The Flame's Watch
The Flame burns brightly at the Universe's edge, a solitary light among the darkness.
Divine eyes look outwards towards the endlessness beyond. He senses all else that is out there. So many possibilities unfolding at once. Universes upon universes, worlds upon worlds, all brimming with life. A trillion stories being written every moment. It truly is a wonder.
And yet among it all he feels a disturbance.
A Hatred. An unnatural rage burning brighter than even his own flame.
It is directed at him, directed at his subjects, directed at his universe - no it is deeper - it is directed at every universe and every living thing, everywhere.
A hatred so strong it has consumed, is consuming, and will consume.
The Flame feels his ancient heart beat faster.
For the first time in aeons, The Flame feels fear.
A Lesson from The Tome
The class of five sat at Arunmila’s feet, their young brows furrowed in focus as they directed their full attention towards the Prime Urisha and the words coming out of his mouth. Arunmila smiled to himself; The Young Urisha were enraptured, he would do well not to disappoint. Arunmila adjusted his monocle and continued the lesson.
“So the Onus system ties directly into the Grand Purpose and only few can see it's visual manifestation in its entirety. I get glimpses, as does Primarch Emaja, but Prime Urisha Ebitola can see it in all it’s glory. He sees Its branches, roots, and ramblings, though he says he still does not truly understand it. He is no god after all.”
“But I don’t understand,” The statement came from the newest member of the class, Ishun. She had moved to the Oruka from the Underwater Kingdom with her mother before the fighting broke out. She looked the equivalent of a fourteen year old human, but was no doubt several decades old.
“What do you not understand, Young Urisha?”
“I don’t understand how the Urisha can war with each other. Does that not mean they are going against their Onus?” She asked.
“No. Although, we are not sure why this is happening, we do know that the Grand Purpose accepts this conflict. If it did not, and Urisha actively resisted their Onuses we would know.”
“How would we know?” Ishun asked.
“Honestly, I’m not completely sure.” Arunmila smiled and looked past the children as if daydreaming, “A past Arunmila recorded it but then destroyed the records. And as for me... well... I did not inherit memories of the event, just a feeling associated with the event.”
Arunmila paused, searching for the right words, “Sadness, disappointment…. Horror.”
“So in other words,” Ishun smiled , “Never reject your Onus.”
“Indeed, my child,” Arunmila, nodded, "To reject your Onus is to reject yourself."
The Trickster Strikes
Delawo burst into the office panting.
“Prime Urisha Unsin!” The war Urisha exclaimed, “The weapons! The weapons!”
“Slow down and speak clearly,” Unsin said lowering the report in her hand. The younger Urisha caught his breath and straightened up.
“The weapons have all been destroyed.”
The Armoury was a short trek from Unsin’s office. It was in the same district, and therefore a quick jump from her balcony could have gotten her there. But a report so ridiculous, though it did warrant her attention, did not warrant her urgency. She took the lift down, to the bottom floor of the Security Divisions headquarters and walked down the road. She looked around and saw several war and metalworking Urisha frantically running back and forth, babbling and arguing.
Her pace quickened.
Unsin finally arrived at the Armoury and entered the first room. She saw a row of newly forged swords lined up neatly in a rack. But something seemed... off. She grabbed one.
“What on the Oruka…?”
As Unsin removed it from the rack, she heard a faint, disembodied giggle in the back of her mind and the sword flopped over, bouncing in her grasp.
“Rubber,” the voice came from the corner of the far side of the room. Unsin hadn’t noticed a group of Urisha there who had been quietly debating the situation.
One figure broke away from the group and walked up to her, his small stature, long grey locks, and blue uniform made him easily identifiable.
“Prime Urisha Arunmila,” Unsin bowed her head slightly, “ I don’t understand, how has this happened? And how widespread is it?”
“It’s everywhere. And I would not even be surprised if it’s affecting the Earth and Underwater Kingdom Urisha as well.”
“How do you know this isn’t an attack from the Kingdom? That this isn’t one of Ulukun’s new technologies?”
Arunmila shook his head, “Because….” He picked up another sword, and they both heard the giggle again as the weapon turned to rubber, “This has all the hallmarks of a particular Urisha – and he doesn’t pick sides.”
“Who?” Unsin demanded.
“Urisha of Chaos and Rebellion?” Unsin’s eyes narrowed in confusion, “he hasn’t been seen in centuries. Does he even have the power to do this?”
“Apparently so,” Arunmila began walking, he motioned to Unsin to follow. “Ununsi, has eluded us for years, he’s incredibly hard to pin down and does what he wants. He probably considered the war the perfect opportunity for a large scale prank. One that would stop everyone in the world dead in their tracks.”
“But he’s a prosaic Urisha, how can he be so powerful?” Unsin asked.
“Prosaic? Unrankable would be more accurate. He wants nothing to do with Urisha, society. That’s the whole point. He doesn’t want order or balance – he just wants to have a laugh and spread some chaos.”
“To what end? How does this serve the grand purpose?”
“He and I have been rivals since before this incarnation of mine, so I haven’t had much time to talk to him one on one. But I have a theory; without the breaking of the status quo, without the breakdown of order every now and then, things stagnate, they do not improve. It’s the reason why Bobolu would have been such a great asset to either side of this war. Ununsi exists in a similar manner. To cause chaos and set the grounds for new ways of thinking, but also to help us remember…” Arunmila raised the rubber sword he was still carrying and gently tapped Unsin on the head with it, “To have a little fun.”
“So then what do we do?” Unsin asked.
“We enjoy the peace while it lasts. His power is probably limitless, but even he recognises that life must continue. In a few days when this ends, be ready to continue the war.”
“Do we try to find him in the meantime?”
“You are welcome to try.” Arunmila said.
“Understood, I will send scouts to look for him, in the meantime please report this back to the rest of the Prime Council. Take Care, Tome.”
“You too, young Unsin.” Arunmila watched Unsin leap out of the street into the distance and then clicked his fingers. His form melted away and beneath was left an even smaller figure, covered in web like lace, and wearing a mischievous grin.
The Atlas Attack Pt. 1
Kehinde stretched and hopped up and down a few times on the spot as his brother slapped himself on the thighs and shoulders. It was about time they were allowed to join the war; they had not seen battle since the Great Human Siege, and even that had been tame compared to battles fought in previous ages. Kehinde glanced over the edge of the departure point.
Taiwo looked to his twin, trying not to think of the hundreds of armoured Urisha standing behind them, and the thousands of humans stationed somewhere below, ready to attack on their signal. The responsibility of their lives weighed heavy on him - many would not see another sunrise.
“Kehinde, you remember the plan?”
“Yes. We crack open Mount Arguyus and we tear out the Underwater Kingdom insects lying inside,” Kehinde said flippantly.
Kehinde, paused then gripped his brother’s shoulder. He could sense that Taiwo was stressed, such was the nature of their existence, but he covered it well, as all those who bear responsibility must. As one they turned to face the Urisha soldiers, they raised their right arms to the sky, and the soldiers fell silent, ready for their order. Taiwo inhaled deeply then let out a mighty battlecry and threw himself over the edge followed by his brother and their soldiers. He increased in size as gravity pulled him downwards, and Kehinde and the Urisha dropped lightly onto his back, riding him down to the surface. His goal was the large mountain range a few hundred miles away, and a set of Weather Urisha in their company worked together to adjust his course, ensuring the falling giant stayed on course.
As he approached, Taiwo felt the humidity of the air change slightly. Kehinde sensed his unease, “you’re doing fine Tai,” Kehinde sent the idea across mentally to him, “It may just be a bit of climate change, we haven’t been on Earth in a while. Keep going.”
Taiwo nodded in response and pointed his head downwards. As they neared the attack point, he glimpsed the point where their human soldiers were camouflaged by Earth Urisha below, a gap opened in the ground briefly and a light flashed up at him a few times. They were ready. Good. Unsin’s plans rarely failed, this battle should be over swiftly.
Taiwo bucked his back gently, and his Urisha riders lifted from the surface of his back as he shrunk down to his usual size. They landed with soft thuds at the foot of the mountain.
“I still preferred Egun’s plan to drop on the mountain and completely obliterate it,” Kehinde whispered pulling out a club.
“You know we couldn’t handle the guilt of destroying an entire landscape like that. The region would be completely out of balance after.”
“Ha! Let’s see how less guilty I’ll feel after we’re done here.”
The two turned to their soldiers and roared again for the attack to begin.
Later that day...
The Ebeji had taken most of the mountain, the Underwater Kingdom Urisha and human forces inside were completely overwhelmed, and many science Urisha had been captured. It appeared that since its capture, this base was being used as a research and training facility for augmented humans, and many had been destroyed in the battle. The Ebeji felt little guilt in destroying them, they felt it was their responsibility to make sure the purity of the human and Urisha species were maintained.
“Just a few levels more and then the mountain will be ours,” Kehinde said punching through a heavy stone door.
“But something still feels amiss, I feel like the humidity keeps rising,” A human spear broke on Taiwo’s chest, barely damaging his armour. He caught it before it hit the ground and threw it back at the owner, pinning them to the wall.
“It’s just the environment, it will be fine. Push onwards!” Kehinde shouted as they forced their way through another barricade.
They descended another set of stairs at the end of the corridor and came to a heavy stone door.
“I don’t need to be Arunmila to know there’s someone important in there,” Kehinde said, tightening his grip on his club.
“Then we go in one group at a time. I’ll go first, you go after,” Taiwo replied.
“As is always our custom,” Kehinde nodded.
Taiwo jammed the hilt of his club into the door and levered it open, then slipped through with five Urisha and ten humans. They were greeted by a dark corridor, which they swiftly crossed, and were met with another large, stone door. Taiwo motioned to his soldiers to ready themselves and then counted down from three with his fingers before ramming the door open with his shoulder. It burst of its hinges, shards of masonry scattering across the room beyond. And what a room it was.
Before them lay a large lab, full of whirring and beeping machinery that all centered on one individual who lay unconscious on an operating table. Standing over him, hands behind their back was a large figure with long green locks reaching down to the ground. It was a figure that should not be anywhere near dry ground. They turned around and smiled.
“Taiwo of the Atlas twins,” Ulukun said, “How good it is to see you after all these centuries.”
The Atlas Attack Pt. 2
“Traitor!” Taiwo roared, hoping his voice and his mental impression would reach his brother, “You who would abandon their responsibility!”
“Are you talking about me?” Ulukun laughed and walked towards him. Ulukun raised their right hand slowly and and water began to stream out of the drains built into the floor. The human soldiers began to retreat behind the Urisha.
“Dear Taiwo, I always looked up to the Ebeji as a Young Urisha. You put The Grand Purpose before all else. Your friends and family passed on while you slept, but still you did not falter. You came when called and returned to Idaduro when the task was done. And you especially Taiwo, you who always goes ahead of your brother. Taiwo, the Atlas Twin, the first to taste the world...”
The water splashed as Ulukun’s bare feet made their way right up towards Taiwo and gently lowered the twin’s club.
“I too know the weight of such loyalty. My loyalty to balance. I once broke this world to punish those humans who would not care for it. And now I am breaking it again to wrest control from the Urisha who loosen their grip on order.” Ulukun smiled sadly and shook their head, “Indeed. I do not abandon my responsibility. In fact, my Onus has evolved, it allows me to do unspeakable things in order to bring about a superior world.”
The water rose into pillars that surrounded the fifteen soldiers behind Taiwo.
“You forget our ways and desecrate the tenets we live by!” Taiwo shouted.
“Dear Taiwo, I have surpassed the old ways and have become someone willing to do anything and everything to fulfill my Onus!” The pillars of water compressed to paper thin sheets and whizzed across the room in a flash, slicing the five Urisha and ten humans into shreds.
“No!” Taiwo looked on in horror at the carnage left behind him, “you are a monster! You are unfit to lead! Unfit to be the one responsible for this world!”
“Is that so?” Ulukun raised their hand again and a tendril of water floated a silver spear across the room and into their palm, “then deliver your judgement.”