so I thought. Enyel appeared above us, before shooting a bolt of lightning at Mrost with some electronic wand and helping us to our feet. I staggered over to the Bandits corpse, searching for the crystal. A charismatic yet slightly intimidating voice came from behind me, “Looking for something Oim?”
Behind me was a man covered in scars with brown hair and fully red eyes. I looked at him and asked “Who are you?”
“Don’t you recognise your own King?, we both know all about each other. Me an immortal king, and you a thief, murderer, rebel and beggar. I never wish to see you place another foot in my world. I sentence you to execution.”
My wounds started stinging like the seventh layer of hell, and I fell to my knees. The Void King looked down upon me. “Are you begging for mercy?”
I was going to insult his stupidity, but I realised perhaps I should rely on my instincts. “Please, I beg you mighty king, you know what it’s like to be sentenced to death, please have mercy!”
His eyes turned from red to black, and he started cackling, although deep inside I knew that the laughter was covering up something grater. “You amuse me Voidman, for that I will spare your meaningless life. You are sentenced to lifelong imprisonment.” He grabbed me telekinetically and dragged me away
Chapter 6: Keep your friends close...
Well the days are long, and the work is hard when your days are spent in a Void Empire jail. The prisoners are mainly captured rebels, but some priests of various faiths were scattered around. The eventful day came when one of the guards undid my shackles “Oim, the Void King claims that he has made a mistake and you are innocent, you are free to get on with your life.” I left the prison, to find Enyel waiting for me. “How did you get me released?”
“I believe Zebron was a spy infiltrating the Hermes Force. His identification proved quite useful. Listen, I’ve also found out that the Voidking is heading to the Royallands in a Void Traveler to ask his advisor; Archmage Graug to prepare the crystal.”
“Damn it! I’ll never catch up with him by purely flying”
“Don’t worry, I thought of that and purchased an Automatic Void Traveler and reconstructed it with faster speed. If we hurry over to the Voidport we can probably arrive a few minutes earlier than
the Void King”
“Great, let’s go find Zebron and head off.”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you. Zebron started declaring full out war on Serpent Head city single handed, trying to fully take it over and, he was shot down by a patrol of the City Guard. He’s just about to be cremated.”
I took a moment to mourn him, before realising about the Zonbi charm.
“Enyel!, You don’t happen to know where they took my possessions do you?”
“If you’re talking about that Earthman necklace, then I have bad news. It was taken to the annual Burning Festival.”
Back in those days, they threw a celebration known as the Burning Festival every year. It was when they found as many Earthman artifacts as possible and burnt them. It was either great luck, or something more than luck that it was being held in Serpent Head city this year. I flew as fast as I could to the celebration. In the previous years when the festivals were thrown, several people had died so this year everyone was wearing gas masks. It looked a bit ridiculous but I had no time to disrespect their ignorance. The current pile was quite large, although I didn’t see the charm in there yet, but I thought I should look anyway. Nobody was permitted to actually go through the pile, nobody but the City Guard. I had a plan but I had to be subtle, I created a telekinetic sword before killing a guardsman in one of the most secluded posts. I took the gas mask and suit before running over and searching the pile. The whole thing was being broadcasted over to the whole world. The presenter was commentating, I overheard him saying, “And now, before we start the fire I throw in my contribution, a Zonbi charm stolen from a rebel.” He was about to throw my charm in to the fire, but I telekinetically pulled it towards me and flew to the crematorium. They were just about to cremate him when I yelled “STOP!” I was about to place the necklace on him when I realised, that would help nothing. I turned to Enyel, “I think you should place the necklace on him.”
“Zebron actively opposed all humans, because he had problems with them in past. If I place the necklace on him, he will spend the rest of his life thinking that all humans are evil.”
Enyel nodded before placing the necklace around Zebron’s neck. His eyes started to open, and he muttered “You saved me human?”. He staggered to his feet and came over to me, “Oim, you were right all along, not all humans are the same. I should have listened to you from the start, and for that reason, you give the orders from now on. If you want me to kill I will, if you don’t then I won’t.”
Chapter 7...And your enemies closer
I woke up in a bed placed in the Void Traveller, Enyel laid there next to me. She seemed to notice I was awake. I asked her “Enyel, why did you save me from the Void Empire Jail?”
“Because Oim, I love you”
“I love you too.”
Just as that was said, the Void Traveler alarm went off and there was a crash. We ran to the front of the traveller, only to find that some kind of Void storm was pulling us in. Enyel tried steering the ship “The storms too strong. I made a storm removing magical device earlier, but it hasn’t been fully tested and could go wrong, what do you think Oim?”
That being said, I suddenly had an epiphany, it took me a lifetime to realise. “Leave it, I know another way.”
Zebron looked at me, shocked but deep down seemed trusting at the same time, “Oim, Good luck and I hope your plan works.”
I ran in to the other room. My entire life I shunned the Void Empire for their treatment of the Earthmen faiths, but the one thing I never did was prayed to the forgotten gods. I looked up then down. “I don’t know who is causing this storm, I don’t care what deity you are, but please I have realised what I must do, so please spare my life and I promise to try and create a utopia where the gods can be free” The alarm stopped, Enyel ran in “I’m not sure what you did but not only did you stop the storm, but were here!” I looked out the window, the Royallands. That was the good news, the bad news was that outside at the Voidport, the Voidking was speaking to some archmage like figure. We all ran over to him. I yelled “Stop!”
“Or what, Voidman?”
Zebron spat on the ground “We could kill you any day mighty King, you’re not so tough!”
A telekinetic force lifted us up, the Voidking bit his thumb, “Pathetic rebels, I could easily finish you, or I could torture you to death. Either way my people would love me for it.”
I knew what I had to do here, “Listen, I understand why you would want to kill us.”
The Voidkings eyes turned from red to white, he started laughing and this time genuinely. “You are quite funny Oim, nobody can understand me, what I’ve seen, what I’ve been through.”
I nodded “That’s why I understand you. All my life people of the Void Empire have spat upon my kind, and therefore I grew hateful of them. Sometimes hate takes over your life, makes you blind to all other things. I’m guessing you were spat upon by the Earthmen similarly, which is why you object to everything they did. Kill us if you want, I feel no more hate towards you, I only now feel sorry for you.”
The Voidkings eyes turned black again, and a tear fell from his eye, he suddenly seemed a lot more living. He let us to the ground “You’re right Voidman, all my life people have followed me as a king, but the only thing I truly wanted was for people to understand me, the hatred that I felt, the suffering I went through” He gave me the crystal, “I want you to have this, I know you will use it most wisely. Use telepathy on the crystal, tell it what you want.” I thought of a million things I wanted, the seven sins themselves crossed my mind as I gazed in to the crystal. I suddenly realised, that for the future to be forever bright, there was one thing I should wish for. I made my wish. The crystal smashed, and beneath the ground I could hear the sound of more crystals breaking, the Voidkings eyes turned back to normal, and he started aging quickly. His eyes were bright blue. He looked at me, “My name in my past life was Qowcius, though it’s been a century since anyone called me that.” He started crying “You truly are much wiser than I ever was Voidman, when I die, I want you to take place as the new king, you are wise enough to lead my empire.” As he said that he passed away. I shut his eyes for him, “I can’t rule your empire Qowcius, people need to learn to live without a king, and soon society will reform itself.”
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