Apotheosis [Canon]

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Apotheosis [Canon]

Post by Xillaen'kudure on Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:46 pm

Apotheosis

As Xillaen’kudure, one of only two primordial examples of his race, sat looking down at Kunkkanuk, the other, he couldn’t help but feel frustrated. She was very different from what he remembered. So different, in fact, that he could no longer predict her actions. Hence his frustration. He knew that these changes were myriad, and not just confined to her personality and psyche. Her staj, for instance. It was like nothing he had ever seen before. Clearly not of Qallic make or design, for they did not have the arcana for such things, or the resources. His species was most definitely not a magical one. It seemed. . . unfair that she had been taken for training while he had been jettisoned onto a death world like trash. Yet they desired the use of his connection to Kunkka. Frustrating indeed.

It was at this point, however, that he noticed something was off. Kunkka, who had been going about the maintenance of her new toy, seemed frozen in place, limbs rigid, digits locked in an action that could not be completed. He frowned, turning to look around. The grass was frozen in a breeze he could not feel, due to the fact that the air was dead calm. His heart rate double in an instant and he began looking for threats. That was when the stranger spoke.

“Good afternoon, Xillaen’kudure. Do not be alarmed. This is a frozen moment, so that you and I might speak.” The unseen creature was nowhere to be seen, though his voice was smooth, almost charming, if not for the constant undertone of malice.

“Then show yourself. I do not speak with wraiths or delusions.”

”Very well. I am here.” The creature materialized before Xillae, and he was tall. As tall as Arcerion, if not taller. He had long black hair that hung past his shoulders, and he wore an antique-looking suit with velvet lining and ruffles at the sleeves. He was pale, but that wasn’t what stuck out most about him. On each hand he had five fingers and a thumb. Also, his eyes were crimson and slitted like a cat’s. Not like Arcerion, then. ”My name is Helivant. And to put you at your ease, the man you just met, Arcerion, is my cousin, by marriage. So, the friend of a friend, you might say.”

”If that is so, why did you not show yourself and speak to him? Surely he would have been happy to see you.”

”Don’t be insulting, dear boy. The only time that thing that married Kanatal is happy is when he’s slitting someone open or eating them. Besides, I wished to speak with you, and you alone. You might be asking yourself ‘why me?’, hm? Well, that’s simple. It’s because you’re a fighter. A killer. A true predator. Much as I am. I have a proposition for you. One that will see you the equal of your friend there and any others liker her. I know you feel undervalued. A cast-away. The kind of creature who is only valued when others have need of him. I can make you better. A force to be reckoned with. Someone whom the mighty might fear.” Helivant was smirking slightly now, and he moved around to look down at the frozen form of Kunkka. ”This one, for instance. You both love and hate her. You would make her your mate if you could, but she does not respect you. She does not fear you. And that is because she underestimates you.” The Bale turned his crimson gaze back upon Xillae, ”Someone has been tampering with her, you know. For all your skill, it would be nearly impossible for you to subdue her. She is stronger than you know. What with all her physiological improvements.”

Xillae soaked in the creature’s speech and considered. His eyes rested upon Kunkka where she sat frozen, and continued to think on it. The first thing that troubled him was that this creature, who claimed to know Arcerion, knew his innermost thoughts. Could see into his demented mind and know how he felt about Kunkka. He had learned to hide his feelings well on the outside. Some form of telepathy, or even empathy? Perhaps both? It wasn’t worth the trouble of trying to figure it out. One way or another, this mysterious being knew these things. The second thing to trouble him was the fact that he was right. About everything he had said. Or at least, that was what Xillae feared. He looked at the creature, who was only a few inches taller than him, and studied his features. Finally he looked away.

Helivant had taken great care to study his prey. To divine his secrets that he might better know the mind of his subject. He was a master manipulator, and a talented orator. The longer he talked, the more people listened. So he continued speaking, ”I won’t lie to you, Xillae. Making you the equal of such a creature will involve a great deal of pain. And there is quite a bit of risk involved. Personality erasure, brain death and many others to boot. However, should you survive, and I have every confidence that you will, you will be a far more formidable foe that she could even begin to realize.”

Xillae held up his hand when Helivant finished, “As the humans say, ‘when you’ve made the sale, stop selling’. I would have done it just to be a more effective predator. Everything else is a bonus. What must I do?”

Helivant’s grin was cat-like in its pleasure, ”Follow me, dear boy. Follow me.” A portal spread open before them, rectangular and large enough for both to step through without having to duck or move through single-file. Xillae looked at it in apprehension for a moment before stepping through, Helivant following.

When they emerged on the other side it was into a dimly-lit room that seemed not to have an exit. Xillae’s glowing eyes adjusted to the gloom rapidly and to Helivant appeared like miniature lamps in the dim area. Xillae looked around and murmured, ”Where have you brought me, Helivant?”

”To the place in which you will rise to your apotheosis, dear boy.” Helivant invoked his magic and the light in the room flared a bit, bringing everything into sharper focus. Standing before them was a machine which was humming softly in the quiet room. It was like a massive pillar, the base entirely mechanical, while the main portion was made of glass. Inside was an amorphous glob of liquid metal. Xillae tilted his head and, without meaning to, took a step forward. It moved. He blinked. It stopped moving. He took another step and it began moving again, thin strands branching off to reach out to the glass. Xillae stopped and looked back, ”What is it?”

Helivant grinned, ”It is a rare form of life. Something which exists completely in flux, and only with a host body to share its existence. The machine it resides in, designed by a charming young woman of the race called Kings, sustains its life while I find it a host. While I find you, dear boy.”

Xillae’s head snapped back to the creature inside the tank, ”You want me to let that thing, whatever it is, live inside me? Have you taken recent head trauma?”

Helivant chuckled softly, ”Oh no. No, no, no. You see, this thing is a symbiotic creature. It requires another life form to exist. And that means that the life of its host body is it’s life. And it goes to extreme measure to protect its host. It reacts to what you are thinking, and it will respond in ways that you desire. As an example, if you were to put your hand upon the glass and thing hard on, say, your staj, I believe you call them. I think you might be surprised at the results. Go on. Try it.”

Xillae frowned, doubting that this thing, whatever it was, was capable of doing much besides killing him in ways too horrible to imagine. But even so, he did as he was told, and reached out to place his hand on the glass. He focused his mind upon his ideal staj, the one he would use if it existed. To his amazement, the blob reshaped itself. Inside was coiled a segmented tail of gleaming silver, and on the end were two rounded blades, weighted perfectly he imagined. Then he tilted his head and changed his though, and the metal darkened in shade to glossy obsidian, then back again. He grinned a little, tonguing the slit at the corner of his mouth, ”This might just work out after all.”

Helivant chuckled as Xillae lowered his hand, ”That’s not all. I’ll also be tweaking your physiology a bit myself. Nothing too serious, you understand, but a little something that will ensure you can take ten times the beating you can now and hardly feel a thing.”

Xillae turned to the creature who seemed to be offering him the universe on a silver platter, ”Just one question, before we begin. What do you get out of this?”

Helivant chuckled, ”What? I can’t do this for you out of the kindness of my heart?”

”No.”

”Very well. You will be my ticket into the Dorian Empire as a flesh shaper. Kanatal has no love for me, and Arcerion probably less after the things I have done in the past. However, I have reconciled myself to my lot in life. I wish only to find new ways to make flesh stronger. To erect masterpieces in the shapes of others. I have found my calling as an artist.” He chuckled, as if at a joke.

Xillaenkudure turned to looked at him, frowning slightly, ”You’re not exactly filling me with confidence here. Let’s say we do this. I suppose there won’t be anything in my brain that, when triggered, makes me turn on everyone and everything around me?”

Helivant scoffed, ”Really? You think I would be that stupid? Your species has many forms of re-education, as you call it. It would be foolish in the extreme for me to tamper with your brain. Not to mention utterly dangerous for you. If I were to put something extra in there, you might not serve a purpose after everything we’ll be going through.”

Xillae narrowed his eyes before nodding, ”Very well. What must I do?”

Helivant’s chesire grin ought to have been a warning, but it was not, ”We begin tomorrow. Come. I will take you to where you can rest and prepare yourself. There is be. . . more pain than you can possibly imagine.” He turned and left the room by a door that had gone unseen in the shadows. Xillae followed, staj lashing behind him. As they walked, Xillae could not help pondering the consequences of this risk. If it worked out, it may just put him on a level playing field as Kunkka. There was every chance Helivant was playing with him. Toying around with his obsession with Kunkka to get his. . . masterpiece. A slave as well, if the Bale was lying about his reasons. And from what he understood about the race, there was not much more to them to evil and lies. Or, well, evil as most people understood it.

They entered a room, sparsely furnished. Of what furnishings there were, most were metal, and nine-tenths of them were things Xillae had never and would never use. The 6’6” male Qalla, primordial anomaly, looked around the room with his luminous orbs, then turned to Helivant, ”How long?”

Helivant shrugged, ”Roughly ten hours or so. I will prepare you for the bonding myself. Good night.”

Xillae watched the Bale leave and then instantly dropped into a relaxed, meditative posture, the metal of his staj rasping across the concrete floor as he contemplated the choice he was making. He would not sleep this night. Instead, he would attempt to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never again be welcomed home again once this was done. That he would never again be part of the Great Mother’s mighty Militia. He sat there the entire night, without moving a muscle, until Helivant came for him the next morning.

The door opened to reveal the Bale, as finely dressed as always, wearing a smug smile upon his face. Xillae’s eyes snapped open the moment the pressure in the room changed and in one sinuous movement he stood, fingers curling and uncurling, ready to begin.

Helivant curled one of his long, triple-jointed fingers in a ‘follow’ motion. Xillae set out after him, and after a minute or so, they emerged into what appeared to be a multi-purpose room, whose purposes were clearly defined. The left half of the room was dedicated to a surgical suite that was half technological, and half arcana. In the middle there was a surgical table, metal gleaming in the hermetic lighting. Nullifying all biological material that might be harmful to the subject and the procedure they were about to embark upon. Over that table was the tank with the symbiote, and underneath was a contraption that greatly resembled a giant spider’s legs. Steel arms with needles attached to tubes that lead up into the tank and to the symbiote. The other half seemed to be a training area. Somewhere that Xillae could test out his new abilities. Somewhere that he could practice.

Helivant gesutred to the table, ”Your new life awaits you.” Xillae glanced at the creature, then at the symbiote he would be bonding with. He stepped forward and up to the table, reaching up and beginning to strip himself of the suit he wore. That wonderful, kinetic-force absorbing piece of tech which made him one of the most effective shock troopers in the universe. Quite literally. As he laid himself upon the table, his staj hanging over the edge, Helivant moved up and took the suit in his long-fingered hands, “I’ll put this away for you. Oh, and just so you are aware, I will be making numerous changes to your physiology while you bond with the symbiote. Just so that no one will be able to say you are not a product of my work. And to enhance your combat capabilities, of course.”

Xillae merely grunted and Helivant stepped back. With a single command word in an ancient tongue, the machine hanging above the prone male whirred to life, lights flickering on, metallic clicks sounding as the machine worked itself up to perform it’s only purpose. Helivant vanished from sight and Xillae’s breathing quickened as the needles lowered. The machine began scanning his body, the arms rotating out to adjust for his abnormal height and shifting to correct for his lack of physical bulk.

The arms lowered slowly, but when they finally were in position, puncturing his skin was instant and right down near the bones. His muscles tensed at the sudden flares of pain across his body, and as he stared up past the machine at the symbiote, he could sense its. . . eagerness to be within a new host body. Could feel its desire to dominate him. Clenching his teeth, Xillae knew that this thing would either be his servant, or kill him. There would be no submission from the warrior on the table. Victory or death.

The quicksilver substance of the symbiote eagerly fed itself into the tubes leading down to the needles, and as the substance of the creature began to flood into him, it felt as if every atom of his physical body were aflame. Helivant was right. It was pain beyond imagining. Xillae had suffered beatings to within an inch of his life. He had suffered emotional pain so complicated that few ever understood it. But this was a thousand time worse. His muscles seized, his eyes clenched shut, his claws curled into his palms and drew his acidic blood, which had no effect what-so-ever upon his bier. He began to spasm as the fire spread to all parts of his body, limbs trembling upon the cold metal, but never once did any utterance of pain cross his lips.

In the end, it would probably only be Helivant’s genius that saved his life, the arcana he had prepared the night before triggering as Xillae’s vitals spiked and peaked in alarming ways. The machine continued with its cruel work of spreading the symbiote’s essence all across Xillae’s bone structure. When it finished and the tank above was emptied, the machine retracted itself high up toward the ceiling. Xillae lay consumed in the throes of agony beyond his worst nightmares and Helivant approached the table to begin his work.He began manipulating Xillae’s adapting body in ways that any who might observe from the outside could only guess at. He laid many things upon Xillae’s twitching form that seemed to. . . melt away into the male’s pasty skin.

When the work was over, Helivant stepped away, fingering the suit that he had taken from Xillae, already thinking of new ways to utilize the technology. On the table however, the agony continued. And what made it all the worse, the symbiote was using the intense pain of bonding to mask it’s attempt to seize control of Xillae’s body. But because of his empathic nature, the primordial Qalla batted aside every attempt to take hold of his nervous system. He protected it like any animal backed into a corner, waiting for the pain to subside.

When it finally did, he slipped into what could, for all intents and purposes, be called a coma. He lay still and unmoving, breathing just fine while within he began to grapple with the new monster inhabiting his flesh. It took him a while to figure the beast out, but in the end it turned out to be nothing more than a beast. A primitive mind consisting of images, scents, sounds. Nothing like true intelligent life. And so it was with relative ease that Xillae outsmarted the creature and bound it to his will. As the struggle slipped away Xillae’s mind returned, once more, to the rule of his body. And the first action he took was to open his eyes.

He stared up at the blank ceiling for a long moment, letting himself really. . . feel his body. He felt a little. . . desensitized. Everything felt a little more distant than before. He grasped the edge of the table, and it felt as though he was doing it with semi-numb hands. As he sat up, the beast within immediately began to nag at him. The symbiote was unhappy with the way his staj was attached to the base of his spine. It felt wrong, all wrong. And, in its primitive way, it promised that it could do better. So he agreed. That was then he let out a harsh cough of agony, fire spiking at the base of his spine as his staj was brutally removed by the symbiote. It slithered to the floor in a heap of useless metal. A moment later, a cool, tingling sensation replaced the inferno that had raged a moment before, and where his old staj had been, a new one was growing. Quicksilver unfolded from his lower back like an ever-expanding mushroom cloud, folding back on itself as it grew longer and longer. It reached a little longer than the old model before it warped itself into a new shape.

Gleaming sections of metal were now protruding from his lower back, a segmented tail that lashed with a thought, tipped by what could only be described as a flanged mace-head. He glanced back at it, nodded in acceptance and moved away from the table. Thinking twice, he decided to test out just how strong this thing was and raised the tail up above his head before bringing it crashing down upon the gleaming surface of the table. The result was. . . astonishing. Instead of rebounding from the hit, the head of the tail crashed through the metal with a squeal of protest. Xillae’s brow perked in interest, and then, with a thought, the head changed from a blunt object to a curved blade-head, sharp as a razor. He lashed his tail at one of the supports that had held the table up and, to his surprise, the blade sheared through it as if it were nothing but paper. He smirked slightly. Oh yes. This would be fun.

His training in the next few days, weeks really, due to time-tampering by Helivant, was intensive. He struggled with the creature living in his body daily for the first week, and then it became compliant. He mastered its every ability. He could change the shape of his staj at the drop of a hat, and better yet, he had discovered Helivant’s own additions to his physiological changes. His grin revealed the split in his cheeks it was so wide. And when Helivant returned his suit, there were a few arcane enhancements to that as well. Not to mention it looked as though someone had made tech upgrades to make the suit synergize with the creature. He mastered his body all over again in the course of a couple of days, relearning his limits and knowing them very well before he was finished.

One day, as Xillae was finishing up a training session, Helivant entered the room that the Qallic anomaly had not left in four days in the outside world, two months inside. He looked up with his now silver-streaked glowing black eyes, ”It is time, then. I do not think Kunkka will enjoy our next little scrap. Not at all.” He smirked and flexed his fingers.

Helivant chuckled, ”Indeed it is time, my boy. Let us re-emerge out into the universe. Kunkka is no doubt worried sick about you at this point, vanishing the way you did. She probably even went looking to Arcerion to help her find out.”

Xillae’s snort echoed in the room, ”You’ve no clue what you’re talking about. Or who. If Kunkka’s done anything, it’s probably only been to curse me for a damn fool and wandered off to play with her other toys. I’ll be surprised if she even noticed I was gone.”

Helivant shrugged, ”You know her best, I suppose. Well, let’s get this over with. Arcerion can be. . . unpleasant toward me at the best of times.” He then reached into his coat pocket for a magical device. He toyed with it, his long, dexterous fingers setting the device’s purpose and function before depressing the activation key. There was a shrill whine in the air that grew in volume until the destination was found and then a portal opened, much like the one that brought them here. Xillae stepped through first, and then Helivant a moment later. The portal winked shut behind them, leaving only darkness and silence.
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