The Age of Black Woe: Parts XIII and XIV

Once again, Khalas strode alone. The Wanderer walked through the shattered memory of Krenindala, searching and seeking as He had done in the eons before Humanity.

With strikes aimed to send the Wanderer to His knees, five Gods coalesced upon Memory to assail Their lost Brother: Aegis, Neraeos, Vastar, Babel, and Valnurana. The confrontation was intense, with each blow and strike echoing across the breadth of Creation. Again and again, the warring Divinity coordinated Their attacks, striving to subdue Khalas and end His destructive ambitions.

Where Divine Fire raged, Krenindala broke. Where Smith-forged weapon struck, a new crater was born in the ancient memory of the Dragon homeworld. But the fury of the Lost God could not be quelled, not even as He lay impaled on the earth and Aegis loomed with His blade whirling overhead. Momentum began to build as Khalas roared His hatred, His vitriol, His justice.

Then the Warp Witch struck.

The Wanderer’s hand rose in defiance to take the brunt of the blow. His Divine Fire fractured beneath the arcing blade of War as His blood spilled, and His severed arm fell away into the mists of Memory. Reality trembled with the tormented screams of Khalas, echoing through Creation with such warping agony to bend the Veil Extant and drag mortality into the battlefield of the Gods.

Khalas, maimed and wounded, rose with unyielding determination and venom in His eyes. He struck at Babel and Aegis, pushing back Neraeos with a blow to sunder a continent. The sky rained crimson as He freed himself from the encircling Gods, drinking the souls trapped within Thoth’s dagger to restore His form. Booming across the landscape of Krenindala, the Lord of War shouted for the Divine to not let up and to leave the mortal adventurers to hold their own.

As the battle raged on against ormyrr, Dala’myrr, and a fury-fuelled Khalas, the Father of Dragons entered the fray with a roar to challenge the Lost God. Even Divinity backed away as the white-scaled form of Sycaerunax unleashed a blaze of dragonfire hot enough to ignite the heavens and strike Khalas dead on. The Wanderer buckled and staggered back with surprise writ on His face, but the once-leader of Krenindala did not let up. Claw and fang tore against the Eldest still-living Divine, shattering His girding Fire and forcing Him onto the back foot.

Looming over the broken and tired God, the Dragon Father unleashed a blast of breath to set the world aflame. Khalas screamed as His skin charred and His limbs shrivelled into burnt husks. But He endured. He took the raging dragonfire, and once the blaze had calmed He fled the battlefield.

For once, the Pantheon had managed to overwhelm the Lost God. But He was not dead yet.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Summary: While exploring the memory of Krenindala, Khalas was assailed by the Divine Pantheon once again. Blow after blow was traded, but ultimately He was overwhelmed by the His siblings and Sycaerunax, the Father of Dragons and forced to retreat from the battlefield with terrible injuries.

In a secluded corner of Memory, Khalas crawled and clawed forward amidst His own wept tears. As He reached a burnt hand forward, His student from eons past, Han-Silnar, came to His aide. Placing one arm beneath that of the Wanderer’s one limb not mangled and ruined, the Aldar lifted Him up. Then, together, they struggled onward through a blasted landscape.

“Everything I have doneā€¦ I only ever wanted purpose, Han-Silnar.”

“Imagine the pain of knowing, of being told that He had no plan nor goal for Me as He did the rest. As He did even for the Aldar. It HURT, little brother.”

“My Siblings denied Me even the chance to join Them. I wanted to help Phaestus at the forge. Train with Matsuhama. Learn with Lucretius. Laugh, and love, with Eros. Paint with Scarlatti. Dream with Valnurana.”

Han-Silnar leaned the wounded God against a lone boulder amid the shattered world, kneeling before his once-Master as he prepared to ask Him a question.

“Do You remember what You said before, My Lord? That it was what she said? What she asked? Begged?”

Exhausted, wounded, weakened, Khalas’ tired features shifted to an expression of confusion masking irritation upon his now-burned and scarred visage.

“Her last word. Before You gave her to the Legion,” continued Han-Silnar with cold seriousness.

Khalas, the Wanderer said with annoyance, “Who?”

Only then did Soulfinder move, piercing deep within the Elder God as Han-Silnar took revenge for Enheduanna, for her suffering. The eyes of Khalas widened but briefly in shock as He slumped into His pupil’s arms, and His last breath drifted from His lips.

The stars stilled in the heavens, and Creation wept for the death of Khalas, the Wanderer.

Han-Silnar quietly lowered the corpse of Khalas to the rocky ground, His body untouched and untouchable by decay in cessation. Finally, slowly, the Aldar turned his gaze towards the empty skies of Memory.

“It is done. I know You are listening for those words. You can show Yourselves now.”

Gleaming clarion in the mist-shrouded depths, a shimmering archway opened wide as Lorielan revealed Herself with Vastar and Twilight not far behind. Wrath lanced through the usually calm countenance of the Jade Empress as She spoke firmly and concisely.

“You broke your word, Han-Silnar.”

Without emotion, the voice of Han-Silnar rang in response, “The three of You tasked me to deliver Him. You did not specify the condition. I am bound to Your commands. Not to expectations You do not voice.”

“You will regret your defiance, servant.”

“I regret nothing.”

Han-Silnar handed the bloodied Soulfinder to the Jade Empress, and as She left so too did he. Still bound, and never free.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Summary: Burnt and exhausted in the wake of His battle with Sycaerunax, Khalas sought His student for aid. In an act of betrayal against the Elder God and revenge for Enheduanna, Han-Silnar stabbed and killed Khalas with the Soulfinder. Lorielan, the Jade Empress expressed Her anger that Han-Silnar had slain Khalas rather than deliver Him alive, and returned the Aldar to his eternity of servitude.