Since its return to prominence on the intergalactic stage, the Draconid Imperium had become an entity to be respected, admired, feared and hated as one of the Xonexi cluster's foremost powers. It had a direct hand in forming the Gigaquadrantic Intergalactic Trade Organization and its influence both in the organisation and in the Xonexi Allies arguably holds the most weight when international politics are ocncerned. Yet for all this majesty and influence, the Orion War brought not warrior spirit, but indecision to the marble floors of the Grand Senate. The prospect of a direct conflict with the Delpha Coalition of Planets combined the resulting abscence of support in its allies in the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth and more extremely the thought of marching under the banner of younger civilisations left senators in an increasingly tense situation that could not be resolved.
In response to the growing concern, drastic steps were be taken to restore confidence in the senate and among the people in preparation for the giant that is the Imeprium to square off with confidence against the more dangerous and sinister Delpha Coalition of Planets that promised a conflict that could potentially destroy both or at the very least leave large tracts of the galaxy in ruin.
As paragon, Uriel Ultanos held responsability to shoulder the burden bestowed upon him by his own senators if the Imeprium was to have any chance at surviving or retaining its reputation amongst the rising stars of the Milky Way.
Uriel headed though a gilded tunnel within the halls of Alcanti's Grand Senate House with Davius, his proctector, at his side. Even before emerging he could hear the bellows of debating politicians, it was one of the aspects of being a leader he liked least. He knew that everyoe inside had their own agenda, their own outlook on the stirring war in the Milky Way.
As his eyes adjusted upon crossing the threshold and entering the marble-clad chamber of gold and crimson silk, his ears were assaulted with the sounds of Vesperon Maltris giving a speech on the platform below. Resting his weight on the balcony along the seat reserved for Uriel was Torvos, his brother and the viceroy of the Imperium's Milky Way colonies. His face bore a grim expression as he looked down, watching thw ashen-scaled Draconis as he had his back to the two rotals, perhaps answering the queries of another politician. As Uriel walked around and rested his belly upon the stomach-rest of his plush seat, Torvos slowly turned his head to aknowledhe his paragon had arrived.Torvos - The Homeland Council has been going at it for a tenday now, this indecision is beginning to grate.
Uriel turned his head to his brother and perked a brow, curious as to why considering the recent events that had been unfolding.
Uriel - Are they that undecided about whether to support our allies against the Coalition?
Torvos - That is..almost. Exactly it - the viceroy turned with irritance over his brow - Half the council is concerned of the consequences, including most of the viceroies under my authority.
Uriel - "Almost?"
Torvos - There are some who wonder if getting involved in this conflict under the banner of the is either foolish or damaging to their own sense of pride.
Uriel' - Over two hundred millenia of advancement and still some nobles uphold an archaic value of pride.
Torvis shifted his arms and pushed ihmself up to rest his weight on his palms with a grunt, closing his eyes and looking pained.
Torvos - Some habits never change, brother.
Uriel - Is the chancellor attempting ot dispel misconceptions?
Torvos - In a way. The praetor he is addressing is Alanassa Soravitor Vena, who had the idea that you may be getting...intimate with the leader of the French Republic.
Uriel darted both eyes to Torvos in shock and narrowed his eyes, dropping his jaw in shock.
Uriel - What brought her to spout such slander!?
Torvos merely chuckled and leaned back slightly, closing his eyes softly and expressing amusement.
Torvos - That gala she attended, the way you two spent an entire night in discussion, and the icing on the tart being that French villa she presented to you, House Vena has been jealous of Ultanos for years so she was bound to try and spout some slander publicly eventually, shame she had ot say it within the hearing range of both her and the brother her paragavatus.
Uriel - How exactly is she using this information to convey her case?
Torvos - She claims you are contemplating support purely in order to gain her approval.
Uriel - So what you imply is my word is tainted by the implication that I may be doing this to appease what several believe to be inferiors?
Torvos - Precisely.
Uriel slumped in his seat with his arms folded under his collar, scowling with frustration.
Uriel - The Senate severely tests my patience at times.
Torvos - They are merely looking out for their own interests.
Uriel - And if the Coalition learns of our connections?
Torvos - By then it may be too late to respond.
Uriel - I would rather end this discussion objectively.
Torvos - For a while I have been in contact with a millenial. He was once a prestigious
Uriel - A millenial? How sure are you he will aid us?
Torvos - I am not certain, two centuries after he entered immortality care he almost dropped off the grid were it not for continuing with publishing work in scientific journals.
Uriel - So our possible hope turned inwards. I do not know if a millenial scientist would care for our plight or our reasoning behind joining under our banner.
Torvos - But you know the millenials are wiser than most. The Arda'onisi are his life's focus, hopefully he can offer insight.
Uriel - If you insist. Can you notify him?
Torvos - I will prepare a shuttle. For you, discretion is advised
Uriel stood out of his seat alightly uneasy but nodded to Tervos al lthe same, who returned to observing the senate debate below him. Uriel entered the tunnel out of the auditorium with Davius following him closely behind, the thought of this millenial began to occupy his mind more and more. He hoped that in the time spent chasing this suggestion the Orion League could continue fighting on a favourable theatre. The updates provided by French Intelligence, Laurene Maxime and the Royal Intelligence Agency had put him at ease as so far the war had yet to involve fighting the DCP directly save for a single but disheartening incident in the Quadrant Galaxies. But he hoped for now that this was the most severe the League would face until the Imperium finally came to a decision and moved to protect its trusted allies.
Uriel had chartered a vessel to take him and Vesperon - whom he felt needed to witness this journey as well as act as a companion - to the location Torvos had given him, taking them in orbit of a planet in the Outer Orion Arm. Uriel looked over to Vesperon and took a deep breath, looking over his shoulder to his chancellor who sat next to him.
Uriel - Vesperon... how much do you know of the Millenials?
The eyes of the grey-scaled Draconis chancellor suddenly opened up as he turned slowly towards his sovereign; it was obvious that he was undoubtedly taken aback by such a strange question. Slowly, without any sudden movements, Vesperon raised his hand and clasped his chin, thinking.
Vesperon - With all due respect, Your Majesty... why would one ask a question like this? Have you decided to follow in these ancient titans and, perhaps, immortalise yourself?.. if so, I would certainly advise you against such a decision, for... - the Chancellor coughed - the consequences would be dis-.
Uriel held up his hand indicating for silence, seeing the panic in Vesperon's eyes as he could easily imagine the chancellor's concerns. He was right to be worried about such an idea but it was also irrelevant to what Uriel wanted to ask. Versperon quickly shut his mouth after a brief stutter as he aknowledged his paragon's gesture to him.
Uriel - You are mistaken chancellor. I ask not because I wish to become one, I am still too young to consider contemplating such a decision. Besides, I imagine I would have to abdicate if I did decide on such a thing. - Uriel lowered his hand and looked at Vesperon with sincerity - I ask, chancellor, because the egalparagus of Drakonmi Terevus believes that one of them could help resolve the recent spate of arguments among the praetors regarding our involvement with the arda'onisi.
Vesperon - ...The simians of Arda? ...Yes, I think that consoling a Millenial for wisdom would be a... sensible decision, though I am not precisely sure how much would we benefit from it. These titans of old... they're terrible, arrogant beings. Who in the universe would wish to immortalise one's own glory and power in such a profound and preposterous way? One who does not truly deserve either, I suppose.
Uriel - I am informed this one has contributed to understanding the Arda'onisi, and even in their present stage of life still bears an interest in them. Although I admit, I am uncertain myself if they would really help and if so, how much they would offer.
Vesperon - Well, if you believe these... ancients would help resolve our tensions with the Arda'onis, then, - Vesperon produced a small lighter from his suit's pocket and lit a cigarette, smiling - Then yes, my liege, I can tell you something about them. There was one I knew of - the ancestor of an Aedan I once served - and he, he was acquainted with these... humans, yes. What was his name again? ...Bathos-Peos, yes, I believe...
Uriel - What was he like as an individual?
Vesperon - I have not seen the... man in the flesh, but from the Exonet contacts I had with him, he was... quite unpleasant. As far as I remember, the first thing he did when I approached him was to scoff at my ignoble birth.
Uriel - You have come far considering your station, chancellor. I take it he treated you as though you another house servant of his after that?
Vesperon - Essentially, yes.
Uriel - So you say they are often reclusive and arrogent. I only hope this one is different...
Vesperon - That would be unlikely.
The shuttle approached a lone station in orbit over a planet that from space appeared devoid of advanced civilisation. The station itself appeared as a single mass on the end of a long bar, with a smaller weight at the other end. The station appeared t otwirl like a baton very slowly as it drifted in the empty void. As the shuttle drew closer, the structure revealed more of itself as it glittered in the sunlight that shone upon it. Extending from the base were several spokes to which the shuttle headed towards as it made its approach. From the outside the station's appearence was unassuming, several metallic growths from a central bulb, but as they approached the size was apparent; the spokes extended like straws stuck sticking out of a blob of clay while the superstructure was easily several storeys in scale and even wider in the horizontal dimensions. Their first sighting of the interior was of the airlock shaft, spacious enough for the two to emerge from the shuttle with plenty of spare headroom. The walls of marble-white were interspersed with golden arches that led down the long tunnel and into a tall porch of some sort. Their first sight of the residence itself, were two behemoth doors gilt with gold and carved with wooden patterns easily several times their heights. When they approached the doors, a layer of silver particles dissolved from the silver gilding of the frame and drifted to gather into a solid, lifelike form in front of the two of them as they approached the double-doors, forming a Draocnis of liquid silver appearence that gave the two of them a comforting smile.
Custodian - Salutations, honoured dignitaries. The master was informed of your arrival, and he has asked me to escort you inside his home.
Uriel watched as the swarm of dust coalesced and shuddere, hastily trying to retain his composure and bury old memories and old fears in the back of his mind. Regaining composure, he put on a grateful demeanor.
Uriel - You are msot kind, dear custodian. Where is the master of the house?
Custodian - I have been asked not to tell, dear paragavatus. But I will escort you there all the same.
Uriel - As you desire. I will not pry.
The custodian nodded and with a wave of her hand one of the doors opened ajar and she led them through into a beautifully decorated hallway and though a foyer the scope of which was vaguely reminiscent of the great hall of the palace on Alcanti aside from a lack of balconies and much larger doorframes. Uriel as slightly nervous, as Torvos had neglected to mention how old the resident Millenial was, his name or his imortance to the studies of Earth. Instead, Uriel looked about, attempting to work out for himself who he was visiting, but all he could work out was the resident was both very old and held exquisite taste in architecture of Euclidean geomotries.
Uriel - Chancellor...I am beginning to have my doubts on this venture...
Custodian - Do not fear, your majesty. Egalparagus Torvos Ultanos I informed the master of your arrival beforehand. He is willing to meet you.
Uriel - That eases me by a small amount.
Vesperon - Don't be. He's probably thinking that we are entertainers sent to amuse him. Then again, that is how most of them think of us anyway.
Uriel - He has been in contact with my brother so hopefully that is not the case.
The Custodian led the two of them into a stairway down into the bowels of the structure, through less gilded halls. The estat felt strange as their footsteps were not plodding steps across hard ground, gravity was minimal in this place and their steps took bounding strides though the halls, which made traversing the gargantuan halls conveniently much easier. But Uriel still had conflicting thoughts; on the one hand, there was Torvos' account that he could help, on the other hand there was Vesperon's account that he had only summoned them for amusement, perhaps overlooking Uriel's status; there was no telling how many paragons had been and gone in this ancient's lifetime and there was little to tell if he would still accept Uriel's authority despite the man being only two centuries old compared to however millennia this being had lived.
Finally, they arrived at a door made not of wood, gold or silver, but steel. The Custodian passed though as if the door were an illusion, leaving the two to wait for it to open. After a mere few moments however, it did, opening up to reveal a laboratory of bewildering scale. Adorning the walls and screens were snapshots from throughout humanity's history, times both ancient and more modern. There msut have been thousands of images, on upper shelves were containers filled with a blue-tinted liquid, suspended within were organs, body tissue and in some cases full human bodies that drifted bereft of dignity in these jars. Uriel gulped as he looked onward, noticing a titanic figure at the far end of the room. It had its back turned, wings folded but it was definitely Draconis. Or at least that was what could be discerned form the form as it floated in mirogravity, but it drifted a staggering twelve metres in scale from its feet to its crest as it examined something on a table, using instruments that were obscured from Uriel's and Vesperon's vision by its form. As they stepped inside, the being slowly looked up from its instruments and turned itself around, spinning in the spot where it floated and using its hands to support itself and keep itself steady, each moment of contact with a wall or a shelf were joined by a resonating and audible "thump". The titan looked down at the two with a curious expression upon their face. As it did, Uriel gulped.
Ammulos - I have been waiting with interest, Son of Uriel. - the giant's booming voice could be heard resonating thoughout the room, shaking Uriel's insides with the power and magnitude that it delivered - Enlighten me, what brings you before my presence this day?
Uriel - Times change, ancient.
Ammulos - You may refer to me, paragavatus, as "Ammulos". Come, I would rather not speak to my visitors hilist looking down upon them.
Vesperon - ...Brrr...
Uriel looked for a moment at Vesperon, he understood what Ammulos was indicating and pushed downwards with his legs, drifting up int othe air. He used his wings to slow his ascent as he moved closer to eye level with Ammulos, but was still unnerved in speaking to him, only ever seing a Draconis of this difference being one that had plans to snuff him out. He looked to Vesperon with unease, silently indicating his feelings and concerns to his chanellor.
Ammulos - Speak up, paragavatus. Surely you did not come simply to gaze at me slack-jawed in awe.
Uriel - ...well-.
Vesperon - Do not be silent, my liege. Just because these beings are more ancient than us does not mean they are superior to us in any way.
Uriel looked at Vesperon and nodded while Ammulos gave Vesperon a curious, if slightly irritated look in his direction before turning his gaze back at the paragon. After a moment, Uriel regained his ablity to speak and did so towards the ancient.
Uriel - Ammulos. The Imperium faces a dire time; the actions of the Delpha Coalition of Planets have pushed them and the arda'onisi onto the brink of war. The representatives of the people of Arda ask for our aid in their strugle against a foe that only the Imperium could mtch in battle.
Ammulos - I am no politician, Son of Uriel. To what does my opinion matter to the Grand Senate?
Vesperon - There are some... ghastly rumours regarding the Paragon, Ammulos. Let's just say the Senate believes our esteemed sovereign is... biased in his decisions.
Uriel - Indeed, the Grand Senate is currently too concerned with its own sense of pride to accept the thought that our forces could be marching under the banner of a younger species.
Ammulos snorted with disdain at these words. His inquisitive expression became a scowl.
Ammulos - This is why I prefer the pursuit of science, son of Uriel. Politicians would find any excuse to prove their opinion is the correct one, I have seen it too much in the arda'onisi to pay attention to what is discussed in the Grand Senate. What I have learned from my endeavours is that the arda'onisi might be anything but inferior. No matter how many disasters they suffer or inflict upon themselves, no matter how many epidemics they suffer though, no matter how many of them die, they still thrive. But they could be a source of inspiration, paragavatus. Uriel - Inspiration?
Ammulos drifted to one of his monitors and pushed a few panels on it, browsing though menus until his face lit up at one selection of videos. He tapped the screen and showed the two dignitaries what appeared to be soldiers of various banners marching across arid ground. Next to that, he showed the two of them footage of a parade procession in what appeared to be Ancient Rome.
Ammulos - In years gone by, earlier in their history, the arda'onisi found ways of banding together several nation-states and powers under one banner and marching to war, regardless of background or political opinion. Faith, influence, power, determination. Leadership is a rare thing both in their species and ours.
Uriel - And you suggest...
Ammulos - Take the reins of your empire, paragavatus. You are its prime example, show your authority. You are entering a dark time and the best way I have seen of moving past those times is action and determination by a few individuals.
Ammulos drifted closer to the two of them, his nostrils flaring and his eyes expressing enthusiasm.
Ammulos - Show the authority you hold over the senate, dispel these rumours, make them either follow you or fall to your knees. I have seen billions in my time revere the paragavatii, give them the god they see in you.
Ammunos had moved so he was mere inches from Uriel's head, baring his teeth in a disturbing smile with his eyes glinting with enthusiasm. Uriel could not help but feel unnerved by these words.
Ammulos - if it is true what Torvos says about you, and what sapiens think of you, then give them the saviour they see in you. You and your father have risen the Imperium from the ashes, but if you want to restore it to as it was in the Era of Diamonds, some hard decisions must be made. Choices that may not get you liked but will be crucial to the Imeprium's ascension.
Uriel - I suppose the people would be willing to look over drastic measures if it improves their lives in the long run
Ammunos - Precisely.
Uriel - I am unsure
Ammunos drifted back, looking slightly disappointed.
Ammulos - Unsure?
Uriel - To take o nthe mantle of a divine being...It is too much of a lie.
Ammulos - SOme believe the lie to be truth, do they not?
Uriel - The Divinum Paragavatii?
Ammulos - Exactly.
Vesperon - ...No. To make yourself a god will be your downfall, my liege. I will not let this happen.
Ammulos - It does not have to be a physical change, I have thousands of reels of arda'onisi who managed to play the ruse without the use of technology or arcane trickery. Merely make the people believe that you are an example to aspire to, a being that they can flock to for safety and prosperity.
Uriel - My chancellor is right. I have already been hounded by a man who thinks himself divine. I do not wish to become my tormentor.
Ammulos - The choice is ultimately yours on what you do, paragavatus. But your choices will affect the Imperium regardless of what you say.
Uriel - And the Arda'Onisi themselves?
Ammulos - 'Hm. Young, brash, impulsive,but I have seen they have much promise, paragavatus. Better ot march with them than under them, tell the grand senate that, and inform the universe that the arda'onisi are under the Imperium's protection. I wish to see them grow further, paragavatus, and bloom like summer flowers.
Uriel - I...thank you for your time, Ammulos.
Ammulos - You are an intriguing one, paragavatus. Should you ever decide to abdicate and join us, you would be welcome to reside in my abode.
Uriel nodded, expressing gratitude and pushed himself towards the door, returning to the corridor with Vesperon behind him. He took a glance back at the door as it closed with a heavy feeling in his heart. He kept looking behind himself, thinking back on what Ammunos said and the way he conveyed his suggestions. uriel could not help but be intimidated by the ancient's intentions or is demeanour. Uriel did not speak until he and Vesperon returned to the shuttle and back on baord the vessel that had brought them here. His feelings of uncertainty and concern were now lifted by returning to an environment he was more familiar with. Sitting in a lounge within the vessel, Uriel spoke his mind as he rested on his stomach across a plush velvet lounger.
Uriel - Vesperon...I feel gladdened to have brought you along.
Vesperon - Dark times are upon us, my liege. The Imperium's resolve and power have been threatened like never before. But, as always, our sacred dominion shall persevere - with Drakon's blessing, your authority... and my advice, of course. And... your Majesty. May I tell your something?
Uriel - Speak your mind, Vesperon.
Vesperon - About these... rumours. Regarding that Arda'onis, I mean. With all due respect, I do not understand how any sane subject of our dominion would... believe... them. A being such as you? Descended so low?
Uriel - Perhaps that was the praetor's intention; to make me appear as if I had lost my mind based on what she had witnessed and heard about. Torvos tells me that she has been out for my hide for a while. Why she would make such an extreme and peculiar-to-believe claim however is still beyond me. And I sincerely hope that time and sanity buries such a preposterous accusation.
Vesperon - These nobles are plotters and schemers all. As much as it pains me to admit, the Millenial was right. You must exercise your authority, like a monarch should. In the times of need, there is no brighter light than you.
Uriel - I will think this all over as we return to Dranvamus. I have to admit though, I do see the value in playing up the opinion of the Divinum Paragavatus cultists. If only to boost their support of me.
Vesperon - As long as you do not join in their zeal. Whatever the Imperium requires to prosper. Dominicus vintervaa!
Uriel gave Vesperon a nod and left the communal area they were in, seeking rest after today and finding somewhere to mull over his thoughts, leaving Vesperon on his own - alone to brood on the future of the Imperium.
Vesperon - ...So afraid to act, isn't he... Sometimes I wish that someone more decisive would reign in his stead.
To Those Who RevereEdit
Erikos Oleon was one of the Imperium's humans, born on Neo Olympia he always had a fascination with the Draconis, by day he was a biology professor but during evenings he would meet as a mediary for those who were drawn to the majesty of the Draconis, ALcanti itself being a distant world to him many thousands of light-years away. Tonight, Erikos was in his home in the Olympian suburbs, reclining in a sofa as he watched the evening news. This night he was joined by Grelek, a Kroogvon who he had recently spoken to about the Draconis. The holoscreen served as a background while the two talked, Grelek being fascinated with the megastructures of the core worlds.
They had already been talking for the last pair of hours; Grelek's fascination was drawn closer to one entity in particular - the paragons of the Imperium. Erikos enlightened him to the idea that without them there would be no Imperium, he and all his ancestors would still be on distant Earth facing all manner of hardships. While the two conversed into the evening, there was a knock upon the door. It was a knock that though gentle, resonated with power and splendour that when it caught Erikos’ attention he quickly thought that it was no normal evening knock. He looked and nooded to Grelek as he stood up from the sofa.
Erikos - Exscuse me Grelek.
Grelek - Fine by me. Who is it?
Through the vibrations of the door, he could feel that a significant presence had come to visit him. Something large, powerful, Erikos wondered himself as he approached.
Erikos - Well....
He pressed his hand on a panel on the door and it opened automatically, exposing his porch and his form to the exterior. Opening the door, Erikos saw the closest thing to a Draconis god at his step, and behind him, a towering angel of death even when compared to the regal entity who stood on his doorstep. Erikos gawped, his jaw fell downwards, unable to move as his unexpected visitor nodded to him in a respectful manner. Erikos, overcome with sudden shock, took several steps backwards. Grelek turned around in the sofa and lifted one of his eyebrows as he faintly heard Erikos trying desperately to speak.
Grelek - You okay?
Erikos - It's-- it's--- it's--
Uriel - Take deep breaths, I apologise for my sudden appearance.
Erikos was silent, he could barely speak. Not only had such a radiant being in his eyes visited his home out of nowhere, but he was speaking to him, and in such a polite manner. He attempted to calm down, but his eyes then fixated on the colossus standing behind. As Erikos fell backwards he felt something firm around his arm, his vision adjusting he saw that Uriel was holding him up as his other arm sagged limp behind him.
The Sons of Hedon had previously struck fear and terror into the hearts of all thinking and conscience-bearing beings of the Gigaquadrant, most especially in the Draconid Imperium, but with the conclusion of the Great Tyranny War, and the rechristening of the Tyranny's Sons of Hedon as the Draconid Imperium's Caltraxa Guard, Hedon knew that this reputation was best used not to inspire fear of himself, but a reliance on him and theGuard as guardian angels, and an awe for Uriel. In his resplendent new Caltraxa Guard armor, an armor in which its incredibly intricate designs did not reflect their service to the Tyranny but instead their reborn nature as the guardians of the Imperium, an armor in which the flames which decorated it represented rebirth instead of destruction, Hedon did his best to comfort Erikos.
Hedon - There is nothing to fear. I and the Sons are now here to protect the Imperium, not to destroy it. We are your protectors, not your predators.
Erikos - My paragavatus...
Uriel looked down to Erikos, allowing the Imperial-borne Greek to stare directly into his entrancing emerald eyes that glistened in the light of his porch like verdant marbles catching the sun above. His voice radiated power, authority, but also reassurance. And every word Erikos felt a little more at ease; he trusted his lord, who had travelled all this way to see him on this most confusing of days. Hearing these booming voices resonate though the house, Grelek had vacated himself from the sofa and was peering through an open threshold between the main hallway and the living room where the two had spoken, keeping himself partially hidden but forever in awe.
Uriel - Lord Hedon speaks truth dear Erikos. From the ashes of the Great Tyranny War I have guided their restructuring. They no longer seek out Imperium's end, but its continued existence.
Eriokos - You...You know my name?
Uriel chuckled as he helped Erikos back to his feet.
Uriel - I understand that you are part of quite a following of me. Which is why I have come. I wish to invite you, and other follwoers to a gathering at the Triumvirate Square in Minos'Drakon.
Erikos - Mi...nos...Are you serious my lord?
Uriel - Have you known me in my reign to be a comedian?
Erikos - N...no...my lord.
Uriel - Inform the transit authority you and whoever you wish to bring travel with my permission.
Uriel ended his sentence by handing Erikos a yellow circular card. He was speechless as he held it in his hand. Still having trouble keeping his mouth closed.
Uriel - I have arranged transit and accommodation for you and whoever you bring, this card is proof.
Erikos - Th...Thank you my paragavatus! I will! Yess, I wil lbring who I can...but for what?
Uriel had started to turn around, he took a glance back at Erikos and with a subtle smile he spoke back to Erikos. Hedon stepped up and knelt down, in Uriel’s former place trying to get as close to face level as he could to Erikos. In this position, he spoke softly as he could.
Hedon - The Imperium is entering a new age, the Paragon intends for you and as many others as possible to witness its birth.
Erikos had no words, his head suddenly filled with thoughts on what Hedon meant and what was to come. He was exited, in awe, but also absolutely terrified.
Uriel - You hold a special position in this region’s society, Erikos of Neo Olympia. I wish for you to be there when the clouds break and the light of paradise shines favourably upon us.
Erikos - I...I will come my paragavatus. I will do what I can to come!
Uriel - I am pleased.
Uriel turned around to leave, having Erikos witnessed as his resplendent form paced across his front garden and back into the street, he beckoned Hedon to follow him. The massive Draconis, who only years before would have taken this opportunity to break Uriel's body and deliver him to the Tyrant, instead turned and followed the Paragon, once a nightmare to all with sanity and morals, now followed the paragavatus as loyally as he ever was to Medusa Heimdall. As they left, Erikos' legs coudl no longer handle the shock and he collapsed in his front hall, the thump causing Grelek to run over and help him up. Erikos told him what happened but Grelek had seen it all after hearing Hedon's voice thunder inside the house and had caused a few objects to shake. He had run to the door imagining an earthquake but had witnessed a being beyond his imagining instead.
Glory and DesireEdit
Several days had passed but this was time Uriel did not enjoy. He wanted everything to be orchestrated correctly for the coming months but deep in his mind he knew that the more he waited for the right moment, the longer the Orion League spent holding the line against the Coalition onslaught within the Plazith Rim. Uriel and Hedon had gathered the Sons – now the Caltraxa Guard - within Triumvirate square where he had city workers set up a stage and a podium for him at the foot of the statue dedicated to him. His heart sank, in the back of his mind he wondered if this was right and if this was something that was worth doing. He then remembered something he was told when he was younger:
It is often the case that the best decision is the hardest one to make.
Standing arrayed in perfect parade formation, the same kind they once used to show fealty to the now dead Tyranny, the Sons of Hedon, now the Caltraxa Guard formed up, flanking Uriel in a semicircle composed of the fearsome Draconis supersoldiers. Around the ceremony area bystanders watched what was going on with curiosity and intimiation. In fairness, it had been less than a decade since reports were spreading of these titans murdering and slaughtering all in their wake. They knelt down to Uriel and recited the creed of the Caltraxa Guard at the top of their lungs, and in perfect unison:
Paragron Uriel Teach Us,
Paragon Uriel Direct Us.
In your glory we follow,
where you command we go,
what you command, we will do.
We are instruments of your will.
Through your judgement, we live.
Through your wisdom, we have changed.
Through your devotion, we are reborn.
Our lives are yours.
Through your eternal flame we are risen from the ashes.
Through your light we have risen as Caltraxii.
At the conclusion of the final verse, the sons went down on both knees instead of just one and kowtowed to the Paragon.
It was then that they began to arrive. Dressed in their best clothes were hundreds, perhaps thousands of aliens who were arriving in the square, led by several familiar figures. Who looked in awe at the three colossal statues to the Andromedan Highlords that made up the square. As they approached, Uriel received word on a headset and nodded to Hedon - silently wishing for the Sons to let the arrivials pass though. The Sons rose again and formed up, allowing passage way for the incoming throng. They stayed perfectly still once in that formation, almost like the statues the dominated the square. The crowd passed though, unnerved by the giants that stood over them as though they walked though a parted ocean, the heads of the giants being like the crests of the colossal waves that stayed to let them through. They were not as regimented as the Sons, approaching in a huge mass of beings all talking and sharing thoughts and opinions. When they emerged out of the sea of giants, and in full view of their paragon, Uriel cleared his throat and opened his wings.
Through my leadership and the wisdom of the Grand Senate, we have prospered and grown. But now, they stand undecided, the calls for aid and guidance fall on ears who do not know what to do. They need a voice, a guidance themselves that I, your paragavatus and guide shall provide. I ask for your dedication, your willingness, and your desire for a better reality to guide us through and to show me that the Imperium's will is shared by both its great mind and its pulsing veins. You are the blood that keeps our Imperium alive, you are our soul, and now I ask you speak out, and demonstrate your conviction. To me, to our Imperium, and to Pax Draconica! Drakon's Eye calls for our hand. A shadow threatens it, will you all rise to send it back!”
The cultists, feeling inspired, began to scream "yes", feeling a rush as Uriel encouraged their confidence and support in him, his actions and the Imperium.
Uriel - Once again. Will you rise against the veil!? Show your conviction to the streets! Scream so the senate can hear! Let the city hear your souls!
Cheers grew stronger as more people gained confidence every time he asked and encouraged them. Uriel’s bombastic words garnered more and more confidence as he encouraged further cheers. The Caltraxa Guard, formerly completely static for all of this began to join in and chant in unison. With loud cheers, and in perfect synchronicity, they chanted Uriel's name.
Uriel - Your kin beyond the city limits watch us. Let them know what you desire!
This triggered a final thunderous cheer from the crowd, almost deafening as various aliens screamed and shouted at the top of their lungs, joined by the awesome power of the enhanced lungs possessed by the Caltraxa Guard.
Uriel - The senate shall hear. And I shall tell them. The Imperium. Seeks. RETRIBUTION!
Uriel took a step back as the crowd roared with a fever pitch, allowing Hedon - who stood at his side - to take the stage. His arrival onto the stage signalled confused feelings amongst some of the cultists, who still had a gut reaction to a man who was once one of the masterminds of the campaign against the Imperium less than a decade ago.
Hedon - I will not deny that there will be sacrifice, nor will I deny that there will be death on the parts of the Imperium. However, the greatest achievements and legacies are built by those who are willing to pay the highest prices. Death is fleeting for the brave and willing, but shame is infinite for those who are not. All life is temporary, but every man's legacy is immortal. It is by your actions that you will decided how eternity judges you and the Imperium in this finest hour. The encroaching storm is a challenge for each and every one of you. It is a test that will judge you on your resolve to win no matter what the cost. Hedon - Your deeds and actions from this day forward will echo in eternity, and will define you more than your life before this moment.
Hedon took a moment to look upon the crowd. There was a slight glimmer that his words, although still taken dubiously by some, were slowly sinking in. Slowly and gradually, perhaps a message was getting through to these observers that Hedon and his sons were no longer interested in decadent torture or gruesome murder, but were interested in protecting the society that showed tem mercy when they were at their most vulnerable despite all the atrocities they had committed.
Hedon - It is with our actions this war, that me and the rest of the Caltraxa Guard look to redeem ourselves for the errors of our ways. We know that if the Paragon had not given us another chance, that our legacy would be a black mark in all eternity. If he had not shown us mercy, we would be remembered just as butchers and savages. However, it is my intention, and the intention of each one of the warriors of the Caltraxa Guard, to show that we are your protectors and will do anything in our power to prolong the Imperium. So hopefully, by the end of this, you will remember us as those who did their best to preserve the Imperium, not as those who sought its ruin.
At the conclusion of the speech, in a synchronized fashion, the Sons knelt to the spectators, displaying the submission they offered and spreading confusion and curiosity from both the cultists that gathered and the audiences that watched. Uriel once more stepped back up onto the platform and Hedon knelt down in front of him with his head low. Uriel took a step up and reached out, brushing his fingers down Hedon’s crest.
Uriel - I place my faith in the conviction of your kin, Hedon Morillium. For you have my blessing as paragavatus upon your desires.
Hedon - Thank you, my paragavatus.
There was silence for a moment, a few mutterings, then Erikos stood up, he began to clap, his friends joining him after a brief moment of hesitation. Seeing him clapping more joined in, and more, eventually the plaza began to roar with the sound of applause as Hedon stood up, feeling a slight sense of pleasure and he experienced a new stimulus that gripped his synapses; an emotional high from the feeling that rather than fighting for him out of fear, his charges would fight for him out of compassion and trust. No longer did he have to divulge himself into becoming a monster for he could feel it; with their trust in their paragon, Hedon could imagine that these beings would support him as a comrade and a guardian, and would perhaps die for him not because they were afraid of what he’d do if they didn’t, but because they wanted to see him and his kin succeed in their pledge.
The Rallying CallEdit
Argument within the primary auditorium of the Homeland Council continued, nobles bitter and some questioning the logic of others as the Orion War raged on thin the Milky Way. Interruption came when the great doors to the auditorium were thrown open, revealing the corridor outside. Marching in with grace, and surrounded by a unit of twenty Fordan Praetorian warriors was Uriel, who walked towards the central podium much to the interest of the praetors who had gathered in this room today.
There was a clunk as the platform rose up from the floor, suspended in the air by unseen forces with Uriel standing in the middle, dressed in his finest armour that had been polished to the point of reflection, glistening with a white light that shimmered from the lights in the room, every feature of the room itself was mirrored on the armour and tinted amber within the armour's golden trim. Everyone looked at the platform with surprise and curiosity, triggering some murmourings amongst the praetors.
Uriel paused in order to let his words sink into the midns of the praetors who listened. The Praetorians stood like statues, listening, but not moving an inch. Several praetors began to mutter to themselves for several minutes before Uriel started speaking once again.
“The Delpha Coalition of Planets may be immense, and it may be formidable. But it is not unbeatable. For while it is confident, compared to us even they are still hatchlings; I have met beings, in our own Imperium no less, that were ancient when it was young. The Caltraxa Guard have fought them on every conceivable battlefield and have sworn by their lives to march in our name. What message do we give by ignoring the pleas of the natives of Drakonmi Terevus? What message do we give by standing back as they face decimation and enslavement at the hands of the coalition's Emperor when they trusted us for protection? If we do not answer, then we forefeit the words of our ancestors. All that we have nurtured shall be brought to ruin.”
Uriel paused for a moment, causing a stir amongst the nobles as they talked to each other, a little uneasy but some appeared more optimistic than others. Half an hour passed, a time felt more noticeably among humans than the ancient Draconis for whom months and years would pass more quickly. Nut even they have their patience, before Uriel started to lose confidence one of the praetors stood up. The old being clared his thoat with a hacking cough before moistening his lips and speaking up:
Praetor Aranus Varkenus - House Varkenus, and the Tholfame-22 sector agree to your word, my paragavatus.
Torvos also stood up. Next to him another praetor.
Torvos - The territorial sectors in Drakon's Eye stand with you, paragavatus, in a bid to resove this incident.
Praetor Leoron Alanis - As do the core worlds. The Arda'onisii show too much promise to fall.
Praetor Aressa Larus - As does House Larus, the Coalition see themselves as the galaxy's protectors and masters but they are infants on the grand stage of reality.
Praetor Orelon Tarcomesus - I am in agreement with the Praetor of House Larus. I wish to declare that the Coalition has in its desire for surpemacy awakened a power greater and more ancient than those insectoids can understand within their coalition's ephiphemic existance. And that our Imperium shall bring its hammer down upon those who defy us, our principles, and threaten those we have pledged to shield.
Other praetors joined in, citing their desire for support and expresisng thir conviction. There was a surge in volume as everyone made their voice heard.
Uriel - Very well. Dominicus Vinterva! Arda'onisii Vinterva!
"Dominicus Vinterva" was chnated over and over by the praetors. Reaching a fever pitch that sent a rush of enthusiasm down Uriel's spine and though his tail, causing his wings and tail to twitch. He opened his wings slightly and clenched his fists, holding them level with his lungs.
The room was suddenly filled with hundreds of Draconis roaring atop their lungs, reverberating the very walls and echoing to all who heard it. A rallying roar that solidified the morale of all who heard it, for it was a call to war.