(BF19) Ragnablok Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

BrikWars fiction in long-prose form. Trigger warning: Walls of text

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(BF19) Ragnablok Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

Post by Bookwyrm » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:40 pm

{Note: The full piece was going to end up being too long, despite my attempts to trim down, so keep an eye here, I will add pictures and more POVs once judging is over, some of which will tie into the rest of my Konvergence report.}

Recommended Listening


~2~

The hustle and bustle of the Deadly Space Master Builder outpost ground abruptly to a halt as a small contingent of troops wearily made their way back into the base, clutching their wounds and half dragging their weapons behind them. At the head of the company, a warrior in white and lime green power armor hauled a worn wooden chest behind him with one arm, his other supporting a yellow-clad DSM engineer who was missing one of his legs.

“Medik!” The Master Builder Primus’ voice, a synthesized croak emanating from the reflective bluish surface of his helmet, stirred the rest of the base to action, as several DSM mediks in bright pink space suits rushed over to the battered group and began to radiate the most heavily wounded soldiers with their long medikal wands, closing lacerations and regenerating damaged flesh where the soothing azure energy touched. The Motivator-Class commander leading the medikal brigade paced quickly over to the DSMB Primus and helped him lower the engineer to the ground, and began waving her healing scanner over the hapless spaceman’s stump, gradually reconstructing the damage, and turned to her leader.

“What happened? We’d been monitoring the Konvergence, but we lost signal six hours ago. Was your mission successful, my Primus?” The Master Builder tapped a few buttons on a console located on his wrist, and the power armor surrounding him opened and allowed him to shrug out of the bulky equipment. He stretched his arms and went over to the wooden chest, dragging it closer to the motivator, and opened the lid.

“Our mission was not entirely a success, but I have learned many things, and our primary objective, the retrieval of these artifakts, was achieved. I was not able to reunite them with their true master, however. The destructive power of the Nexus proved to be too much for my men to handle, and we were not able to reach the Chosen One before he disappeared into the Singularitatem Nehellenium.” The motivator’s face fell.

“Then the prophecy… was it false? Did we place our faith in the Chosen One for nothing?”

“No.” The Master Builder Primus withdrew an archaic looking blade and a worn blaster with an OT crystal tip, similar to the weapons wielded by the MBA’s DSM Guardian Corps, but much older and humming almost imperceptibly with latent power. “The Blue Guy is the One we have been awaiting. He has brought balance to the old world, and in time, he will achieve his destiny in the new one.”

“But how? The Old Paradigm was utterly annihilated! He is trapped in its remains, and the Singularitatem was recovered by the Grand Galactic Empire according to what we were able to observe following the Nexus’ collapse…”

“That is what we must now turn our attention towards. Though we were unable to approach, I was able to observe, and I now have more knowledge regarding the nature of the black hole that has devoured the old universe. And I believe that there is more than one way to reach the world inside of the Nexus…”


~5~

Vasith Vindelvuur grasped the folds of his robe to lift them through the threshold of the dimensional gate, and wrinkled his face up in a grimace to adjust his spectacles as he passed through the thinned dimensional membrane, the surface a reflection of the area behind it, now distorted by ripples. The light in the space on the other side of the portal was a fair deal less bright than the gleaming star forge Hammerheart base he had left behind moments before, and his eyes adjusted to the new light level as he gathered in his surroundings. The others had already begun to arrive to the area, a demiplane prepared by himself and the Quantumsurfer ahead of time, and were taking their places around a peculiar cross-shaped table. The old mage looked around as other gates formed from spiraling multicolored flame, and more representatives filed in. Vasith returned a nod from Hektor Sootbeard, who had just entered the room, and paced over to the grizzled old dwarf, claiming a spot at the table next to him. The mild chatter died down as all attention turned to another figure in a maroon coat emerging from a portal, who adjusted his scarf over his shoulder and rapped twice on the wooden floor with a brass stave to quiet the assembled figures.

“Excellent, if everyone is here, then this meeting can be called to order.” Vasith piped up in response.

“Not quite everyone, it appears the delegation from Frostborne has yet to arrive.” The maroon-clad figure grimaced.

“Yes, there have been some… unfortunate complications with learning the whereabouts of my fellow Quantum Surfer following the Konvergence, but at this juncture it cannot be helped. If you would reach out to the current head of Frostborne upon your return to Medivo, we can discuss the election of an interim delegate until I am able to divine our friend Ken’s current position. Now then, you all should at least be passingly familiar with me at this point, but in case you were invited by another of our delegates to this gathering, let me formally introduce myself as Bookwyrm of Axeleron.”

“Everybody ‘ere knows ye at this point lad,” barked Sootbeard with a roll of his eyes as he nonchalauntly took out an ornate pipe from a pocket and began to load it with tobacco. “Ye haven’t stopped makin’ a nuisance of yerself for the past two months about this Watchtower business, jus’ get on with it already!” Bookwyrm eyed the gruff miner for a brief moment and continued.

“Thank you all for assembling on such short notice, and I do hope to keep this brief, for your sake especially Delegate Sootbeard, but I assure you this is an important next step in the establishment of a formal Watchtower Alliance. Now then, let us begin. Master Vindelvuur, would you be so kind as to start us off with an Overwatch of the situation at hand?”
Vasith dipped his head in acknowledgment.

“Thank you Master Bookwyrm. As our friend has mentioned, I am delegate Vindelvuur of the Hammerheart.” He withdrew a crystal wand from within his robes and waved it in a quick pattern, and the cross-shaped table in their midst opened up at the center to release a large floating spherical mirror. Gesturing again at the reflective orb with his wand, he willed the surface of the mirror to change, displaying brief moving images. “There are currently a great number of threats to the various Castle-Class Worlds scattered throughout the newly retkonstrukted Brikverse. Foremost of these is the continuing push for colonization by the various warbands of the Brootalz, as they are the largest and so far, most aggressive of the threats carried over from the old world, especially due to their habit of press-ganging entire ork populations to further swell their ranks.” At that, an elderly elf woman in dark clothing and wearing round-rimmed spectacles stepped forward.

“Delegate Lysthys of the Misty Isles. I must interject, that it can hardly be called press-ganging when the bleeding urks are practically throwing themselves at the new Warbawss in hopes of being allowed to join their ranks, and the technology these ‘Brootalz’ acquired from the urk population of Novium is only exacerbating the problem. They are like a weed, they grow and spread to any area of unoccupied space rapidly, and choke out any life that happens to share a space. We need to act against them as quickly as possible.” Vindelvuur nodded in agreement with the elf woman’s words

“You are correct that the Brootal expansion is our most pressing worry, however, I caution those present not to jump to aggression so hastily. There are other threats that are also aware of the expansion, and they will use it as an opportunity to pounce on our undefended flank should we become too deeply engaged with the obvious foe. The Black Horde of the Damned, while not present in every sector, has been observed building their forces on the outskirts of some of your systems, which should be watched closely lest they spiral out of control while we are all otherwise occupied. Also noteworthy is news that the Swarm has resurfaced in Perwar, and has begun sending seed meteors through rifts to reach new areas of the multiverse. They can very quickly go from a pest to a menace, so I recommend your scholars keep an eye on the sky in the coming months.” The white-haired leader of the Traveler’s Society stepped forward this time, looking to Vindelvuur for permission to add to the discussion. Vasith gave him an affirmative wave of the hand.

“Delegate Cantwell of the Traveler’s Society. I hate to add more to your plates, but I’d feel remiss not to add that the Esoterica Metavoth is also beginning to establish a foothold in the greater universe now that Axeleron is no longer isolated from the rest of the Brikverse. We know that they have already entered into an alliance with the much larger Universal Kult of Brikthulu, as well as the ‘mind flayer’ slavers of the neighboring Anno Galaxy, and likely will continue to find more allies as they learn how to better navigate the new paradigm. They are extremely dangerous, especially now that the fabric of reality has already taken a hell of a beating since the beginning of Ragnablok.” Bookwyrm nodded at this, and Vasith dispelled the images from the mirror ball before allowing it to drop back into its place inside the folding table.

“Indeed. I would advise extreme caution going forward for all of you and your people. The simple fact is that the old rules no longer apply in this new world, and things will likely start to get exceedingly… odd in the coming months.”

“‘Odd,’ he says,” added a knight in black and red armor with a rueful smirk and a twirl of his mustache. “Odd exactly how? Surely you can give us more than just that?”

“I wish I could, Delegate Farstride. Rest assured, as soon as I myself am fully aware of exactly what kind of oddities you might experience in this new broken universe, the Dragon Guard and the rest of the Watchtower Alliance will be the first to learn of them. All I know for certain is that the Pre-Konvergence universe swung much too far into the imposition of Order, which was the fatal flaw that allowed the forces of Ruin to infect and poison the old Nehellenium Galaxy, leading to the destruction of Ragnablok. Now, Ruin has been pushed back, but every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Now, it is extremely likely that the pendulum will swing the other way, into Khaos, and this does not necessarily mean it will always be for the better. You will all need to exercise prudence and stay vigilant for the sake of your people.”

“Now hold on jus’ a minute there boi!” said Sootbeard through a mouthful of smoke. “Yer talking about all this rot as if ye don’t plan to be present for tha inevitable shitstorm that breaks oot ‘ere any day now!” More eyes turned to Bookwyrm curiously, awaiting his response to the query. After a moment of thought, he spoke.

“I will be present, yes... when I am truly needed. However, for the moment, I’m sorry to say that it is imperative that I lie low for the time being and remain content with setting some things in motion behind the scenes, especially back on Axeleron and in the surrounding space. Much is happening backstage, and if this ‘play’ is to unfold as it is meant to, it is my responsibility as Custodian of Axeleron to make sure that the events backstage occur in their appointed time.” Vasith nodded in understanding.

“This is all well and good, and we will all do our best going forward to further the interests of our little alliance, but how ought we to proceed should you be ‘truly needed,’ as you say?” Bookwyrm gave a wry smile and slid a sealed envelope across the table to the mage in azure, and winked. “If the universe is about to shatter into a trillion pieces again, just send me a letter, and I’ll find you.”


~6~

Lights flickered on and off along the control panel as Doctor Solis’ fingers danced across its surface, flipping switches and turning dials in precise movements while other parts of the archaic machine gradually creaked to life. Several agents clad all in starched black suits stood at the ready behind her, awaiting the doctor’s orders.

“A-Gate model Epsilon-G5 systems online… Preparing to open hyperspace portal.” The doctor’s crisp voice spoke into a transmitter pinned to the lapel of her lab coat. “Permission to proceed?” Waiting for a response from the Seekers of Truth Mission Control, she turned to two of the men in black standing behind her and the console, and waved them towards the front of the room, where a large ring of machinery loomed over the small crowd of researchers and agents that filled the sealed lab. Adjusting her glasses with the end of her pen, Dr. Solis tapped a few more buttons on the panel before her, then stood and addressed her personnel over the A-Gate display. “Readings are indicating a 96.91% chance that the hyperspace tunnel created leads us to a planet in our destination sector, Planet A-X31. According to cursory scans this appears to be an inhabited world, low-tek level but high concentrations of dimensional flux present, which is ideal for our experimentation. However, it also means that whether the portal puts us out at our destination or the unlikely happens and we end up somewhere else, I will need all agents on high alert in case there are any hostiles on the other end.” The agents in black all nodded in unison, all identical in their movements. The sight still unnerved Dr. Solis no matter how many times she witnessed it. A voice suddenly buzzed in her right ear, snapping her out of the feelings of uncanniness.

“This is Mission Control, you are clear for activation. Good luck, doctor.” Tucking her pen behind her head into her tightly wound bun, Dr. Solis hit a few keys, then flipped up the safety cover and turned the key beneath. The spinning generator wheel on the other side of her panel flared to life with energy, and the agents stepped out of the path of the A-Gate, training their weapons on the opening of the ring. For a moment, everything seemed to be going according to plan. Then the dimensional gate opened, and things started to go wrong.

Text flashed across the display, angry red block letters blinking on and off in warning; “CAUTION: DESTINATION MIS-MATCH!” Solis’ eyes went wide as she took in the information on the screen, and had just enough time to throw her body across the terminal and grab onto it with both arms before the portal fully sprung open, and a violent implosion from the center of the gate circle ripped the air immediately around it out of the lab and through the dimensional hole. One agent wasn’t so lucky, and was pulled through in the blink of an eye, spinning off into the empty vacuum of space before the man could so much as flinch. The yawning mouth of the portal continued to suck the atmosphere from the room, consuming loose debris and whipping up a cyclone of papers and wires that fluttered about in the chaos. Dr. Solis held on for dear life, and was just starting to feel her grip weaken slightly when the gateway, just as suddenly as things had gone wrong, began to stabilize and glow faintly with light from the destination on the other side, and she slid off the panel to the floor with a deep sigh. One of the agents got to his feet and rushed over to help the doctor up, and she took his hand gratefully, then turned her attention to the display. “DESTINATION STABILIZED.”

Something had interfered with the opening of the gate and redirected the destination portal. Her mind raced as she realized the implications of this fact, and looked towards the now equalized gateway before her. A figure was hovering a few inches off the ground inside the ring, the luminous surface of the dimensional membrane obscuring it from clear visibility. Her agents already had their sidearms drawn and pointed at the interloper, but Dr. Solis motioned at them to stand down as she looked on in wonderment. The man in black that had helped her stand turned to her with unnerving precision and cocked his head at her quizzically.

“Doctor…” he asked in an even monotone, “Do you happen to have any idea what that thing might be? Dr. Solis continued to stare at the levitating figure, which was turning itself towards them, and slowly slid her glasses onto her forehead as she looked on in amazement.

“That, agent… is the future...”

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Re: (BF19) Ragnablok Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

Post by Kommander Ken » Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:27 am

This is just reminding me that I need to work on more Ken-soap things a little faster.

Good read! Definitely like Sootbeard the best.

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Re: (BF19) Ragnablok Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

Post by ninja_bait » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:58 pm

Concept: 10 - It gives me ideas, and that is good

Form: 7 - As a standalone entry I would expect the three stories to be more thematically linked.

Style: 8 - Solid

Voice: 8 - Same

Presentation: 8 - it's fine, good recommended listening
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Re: (BF19) Ragnablok Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

Post by MadMario » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:16 pm

Concept and Theme - 10 - good link to past and future storylines
Form - 7 - It reads like several post credit scenes that make you long for the upcoming movies
Voice - 9 - good character interaction, clear structure
Style - 18 - very original and compelling
Presentation - 8 - good and solid
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Re: (BF19) Ragnablok Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

Post by TheCraigfulOne » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:54 pm

Concept and Theme: 9 - A great expansion of BrikVerse lore and a nice addition to the Bookwyrm Saga.
Form: 7 - A little disjointed, I imagine the full version does much better with this.
Voice: 7 - It's part of a much larger saga, so there's not much in the way of backstory for the characters. Not really a flaw per se, just an observation.
Style: 17 - Not the most action-filled piece, but I think it works very well despite that not being the norm for BrikWars. Can't wait to see the longer version.

Presentation: 9 - Extra points for the music.

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