~ an action series ~ I | II | III | IV | V | VI
Made it just in time, Exen thought to himself as his wheels touched down onto the battlefield. Arrayed before him was the momentum of violence, the crossing clangs of swords and bones, the bursting bloodflows and cracking bonds of enforced mortality.
Exen spurred his freshly forged lasercycle into its maximum speed as the sounds of pitched battle and mystical bloodshed loosed themselves on every side of him. Armored with the complex lattices of light constantly repositioning and reformatting themselves upon the moving extremities of his body, Exen raced toward the pit ahead upon the plain, where the greatest sources of this great war’s hyperviolence made their home. To his left came on the brave and noble Men, on horses armored in crimson plates for charging, stacking high-blue layers depicting their lands and sigils with the yellow scrapes of knighted special forces commanding the toons. A united front of many kingdoms, united before the darkness, came forth to do battle for the sake of their children’s children. They flowed out from their keep, the time-tested ancient stone hold of Arborean, known as “Man’s Last Bastion.”
Named before its day… Exen thought as he raced over a cloud of blood-soaked dust. Long-named as a xenophobic fortress to excise arbitrary sects identified as ‘rogue’ elements of humanity from the fruits of the garden’s remainder. Reality now coalesces here on this planet to actualize the title for real… Smh, Exen sighed.
The rag-tag armies of Men fell down from those ramparts to meet their opposition upon the field… to which Exen turned his gaze, knuckles tightening upon the handles of his lasercycle.
The illimitable hordes of darkness. The undead legions from the underscapes of intergalactic, extradimensional realms that could only be called Hades, assembled from a universal calling to this planet, where their lighting-fell massacres and conquering reach thus far had led these unified, final doomed Men to the retreat of their stronghold. Zombie fodder, skeleton warriors, and daemonic knights led the vanguards into the violence upon the main courses before him, where only moments ago that initial charge of armies had been met with a momentous reckoning of instant carnage.
The wind swept through Exen’s flowing hair, over the laser-crenellations of his makeshift armour, as he sped into that fray. I have to find my place within the conflict. Choosing carefully what locales and positions I may make the most effective and crucial difference… Exen raised his left arm from the bike and aimed across his chest, over the prow of his bike’s front and to the rightward hordes still flowing down from their own volcanic ramparts. The sky overhead cluttered with ash to blot the sun. A darkness grew over the field, becoming increasingly marked by a theme of flowing, enlivened fires bursting from the mount backdropping the scene of Man’s last stand. Mount DOOM? Exen named it himself. The mountain was not native to this planet, this dimension… It appeared wherever the hordes of darkness were most needed for the next branch of their conquering campaign. And the medieval planet Saiur’s time had now come.
Exen fired thin, short-span beams of incinerating energy into the charging hordes, far away from the front lines’ meeting with the already falling armies of Men. Those regiments of undeath fell without a sound, each beam piercing the mush of crumbling and pre-obliterated brains, the stark whites of exposed skull, and the formless dark of the daemon’s inner shadows. As they fell, and Exen kept on his course directly toward the pit of the conflict, where the armies clashed worst and hardest and strongest, Exen’s eyes fell to the activity within that cloudless sky of ash, where blood-drenched feathers fell alongside the sharply cut screams of men braver than he…
Martial weaponry can only carry a man so far. In its many limits lie many different, nearly equally horrifying deaths… Exen checked the time. The exacting, galactic, interstellar time. He cocked his head, making a bet with himself.
I can be done by lunch time. If I really commit, execute.
The whooshing sounds of aerial combat captured his attention. He looked up to see those multi-colorful lance-wielding knights with their banners upon their armored backs ripped and burning but ever-flowing riding their elegant companion griffins along the streams overhead into battle against eyeless wyverns and bat-like hell-hawks and even…
A roar surfaced behind Exen then, still firing his beams into the undead hordes to great and damaging effect. On his HUD, lightened to all his senses up to then, he watched a large blast of energy sourcing from behind him move with an intense velocity … toward him.
Time to reset. Working from instinct, Exen nevertheless set about to the execution of a maneuver never before tried. He did it in the spirit of the bet he’d made with himself only moments ago. To be done with the war before the noonday sun had crossed over.
As the hordes of men and demons finally entered the frame of his periphery, Exen slammed his cycle into a hairpin turn, its laser wheel digging into the earth and kicking it upon all nearby parties. Appearing as a wipeout to all the befuddled onlookers already looking upon technology they could not conceive, Exen in fact dug his own left hand into the earth to seize his body’s movement; in the same motion, he double-kicked the cycle’s seat up and away from him, into the open air above a sturdy regiment of lurching zombies.
With a dumb smirk on his face that no one saw, Exen then snapped his fingers and two things happened. Now looking upon the source of killing blast of energy heading toward him in moments — a colossal skeletal dragon with teeth bared, inner magenta energy flaring to the tune of its Lich Lord rider’s primal screeching — Exen punched his fist into the dirt before him at the same moment, superhero posing this time to his audience of two, dragon and rider. A whispered phrase escaped his lips, in an incantation known only to him, the wielder of its utility. Behind him, right after the snap, that flipping, translucent and surprisingly lightweight lasercycle burst into a matrix of piercing, incinerating energies of its own. In a crimson flash of soundless explosion, the zombies were reduced to ash, soon to be blown in the faces of their oppressing militia-men.
As the necrotic ball of flame seemingly engulfed Exen, a cool breeze and a pleasant ASMR-esque chill went up his spine at the prospect of being targeted by the undeath legion’s prolific leader, its dark lord Voretruu. No harm came upon his person as he stood crouched in the center of the hellscape, the bones of Man and hell-beast each burned with darkfire, melted in a crater about him. Exen stood up within his bubble, the laser-lattices of his Laser Technique #27: Circle of Protection, protecting him against all forms of external damage, and brushed himself off.
As Exen extinguished the protective, silencing barrier around him and the horrors and soundful bloodletting of battle resurfaced about him, he checked the time again, recalculated the war’s trajectory.
Gotta go bolder.
Still in near distance but fast-approaching, Exen returned his attention to the Lich and his pet dead elder dragon. Bone wings large enough to span the walls of Arborea swam through the wind with ease; the two pairs of yellow eyes, wielded by dragon and rider, glared through his soul. Exen raised his fist into the air. At his sides, the Men of the 56th Bretonnian cavalry watched with dismay as a battalion of skeleton swordsman ran toward him down the slope of the surrounding crater, aflame with the darkfire from the dracolich’s bomb spit near them and wholly unaffecting, even empowering, the lot.
With a righteous tone, Exen declared his next maneuver with a flourishing fist, “Laser Technique #1: Big Punch!”
Instantly, enlarged fingers and knuckles flared out of his left wrist and over his right hand outstretched into the graying sky of ash and dying screams. Exen began to sprint forward with an eagerness to match those hungry, yellow gazes. The dragon leaned its head forward as it dove toward its prey; the Lich Lord screeched ever higher, more desperate in its maneuver against its chosen foe. Exen reared back his giant fist in an effort to soon consummate its name. The buffeting force of the dracolich’s folding wings and gasping mouth nearly toppled Exen. But he dug in his Chuck’s and held his ground as he delivered his strike at the moment of contact between Man and beast.
The trailing regiment of skellies became buffeted to the ground by a new force introduced. As the giant laser fist connected with the snout, forehead and malevolent and now bursting eye-holes of the tyrant of undeath, even Exen himself was lifted from his stand upon the field of war, launched into the air from the backdraft of his punch’s shockwaves. The monstrous roaring of the dragon instantly muted into nothingness as its bones cracked and shattered and evaporated in a line from its skull to its torso to the tip of its trailing tail. Exen felt his fist fall through the skull and into the earth, each as formless and easily displaceable as dough. His knuckles burned through meters of dirt like a hot knife through warm butter before he discontinued the technique. His momentum carried him into the crater he’d formed. The Lich rider, lord Voretruu, catapulted through the thick dust and debris of his suddenly exterminated companion and flew over the battlefield in a new way. He landed elsewhere, far from his frontline allies and freed from his weaponry and magick momentarily. Exen watched his figure fly into the ocean of Men with a pleasant feeling of a job well done.
They can take care of him, right? Exen thought as he climbed his way out of the black hole in the earth. Behind him, Men fell in swaths before their implacable, nigh unkillable foes. They died hard but well. Exen did not think of them or look upon them, or acknowledge their cries as they receded closer and closer every moment to edge their backs against Arborea, and to the women and children within its walls. Exen hummed an ad-libbed tune signifying nothing, that he himself could not even hear over the explosive hellscape of violence that flew over his hole. Handhold after handhold, he thought of nothing but the handholds. As he emerged, a dozen skeletal swordsmen descended upon him, bodies and swords consciously aflame with the anti-energies from the Voidrealms of Chao, set to reave apart the very matter of Exen’s space-time and meaty frame.
With a second nature subvocalization, Exen summoned his second favorite technique. “Laser Technique #2: Laser Sword.” Out of his wrist emerged a beam-blade just in time to parry a pair of scimitars. Meeting them with gusto, with a returning counter slash, then a parry, a feint and another finishing flash across their dual brows, Exen relished the sweat pouring from all over his body under the crimson silk of his hand-stitched laser-mail jumpsuit. Twirling through a flourish in which he slayed two more skellies, lesser swordsman with no flare or flash for the Art of swordsmanship, Exen faced down the remaining eight as they locked onto him with caution, side-stepping with a degree of analysis.
“Come on! All at once!! Let’s do this right!!!”
As they obliged him, charging all at the same time with longswords, greatswords, scimitars, rapiers raised for killing blows, Exen felt his life’s grand tapestry flash before him. Have I finally done it? he intoned within. Then, in a moment, returning to his battle-hardened instincts of countless battles, duels, wars and mortal kombats of all shapes and sizes, Exen began to work through his killing routines, blocking, dodging, counter-attacking with the timing and intent to slay. That moment — the expectation of death to bring about one’s reel of lie — was just another in its own meta-tapestry of near misses, moments of potential endings remaining ever so: potential. But as Exen made quick work of the last trio of skeletal musketeers, fighting back-to-back with a cooperative comradeship that warmed his heart, he realized the mirth in his flash of a thought.
‘Have I finally done it?’ … There was within me then undoubtedly a … happiness. Contentment. A positive expectation of the sentiment of my end… Am I such an unconscious yearner for Thanatos’ touch upon me? For how long have I harbored such a sincere wish of death? Hard to say…
A rumbling upon the ruined earth now rattling with the bleached white remnants of his latest foes stirred Exen from his inner reverie. Just over the lip of the crater he still fought within, a shadowy troupe of cavaliers beckoned. Seven characters befitting their own unique mask and weapon. Exen chuckled to himself. Just like Seven Samurai… Magnificent Seven. They’ve cribbed their whole game from some old 20th century flicks. They called themselves “The Hegemons of Hate,” according to Exen’s HUD and its analysis, cross-referencing to other such interdimensional squadrons of daemonic special operatives.
C’mon, I could come up with a better name than that … Lets’ see: “The Terrible Troupe.” Terrible. “The Phantom Psions.” Bad. “The Exalted Exsanguinators.” … Better.
They horizoned over the lip of the crater with a sprint upon their mounts, on this occasion riding the many-eyed Wargs of Wyndyrathrex — ferocious and immortal wolves from a dimension of pure pain and rage. The daemon knights rode on toward their final foe. Seven knights, each carrying a spectacle of squires of their own despicable nature — a pestilent stench arose from the green armor of the central figure. Another burned with fire the color of space, as did his entourage; another glowed with what could only be called un-light; while another let off a constant, quite annoying, droning, insectoid buzz. Each carried a weapon of immense and terrible size easily within their hands; so wayward and non-euclidean were these blades and blunts that Exen could not classify them, let alone begin describe them in his mind.
They came on with the fury of an army in of themselves, knights and squires grimly determined with the disquiet of the immortal, endlessly fighting sufferers that they were. Forgetting his prior bet compulsing him to every expediency within the fight, overcome with the roaring pride of a real challenge before him, Exen resigned himself to not yet activating any other techniques beyond the sword still pulsing and vibing from out of his wrist. He waded into a rip-roaring bout of blood and sweat with the Hegemons, singing the song of Ares, (badly) ~
That’s what they all call me
A god without a heart
No one really loves me
They all seem to snub me
But I don’t feel alone
Cause I believe
That this world is for me
And if you disagree
I’ll destroy everything
You best not make me angry
Slaughters those that do
do do do
I’m called a coward
By a bunch of haters
Blind to a true crusader
They choose to live a lie
Cause I believe
That this world is for me
And if you disagree
I’ll destroy everything
Violence feeds my soul
My hatred can’t be controlled
The battle has just begun
Can’t you hear the drums?
Cause I believe
That this world is for me
And if you disagree
I’ll destroy everything
I’ll burn it down
I’ll burn it down
Exen slashed, ripped and tore his way through Hegemons, their hatred turning to fear as they shuffled their mortal coils in a violent haze of viscera. The squire’s weapons disintegrated with a touch upon his sword; the knight’s strange hammer-swords and spike-spears could not penetrate the armored plating of Exen’s exterior shell, even in the obvious seams, even when they outwitted him for a blink within the seven-on-one chaos of their brawl. Though they scored not hits upon his form, the bulk of his laser armor taking each of them before they graced near his vitals, Exen did bleed. Pure the minutia of the program of his armor, for every slash upon the exterior plating, small cuts, bruises, general blows reflected themselves upon his body, opening requisite wounds equivalent to 1/10,000th of the force of the strike. This was by Exen’s own design, so as to provide for him the pain necessary within combat to improve his craft, to inch him closer to the perfection that every mortal warrior seeks. So under the lasers, Exen sweated and bled just as his foe’s did, though less voluminously as he carried the fight onward and over their falling corpses, slashing and stabbing and chopping away at their expressionless, vile faces.
I can only hope they feel pain… Exen thought after many moments of the fight, about half of the Hegemons’ forces downed or dying at his feet. For the first time in many bouts, he found himself feeling not only unease but an extricable dislike — even a reciprocating hatred — of his opponents. He could not be sure, but the more he considered it, blocking and countering with improved timing and pinpoint force with every advancing round, the more Exen realized his enmity was spawning from the disparity between the living and the dead. These creatures of undeath were an aversion of life, of course — something that undoubtedly should not be. However, it went beyond that for Exen. As he glided through their gnashing teeth and reaching claws, slicing away their still-beating hearts and decaying brains, the roots of their abominable existence, he realized it was their pathological urge to kill without passion that irked him most.
I am all for light versus dark, the forces of “good” vs. “evil” … but these guys just don’t have it. The four-pronged mouth of the Third Hegemon, the “Ardor”, split into eight as Exen cut him through vertical, clean and precise. “It” being … life. In any metaphysical sense of the word. They don’t have what is needed to make for conflict that is believable, sympathetic… if only to further impassion the opposition. Exen turned back to impale the “Dhamp” through her spined back, aiming accurately for the twin-hearts there, as she tried to run away, toward the frontline of Men to feed their succor and restore herself. She fell into dust and sizzled upon his blade. The last hopeless Men of Saiur fight against a storm, something unreal, lifeless and unthinking. Unloving. Voretruu’s horde do not fight for anything, they only consume. Where is the romance in that! Exen intoned with passion as he decapitated both the “Nun” and the “Ghast” in one fell swish of his elongating laser sword.
There is no pathos for the zombie, and nor should there be. This extermination is no different that cutting grass! I am … simply mowing the lawn!!
With a three-hundred and sixty-degree turning and slaying, Exen cut down the last of his foes. Nearly buried in their smoldering, minced corpses, he heaved a sigh,
“And the clippings will remain unswept, unbagged. The final mark for a job not worthy of the undertaking…”
“WHAT NONSENSE DO YOU SPEAK MORTAL.” The voice rose from the pile behind him. Exen struggled to release his ankles from shifted weight of the bodies forcing him half-crouched and facing away. Toward the next wave of the horde. Exen rolled his eyes and he twisted his waste. Behind him, the giant-sized “Guul” brought down his stylish axle with serpentine spokes, flaming with void-like auras.
“I’m done with you,” Exen said with evident exhaustion in his voice. The sword retracted and in its place shot a single blink of a beam right through the forehead of the last living Hegemon. He fell, his axle losing its force and then soon dissipating with the rest of his form.
Exen turned back to the horde who were upon him. His voice became muffled as the bodies piled on, zombies hulking with mutated, muscle-enhancing strains of some kind. Coordinated by a demon at their back, Exen understood them to be taking a new strategy with him, a most unpliable foe upon their conquesting array toward the keep. Exen wondered how far back Mankind’s line had fallen in the minutes he’d been fighting.
He spoke the words, finally remembering the dwindling time and fast growing bored with this final, fated battle,
“Laser Technique #22: Archangel.”
Exen emerged from the growing pile of ‘live’ bodies atop him with a pair of glorious crimson wings, arching to the sky with express purpose. He raced through the air, still low enough to the ground to slice off the head of the commanding demon, extravagant horns and all as he flew toward his latest objective. In his wake dropped small slips of incinerative thermite bombs in the form of laser-feathers from his wings. Each fell into the mindless hordes of darkness beneath his flight, burning them away in a flash visible to the far peripheries of the battle. Men watched the strange, winged and glowing bombadier fly to the source of the endless deathmarch, the erupting mountain of fire and hate and doom.
From their perspective, from the armored and tired Men remaining, who had not yet been cut down or devoured or collapsed to be trampled and slowly eaten by their hellish foes, Exen’s far flight over the battlefield could be seen as nothing but a miracle. Whether their eyesight afforded them a view of his angelically feathered laser-wings, projected in their own artistic style of such seraphic myths, the creature devastating the ranks of the undead all by himself could be nothing but an angel. Righteous and invincible, an archangel of the highest order could be the only truth of the sight, lest it be their dying soul’s final, hopeful hallucination before annihilation…
Like Superman in sound-barrier-breaking flight, Exen raised his leading left fist toward Mount DOOM’s midway elevation as he raced toward it. There in the area of his arim, a blackened, lava-caked set of untraversible crags housed hidden enclaves of the endless throngs of corruption. He fired his laser, marking an incision into the heart of the volcano; lava instantly poured forth, flowing like a raging river over the immediate seams making their home beneath the point cut. With the mount cracked open like an egg, Exen glided over it, shielding himself from the insane aura of heat there, and spoke his next — hopefully final — tech into existence, raising the words to a shout for effect,
“Laser Technique #49: Big Bomb!”
From out of his wrist fired a small pinprick of light that soon enlarged as it traveled toward its ultimate destination into an orb of immense, and thermonuclear, power. It passed through those initial layers of lava to enter the heart of DOOM, puncturing the primordial essences and digging into the true origin of Voretruu’s malevolent multitudes. Finding its seat next to the spawning spiral of evil, a black blot of ill-defined and immortal chaos every moment birthing a shapeless and irredeemable entity of one kind or another, Exen detonated the bomb with a snap, viewing its journey throughout upon the HUD overlaying his eyeballs.
An unfathomably loud BOOM shook the surface of the entire planet. Mount DOOM simply disappeared, many of its nearest inhabitants and all of its crag-dwellers disintegrated instantly from the impossible heat rising from within its gullet. Exen was lost within the smoke. Moments later, a geyser of lava and thermonuclear fallout arose into the sky, breaking into the atmosphere, nearly igniting it all in an apocalyptic fury (only Exen’s special designs within the bomb’s creation, hydrogen limiters and specified elemental configurations brought together within its composition to prevent just such a thing, saved the long-term survivability of the planet of Saiur). The lava stream burst upward to three times the height of the impossible mountain’s elevation itself, before inevitably falling back down in a tsunami of infernal proportions.
The sudden silence of the world following his bomb’s work pleased Exen immensely. As the lava crashed down upon the stilled hordes of the damned, flowing over them and through them, burning away their immunities with the radiation and the nearly absolute and nigh limitless temperatures of the bomb’s excess, the entire army soon tilted unto extinction. The daemon raced away, with the speed of their mounts or upon wings of their own. And to their retreats, Exen responded in kind, cutting through the blankets of ash now sweeping over the battlefield to finish them where they flew or stood, casting their parts into the melting soup of the lava’s flowing march over the earth.
Gliding over the battlefield running this casually murderous interference as his escaping lava wave did its good work, Exen finally surveyed the ‘results’ of the battle before this pivotal change in its coursing. The griffins were down, the skies were silent. The watchers within the walls looked over desolation. A final few lines of men lay before the keep, fighting and defending down to the last man, backs nearly to the stone ramparts themselves. They continued to fight as the flows of fire plunged over the backlines of their foes. Still on his wings of laser, Exen flew over the central mass of the lava now settling into place, cooling, drying and solidifying over the mass of earth. As it neared the backpedaling regiments of men, Exen flew up higher to gain a superior vantage, reformatting his next technique to neutralize the sprawling effects of the one he previously employed. He spoke the words in the clouds of ash, his laser suit of armor refreshing the air as breathable even while mired in the density.
“Laser Technique #6,001: Big Cool.”
A blue beam shot out from his wrist now and into the burning ocean below. An electrified azure sprawl of fast-cooling energies soothed Mount DOOM’s blood into a stillness stopping just short of the first Man’s sword battling back against a final daemon. Exen flew down to them now, shooting straggling members of the dark horde as he did.
“Behold! Our savior!!” shouted a leading captain, his helmet cracked and the sheets of his heavy armor loosened and crumbing from blasts of necrotic energy.
As he hovered down to them, Exen tamped down their exalted cheering, their voices reaching to the heavens themselves, adrenaline flowing strong and true through their veins, the joy of a future returned to them. He dropped the wings and landed the last meter down to the ground. Up close, with his full five-foot and eleven inch, buck-fifty-five frame standing before them, shorter, lighter and considerably smaller than many of the weaponmasters, axemen and blacksmiths remaining within Arborea’s defenders, their eyes widened with exasperation.
“It was nothing…” Exen mumbled his eyes on the grand wall of the keep before him. “Bigger up close, ain’t it? Wow.”
The captain staggered over to him with a noticeable limp. “I do not… understand. Who are you, sorcerer? From which mystical land have you come? And what manner of magic do you wield so fluently so as to…” His arms went wide to the still-smoking mass grave of stone now layering the earth from DOOM to the very walls of Arborea. “…Vanquish the legions of Hades…” He finished his words breathless and still unbelieving of the sight before him and his last lines of men.
In the intervening silence, as Exen continued to scan the walls with hands on his hips, simple admiration in his eyes, the captain’s ripped and shredded cape blew away in the harsh, warm winds of Saiur’s afterscape. He looked to his toon of men nearby, decimated and shell-shocked in the aftermath of so much sustained violence. They shrugged, sheepish grimaces on worn and bloodied faces.
Exen sighed, looked to the captain and his men. “What a war, huh? Wild stuff…”
Mouth open and brow lowered, Captain Farthington prepared to say something though he knew not what. But Exen slapped the knees of his jeans, “Well, I should really get going now. To tell you the truth-”
Interrupting him came the sound of a terrifying groan. From the near distance, within the smoking layer of lava, a crack and a continuation of that growl. Exen and the knights looked out upon the black sea of stone, where a single decrepit hand of bone emerged.
“THIS IS NOT OVER YET, MAN-FIEND!”
The voice, that of Lich Lord Voretruu, arose from the depths of the stone that buried his nihilistic dream of murder and carnage, the lone remaining daemon left upon the world. A fraying, nearly dissolved and emaciated form of the lich arose from the smoke and shadows, hacking and coughing up ash and tar.
“Oh! So you are still alive over there, eh?” Exen remarked in a raised voice. “Well, I guess that’s not exactly true.” Beside him, the manic clanging of sword and shield readying themselves came alive. Exen put up a hand to them without looking, and their activity seized almost immediately. A voice thoomed from out of smoke and shade, out of the crackling sludge of melted hellfire,
“SHALL WE DUEL NEPHALIM! CAN YOU PUT TO PLAY YOUR LIFE, WITHOUT TRICKS, WITH AN EXCHANGE OF POWERS IN AN ARENA THAT IS CLEANLY SQUARED, EQUIVALENTLY GARNERED WITH ENOUGH TIME TO DANCE, WITHOUT DELAY, DUALLY MARCHING TO THE D-”
“Oh come ON! Give it up, you old asshole!” Exen shouted through the smoke to soon-to-be-final-opponent. He put up his fists and bobbed his shoulders. “Fill your hands and let’s do this, you sunniva bitch!!”
A feral growl loosed from the Voretruu’s withered, meager form in the sickly language of an ancient and eerie incantation. His body began to crack and expand and rise; as he grew to the size of a titan, Exen calmly punched in coordinates upon his wrist. Head down, his heart’s pacing measured the same as before. Behind him, the knights gasped with terror as Voretruu finally revealed his true form to them — the Infinitely-Armored Chaos Beast known as VORE, its maw a pandemonious vortex most closely resembling the cosmic nightmares of the elder shaman’s final vision-quested truthings. Truthings no other could ever conceive of and live to tell it. As their minds unraveled, a crimson bolt of light struck down upon Exen’s form. With a cry of unfettered jubilation, a massive figure appeared within the obscuring dust and wind where the five-eleven scrawny white boy previously stood. Exen, with amplified voice, cried out from inside of the skull of his laser mecha in suspended animation.
In the same manner as the lattices of his laser armor covering his mini-self, the shifting formation of Mecha-EX around his body took the concept to a titanic level. Exen, from the cockpit of the skull-shaped in the fashion of his own grinning face, floated freely with full body movement within a semi-solid/semi-liquid animus, and from this suspended state could direct his movements as surely as he did his own physical form. Across from him, VORE screeched and wafted necrotic energy across the laser lines of his exterior. To no effect. Exen countered with a left jab, followed by a right hook, full force with his lower half in perfect form to drive the punch through the mush of tentacles and teeth assaulting his every sense at once. An uppercut driven into the gut of the abomination ended Exen’s flurry as he leapt back and reoriented for another round. Ooze from the void poured from the bludgeoned zones of VORE’s body; he spat indecipherable curses and his ten thousand eyes fell back upon him with furious curses of their own.
Exen flicked his nose with his thumb as he jumped in place and spoke his jibes in the amplified voice of a God, “TIME TO SEND YOU BACK TO THE FAR REALM, FREAK!”
With a roar, VORE came on and EX met him, blow for blow, pound for pound. For the next seven minutes, comprising approximately seven separate rounds of righteous, mortal combat, EX made short work of the reborn elder god. He worked the body; he worked the tentacles and crushed the teeth, closed dozens of eyes with the brute precision of a dozen well-placed strikes. As they regained their senses, every scored punch bringing back their blasted consciousnesses from the brink of a well-earned madness, the knights below began to cheer on their laser-guided champion. In the final round, when a pair of right and left haymakers finished VORE, and he fell onto the black, corrupted mat of the cooled DOOM’s flows, EX cupped his hands and carried them over each side of his head. He turned to give his fans a bow. They screamed as the terrifying VORE rose with a death-rattling slither, a final act of deception expending the last stores of its energy for a sneak attack upon the gloating EX.
But a laser smile beckoned the Mecha’s features as he reacted with the force of a trained fighter, one known for such easy deceptions. VORE’s body shook and broke as Exen wracked its almost instantly unconscious trunk with pummeling strikes, every one finding a pressure point or an already severely damaged, heavily bleeding locale. Ooze pooled in a small lake below the pair of titans, much of it leaking off the knuckles of Exen’s mech. To put an end to the bout once and for all, unknowing of its potential power remaining even in its blasted and altogether ruined state, EX grasped its shredded form, carried it to the edge of the abyssal crater now marking Mount DOOM’s final location upon the planet Saiur, and threw him in like an old bag of trash. VORE made no more disgusting sounds as it descended into the darkness, never to be seen again.
With seven steps spanning the gigantic battlefield, Exen walked back to the cheers of the knights and the people in the keep of Arborea below. With the last one, he reverted to his human frame with hands cupped and wielded on each side of his head. The cheers did not subside; smiles fell upon him from every denizen as they clapped him on the shoulders, congratulating, thanking, pledging fealty and other things.
“Really, really, please, please…” Exen muttered, unsure of what to say to them. “I really could not have done it without all of you.” He spoke to the crowd, looking steadily upon their tired but newly hopeful countenances but not really seeing them. Their reactions, confused and fast returning to the jubilation of their survival, reflected the confusion with his statement. Exen scratched his head and continued to stare at them awkwardly. Of course… They didn’t do anything. They were all going to die…
The captain intervened, nudging to the front of the crowd to speak to him once more. His rich voice faltered, inflamed by the prospects of a new dawn falling upon the breathing Men of Saiur.
“Please, you must tell us who you are. What kind of angel are you that has wrought this miracle and saved our land?”
Exen took a deep breath as he scanned the gazes of the elders, the women and children looking down at him from the ramparts above. To the knights, he said in a voice laced with truth as bright as the sun,
“I was sent by God to save you. That is what I have done. And now,” he smirked. His laser wings returned. “I must go.”
To the fanatical sounds of more questions, more unbidden praises and calls to stay and continue to grace them, Exen nervously shot away into the air in the bright boom of a shattered sound barrier and a wistful goodbye to a people he did not know and a war he did his best to enjoy.
But as he flew into the first reaches of space, away from this planet and on to some other one he’d have to find a reason to land upon, Exen felt the void within him grow and grow. ~