The End Before The Beginning

The scream echoed across the dying cosmos, bouncing between dying dwarf stars and sputtering quasars, only to be muffled by the slowly encroaching darkness. Corpses littered the star ways, celestial bodies and god-like beings both torn apart and ravaged, drifting lifelessly and eternally.

For millennia, a war had been fought between a myriad of forces, but a single cry of pain had just signalled the beginning of a long-awaited end.

A hideous darkness began to consume the latest battlefield, swallowing the few remaining survivors, converting them into more darkness, while stripping asteroids, moons and planets bare. Normally the Corruption would feed and run, but after this battle, there was no need. The Corruption had won.

Trapped between two molten planets, Kairos, the Dragon God of Time, screamed and squirmed, desperately trying to free himself. Corrupting blades had penetrated his left wing, pinning him in place. All the Time God could do was watch as the Corruption consumed his army, and beg for the other two deities to help him.

But for reasons unknown, both Stasis and Kinisis had been silent. Kairos had been fighting this war against the Corruption alone all this time, with only some assistance from the other gods’ followers. When the Anexartitai had pledged their allegiance to the Time Dragon, Kairos thought things were going to change. He never expected them to change for the worse, with the accursed deitics abandoning and betraying him.

The Corruption finished consuming Kairos’s army and turned to the Time God himself. Kairos swore he heard it cackle, but the bursting volcanos on the planets keeping Kairos trapped drowned the sound out. Once the Corruption began feasting on Kairos, nothing else would matter. The Corruption would have his power. The universe would be defenceless.

A physical form manifested inside the black shroud of corruption. It mimicked Kairos’s form, a powerful, draconic being carrying a massive, shadowy sword. Something though stopped it from approaching.

As the Corruption stumbled, a wave of blood and heat drove the monster away. The Vethic Blades, the most elite of the Veth, charged forward, slashing, biting and tearing at the Corruption. Kairos noticed though, just how few of them there were.

“Wow. It is all far worse than I had feared…”

The friendly voice belonged to the leader of the Vethic Blades, an ancient Veth with bright yellow colouring, going by the name of Arkay. He had once been Kinisis’s best servant, but his determination to do what was right over what Kinisis wanted had been his downfall. If it hadn’t been for his popularity among other Veth, Kinisis’s army of immortal slaves, he probably would have been destroyed millennia ago.

“Arkay, please, help me…”

“I’m trying.”

Arkay assessed the situation, then immediately few down to Kairos’s pinned wing, using his own blade to remove the corrupted spike that had pierced Kairos’s flesh. With an almost impossible amount of strength, the Veth managed to push the smaller planet away, slowly freeing the Time Dragon.

There was an aura of fear around the Veth though. Behind him, he knew his fellow Veth were being slaughtered. Arkay tried to heal up Kairos’s wounds, using power stolen from Kinisis and her Life Cycles. The Corruption though quickly killed and consumed the remaining Veth, adding their power to its own. The attack had only slowed it down and angered it, denying its access to Kairos.

Arkay peered over his shoulder as he drew his blade, a slim, glittering sword. But before he could retaliate, a hideous, inky black spear pierced through both Arkay and the Time God.

“I tried…” the Veth muttered. “I couldn’t persuade anyone else…

Kairos pulled Arkay closer, attempting to shelter them both with his free arm. The Veth was tiny compared to the Time God, small enough to fit in his hand. “We both tried. We were betrayed. You did nothing wrong.”

The Corruption inched closer, summoning more hideous spears. It seemed to be enjoying their suffering.

“Kinda wish I worked for you…” Arkay sighed. He was very quickly bleeding out. “You don’t want this universe to die. Coulda done a lot more to protect it…”

“We all could have done more. But you did your best. Close your eyes now.

Arkay did as he was told, forcing the last of his healing energy into Kairos. Kairos took a deep breath, awaiting the end.

The end never came. Kairos’s time powers had decayed, and time across the universe slowed down, replaced by the all-freezing power of Stasis, the Lord of Nothing. All was frozen and silent, save for two beings.

“I should have acted sooner…” Kinisis sighed as she swatted at the Corruption, destroying it in a flash of light.

“To destroy the dark outsider?” Stasis asked. “Or to begin anew?”

“Both…” Kinisis reached forward, shrinking Kairos’s cold body down and picking it up in her hand. “Really I should have started again ages ago. I made so many mistakes this time.”

“This is only the third.”

“Yeah, true…” Kinisis sighed some more, then started wandering off, towards the centre of the universe.

“Is there anything else you wish to save?” Stasis asked, looking back at the Corruption’s remains. Kinisis hesitated, then reached back, towards a tiny yellow speck. She held it in her free hand, thinking back about the now dead universe. She’d always put too much power in the hands of too few. In her next creation, she planned to spread things out just a little bit more.

“No, just these two. Everything else can go. I think I’ll just create some new gods this time…”