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Chapter 24: 24. Happy Little Accident

The Khrave, a sapient humanoid species of tall and deathly thin bat-like creatures with four pairs of limbs, two wings and legs, and the four remaining arms with the lower set atrophied.

A species I created by mistake and one of the actions I regretted the most. I could have easily avoided it; the possibility of saving their kind was endless, but I was young and ignorant of what I was and my true power.

It's a mistake I tried and failed to fix, for the changes I made to them were beyond repair. I had warped the very essences of the survivors, forever tying their existence and that of their descendants to me.

Whatever I did would worsen their state. Not even Isha could have helped—my power in them was too strong by her own saddened words. Their fate was set in stone. Or, from what she said less directly, it was that you can't heal what is not wounded, just like you can't heal a species from being itself from a biological standpoint.

Healing implied returning to a state of health by the species' norm, and the Khrave were there to a tee.

It meant changing them back to an anterior state or modifying them entirely, and she wasn't willing to do so, judging it unwise and prone to unforeseen consequences, so I acknowledged her point by changing how to go about it. I trusted her opinion on this subject more than mine.

Their biology was unique as they were partially immaterial, granting them great regenerative power, the ability to shapeshift, immense lifespan, and psychic power, the last above the Aeldari norm by a non-insignificant amount.

They could secrete a grey cement-like substance called Palestone that negates the use of foreign arcane within a certain level of potency.

But I reshaped their flesh and souls out of an instinctual reaction and, as such, had created defects in their designs, many. They were short-tempered and hyper-aggressive to nearly all that wasn't of their kind or out of my essence. There were exceptions like any species, but those were called this for a reason.

Then came their ravenous hunger for emotion and not of any kind, the extreme and with a vast preference over the 'positive' one. It was more than a simple dietary preference. They could sustain themselves on other emotions, but it led to weakness. Hunger after a set time without feeding caused progressive necrosis of tissue until death came or they went into cryptobiosis.

Finally came their abysmal fertility and equally lacking instincts to procreate. Then came child mortality with a high rate of cancerous mutation and the lengthy phase of growth to adulthood.

The irony that they were as close to a natural predator as the Aeldari did not escape me. But it also means any psychic creature was prone to become snacking material.

Ultimately, they were broken people, but they were my broken people, my mentally unstable psychic vampires, and my responsibilities. And amid this natural defect, they had great potential, making me realize that it was a happy accident for me in the long as twisted as it may be.

Though as much as their psychic biology was a double-edged sword, and I will not modify it for the species, it wasn't a fatality, spell, operation or technology that existed and could be made.

I cared for them in ways fitting their needs and growing their population without risking cataclysmic events that would set them to zero.

I created the Dark Cradle, a pocket dimension separating the star system of the planet I had deported them to. A space hidden from prying eyes and highly defended, only opening to the one I authorized in and out.

The time within was slowed down by a factor of one to five hundred, meaning roughly hundreds of millennia had passed for them. Time within was modular, granting me the authority to slow or accelerate the time within if needed, such as the case where I would happen to be absent for extended periods.

It was to avoid a plethora of problems, such as them driving themselves to extinction for X or Y reason or having turned in ways I fervently disapproved of. I favored free will above all, but there were limits, and my kindness was not endless. Or if somehow, somewhat, something were to malfunction, then time would have stopped.

I made this dimension with the primary goal of protecting them from the war and its consequences but also from my little stunt of mine.

I knew my action would put the Pantheon against my ass and, by extension, the Aeldari and others of the Young Races since I became quite literally the Devil in person, if not worse. I didn't fear for my life, but the fate of the Khrave would have met its end soon after my explosion.

An extermination crusade was well within the realm of possibility for Asuryan and Khaine, one out of logic and spite while the other only out of spite. The wisdom part of the Phoenix King was not aesthetic if he didn't go daft while I was gone, that is, but I didn't bet on that.

That Isha and even Cegorach would have been against it changed little.

I made the dimension with that in mind; the future was uncertain, and it was part of the fun. Chaotic and high in color, but that didn't change that the only good chaos was one on a thigh leach held in one of my six talons.

Though the dimension was not all I did, I made fountains of artificial emotions to feed them and taught them many things. Of which, for my little bats, a starting course on the arcane using a toned-down version of my personal magic language, the Anoqeyån.

My language that, from what I was given awareness due to my connection to it, spread far and wide in every corner of the cosmos and had fragments of it everywhere, from Neverborn, primitive sapiens being learning of psychic power, the Aeldari as a whole, and even my brethren.

They damn well should for their own good but, most importantly, my own good. It was by design and alteration did not change that it was from me and my double-edged generosity.

They couldn't avoid it, as I intended, and pride played little when I rewrote everything. I knew that after my death, I wouldn't be able to use much of my personal power for quite some time; the lizard bitch death and all her kind were going to lead me to my bottle in any case.

And the curse just lengthened how long the Flask of Sealing was my prison. I just stacked the cards in my favor as any respectable individual would.

The Khrave had turned into an investment. One that had not proved its worth but, under my guidance, would. For the moment, I couldn't use the thousands or so Aeldari believers within the trillion Aeldari I felt running around for evident reason, and I couldn't call my clown brother for this exact reason.

Asuryan was always watching. Morai-Heg was unpredictable at the best of times, with Khaine ready to lay waste to reality at her every word.

For everything else, such as the Krork or Orikan, I needed data about what was ongoing, what had happened, and what would happen before trying anything drastic to alert others of my rebirth. Overall, it was the same.

And then there was the matter of the Sea of Souls that had not improved with time; it was the exact opposite. To call it Warp would be more appropriate for this instant and forever.

The upper layer formed the illusion of the Sea of Souls as it was void of the malevolent blight thanks to the Pantheon and apt use of the Labyrinth Dimension, and my runes making a barrier not changing this fact for one was disproportionately more important than the others in quantity.

It was a suitable method for a short-term solution, but it was flimsy and did virtually nothing to improve the Immaterium's state. It was playing the ostrich under multiple ticking time bombs. And there was a second one. It was pretty recent, but I was unsure of the purpose, if not to fix the error and incoherence of the last one.

"What were they called?" I said in a singsongy manner as specific runic matrices upon Yuggoth lit up at my command. I collected samples from the neverending chaotic psychic storm, harmlessly bashing the shields about those 'bombs.'

"Evil Gods? Dark Gods, hmm, or was it Chaos Gods? It's the same thing at the end of the day. Parasite under the illusion of grandeur and divinity." I continued studying these little clumps of psychic energy with my senses, now free of the risk of attracting unwanted gazes as the planetary shield blocked concepts themselves.

The oldest one was deep crimson red of the emotions of rage and anger, and its every gradient with the concept of war, martial prowess, honor, skull, and the never-ending flow of blood.

The middle one was an ever-shifting blue that didn't know what shades, colors, tastes, texture, shapes, or patterns it wanted of the emotions of curiosity, ambition, and hope with the concepts of scheming, fate, sorcery, and change in all its ever-changing forms.

The youngest one was of a sickly green with shades of grey of the emotions of contentment, acceptance, and despair with the concept of sloth, decay, disease, survival, and stagnation between life and death.

Three tumors upon reality growing by their mere existence of what they represent, three culminations of aspects I was not unfamiliar with, for they existed in far more diluted form millions of years ago.

But now they condensed into abominations of the highest order, separating portions of the Warp into their respective realm of emotion and concept. Far stronger than they should ever be, the reasons unknown however but the Well of Eternity, and the hole in it was likely at fault.

'Hmm… Wasn't there a fourth one?' I reckoned, but I did not detect any of this in my samples; further sampling did not change this fact. Either my memories were more faulty than I imagined, or the fourth was most likely not born yet and was gestating in a place out of my reach.

It was likely a horrifying mix of both and a bit more, but as pressing as matter of the reality was, my freedom was above it, and I couldn't do much of anything at the moment anyway to stop this coming catastrophe by being bound.

But before any of this, the Khrave and how to collect what I sowed.

'Now, who within them has the highest faith, hmm.' I hummed, concentrating beyond the limit of my bottle and spacetime by using my connection to the most faithful of my followers as a shortcut. It was to be the most discreet possible, which meant not making noise so something already present wouldn't create waves.

All thanks to a religion I initially and foolishly disapproved of, it had grown beyond its initial state and was not inseparable from any respectable Khrave.

The Church of the Beast, with none other than me as the Beast. It's less glamorous than some of my other titles but fitting nonetheless with what I turned into when psychic energy was taken away from my body.

It was a religion based on empirical data, for the most part, and it focused on my domains with a focus on the arcane from creation, destruction, and protection, with only one absent being all related to divination.

The latter was not a loss, with its randomness and imperfection. To boot, I formulated several runic algorithms that had similar purposes but also problems themselves. Nothing was certain, as simple as that; omniscience was a gift none possessed in this galaxy.

Using my strongest believers as foci, my mind shifted between the hundreds of millions living Khrave. I had understood their entire history since my time of unavailability and every individual's life from birth to now, and they froze before exploding in catatonic jubilation.

And they had been good little bats.

"By the Dawn of Change, our Lord is back!"

"The ancient scriptures were true! My unworthy soul is bare to your divine judgment, oh Lord of Magic, Darkness, and Travel!"

"The Master of the Rings has resurfaced to guide us!"

"Eternity awaits us! The time has come!"

And that was only a fractal of what was said by words of mouth and minds, for within the Dark Cradle, a flurry of telepathic messages overwhelmed everything, creating a soft buzz that, after a few minutes, I decided to quiet down.

-My faithful, I'm pleased with your progress. I come to you in this most grand moment to announce that I have come to awaken from my entombment.- I began softly communicating to them via telepathy to them all, young and old.

My audience froze as my voice delicately touched their mind, the natural effect of being compressible above them leading to more than a few losing it in various ways, but nothing taking control of their psychic power didn't fix and avoid any types of injuries.

I have gained experience… So to say, my past mistakes will never be repeated. And it was one of the most challenging aspects of my existence to gauge how fragile every mortal was, all tiny brittle hay houses in the face of a hurricane. Death was such an easy present to give; it was the end of a journey, be it abrupt or awaited.

-My enslaver and her kind have turned to ash as my wrath had bore down on them with vengeful fury, but in their instant, I was cursed to lay in the prison that had sawn my birth.- outrage of height comparable to Khaine mild outburst spread within my audience, and I chuckled in their minds.

My words were more than laws for them; they were the pillars of reality itself, and I must be careful in my wording.

-But it is weak, fitting its pitiful caster, and will shatter it under my presence in due time. However, it is far from admissible, and your aid will be of utmost importance to free me of my restraints.- I said with flair, causing another cataclysmic wave of emotions through their minds that I had to calm down again.

One wrong word or intonation, and they will flog themselves to death with tears of ecstasy. I was a God, their God; there was little to deny about this point, and if that word did not fit for some, then I was still a being of higher power. It was natural. The weak gathered around the strong, be it for protection, favors, or others.

And this did not change in this situation. I was not going to use them without reward or compensation; a relation between a God and his follower is mutualistic in nature, where both parties gain in some way a type of transaction. Though little understood what this relation actually was.

-But for this change to happen, progress is vital, oh, People of the Dawn. By my grace, the stars shall become yours, and your fates brought from the darkness will journey to the rings of my liberation, but remember that danger is at bay, and the world is hostile.- I finalized, and psychic power thrummed from each of their souls in euphoria.

Happy and motivated, that was how my little speech made them, but they still must follow my methodical protocols with little faults. I didn't want everything to explode in flames thanks to some basic mistake from lack of attention.

'Easier said than done.' I thought with a snort of amusement soon after it wouldn't be easy, and the plan would have to be continuously reworked, but I would make do.

*

My P@treon is up to chap 31 if you are interested.

p@treon.com/user?u=60424165


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
The_Bip_Boop2003 The_Bip_Boop2003

Hello, back to the Khraves, the species Hoopa made by trying and failing to help. A key to his success. As mentioned the Well of Eternity is damaged (thanks to Cthylla) and that would be important.

Bye-bye!

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